Lone Witness(10)

By: Rachel Dylan

“I’m Sophie Elizabeth Dawson, and I’m a senior assistant district attorney in the White Collar Crime Unit for Fulton County.”

“And how long have you been a prosecutor?”

“I’m about to start my eighth year.” So far, so good.

“And where were you on the night of October seventh?”

“That’s a broad question.” Sophie couldn’t help but say that, but then she decided it was better to just keep talking. “I left work a little before ten and stopped at the convenience store called Quick-Stop directly off exit twenty on I-85 to get a snack.”

“And you contend that you saw my client, Mr. Ricky Wade, at the Quick-Stop that night?”

“Yes, I do. In fact, I saw the defendant shoot and kill two people.”

Loud murmurs sounded through the audience. Ashley’s green eyes flashed with anger, and a red blotch crept up her pale cheek.

“No further questions at this time.” Ashley turned and walked back to the defense table.

Ashley had probably made the strategic decision that as juicy as it was to catch Sophie off guard and create a dramatic scene, the implication of full testimony now, especially with the media present, could actually work against her client. It appeared Ashley wanted a chance to prepare and gather the facts. Sophie knew that Ashley would seek her revenge during the trial, when the jury was present.

“Do you have anything for this witness at this time, Mr. Hunt?” the judge asked.

“No, Your Honor. I think that’s best left for another time,” Patrick said.

“Ms. Dawson, you can step down, thank you,” the judge said.

Sophie realized she’d been clenching her fists as she exhaled and exited the witness stand. She quickly returned to her seat.

“Your Honor, I believe we have more than sufficient evidence for a probable cause order,” Patrick said.

“Anything else from the defense?”

“No, Your Honor,” Ashley responded.

“Then I agree with the prosecution, and I find that there is probable cause. The defendant will remain in custody.”

Sophie let out a breath. Finding probable cause was pretty much a foregone conclusion, since the bar was set so low, but things had gotten a bit hectic there for a minute, and her head was spinning.

“There’s one more issue to take up, Your Honor,” Ashley said.

“Go on,” the judge responded.

“I’d like to request that my client be kept in isolation.”

“What?” Ricky exclaimed. “I don’t want to be in isolation.”

“Do you need a minute to confer with your client?” the judge asked.

“No. This request is made in my client’s best interest. I believe, given the fact that he is Juan Wade’s brother, that there could be elements inside the prison who would want to do him grave harm.”

“I can take care of myself,” Ricky shot back.

“One second, Your Honor.” Ashley wrapped her arm around Ricky’s shoulder and leaned in. Sophie couldn’t hear anything being said between them, but she could guess. Ashley was the one doing all the talking. Ricky gave a weak nod.

After a few minutes of discussion, Ashley turned her attention back to the judge. “My client is in agreement, and I would like to make my request again.”

“What does the state have to say about this?”

“I don’t have an objection,” Patrick responded.

“Fine. Then Mr. Wade will be kept outside of general population for his own safety.”

“Thank you, Your Honor,” Ashley said.

Once the judge called for the adjournment, Sophie was suddenly surrounded by the press.

“Ms. Dawson, what exactly did you see that night?” a man with a bright red bow tie asked.

A woman stepped right in front of her. “Ms. Dawson, did you know about the defendant’s gang ties before you identified him?”

The questions kept coming, but Sophie kept her mouth shut. After a minute, Patrick showed up at her side and started to usher her out. “Ms. Dawson has no comment at this time,” he yelled over his shoulder.

He held her by the arm and led her out of the courtroom and down the hall. By the time they’d gotten out of the fray, her heartbeat was still thumping loudly.