By Marc Klaas
Finally, the evidence presented and arguments made, the fate of Polly's killer is in the hands of twelve citizens, exercising their constitutional duty to sit in judgment. The maneuvers, feigns, and tactical ploys are words in transcript. Points of order and end runs around reason echo silently in the empty courtroom. There are no more excuses or delays, only the interminable wait for the last word.
Barry Collins is no Clarence Darrow and he leads no dream team. His final argument is brief, threadbare, skeletal, reflecting his lack of a coherent defense for an admitted baby killer, a monster beyond redemption. Collins submits that the prosecution used the testimony of Dr. Park Dietz and the resources of the FBI to tailor theories that answer the question of why this crime was committed. He argues that not only is his client's history one of burglary and not sexual assault, but the killer has been relatively clean for twenty years. There is no proof of molestation, only theory. The witnesses who saw the killer in Petaluma in the months, weeks and days prior to the crime are liars or mistaken. In fact, the killer is a model prisoner, is cooperative with law enforcement, therefore his statements to Mike Meese must be the truth. The presentation is noteworthy not for the points raised, but instead for facts left unsaid. Mr. Collins is trying to finish the race, but he has no legs.
Given only twenty-five minutes to prepare, Greg Jacobs delivers his rebuttal like a Southern Baptist preacher. Gone was the nervousness of the previous day. Gone too, was the dry, dispassionate recitation of facts and evidence. Instead, a father concerned about the safety of his own daughter answered the call of a higher order and allowed the music to explode from his soul and find voice in passion and reason.
Looking directly at the jury and rarely glancing at his yellow notepad, the assured staccato voice of the prosecutor drove home point after point after point. "The defense claims that we constructed theories tailored to our case using the testimony of Dr. Dietz and the resources of the FBI. If this were true, Mr. Collins would have found an expert to counter their testimony. He did not do so, because his client is guilty. Mr. Collins claims that his client's criminal profile is that of a burglar, but the crime against Francis Mays twenty years ago is so much like this case. Mr. Collins doesn't want you to remember the painful facts in this case, because his client is guilty." Amen, brother Jacobs: Tell me what I need to hear.
Mr. Collins again admitted that the only point of contention is the lewd act against a child. Again, I ask: What is more lewd than entering a child's bedroom with pre-cut strips from a women's negligee, tying up and terrorizing a trio of twelve year old girls, kidnapping and murdering one of them? A rhetorical question perhaps, but one that needs defining.
There are no more words to be spoken. The fate of the killer rests on the shoulders of the jury. Regardless of the verdict, the truth is clear. The beast who spent most of the his life in a place where he could not victimize innocent citizens is guilty of heinous crimes against a little girl who had great gifts to offer humanity. And, that is the last word.
KlaasKids Foundation P.O. Box 925, Sausalito, CA 94966
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