Final arguments are supposed to be final. Phil Weidner had taken some of the air out of that notion, with his last minute attempt to puncture the balloon of justice. But as they say in the entertainment biz, the show must go on. Ever creative, Weidner sought a mistrial because of two firearms. First off, he didn’t think they should be in evidence. Letting Larry Demmert, Jr. comment about them? No. Can’t happen.
That was all smoke and no mirrors. There was nothing earth shattering about those two firearms. No one could prove either of them were the murder weapon.
It was the prosecution that got the big prize for temerity. There were things — provocative things — that Phillip Weidner was fond of repeating. Sixty three things, as a matter of fact.
Mary Anne Henry wanted none of that.
No comment about witnesses who weren’t called in both trials. That put the ever-troublesome Jim Robinson into the trash heap of discarded wannabes. No argument or evidence that John Peel or Larry Demmert, Jr. were on the Cindy Sue, smoking pot on their way out to the Investor fire.
No assertions that John Peel was in the Hill Bar when skiff witnesses failed to identify him. No comment or argument about the positive identification of dental fragments. No inference that use of 70 milligrams of valium in a day, or 500 milligrams a week, constituted “abuse,” “heavy use,” or “addiction.” No attempt to use the words “addict,” “addiction,” “addicted,” “alcoholic,” “alcoholism” or any other pejorative when speaking of Larry Demmert, Jr.
No comment or inference that Sue Domenowske-Page could not positively identify John Peel in court. Henry argued that a court order prevented them from doing so.
No comments about “lost” reports. No comment or argument about what the defense claimed John Peel “may actually have said” to Dawn Holmstrom on the day after the fire. No comment that John Peel may have had three conversations with Brian Polinkus “about everyone on the Investor being shot.”
Henry got about fifty-six of her wishes.
Excerpts from the unpublished original manuscript, “Sailor Take Warning,” by Leland E. Hale. That manuscript, started in 1992 and based on court records from the Alaska State Archive, served as the basis for “What Happened in Craig.”
Copyright Leland E. Hale (2021). All rights reserved.