By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Bercher has repeatedly accused the men of "throwing Mrs. Jessee under the bus" by fabricating a story that satisfies Murray's "ridiculous" theory in the case in exchange for sweetheart deals. Under the defense attorney's grilling, both men reluctantly acknowledged they are prolific, self-serving liars. Both also admit that Jack Jessee was a kind man who'd done nothing wrong to either of them.
So far the only potential villain who has escaped Murray's wrath is Garrick. According to Aehlert's testimony, Garrick supplied him details about the killing, including the assertion that he left a dying Jack Jessee on his living room floor, started to flee but decided to return to drive even more knife wounds into the victim. Schrauben told the jury that Garrick used his portion of the murder payments to fix his teeth, which had turned black from an addiction to smoking methamphetamines.
Garrick, a Laguna Hills resident, has told OCSD investigators he is innocent, according to a recorded interview reviewed by the Weekly.
Ironically, one of the biggest supporters of Garrick's innocence is Bercher. He claims Aehlert and Schrauben told a self-serving tale that casts his client as mastermind and Garrick as assassin. And he's right, at least in part. The two men seem to have minimized their involvement.
But the defense lawyer's theory gets more nefarious. He wants the six men and six women on the jury to believe there's another evil guy in the case: Murray. According to Bercher, his courtroom nemesis provided a script for Aehlert and Schrauben in the hope of nailing his innocent client.
Said Bercher, "[Sandra Jessee] wasn't involved in this conspiracy at all."
This column appeared in print as "A Rhetorical Knife Fight: In the Sandra Jessee murder case, the attorneys battle it out while the judge holds off on imposing sanctions."