by Joyce Tremel
Sometimes justice prevails.
Leslie Mollett was convicted of first degree murder yesterday in the slaying of Corporal Joseph Pokorny on December 12, 2005. Now the jury must determine whether Mollett lives or dies. The fact that Cpl. Pokorny was on his knees with his hands in the air when Mollett fired a shot into the back of his head will be pivotal in these deliberations. I don’t think I have to say where I stand on this.
This case has been riveting from the very beginning. From the video of the crime scene to the actor’s stand off with police days later. From the audio tape of the traffic stop to the courtroom packed with everyone from drug dealers to state troopers. No less than six people were arrested during the trial, the most recent one yesterday (for intimidating the jury).
The prosecution presented over 337 exhibits and 67 witnesses. There was overwhelming evidence which included Pokorny’s blood and DNA on Mollett’s cell phone and inside the car he was driving. A forensic pathologist detailed the agonizing last few minutes of Pokorny’s life: How the first shot entered the side of his chest and went through his lungs. How he then fell to his knees with his hands up in the air. How the next bullet—shot from 3 to 9 inches away—hit his left ear, fractured the base of his skull and went through his neck.
The defense attorney attempted to refute the evidence. In the end, though, the defense only called one witness who was quickly cut down by the prosecution. The defense attorney's closing argument was only 45 minutes long, where he stated, “The law shields us from the intimidation of a police state. What stands between us and anarchy is the law.” He tried to make the point that the dozens of state police officers in the courtroom were there to intimidate. It didn’t work.
The prosecutor’s closing arguments lasted 2 ½ hours and he stated that the police were only there because “they give a damn—unlike the defendant’s buddies.” He closed with these words, “If you want proof beyond all doubt, I don’t have to give it to you, but I did.”
Rest in peace, Corporal Pokorny. Justice has prevailed.