Thanks To You!
It was the day of the trial and I didn’t get any sleep at all last night. Jack came into the station beforehand to give me a change of clothes. I could change in the interview room before Jack and I were driven to the court house to face a decision.
The car ride was quiet, no radio, just the sounds of the police officer who was breathing heavily. Jack and I kept exchanging looks throughout the drive, slightly smiling to each other and it was keeping me calm, knowing he was going to be with me during the trial.
As we came to a stop at the front of the court house, a bunch of reporters swarmed the car and the flashes of cameras and loud voices startled me.
‘Don’t speak.’ Jack said softly.
The door to the car opened, projecting the voices louder into my head. I got out the car and two police officers guided me into the court house. I kept my head down until I was seated in a chair on one side of the room.
As I looked up, Jack was sitting himself down next to me. I looked around the room to see Zack and Rian sitting in the back, Vic sitting on the other side of the room with his lawyer and his friends sitting behind him.
‘I’m glad mum decided to stay home. Keep Melody away from all this.’ I spoke softly as I looked to the doors.
Jack just patted my back before he started writing notes down. I faced the front, towards the chair where the judge will be sitting.
Just as I looked away, a guard walked out and asked us to stand as the judge walked into the room. Once he was seated, we all took a seat and the hearing began. The jury then walked out into the room and took a seat along the side.
‘Today we are here to talk about case number 780 – The accused Alexander Gaskarth and the victim Victor Fuentes. We will hear from both sides before the jury makes a verdict. The day was A Wednesday, 12 July 2017, when Mr Fuentes was shot in the stomach with a pistol. The suspect Alexander Gaskarth was the only one who had DNA on the gun other than Mr Fuentes himself. The only witness out of this ordeal was Mr Jack Barakat. I’d like to hear from Mr Fuentes first.’ The judge said.
Vic got up slowly before walking to another seat in the room. He took a while to finally sit down, and he did it with a grunt. I couldn’t imagine the pain he was going through.
Vic’s lawyer got up and walked over to him.
‘Mr Fuentes, can you tell me what happened?’ He asked.
‘I was awaiting my boyfriend to come home after we had a fight, things had got pretty heated and he left to cool down. I was sitting on the couch when Alex barged in. He asked me to leave my own house. I told him no, when he jumped at me. The next thing I remember is looking down to my stomach and seeing blood.’ Vic replied.
‘And did you see Mr Gaskarth with the gun when he walked in?’
‘No, I was unaware of the gun.’
‘Were there any indications that he was going to shoot you?’
‘No sir, it just happened when I fought with him.’
‘No further questions at this time.’ The lawyer said before walking away. Jack got himself up, buttoning his jacket up as he walked towards Vic who was smiling evilly.
‘Mr Fuentes, my client has informed me that you pulled out the gun when he asked you to leave. When we arrived at my house, there was no sign of a gun anywhere.’
‘Objection.’ Vic’s lawyer said.
‘Granted’ The judge replied. ‘Mr Barakat, this is going into recess and you will need resign as Mr Gaskarth’s lawyer as it goes against protocol as you are a witness in this case.’
Jack nodded his head before he returned to his seat. I looked at him and he smiled to me, as if he wasn’t worried at all.
‘Zack.’ Jack said as he looked back. Zack got up and walked down towards us with a big grin on his face.
‘Okay, so if you follow these questions, quickly go over this information and go with your gut feeling, you’ll do great. I believe in you.’ Jack said before he stood up and walked behind the dividing wall.
Zack took a seat and smiled to me.
‘Don’t worry, I’ve been looking at the case file because Jack and I were both worried that this was going to happen.’ Zack said.
‘I believe in you too.’ I replied before the Judge came back into the court room.
Zack and I stood up in a rush, before Zack walked over to the judge to inform him that he was my new lawyer and that he didn’t really know me that well. I guess it was a little white lie.
‘Okay, let’s commence. Mr Fuentes, can you please get back into the chair please.’ The judge asked. Vic rolled his eyes before doing the same procedure as before.
Once seated, Zack walked up to him, with some papers in his hand before he began talking.
‘Mr Fuentes, I am going to ask you the same question as before. Mr Gaskarth did not have a gun with him on arrival to the premises. He has informed me that when he entered the house, in request to Mr Barakat, you pulled a gun out on Mr Gaskarth after he said that Mr Barakat called the police. Can you explain to me why you pulled the gun out and why you had one in the first place?’ Zack questioned.
‘I didn’t have the gun, it wasn’t mine and I didn’t pull it out. He brought it in with him.’ Vic argued.
‘Okay, so why were you sitting on the couch, awaiting Mr Barakat to return home?’
‘Because, things got heated, and I wanted to apologize.’
‘But, why would you just wait on the couch for him, why not call him or text him?’
‘I did, he didn’t answer.’
‘Phone records show that you did not do this at all.’ Zack said before he took them to the judge. The judge looked over them.
‘This information here is irrelevant. Next question.’ The judge said.
‘No further questions.’ Zack said as he walked back over to me.
‘I’d like to hear from the witness, Mr Jack Barakat.’ The judge said.
I watched as Jack walked down the middle of the room and as he walked past Vic, they bumped shoulders and Vic winced in pain. All of Vic’s friends jumped to their feet and started yelling abuse at Jack. The judge told them to be quiet or they would be kicked out. Jack took a seat calmly before he looked to the judge.
‘The defendant can begin.’
‘So, Mr Barakat, Mr Fuentes tells me that you are dating?’ He asked.
‘Was dating. I broke up with him the day of the shooting.’ Jack answered.
‘Mr Fuentes is under the impression that you are still together.’
‘If I was still with him, I would be his lawyer and would have seen him in hospital, but I broke up with him.’
‘And why did you ‘break’ up with him?’
‘Because he has been abusive in the past and see these bruises on my face, they are from him. You can check his fists for evidence.’
The guards walked to Vic and requested to see his fists, Vic refused before they were forcefully removed out and there were bruises on his knuckles.
‘Mr Fuentes isn’t the nicest guy around, Vic has had a drinking problem for a while now and he has anger issues. I foolishly believed that he was better when he returned from rehab but only to be hurt once again. The day he ‘shot himself’, I was with Alex, he was helping me stop the bleeding. Alex offered to take me back to mine so I could shower and rest up. When we returned, Vic’s car was still there. I was afraid to go in, and Alex said he would for me. I called the police and while I was talking to them, I heard a gunshot. I ran inside to see Vic on the floor bleeding and Alex trying to stop it. I know Alex wouldn’t have done this because I would have seen him pick up a gun while I was with him.’ Jack said.
‘So you didn’t see the shooting at all?’ He was asked.
‘No.’ He replied.
‘No further questions.’ Vic’s lawyer said before sitting back down.
Zack got up and walked towards Jack.
‘Mr Barakat, when you say you heard a gunshot, were you under the assumption that Mr Gaskarth was the one being shot?’
‘Of course. Alex wouldn’t hurt a fly and plus, I think if you shoot someone, you don’t try to save them, by putting your own hands on their blood.’
‘And did you know that Mr Fuentes had a gun while you were dating.’ Zack questioned.
‘I didn’t know that Vic had one, but I knew Jaime, Vic’s best friend had one.’
‘Do you think that maybe Jaime gave Mr Fuentes the gun to use?’
‘Yes.’ Jack answered.
‘No further questions.’ Zack said as he returned to me.
‘I think we are getting somewhere.’ Zack whispered to me. Jack got off the stand and walked back to his seat.
The judge called upon me, which made my skin crawl. I stood up and walked to the stand before sitting down. I was afraid of the questions I was going to be asked. All I knew that I had to do was answer honestly.
‘Mr Gaskarth, you are accused of shooting Mr Fuentes with a firearm, which has your DNA on it. How do you explain this?’
‘When I entered the premises, my objective was to get Vic out of the house, and that’s what I was trying to do. When I told him, that Jack had called the police, Vic pulled out a gun. He slammed it on the table, yelling that Jack needs to pay.’ I replied.
‘Needs to pay?’
‘I don’t really know what that meant really, but I know that Jack was the victim in all this. He would always come over, either crying or in blood because of what Vic used to do to him.’
‘What makes you so special to Mr Barakat?’
‘He is my best friend. We dated way back in high school but broke up about year into it.’
‘Mr Barakat aside, Mr Fuentes was found shot on the ground and your DNA was on the gun. You had his blood over your hands and clothes. What made you shot him?’
‘I didn’t shoot him, Vic picked up the gun after yelling that he had done enough talking, I was worried for my safety and for Jack’s because the gun was not meant for me, nor Vic but for Jack. Vic wanted Jack to pay for some stupid reason. I fought with Vic until I heard the gun clock. A big bang surrounded the room. I pushed myself off Vic to see where I was bleeding when suddenly, I looked to Vic, who was smiling to me as he held his hands to his wound.’
‘Then how do you explain the DNA on the gun?’
‘I moved it so I couldn’t get shot.’
‘You moved the gun?’
‘Vic planned this, he said to me, if I can’t have him, you can’t either. Which has resulted in this.’ I said.
‘No further questions.’
‘Mr Merrick?’ The judge asked.
Zack shook his head and I was moved back to my seat. I stood next to Zack as we looked to the judge.
‘Mr Gaskarth, how do you plead?’
‘Not guilt.’ I replied as I looked to the judge.
‘The jury will go off and decide on your fate.’ The judge said.
I sat back down before running my hands through my hands. The effort being put into this was amazing. I am so tired and all I want is to cuddle with my baby girl and watch some movies. That’s all I really want.
The wait became so nerve-racking that I started to bite my fingernails off. The jury walked back into the room which made us stand up. One walked over to the judge with a piece of paper and handed it to him. The room was quiet, as everyone waiting upon the answer.
‘Mr Gaskarth, you are found guilt for shooting Mr Fuentes with a pistol on the Wednesday of the 12th July 2017. The evidence with was filed against you is yet not been proven. The ruling is that you get 4 years until you can apply for an appeal.’
I looked back to Jack and saw how devastated he was. I took a deep breath in before I was escorted to the back of the court room where I will be taken out the back door and to prison.