Convicting Drew – Part 3
Today we will cover another point the judge made for convicting Drew.
Judge: Also there’s an instance where the gentleman admits that he misrepresented his telling of the story to (a witness) what happened at the apartment. He said that was immature. It was done out of some degree of resentment because of his history with (witness), intending to get a rise out of (witness).
Again, my son was honest with the court. When Drew was in high school this young woman broke up with him for another young man. The young man (the witness) later told Drew that they actually had sex while she and Drew were dating. Even though it was seven to eight years later, he still felt the pain and disconcertment.
A few months after Drew and the woman had the sexual encounter at her apartment he sent the young man a Facebook message that the court perceived as evidence.
Drew’s defense attorney is asking the questions. The young man witness is answering:
Q: What you’ve given to the court by way of the exhibit, as I understand it, is something that you recreated or you used the term cut and paste?
A: Yes, directly from the old message feed.
Q: If that was deleted, how did you cut and paste it?
A: Facebook maintain user accounts even if they’re deleted. So while it doesn’t mean I have any information, any profile pictures or names, the message feeds remain.
Q: So you have a message, but neither you or Facebook can say it was from him. You believe it to be from him and you recreated it and pasted it.
A: I know it to be from him, but there’s no – – right.
Defense attorney: That’s all, Judge.
Judge: Any objection to the admission?
Defense attorney: I do object to it for the reasons he stated.
Judge: Let me see if I understand. (witness name) received or read in real time, that is at or around the time it was sent a Facebook message from Mr. Harrison. Am I right so far?
Defense attorney: He believes it to be is my understanding. He’s saying it’s from Mr. Harrison. Unless Mr. Harrison was right next to him punching it in, how would he know that? It came in as if it was from him.
Judge: And then the document I’m holding is the cut and pasted or recreated message, something (witness) cut and pasted or recreated on his own?
Defense attorney: Yes, sir.
Judge: To, I suppose, have a record somehow.
Defense attorney: I suspect in anticipation of trial. I’ll object to it as to authenticity. I’ll submit it on that.
Judge: I’m going to overrule the objection and receive it as Commonwealth’s 7.
My son watched his attorney object to the cut, pasted and recreated message being admitted. Drew could have lied and denied ever writing it. He didn’t lie. He owned it as the exaggerated, inflammatory message it was meant to be. And, he told me later he was astonished that the court didn’t consider that a cut/pasted/recreated document could easily have been changed in content.
Drew’s trial testimony regarding the message. The prosecutor is asking questions. Drew is answering:
Q: I guess you heard (witness) testify about a communication you sent him about pinning her down I think it was about, How I pinned her down and ate her bloody vagina. Why would you say that to him if you’re saying she consented?
A: I knew that question would be asked obviously. (Witness name) was the person that (her name) actually broke up with me for in high school. In addition to still holding an interest in (her name), I did harbor resentment with (witness name). The comment was just meant to be inflammatory. It was just meant to get a rise out of (witness). It was inappropriate. For one thing, her vagina wasn’t bloody. It was just vulgarity. That’s something with the help of (therapist name) that I’ve gotten better at. My go to used to be the keyboard. If I was frustrated, I wouldn’t say, I’m frustrated right now or I’m feeling hurt. Instead I would just blurt and say ugly things and that’s in large part what I feel landed me in this position to begin with.
I’m not pleased with the wording and purpose of the message Drew seemingly sent. His therapist reminded me that he is developmentally about age 12. Drew still questions ever using the term “bloody vagina” (he says he’s not British). I am proud of him for being brave and honest about having sent an inappropriate message and sharing how Asperger’s affected him; and how therapy has benefitted him.
Prior to the trial the prosecutor asked that Asperger’s be considered only at sentencing. The judge said he would consider how Asperger’s affected Drew. My impression was that neither one of them had an adequate understanding of autism spectrum disorder. I am able to accept that without training they might not be expected to be familiar with the nuances of ASD. What I find unexplainable is that neither of them chose to ask the therapist for clarification. The doctor was there for the entire trial and sentencing hearings. He would have welcomed being recalled to take the stand to help provide information to the court.
Drew has stated all along, and has never wavered that the sexual foreplay in the apartment was invited and consensual. He has been truthful with the court regarding every question asked of him. He has answered with unremitting honesty.
Imagine this being your son or grandson. Hold onto that pain for just 15 minutes. Don’t let it go. Imagine holding him while he cries, helping him to get through each day, asking why the court found him guilty and thought he was deceptive. Imagine daily panic attacks. Also imagine helping him get through the nights because he awakens with horrific nightmares of going to prison and flashbacks of jail experiences. We have been watching our son tortured by this injustice for almost four years…not 15 minutes.
Most parents live with some level of regret. I have a long list that replays in my head, usually in the middle of the night. Mostly, I regret not having gone with a jury trial. Imagine living with that.