I've been observing a murder trial this week. I've spent most of my days in court, which means that I don't have time to accomplish any of my actual assignments, and I've had to work late and bring work home. Considering that I've had nothing to do all semester, this is a significant change.
The murder trial is fascinating. I'm just observing the trial - I have had no part in the case whatsoever, and I've missed a few parts (like the openings, and a witness or two). What I've gleaned so far is this: The defendants are from a large, well-established Italian family and live in the Italian neighborhood of the town. The part of the courtroom in which I sit is occupied by their family members. There are many of them, and it's a very Italian family. On the other side of the courtroom is the victim's family. They don't live in the city, but out in the 'burbs. They appear to be a very working-class family, also close-knit. What began as a spat or misunderstanding turned into a murder. The defendants assert self-defense. There are many civilian witnesses, in addition to the witnesses who were involved in the incident. The attorneys all have different styles, the jury is fascinating to watch, and the families are entities unto their own. I cannot pull myself away from this trial, which is why it's going to be impossible for me to finish my brief due Wednesday without eliminating sleep. I would love to give every sordid detail, but this is not the place to do so. Today, one witness was about to get up and describe how he saw the victim get shot and killed, and right as the prosecutor was doing his direct examination leading up to that part of the story, a guy walks into the courtroom with three little girls, dressed neatly and behaving nicely behind him, and what I presume to be their mother behind them with a stroller. There weren't enough seats left, so they retreated. But I was horrified. If I had to guess, I would say that they were related to the defendant's family, although I didn't see any flickers of recognition on anyone's faces. But to think that those three little angels dressed in their Sunday best were about to listen to that testimony? Sweet Lord. Truth really is stranger than fiction.