I, Witness (2017–…): Season 1, Episode 1 - Last Dance - full transcript

In 1986, CHERYL PIERSON'S (16), father is shot and killed on his driveway, leaving Cheryl and her siblings orphans. In pursuit of his murderer, detectives uncover an unholy family secret and an unlikely assassin.

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WHEN MY MOM WAS REALLY SICK,

MY FATHER PLANNED
A SWEET 16 PARTY FOR ME.

BUT THEN MY MOM DIED.

AND MY FATHER INSISTED
WE STILL HAVE THE PARTY.

PEOPLE MIGHT HAVE
THOUGHT IT WAS ODD,

BUT I THINK IN SOME WAYS,

IT WAS MY FATHER SHOWING
HOW MUCH HE APPRECIATED ME.

IT WAS REALLY HARD
FOR ALL OF US

WHEN MY MOM DIED.

MY MORNING ROUTINE
WAS DOING THE LAUNDRY



AND GETTING MY LITTLE SISTER
READY FOR SCHOOL.

JOANNE.

JOANNE, SWEETIE,
IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP.

COME ON.

NO, FIVE MORE
MINUTES, PLEASE.

'KAY.

I DID ALL THE THINGS
YOU'D EXPECT A HOUSEWIFE TO DO,

AND IT WAS NO
DIFFERENT THAT DAY.

DADDY!

CAPTIONS PAID FOR BY
DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS

DADDY?

DADDY!

I JUST THOUGHT MAYBE HE SLIPPED

AND BANGED HIS HEAD
ON THE CONCRETE.



DADDY!

I GOT NERVOUS
'CAUSE HE WASN'T ANSWERING,

BUT I -- I DIDN'T WANT
TO TOUCH HIM

'CAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW
WHERE HE WAS HURT.

I RAN ACROSS
TO THE CASSIS' HOUSE.

I WAS SCREAMING,
"YOU GOTTA HELP MY FATHER."

BIG MIKE WENT
RUNNING TO MY DAD.

JAMES?

JAMES, ARE YOU OKAY?

AT THAT POINT,
ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT

WAS BEING WITH
MY 8-YEAR-OLD SISTER

'CAUSE SHE WAS STILL SLEEPING,
FROM WHAT I KNEW.

SWEETIE.

JOANNE, SWEETIE,
WAKE UP.

UM...SO LOOK.

DADDY FELL,
AND HE HIT HIS HEAD,

BUT BIG MIKE'S WITH HIM,
AND HE'S GETTING HIM, OKAY?

-I-I WANT TO GO SEE.
-SHH, HEY, NO, NO.

YOU'RE JUST GONNA WAIT HERE
UNTIL HE GETS HELP, OKAY?

A FEW HOURS LATER,

WE WERE JUST SITTING
AT THE TABLE, WAITING.

THE AMBULANCE WAS THERE.
THEY WERE ALL AROUND HIM.

SO I COULDN'T SEE
WHAT WAS GOING ON.

WE WERE ALL BASICALLY
JUST WAITING FOR SOME ANSWERS.

GIRLS, I'M LIEUTENANT DON,
THIS IS DETECTIVE McCREADY.

WE'RE VERY SORRY
FOR YOUR LOSS.

WHAT?

DO YOU KNOW ANYONE
WHO WOULD HAVE WANTED

TO KILL YOUR FATHER?

WHAT ARE YOU
TALKING ABOUT?

WE WERE UNDER THE IMPRESSION
THAT SOMEONE TOLD YOU.

TOLD ME WHAT?

YOUR FATHER IS DEAD.

WHAT?

NO, NO, HE JUST SLIPPED!

I WAS SHOCKED. I DIDN'T --

I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO ACT
'CAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW

IF I WAS HEARING HIM CORRECTLY.

YOUR FATHER WAS SHOT.

COME HERE.

MY DAD WAS REALLY DEAD.

NOW WE WERE COMPLETELY ALONE,

'CAUSE IT WAS ALMOST
A YEAR TO THE DAY

THAT MY MOM HAD DIED.

CLOSE YOUR EYES.

NO PEEKING.

-HOLD YOUR HORSES.
-HOLD ON.

-I ALMOST GOT IT.
-JUST A SECOND. HURRY!

OH, MY GOD, LOOK AT
THESE CANDLES, A TRICK.

-KEEP YOUR EYES CLOSED, SWEETIE.
-ALL RIGHT, SWEETIE.

-ALL RIGHT.
-OKAY. HERE WE GO!

I FIRST SAW
HOW SICK MY MOM REALLY WAS

AROUND MY SISTER'S BIRTHDAY.

MY FATHER WANTED TO TAKE HER
TO THE HOSPITAL

AND SHE SAID, "ABSOLUTELY NOT.

ONE MORE DAY IS NOT
GONNA MAKE A DIFFERENCE."

THIS IS A SPECIAL DAY,
I DON'T WANT TO SPOIL IT.

OKAY, READY, SWEETIE?
ALL RIGHT, HERE WE GO.

SHE SAID, YOU KNOW,
"BIRTHDAYS WERE BIG.

BIRTHDAYS WERE IMPORTANT
IN OUR FAMILY."

OPEN YOUR EYES!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

AWESOME.

I NEVER THOUGHT SHE WOULD DIE.
I REALLY DIDN'T.

I PRAYED A LOT
FOR GOD NOT TO TAKE HER

BECAUSE WE NEEDED HER.

AND NOW MY FATHER WAS GONE, TOO.

THEY'RE ALL .22s.

THERE'S ANOTHER ONE
OVER BY THE TREE.

FIRST SHOT
FROM OVER THERE.

THEN, HE WALKED UP
AND FINISHED IT OFF.

LOOKS LIKE
EXECUTION STYLE.

OH, MY GOD!
IT'S JAMES!

FROM INSIDE THE KITCHEN,

I COULD HEAR MY AUNT,
MARILYN, SCREAMING.

OH, MY GOD!
OH, MY GOD!

THAT'S GRANDMA
AND AUNT MARILYN.

COME ON.
WE HAVE TO GO.

MA'AM, YOU'RE GONNA
HAVE TO BACK UP.

I DON'T THINK SO,
THAT'S MY BROTHER!

YOU'RE GONNA HAVE
TO BACK UP BEHIND THE TAPE.

THIS IS AN ACTIVE
INVESTIGATION.

-NO, LET ME SEE MY BROTHER!
-PLEASE BACK UP.

WHAT HAPPENED?

IT'S GONNA BE OKAY.
I PROMISE YOU, OKAY?

IT'S GONNA BE
JUST LIKE WHEN...

THEY BASICALLY
TOOK OVER THE WHOLE HOUSE

AND JUST, LIKE,
MADE THEMSELVES AT HOME.

WHICH I THOUGHT
WAS VERY ODD,

BECAUSE MY FATHER REALLY DIDN'T
GET ALONG WITH HIS SISTER

AND DIDN'T SEE
HIS MOTHER TOO OFTEN.

WE'RE JUST GONNA BE
A REAL FAMILY AGAIN, OKAY?

I PROMISE.

SOME WOULD SAY ABOUT HIM

THAT HE WAS A LOUD-MOUTH,
HAD A BAD TEMPER.

BUT THERE WAS ALSO
ANOTHER SIDE OF HIM.

THEY WOULD CALL HIM, LIKE,
A ROUGH, TOUGH CREAM PUFF.

YOU KNOW, HE, UH...

HAD A VERY ROUGH
EXTERIOR ABOUT HIM,

BUT IF HE COULD HELP YOU,
HE WOULD.

PRETTY SOON THE HOUSE
WAS CRAWLING WITH COPS.

DETECTIVES SEEMED REALLY BAFFLED

THAT A SUBURBAN FATHER OF THREE

WOULD BE LAYING, SHOT,
IN THE DRIVEWAY.

WHAT IS THIS?

OUR HOUSE ALSO HAD
A VERY HIGH-TECH ALARM SYSTEM.

THE HELL'S HE NEED
ALL THAT FOR?

NOT MANY PEOPLE KNEW
MY DAD WAS LOAN SHARK.

THEY CAME ACROSS THE LEDGER

OF EVERYBODY'S NAME AND DATE

FOR MONEY
THAT THEY HAD BORROWED.

MAYBE HE WAS AFRAID
SOMEONE WAS OUT TO GET HIM.

MY FATHER WAS
FOUND SHOT IN OUR DRIVEWAY.

THE POLICE THOUGHT HE WAS TRYING

TO PROTECT HIMSELF FROM SOMEBODY

BECAUSE MY FATHER HAD A LOT

OF GUNS THAT HE COLLECTED,

A LOT OF GUNS THAT NORMAL PEOPLE

WOULD NOT HAVE ANY USE FOR.

HE'S GOT
SOME ARSENAL HERE.

TELL ME ABOUT IT.

THEY WERE THINKING
THAT MAYBE IT WAS SOMEBODY

THAT OWED HIM MONEY,

THAT COULDN'T PAY THEIR DEBT
AND WANTED HIM DEAD.

OR IT WAS THE MAFIA,

BECAUSE IT WAS
AN EXECUTION-STYLE MURDER.

I FELT REALLY SCARED AND ALONE,
AND I NEEDED SOMEONE TO TALK TO,

SO I CALLED MY BOYFRIEND, ROB,
TO TELL HIM WHAT WAS HAPPENING.

HELLO?

Rob?

CHERYL?

WHAT'S WRONG?

MY FATHER IS DEAD.

DEAD?

A YEAR AGO,
AROUND FEBRUARY 13th,

MY MOM HAD PASSED AWAY.

I WENT TO SCHOOL
TO GET MY BOOKS.

ALL OF A SUDDEN, I LOOKED UP,

AND I SAW ROB
STANDING NEXT TO ME,

AND HE WAS HOLDING
A RED CARNATION

BECAUSE OUR SCHOOL

WAS SELLING THEM
FOR VALENTINE'S DAY.

WHEN I LOOKED AT HIM,
HOLDING THE CARNATION,

I JUST STARTED TO CRY.

IF IT'S THE FLOWER,
I CAN THROW IT OUT.

WHAT'S WRONG?

MY MOM DIED
YESTERDAY, ROB.

IF THERE'S ANYTHING
I CAN DO, I...

WOULD YOU COME TO
THE FUNERAL WITH ME?

YES, OF COURSE.
I-I'LL BE THERE.

I'M SORRY,
I HAVE TO GO.

ROB CAME TO THE FUNERAL.

THAT WAS SUCH
A LOW POINT IN MY LIFE.

I REALLY FELT LIKE
HE PROTECTED ME,

TOOK CARE OF ME
AND WORRIED ABOUT ME,

AND SO I FELL IN LOVE WITH HIM.

I THINK...

I THINK SOMETHING HAPPENED
TO HIM IN OUR DRIVEWAY.

The police are here.

AND HE SAID, "ALL RIGHT,
I'M COMING THERE NOW."

AND I SAID,
"NO. DON'T COME NOW."

I SAID THAT, YOU KNOW,
THERE'S A LOT GOING ON."

I SAID, "MAYBE YOU COULD
COME LATER."

AND HE SAID OKAY.

MY BROTHER, JIMMY,
CAME OVER LATER THAT AFTERNOON.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN,
GRAM AND AUNT MARILYN ARE HERE?

WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?

GLAD YOU COULD, UH,
JOIN US, JIMMY.

IT'S OKAY, OKAY?

JIMMY WAS UPSET BECAUSE
WHEN MY MOTHER WAS SICK,

WE BARELY SAW
MY AUNT AND GRANDMOTHER.

BUT NOW THAT MY FATHER HAD DIED,

THEY'RE TAKING OVER THE HOUSE
LIKE THEY OWNED IT.

AND HE REALIZED THAT
THE DETECTIVES WERE STILL THERE,

LOOKING AROUND THE HOUSE.

HEY, WHAT'S
GOING ON HERE?

HUH? LOOK AT THIS MESS!

I'M LIEUTENANT DON,
THIS IS DETECTIVE MCCREADY...

YEAH, MY FATHER JUST DIED
AND YOU'RE ALREADY

SNOOPING THROUGH
HIS STUFF?

HEY, WE'RE INVESTIGATING
YOUR FATHER'S HOMICIDE.

YOU'RE NOT GONNA
FIND ANYTHING, ALL RIGHT?

YOU JUST BETTER LEAVE.

MY BROTHER FELT
LIKE IT WAS HIS DUTY

TO STEP UP
AND PROTECT THE FAMILY.

THAT'S HOW MY FATHER HAD
RAISED HIM AND TAUGHT HIM TO DO.

YOU CAN'T INTERFERE
WITH AN INVESTIGATION.

OH, YEAH?

LET ME SEE YOUR WARRANT.

IT WAS A LITTLE BIT
OF A POWER STRUGGLE.

YEAH, THAT'S
WHAT I THOUGHT.

LEAVE!

AND THE POLICE THOUGHT, LIKE,
HE WAS TRYING TO HIDE SOMETHING.

BUT THERE WAS NO WAY JIMMY
WAS GONNA TALK TO THEM.

SO THE NEXT DAY,
THE DETECTIVES TRACKED DOWN

SOME OF MY FATHER'S FRIENDS.

YOU MIND IF I SIT DOWN?

MY NAME IS
DETECTIVE MCCREADY.

I HEAR YOU WERE FRIENDS
WITH JAMES PIERSON.

WHY DON'T YOU
TELL ME ABOUT HIM?

SURE,
HE WAS A LOUD MOUTH,

BUT HE'D GIVE YOU
THE SHIRT OFF HIS BACK.

AND CHARGE YOU
INTEREST, THOUGH.

I NOTICE HE HAD A COLLECTION
OF FIREARMS AT HIS HOME.

OH, YEAH.
HE LOVED HIS GUNS.

"AMAZING COLLECTION."
VERY PROUD OF THAT.

ANY CHANCE HE HAD CONNECTIONS
WITH THE MOB?

ANY FOLKS WITH A GRUDGE?

SOME SCORE TO SETTLE?

HAVE YOU TALKED
TO HIS SON, JIMMY?

YEAH, WE'VE HAD
THE PLEASURE OF MEETING.

JIMMY AND
MY FATHER HAD THEIR TROUBLES.

MY BROTHER WAS NOT
GONNA ALLOW MY FATHER

TO DICTATE TO HIM
HOW HE LIVES.

WHAT DO YOU THINK
YOU'RE DOING?

MY FATHER WAS NOT GOOD
AT DEALING WITH THAT.

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
I'M MOVING OUT.

OH, YEAH?

WHERE YOU
GONNA LIVE, HUH?

YOU BUM.

AT THE TIME,
WHILE, YOU KNOW,

HE WAS STILL LIVING
UNDER MY FATHER'S ROOF,

HE DID HAVE A LOT OF ANGER,
YOU KNOW, TOWARDS MY FATHER.

YEAH, HIM AND HIS POP,
THEY BUTT HEADS FOR YEARS.

JAMES NEVER REALLY
DID TRUST HIM,

ESPECIALLY WHEN
IT CAME TO MONEY.

YEAH, AND, UM...

THEY DIDN'T EXACTLY
SEE EYE TO EYE ABOUT,

UM, YOU KNOW,
HIS LIFESTYLE CHOICES.

HE DIDN'T LIKE
MY FATHER'S RULES,

AND HE DECIDED TO MOVE OUT.

WHO'S GONNA GIVE YOU A LEASE
DRESSED LIKE THAT, HUH?

LOOKING LIKE
SOME FLAMING MARY.

LOOK AT YOU!

I'M EMBARRASSED
TO CALL YOU MY SON.

THE FEELING'S MUTUAL.

-OH, YEAH?
-YEAH.

YEAH?

NO MORE HANDOUTS,
THEN, YOU HEAR ME?

NO MORE MOOCHING!

I DON'T NEED YOUR MONEY.

I'M CUTTING YOU OFF,
TAKING YOU OUT OF THE WILL.

HE WANTS TO BE
IN CONTROL OF EVERYBODY.

THE ONE THING HE COULDN'T
CONTROL WAS MY BROTHER,

AND THERE WAS
SOME HEARTACHE THERE.

YOU'RE DEAD TO ME.

THE INVESTIGATORS FIND OUT

THAT MY FATHER HAS
A LOT OF MONEY IN THE BANK.

I BELIEVE IT WAS
WELL OVER 500,000,

AND THEY HAD FOUND
THAT MY FATHER HAD

TAKEN HIM OFF SOME ACCOUNTS.

IT TURNS OUT
JAMES' LAWYER

WAS WORKING ON GETTING
JIMMY OUT OF THE WILL.

GUESS IT'S TIME FOR
A LITTLE CHAT WITH JIMMY.

MY BROTHER WAS TOTALLY
TAKEN OUT OF THE WILL.

I GUESS THE POLICE
THOUGHT THAT WAS MOTIVE.

THE DETECTIVES WENT
AND PICKED UP MY BROTHER

AND DROVE HIM TO THE PRECINCT.

THEY TRIED TO START INTIMIDATING
HIM AND TELLING HIM,

"WE KNOW YOU HAD SOMETHING TO DO
WITH YOUR FATHER'S MURDER."

WE CAN'T
HELP YOU OUT, JIMMY,

UNLESS YOU'RE
STRAIGHT WITH US.

WHAT HAPPENED?

I DON'T KNOW.

I DIDN'T KILL MY FATHER.

"JUST TELL US THE TRUTH,

AND WE'LL, YOU KNOW,
MAKE IT EASIER ON YOU.

YOU JUST NEED TO COME CLEAN,

AND WE KNOW YOU HAD
SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT."

WE GOT ENOUGH RIGHT NOW
TO LOCK YOU UP.

YOUR POPS TOOK YOU OFF
ALL HIS BANK ACCOUNTS.

HE WAS ABOUT TO TAKE YOU
OUT OF HIS WILL!

THAT'S A MOTIVE.

YOU DON'T WANT TO BE
TALKING TO ME.

YOU SHOULD TALK
TO MY SISTER'S BOYFRIEND.

THEY PICK UP ROB AND THEY
BRING HIM TO THE HEADQUARTERS.

THEY WALK HIM PAST
MY BROTHER, JIMMY,

JUST TO LET HIM KNOW
THAT THEY HAVE JIMMY THERE,

AND THEY SIT HIM
IN ANOTHER ROOM.

SO, MR. PIERSON
WAS TOO STRICT FOR YOU?

NOT GIVING YOU THE TIME
YOU WANTED WITH HIS DAUGHTER.

FROM THE VERY BEGINNING,

ROB WAS NEVER A FAN
OF MY FATHER.

ROB WAS ALLOWED OVER

AS LONG AS WE STAYED
AND WATCHED TV ON THE COUCH

AND MY FATHER WAS IN THE ROOM.

WE WEREN'T REALLY EVER ALLOWED
OUT OF UNDER HIS EYE.

WE ALWAYS HAD TO BE AROUND HIM

SO HE COULD SEE
WHAT WAS GOING ON.

ONE DAY, HE ALLOWED US
TO GO TO A MOVIE.

OH, HE'S GETTING OUT.
I'M SORRY, I'M SORRY!

WE WERE ON OUR WAY
TO THE MOVIES,

AND WE GOT PULLED OVER BY A COP.

-HAVE A GOOD NIGHT.
-THANK YOU. YOU, TOO.

-PRETTY FUNNY, WASN'T IT?
-IT WAS GOOD.

GO TO YOUR ROOM.

ROB.

HOW CAN I LET YOU
DATE MY DAUGHTER

IF YOU DRIVE RECKLESSLY
WHEN SHE'S WITH YOU?

I CAN'T ALLOW HER IN YOUR CAR
IF YOU BREAK THE LAW.

AND THE REASON
HE KNEW THAT WAS BECAUSE

HE DECIDED TO TAKE MY SISTER

AND FOLLOW US
TO THE MOVE THEATER.

THAT TYPE
OF OVERPROTECTIVE FATHER

CAN DRIVE A GUY CRAZY.

YOU'RE WAY OFF THE MARK, OKAY?

YOU'RE MISSING THE WHOLE POINT.

CHERYL. CHERYL!
GET DRESSED AND COME OUT HERE.

THE POLICE WANT TO TALK TO YOU.

HELLO AGAIN, CHERYL.

IS THERE SOMETHING YOU'D LIKE
TO TELL YOUR GRANDMOTHER?

NO.

I ALMOST STARTED TO CRY

BECAUSE THAT WAS
MY BIGGEST FEAR,

WAS THAT PEOPLE WOULD KNOW.

IT'S OKAY, CHERYL.

THEY KNOW EVERYTHING.

AFTER MY BOYFRIEND, ROB,

HAD BEEN QUESTIONED
BY THE DETECTIVES,

THEY BROUGHT HIM BACK
TO MY HOUSE.

IT'S OKAY, CHERYL.
THEY KNOW EVERYTHING.

MA'AM, WE BELIEVE
YOUR GRANDDAUGHTER WAS INVOLVED

IN THE MURDER
OF YOUR SON.

WHAT?

MY GRANDMOTHER
COULDN'T BELIEVE IT.

THIS MUST BE
SOME MISTAKE.

OKAY? CHERYL, TELL THEM.

CHERYL, TELL THEM!

CHERYL, YOU'RE GONNA HAVE
TO COME WITH ME, PLEASE.

OKAY, OKAY, CHERYL!

SPEAK UP, CAN YOU JUST
TELL ME SOME...

-MA'AM. MA'AM.
-JUST... NO!

JUST WAIT A SECOND.
TELL THEM IT'S NOT TRUE.

CHERYL, YOU'RE GONNA HAVE
TO COME WITH ME.

TELL -- CHERYL!

MY GRANDMOTHER SCREAMED
OR CRIED OUT,

LIKE, LOUD,
JUST CRYING HYSTERICAL.

THE DETECTIVES JUST
TOOK ME AND ROB

AND WALKED US OUT OF THE HOUSE
AND BROUGHT US TO THE PRECINCT.

I WAS VERY QUIET
IN THE CAR RIDE, AND SO WAS ROB.

WE WERE BOTH VERY NERVOUS.

THEY PUT ME IN A SEPARATE ROOM.

I NEVER GOT TO SEE ROB
OR MY BROTHER.

I HAD NO IDEA HOW MUCH
ROB HAD TOLD THE POLICE.

CHERYL,
WHY DID YOU DO IT?

ROB TOLD US WHAT HAPPENED
BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR FATHER.

IN ORDER FOR US TO HELP,

WE HAVE TO HEAR IT
FROM YOUR SIDE.

I JUST REMEMBER SITTING THERE,
THINKING TO MYSELF,

"OKAY, I DIDN'T WANT
TO TELL ANYBODY,

AND NOW I'M TELLING
THIS STRANGE MAN,

AND HE ASKING ME DETAILS."

SO JUST START
FROM THE BEGINNING.

TELL US THE WHOLE STORY
AS YOU REMEMBER.

I WAS 11 WHEN IT REALLY STARTED.

WHEN MY MOTHER GOT SICK,

I HAD TO TAKE ON
MORE OF HER ROLE AT HOME.

I STILL WAS GOING TO SCHOOL
AND COMING HOME AT,

LIKE, 3:00 OR 4:00

AND THEN, JUST HAVING
TO START HOMEWORK, DINNER.

I COULDN'T HAVE, LIKE,
A NORMAL KID LIFE.

MY FATHER WAS VERY STRICT,

AND HE LIKED
EVERYTHING IN ORDER.

OUR HOUSE WAS IMMACULATE

AND THAT'S THE WAY
I HAD TO KEEP IT.

IT WAS A LOT OF WORK AND UPKEEP.

WHEN MY FATHER, YOU KNOW,

STARTED HANGING OUT
WITH ME MORE,

I WELCOMED THE ATTENTION.

I THOUGHT IT WAS GREAT.
I SAID, "FINALLY, SOMEBODY,

YOU KNOW, CARES ABOUT ME

AND WANTS
TO SPEND TIME WITH ME."

MY MOM WAS IN AND OUT
OF THE HOSPITAL,

AND SHE WASN'T HOME MUCH.

HE WOULD MAKE ME WATCH TV
WITH HIM IN HIS BEDROOM.

SO I WATCHED
THE YANKEES WITH HIM.

MY BROTHER DIDN'T WANT
TO SPEND TIME WITH HIM ANYMORE.

FOR NOW, I WAS GONNA
SPEND TIME WITH HIM

AND WATCH SOMETHING
THAT HE LIKED TO WATCH.

HE WOULD HAVE ME
LAY NEXT TO HIM

AND HAVE HIS ARM
WRAPPED AROUND ME.

AND HE WOULD GO FROM RUBBING
MY BACK TO RUBBING MY BUTT,

TILL ONE DAY HE WAS,
LIKE, TOUCHING MY BREAST.

RELAX, WOULD YOU?
QUIT SQUIRMING.

ENJOY YOURSELF FOR ONCE.

IF YOU DIDN'T LET HIM
DO WHAT HE WANTED TO DO,

THEN IT GOT TO BE VIOLENT.

ABOUT A YEAR
BEFORE MY MOM DIED,

IT WAS VALENTINE'S DAY,

AND MY DAD DROVE ME
TO SCHOOL THAT MORNING.

SO WHICH BOY IS
YOUR SECRET VALENTINE?

YOU GETTING SOMETHING
SPECIAL TODAY?

NO, DADDY, THERE'S --
THERE'S NO BOY.

NO VALENTINE.

NOTHING.

GOODBYE.

WHAT IS THIS?

STAY IN HERE!
SHUT THE DAMN DOOR!

DON'T YOU EVER LIE
TO ME YOU LITTLE...

HE WOULD LITERALLY BEAT ME
TO A PULP THAT DAY.

MY UPPER CHEST AND MY FACE

AND THE SIDE OF MY FACE
WAS UNRECOGNIZABLE.

IT JUST GOT WORSE FROM THERE.

HOW'D IT GET WORSE?

I WAS AROUND 13.

CHERYL, YOU WANT
TO COME OVER HERE

AND GIVE ME A HAND?

HE CALLED ME
INTO THAT HALL

AND HE SAID HE NEEDED
SOMETHING UP HIGH ON THE LADDER.

HE PUT THE LADDER
UNDERNEATH THE ATTIC.

WANT TO CLIMB UP THERE
AND GET THAT BOX?

AND I HAD A PAIR OF SHORTS ON.

I REMEMBER I HAD
A PAIR OF SHORTS ON.

AND I GOT UP
ON THE LADDER...

AND HE JUST PULLED
MY PANTS DOWN.

THEN, ALL OF A SUDDEN,
HE JUST PULLED HIS PANTS DOWN

AND STEPPED UP ON THE LADDER.

I WANTED TO SCREAM.

I WANTED TO SAY
"STOP," BUT I...

WHEN YOU SAY IT OUT LOUD,
IT'S, LIKE, IT'S TRUE.

YOU'RE VALIDATING WHAT
YOU'RE SAYING OUT LOUD,

SO ALL THESE YEARS,

I COULD PRETEND IT WASN'T ME.

WELL, NOW I'M --
NOW I'M SAYING IT'S ME.

I WANTED TO DIE.

I WANTED GOD TO KILL ME.

HOW OFTEN
DID THIS HAPPEN?

LOTS. EVERY DAY.

FOR 3 YEARS.

AND AFTER THAT IT
JUST GOT MORE FREQUENT

AND WORSE EACH TIME, SO...

I HATED MY FATHER,
BUT THAT'S NOT THE REASON WHY.

THE REASON WHY WHAT?

WHY I WANTED HIM
TO JUST...DISAPPEAR.

AND THEN, MY WORST
FEARS CAME TRUE.

ONE NIGHT, HE ACTUALLY,

YOU KNOW, SAID THAT ROB
AND I COULD GO OUT.

ROB AND I HAD A GOOD TIME,
BUT WE WERE SO NERVOUS

TO BE OUT TOGETHER,
I WAS BACK HOME BY 9:00.

THE WHOLE HOUSE WAS VERY DARK

AND I THOUGHT, "THAT WAS ODD,
WHY WAS THE HOUSE DARK?"

I SAW THE TV GLARING FROM
THE END OF THE HALL, AND...

THAT'S RIGHT, HONEY.
YOU JUST KEEP GOING OUT.

KEEP GOING OUT.

I JUST
PANICKED BECAUSE I KNEW

THAT THAT'S HOW IT HAD
STARTED WITH ME, WATCHING TV.

I DID HIRE SOMEONE
TO KILL MY FATHER

SO THAT THE ABUSE WOULD STOP

AND IT WOULD NOT CONTINUE
ONTO MY SISTER AS WELL.

HAD YOUR FATHER DONE
SOMETHING TO JOANNE?

I DIDN'T WANT ANYTHING
TO HAPPEN TO HER.

AND THAT MORNING
I QUESTIONED MY SISTER

WHEN I GOT HER UP FOR SCHOOL.

I SAID, "YOU WERE WATCHING TV
WITH DADDY LAST NIGHT?"

AND SHE SAID "YEAH."

AND I JUST TRIED
TO QUESTION HER,

JUST TO SEE, LIKE, YOU KNOW,

IS EVERYTHING OKAY,
DID HE RUB YOUR BACK,

LIKE, YOU KNOW, HE RUBS MY BACK.

AND SHE SAID "NO."
SHE SAID NO TO EVERYTHING.

I HAD PROMISED MY MOTHER
THAT I WOULD PROTECT HER

AND TAKE CARE OF HER.

AFTER 6 YEARS OF SUFFERING
FROM A RARE KIDNEY DISEASE,

MY MOTHER DIED
ON FEBRUARY 13, 1985.

IT REALLY WAS BOTHERING ME

THAT I NEEDED TO SPEAK
TO MY MOTHER FOR ONE LAST TIME.

I WAITED FOR SOME ALONE TIME.

AND I WENT UP TO THE CASKET.

I TOUCHED HER HAND.

I SAID, "MOM, I'M REALLY SORRY.

I'M REALLY, REALLY SORRY
FOR EVERYTHING

THAT YOU'RE GONNA SEE.

BUT I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT
I WILL ALWAYS PROTECT JOANNE,

AND I WILL NEVER LET
ANYTHING HAPPEN TO HER."

NOW THAT I HAD TOLD THE POLICE
WHAT MY FATHER HAD DONE TO ME,

THEY WANTED TO KNOW
THE DETAILS OF HIS MURDER.

YOU KILLED YOUR FATHER,
DIDN'T YOU?

OKAY, THEN WHO DID?

ONE NIGHT, WE'RE EATING DINNER,
AND THE NEWS WAS ON.

A STORY ABOUT A WOMAN
NAMED BEVERLY WALLACE.

SHE WAS ARRESTED FOR HIRING

A HITMAN TO KILL HER HUSBAND

BECAUSE HE WAS MENTALLY,
PHYSICALLY ABUSING HER.

SO I'M LISTENING TO THIS, AND
THINKING THAT IT'S A GOOD IDEA.

YOU LIKE
THE CHICKEN, HONEY?

YOUR SISTER'S A GOOD COOK,
JUST LIKE MOMMY.

IF SOMEONE WOULD DO THAT FOR ME,

THEN MY FATHER WOULD BE
GONE FOREVER,

AND HE COULD NEVER HURT ME
AND MY SISTER EVER AGAIN.

WE NEED DETAILS.

YOU'RE LOOKING
AT 25 YEARS TO LIFE.

I COULDN'T GET IT OFF MY MIND.

I WAS CONSTANTLY
THINKING ABOUT IT.

SO THEN, THE NEXT DAY,
I WENT INTO HOME ROOM.

YOU GUYS HEAR ABOUT
THE BEVERLY WALLACE MURDER

ON THE NEWS LAST NIGHT?

YEAH, I SEEN THAT,
ACTUALLY.

WHO WOULD BE CRAZY ENOUGH
TO KILL SOMEBODY FOR MONEY?

I WOULD.

WHEN THE INVESTIGATORS ASKED ME

WHO I HIRED TO KILL MY FATHER,

I TOLD THEM
THAT IT WAS SEAN PICO.

SO WHAT ARE YOU CHARGING
FOR SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

I DON'T KNOW.
THOUSAND DOLLARS.

A THOUSAND BUCKS?
REALLY?

$1,000 --

MY FATHER KEEPS $1,000
IN HIS FRONT POCKET.

$1,000, TO ME, DIDN'T SEEM
LIKE A LOT OF MONEY.

HEY, UH...

WERE YOU SERIOUS?

SERIOUS ABOUT WHAT?

NEVERMIND.
WHAT, ABOUT THE MONEY?

YEAH.

YEAH, YEAH. $1,000.

YEAH.

I KNOW SOMEONE WHO WOULD
PAY YOU TO DO THAT.

WHO?

ME.

WHO WOULDN'T PAY $1,000 TO HAVE

YOUR LOVED ONE SAFE
FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIFE?

AFTER I TOLD THE POLICE
ABOUT SEAN,

THEY WANTED TO KNOW
WHO ELSE WAS INVOLVED.

WE'VE BEEN TOGETHER
FOR TWO YEARS, CHERYL.

WHEN ARE WE
GONNA SLEEP TOGETHER?

WHAT?

YOU'RE JUST GONNA
SAY IT LIKE THAT?

-WELL, IT'S BEEN TWO YEARS!
-YOU'RE PRESSURING ME.

I DON'T APPRECIATE
BEING PRESSURED.

WHEN MY FATHER WAS
TRYING TO HAVE SEX WITH ME,

I COULD TURN MYSELF OFF
AND PUT MYSELF SOMEPLACE ELSE.

I WAS HAVING THAT SAME REACTION
WHEN ROB WAS TRYING TO,

EXCEPT ROB WOULDN'T
FORCE HIMSELF ON ME.

I KNOW YOU'RE SLEEPING
WITH YOUR FATHER.

WHAT?

YOU DON'T KNOW
WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.

YEAH? YEAH, THE WAY
HE TOUCHES YOU,

THE WAY HE TREATS YOU,
THE WAY HE -- HE --

HE REACTS
WHEN I TOUCH YOU?

I MEAN,
IT'S NOT RIGHT.

I AM THE LUCKIEST
FATHER IN THE WORLD.

THE MORE TIME HE SPENT
IN THE HOUSE WITH US,

THE MORE POSSESSIVE
MY FATHER GOT,

THE MORE ROB FIGURED IT OUT.

GOD, IT'S TRUE.

THEN, WHEN I ADMITTED IT,

HE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO
WITH THAT INFORMATION.

HE WAS JUST LIKE,
NOW WHAT DO I DO?"

LIKE, I JUST WANTED HIM TO KNOW

THAT THE REASON
WHY IT WAS HAPPENING

IS NOT BECAUSE I WANTED IT TO,

IT WAS BECAUSE I HAD TO.

I HAD NO CHOICE.

I JUST DON'T WANT HIM
TO HURT JOANNE.

I TOLD ROB THAT I SPOKE TO SEAN.

AND HE SAID, THERE'S NO WAY
THIS KID'S GONNA DO IT."

HE TOLD ROB THAT HE WAS
DEFINITELY GONNA DO IT,

AND HE WAS GONNA STAB HIM.

AND ROB SAID, "ABSOLUTELY NOT.

THERE'S NO WAY THAT
YOU'RE GONNA STAB HIM."

HE'S LIKE, "YOU'RE NOT
GONNA DO THIS. JUST FORGET IT."

AND THEN WE LEFT IT AT THAT.

B-E-A-T!

COME ON WOLVES,
BEAT THE COUGARS!

-YEAH!
-WHOO!

YEAH!

ALL RIGHT, GIRLS,
THAT WAS PRETTY GOOD.

UH, WE STILL NEED
A LITTLE BIT MORE PRACTICE

BUT NEXT WEEK
WE'LL DO IT, OKAY?

ALL RIGHT.

HEY, HEY.
I'M GONNA DO IT.

I'M STILL GONNA DO IT.

UH, OKAY, SURE.

ALLS I WAS THINKING OF
WAS THAT I WANTED MY FATHER

TO STOP AND TO GO AWAY.

I DIDN'T REALIZE
AT THE POINT OF 16

THAT IT WAS MURDER.

WHAT I DIDN'T KNOW BACK THEN
WHEN MY FATHER WAS MURDERED

THAT I KNOW NOW IS THAT,
SEAN HAD STOOD BEHIND

A BIG OAK TREE
IN THE FRONT OF OUR YARD

HOLDING A .22 CALIBER GUN.

IT WAS VERY EARLY
IN THE MORNING.

MOST PEOPLE WERE STILL SLEEPING,
AND NOBODY HEARD THE GUN.

HE WAITED UNTIL MY FATHER

WALKED OUT TO GO TO WORK
AND SHOT HIM ONCE.

HE WENT DOWN AND THEN
SEAN RAN UP TO HIM

AND SHOT FOUR MORE BULLETS
INTO MY FATHER

TO MAKE SURE THAT HE WAS DEAD.

THE POLICE BELIEVED MY STORY...

...BUT NOT EVERYONE ELSE DID.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT WAS WORSE,
TELLING PEOPLE THE TRUTH

OR HAVING THEM
NOT BELIEVE THE TRUTH.

THE MEDIA,

RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING,
WAS RUTHLESS.

CHERYL, CHERYL!

WHY DID YOU
KILL HIM, CHERYL?

ARE YOU DADDY'S
LITTLE GIRL, CHERYL?

WHY'D YOU KILL
YOUR FATHER, CHERYL?

I COULDN'T GO OUT
IN THE PUBLIC ANY MORE.

WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT
TO YOUR OWN FLESH AND BLOOD?

DID YOU DO IT FOR THE MONEY,
CHERYL? ONE STATEMENT.

RIGHT HERE, CHERYL,
TAKE A PICTURE.

DID YOU THINK
ABOUT YOUR MOTHER?

YOU'RE ASKING A 16-YEAR-OLD KID

THAT'S, YOU KNOW, CLEARLY UPSET.

WHY WOULD YOU THINK THAT THAT
WOULD BE OKAY TO SHOUT THAT OUT?

TESTIFYING AT MY TRIAL

WAS ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS

BECAUSE I HAD TO ADMIT
IN FRONT OF A WHOLE ROOM

FULL OF STRANGERS
WHAT HAD HAPPENED.

HE WAS A GOOD, HONEST MAN.

HE WOULD NEVER DO THIS
TO HIS DAUGHTER.

I HAD ALREADY PLEAD GUILTY,

SO THE TRIAL WAS JUST FOR THE
JUDGE TO GIVE ME MY SENTENCE,

WHICH COULD BE ANYTHING
FROM PROBATION TO LIFE.

WE'D LIKE TO CALL
VIRGINIA PIERSON TO THE STAND.

MY GRANDMOTHER KNEW ME.
MY AUNT KNEW ME.

I WAS A GOOD KID,
I GOT GOOD GRADES.

I TOOK CARE OF MY SISTER.

I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY
WERE THINKING THAT I WAS LYING.

WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO SAY THAT
SOMEBODY WAS DOING THAT TO YOU?

THAT'S NOT SOMETHING
YOU WANT TO BRAG ABOUT.

I KNOW MY OWN SON.

HE WOULD NEVER TOUCH
HIS DAUGHTER LIKE THAT.

NEVER.

HE WAS A GOOD MAN.

AND HE DESERVED A LOT
BETTER THAN HE GOT.

DURING THE TRIAL
I WAS OUT ON BAIL,

BUT THERE WAS NO WAY
I COULD STAY

WITH MY AUNT AND GRANDMOTHER.

THANKFULLY, BIG MIKE AND BERTIE,
OUR NEIGHBORS, TOOK ME IN

BUT JOANNE WOULDN'T COME.

MY AUNT AND GRANDMOTHER
BRAINWASHED HER

TO THE POINT SO BAD
THAT SHE WAS AFRAID OF ME.

SHE WROTE THE LETTER
TO THE JUDGE STATING THAT,

YOU KNOW, THAT MY FATHER
WAS A GREAT GUY.

DEAR JUDGE SHERMAN,

THE REASON I'M WRITING YOU

IS TO LET YOU KNOW
THE TRUTH AND NOT LIES.

SOMETIMES, WE WOULD WATCH
TV IN MY FATHER'S ROOM.

SOMETIMES WE WOULD FALL ASLEEP
IN MY FATHER'S BED.

I SAW MY SISTER ALWAYS LAYING
ALL OVER MY FATHER,

AND SOMETIMES SHE WOULD SAY,
"OH, DAD, I LOVE YOU."

AND START HUGGING HIM.

AND ALTHOUGH IT WAS HURTFUL,

I KNEW FROM SO MANY YEARS
OF SURVIVAL

THAT YOU DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO

IN ORDER TO LIVE
WHERE YOU HAVE TO LIVE.

NOT EVERYONE
TESTIFIED AGAINST ME.

SOME PEOPLE SPOKE OUT FOR ME
TO HELP REDUCE MY SENTENCE.

CHERYL WAS IN HER CAR

WITH HER FATHER,
GETTING DROPPED OFF.

I HAD A CLASSMATE WHO TESTIFIED.

I SAW HIM PULL HER
BACK INTO THE CAR.

GET BACK IN HERE!
DON'T YOU EVER LIE TO ME!

AND START PUNCHING HER --
IN THE FACE.

SHE, YOU KNOW,
WENT TO HER PARENTS

AND HER PARENTS TOLD HER

THAT SHE NEEDED TO GO TO THE,
YOU KNOW, SCHOOL COUNSELOR.

AND THE COUNSELOR
TOLD HER, "I'M SORRY.

THERE'S NOTHING WE CAN DO

UNLESS CHERYL TO US
AND TELLS US HERSELF."

YOU KNOW,
PEOPLE DID NOTICE THINGS.

I WAS A CHEERLEADER
AND I WORE SKIRTS, YOU KNOW,

AND YOU COULD SEE MY LEGS
WERE ALL BRUISED.

NONE OF THE TEACHERS
SAID ANYTHING.

NONE OF MY FRIENDS'
PARENTS SAID ANYTHING.

INCEST IS THE MOST SHAMEFUL,
EMBARRASSING, DISGUSTING THING

THAT I THINK ANYBODY
COULD EVER GO THROUGH.

IT'S A SECRET
THAT NOBODY TALKS ABOUT,

AND PEOPLE ARE JUST
EVEN EMBARRASSED TO THINK

THAT THEY THINK
SOMETHING'S GOING ON.

THE WITNESSES
THAT TESTIFIED ON MY BEHALF,

HAD TOLD FAMILY STORIES
THAT I HAD NEVER HEARD OF.

MICHAEL CASSLER
TO THE STAND.

AND SOME OF THE THINGS
THAT THEY WERE SAYING

WAS VERY SHOCKING.

BIG MIKE TESTIFIED
THAT MY GRANDFATHER

CAME TO HIM ONE AFTERNOON.

HE CAME TO MY HOUSE.
HE WAS PRETTY SHAKEN UP.

HE TOLD ME THAT
HE THOUGHT HE HAD

JUST WALKED IN ON JAMES
IN BED WITH CHERYL,

DOING SOMETHING
VERY INAPPROPRIATE,

AND I WAS THE ONE
THAT TALKED HIM

OUT OF BELIEVING
WHAT HE SAW.

I JUST DIDN'T --

I THOUGHT I KNEW JAMES.

WELL, THE DAY OF THE SENTENCING
I REALLY WAS IN A FOG.

JUDGE WAS TRYING TO
MAKE AN EXAMPLE OF ME.

MISS PIERSON,
CAN YOU PLEASE STAND.

I WAS, YOU KNOW, REALLY NERVOUS
AND DIDN'T FEEL WELL

AND FELT LIKE THE ROOM
STARTED SPINNING

AND I -- MY HEART WAS POUNDING.

I COULDN'T BREATHE,
AND I JUST...

THEY WERE RUSHING ME
OUT OF THE COURTROOM,

AND I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW
WHAT THE SENTENCING WAS.

ALLS I REMEMBER SAYING WAS THAT,

"CAN I SAY GOODBYE
TO MY FAMILY"

AND THEY SAID NO.

AND THEN THEY JUST SWEPT ME OUT
AND BROUGHT ME STRAIGHT TO JAIL.

THE SENTENCE WAS
5 YEARS PROBATION

AND 6 MONTHS INCARCERATED.

WHEN I CAME OUT OF JAIL
ON JANUARY 19, 1988 --

I KNOW THAT DATE.

OKAY, I'M JUST GLAD
IT'S OVER, YOU KNOW?

ROB PICKED ME UP
IN A WHITE STRETCH LIMOUSINE

WITH MY BROTHER.

IT WAS THE BEST FEELING
IN THE WORLD,

TO KNOW THAT MY LIFE
WAS JUST BEGINNING NOW.

THIRTY YEARS HAVE PASSED
AND DO I HAVE REGRETS?

THAT'S A HARD QUESTION.

I DO REGRET, SOMETIMES,

NOT BEING ABLE
TO TRUST SOMEBODY ENOUGH

TO TELL THEM,

BUT HOW COULD I TRUST ANYBODY

WHEN THE PERSON THAT I WAS
SUPPOSED TO TRUST THE MOST...

WAS RAPING ME ON A CONTINUOUS
BASIS EVERY DAY?

WHO WAS I SUPPOSED TO TRUST?

SO DO I REGRET IT HAPPENING?

SOME DAYS I DO,

BUT MOST DAYS,
I'M JUST GLAD THAT HE --

THAT HE'S GONE AND THAT
HE'LL NEVER HURT ME AGAIN.

THROUGH IT ALL, THE ONLY PERSON
I COULD TRUST WAS ROB.

THE DAY I GOT OUT OF JAIL,

HE GOT DOWN ON HIS KNEE
AND ASKED

IF I WOULD MAKE HIM
THE HAPPIEST MAN IN THE WORLD

AND BE HIS WIFE.

AND I ABSOLUTELY SAID YES.

THIS OCTOBER WE WILL BE
MARRIED 28 YEARS.

AS LONG AS WE WERE TOGETHER,
WE COULD GET THROUGH ANYTHING.

I JUST WANT
TO SAY THANK YOU

TO ALL THE PEOPLE
THAT SUPPORTED ME.

AND, UM...IT WAS ROUGH,
BUT I MADE IT.

AND THANK YOU.