Chapter 8 Summary

The eighth chapter opens on Sunday in prison. Harmon writes in his diary that few of the inmates wake up for breakfast on Sunday morning, so there is a lot of food people can eat. He also goes to church, but the service is broken up when two of the inmates start a fight. Harmon details how the guards enter the church but are primarily disinterested in the fight. For them, it is commonplace. However, by now, Harmon is beginning to realize why the prisoners fight—all these men have left is the “little surface things.” The diary entry closes with foreboding for Monday, when the state will bring out their star witnesses.

The first of the two star witnesses is Lorelle Henry, a retired school librarian. She was actually in the drug store while it was being robbed; unlike many of the other witnesses, her past does not discredit her testimony. However, Briggs does his best to defend his client. His strategy is to point out how Henry identified John King. He points out that the police showed her dozens of photos before asking her to identify him from a police lineup. He suggests that she is not remembering what happened so much as she is remembering a face she memorized from photos. However, when Petrocelli asks her final question, she only asks whether Henry is sure that John King is the man that she saw rob the drugstore. Henry says she is sure.

The second star witness is Richard “Bobo” Evans. Unlike Lorelle Henry, Bobo has several serious blemishes on his record. Among other things, he has been arrested for breaking and entering, grand theft auto, and stealing a car radio. Bobo testifies that he and John King planned a “getover” and that they did it. He testifies that John King shot Nesbitt and that after the job (and murder) they went out for fried chicken. His testimony against Steve Harmon seems less powerful. He explains that Harmon was a lookout and that he exited the drugstore without indicating that there were police inside. He goes on to explain that he was arrested when he sold cigarettes to Bolden, who sold them to a “white boy” who went to the police.

Upon cross-examination, Briggs continues his usual strategy of pointing out why Evans would lie. However, O’Brien goes into more detail, questioning whether Harmon was in fact involved. When asked whether he ever talked to Harmon, Evans admits that he did not. When asked what sign Harmon was supposed to give if the store was clear, Evans confesses that he was never told. He was merely told by King that Harmon was to act as a lookout. She goes on to point out that Evans never talked to Harmon after the robbery, nor can Evans testify that any of the stolen money made its way to her client.