The witness sits, agitated on the stand, questions being asked that test her patience. The cross-examination is rifled with questions from Prosecutor Brad Walz to the Matthew’s attorney, James Moriarty, each one digging deeper and deeper into the case. The white walled room with the bronze image of an Indian begins to feel darker. The depiction of the robbery from years ago unfolds, through the blunt words of the lawyers in full swing of the “Waterloo Burger King Robbery” case.
On April 23, 2014 a Waterloo Burger King was held by two men at gunpoint while the other accomplice , Jessie Mathews, beat up employees working at the fast-food restaurant. Mathews is facing up to 25 years in prison for first-degree robbery. Mathew’s associate, Darryl Charles Jenkins Jr, is also facing prison time for firs-degree robbery but is now testifying for a reduced sentence.
The courtroom was civil and organized. Judge Andrea J. Dryer kept the court in order while prosecutor Walz examines the witness, Monica, Jessie’s lover and mother of his child. I sat down in the empty seating and begun to write down the events that were about to unravel. Walz begins to ask Monica to recognize Jessie in the room, to describe what he looks like. Monica responds with the depiction of what Jessie is wearing and where he is seated in the room. After the prosecution takes Monica through all the details of the case, Judge Dryer commences the cross-examination. The officer in the back corner behind the jury began to sink in his chair, showing that this was going to be a long process. In comes attorney Moriarty’s voice with an interesting question, “Walz, could I borrow your copy of the case? My computer doesn’t seem to be working.” Walz than gives Moriarty the printed copy of the case, whether this was tactic or Moriarty’s computer simply wasn’t working is still a mystery to this day. Moriarty was a blunt man, getting to the point no matter how it made the witness feel, he gave remorse but there was little of it. The questions fired by Moriarty all dealt with the investigators and officials that consulted with Monica, walking up to the stand after every question, getting the permission of the judge before he walked toward the stand. She was not able to remember nor recognize each name that was given to her. The more names that were asked, the awkwarder the room got, the jury moving in their seats from the uneasiness and uncomfortably of the seats. Moriarty made sure to emphasize after asking the names of the officials that, “I’m still on the first page!” The jury reacted with curiosity, unsure of what Moriarty’s motive was. Moriarty finished his questioning, leaving the witness frustrated with the bluntness of the attorney. Walz asked for an early recess, seeing that Monica was becoming uneasy. Judge Dryer called for the recess and Monica went straight to the attorney, but this act didn’t go unseen.
Moriarty pointed out to Judge Dryer that Monica went to straight to Walz and wanted Judge Dryer to remember Monica’s action. Monica and Walz than began to converse during the recess. The police officer that had been keeping his eyes on Mathews, stood up and moved straight to him. Mathews was not leaving the sight of the officer and was made to stay in his seat next to Moriarty. Moriarty noticed that I was taking notes and introduced himself to me, along with the Walz, who had just finished conversing with Monica. Through discussion with Moriarty about any questions I had about the case or law and how he had to lend Mathews his shirt for the trial, he asked me one last question before he returned to his seat next to Mathews, “Can you do me a favor? If you become a journalist, can you help stop fake news?” I replied with a nod in agreement, seeing his face of annoyance towards fake news.
Judge Dryer stepped into the court, the population of the court rose, the court is back in session. The questioning from Moriarty begins again, but this time, there is a changing factor. Not only is Monica frustrated with Moriarty questions, but Moriarty begins to become frustrated…with Mathews. Mathews starts to repeatedly point his finger to certain spots on the piece of paper that Moriarty is holding, each time Mathews points tot the paper, he get closer to Moriarty. Moriarty finally hits his point of maximum frustration with Mathews and sticks his hand in front of Mathews face and proceeds to motion his hand to tell Mathews to move away from his close proximity. Moriarty’s next question, asks Monica if she has ever seen Jessie wear the mask that was described in the case. She replies with “Maybe, I don’t know.” and Moriarty counteracts with the case file showing that she had said no, presenting the possibility that her testimony had changed. Judge Dryer tilts her head, curious of what more could come from this possibility. If even though it was a small change, it could be the first of many. The courtroom is quiet, the only person moving is Monica, twisting in her seat from the uncomfortably of the jury’s and Judge’s eyes looking upon her. The question is muffled with new questions pertaining to history with working in the fast food industry for three years, giving the implication that she could of had a hand in this crime. The following inquiry discussed her criminal record but Walz was quick to object, being sustained by Judge Dryer. During this time, Mathews was calm and collected, delivering the idea that he had accepted the fact that he was going to jail and waiting for his sentence. The room starts to intensify when Monica is requested to talk about the weapons in the robbery. Monica begins to describe the weapons used in the robbery but also starts to describe BB guns that were evidence in a different case. Walz beings to squirm in his seat, knowing that she could be going in the wrong direction, ruining her testimony. He motions to Monica to stop speaking about the BB guns and get back on track with the weapons in the current case. Moriarty sees what is happening and uses her confusion to try and delve deeper, asking her for more information and her description. Monica realizes what is happening and stops her words right in there tracks, disaster avoided.
The cross-examination is coming to a close, the final questions are being asked. Monica is asked to take them through how she was hospitalized by Mathews, the room looks at Monica with sympathy even though they don’t know what happened. She describes how Mathews and her got into a fight and he pushed her down. Mathews did not know however, that she was four weeks pregnant. She felt helpless, angry and emotionally destroyed in the hospital room she described. But through all that, when Moriarty asked her, with the sole remorse that he has, “Do you want anything bad to happen to Jessie?” Monica’s response, “I don’t want anything bad to happen to Jessie.”