Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, Honorable Judge:
We have just seen there is virtually no credible evidence against my client, Miss Whitney Grey, regarding the fire of the Bellows and O’Brien Pub. The State’s desperately weak case does not prove IN ANY WAY, BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that this unfortunate fire was set intentionally, much less set by Whitney Grey. The state indeed failed to prove that Miss Grey had anything to do with the fire whatsoever.
The prosecution provided deficient circumstantial evidence that does not link Ms. Grey to the fire at the pub. They didn’t provide any evidence – ANY AT ALL – that proves that Miss Grey had anything to do with the fire. There was no testimony that she ever went to the basement. There was no testimony that she returned to the pub before the fire started. There was no testimony that she held a grudge against the owners and there was no testimony saying that she could have even benefited financially from this fire.
The only piece of foundation that qualifies Miss Grey as a potential cause of this fire is her juvenile record of setting a few small grass fires. The State assumes that people do not change as they grow older. This is a false presumption. Everyone changes. You have seen that Miss Grey has greatly changed her life around and is working towards a better future for herself. She wants to help, not hurt her community. She is currently enrolled in college studying fire and criminal justice to make Thunderbird a better place. In America, we admire people who admit to their mistakes, accept their punishment and change for the better. Barack Obama became the leader of the free world after admitting to his adolescent mistakes of drug abuse. Former president of America, George Bush had a history of drinking and DUI before he quit at age the age of 40. These men didn’t become better drug abusers or better drinkers, they became better people. They were applauded for their changes, not indicted.
We say that Whitney was just as hurt and distraught by the fire as Mr. O’Brien and Ms. Bellows were. In fact, Miss Grey had more to lose – her job, her livelihood, her home away from home. The pub’s owners were the only people in town who gave Whitney a chance. They gave her the opportunity to achieve financial stability, offered her a place to meet people and feel like a part of the community. Whitney would not give this up.
The prosecution offered CIRCUMSTANTIAL evidence that the State claims points toward arson. Much of this so-called “evidence” was found in the basement. However, Ms. Grey never went down in the basement – her asthma kept her away from the toxic chemicals Lane O’Brien allegedly used to pursue his hobby cleaning his grandparents’ furniture. Mr. O’Brien’s reckless disregard for public safety led to those materials being stored, as the Fire Marshal testified, improperly.
I ask that you, fair ladies and gentlemen of the jury, hold the State accountable for the truth. Due to lack of foundation and sufficient evidence brought into the courtroom, the state CANNOT prosecute Miss Grey for arson. Arson itself cannot be proven, and the prosecution’s pathetic attempt to link Ms. Grey to the fire is based on weak circumstantial evidence and an incident of bad judgment.