Episode 289, scene 3.

     Lee Webber murder hearing.
     Steven Cord begins the cross-examination of Martin Peyton.

SC:  Mr. Peyton, when the District Attorney asked you if you knew the 
     defendant, you replied that you did.  May I ask you how well you 
     know him?
MP:  I don't wish to quibble Mr. Cord.  I didn't say I knew him. 
     I said I was acquainted with him.
SC:  Then you don't know Lee Webber, personally.
MP:  No.
SC:  Well how was it that you were acquainted with him at all?
MP:  We met once, by accident.
SC:  Have you discussed him with anyone?
MP:  Yes.
SC:  Who?
MP:  Primarily with my grandson.
SC:  That would be the defendant's former employer, Rodney Harrington? 
MP:  Yes.
SC:  What was it that Rodney Harrington told you about the defendant, 
     Mr. Peyton?
JC:  Just a moment, Mr. Cord.  
     Mr. Fowler, don't you have any objections to the introduction of 
     hearsay evidence into the testimony? 
JF:  Not of this nature, your honor.
JC:  Well, in as much as prosecution raises no objections, and this is a 
     preliminary hearing with no jury, you may proceed, Mr. Cord. 
     But please be as expedicious as possible. 

SC:  Would you like me to repeat the question.
MP:  I'm not quite as senile as you may believe, Mr. Cord.
SC:  I'm glad to know that, Mr. Peyton, because a man's life depends upon 
     your ability to recall everything connected with this case.  But 
     than a girl's life once depended on you, too. 
JF:  Your honor.
JC:  Counsel.
SC:  If you recall the question, would you please answer it?
MP:  You asked me to tell you what my grandson told me about Lee Webber. 
     He didn't have to tell me anything.  He just came through the front 
     door one evening, all bloodied and bruised.  He'd had a fight with 
     that savage young simian over there. 
SC:  Did you see that fight?
MP:  Only the results.
SC:  Did you see Lee Webber's face?  Was it bloodied and bruised? 
JC:  Mr. Cord, I consider this whole area irrelevant to the issue before 
     this court. 
SC:  Your honor.
JC:  In a hearing of this nature it is the posture of this court to give 
     the defense a wide latitude.  But you have gone far beyond the 
     boundaries established on direct examination of the witness, Mr. 
SC:  [Rises]  Your honor, this witness's testimony under direct 
     examination was motivated entirely by a desperate effort to make 
     sure the blame for Ann Howard's death was laid as far away from his 
     own doorstep as possible. 
JC:  This court has observed nothing desperate in the witness's 
     testimony, Mr. Cord.  And I submit to you that his remarks may have 
     been motivated by the district attorney since they were so 
     solicited by him. 
SC:  But, your honor.  The witness admits having no personal contact
     at all with the defendant.  And yet it is obvious by the tone of his 
     remarks that he considers him expendable. 
JC:  Mr. Cord.
SC:  Someone he would allow to stand in his own place and receive a death 
JC:  Mr. Cord, your remarks are entirely out of line.
MP:  Huh.  Huh.  Well, that's all right, your honor.  The boy was always 
     prone to petulence. 
JF:  Mr. Cord, I am aware of a certain emotional involvement in this 
     particular case.  But I must ask you to remember that you are an 
     officer of this court.  And if you can not act like an officer of 
     this court, then you would be better off, and your client would be 
     better off if you were to withdraw from this case. 

JF:  Mr. Cord.  Mr. Cord, are you finished with the witness?
SC:  No, your honor, I am not finished with the witness.

     [Mood music]

SC:  Mr. Peyton, you testified that Mrs. Cord has been in your employ for
     some 30 years.  Is that correct?
MP:  Yes.
SC:  In what capacity has she served you?
MP:  I retained Mrs. Cord first, as my housekeeper.
SC:  Is this the only role she has played for you?
JF:  Objection, your honor.
MP:  I'll answer that your honor, though it is a rather insolent question 
     for a son to ask about his own mother.  Mrs. Cord is a very 
     intelligent, capable woman.  Since those first years, I have made 
     her my personal secretary and confidant.  Put her in charge of my 
     private and personal affairs. 
SC:  I wonder if you will be as willing to answer this, Mr. Peyton.
     Under what conditions did Mrs. Cord first become your employee?
JF:  [Rises]   Irrelevant and immaterial, your honor. 
SC:  Your honor, I have cause to believe that the relationship between 
     the witness and Mrs. Hannah Cord bears a dirct relevancy on the 
     cause of death.  I intend to tie the two together before i'm 
     through.  But for the moment, I'll withdraw the question. 

     [Change of voice, bad edit.]

SC:  Now Mr. Peyton, you testified that Mrs. Cord served you as a 
     quote, dependable, reliable employee.  Unquote.
MP:  That's correct.

     [Police Sct. William Wilson Walker comes in the courtroom
     and whispers something to Dr. Rossi.]

SC:  One you could depend on.  One you could rely on.
     [Rossi gets up and leaves.]
MP:  Really, Steven, hassling does not become you.
SC:  You also testified to the effect that Mrs. Cord has a quote, stable 
MP:  You haven't forgotten anything, have you, Steven?
SC:  Not for 28 years.
MP:  Except perhaps where we are right now.
JC:  Mr. Peyton.  This court is fully aware of the peculiar relationship 
     that exists between the witness and counsel for the defense.  But 
     please, gentlemen, confine yourselves to the matters of interest to 
     this court. 
MP:  Yes, your honor.

MP:  Steven, would you like someone to read your last comment back to 
     you, or whatever they do here?
JC:  Mr. Peyton.
MP:  I am sorry, your honor.  I was just thinking, that when I put this 
     boy through law school, I was hoping he would come out with a little 
     more poise.  A little more professional manner about him.  But I 
     believe you were asking me about your mother's character. 
SC:  You said she was stable.  Didn't you mean rigid?
MP:  Steven, you grew up at my knee.  You know that I never select a word 
     unless I'm sure it is most appropriate.  I meant stable. 

SC:  In the 30 years Mrs. Cord has been in your employ, have you ever seen
     her break into a violent rage?
MP:  Oh no.
SC:  Have you ever seen her laugh convulsively.
MP:  No.
SC:  Weep profusely?
MP:  Huh, are you trying to trap me into a contradiction.  Would you like 
     to suggest that I didn't see the re-union between Mrs. Cord and Ann 
     Howard?  That I didn't see them weeping? 

SC:  Then they were crying.
MP:  That's what I said.

SC:  You said, eyes were red, handkerchiefs were wet.  The rug was damp 
     with maudlin tears of mohter and daughter.  There had been tears.  
     Lots of tears. 
MP:  Yes.  Yes, that's right. 
SC:  All this from a woman you described as stable.  From a woman you 
     have never seen run the full gamut of emotions in the 30 years 
     you've lived in the same house with her?  Wouldn't you say, Mr. 
     Peyton, that if Hannah Cord was moved to tears, quote, lots of tears 
     standing on a, quote, rug that was damp with tears.  That this was a 
     highly traumatic moment maybe even the most disturbing moment in her 
     entire life and the life of her daughter, Ann Howard? 

MP:  You always tended to make a mountain out of a mole hill, Steven. 
SC:  And you have always minimized the importance of anything you didn't 
     want inspected. 

JC:  Gentlemen.
SC:  We're going to inspect this, Mr. Peyton.
     We're going to inspect all of it.
MP:  Don't you mean wash it, Steven.  And hang it out in the middle of 
     the square to dry? 
JC:  Gentlemen.  Mr. Cord, if you continue this unprofessional conduct,  
     I shall be forced to find you in contempt. 

SC:  I'm sorry, your honor.
JF:  Your honor, if the counsel for the defense would like a recess . . .
SC:  I'm all right, counselor.  Thank you.

SC:  You testified on the day of this re-union of mother and 
     daughter, the day Ann died, she had come to your house to see Mrs. 
     Cord.  Is that right?
MP:  Yes.
SC:  How did you know that was her purpose?
MP:  Mrs. Cord told me.
SC:  When?
MP:  After Ann Howard had gone.
SC:  Then you didn't talk to Ann?
MP:  No.
SC:  But you sat there and testified quote that in your opinion Ann was not 
     emotionally disturbed.  Well if you had no communication with her at 
     all, then what were you basing your opinion on? 
MP:  On what I saw.
SC:  On what you saw?
     Well you just impressed on me the fact that you always select the 
     most appropriate word to describe something, Mr. Peyton.  Now why 
     is it you use the word saw and not heard. 

MP:  Well, I, I uh . . . 
SC:  Exactly.  
     How much of the conversation did you hear between Mrs. Cord and Ann 
MP:  Well enough to know that it was two hysterical women enjoying an 
     hysterical re-union 
SC:  Did you say hysterical?
MP:  Well, it was a figure of speech.
SC:  Again a figure of speech you selected, Mr. Peyton.
     Does that accurately describe the encounter between Ann Howard and 
     Mrs. Cord?
MP:  Not as well as it describes your conduct in this court.
SC:  Where were you when the two women began their conversation?
MP:  In my room.
SC:  On the second floor on the opposite side of the house?
MP:  Now, surely you haven't forgotten where my room is, Steven.  You 
     used to come up with a newspaper every evening, when you were a 
     little lad.  Don't you remember? 
SC:  On the opposite side of the house up by the stairs, while they were 
MP:  Most of the time, yes.
SC:  Where else were you?
MP:  In the entry hall.
SC:  Coming down the stairs?
MP:  Steven, you were the only person who ever used the bannister.  Ha.  
SC:  Is this all so funny to you, Mr. Peyton?  Is it all some kind of 
     elaborate joke?  My sister is dead.  A sister I didn't even know 
     until the day she died.  Because you kept us apart all of our lives. 
     And now the state is considering taking another man's life away from 
     him and you sit there like this is some kind of business routine. 

JC:  Mr. Cord, I have warned you of the consequences if you can not 
     control your emotions.
SC:  Your honor, I am trying to establish the possibility of someone 
     other than the defendant being responsible for Ann Howard's death.
     Someone in this man's house.  Now I believe that Ann was driven to 
     take her own life.  And I don't see anything humorous in the 
MP:  What more does he want, your honor?  I have already testified that 
     in my opinion that confrontation between Mrs. Cord and Ann Howard 
     was of relatively minor importance. 
SC:  Relative to what, Mr. Peyton.  The monumental lie you made her live 
     all her life?  The cruelty you inflicted on her because you never 
     allowed her to know the truth. 
JF:  Your honor, I object.  The witness is not on trial here.
SC:  He should be.  That re-union of minor importance was the trigger 
     that caused Ann to take her own life.  He put a loaded gun in her 
     hand the day she was born.  The day he and my mother sent her from 
     his house.  The girl believing a lie.  A lie, just like the one I had 
     to believe all those years. 
JC:  Mr. Cord. 
SC:  We never knew anything but lies.
JC:  Bailiff.
SC:  Even now in a court of law, he lies.
JC:  Mr. Cord.
SC:  You never told the truth.  Even when you knew it.  If you told Ann 
     the truth, she wouldn't be dead now. 
MP:  You don't care if your sister's dead.  It's all a masquerade, 
JC:  Mr. Peyton.  
MP:  If you cared, you'd never would have touched this case with 
     a ten foot pole. 
SC:  You have no soul.
MP:  Soul.  What a word for you to use.  You're defending a man who 
     murdered your own sister. 
LW:  [jumping up] I didn't murder anybody.
MP:  Where is your soul?
JC:  Sit down Mr. Webber.
JC:  Mr. Cord.  You have had sufficient warning.  I hereby find you in 
     contempt of court and fine you the sum of $500.  You will come to my 
     chambers, immediately.  Mr. Peyton, you may step down.

JC:  This session is now adjourned.

     [Peyton smiles.]

B:   To the judge's chambers, Mr. Cord.

     [End of scene]

Ralph, the Bailiff-Gino de Agustino.

Episode 289, scene 3          HOME