CHAPTER SEVEN: In the courtroom.
The DA calls Fred Banda to the stand. She asks him a few questions. He didn't know Ann that well, went out with Sharon a few times and says that the girls were only gone for a few minutes before they heard Ann shout and then scream as she went over the edge.
John says he has no questions for the witness. The DA smiles like she knows that she has just won the case. She has no further witness.
Johns turn. He calls Chad back to the stand. He questions him about why he thinks that Ann had turned cool towards Sharon. Chad hesitates and John points out that that was the second time he hesitated. He asks why. Chad finally says that before Jerry died Ann had a picture beside her bed of Sharon and herself. After Jerry’s death she threw it away. Chad says that Ann asked him how Jerry had felt about Sharon and said that he left a suicide note that said 'he loved her'. That was news to Sharon who was surprised. He asks again if Ann hated Sharon and blamed her. Chad says that it was possible. John also reveals that Paul probably got discharged from the navy because he got into a fight with three fellow navy people, one being an officer. He then asks about that night.
Chad says that it took less then a minute to get to the edge of the cliff after they heard Ann scream. Sharon was kneeling by the edge and calling Ann's name. Paul wanted to go over the side and wouldn't let Chad go in his place nor let anyone talk him out of it even though Chad didn't have all his rock climbing equipment and only had 100 feet of rope when it was 500 feet to the bottom.
John also tells the jury that Chad let him look around Ann's house a week after the accident and that he found a book about a girl who to get back at her boyfriend made it look like he killed her. He also mentions that Ann had started to learn how to rock climb from Chad a month or so before the accident happened. The DA didn't wish to re-question Chad.
John then calls Sergeant Rick Patterson of the police department to the stand. Rick works in the auto theft department and told the jury that they found a stolen car near the cliff where Ann went over. He was pretty certain it was stolen since the ID number on the engine was filed off. They also found the prints of both Ann and Paul on the vehicle. The court burst out in chatter at this new development. The DA once again doesn't want to question the witness.
Fred is called to the stand again. He shows and asks if Fred has ever seen a rock pin before. Fred says yes that he saw one the night Ann went over the cliff on the ground at the bottom. He said that he bent over but left it there. He didn't tell the Police right away but then thought that maybe it was important and was going to mention it when they got back to the cliff but it wasn't there any longer or he could have mistaken where he saw it. He didn't bother mentioning to them. He asked Paul later and Paul said that he didn't see it. Sharon was already arrested so he couldn't ask her. DA doesn't cross question again.
Paul is called back to the stand. Paul looked very reluctant to get back on the stand and everyone in the courtroom notices. John practically badgers him asking over and over what he did when he went over the side of the cliff to look for Ann. He finally asks him about the money and that maybe he thought it wouldn't go as far if they split it. Paul says he didn't kill Ann. He is asked why the Police couldn't find a body and how he killed Ann. Paul screams that he didn't kill her, that she wasn't where she was supposed to be. The courtroom burst out in chatter again. Paul says he wants a lawyer.
Hanovers final remarks told the jury to focus on who was with Ann when she went over the cliff and not to focus on the evidence that John brought to light. John has no final words and tells Sharon not to worry. The jury took 30 mins and came back with not guilty.
The DA is one cocky biotch isn't she, but maybe I am just biased against her because, well I know Sharon is innocent. I have to say that even though John is sort of skeezy he is pretty brilliant here. Also seriously Hanover the jury should over look the fact that there was a stolen car hidden close by, both ann and Pauls prints were on it and Paul insisted he go over the edge even though it was highly unlikely Ann was caught on a ledge? Plus a million other reasons, not to mention the fact that Paul basically admitted it was a set up! I mean come on!
No surprise here when the jury came back with a big fat NOT GUILTY!
Sharon is relieved. John says that if she ever gets into trouble again it will cost her but this time he would settle for lunch. (ewww). She goes to find her mom but Chad approaches her and says that Paul wants to talk to them. Paul tells them that all he did was help Ann and that he didn't kill her. She needed him to pull the pin and let the rope down. He hesitates and says that she should have been down by the time he found the pin. But he wasn't sure if the tension was the weight of her or just the rope. Chad freaks out and says what if she hit the side of the cliff and was unconscious. Paul hesitates again and says that when he was looking for firewood for Sharon he saw blood on the rocks below and washed it away because he didn't know what else to do. He didn't know if she was alive or not. Paul was also the one that took the rock pin that Fred had noticed. He didn't see any other sign of Ann though.
Sharon is determined to go back there to look around and she asks Chad to go with her. He says he hates that place but tells her to ask him again later. It occurs to Sharon that maybe Ann felt Paul begin to cut the rope and felt betrayed and maybe Paul was now in the place where Ann would want him just like she did Sharon. After all she never took the getaway car.
I think its safe to say here that Paul is really realizing how stupid it was for him to go along with this plan. Now he is screwed. Hey would he still get the money that Ann left him in her will if he is charged with her murder? I would think not but who knows. Not that he would have much use for it if he was in jail. I'm not even really sure if he would be charged with her murder. They can't prove that he did actually kill her, despite the fact that he is inheriting millions, but I'm sure he would get charged with something. He did help her, she is missing and he wasted a lot of people's time when he didn't come forward right away with information that she faked it and could be alive.
Ann realized what Paul was doing and it felt like he was having trouble with the pin. (thank god for her she is still 50 feet up!) She only had a few moments before she would be dumped on the rocks. She was still swinging out over the river and she realized that she needed to unhook herself from the first rope when she was over the river. Not an easy task especially with her shattered right arm.She manages to drop into the water and then manages with difficulty in getting back on land almost drowning in the process. Paul was successful (finally) in getting the pin out and she coiled the rope around her neck because she knew she couldn't leave it there. Then it was a long hike to the rope bridge. She was still losing blood and in a lot of pain but she did not want to give up. Her need for revenge was to strong. So off she went. She makes it to the bridge and is exhausted from lack of sleep and loss of blood. The task of going across the gorge is almost unfathomable to her but she is stubborn and proceeds to climb to the start of the bridge. She rests for a moment but then blacks out.