Mesa Valley Chronicles: Jim Benedict-Chapter 17

As Cillay and Jim headed into the courtroom, they passed Tony seated across the isle behind the prosecutor.  Jim pulled Cillay to him and kissed her.  Seeing Jim kiss Cillay, Tony involuntarily clenched his fists in anger and jealousy.

“Whatever happens, I love you, Jim!  Thank you for everything.”, Cillay told him.

“Stop talking like that, Cillay.  We’re going to beat this!”, Jim said. 

The judge entered, and they took their seats.  Tony and Jim glared at one another across the isle. 

As the DA laid out his case against Cillay, she felt like he was talking about some other person.  There were surveillance pictures taken from cameras on Tony’s yacht.  They showed pictures of Cillay and Tony hand in hand.  Cillay knew that Tony had been holding her hand to drag her with him around the boat. 

Tony was called to the stand.  He answered the DA’s questions.

“Yes, Cillay was my girlfriend in Sunset Valley.  She has always been what I considered to be a little high strung.  Because I love her so much, I have always overlooked it.

“And when you returned from a game two years ago, she had vanished from the home that you shared?”, the DA asked him.

“Yes.  I had no idea where she had gone.  I was worried sick.”

Mrs. Drayton objected.  “Your honor,  I would like to insist that the witness only answer the questions asked!”

“Objection sustained!”, the Judge said.

“Did you search for her?”, the DA asked.

“Yes. I hired a private investigator to find her.”, Tony answered.

“Did he find her?”, he asked.

“Yes, he did.”, Tony answered.

“What was her situation?”, the DA asked him.

“She was married and had a baby.”, Tony said.

“Did that upset you?”, he asked.

“Of course, it did at first.  I had intended to marry her myself, but if she were happy, then I was glad for her.”, Tony answered.

Cillay quit listening to the lies, and allowed her mind to wander.  Her attention was suddenly drawn back to Tony’s testimony.

“And how did you find out about the plot against her?”, the DA was asking Tony.

“An old friend of ours told me.  He was an acquaintance of one of the men who abducted Cillay.”, Tony said.

Then Tony described how he had rescued her and brought her back to his boat.

“Then what happened?”, the DA asked.

“Cillay told me that she had never stopped loving me, and that her marriage was a mistake.  She said that she missed making love to me.   Then she kissed me passionately.   Suddenly, she stabbed me!”, he said.

The jury gasped.

“Why do you believe she did that?”, the DA asked.

“I knew from my PI that she had become mentally unbalanced after her marriage to Jim Benedict and that she spent time in a mental institution.  I believe that is why she stabbed me.”, he said.

Next it was Cillay’s attorney’s turn to cross examine Tony.  He remained calm and she was unable to shake him from his story. 

The DA called other witnesses who testified to the fact that when Cillay had arrived in Mesa Valley, she had slept on benches.  She was an unemployed vagrant until Jim took her in.  He presented evidence verifying her stay in the mental clinic.  They showed pictures of Tony’s injuries.

When it was the defense’s turn to put on their case, Ms. Drayton tried to correct the picture that the jury had been given of Cillay.  She even called character witnesses who testified that she was a valued member of the Mesa Valley community.

Then it was Cillay’s turn on the stand.  Things went smoothly when her attorney questioned her, but went quickly downhill when the DA cross examined her.

“It wasn’t long after you arrived in Mesa Valley before you began a romantic relationship with Mr. Benedict was it?”, the DA asked her.

Ms. Drayton objected to the question as irrelevant, but the judge overruled her objection.

Cillay answered.  “I guess you could say that it wasn’t very long.”

Then he started firing questions at Cillay, despite her attorney’s objections.   He was trying to portray her as a manhunter who found men to take care of her.  She became defensive, and did not give the jury a sense of who she really was.  By the time she left the stand, she was completely disheartened.

Jim sat in the courtroom fuming over the treatment Cillay was receiving and the poor way that she was being portrayed to the jury.  He had testified, but he knew that because he was Cillay’s husband, what he said was taken with a grain of salt.

Finally all the testimony and evidence had been presented to the jury.  They went to the jury room to deliberate.

Ms. Drayton turned to Cillay.  “We did our best.  Now it is in the hands of the jury.  Why don’t you and Jim go and have lunch.   I will call you when the verdict comes in.”, she told her.

Cillay wasn’t hungry, but Jim still made her go with him to the courthouse cafeteria.  He bought sandwiches and coffee for them both.

Cillay didn’t touch it.  “You need to eat something, Cillay.”, Jim said.

“I don’t think I can swallow it.”, Cillay told him.  She tried to at least sip the coffee.  Jim wasn’t very hungry either.  They had been there for only forty-five minutes when Ms. Drayton called.  The verdict was in.  They quickly returned to the courtroom.

As the jury came in,  none of them looked at Cillay.  She had always heard that was a bad sign. The verdict was handed to the judge.  After he read it, he had the jury foreman read it aloud.

“We find the defendant, Cillay Benedict, guilty of the charges against her.”

“Your sentencing hearing will be conducted tomorrow morning.  Until then you will be taken into custody and remain in the Piccaroon Island county jail.”, the judge told Cillay.

Cillay had known all along that it would come to this.  She turned to Jim and saw him looking at Tony with murder in his eye.  “Your honor may I have a moment to say goodbye to my husband?”, Cillay pleaded.

“You may have five minutes.”the judge said.

Jim came over to Cillay and pulled her into his arms.  “This isn’t the end, Cillay we’ll get you out of here!”, he said.  They were both in tears.

“Jim, please don’t do anything that will get you locked up too.  I saw how you looked at Tony.  The children need one of us.  I will get out eventually.”, she told him.

As the bailiff came over to handcuff her wrists and put the chains on her ankles, Jim quickly kissed her goodbye.


 

 

_________________________________________________________

 

 

Sorry about Jim.  I could not get him to cooperate with his expressions.   The whole time he had a Howdy Doody look on his face!


 

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9 thoughts on “Mesa Valley Chronicles: Jim Benedict-Chapter 17

  1. Ah, I loved your courthouse set. Please, please, please, link it up at RWN. I think you did a terrific job on it. And I may need it for a scene in Krisis.

    And now, on to the actual story:
    I knew Tony was good, but in my heart I kept hoping the jury would see Cillay for who she really is. But it didn’t help that she couldn’t express herself and she couldn’t paint a well balanced picture of herself. All I can do now is hope Tony will have a change of heart (yeah, right, like that would happen) or some miracle happens to set Cillay free.

    • Thanks Val! I’m glad you liked the courthouse. I’ve never uploaded anything before, but I will see if I can figure out how to do it.

      The prosecutor did a great job of proving Tony’s side of the case. Her lawyer tried, but most of the evidence was on Tony’s side.

      Thanks for reading.

  2. I can’t say I didn’t see this coming 😦 Tony did present a very good, buyable story the jury sadly believed…

    I hope Cillay can come out soon and that Jim won’t do anything impulsive. Cillay was right when she said the children needed at least one of them!

    You did an awesome job with that courthouse! :O Oh, and don’t worry about Jim’s facial expressions; your story telling is so good I didn’t notice it at all! 😉

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