Study Guide

Monster Chapter 6

By Walter Dean Myers

Chapter 6

The Trial/ Screenplay

  • While everybody waits for the stenographer to get the right power cord (oh, technology), the court officers, judge, and O'Brien chat about termites. Yup—termites.
  • Petrocelli casually asks if she can do the crime scene affidavit. The judge and Briggs give it the thumbs up, and then they crack some jokes about a detective with hemorrhoids.
  • Finally the trial gets started again, beginning with Detective Karyl taking the stand. He says the crime scene was not pretty.
  • Another flashback follows, this time to the scene of the crime:
  • Jose Delgado keeps glancing away at something as he talks to Detective Karyl (there is no sound in the film version).
  • And just like that, we zoom back to the present.
  • Petrocelli asks if Karyl took pictures at the crime scene., but Karyl says the crime-scene photographer did.
  • Petrocelli shows the gruesome shots to O'Brien before questioning the story out of Karyl.
  • Karyl's story goes like this: He arrived, called EMT as standard procedure, saw the cash register open, asked Delgado if anything was missing, looked for clues, and came up empty.
  • Petrocelli asks how he ended up with suspects, then, and Karyl says he interviewed people he thought might be involved, got a tip from Zinzi, followed the tip to Bolden, and finally found Bobo and King.
  • Time for another flashback, folks:
  • Steve, Detective Karyl, and Detective Williams sit at a table in the police office.
  • Karyl says others are blaming Steve for pulling the trigger at the crime scene, an accusation Steve denies.
  • Karyl persists, telling him he probably didn't want to leave witnesses.
  • Williams calls Karyl's bluff, and asks why they are even dealing with Steve when the case is already good to go.
  • "The DA is thinking death penalty" (6.51), Karyl responds.
  • Williams disagrees; he thinks he's probably only looking at life without parole or a plea deal.
  • Karyl thinks the judge might go to death penalty if they fight hard enough, but Williams points out that Steve is only sixteen, so they can't kill him
  • Karyl tells Williams not to be such a downer. He's such a softie… not.
  • Steve's film enters a dream within a dream—think Inception—and Steve imagines himself being brought to The Chair.
  • He is, needless to say, completely terrified.
  • And now we're back in the courtroom. Hello, courtroom.
  • Briggs is ready for his cross-examination, and he hounds Karyl on the investigation. Did he even really investigate, or did he just "run to [his] stoolies" (6.63) for tattle time?
  • Karyl claims he checks out every story and makes a thorough investigation; there were just no clear fingerprints at the crime scene this time.
  • The camera moves back to the jail, where we find ourselves in another flashback:
  • Steve and an older prisoner have a convo as the older dude does his business (yes, that kind of business… potty business).
  • The old dude tells it like it is: "You do the crime, you do the time" (6.77), he says. To him, it doesn't matter how old you are or how much your life is worth to you—as far as he can tell, "the man" doesn't care.
  • Another inmate pipes up in Steve's defense. What if he's innocent? this other guy asks, prompting Steve to assert that he is innocent. The old dude claims they'll still lock him up.
  • Another prisoner throws in his two cents: What Steve says doesn't matter—the jury decides his innocence, not him.
  • And now we hop back over to the courtroom, where Steve and O'Brien talk in a waiting room.
  • Steve wants the skinny on the trial and asks O'Brien how well it's going. She basically says, Meh, and he asks why.
  • O'Brien tells him she needs to work harder to prove Steve's innocent. She says innocent until proven guilty means diddley squat when jurors already have their minds made up.
  • But why would the jurors already have their minds made up?
  • Because Steve's young, black, and on trial, which means that unless the defense can prove his innocence or prove that the prosecution has made a mistake, the default outcome for his case will be conviction. Instead of innocent until proven guilty, for a young black man on trial, it's more like guilty until proven innocent.
  • O'Brien asks Steve what he knows about Osvaldo Cruz, the next witness.
  • Instead of giving a straight up answer, though, we get another flashback:
  • Steve's hangin' on the stoop with Osvaldo and Freddy Alou (another tough dude).
  • Osvaldo gives Steve a hard time and calls him names, saying that if Steve tries to do anything about it, he'll tattle to his gang, the Diablos.
  • Steve tells him he'll kick his patootie. Osvaldo tries egging him on, but Freddy warns him that Steve's got some baddie friends.
  • Osvaldo keeps dissing Steve, and says he has no friends. He claims Steve'll always be "a lame," because he'll skedaddle "when the deal goes down" (6.107).
  • And we're back in the courtroom again…
  • Osvaldo takes the stand and talks quietly and nervously about how scared he was of Bobo—that Bobo threatened to cut him up if he didn't help out with the getaway.
  • Petrocelli asks his age: Fourteen. She asks if he knows King and Steve: Yup; he identifies them.
  • Was he afraid of Bobo? Yup. How about King?
  • The defense lawyers object—Petrocelli is leading, they say.
  • So Petrocelli rephrases. She asks why Cruz got involved in the robbery, and he says it was because he was afraid of Bobo, James King, and Steve Harmon.
  • Hmm… sounds fishy. Remember the last flashback?
  • The judge calls it quits for the day, and Osvaldo glances at Steve on his way out.