Day 3 (October 5) Part 2
When we went back into the courtroom, Boyd wasn’t in handcuffs. I was glad, because if they had handcuffed him, I knew that all I would be thinking about was spiders, and I wouldn’t have paid attention to anyone’s testimony. There were, however, two extra court officers sitting no more than ten feet away from him. One of them was a customer that used to come into the bar that I worked at in Bay Ridge. I refused to acknowledge him, for fear of causing a mistrial. Jacoby was gone. The judge addressed the jury, saying, “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you must keep in mind that during trials like this one, as you saw, tensions can run pretty high. However, you are to disregard the defendant’s outburst.” At least he used the word “outburst.” That made me happy. The judge continued, “I will remind you that the defendant’s outburst has nothing to do with the crime that he has been accused of.” He then turned to ADA Walsh and said, “Mr. Walsh, you may call your next witness.”
“Thank you, Your Honor. The government calls Loretta Boyd to the stand.”
Alright! Loretta is Terrence’s mother! I waited in quiet anticipation for another outburst. Loretta walked past the jurors box and gave all of us a look of unbridled hatred. I wondered why. It’s not as if we were conspiring against her son. Besides, she was testifying against him! However, I quickly realized that if you were to ever look up the term “hostile witness” in a law book, you would see her picture. She hated EVERYONE! She hated us, she hated ADA Walsh, she hated the judge, and she especially hated Guardanino, which was understandable. ADA Walsh asked her a question, and she had–count ’em–not one, but two…teeth! Two teeth! I began to think that no one in that entire family listens to Itzak Perleman.
Like I said, she was dripping with attitude, so much so that when ADA Walsh was questioning her, you almost wondered who’s side she was really on. However, Walsh asked her, “Does Terrence have a nickname?”
“What is it?”
“What does everyone in your family call him?”
“What do his friends call him?”
“What did Deron Powell call him?”
Uh oh! Someone had a lot of explaining to do! Walsh then asked her, “After T came to your house in the Bronx on the night of October 21, 2004, how long did he stay?”
“He changed his clothes, ate, and then left after Smackdown was over.”
“Smackdown. That’s professional wrestling, correct?”
What the fuck? He had just shot someone! Didn’t he already get his fill of violence without having to watch wrestling right after?
“When Terrence was at your house, what did he say to you?” asked Walsh.
“He said he shot Deron.”
“Did he say why he shot him?”
“He said, ‘Deron talks too much.’ ”
She then looked at her son and said, “I don’t know how you can sit there and lie that that!”
Terrence shouted, “I don’t know how you can sit there and lie! I’m your son! You’re supposed to be my mother!”
Wow! Two outbursts in one day! What was this, the Saddam Hussein trial? There was a reporter sitting in the back of the courtroom. He had a huge smile on his face, knowing that he had a story.
When it was Guardanino’s turn to cross-examine her, his first question was, “Mrs. Boyd, you’ve said that Terrence was like a father figure to your children, right?”
She paused, and then said, “Yeah. That’s right.”
“Isn’t it true that when you weren’t able to take care of your other kids during your crack addiction, Terrence took care of them for you?”
Wow! Guardanino sure as hell didn’t waste any time when it came to attacking her credibility! He came out swinging! Loretta Boyd was PISSED that he was asking her this.
“What? What does that have to do with anything?”
“Mrs. Boyd, were you or were you not addicted to crack cocaine?”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
The judge instructed her to answer the question. She argued with him, but then finally said, “No, I wasn’t addicted to crack! I used crack, but I wasn’t addicted to it!”
“For how many years did you use crack?”
“Five years. Man, what does this have to do with anything?”
The judge told her once again to just answer the questions. Again, she argued with him. As you can imagine, (and much to Guardanino’s delight) crack addicts tend to not be the strongest witnesses. Loretta proved this by constantly contradicting herself. For example, Guardanino asked her, “Mrs. Boyd, you stated earlier that Terrence took care of your other kids, correct?”
She started to laugh, and then said, “What are you kidding me? Terrence can’t even take care of himself!”
This wasn’t so much of a contradiction as much as it was the fact that Loretta wasn’t familiar with what the term “father figure” meant, which was why she paused the first time she was asked that. As you can imagine, she wasn’t exactly the most educated woman. Either way, Guardanino seized on this. A few minutes later, he asked, “On the night of October 21, 2004, didn’t you and Terrence have words?”
“Yeah, we had words.”
“So, you’re admitting that you and Terrence had words.”
“So let me get this straight. On October 21, 2004, which was the same day that Deron Powell was killed, Terrence came to your house, where you and him had words, correct?”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“And you don’t see it as a big coincidence that as a result of you and Terrence having words, Terrence is now on trial for the murder of Deron Powell?”
“No. What’s the big deal if me and Terrence had words?”
“Well, you argued with him, and– ”
“We didn’t argue.”
“You just said that you two had words.”
“Yeah. So what? We were having words. Big deal. You and I are having words right now.”
Basically, Loretta Boyd thought that talking and “having words” is the same thing. Like I said, no one is ever going to appoint her as the professor emeritus of molecular biology at Johns Hopkins University. Either way, I was enjoying this Abbott & Costello routine immensely, and I was quite sad when it finally ended.
For her final contradiction, Guardanino asked her, “Mrs. Boyd, didn’t you feel threatened to testify?”
“Oh yeah! Sure I did!”
“Who did you feel threatened by?”
“Threatened by?” I don’t feel threatened by no one!”
“I said I don’t feel threatened by no one!”
“But Mrs. Boyd…I just asked you if you felt threatened to testify, and you said yes.”
“You feel threatened to testify?”
“Who threatened you?”
“What? No one threatened me!”
“No one threatened me to testify!”
“But…Mrs. Boyd, would you ever go back to 988 Greene Avenue?”
“Some of your children and your grandchildren still live at 988 Greene, correct?”
“And Deron Powell’s family still lives at 988 Greene, correct?”
“But, even though you have family still living at 988 Greene, you don’t even want to go back there, correct?”
“No. I don’t want to go back there.”
“I feel threatened.”
“Who do you feel threatened by?”
“I don’t feel threatened by no one!”
“No further questions, Your Honor.”
Of course, Guardanino was wanting her to say that she felt threatened by the family of Deron Powell. She didn’t say that, but it didn’t matter. Guardanino had met his objective, which was to destroy the credibility of Loretta Boyd. All he had to do was have her keep on talking, knowing that eventually, if the jury listened long enough, we would realize that something is seriously fucked up. In that sense, it’s no different than watching The O’Reilly Factor.
However, during Walsh’s re-direct, something important happened. He asked her why she testified against her own son. She started to cry, and she said, “Well, what Terrence did was wrong. Right is right and wrong is wrong.” Keep in mind that she could’ve told Walsh that Deron Powell was a friend of the family, or that both the Boyds and the Powells lived in the same apartment building and babysat each others kids for years. She didn’t say that though. Instead, she conveyed a sense that, no matter how difficult it was for her to send Terrence to prison, she had to. And she had to do it because, if things were the other way around and Deron Powell had been the one who shot Terrence Boyd, she would have wanted Powell to be brought to justice. Was she a poorly educated crackhead who had a horrible grasp of the English language? Certainly. But she wasn’t lying about her son’s confession, and she held no grudge against him. She testified against her son, ironically, out of a sense of maternal love. Say whatever you want about Loretta Boyd, but that was one crackhead that I had a lot of respect for.
October 5, 2006