Here is a defense attorney opening statement in a murder case. The claim is that the client stabbed her husband when her husband was attacking her, and only after years of abuse. The defense attorney does a good job of using repetition and imagery to draw a picture of the night in question and put the jurors in the position of the defendant.
It was a hell hole in there, in that house, in that house of abuse, of repeated abuse. If only those walls could talk. If those walls could talk they’d show you the anger, the rage of Sheldon Banky. The control that he had over everybody that lived in that house. You didn’t want to disappoint him. You didn’t want to challenge him. The evidence will show exactly what happened when my client did. If those walls could talk they would describe the pain of mental abuse and of physical abuse that Deedee suffered. Get slapped, get punched, get dragged around the house by her hair. This is the victim I’m talking about, Sheldon Banky.
If those walls could talk they would tremble, they would tremble with the fear of Deedee living there with her cousin and her child. Fear of abuse, domestic violence. That’s what this case is really all about. It’s up to you ladies and gentlemen. The facts will show on that day, on that the day that we’re talking about how it came down right there to that house. Deedee was going to work. But guess what? The evidence will show that Deedee makes all the money in that house while Sheldon just gets to sit at home. So Deedee was getting out the door with a big jacket on, walking out to work. Something was said to Sheldon. Something he didn’t agree with. You’re going to hear the testimony of multiple witnesses about what really happened that day.
The evidence is going to show that Deedee made that mistake. She took a little bit of that control away from Sheldon and guess what happened? He almost killed her. He suffocated her to the point where she passed out on the floor. The evidence will show that my client almost died at his hands. Now you’ll hear testimony from her cousin Misa and although he’s tough to understand sometimes, listen closely to his words because he was there. Because guess what he heard first? He heard slapping, screaming and yelling, terror. That was terror. He comes up the stairs from the basement and guess what he sees? And he’ll testify to this. He sees the victim suffocating Deedee. He sees Deedee fall lifeless to the floor. He’s going to testify that he had a knife in his hand but he didn’t know how to open it. Because he thought, and he’ll testify to this, he thought Deedee was dead. That, so what does Sheldon do? He does what happens anytime somebody gets out of line in that house. He turned towards Misa. Well by the grace of God Deedee wasn’t dead. She was able to breathe again and get up. Now this is not a small or big house. This is a small little house. So what does she do? She grabs a knife. Why? Because she doesn’t want to get killed. So what does Sheldon do? Sheldon turns around and you’re going to hear evidence of this. Sheldon grabs Deedee’s hand with the knife in it because he’s much bigger and stronger than her and her abuser. And she’s violated that cardinal rule. Don’t mess with Sheldon. So what she does with one hand being held with the knife here, she grabs a bottle of fish sauce and breaks it on the counter. Evidence will show this. And guess what Sheldon does? He takes his other hand and grabs that hand. The evidence is going to show that this is not a situation where Deedee chases her abuser around the house. That’s not what happened here. He’s got her like this. And the evidence is going to show he continues to beat her up. To beat her up. This is the mother of his child. And so he gets a cut. That’s what happens when you wrestle around with people with knives and broken bottles in their hands. So what does he do? He drags her out into the living room and continues to attack her. Finally it’s all over. This harrowing experience, this hell on Earth, this fear, the fear that you’re about to die starts to calm down a little bit. And guess what? Sheldon calls what you’re going to hear a few times, you’re going to hear these phone calls. Sheldon makes a few phone calls. What a surprise? The evidence is going to show that the abuser doesn’t want to get in trouble for trying to kill his victim so guess what? He blames it on her. That’s absolutely correct that the people are not going to call the victim up. We are. And folks you’re going to hear the real truth. First Deedee had every right to grab that knife. She had every right grab that bottle and break it. Or she could’ve just died. It’s fine. I guess. It was fear. She is a victim of domestic violence. You’re going to hear evidence that not just on that day but over a long span she was abused, punched, kicked. I know I mentioned her being dragged around her house by her hair. It’s a very uncomfortable and demeaning and horrible thing that nobody should go through. So ladies and gentlemen I want all of you to listen to what everybody has to say about the people that were really there and we ask that you find Deedee not guilty of anything. Thank you.