June 27, 2013
Looking back to my testimony, I thought that I handled myself pretty well all things considered. Ashley, though……well……not so much. To wig out to such an extreme where she had to literally be carried out of the court room was a spectacle to be seen for sure. After I testified and left the court room that day, I had in fact gotten a whole bottle of wine and went to sit with my family on the porch as we discussed what happened. I called Bill and Betsy and told them what happened. To say they were stunned would probably be the understatement of the month. But they too were glad that she went wacko on me instead of on Charlotte when she testified. At least poor Charlotte would get some form a reprieve without having to look Ashley in the eye.
Even though I said I wouldn’t be returning to the courtroom again until the closing arguments and so forth; all of us from the hospital went back to be there for Charlotte when she testified. Her parents had flown in for that part of the trial and her fiancé Ben was also there. She was very glad she had such a huge support system. Her testimony was so compelling and emotional that it brought several jurors to tears. Nothing the defense attorney said or asked could discredit her testimony. He gave up after about the 3rd question in. When Charlotte was dismissed from the witness stand, she walked with her head held high right out of the courtroom followed by pretty much everyone who had come to support her.
Finally, on a Thursday after both the state and defense had rested their cases; just as the DA, Mr. Allen, had predicted the defense only brought in doctors to show that Ashley was crazy but no actual family members or friends or colleagues; it was time for closing arguments. The defense went first. We were all there; Ashley wasn’t. She wouldn’t be allowed back in the courtroom until the verdict was read. And there was still the matter of jury deliberations. No one ever knew how long that would take; it could be anywhere from one hour to multiple days and even weeks sometimes. Considering there was a mountain of evidence to review, we had a feeling it would be a while before they would return. They were going to be as thorough as possible.
On the day of closing arguments, most of us piled into the courtroom to hear what both sides had to say. Rogue as mentioned previously, had sat throughout the whole entire trial. She was up to speed with everything both sides were doing. She also with her mind reading abilities was able to determine what the defense was going to say. She just shook her head and smiled. So as everyone sat down after the judge entered, he motioned to the defense to do his thing. Mr. Woods got up from his chair but continued to stay at his desk as he began to speak.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, good morning. Today we have here a life we are trying to say. I am not saying my client isn’t guilty because she is. She even admitted that she is on multiple different occasions but she is not mentally stable to be found guilty. Every crime she committed, she did because of the different chemical imbalances in her brain. The doctors we’ve brought before you had classified Ms. Cunningham as a paranoid schizophrenic with borderline personality disorder who also has a severe case of Munchausen by proxy or MBP. My client didn’t and doesn’t have enough mental stability to understand that her actions have consequences. She doesn’t understand that by harming someone, you’re doing something wrong. To her it seems right because that’s how her mind functions. Ms. Cunningham does not deserve to be put to death for something she was never diagnosed properly with nor had treatment for. Ms. Cunningham needs to be in a facility where she can receive the proper treatment for her multiple illnesses.”
At this point he was standing before the jury speaking passionately and waving his arms dramatically. He then walked over to his desk and took a sip of water before continuing.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please find it in your hearts to see that my client is a victim too. She isn’t the monster the prosecution wants you to believe; she’s just a very sick person. And a sick person cannot and should not be put to death; it is inhumane. Please find her not guilty by reason of insanity. Thank you.”
The defense having made his point, went and sat down as the judge turned toward the DA, who hesitated only slightly to look over any last minute notes and then stood up and walked up to where the jury was sitting and looked straight at them.
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We are gathered for a very important reason here and that is to remember who the real victims were. The defense will want you to believe that his client is a victim when in reality she is a criminal with a rap sheet a mile long. His client heartlessly and cold-bloodedly murdered 9 people grand total in two states. For what? Attention or because she could get away with it? The defense would also have you believe that all her multiple illnesses caused Ms. Cunningham to become violent and that she didn’t know what she was doing. Yet she traveled through multiple states with multiple aliases that she stole from unsuspecting people. The only thing Ms. Cunningham is….is….ironically cunning. Just like her last name suggests. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, there are millions of people in America today that suffer from similar psychiatric illnesses that go untreated for years but live as law abiding citizens. What makes Ms. Cunningham so special? Absolutely nothing.”
He paused briefly so that his words would sink in, and then continued.
“She poisoned people, she tried to kill people, and succeeded on several occasions, she stalked someone, and she brutally attacked another person. She has held people at gunpoint in order for them to give her recommendations so she could get jobs. That’s not normal but it doesn’t make her insane either. An insane person wouldn’t be so calculating, going from state to state. Ms. Cunningham only became ‘insane’ when it came to something she didn’t like to hear like Dr. Cullen’s testimony or when things went on in the hospital as you heard from previous people’s testimonies. Have America’s worst serial killers been classified as insane? Look at Ted Bundy, Aileen Wuornos, Gary Ridgeway, and Jeffrey Dahmer! What makes them any different from Ms. Cunningham. Ms. Cunningham killed more people than Aileen Wuornos, who was executed in Florida. There is absolutely nothing mentally wrong with Ms. Cunningham except a really bad acting job. Think of the victims like Dr. Cullen and his family, the nurses and staff at the hospital, the patients who she killed or who survived but will never be the same again, like Charlotte Clark who lost more than half of her blood volume after being stabbed repeatedly by Ms. Cunningham. Think about that when you are sitting in deliberation. This woman said……no screamed it herself that she will kill as many people as she needs to; not even wants to but needs to. Ladies and gentlemen, please help these victims and their families find closure and find Ms. Cunningham guilty on all counts especially capital murder. Thank you.”
With that, the jury filed out of the court. It was a very intense morning. The proceedings lasted 2 hours and it was only noon when we all made our way out of the court house. It was now up to the jury. We had done every single thing we could. Now all anyone could do was hope and pray. My family and the Watchers dispersed to our respective homes. I needed to hunt so when I mentioned that, I realized my whole family needed to go so we all went while Nessie stayed with the wolves. No one said a word as we picked off lions, bears, deer, and any other juicy animal that crossed our path.
There wasn’t anything to say. We all just prayed that the jury would see the light and convict her. Of course then we would have to go through the sentencing phase which was up to judge to decide whether that would be on the same day as the verdict or on a different day. It was also mean that those of us who want, can give victim impact statements. I know Charlotte and Ben both will as will Betsy, Melanie, and the 4 other nurses she poisoned. Mr. Yang still being in the hospital is sending his daughter to do it for him. I met her; she’s a sweet girl who was just accepted into Harvard Law School. She and Rogue had a lot to talk about on the subject. She wants to go into medical malpractice and that’s really no surprise all things considered.
After thinking about it very carefully and consulting with my family and Rogue who was sort of our in house counsel if you will, I decided that I would give one too. After all the havoc Ashley created in my life and the lives of my family, she deserved for me to give her a piece of my mind!
Just two days after deciding this, we got the call; jury was back with a verdict! It took them 3.5 days to decide on Ashley’s fate. So Friday as it were, we were all gathered in the courtroom, pretty much squished in because of family and relatives of victims. Rogue and Agent Kramer were sitting directly behind the DA in case Ashley would try something again. She was actually in court that day. She was wearing a lighter blue floral dress, with beige flats and a beige shawl over her shoulders. She had a dark blue brooch in her hair. You’d think she was some southern belle waiting to be called for tea or something (pictures of the courtroom and Ashley’s clothes are below).
After the judge called order, we watched as the jury filed in. Then once they all sat down, the judge looked at the foreman of the jury and said:
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict?”
“We have your honor.” The foreman said.
“Bailiff please bring me the paper.” The bailiff did and the judge looked over it, frowned and nodded. He then returned the paper to the bailiff to return to the foreman.
“Mr. Foreman, will you please read out the verdict for the court.”
We all held our breath as the foreman put his glasses on, took the paper and took a deep breath.
“We the jury find the defendant Ms. Carrie Cunningham………”
To be continued………
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