By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
I went to watch the closing arguments. I expected the fourth-floor courtroom would be so packed with the curious that it would be impossible to find a seat. Not so. I counted only 15 spectators gathered in the building's largest courtroom at 9:30 a.m., the time scheduled for the start of the proceedings.
Several minutes later, a court bailiff ushered the jury members to their seats. Only because of the trouble in seating a jury for the O.J. Simpson case, I noted the racial makeup. The man accused of murdering television star Bob Crane, hero of the long-running Hogan's Heroes, would be tried by one black juror and 11 whites.
Deputy prosecutor Robert Shutts delivered the closing argument for the state. Shutts was very organized. He had neatly designed charts to place upon his easel to explain his case to the jury. His speech was well-organized, though delivered without apparent passion.
"Cowardly acts committed in the dead of night seldom have any witnesses," Shutts said, almost matter-of-factly. It was as though he were making a move on a chess board. What he was really doing was sending a subliminal message to the jury that the prosecution had no hard evidence against Carpenter.
Steve Avilla, the deputy public defender, charged the prosecutors with trying to prejudice the case with testimony and exhibits that emphasized only "sex, sex, sex."
Avilla was right. After weeks of testimony, jurors took only days to find Carpenter not guilty.
Avilla might have gone even further in his arguments, but that wouldn't have been politic. Avilla might have asked the question on the minds of all those spectators who displayed such vast indifference by boycotting the trial:
"Who cares who killed Bob Crane? After all, he got what he so richly deserved.
I care so what if 1 day or 100 years go by a murder is a murder and people can live longer then that! So we don't need potential murders out there living among us waiting to Commit another one on again!
@nomoregas Well said. Carpenter most certainly was guilty but the jury weren't impressed with the prosecutor's presentation with far too much emphasis on Crane and Carpenter's obsession with the filming of their many sexual exploits with women. Carpenter died in the 1990's but until then he'd got away with a truly vicious crime. See the crime scene photos on YouTube and you WILL CARE. If it had happened today DNA evidence would have nailed him for sure. The treatment of the crime scene by the cops was pathetically amateurish many of them trampled all over the evidence before any could be collected. Buffoons !