Mock Trial: Miss Emily Innocent of Homer's MurderHow can I prove that Miss Emily did not murder Homer? My class is doing a mock murder trial. We are proposing that the body is found before Miss...

Mock Trial: Miss Emily Innocent of Homer's Murder

How can I prove that Miss Emily did not murder Homer? 

My class is doing a mock murder trial. We are proposing that the body is found before Miss Emily's death and I have the role of defence Attorney. I have to try and keep Miss Emily from being convicted for murder.

Expert Answers
amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is the evidence of the men's toiletry set with Homer's initials engraved on it as well as the spot in her bedroom where he hung his pants and coat.  It is obvious that he was living in Miss Emily's home, and there is no way that would happen in the south during this time period without plans to marry. 

Perhaps he died of a heart attack or other means of natural death.  There is no proof that he didn't... :)  Miss Emily may very well have had rats, and there is no forensic evidence that shows his hair or bone tissue contained traces of arsenic.

You don't need to prove that Miss Emily didn't kill Homer as much as you need to put doubt in the minds of the jury that it is possible he died in some other manner.  There is nothing to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that she did it.  The gray hair on the pillow next to his only proves that she slept in the bed with anyone might do if he/she were in love with the person who once was the corpse.

Think of the points you would make if you were the prosecuting attorney, and then counter them.  One point you can make is that she was a truly gentile southern lady.  The prosecution will use this as evidence against her to suggest Emily killed Homer to protect her reputation.  You can use it to counter by saying because she was a truly gentile southern lady, murder is simply out of the question.  It is too base, too beneath her status.

Good Luck! 

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

How about the "innocent" narrator, who claims to be reflecting on all of this in flashbacks, implicating the whole town as being complicit in a passive-aggressive way of her death?  Maybe he isn't quite as shocked as he pretends to be!

And Homer himself was quite the loudmouth, apparently, and the center of attention.  Perhaps he swindled someone in town and paid the price. 

I agree with Amy that the need is to raise doubt, not erase it.

And, as to Tobe,  maybe he and Emily were closer than Southern society would allow.  They live together alone for years and years.  As Jeff points out, he takes off after the murder.  Perhaps love and jealousy compelled him to kill his rival.. 

jeff-hauge eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, you are going to lose, but let's try anyway. There is Tobe. Homer Baron was seen nearly every day yelling at his black work crew using harsh, racially-driven language. He took off as soon as Emily died. That looks suspicious. Maybe he was distraught that a yankee would be no different than what he was used to.

Perhaps Homer drank the poison in a mistake. He did like to drink and maybe he mixed himself an arsenic and tonic.

..none of this explains the iron gray hair though.

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A Rose for Emily

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