Tell me your dreams, p.15
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       Tell Me Your Dreams, p.15
 

           Sidney Sheldon
Chapter Fifteen

  SAN Jose had quickly taken on the atmosphere of a carnival town. Media from all over the world were pouring in. Every hotel was booked, and some of the members of the press were forced to take rooms in the outlying towns of Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and Palo Alto. David was besieged by reporters.

  "Mr. Singer, tell us about the case. Are you pleading your client not guilty. . . ?"

  "Are you going to put Ashley Patterson on the stand. . . ?"

  "Is it true that the district attorney was willing to plea-bargain?"

  "Is Dr. Patterson going to testify for his daughter. . . ?"

  "My magazine will pay fifty thousand dollars for an interview with your client. . . "

  * * *

  Mickey Brennan was also pursued by the media.

  "Mr. Brennan, would you say a few words about the trial?"

  Brennan turned and smiled at the television cameras. "Yes. I can sum up the trial in five words. 'We're going to win it. ' No further comment. "

  "Wait! Do you think she's insane. . . ?"

  "Is the state going to ask for the death penalty. . . ?"

  "Did you call it an open-and-shut case. . . ?"

  David rented an office in San Jose close to the court-house, where he could interview his witnesses and prepare them for the trial. He had decided that Sandra would work out of Quiller's office in San Francisco until the trial started. Dr. Salem had arrived in San Jose.

  "I want you to hypnotize Ashley again," David said. "Let's get all the information we can from her and the alters before the trial starts. "

  They met Ashley in a holding room at the county detention center. She was trying hard to conceal her nervousness. To David, she looked like a deer trapped in the headlights of a Juggernaut.

  "Morning, Ashley. You remember Dr. Salem?" Ashley nodded.

  "He's going to hypnotize you again. Will that be all right?"

  Ashley said, "He's going to talk to the. . . the others?"

  "Yes. Do you mind?"

  "No. But I - I don't want to talk to them. "

  "That's all right. You don't have to. "

  "I hate this!" Ashley burst out angrily.

  "I know," David said soothingly. "Don't worry. It's going to be over soon. " He nodded to Dr. Salem.

  "Make yourself comfortable, Ashley. Remember how easy this was. Close your eyes and relax. Just try to clear your mind. Feel your body relaxing. Listen to the sound of my voice. Let everything else go. You're getting very sleepy. Your eyes are getting very heavy. You want to go to sleep. . . . Go to sleep. . . . "

  In ten minutes, she was under. Dr. Salem signaled to David. David walked over to Ashley.

  "I'd like to talk to Alette. Are you in there, Alette?"

  And they watched Ashley's face soften and go through the same transformation they had seen earlier. And then, that soft, mellifluous Italian accent.

  "Buon giorno. "

  "Good morning, Alette. How do you feel?"

  "Male. This is a very difficult time. "

  "It's difficult for all of us," David assured her, "but everything's going to be all right. "

  "I hope so. "

  "Alette, I'd like to ask you a few questions. "

  "Si. . . "

  "Did you know Jim Cleary?"

  "No. "

  "Did you know Richard Melton?"

  "Yes. " There was a deep sadness in her voice. "It was. . . it was terrible what happened to him. "

  David looked over at Dr. Salem. "Yes, it was terrible. When was the last time you saw him?"

  "I visited him in San Francisco. We went to a museum and then had dinner. Before I left, he asked me to go to his apartment with him. "

  "And did you go?"

  "No. I wish I had," Alette said regretfully. "I might have saved his life. " There was a short silence. "We said good-bye, and drove back to Cupertino. "

  "And that was the last time you saw him?"

  "Yes. "

  "Thank you, Alette. "

  David moved closer to Ashley and said, "Toni? Are you there, Toni? I'd like to talk to you. "

  As they watched, Ashley's face went through another remarkable transformation. Her persona changed before their eyes. There was a new assurance, a sexual awareness. She began to sing in that clear, throaty voice:

  "Up and down the city road,

  In and out of the Eagle.

  That's the way the money goes,

  Pop! goes the weasel. "

  She looked at David. "Do you know why I like to sing that song, luv?"

  "No. "

  "Because my mother hated it. She hated me. "

  "Why did she hate you?"

  "Well, we can't ask her now, can we?" Toni laughed.

  "Not where she is. I couldn't do anything right for her. What kind of mother did you have, David?"

  "My mother was a wonderful person. "

  "You're lucky then, aren't you? It's really the luck of the draw, I suppose. God plays games with us, doesn't he?"

  "Do you believe in God? Are you a religious person, Toni?"

  "I don't know. Maybe there's a God. If there is, he has a strange sense of humor, doesn't he? Alette is the religious one. She goes to church regularly, that one. "

  "And do you?"

  Toni gave a short laugh. "Well, if she's there. I'm there. "

  "Toni, do you believe it's right to kill people?"

  "No, of course not. "

  "Then - "

  "Not unless you have to. "

  David and Dr. Salem exchanged a look.

  "What do you mean by that?"

  Her tone of voice changed. She suddenly sounded defensive. "Well, you know, like if you have to protect yourself. If someone's hurting you. " She was getting agitated. "If some git is trying to do dirty things to you. " She was becoming hysterical.

  "Toni - "

  She started sobbing. "Why can't they leave me alone? Why did they have to - ?" She was screaming.

  "Toni - "

  Silence.

  "Toni. . . "

  Nothing.

  Dr. Salem said, "She's gone. I'd like to wake Ashley up. "

  David sighed. "All right. "

  A few minutes later, Ashley was opening her eyes.

  "How do you feel?" David asked.

  "Tired. Did it. . . did it go all right?"

  "Yes. We talked to Alette and Toni. They - "

  "I don't want to know. "

  "All right. Why don't you go rest now, Ashley? I'll be back to see you this afternoon. "

  They watched a female jailer lead her away.

  Dr. Salem said, "You have to put her on the stand, David. That will convince any jury in the world that - "

  "I've given it a lot of thought," David said. "I don't think I can. "

  Dr. Salem looked at him a moment. "Why not?"

  "Brennan, the prosecuting attorney, is a killer. He would tear her apart can't take that chance. "

  David and Sandra were having dinner with the Quillers two days before the preliminaries of the trial were to begin.

  "We've checked into the Wyndham Hotel," David said. "The manager did me a special favor. Sandra's coming down with me. The town is crowded beyond belief. "

  "And if it's that bad now," Emily said, "imagine what it's going to be like when the trial starts. "

  Quiller looked at David. "Anything can do to help?"

  David shook his head. "I have a big decision to make. Whether to put Ashley on the stand or not. "

  "It's a tough call," Jesse Quiller said. "You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. The problem is that Brennan is going to build Ashley Patterson up as a sadistic, murdering monster. If you don't put her on the stand, that's the image the jurors will carry in then-minds when they go into the jury room to reach a verdict. On the other hand, from what you tell me, if you do put Ashley on the stand, Brennan can destroy her. "

&nbs
p; "Brennan's going to have all his medical experts there to discredit multiple personality disorder. "

  "You've got to convince them that it's real. "

  "And I intend to," David said. "Do you know what bothers me, Jesse? The jokes. The latest one going around is that wanted to ask for a change of venue, but decided not to because there are no places left where Ashley hasn't murdered someone. Do you remember when Johnny Carson was on television? He was funny and he always remained a gentleman. Now, the hosts on the late-night shows are all malicious. Then-humor at the expense of other people is savage. "

  "David?"

  "Yes. "

  Jesse Quiller said quietly, "It's going to get worse. "

  David Singer was unable to sleep the night before he was to go into court. He could not stem the negative thoughts swirling through his head. When he finally fell asleep, he heard a voice saying. You let your last client die. What if you let this one die?

  He sat up in bed, bathed in perspiration.

  Sandra opened her eyes. "Are you all right?"

  "Yes. No. What the hell am I doing here? All I had to do was say no to Dr. Patterson. "

  Sandra squeezed his aim and said softly, "Why didn't you?"

  He grunted. "You're right. I couldn't. "

  "All right then. Now, how about getting some sleep so you'll be nice and fresh in the morning?"

  "Great idea. "

  He was awake the rest of the night.

  Judge Williams had been correct about the media. The reporters were relentless. Journalists were swarming in from around the world, avid to cover the story of a beautiful young woman being tried as a serial killer who sexually mutilated her victims.

  The fact that Mickey Brennan was forbidden to bring the names of Jim Cleary or Jean Claude Parent into the trial had been frustrating, but the media had solved the problem for him. Television talk shows, magazines and newspapers all carried lurid stories of the five murders and castrations. Mickey Brennan was pleased.

  When David arrived at the courtroom, the press was out in full force. David was besieged.

  "Mr. Singer, are you still employed by Kincaid, Turner, Rose & Ripley. . . ?"

  "Look this way, Mr. Singer. . . . "

  "Is it true you were fired for taking this case. . . ?"

  "Can you tell us about Helen Woodman? Didn't you handle her murder trial. . . ?"

  "Did Ashley Patterson say why she did it. . . ?"

  "Are you going to put your client on the stand. . . ?"

  "No comment," David said curtly.

  When Mickey Brennan drove up to the courthouse, he was instantly surrounded by the media.

  "Mr. Brennan, how do you think the trial is going to go. . . ?"

  "Have you ever tried an alter ego defense before. . . ?" Brennan smiled genially. "No. I can't wait to talk to all the defendants. " He got the laugh that he wanted. "If there are enough of them, they can have their own ball club. " Another laugh. "I've got to get inside. I don't want to keep any of the defendants waiting. "

  The voir dire started with Judge Williams asking general questions of the potential jurors. When she had finished, it was the defense's turn and then the prosecution's.

  To laymen, the selection of a jury seems simple: Choose the prospective juror who seemed friendly and dismiss the others. In fact, voir dire was a carefully planned ritual. Skilled trial lawyers did not ask direct questions that would bring yes or no answers. They asked general questions that would encourage the jurors to talk and reveal something of themselves and their true feelings.

  Mickey Brennan and David Singer had different agendas. In this case, Brennan wanted a preponderance of men on the jury, men who would be disgusted and shocked at the idea of a woman stabbing and castrating her victims. Brennan's questions were meant to pinpoint people who were traditional in their thinking, who would be less likely to believe in spirits and goblins and people who claimed they were inhabited by alters. David took the opposite approach.

  "Mr. Harris, is it? I'm David Singer. I'm representing the defendant. Have you ever served on a jury before, Mr. Hams?"

  "No. "

  "I appreciate your taking the time and trouble to do this. "

  "It should be interesting, a big murder trial like this. "

  "Yes. I think it will be. "

  "In fact, I've been looking forward to it. "

  "Have you?"

  "Yeah. "

  "Where do you work, Mr. Hams?"

  "At United Steel. "

  "I imagine you and your fellow workers have talked about the Patterson case. "

  "Yes. As a matter of fact, we have. "

  David said, "That's understandable. Everyone seems to be talking about it. What's the general opinion? Do your fellow workers think Ashley Patterson is guilty?"

  "Yeah. I have to say they do. "

  "And do you think so?"

  "Well, it sure looks like it. "

  "But you're willing to listen to the evidence before making up your mind?"

  "Yeah. I'll listen to it. "

  "What do you like to read, Mr. Hams?"

  "I'm not a big reader. I like to camp out and hunt and fish. "

  "An outdoorsman. When you're camping out at night and you look at the stars, do you ever wonder if there are other civilizations up there?"

  "You mean that crazy UFO stuff? I don't believe in all that nonsense. "

  David turned to Judge Williams. "Pass for cause, Your Honor. "

  Another juror interrogation:

  "What do you like to do in your spare time, Mr. Alien?"

  "Well, I like to read and watch television. "

  "I like to do the same things. What do you watch on television?"

  "There's some great shows on Thursday nights. It's hard to choose. The damn networks put all the good shows on at the same time. "

  "You're right. It's a shame. Do you ever watch the X-Files?'

  "Yeah. My kids love it. "

  "What about Sabrina, the Teenage Witch?"

  "Yeah. We watch that. That's a good show. "

  "What do you like to read?"

  "Anne Rice, Stephen King. . . "

  Yes.

  * * *

  Another juror interrogation:

  "What do you like to watch on television, Mr. Mayer?"

  "Sixty Minutes, the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, documentaries. . . "

  "What do you like to read?"

  "Mainly history and political books. "

  "Thank you. "

  No.

  Judge Tessa Williams sat on the bench, listening to the questioning, her face betraying nothing. But David could feel her disapproval every time she looked at him.

  When the last juror was finally selected, the panel consisted of seven men and five women. Brennan glanced at David triumphantly. This is going to be a slaughter.

 
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