It was not explained, but from my learning, I knew that the Prosecution would first attempt to prove his case and then the Defense would have his turn. This pattern began in opening statements and would continue throughout the trial.
Theresa Derringer, the sole witness for the prosecution, was called into the court room and sworn in.
Theresa Derringer was a young short petite attractive woman with a reserved personality, and broad measured gesticulations.
She was asked to state for the record, her name, spell her last name, and give her occupation.
Theresa was a hospice nurse whose duties involved helping visit elderly people in their homes.
Mr. Smith then asked Theresa to describe what happened, in detail on the Morning of February 21st, 2007.
“It was a dark morning at about 6:00 a.m. and I was talking to my mother on my cell phone.
“When I arrived at my mother’s house, I parked in the driveway, on the left. I always parked on the left side and my mom always parks on the right.
“Can you describe the layout for us?”
Theresa described the layout beautifully. The driveway was settled to the right of the house and there was a walkway leading left to the front door.
At a pause as Theresa turned inward for recollection Smith prompted her, “Did you see Gabriel Jackson waiting for you?”
“Yes,” Theresa continued, “He was standing at the front door, and when I was getting out of the car he walked up to the front of my car.
“He pulled out his gun from his front jacket,” Theresa explained and as she did so she gestured with her hand, mimicking the motion, “And he pointed the gun, like this at my head.”
She held her hand in front of her with the hand cocked to the side like a punk or criminal would loft a pistol sideways.
“And then he put his other hand up like this, behind the gun!”
She held her other palm adjacent to the gun wielding fist, with the thumb and flat of the hand touching.
There were some clarification and repeated questions regarding the distance between the two, there weren’t more than five feet separating the two (but I had already gathered that) and Theresa again described how the gun had been retrieved and held. She carefully then explained that Gabriel accosted her verbally by stating “You disrespected mine!”
Theresa, being Jamaican thought it important to translate for the jury, that in her dialect this meant, “You have disrespected me.”
Shocked, Mr. Smith asked, “What did you do next?”
“I pleaded for my life with him! I told him that he would be caught and sent to jail. That my momma was on the other line listening.”
Through Mr. Smith’s promptings, Theresa was asked how long she had stood there pleasing with Gabriel Jackson for her life.
“At least five seconds.”
“And then what happened?”
“He slapped my cell phone out of my hands and it flew into the street. Then my step-dad and mom come screaming out o’ the house. That was when Gabriel Jackson ran to his car, it was parked under the tree up front, like he always does, and drove off.”
The prosecutor turned to the judge, “No further questions.”
It was Mr. Jones turn.
“What happened AFTER Gabriel left?”
The daughter, mother, and father-in-law returned inside the home.
“Did you call the police?”
“No, my mom told me not to. Gabriel Jackson was paying rent on a room and momma didn’t want to lose the income.”
“How much rent was being paid?”
“He pay the water and electricity.”
The day continued to be laid out. No the police were not called. Theresa, once inside and with her parents felt safe from Gabriel Jackson.
How did they know each other? Gabriel was renting from her mother as he was sorting out a failing marriage, and Theresa was living at home after a failed relationship.
They began “dating.” (The term ‘dating’ was euphemistically used throught the trial, but it was implied that Gabriel and Theresa were engaged in a sexual relationship).
Within an hour of the incident, Theresa walked her young son to the bus stop and then returned home.
“Alone?” Mr. Jones demanded melodramatically, voice dripping with incredulity.
Yes, that’s exactly what Theresa did. Then followed a nap.
“After your very life was threatened?” Mr. Jones interrupted. I mentally shrugged. After an exhausting eight hour shift and following an adrenal crash, I’d be up for a nap too!
Next, that following afternoon, Mr. Jones prompted to Theresa to describe the fact that she attended a mortgage closing where she had purchased a new home. One in which she still lives in.
It was explained that she continued to live with her mother, during the transition of her move along with Gabriel Jackson.
For a week after the incident the two shared residence in the mother’s home.
“Did Gabriel Jackson drive the U-Haul on your moving day?”
“I don’t know.” Theresa replied.
“But he did help with the move?”
Why would Theresa allow the man who had threatened her life into her new home with her son?
Gabriel Jackson had apologized to her earlier, claiming that he’d been “demon possessed” at the time. Theresa tried to explain the specifics of this Jamaican religion, but it was struck down as second hand knowledge.
Next was a line of questions as to why she waited twenty eight days to report this incident?
She indicated that she had waited till after receiving a second threat . . .
This too was stricken from the record.
Next a picture was entered into evidence. It was a picture of Gabriel Jackson, standing in a back yard next to a wood fence, holding a nickel plated Colt Model 1911 .45 cal ACP pistol, in front of his chest.
It was a typical vanity picture of a firearm by a proud firearm owner.
In questioning, it was established that Theresa had been the one to take the picture and that this was the weapon in question used in the assault.
“You stated that you were a hospice nurse?” Jones asked and Theresa responded in the affirmative.
“Are you familiar with firearms?” to which Theresa replied in the negative. More melodramatic disbelief from Mr. Jones.
“So your knowledge with firearms doesn’t extend beyond your last name,” Jones asked with an attempt at humor that was lost on Theresa.
“How could a nurse be unfamiliar with firearms?”
Theresa pointed out that her occupation dealt with elderly people, not weapons.
Further, Mr. Jones asked about a deposition. In it Theresa had claimed that Gabriel had pointed a rifle at her as opposed to a pistol?
Theresa patiently explained that both words meant “gun” to her and she felt comfortable interchanging the terms.
“Can you tell the difference between a pistol and a rifle?”
“When I see ‘em on TV.”
The defense attorney replied with stunned silence.
Hey, I get it. She’s clueless when it comes to guns!
Theresa was grilled on her mortgage and her income. It was discovered that Theresa’s total monthly income was only $200 greater than her mortgage payment. It was clear that she wasn’t able to financially afford this new home. Was she expecting Gabriel to be that financial support?
Theresa denied this assertion and it was also discovered that Theresa was engaged to another undisclosed man and pregnant with her child.
I hadn’t noticed during the swearing in, but indeed, Theresa was seven to eight months pregnant, with conception likely sometime early in January.
With this presented the Prosecutor rested his case.