Study Guide

Snow Falling on Cedars Chapter 19

By David Guterson

Chapter 19

  • We pick up in the present on the second day of the trial, which is December 7 (Pearl Harbor Day—forget snow and fog, the air is getting a little thick with irony and symbolism). Apparently the jurors are pretty unhappy after having spent a cold night at the hotel.
  • The prosecution is still making its case, and Dr. Sterling Whitman takes the stand. He is the hematologist who analyzed the blood evidence from the gaff. His analysis indicated that the blood on the gaff was Carl Heine's blood type (and not Kabuo Miyamoto's). Uh-oh...
  • Nels Gudmundsson then cross-examines Whitman, trying to poke some holes in the prosecution's contention that the blood evidence necessarily points to his client.
  • Then, Vance Cope, Dale Middleton, and Leonard George testify that they saw Miyamoto in the vicinity of Carl's boat.
  • On cross-examination, Leonard George asks Nels to explain if, or when, one fisherman might board another's boat. George says that it only happens in cases of emergency.
  • Then, the prosecution calls Sergeant Victor Maples. He had been responsible for training Kabuo Miyamoto in hand-to-hand combat during World War II.
  • Maples's testimony revealed that Kabuo had already honed some serious skillz in this arena, thanks to his kendo training. In fact, Kabuo had ended up training Victor in kendo.
  • Victor has apparently decided to thank him by telling the court he totally thought Kabuo was capable of murdering someone in the manner the prosecution had suggested. That's quite a thank you.