Feminism on Trial
On Trial: Part 3 — Ginny's Testimony
Technically, at that point, Ginny and her lawyers didn't have to mount a defense at all. It was strongly felt that the prosecution had failed to make a convincing case and that, as a credible witness, Jack Sidote was damaged goods. It was also felt that there was already enough "reasonable doubt" in the jury's mind for them to vote for acquittal. Ginny hoped that that would be the course they pursued and that she wouldn't have to testify after all. However, her attorneys felt otherwise. Even though absolved of murder, Ginny could still be tried on manslaughter charges. They had to go on with it.
The defense witnesses included a psychiatrist who specialized in drug- and alcohol-related cases and who told the court that alcoholics have a tendency to blame other people for their problems and this may have been the case with Jack. Also called to the stand was a retired physician who testified that he had played cards with Chayo for money shortly before the murder took place.
Ginny's former roommate, Clara Sparks, described for the court in detail the beating Jack had given to Ginny shortly before their breakup. She acknowledged seeing him choking her and threatening to kill her as he stormed out. Clara's boyfriend at the time, a former Air Force medic, also testified on the extent of Ginny's bruises and he said that he drove her to the airport for her flight back to New York. Ginny's sister Emilia and her mother also took the stand and vouched for the injuries they saw on Ginny when she returned.
Then it was Ginny's turn. The moment she had been dreading had arrived but she knew it would be her best opportunity to clear herself. Her testimony was punctuated by emotion and crying spells but she was determined to go through with it.
As Ginny began her testimony, with Reed gently prodding her, she went back in time to her meeting with Jack and the trip she took with him to Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, and finally California. It was a struggle to get her words out, as bad memories floated back to her. She described the beatings Jack gave her in such vivid detail that she often had to stop and cry. At least once the judge had to call a recess so she could recover and compose herself. For more than two hours that day and on into the next day, she recounted her experiences with Jack between 1965 and 1970. Reed did no more than gently probe and get Ginny to spill her guts. He asked her no tough questions and basically she didn't even have to refute Jack's testimony. Glass had already damaged Jack's credibility in the eyes of the jury.
Under cross-examination from Konrad, Ginny was repeatedly asked how she and Jack left New Orleans; did they drive or fly? She admitted she couldn't recall. How much money did Jack have? Ginny didn't know because he was the one who always handled the money. Konrad asked her questions about her love life; how many times was she married? How long did they last? Didn't she realize she was breaking up Jack's marriage? Didn't she sleep with Ray Foat while still married to Jack and while Ray was still married? She answered each question truthfully, even though they had no direct bearing on the murder she was being accused of. Never once did he ask whether or not she killed Moises Chayo.
Reed asked Ginny a few more questions on redirect, then rested the defense's case. Despite some speculation that the state would recall Jack to the stand, they rested also. The stage was set for closing arguments.