Turnabout Tyson (Part 5)

This is chapter five. Chapter four is available here and chapter six can be found here.

July 18

Courtroom No. 2

District Court (Part 3, continued)

"Phoenix Wright" he heard her now address him directly "I was right! You were a fool to take this case, fooled by your hubris into thinking that you could win with no evidence! My case is perfect. Your Honor, do you not think it is time for a verdict now?" she said, curtseying.

The judge, brooding and with a deep frown on his face, replied: "I do think we have examined every possibility here. If there are no further objections..." He raised his gavel, holding it in the air for a moment.

The tense silence remained only for a moment in the room.

Phoenix looked to the gallery and saw Athena there, holding up a piece of paper that had "OBJECT!" hastily written on it.

Immediately after that, a desperate "OBJECTION" finally came from the side of the defense. "I- uh... ah, I think we haven't investigated the possibility of a third person enough yet!" he said.

– "Phoenix Wright, that has to have been the most pathetic objection I have ever heard anyone utter. You should be ashamed of yourself." Franziska said, eyes closed and arms crossed.

The judge did not look amused either. "Mr. Wright, we just finished talking about that. Your evidence failed to be conclusive and the detective already testified to their investigation of the crime scene! If you do not have any new proposals, I will give your record a permanent penalty!"

At the mention of the detective, it was as if Phoenix' mind, previously clouded and murky, lightened up with an idea. His eyes, previously half-closed and starring into space, were suddenly focused and alert. He took on a better posture, and rammed his hands into his sides.

"The detective is exactly who I want to ask for new testimony! We never heard about how exactly this investigation happened upstairs in the rooms adjacent to the crime scene! I would like to hear how they went about searching them!" he said, now with much more vigor.

– "Are you implying the detective could have overlooked something?" the judge asked.

"That... that is exactly what I am implying."

(I don't know what exactly could have been missed by the investigation since I had no chance to see for himself, so I'll just have to muddle through and hope to find an opening to finally blow this case open!)

He looked at Tyson, who was still standing at the witness stand, shivering, with the hoodie pulled over their face, looking nowhere in particular.

(I have to do it not just for my unwilling client, but also for Tyson. They're someone who didn't deserve any of this, and I need to save their future!)

The judge seemed to still be mulling over the demand by Phoenix.

"Upon further reflection, I agree that the testimony of the detective was insufficient. The court demands Gumshoe Jr. take the stand again. Tyson Sagurl, you may return to the defense bench." The judge banged his gavel once.

"OBJECTION!" the prosecution exclaimed, with eyes wide. "What could be the point of this? It was a locked space that no one could enter or leave and where only one person was found. There's no reason to go over this again."

"Overruled" The judge replied, banging his gavel another time. "I have had many locked room cases in my career that turned out to be more complicated in the end after additional testimony. It could very well be the case here, too."

Franziska was clenching her teeth and pressed her arms against herself. "V-very well then."

Tyson finally walked down from the stand and Phoenix could see the sweat all over them. They only stopped trembling after taking a deep breath.

"You did great there, Tyson. It gave us a good angle to approach the case from. Now if we could only prove your sibling ..." Phoenix trailed off, realizing that Tyson was now clenching their fists.

"Everything okay?" he asked, now concerned he said something wrong.

Tyson only nodded.

Phoenix was once again not convinced and wondered what could have gotten this reaction out of them.

(I only mentioned their sibling. If we could get them established as third party at the crime scene, then... Oh no. )

Phoenix felt his heart racing and a headache coming on, clouding his thinking again. His fingers were now trembling, too. Franziska seemed to have taken notice and even delight at this.

(Well, I'm certainly not going to be becoming good friends with that woman, I guess. And all I can do now is pushing on anyway with the hope that the truth will set us free.)

The prosecution was now addressing the detective, now at the witness stand.

"Detective, since you already introduced yourself, please just give details of your investigation of the second floor."

– "Uh, sure. So, after Ini Sent opened the door to the stairway to it, me and some forensics went upstairs." He took a deep breath before continuing.

"We quickly found the paint chips on the ground and the scratch marks and the forensics set to work there, while I took a look around the rooms on the second floor. I was very excited to do some real detective work for the first time, and also anxious not to miss anything."

While adjusting his tie, he said "I first looked into the office on the left."

Phoenix interrupted the detective with a single "HOLD IT", while banging his palm on the defense bench. "How many rooms are there upstairs in total?".

"Two" the detective answered immediately. "I drew a diagram here." He held up a small drawing showing a plan of the second floor that he handed Phoenix.

"If you come from the stairs you first see a bathroom to the right, then two doors in front of you. An office on the left, which has a number of desks with computers and a large couch on the far end. It's where I found the printed bus trip bookings and the competition leaflet."

"HOLD IT" Phoenix exclaimed again. "Was the door open? Did you notice anything else unusual?"

– "Uhh, nothing in particular. The door was open and a computer was running on green desks. There was a pen next to the bookment papers, which we determined wrote in a light blue color. There were also some plants near the computers and other decorations but nothing that seemed relevant to the case. Didn't see anything out of the ordinary in the other room either, so I went back to the crime scene to talk to the forensics."

"You didn't see Dyson's letter anywhere?"

– "There was no letter laying around..." Gumshoe Jr.'s voice trailed off and his eyes suddenly grew wide. "Oh! Actually, I just remembered, I did see a crumpled up paper in the paper bin of the other room, this sort of class room with a whiteboard and a projector."

"HOLD IT!" Phoenix erupted even louder this time, making the detective wince and cover his ears. "You saw what? Explain!" He pointed with his finger towards Gumshoe Jr. who was breaking out in a cold sweat.

– "A crumpled paper..." The eyes of detective were darting from side to side. "I... only took a brief look at it, and it just didn't seem too important to me. I still meant to investigate it later more but then with the results of the autopsy, fingerprints and other reports I got a bit overwhelmed and gave it to Ms. von Karma to ask her opinion and then completely forgot about it. I'm so sorry, I know this is very unprofessional behavior" He ruffled his hair and furrowed his brow, distressed.

"Ms. Franziska von Karma! Where is this paper now?" the judge shouted.

– "I reviewed it briefly and put it back into the detective's jacket." At that, the detective started feeling around his pockets only to produce a single transparent plastic bag with the paper, now uncrumpled. Franziska waited for the realization to set in.

"That's Dyson's letter! I recognize the handwriting" Tyson exclaimed.

Before the judge could bang his gavel, a loud cracking sound was heard.

"Your honor, before you say anyhing, I did not purposefully conceal crucial evidence." she said with another smug smile and closed eyes. "The detective was not wrong to dismiss its importance. The fact of the matter remains – " and now she was looking right at the defense, with her hand held out in their direction. "there still was no third person found at the scene when the police arrived."

"OBJECTION!" Phoenix interrupted. "Then how would the paper have ended up there?"

– "It was probably thrown towards Samuel Buhr by Dyson from the first to the second floor, which would also explain why it was crumpled. After the victim was murdered, it was disposed of by the culprit!" Franziska replied, not missing a beat.

"Even if that were true, if Ini Sent was the culprit, why would she remove evidence that would point to someone else's guilt?"

– "Perhaps she wanted to be caught? Aren't you here right now defending her despite not even having her approval?" Franziska asked, with her cockiest smile yet on her lips.

Phoenix was stunned for a moment, mouth agape.

(That was a serious low blow, Franziska.)

– "Since you don't have a counter-argument for this, let me substantiate my claim further." the prosecution continued. "She even waited at the crime scene until the police arrived, at the crime scene, locked behind a door."

"She must have not noticed!" Tyson blurted out. "She's always so immersed in her work, behind closed doors and listening to music!"

This was only met by two gavel bangs by the judge. "Order! Order! One more outburst and I will have you thrown out of court and the defense penalized!"

"Tyson, please! Next time just tell it to me..." Phoenix tried to talk to his co-counsel, but they wouldn't even look at him, eyes still fixated at the prosecution, fists clenched.

– "But it's true!" Tyson continued with a lower voice, now looking towards Phoenix. "And I also saw no one near the stairs on the first floor when it all happened! Really!"

Phoenix took another look at the floor plan, mulling over the layout of the three rooms for a moment before saying: "Your Honor, please accept my apologies for the interruption." Phoenix said. Next, he began his familiar routine of tapping a paper, this time the floor plan, to appear more confident. "This conversation has made me realize we have not been very meticulous in our attempt to reconstruct the day of the crime, though. The chronology of events is still incomplete. What happened between the time of the murder and when the police arrived? When was this letter written, and where? And most importantly –", he punctuated the next words by banging his hands at the bench in front of him again, "when was it thrown away, and who threw it away?"

"All these questions are useless if they can't change the basic facts of this case. You'll need evidence, and more than that letter alone" Franziska taunted once more.

Phoenix tried to ignore it and continued, still tapping a paper. "The evidence we already have allows us to start answering some of these questions. Based on the timestamp of the message with the photo of the letter sent to Tyson, 6:45 PM, and its content, we can conclude the last argument between the defendant and victim took place before 6:45 PM. And based on Tyson's testimony, we can safely assume that no such argument had ever taken place before, and a split between the two earlier in the day would have been noticed at some point. The murder must therefore have taken place relatively shortly after. In the time between these two things, the argument and the murder, the letter was written and, somehow, made its way to the second floor."

Phoenix once more slammed the defense bench in front of him. "That is, if the letter wasn't written on the second floor to begin with!"

Franziska's eyes narrowed. "You.. you still have no proof!"

Phoenix finally managed a smug smile of his own. "Oh yes? The defense would like to request more testimony of Tyson Sagurl, this time regarding the time of the murder." Tyson looked at him blankly, but said nothing, only breathing heavily.

The judge seemed to be lost in thought for a moment again before replying "I do agree we need to hear more about this Dyson person to be able to consider all possibilities. Tyson Sagurl, please return to the stand."

The detective stepped down. There was no trace of his earlier confidence left visible in the face of Gumshoe Jr., and he was nervously fidgeting with his fingers, as he went to sit in the gallery.

"Phoenix Wright, you hopefully remember that witness testimony, especially of a favorable witness is not the same as solid evidence?" Franziska asked, in a flat tone while Tyson took their time, as if specifically taking small steps to take as long as possible.

– "Of course I remember." he answered, arms stemmed into his sides. "I have been in court often enough already. But you need them to be able to properly assess evidence. Which I'm sure you know, too."

"Hmph, of course I do" said Franziska, turning up her nose at the mere implication that her preparation could have been anything short of perfect.

The judge banged his gavel. "Would the defense and prosecution please stop trying to repeat the basics of cross-examination, this isn't law school. And would the witness please already begin their testimony and put away their phone, I don't want to spend the entire day here."

Tyson tapped a few more times on the phone and then put it away, still breathing laboriously.

"I'm ... sorry, Your Honor." Tyson hesitated for another moment.

After two more bangs of the gavel they finally began. "I arrived early that day, to get away from home a bit. Must have been already at 2 PM or so." Tyson adjusted their baseball cap before continuing.

"Most of the time was spent like any other day I had spent there, talking and playing board games that already take longer to explain than a normal session of Settlers of Catan." They looked down at the floor, grasping the witness stand.

"People started leaving at about 6 PM, but I stayed to help with cleaning... and because I didn't want to go home yet."

Phoenix could tell they would rather be anywhere else than in this courtroom, testifying.

(Tyson, I can't imagine how hard it must be for you to do this. But I know you can do it. For Ini, your friends and yourself. It's the only way we can eventually hope to leave this behind us.)

"I heard some arguing between Ini and Sam some time after that at the top of the stairs to the second floor but didn't pay any attention to it, as I was talking to two people about a story I had been writing."

– "HOLD IT" Franziska interrupted. "Would you happen to know when exactly that was?"

"S-Sorry, no. I wasn't really looking at any clocks then. It was maybe half an hour later, I guess?"

– "Where was Dyson at the time? Were they with you?" Franziska asked.

"No, they weren't." Tyson replied, avoiding eyecontact.

– "And you were near the stairs and could see the entirety of the first floor?"

"Y-yeah. That's true."

Franziska banged her fist on the table repeatedly, angrily clenching her teeth. "How. Can. That. Be." After composing herself, she asked, eyes closed. "Witness, are you sure they couldn't have hidden in a corner and listened? You said you were busy talking about some story. Surely they could have escaped your notice?"

"The room isn't that large and rather open. Plus I would have noticed steps and shadows just like I noticed the arguing above." Tyson replied, sounding rather certain to Franziska's apparent surprise.

Phoenix smirked. He even had to hold back snickering. "HOLD IT" he exclaimed. "I think I can answer the question the prosecution has."

– "You, you think you can prove the existence of a third person?"

"Yes. Granted, it's rather circumstantial at this point, but it seems only reasonable."

"Tyson got a photo of the letter sent by Dyson. Now why would that even be necessary if they were so close to each other? The only way this makes sense is if Dyson was behind the closed door on the second floor! This would be in line with Tyson's testimony, too. Furthermore, look at the writing of the letter compared to the writing on the booking papers: The handwriting is clearly different, but the color is the same. It was very likely written with the same pen the detective mentioned seeing in the office. Also, the photo shows a flat green background. The first floor has green desks, as we just heard, the second floor has no green furniture like that."

– "OBJECTION..." Franziska shouted. "Fool!...that's still only speculation!" Franziska almost seemed to be at a loss of words for the first time in the trial, banging the bench in front of her again.

"Is it?" Phoenix asked, before addressing Gumshoe Jr. in the gallery, and pointing his finger at him. "Detective! There is a space you seem to have overlooked during your search. The bathroom. What state did you find it in?"

– "... Locked and unlighted, so I didn't look further into it. I assumed it was not in use" the detective replied feebly, his voice trailing off towards the end, color draining from his face before fainting into his neighbor's lap, who happened to be Athena.

"There you have your location for a third person, Franziska." Fingerprints at the door handle at the end of the stairway or the bathroom door should prove the existence beyond any doubt!"

To Phoenix surprise, Franziska now had regained her smug smile, waving her index finger in the air. Phoenix was just about to break out in a cold sweat again.

"Ah, but, Phoenix Wright. The forensiscs naturally tested these surfaces for prints again. And they only found the defendant's prints on the handle of the door to the stairway, and none at the bathroom door." she said.

– "HOLD IT! Naturally Dyson would have left the second floor only once the police had left already, thereby escaping the notice of the forensics!" Phoenix tried to respond, but found his voice lacking in confidence.

"Would you really want to send the forensics over again to check? What a foolish fool you would be to do that! I guarantee you they would find nothing new. And we would be here waiting for nothing, which ... would not be a good look for you..." Franziska replied, cracking her whip against the prosecution bench.

Before Phoenix could respond, another shrieking "HOLD IT" could be heard from the witness stand. Tyson had grabbed it firmly, and was leaning over it in the direction of the judge.

– "Dyson is innocent, too!" they shouted. "I remember Sam's last words! They were 'Girl... why...'! So it makes no sense it would be them!"

Phoenix was stunned and now definitely felt the cold sweat coming back.

(Tyson... unfortunately someone has to be guilty, and if it's not Ini or Dyson... then who?)

"Well, that just makes it easier, then!" Franziska said, taking way too much delight in the situation for Phoenix to handle. "So we inevitably have returned to what I had always claimed: It is the defendant who is guilty of murdering Samuel Buhr."

(Tyson...) Phoenix grabbed his hair and buried his head in his arms.