This week, I had the opportunity to sit in on a murder trial at the courthouse across from my office. This was the first chance that I had to branch out of my department, which mostly deals with sex-based offenses.
This case was particularly interesting because it wasn’t nearly as open-and-shut as the other trials in which I had sat before. There was very little physical evidence, and the State’s case was largely reliant upon the phone records of the defendant, and testimony from the defendant’s ex-girlfriend who claimed that the defendant had told her of his plans. Many members of the defendant’s family testified, which was especially emotional because the victim was a member of the family as well. Perhaps the most interesting part of the case came at the end of the trial, when the defendant testified in his own defense, which is extremely rare in cases like this. In fact, this was the first time a defendant accused of murder has done this since I started the internship, which made for a very packed courtroom.
The trial has not finished yet, and the defense and state will deliver closing statements on Monday, and then the jury will come to a decision, which I will make sure to watch. Most cases I’ve seen in the past seemed as if the defendant was pretty obviously guilty, at least on some charges, but I am very unsure of what the jury will decide in this case.