Tell it to the Judge

Katy Howards is convicted of murder. But not murder of some innocent bystander on the street, no, she is being tried for murder of her own sister. Katy knows she didn't do it, and she even got the best lawyer in town to ensure she wins this case. But Katy has vowed not to speak a word unless she's in the courtroom, because if you've got something to say, tell it to the judge.

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1. Tell it to the Judge

"I would like to call my first witness to the stand."

Katy fiddled with her hands in her lap. Her hair fell onto her shoulders. It was all knotted, and it annoyed her every moment. It was messy, it had turned like that during her time in the holding cell. Katy had suggested that she comb it, or at least put it up, but Jaime insisted that she wear it down, knotted and all. She wasn't sure why he wanted that, but he was the expert, so she did not argue.

She bit her lip, ensuring her silence. She would not speak unless addressed to. She had a horrible habit of speaking her mind, and right now, at this moment in time, that would only do more damage than she was already in. Katy would stick to the script, and speak only the facts.

"Amelia Thomas, please take the stand." The judge announced. He had a roundish face, and his eyes were quite beady in Katy's opinion. He stared down nearly everyone, as if to read their backgrounds. Katy hoped he would discover the truth about her, it would end this case much quicker.

"Where were you on the night of February the fifth?" It was Jaime's witness, so Katy could relax in her seat for a little while. Mr. Jaime Bennett was the top rated lawyer in the county. He was also one of the most attractive men Katy had seen. He had chocolate brown hair that he did not style for court cases, as most lawyers did. He said it made him seem more likeable, when he more down to Earth, and easier to relate to. This was his same excuse for wearing jeans to court.  Besides that, his blue eyes pierced into everyone he talked to, drawing their attention instantly. Not to mention, he obviously worked out... Katy still wasn't sure how she had gotten him to agree to defend her, but there he was, interrogating Amelia Thomas, Katy's best friend.

"I was sitting at home." Amelia answered flatly.

Jaime nodded and turned on his heel towards the jury. "Alone?" He spoke to them now, rather than turning his attention to Amelia. Smart, he had gone over what Amelia was to say. The truth and only the truth of course, but truth that would give the jury no reason to convict Katy. The "fine line" truth, Jaime called it.

"No," Amelia responded, she shifted and Katy mentally cursed her. Shifting was a sign of nervousness, nervousness being a sign of guilt. "I was with Katy." She pointed a manicured fingernail to where her friend sat. Katy remained still; she would not lose her composure. "We were decorating for my boyfriend's birthday party."

Jaime nodded. "And what about Emma?" Katy almost broke down at the sound of her dead sister's name. That was why she was in this courtroom. She was being convicted of killing her only sister. Emma was younger than Katy, twenty-one, and had just moved in with her. Emma's clothes had been Katy's on the night of her murder, and the weapon had Katy's DNA on it, so all the evidence, in the police's mind, led to Katy. She could explain the clothes, she had let Emma borrow them, but the weapon was still a mystery to her. All she knew was that she had not been home that night, so she was not guilty.

Amelia exhaled. "She was at Katy's house getting ready."

"How do you know that?" Jaime turned to face her again.

"She called us. She said she was getting ready to leave. She just needed to find her keys." Amelia's voice was steady. Good, Katy thought. Keep it calm.

"Did she ever show up?"

"No." Amelia sighed. "I went out to check the house, and she was on the ground. With a knife in her stomach." Her voice cracked slightly at that, and she looked down. "Sorry." She mumbled, taking a moment to wipe her eyes.

A collective gasp from the courtroom paused Jaime's questioning, but as soon as it had died down, he continued. "Thank you, Amelia." He faced the prosecution. "Cross interrogation?" He asked, but the lawyer shook his head. Jaime nodded. "I would like to call my next and final witness to the stand."

The judge glared at Jaime for a moment. "Proceed."

"Katy Howards, please take the stand." Jaime gestured to stand and come behind the podium.

Katy moved slowly, almost in a trance.

"Where were you on February fifth?" Jaime spoke soothingly to Katy, in an attempt to play her off as frightened. Katy widened her eyes, trying to make herself look traumatized, some of it, she was sad to admit, was not a game, she truly was fearful for her performance in her interrogation.

"I was at Amelia's house." Her voice was strange to her, she hadn't used it since Emma's death.

"Mmm." Jaime paced the floor. "Where was your sister?"

"At my house." Her eyes flickered to everyone in the courtroom. To Amelia, the jury, Jaime.

"When did you discover she was dead?" Jaime's eyes were huge warning signals. He was almost telling her not to be so scared. To calm down. Katy nodded in response to his silent request.

"When I rushed back to my house. After Amelia had called me."

"When did Amelia call you?" Jaime stopped, this time in front of the judge.

Katy paused, thinking. "5:30, it was."

"When did Amelia leave to check on Emma?"

Again, Katy paused. "4:00." She responded, almost in slow motion. "She left.. at 4:00." The pieces in her head began to fit together.

Jaime smiled. He walked to his table, and pulled out a piece of paper. The police report.

"It says here, that by investigation and other means of information, Emma was killed at 5:00pm." Jaime read from the form, and when he was completed, he folded it and placed it back on the table.

Katy sat in utter shock. "That means.." She began, it all made sense now.

"I killed her. I killed Emma."

All eyes navigated to the voice. There in the front bench, stood Amelia, her fists clenched.

Another collective gasp turned into an uproar in the courtroom.

"Order." The judge banged his gavel. "ORDER!" He yelled when the noise did not cease. "What does your client plead, Mr. Bennett?"

Jaime smiled. "Not guilty."

"Thank you. Dismissed." The judge flicked his hand.

The rest of the trial seemed to be a blur to Katy. She sat in her chair, as the prosecution called their witnesses to the stand, when the jury went into their room to discuss, and when they reemerged.

"We find the defendant," The jury counted the votes. "Not guilty."

Katy had no reaction. Not even when the judge pounded his gavel on the hard wood and adjourned the court. Not even when Amelia was taken away in handcuffs. And not when Jaime Bennett, her lawyer, left without another word to her. Not even a congratulations. She was left sitting in the empty courtroom, thinking about what had just happened. She sat there for a while, just thinking.

She never saw Amelia again, though her imprisonment was on the news. She never saw Jaime again either, though they had had what some might call a "fling" while the case was ongoing. She moved away. To push out her feelings.

But if there was one thing she learned in the case of the death of Emma Howards, it was that:

If you have something to say, tell it to the judge.

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