Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 11, Episode 12 - Law & Order - full transcript

The murder of a man delivering Chinese food is linked to three bored teens who couldn't afford to pay.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -
In the criminal justice system

the people are represented by two
separate yet equally important groups,

the police
who investigate crime

and the district attorneys
who prosecute the offenders.

These are their stories.

You talk to Mr. M
about the fridge?

He says we can take it
when we're through today.

Freddie's cousin's coming
with his truck later.

What about the AC?

It's staying.

Yeah, that figures.

Yeah, it probably
doesn't work anyway.

Oh, my God. Eddie!

Asian male, late 40s.

Multiple blows
to the face and head.

Multiple blows? The back
of his head's crushed in.

How long's he been dead?

Rough guess, since last
night, but it's hard to tell.

It rained yesterday.

Body's been
sitting in a puddle.

Any ID?

Just 30, 40 bucks cash.
Small change.

And two soggy
restaurant receipts.

Writing's smudged
from the water.

Let me see. Looks like Chinese.
Maybe that's his bike.

Who lives here?

It's vacant.

Guys that discovered
him were the painters.

And he was found covered
like this with the blanket?

Same blanket fibers
were on the door frame,

and there's some blood spatter.

He was done here.

All right, round up the super or the handyman,
whatever, and close all of this off.

Now, why would a guy make a
delivery to an empty apartment?

Maybe he got
dragged down there.

Or pushed down.

I want you to check with all
the local Chinese take-outs.

See if we can find out
who this guy was.

ED: Hey, Lennie.

He must've been locking up and got
jumped before he could finish.

Well, he's finished now.

We were married over 20 years.

Owned the restaurant almost 10.

I'm very sorry,
Mrs. Ngai.

We'll try and keep this short.

Thank you.

We do have a few questions,
if you don't mind.

You didn't report your
husband missing last night?

I thought he was sleeping here.

Has he done that before?

Many times.

On Saturday, we open early.

I don't like him to drive
home so late by himself.

By himself.
So you'd left already?

We were slow.
It was raining.

My husband sent me home.

What time was that?


Who else was here after that?

Oh, Jenny, my niece.

She takes the orders.
Works the register.

When you left, was that the last
time you spoke to your husband?

He called about 11:00
to make sure I got home okay.

Why didn't he go with you?

My husband worked 15 hours
a day, seven days a week.

Tommy never liked to close.

Thanks, Mrs. Ngai.

My uncle sent me
home around 11:30.

This probably
came in after I left.

Uncle Tommy must have
taken the orders himself.

Well, what about some other
record of the addresses?

I always write them down on the
ticket and on the receipt.

But there's nothing here.

Unis canvassed the building and
the two buildings adjacent.

Two people ordered Chinese, but
from different restaurants.

Both of 'em got their food.

So where was he going?

Well, we think it's a little
coincidental that the vic gets killed

below street level in front of an
apartment that nobody lives in.

Well, if that's true, the perp had
to know the apartment was vacant.

And had access to a phone.

Which doesn't mean he
actually lives in that area.

Now, preliminary forensics on the blanket
looks like the contents of a sewer.

A homeless guy.

Well, the area in front of that door
might have made a nice little shelter.

All right, pull the IUDs
from any payphones nearby,

and let's talk to
the tenants again.

See if anyone saw someone
hanging out last night.

Last night, no.

But there's a guy who sleeps
down there sometimes.

I see him every once in a while
on my way to work in the morning.

How long has that been?

Off and on, I'd say
a couple of months.

Did you get a good look at him?

(SCOFFS) I never look.

I mean, who wants
to make eye contact?

But I hear the tenant that used to
live there had trouble with him.

You know this tenant?

No. Young kid.

Nice enough. Quiet.
Lived with his girlfriend.

Any idea where they moved to?

I'm sure the landlord
can tell you.


Doorman makes all the
difference, you know.

I couldn't even
get packages before.

Had to go to the post office.

What about this homeless guy?

Late 50s, I think.
White guy.

We'd open the door to go to
work and he'd just be there.

ED: So you moved out?

We called the police
a couple of times.

They even got him
to leave once.

But a few days later he came
back, and he was pissed.

He threatened you?
Just yelled a lot

and went on about how he
had fought for my freedom,

and now I don't even let
him sleep in my doorway.

EMILY: It sort of
freaked me out.

We started looking for
another place right away.

Sounds like we lucked out, huh?

We took 42 smudges. Twelve
usable prints off the frame,

22 off the door, three
show up with sheets.


We got a witness who says our guy
might have been in the armed forces.

Yeah, so I ran the prints through
the defense department's database.

Your witness was right.

"Marvin Warner, Sergeant.

"Honorably discharged, May

Two misdemeanor
loitering charges.

Sounds like our guy.


We're gonna need the photo
from his last arrest.

I'll get you a printout.

Okay. Okay,
thank you.

Lennie, that was Mrs. Ngai.

She said somebody called the restaurant
on Friday about an order placed.

He never got his food, and he wanted to
make sure the girl that took the order

didn't charge his credit card.


ED: You told me
you left at 11:30.

I did.
This man's wrong.

He said you took his
credit card number.

Which means we're gonna get a validation
from the credit card company and the time.

So, if there's something you
know, you should tell us.

I'm sorry. It's my fault
Uncle Tommy got killed.

Uh, what do you mean?

I'm supposed to take
call-back numbers

to make sure that
the orders are real.

But it was late.
I forgot.

How could you have known?

You told me that you write the
addresses down on the tickets.

I put them in my coat pocket.

I'm so sorry.

"631 East 12th. 110 East 2nd
Street, basement apartment."

So whoever called in the order
definitely knew about the apartment.

Which doesn't eliminate
the homeless guy.

Yeah, but we got zip on the
IUDs from the payphones,

and the addresses from
his priors are bogus.

So what are we doing
to find this guy?

We got unis checking the parks
and the shelters in the area.

And his arrest photo's
circulating the neighborhood.

Well, he's a veteran, right?

How about we check
the VA hospital?

ED: I'll check their
outpatient lists.


New York City police, ma'am.

Is there a Marvin
Warner living here?


Marvin's my brother
but he doesn't live here.

(SIGHS) Is he in
some sort of trouble?

Well, we think he just
might be able to help us

with an investigation
we're conducting.

An investigation about what?

We just need to ask him
some questions, ma'am.

I don't know where he is.
Nobody's looking to hurt him.

Yeah, well, how do I know that?


My brother has had
a difficult life.

Ma'am, I was in
the service, too.

I know the transition
back can be very hard.

But please, let us talk to him
before he really does get hurt.

If he's in the city,

he likes to panhandle at a
bodega on 9th and Avenue A.

When our mother died a year
ago, that's where I found him.

Guy works 15 hours a day, winds
up in a puddle in the rain.

Hmm. He left his
mark, though.

Three kids. Business that
supports two families.

Hey, check it out. Here
comes Sergeant Slaughter.


Marvin Warner?

They must be from
the prize patrol.

Ed, tell him what he's won.

You've just won a fabulous
time-share upstate.

Come on.

I didn't rob anyone
and I didn't kill anyone.

BRISCOE: Well, we got
a witness who says

you're a pretty
belligerent guy, Marvin.

What witness?

The tenant who used to live
in the basement apartment.

Oh, the dot-com kid?
Piece of crap.

Him and the girl.

How does it hurt them, me trying
to stay out of the weather?

There's shelters for that.

I'm not an animal.

I served my country.
I deserve better than that.

Yeah? And what
about Mr. Ngai?

Didn't he deserve better?

I told you, I don't know
what you're talking about.

Your blanket was wrapped
around his head.

You must've been pretty hungry
to trade a nice warm blanket

for some cold Chinese food.

You want to know
about my blanket?

Well, how about you
just ask those kids?

ED: What kids?

The kids that kicked
me off of the landing.

I was hanging out there,
same as usual,

and these punks come by.

How many?

Four or five.

Just tell me to take a walk.

I put up a pretty
good fight, too.

Only it was four against one.

They wouldn't even
let me keep my blanket.

What time was this?

Well, I don't know,
but it was still raining.

What'd these kids look like?

Kids. Just, you know,
regular kids.

It was a girl and four guys.
Yeah, teenagers.

Had you seen them there before?


But the little bitch they had with
'em, she had a key to the place.

So we're buying Warner's story?

We got a lady on the first floor thought
she heard some arguing earlier that night.

Which makes Warner's
timing right.

What do we have on these kids?

BRISCOE: Just a neighbor
from the canvass.

Says he saw a bunch of kids
getting into a blue car

while he was walking his dog.

No make, no plates. That
was around 12:30 a.m.

What is this, a thrill killing?

ED: Well, it doesn't
look like an accident.

Well, how did they know
about the apartment?

How did they get a key?

Look, I haven't been down
here since Friday morning.

I'm supposed to have the place
painted Saturday, and then this.

I can promise you, none of this
stuff was here Friday morning.

Hwa Ying restaurant.

Who else has keys?

Landlord, me, and I gave
a key to the tile guy.

ED: Tile guy?

Yeah, we're trying
to raise the rent.

And when was he here?

Friday afternoon.

I gave him the key and told him
to lock up when he was done.

ED: Did he return it?

Yeah, it was in
my box Friday night.

It's the one
I gave the painters.

Who is this tile guy?

I got his card in my office.

Meantime, nobody comes
in or out of here.

I left at 7:00.

Anyone confirm that?

My wife.
I was home by 8:00.

You give the key to anybody?

No. I put it
in the box.

Kid came by, though,
just as I was leaving.

Yeah? What did he want?

Looking for someone. Think he said
Mitch, Mike, something like that.

Said he was a friend of the
guy who used to live there.

We haven't been back to the apartment
since the end of the month.

So you don't know anything about
this kid that came by Friday evening

saying he knew you?
Absolutely not.

What about Mitch or Mike?

You know anybody
by those names?


You sure he said Mitch?

ED: Who is Mitch?
Heather's boyfriend?

You want to fill us in here?

Well, the weekend we were
supposed to move out,

this place wasn't ready yet,
so we went to a hotel.

I had everything packed.

I told my sister she can use
the apartment for the weekend.

With her boyfriend.

Mitch. KEVIN: I gave
Heather the key.

Told her to leave it with the
super after the movers were done.

Maybe that was a mistake.

She's going to
college next year.

I think she's capable
of handing in a set of keys.

Let's talk about it later, okay?
Honey, please.

I did give the keys back I
left them in the super's box.

He never got them.
Well, then I don't know.

Hey, somebody stopped by that
apartment on Friday night

saying he was
looking for Mitch.


So you're saying somebody looking for
your boyfriend was just a coincidence?

You two didn't kind of like extend
your stay, did you, Heather?

Where were you Friday night?

Some clubs in the city.
With Mitch?

Chris Donnels, some others.

All right, we're gonna need
their names and addresses.

My mother and father knew where I was
the whole night You can ask them.

I paged her around 11:00.
She called me right back.

We gave her her own cell phone
so we could keep track of her.

Just because she called doesn't mean
she wasn't getting into trouble.

She was home by 2:00. I was up.
I saw her come in.

ED: What about between
11:30 and 12:30?


ED: We have witnesses
that may have seen Heather

at your son's old apartment
on Friday night.

MRS. RUSSO: Kevin's apartment?


MR. RUSSO: May have
seen her do what?

Why should you be at
Kevin's old apartment?

May have seen her do what?

We're trying to sort that out.

Somebody also came by
looking for Mitch.

Mitch Regan?

If they were looking
for Mitch Regan,

maybe you should be talking
to him and not our daughter.

Look, Mitch is working right now
at the store with his father.

Can't this wait? Well,
when do you expect him?

I still don't understand why
you want to talk to him.

I mean, was he in an
accident or something?

We just want to
look in the car, ma'am.

We can call in a warrant, but then
we're going to have to take the car.

Oh, no, no, no.
Don't take the car.

Do you know where your son was
Friday night, Mrs. Regan?

Please, what is this about?

Look, he's a good kid.

I mean, if you're looking for drugs or
something, you're not gonna find it.

What is it?
What did you find?

Looks like a snow pea.

I was at a club. I didn't go
anywhere near that apartment.

Then why'd this kid come
looking for you there?

I don't know.

Hey, look, maybe the last couple of
weekends I was there with Heather.

Chris probably just
got the night wrong.


You mean Chris Donnels?

How'd you know we were
talking about him?

You remember the homeless guy?

I don't know.

BRISCOE: Oh, sure you do.

We got a witness who said
you and your little buddies

roughed him up that night, too.

Maybe you remember his blanket.

I don't know anything
about this.

That ain't gonna
fly no more, Mitch.

We found Chinese food
in your Mustang, Mitch.

The lab is working on every article
of clothing you own right now.

We're gonna check out
every phone call you made.

You think we're not gonna
find out what happened?

And when we do, who do you
think's gonna do the time?

Huh? Heather?

Look, it wasn't me, okay?

I wasn't the one that hit him.

Then who did?

We didn't have enough money
to pay for the food.

ED: Who's "we"?

Me, Heather,

Peter Franco, Chris
Donnels and Nick Simms.

Look, the Chinese guy
got upset.

There was some shoving.

Pete hit him.

Peter Franco.

I told him to stop,
but it was too late.

But he didn't mean
to kill the guy.

What about the blanket?

I put it over him
afterwards, out of respect.

Look, I swear, that's all I did.
I wasn't involved.

This kid was more
than just there.

Lied through his teeth until he
found out you had the goods on him.

I think we got our doer.

The kid played too many angles
before he finally came clean.

Even then, he had the presence
of mind to blame someone else.

Hey, what are friends for?

Charge him with murder.

A person doesn't lose the back of his
skull unless his killer intends him to.

BRISCOE: What about
the girlfriend?

IUDs from her cell phone.

11:40 call to restaurant.

Which means we can place
them all at the scene.

Pick 'em up. We'll see
how it shakes out.

Is your daughter here?

She's eating dinner.

We have a warrant
for her arrest.

What the hell's going on?

Heather Russo, you're
under arrest for murder.

She's not going
anywhere with you.

Don't make this any
harder than it has to be.

Bob, don't, please.

On your feet, Heather.

I'm sorry.

You have the right
to remain silent.

Anything you do say,
can and will be used

against you in a court of law.

"Docket ending 316 of 2,000."

"People against Peter Franco,
Chris Donnels, Nick Simms,"

"Heather Russo
and Mitch Regan."

I'll hear you as to the
facts, Ms. Carmichael.

Your Honor, the victim in
this case, Thomas Ngai,

was the owner of
a Chinese restaurant.

Late Friday night, while making
a delivery to an apartment

previously leased by the
defendant Russo's brother,

he was savagely attacked, robbed
and killed by the defendants.

What was taken?

CARMICHAEL: Apparently just
the food they ordered.

I didn't do anything.
I didn't...

Counselor, I suggest you tell
your client to shut his mouth.

What about the girl?
What'd she do?

CARMICHAEL: We believe
her to be the individual

who placed the order to the
restaurant from her cell phone,

luring the victim
to the apartment.

Your Honor, because murder
in the First Degree

requires a defendant to be 18 years
or older at the time of the crime,

the defendant Regan is the only one
before you charged with a capital crime.

However, the People are requesting
remand as to each defendant.

These are still teenagers, Your Honor.
First arrests for each.

CARMICHAEL: Defendant Regan has
a juvenile record for assault.

Those records are
sealed, Your Honor.

And the People will be making an application
to unseal right after this arraignment.

First arrests or not, they're
certainly starting off at the top.

Your Honor... I'm not going to
try this case here, Counselor.

Defendant Regan is remanded.

Bail is set at $250,000 as to
Franco, Donnels, Simms and Russo.

This is outrageous.

Yes, Counselor,
it certainly is.

Let the games begin.

Motions for severance.

Like rats off a sinking ship.

Donnels and Franco
claim Regan did it.

Regan points the finger
back at them.

And Heather Russo is waiting to see
which way the wind is blowing.

Which leaves Mr. Simms.

At this point, he's not
prepared to make any statement.

I'm not looking for a statement,
Counselor, I'm looking for cooperation.

If I don't get it from him, you can
bet I'll get it from someone else.

So far, no one's
pointed a finger at you.

Once they do, you become just
another member of the pack.

What are you offering?

A top and a bottom.

If he was involved in
any way in the murder,

man one and he
serves five-to-15.

If he was just there,
six months and probation.

Six months just
for being there?

No one walks
on this, Counselor.

A man lost his life.
A woman lost her husband.

Three small children
lost their father.

I'm giving him this one
chance to tell me why.

It wasn't supposed
to be like that.

You mean like murder?

We just went into the city to
have a good time, you know?

Killing a man's a strange
way of having a good time.

We were at the apartment, drinking some
beers, smoking, and just hanging out.

And I think it was Pete, Peter
Franco, who said he was hungry,

but no one had any money.

So Mitch said we should call some
Chinese place and order some food.

How were you going to pay?

SIMMS: We weren't. We were gonna
just take off with the food.

So you were gonna rob him?

When the guy showed up,
Pete and Chris

threw this old blanket over him that
we'd taken off some homeless guy.

And then they
knocked him downstairs.

Where were you
when this happened?

With Mitch, just
inside the apartment.

When he fell, the guy
tried to get up,

but Mitch wrestled
him to the ground

and then Pete and Chris and Mitch
they were all hitting him.

And finally, he stayed down.

Only he wasn't dead yet.

The forensic report indicates

a considerable period of time passed before
another single blow smashed his skull.

Probably minutes.

LEWIN: What forensics?

He threw up under the blanket.

Simms said they could hear him
moaning, pleading for his life.

Dear God.

That's when Mitch Regan said
that Ngai had seen their faces,

and that if they didn't want to go
to jail they'd have to kill him.

While they argued about that,
Ngai started retching.

Apparently that wasn't enough for Regan.
He wasn't about to wait.

He picked up a piece of
cement from the staircase

and smashed
Ngai's head with it.

Then they all got in his car and drove
back to Queens as if nothing had happened.

We have to consider the
death penalty for Regan.

What? Wait a minute.
Wait a minute.

It was Regan who suggested the robbery.
Regan who incited murder.

And when no one else
would go along with him,

it was Regan who
finished the job himself.

Have you looked at his date of birth?
He's barely 18.

He made Simms drive so he could
eat the food he'd ordered.

He also has a prior
assault as a juvenile.

It happened two months
prior to his 16th birthday.

JACK: Otherwise, he'd be a
violent predicate felon.

The child he attacked was
left blind in his right eye.

Look, I appreciate
your conviction here,

but the death penalty is not something
I'm willing to inflict on a teenager.

JACK: On any teenager
or just this one?

What are you talking about?

A black kid sells some crack,
we put him in prison for life.

It's done every day without
us blinking an eye.

A kid from the suburbs
does the same thing,

we get people running around trying
to arrange a rehab bed for him.


Yes. Just a moment.

Abbie, part 78.

We're not talking
about a drug case here.

We're talking about
the death penalty.

Which is exactly why we have to avoid any
appearance it wasn't applied objectively.

We both know the
crime justifies it.

That was the clerk. Regan might
have beaten us to the punch.

Judge Schreiber just let him
plead guilty to murder one

with the promise
of a life sentence.

A writ of mandamus asking me
to vacate the guilty plea.

Judge Schreiber had no authority
to accept such a plea.

We pled to the top count,
murder one.

According to
Hynes v. Tomei,

a defendant cannot plead guilty
while the prosecutor's notice

to seek the death
penalty is pending.

You haven't filed the notice.

JACK: Because the statute
allows us 120 days.

But Hynes doesn't
cover that situation.

JACK: The spirit
of the case does.

Judge, we'd be allowing
defendants to circumvent the law

if we let them plead guilty before D.A.'s
had a chance to consider the death penalty.

It'd create a race
to the courthouse.

It'd be the defendants who get
to choose their own sentences.

Well, better them than some
bloodthirsty prosecutor.

Mr. Stanton.

STANTON: No, I'm sorry,
Your Honor,

but Mr. McCoy didn't seem to
mind races to the courthouse

when he was making offers to any kid
quick enough to roll over for him.

Well, that may be true. But in the
context of the death penalty,

I don't think we want to be playing games
about whether notice has been filed or not.

I'm vacating the plea.

Simply put, Mitch Regan
cannot plead guilty

until the People have reached their
own decision about the death penalty.

Your Honor, I think...

I'm sorry, Counselor, but this is for
the protection of all defendants.

Well, this is one defendant you just protected
right back into a lethal injection.

You'll forgive me if
I don't say "thank you."

Wesley Stanton. Man's a legend
in a lot of people's minds.

Especially his own. He's
taking the case pro bono.

Well, I'm sure the publicity will more
than compensate him for his time.

The point is, the ball's
back in our court.

What if I simply waited for
the headlines to go away,

and then quietly announced
I'd considered the evidence

and decided not to
seek the death penalty?

You're not going to do that.

All right,
call the senior staff.

I'll hear all the arguments.

No, my point is, how can we
ask for the death penalty

when other jurisdictions
are considering a moratorium?

Honestly, I don't
think it's a problem.

There's two issues involved
with the moratorium.

The potential for an
innocent man being executed,

faulty DNA evidence,
something like that,

and ineffective assistance
of counsel.

But, correct me
if I'm wrong, Jack,

I haven't heard anything to suggest
that this guy didn't do it.

And Wes Stanton has tried more
capital cases than I have.

What about the guidelines?
Where does he fit?

Both Jack and I concur
the juvenile assault

should be considered
a prior crime of violence.


Because it occurred two months
prior to his 16th birthday,

and it involved substantial
injuries to his victim.

We also discounted a separate incident
involving a neighbor's pet, a cat,

which contained allegations
of animal torture.

The facts weren't clear
in the probation report.

I'd agree.
He's already had his bite.

Now, the heinous nature of
this crime is self-evident,

as was his total disregard
for the victim's life.

Excuse me, but why aren't we
talking about this kid's age?

JACK: We can talk
about it all you like.

But if we use his age to
disregard every other guideline,

it only makes our determination
more arbitrary, not less.

He's right.

Legislature's established a
bright line at 18 years old.

I don't think
we should blur it.

Blur it?

Whatever happened to the
exercise of discretion?

ROSENFELD: I agree with Nora.

I don't think it's as
simple as a bright line.

This kid's got a family,
a high school education.

He's got a job
in his father's store.

Meaning what?

Meaning, I think
he has a chance.

HAYES: Well, what about the
kids who never had a chance?

Who rings their hands for them?

Now, I'm sorry, but being white and from
Queens isn't mitigation in my book.

We're also not just talking
about a white defendant.

Let's keep in mind that a decision
here not to seek the death penalty

could very well be perceived as
discriminatory by the Asian community.

No, I'm not gonna kill a white kid
just to prove I'm politically correct.

JACK: No one's
suggesting you should.

But if we're prepared to visit this
type of punishment on offenders at all,

we'd better not refuse to do it just
because he looks like the kid next door.

Hey. You know, you can get anything you
need on the computer with Westlaw.

Oh, I like the books.

What are you Shepardizing?

US Supreme Court decision
from Oklahoma.

Juvenile death penalty.

the court's very clear

that no national consensus exists that
violates cruel and unusual punishment

when the death penalty is given
to somebody over the age of 16.

I was hoping to find
a New York court disagreed,

but, no.

He's 18, Nora.

In the eyes of the law,
he's an adult.

Have you seen his arrest photo?

I don't think he even shaves.

Well, I'm sure shaving is some
legitimate male rite of passage,

but it certainly shouldn't be the
standard to decide a capital case.

What should be the standard to
take the life of a teenager?

Where I come from,

it's when what a person's
done is so vicious, so cruel,

he forfeits the right
to get any older.

Where I come from, a person
can't forfeit that right.

We can only take it from him.

"My decision today"

"continues this
office's tradition"

"of objectively applying
the laws of this state"

"to the cases it's charged with
prosecuting in this great city."

"Ours is an island,"

"but we are not untouched
by the national debate"

"or its dictates
concerning the death penalty."

"That being said,"

"my decision goes against
my personal feelings,"

"but as District Attorney, I
took an oath to uphold the law,"

"which includes applying
the death penalty fairly,"

"with due process of law."

"To do otherwise
would be to substitute"

"my own judgment
for the judgment of those"

"the people elected
to make such decisions."


"I am forced to conclude
that notice to the court"

"of our intention to seek
the death penalty"

"in the case of the People v.
Mitch Regan is appropriate."

was out less than an hour.

And Stanton didn't
call a single witness?

I think Stanton's saving his
credibility with the jury

to plead for his client's life.

When are you back in court?

Judge Schreiber starts the
penalty phase tomorrow morning.

Do we have any witnesses?

He's limited our
presentation to the M.E.

LEWIN: Well,
what about mitigation?

I assume Stanton
will mount his case now.

Well, he was hoping to call
one of Regan's teachers.


Schreiber ruled that it opened the
door to the prior juvenile history.

I don't think Stanton
wants a jury to hear

how his client viciously
assaulted someone in the past.

Especially a child.

Which leaves him with what?

He's calling his mother.

Doesn't everyone?

Doctor, earlier in this trial

you indicated a single
blow from a blunt object

caused Mr. Ngai's death.

Yes. Mr. Ngai died from
a depressed skull fracture.

Basically, the back of
his head was crushed in.

JACK: There was also mentioned on
cross-examination by Mr. Stanton

that the fatal injury
sustained by the deceased

might have been received

during the initial attack
at the top of the stairs.

RODGERS: Anything is possible.

JACK: But I want to
be absolutely clear

that that is not
your expert opinion.

No, it's not.

Why not?

Because of the evidence
I found of regurgitation,

the vomit under the blanket.

Anything else?

There was a pattern of blood focal
hemorrhages on the surface of the lung.

Now, this blood didn't appear to
be from any internal injuries.

Rather, it was more likely from the facial
injuries and broken nose he received.

As a result, Mr. Ngai was
breathing in his own blood.

As he did, it spread through
the smaller airways.

Both the regurgitation
and blood

could only have occurred sometime
prior to the fatal head injury.

I divorced when Mitch
was three years old.

STANTON: What was
the cause of the divorce?

My former husband,
Mitch's biological father,

had a drinking problem.

Eventually, he abandoned
Mitch and me.

Did that effect your son?

Very much so.

He cried at night,
had nightmares.

It was a very difficult
time for both of us.

STANTON: He's your only son?

MRS. REGAN: With his father.

I have two other children
with my husband.

So, Alex Regan is not
Mitch's natural father?

His stepfather.

And what is
that relationship like?

It's always been
a little strained.

My husband is a good man,
but he's been hard on Mitch.

I've always thought,

a little too hard at times.

Before I got married,

he watched out for me,
he protected me,

even as a small child.

He's still like that
with his brother and sister.

When his grandmother was dying,

he wouldn't leave her side.

He's not this monster.

He isn't.

I know him.

I know him better than
anyone in this world.

You have to believe me.

Thank you, Mrs. Regan.

Mrs. Regan, was your son
ever physically abused?


Not by his stepfather

and not by his
biological father?

Bill, my first husband,
was an alcoholic,

but he wasn't a violent man.

JACK: And your
current husband?

MRS. REGAN: Never.

And you cared for your son,

gave him food and shelter,
love and support?

I thought so.

But there must be
something I did.

Mrs. Regan, you said

you know your son better
than anyone in the world?


Did you know
he was capable of this?

I have nothing further,
Your Honor.

MITCH: It started out kind
of like a goof or something.

Like somebody said, "I'm
hungry," but we had no money.

And we all started laughing

and I don't know...

Heather called, and we were
just gonna take the food.

But something more
happened, didn't it?

When the guy got there,

Peter and Chris jumped
out from behind two cars

and threw this blanket
over his head.

And then he fell
down the stairs.

STANTON: He fell.

Then what happened?

We didn't know what to do.

I mean, the guy
was hurt pretty bad.

That's when Peter
started to get scared.

We all did.

And Peter said
the guy saw his face.

Him and Chris.

And I don't know,

everybody started freaking out,

and it just happened.


How do you feel about it now?


Really sorry.

But I know whatever I say
is not gonna make it better.


Did you talk to
your folks about it?

My mother.

My father hasn't
come to see me.

My mother says
that he wants to,

but doesn't know what to say.

Like she said, things have sort
of been like that between us.

What do you want, Mitch?
What do you want to happen?

I want...

(SIGHS) I don't know.

I just wish it hadn't happened.

I mean, not just like right
after my birthday like that.

I'm sorry.

I really am.

Okay, son.


JUDGE: Mr. McCoy.

You're sorry it happened?


After your birthday like that?

I'm just sorry it happened.

And nothing you can say will
make it better, is that right?

I guess not.

Not even the truth?

What do you mean?

I mean the truth about
why you killed this man.


JUDGE: Overruled.

JACK: You were with Nick
Simms inside the apartment

when the blanket was thrown
over Mr. Ngai's head,

is that right?


When you came outside,

he was under the blanket?

That's right.

So who was it who said
he'd seen your faces?

It was you, wasn't it?

But that wasn't possible.

The fact is,
it didn't matter to you

whether he'd seen
your faces or not.

You wanted to kill him
all along.

JUDGE: I intend
to instruct the jury

that they should consider
whether or not

a sentence of death
should be imposed,

and whether or not

a sentence of life
imprisonment without parole

should be imposed,

and that they must be unanimous,
beyond a reasonable doubt,

as to either one.

And in the event they're
not unanimous, Your Honor?

I'll tell them if they
fail to reach agreement

then I will sentence
the defendant

to a term of imprisonment, with a
minimum term of 20 or 25 years

and a maximum term of life.

Your Honor,

you tell those people
there's a chance

this boy might be back
out on the streets some day,

you play to their fears,
to the worst in them.

Until the Court of Appeals
tells me otherwise,

my hands are tied here,

Mr. McCoy,

pursuant to the statute, you
will deliver the first argument.

Eighteen years old,

and already

a cold-blooded murder
to his name.

Because of his age

defense counsel wants you
to give him another chance.

But the fact that

he abandoned his responsibilities
to all of us so quickly

doesn't mitigate
what he's done.

It only makes it
that much more frightening,

because this teenager is the
one who lives next door

the one we see ourselves in.

His act betrays us all.

Somewhere that night,

he ceased to be
who we thought he was

and instead became
everything we fear.

But his is not the only life being
measured in this courtroom.

Not the only face for you
to remember here today.

Imagine, if you will,

the last moments
of the victim's life.

And when you do, imagine
it not slipping away,

but being beaten out of him.

Mr. Ngai was a slight man,

a family man.

That night it was cold,


Mr. Ngai sent his wife home
to be with their children.

But he stayed to work for them.

And when he arrived
to make a delivery,

he was set upon,

thrown down a flight of stairs.

A filthy blanket

forced over his head
to stifle his screams.

Badly beaten,

he vomited
underneath the blanket,

he breathed in his own blood.

Yet, all the while, managed
to plead for his life.

But rather than evoke
any sense of mercy,

Mr. Ngai's desperation

only provoked more viciousness

in this defendant.

A savagery that
silenced his pleas

by crushing his
skull with a rock.

As you think of this defendant,

you may regret
what might have been.

But judge him for who he is.

Forget what he looks like,

and remember what he did.

So, finally we come to it.

Come to the decision
not of who's so evil,

so unredeemable
we put them to death,

but how young

can we put them to death.

At what age do even liberals
throw in the towel?

Down where I come from,
down in Texas, it's 17.

But up here,
up here in the Big Apple

y'all go and exercise your own blood
lust to the ripe old age of 18.

Not old enough to drink

but apparently
old enough to execute.

So, how young can we do it?

It all depends on what it is
that makes a life worth saving.

Is it a mother's love?

A kind act?

If that's all it is, then
all of us are worth saving.

But the law,

the law doesn't require
nearly that much.

You see,

the law only requires

that there be some question,

some reasonable doubt,

as to the value of the life

the prosecutor
is asking you to take.

Because it has to be definite,

this willingness
to put a boy to death.

And the only trouble with
that, is that at 18,

nothing is definite.

At 18, life is nothing
but questions.

In fact, can there be
any doubt, any at all,

that 20, 25 years from now

this boy, if allowed to live,

will be a different person from
the one sitting before you today.

Will he be a better person?

I don't know.

But the fact is,

neither do you.

Spare his life.

Spare us all.

JUDGE: I understand the jury has
reached a verdict as to sentence.

We have, Your Honor.

I'll ask the defendant to rise.

Render your verdict,
Mr. Foreman.

"As to the first count of the
indictment, Murder in the First Degree,"

"the sentence of
this jury is death"



(SOBBING) Please!

Don't kill him!
Don't kill him!

No! Oh, my God!

Stanton can probably drag
this out for a long time.

He may not have as
much time as he hopes.

Supreme Court's
been consistently

narrowing appeals
for death row inmates.

With any luck, we'll be able to strap
him to a gurney before he's 21.

God have mercy on our souls.