By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Never heard a word about fencepost concrete.
Gotta ask yourself why that is.
(That was JORDY :) )
After the jury went into deliberations, Monkman and McCallie delayed their flight, hoping to see a verdict. No luck. The jury was still deliberating when they left on November 5.
They had one last surprise: The night before they left, Gloria Allred called their hotel room and offered to take them to dinner. They agreed immediately.
Over Chinese, Allred talked about her work, asked them about their lives, and drilled them about their reaction to various pieces of evidence. The restaurant grew quiet and empty, but still the women kept talking. Monkman was afraid to mention the time for fear of breaking the spell.
They closed the place down.
One week later, the jury found Scott Peterson guilty.
One month after that, the jury recommended the death penalty.
Ever since the trials of her sister's murderers, Kathy Monkman has grown accustomed to sinking into depression as each court case wraps. The Peterson case, which was such an exhilarating ride, could have been even worse of a letdown.
But something happened, something that jerked Monkman away from Peterson and back to the case she'd been trying not to wallow in for 16 years.
Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states may not execute mentally retarded inmates. The Apelts' attorneys claim both brothers have low enough IQs to qualify. It's probably their best chance yet for a reprieve. Rudi Apelt's lawyer, Dale Baich, puts his odds at 50-50.
Cathy Hughes, the deputy county attorney who prosecuted the case, has become good friends with Monkman. She remains convinced that the brothers are not retarded. But Baich says Rudi Apelt has an IQ test that precedes his conviction, and both brothers are now appealing their sentences based on the Supreme Court ruling.
Monkman had resisted getting involved. It was, as she'd told Sharon Rocha that day outside the Redwood City courthouse, her way of claiming control: "I'd thought, 'They took her life, but they're not taking mine!'"
But then, a few weeks before Christmas, a visitor from the federal public defender's office knocked on Monkman's door. Confused, Monkman let her in. It took a few minutes to realize the woman wanted her support for knocking down the Apelts' death sentences.
"It's two weeks before the anniversary of my sister's death," she cried. "Do you realize you're asking me to have sympathy for someone who slit my sister's throat?"
It felt wildly intrusive. And Monkman, invigorated by her experiences in Redwood City, was not about to take it quietly. She kicked the public defender out of her home. Then she called Hughes, who told her that the visit may have broken the law. "A victim has the right not to be contacted," Hughes explains.
Hughes put Monkman in touch with the Crime Victims' Legal Assistance Project. That group, based in Tempe, hopes to use her case to set a legal precedent for federal victims' rights, says executive director Keli Luther.
Monkman is only too eager to help. "When I sat there for my sister's trial, people looked at me and saw her," she says. "And now I want people to look at my face and see victims' families.
"I am happy to play that role. I am happy to be the face of that."
Judge Alfred Delucchi won't officially decide on Scott Peterson's sentence until February 25, but even Court TV has left Redwood City. In mid-December, it switched over to the Robert Blake case.
"People are pissed about it," Monkman reports. Even though the judge will probably just rubber-stamp the jury's death sentence, "they still want to talk about Scott Peterson."
Monkman and McCallie are sitting at 3 Margaritas, a sunny Mexican eatery in Tempe. They are certainly still talking about Scott Peterson. Monkman's new laptop is on, and she and McCallie are sorting through their photos. There's one with Beth Karas. There's Gloria Allred.
It's hard to think about moving on, although both women know they will.
"I'm not going to seek another trial out, but if one captures my interest . . . ," Monkman says.
McCallie mentions Mark Hacking, the Salt Lake City man accused of killing his wife and dumping her body in a landfill.
"I hear there are no cameras in Utah," Monkman says. The wheels are turning. She turns to McCallie, eyes widening. "And it'll be a nice place to visit."
McCallie smiles her agreement.
The next adventure is already beginning.
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