Prosecution Opening Statement
Good morning your honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. I am Delissa Collier on behalf of the People of Illinois. Today, I am joined by co-counsel, Khaylian LeFlore and Shaquara Dobbey.
Last 4th of July, Whitney Grey created his(her) own fireworks. A night normally reserved for celebration changed into a night of sadness and destruction. Whitney Grey torched a beloved Thunderbird landmark – the Bellows and O'Brien Pub. We’re here today to tell you how and why.
Our first witness will be Thunderbird's fire marshal, Eaton Bahr, a trained and experienced fire investigator. Fire Marshall Bahr will tell you that the inferno at the pub was no accident. He will tell you that Whitney Grey is a familiar face at just about every fire in Thunderbird – small or large. The fire marshall will testify that there were simply too many highly suspicious and coincidental circumstances that created the perfect environment for the devastating fire at the Pub. You will learn that the scene was doused with gasoline and, not so coincidentally, the gasoline can was discovered in the trunk of Mr. Grey’s car. The pub and its content were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. You will also learn that the pub – again not so coincidentally -- was very heavily insured.

Next, you will hear from Lane O’Brien, one of the co-owners of the pub. Mr. O’Brien and his partner Ashton Bellows -- who is also charged in this crime -- hired the defendant several years ago as a handyman at the pub. They were the only two people in town who would hire the defendant, who had been convicted for setting fires as a teenager, and who for years afterwards eerily kept appearing whenever the alarm went off at the fire station. Also, Mr. O’Brien will tell you that his partner – Ashton Bellows – wanted out of the business fast. He was sick of the hours, sick of the grind, sick of Thunderbird. The convicted firebug -- Whitney Grey -- was his ticket out. It will be undisputed that on the very day of this tragic fire, the defendant and Mr. Bellows were discussing the defendant’s history of arson. Finally, Mr. O’Brien will also tell you that before he locked up on the night of the fire, he closed all the windows. Those windows were open at the time the fire was set, and Whitney Grey had the alarm code.

The defense is going to claim that the defendant has learned from his adolescent mistakes, and is now a reformed citizen. We agree – the defendant has indeed learned from his mistakes. What he learned was how to set fires in such a way that there would be no eye-witnesses, and the flames would erupt hours after he had left the scene. He did indeed pay attention in school.
In sum, the evidence will establish beyond a reasonable doubt that this fire was no accident, and that the fire-loving defendant had the means, the motive and the opportunity to set this fire. After considering all of the evidence, you will have the privileged opportunity to see that justice prevails for the citizens of Thunderbird. Thank you for your service.