June 23, 2013
Before the trial even started I was asked not to be in the courtroom for the whole entire thing, as we weren’t sure how Ashley or Carrie would react. It wasn’t really known if she would behave when I took the stand, but that’s a risk everyone, including me, was willing to take. I didn’t think I wanted to be there, to tell you the truth. Hearing all of that from the beginning, was just way too much, even for me, to handle. None of the others from hospital were going to watch the trial either. They were going to come when it was their day to testify, and that was it.
The only one who pretty much sat through the whole trial was Rogue. After being in law enforcement for such a long time, things like that were still of great interest to her. She was with the feds for 15 years, but was apparently also a consultant to the CIA for another 20 at some point, years ago. She knows government secrets we can’t even imagine. But of course, you know her . . . our enigma . . . she’s not going to tell us anything. Not like we want to know the government’s secrets. We have our own to keep and live with.
But I digress. I, along with Esme, was going to attend Rogue’s testimony because we wanted to see how she handled it to better understand what we would have to do. This was all new territory for me. I had never participated in the human world that much. But thanks to Ms. Cunningham, none of us immortals had much of a choice. The trial had started on a Monday, and by Wednesday they were ready to start with the eyewitnesses. So that was the day Esme and I went to court because Rogue was up first. We had received our order of testifying: Rogue, then Agent Kramer, then Mr. Yang—who was allowed to give a videotaped deposition since he was still in the hospital and nobody, including the judge, wanted to jeopardize his health.
After Mr. Yang, it was Bill, Shandy, Carol, Melanie, and Betsy. Followed by the 4 nurses that Ashley poisoned, and then it would be my turn. After I was done, the DA was bringing the 3 residents that saw Charlotte being attacked by Ashley in the parking lot and who ultimately saved her life. And lastly, Charlotte herself. I had spoken with the DA; the defense had very few, if any, witnesses to bring forth—other than a slew of psychiatrists. In any case it was going to be interesting.
On Wednesday Rogue took the stand. Esme and I sat in the very back row behind the DA. Just before she took the stand, the bailiff asked everyone to rise.
“Would everyone please rise for the honorable Judge Justin Hollister.” Then the judge walked out of a little room and sat down in his chair before the court.
“Please be seated,” he said. Everyone sat down. “Will the prosecution please call its first witness.”
“The prosecution calls Rose Melanides to the stand,” The DA said.
Rogue walked into the courtroom looking sharp; she had a black suit on with a red business shirt underneath. Her long black hair was done up in a French braid and she had very minimal makeup. She was also wearing low healed black shoes. She looked like she worked as a top ranking manager at Morgan Stanley or something. The bailiff walked up to the stand which she was standing next to.
“Please raise your right hand.” Rogue complied. “Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God?”
“Yes, I do,” she said without hesitation. Afterwards she sat down on the witness stand. She had her now-famous poker face that betrayed zip emotion.
“Mrs. Melanides, can you please tell the court what you did and do for a living,” The DA who was standing not too far from her said.
“I worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington DC for 15 years, and since then have continued to be a contract consultant for them as well as other agencies both domestically and internationally.” Rogue spoke clearly.
“Thank you. Now would you please tell us how you came to know Ms. Cunningham, or Ashley as you knew her?”
“By accident, actually. I moved to Hanover with my husband and family fairly recently. We live about 3 miles from the Cullen property. We became friends with the family almost immediately and I was on my way to see Dr. Cullen and his wife when I caught Ms. Cunningham sneaking around on their property.”
“What do you mean caught sneaking around? Can you please be a bit more specific?” The DA asked.
“Certainly. The Cullen’s are very private people and have ‘No Trespassing’ signs all around their property. To have someone hiding in the bushes spying on the house isn’t exactly something that happens every day.”
“Could Ms. Cunningham been invited to visit the Cullen’s? Do you think it was a misunderstanding?”
“Absolutely not. Ms. Cunningham was stalking Dr. Cullen. He never invited her to his property. And even if he did, a normal person would walk to the front door, not hide behind the bushes in front of the house near the mailbox. Besides, Dr. Cullen was surprised to hear that she was there. He told me himself that he never invited her, and he was even surprised she knew where he lived, as no one from the Hospital had ever been to his house. Other than Mr. Connolly and his head nurse Mrs. Keller, nobody knew his address.”
“Can you please tell the court what happened after you found Ms. Cunningham in that location?”
“I asked her what she was doing here, to which she lied and said that quote, ‘I was waiting for Carlisle.’ For starters, according to Dr. Cullen, she had never called him by his first name before, and secondly, why would anyone wait for someone hidden in the bushes? When I called her out on it, she became nasty and belligerent.”
“Did she leave soon after?” The DA asked.
“It took a little convincing but she eventually left, yes.”
“You have worked with Agent Kramer prior to this, isn’t that correct?”
“Yes he was my partner during all my years with the FBI.”
“Whose idea was it to use Dr. Cullen as bait to lure out Ms. Cunningham in order to arrest her?”
“His; agent Kramer’s, that is.”
“Thank you; no further questions,” The DA said and, as he walked back to his seat, he acknowledged the defense and said, “Your witness.”
The defense attorney looked nothing like the crisp and polished DA. He was a man in his late 50s wearing an old graying suit and tie. He had horn-rimmed glasses. Because of the sheer amount of people in the courtroom, I couldn’t see Ashley properly. The one thing I could see was the top of her head and it was blond again. The defense attorney stood up, buttoned his suit jacket and stepped forward toward Rogue, who continued to sit on the witness stand and wait for the cross-examination. The poker face never betrayed an ounce of emotion; she was the consummate professional. The jury could see that. The jury itself was surprisingly diverse, given our small town. There were seven men and five women. Four of the jurors were African American, and one was Asian. It was obvious that a few were students at Dartmouth.
“Good morning Mrs. Melanides,” the defense attorney greeted.
“Good morning,” Rogue replied.
“Mrs. Melanides, isn’t it true that you attacked my client while she was on the Cullen property and you omitted it from your previous testimony to cover up your actions?”
“Absolutely not, on both counts. I answered the questions I was asked for starters.”
“You physically attacked my client, did you not?”
“I acted in self-defense. When I told your client to leave the property she hauled back and attempted to punch me in the face.”
“You verbally threatened my client with bodily harm if she didn’t leave and then you nearly broke her arm and pushed her to the ground and kicked her, isn’t that true?” His voice rose dramatically.
“Absolutely not, your client is lying.”
“Or perhaps it is you who is lying, Mrs. Melanides!”
“That all depends on how you look at it and who is on trial here,” Rogue replied, her eyes narrowing. Uh oh.
“You didn’t answer the question,” the defense retorted.
“Objection! Badgering the witness!” the DA hopped up and said.
“Sustained. Mr. Woods, stick with the questions. The witness is not on trial here,” Judge Hollister warned.
“No further questions, your honor,” Mr. Woods said, and returned to his desk where Ashley was sitting with a cocky smile on her face.
It was the first time Rogue had looked at her. But instead of getting a rise out of Rogue, she would be disappointed as the DA said, “Re-direct your honor.”
“Mrs. Melanides, apparently there has been some confusion with this fight according to Mr. Woods, would you please tell us exactly what happened?”
“Certainly. As I mentioned, when I asked repeatedly for Ms. Cunningham to leave the property, she hauled off to punch me in the face. Thanks to my extensive knowledge of martial arts, that didn’t happen as I caught her fist, brought her arm around to her back and then pushed her to the ground. I did not kick her or in any other way cause her bodily harm. She ran back to her car shortly after that. That was the end of our confrontation. The whole thing from the time I found her crouched in the bushes to when she ran to her car lasted a maximum of seven minutes.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Melanides. No further questions.”
“If there are no further questions from either parties, you may step down Mrs. Melanides,” The judge said. Rogue nodded and got off the witness stand.
She walked past the DA, with whom she shook hands and proceeded to walk toward where Esme and I were sitting. Ashley’s eyes followed her the whole time and they grew wide when she saw Esme and me getting up just as Rogue passed us and follow her out the door. Neither I nor Esme spared Ashley a glance, though I could feel her eyes boring a hole into the back of my head.
Next to take the stand was Agent Kramer, who was waiting outside of the courtroom to be called. Rogue approached him and he smiled.
“Nice job, Rose! I loved how you put the defense in his place. She actually had the balls to say you kicked her. Cry me a damn river!”
We all laughed.
“Thanks, Scott. You’re up next so do what you do best . . . play poker!” she said with a smile.
“Aye-Aye, boss!” he said with a salute. Just then a bailiff came to get him. “Showtime! I’ll give you a call once I’m done. Tell Alexander I said hello.”
“Will do. Good luck, and kick ass!” she said with a wink. He nodded and disappeared into the courtroom.
We then exited the courthouse altogether. Esme and I had come by car, and Rogue had apparently flown there. But we invited her to drive back with us. She agreed. I knew it was still a few days before it was my turn to testify. Rogue said that Agent Kramer would probably spend at least 2 days on the stand as he’s the lead investigator in this whole case. There’s a ton of paperwork and Ashley’s giant list of charges to go through and process. So according to Rogue, it won’t be until the following week before I get to go up there and tell my story. The whole family promised to be there, as did all of the Watchers. I have no idea where the heck they will fit everyone. But at least I get to enjoy a few more days before reliving that nightmare on the stand.
In the coming days, the others would testify about everything they knew, saw, and experienced. Because Ashley poisoned pretty much everyone accept Carol, Shandy, and Bill, there was a lot to talk about when it came to her favorite poison of choice; arsenic. As each testified and left the stand, they said it was like lifting a giant boulder off their shoulders. It took longer than a week to go through all of those people before me. The 4 poisoned nurses had just finished up their testimony, which was short compared to some of the others. I knew that the following day it was going to be me on that stand. Oh boy.
As Rogue had said previously; ShowTime!
To be continued . . .
Did you like that? Want more? Please LIKE Carlisle’s Diary on Facebook by clicking HERE