Finishing getting dressed, putting on my jacket, the hotel room door knocked once. That was to tell me that the security guards were ready to escort me to the car to go to court. There was going to be a car either side of me, in front and behind me. I felt this was way too much for me but from what I had heard about Cassie and the people she was associated with, this was the minimum security I needed. It felt like I was the President of the United States of America.
Walking in the court room, Ross guided me in to where I would be sitting. I would be first up to testify.
“Can you please state your relationship with Ms Stevens please?” The District Attorney asked.
“I was her roommate. I had lived with her for just on 6 years.” I replied.
“How did you come to live with Ms Day?” The District Attorney Johnson asked.
“I was working at a restaurant where she was working and we became friends that way.” I answered.
“How long have you worked at that restaurant for?” Johnson asked.
“I was there for 1 year before obtaining employment at the legal firm where I was until the incident happened.” I replied.
“Wasn’t your lawyer, Ross Thistle your employer at that time? Johnson asked.
“He was my employer at the time yes.” I answered.
“Only seems natural that your former employer to become your Lawyer. Why did you leave your lawyer’s law firm? A music contract is that right? Johnson asked.
“Yes that is correct. Outside of my job at the law firm, I was doing some singing at nightclubs and bars. I am a singer. In between music acts, I befriended someone and eventually landed a music contract.” I informed him.
“Have you always lived in Santa Monica with Ms Day?” Asked Johnson.
“Apart from the few months I was New York, yes.” I replied.
“Why were you in New York for?” Johnson asked.
“Objection your honour...Relevance?” Ross interjected.
“I’ll allow it.” Judge Masters answered.
“Ms Day was Ms Stevens supportive of your music career?” Johnson asked.
“Yes she was.” I replied.
“She brought you back to Los Angeles from New York when your job failed. That right?” Johnson asked.
“Yes.” I answered.
“Did Ms Stevens provide for you when you weren’t financially able to when you arrived back from New York?” Johnson continued.
“For a certain period.” I replied.
“Which period was that?” Johnson asked.
“The first few days back.” I answered.
“Did my client, show any signs of drug use, use drugs in your presence?” He asked.
“No, she didn’t.” I answered.
“Did my client show any signs of killing someone?” Johnson asked.
“Your honour. My client is not a medical professional. She cannot answer that. As you can see in the briefs upon you and Ms Day’s legal team, my client did not have any idea what was going on. I don’t see why we have to go through this.” Ross cut in.
“I’m fully aware of that Mr Thistle but we need to answer these questions.” Just Masters interjected.
“Ms Day, did my client show any aggression to you, physical?” Johnson continued.
“No she did not.” I replied looking directly into Johnson’s eyes.
“Are you only testifying because you are an Australian Citizen on a working visa that is due to expire and that you were told that you would be granted American Citizenship if you testified.” Johnson asked.
“Objection.” Ross said.
“Overruled. I will allow Mr Johnson to continue.” Judge Masters answered.
“No.” I answered.
“No? But you are on a working visa for here in Australia? You were given an extension on your visa for your testimony.” Johnson asked.
“Yes...” I began to reply
“Yes what? Yes you are overstaying your visa and that you are only here as you want to stay in America and have the fame like millions of other people do?” Johnson asked.
“No, no.” I stammered.
“Get your facts straight Ms Day.” Mr Johnson snapped walking off back to his desk.
“Your Honour, Mr Johnson is badgering Ms Day. He is making her twist her words.” Ross called out.
“Ms Day, please state to us what is the situation arising from your visa?” Judge Masters asked.
“I am here on a working visa. My visa was due to expire in a month or so and was going to renew it, apply for an extension but then this all happened. I was offered to get American Citizenship.” I told the court.
“And what if this situation didn’t occur and you extension was not granted? “ Johnson spoke up moving closer towards me.
“I would have understood and if I were to be deported, I wouldn’t have made a fuss.” I answered.
“Even though you had this music contract and a partner? If worse case scenario would you have married your partner?” Johnson asked.
“I would have not tricked my partner into marrying me.” I told him.
“But what about your contract with the music?” Johnson asked.
“I am sure arrangements would have been made for me in Australia.” I replied.
I had a full on day of grilling by Johnson. I still had to have Ross cross examine me. I knew the day would be tiring but I didn’t expect it to be that tiring that when I got back to the hotel room, I sat in the chair to unwind and watch TV before doing something for dinner that I fell asleep within a few minutes and didn’t wake up til the next morning with Ross calling me.
“I know I was tired that I went for a nap but didn’t realise I slept that long.” I told him as he came into my hotel room door.
“It would be all the stress that Johnson put you through. I had heard about how he can tough, but geesh! I didn’t realise how bad.” Ross said.
“It’s ok. Gimme 15 and I will have a shower and dress and we’ll be right.” I replied.
In court, it wasn’t that bad, less pressure. Ross was going to be asking me questions and we had rehearsed on what we going to say and respond tone wise and how I should react. I would only be on the stand for the morning and just after lunch and then I would be free. Free until the verdict was going to be delivered when I wanted to be in court to witness it.
Johnson objected to nearly every second question but was overruled and Ross was allowed to continue. Cassie had made comment about things but Judge Masters pulled her up reminding her that she could be held in contempt. Ross asked questions about how I arrived in the US, how I was with Cassie, how Cassie was with me, how my life had been changed since being in witness protection and if I saw any signs of Cassie doing this. Basically going over again my statement I made to the Police in the very beginning.
For the remainder of the trial, the next 3 weeks I was cooped up in the hotel room. Fortunately it was a big room so I didn’t feel closed in but I was wanting fresh air, even if it was pollution in LA. The three weeks went slow but I was able to occupy myself with writing music, rehearsing material from songs I had written, ideas for the band, if it were going to continue. I also wondered what my life would be like after the trial.
As I had been in witness protection all this time, seen no one from my life as Brianna except for the day where I saw Nick, Alex, Brian and Howie, I needed to readjust to life back in the world again, not the Lisa life. I was given a Psychologist who was on call provided by the state if I needed them.
Finally the day arrived of the verdict. I hardly slept a wink and showed signs of it. At the end of the day, I would be Brianna Day. Brianna Day the person who was madly in love with Alex McLean. Who had a music career starting. Who was starting to have a life.
“Do you have unanimous verdict?” Judge Masters asked the Jury Foreperson.
“We do your honour.” Foreperson replied giving the piece of paper to the Bailiff to hand to Judge Masters. Ross put his hands on top of mine waiting for the verdict. Judge Masters looked at the paper, handed it back to the Bailiff to give back to the Foreperson.
“On the matter of Stevens V Tripp, what say your verdict on the 1st charge of drugs possession?” Judge Masters asked.
“We find the defendant Cassandra Stevens guilty on the first charge of drugs possession.” Foreperson replied.
“On the matter of Stevens V Tripp, what say your verdict on the 2nd charge of soliciting?”
“We find the defendant Cassandra Stevens not guilty on the second charge of soliciting.” Foreperson replied.
“On the matter of Stevens V Tripp, what say your verdict on the 3rd charge of murder in the 1st degree?” Masters asked.
“We find the defendant Cassandra Stevens guilty on the third charge of murder in the 1st degree.” Foreperson replied.
We did it. The evidence was all there and my testimony helped convict Cassie. She was to serve life behind bars with no parole in a maximum security prison. I couldn’t help but cry of relief.
“Well done!” Ross told me as he hugged me.
“Can I see Alex?” I begged. Ross smiled. I knew Ross knew where they would be, Alex had always remained in contact but Ross couldn’t tell me how he was or anything.
Arriving in the car park at the Los Angeles Staples Centre, I got more excited and just wanted to run to Alex and the guys. Danny, one of the security guards stopped me. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“They are just having a disagreement with something. I’d hold off if I were you.” He said.
“Nick and Alex?” I asked.
“Yup.” Danny replied.
“Typical.” I laughed. On stage I could hear Nick and Alex fighting about in which direction they should have been. Brian and Howie staying out of it. From what Danny told me, Nick should have moved, not Alex. Alex said he moved Nick didn’t and that’s where they collided.
“I think I will distract them, let them cool off.” I told him. With my security pass Ross gave me as I entered the centre, around my neck , I pulled the curtain aside and walked on stage, Alex facing me.
“Bri?” He said, looking up at me.
“Yup.” I smiled as I moved towards him. Our embrace was tighter than what we had when we were in Tampa. Alex felt me all over making sure it was me.
“Guys, Bri’s back, she’s back.” Alex called out to them. I wasn’t looking Brian, Nick or Howie. I was looking at Alex.