Can't believe this story is almost done! I've got a few more loose ends to tie up. All of you are speculating on who killed Dash. Well, let's see if any of you are right. The trial is not quite over, since they still have one thing to determine.
"Ladies and Gentleman, I thank you for your service." the judge declared. "Defendant is remanded until sentencing."
Danny was in a state of shock and did not protest as the police dragged him away. Maddie and Jack watched their son's helplessness, tears in their eyes. For once, even Vlad was in a state of shock, but quickly recovered. "This isn't over just yet." he told them. "The judge still has to decide whether she will punish him as an adult or a juvenile. We'll get him the most lenient punishment possible and appeal to a higher. I'll get Daniel out, I promise you."
"Thanks, V-man." Jack replied gratefully. "You're the best friend a guy could ask for."
"So who's going to be the one who gives Danny's friends the news?" asked Maddie. "I'm in no shape to do so."
"Let that to me, Maddie." Vlad suggested. "I am not in great emotional shape either, but someone has to tell them. They'll learn from the newspapers, in any case. Besides, I suspect one of them is responsible."
"If I had known what that boy did to my son, I'd been tempted to kill him myself." Jack declared. They got into the Fenton assault vehicle and drove home. They saw a couple of ghosts along the way, but even Jack was not in the mood to hunt them. They opened the door to see Sam and Jazz anxiously awaiting the news.
"So what happened?" asked Jazz. She looked over their faces. "Oh, god, he was convicted, wasn't he?"
"I'm afraid so, Jasmine." Jack replied sadly. "I can't believe they could do that to him."
"I told you to let me testify!" Sam yelled furiously. "I could have cleared him!"
"How could you have done that, Sam?" asked Maddie. "It's not your fault. All we can do now is make sure that Danny gets the lightest sentence possible. I shudder to think of what prison will do to him."
"Daniel has been convicted. Kill Baker." Vlad stated on his phone. The others looked at him. "I said, Daniel has been convicted. Let's bake his friends some cake. It's what my parents always did to calm me down… although Jack always ate most of it."
"Those were good times, weren't they, V-man?" Jack replied with a brief smile. The sadness soon returned to him, though. "Will your lawyers still be willing to defend him?"
"We have to do something to get him out of there!" Jazz insisted. "Organize a jail break if we have to!"
"Jazz, that's not going to do any good." Maddie disagreed. "We've got to get him out through legal means. Vlad, can you pull some strings?"
"Anything for Daniel, my dear." Vlad smirked. "The sentencing will be in a couple of days, so I'll be able to bribe- I mean Negotiate with other judges and let them know of a miscarriage of justice."
"I wish this didn't happen." Sam cried. "God only knows what kind of things Danny's suffering through right now."
The sentencing period of the trial had begun. Danny sat in his usual seat, a haunted look in his eyes. He said nothing as the witnesses were called to make their statement. Sam's parents had told the judge about what kind of person they knew he was and urged the judge to give him the harshest punishment possible.
"I do not believe Mr. Fenton is capable of murder; I want to make that perfectly clear." Mr. Lancer stated. He planned on doing everything in his power to make sure Danny was punished leniently. "In all honesty, I was not convinced by the evidence and believe that the jury made their verdict based on emotion rather than objectivity. Think of what prison will do to him. I beg of you, punish him as a juvenile. He is not beyond redemption and could very well be innocent."
"Thank you, Mr. Lancer." the judge told him. "Are there any others who wish to make a statement regarding this case?"
Mr. Baxter stood up and addressed the court. "I know that my son was probably not the best of people, but he did not deserve to be brutally murdered. This boy took him away from us and words cannot describe the pain I feel because of this loss. My son told me of what the defendant had done to him, of what crimes he had committed inside the school. He should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, your honor." He sat down, glaring at Danny with hatred. Paulina and Kwan made their statements as well, both wanting Danny to be punished as an adult.
Sam and Jazz both testified as well, pleading for Danny not to be hurt. "Please, your honor, he is a traumatized boy who has been through a great deal. The evidence does not even say for certain if he is guilty or not. Sending him to prison will permanently destroy him. You must know what it is like in there, particularly for juveniles. He could be killed or at least mentally scarred for the rest of his life. Do you want that hanging over your shoulders?" Sam stated essentially the same thing, but added that Danny was innocent and the judge would be condemning an innocent boy to death.
It was finally time for the attorneys to make their statements. Gonzales went first, emotional despite herself. "I know what the first impressions of such a crime would be. The first urge is to lock him up and throw away the key. I implore you to show leniency, your honor. Sending a juvenile to prison is the equivalent of a death sentence. New evidence may come around that proves him innocent and it will be very difficult to apologize to my client if he is dead.
"How many juveniles have been sentenced to adult prison in this city? You can count them on one hand. He may be guilty, he may not be, but he is not beyond redemption. The court has never sentenced someone so young to adult prison and the only ones who are sent there are murderous psychopaths, which my client is clearly not. He is a 15-year-old boy under unendurable stress. My client had no one to turn to; no one to trust, but neither did anyone else. He is being used as a scapegoat for the vengeful public. Please do not make their mistake, your honor. The purpose of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate, not punish.
"Finally, why is my client still proclaiming his innocence? He has nothing to gain and everything to lose. He has already been found guilty. A guilty plea and a show of remorse would be perfect for leniency, but he still denies it. I ask you to ponder why, your honor. Keep my client out of the adult justice system because there are others who could have committed the crime as well." Saying that, she sat down. Baker now had her turn to speak.
She had to admit, she was rather shaken with the attempt on her life the previous night. If not for her bodyguards, that mechanical ghost would have succeeded in his attempt. Regaining her composure, she began to speak. "Yes, it is true that the juvenile system is intended to rehabilitate them. However, there are some that the law cannot do anything for. The defendant is one of these people. 12 ordinary citizens stated that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Add that to the river of evidence against him and it is next to impossible to be mistaken.
"The defense is trying to draw your sympathy towards the defendant. Instead think about the victim. Mr. Fenton slaughtered a helpless young man, who had no capability to defend himself. He stabbed the defendant 5 times, simply out of hatred. This is not a sign of innocence. This is not a sign of someone who can be rehabilitated.
"The defendant has a history of violence, escalating over the past year. He went to more and more extreme measures to get revenge against his tormentor and he had finally decided to be the judge, jury, and executioner. The defendant had other options. He could have gone to another school, in order to get away from the bullying. Instead he decided to murder a fellow student out of rage and anger.
"It is painfully clear that Mr. Fenton is dangerous. He has killed once, and what's to say that he won't kill again? If you treat him with kindness and leniency, your honor, you will be spreading the message to serious offenders everywhere, not merely the defendant, that the law is inefficient. He is a danger to society and you have an obligation to protect the public from such a person." She sat down, sighing.
"I will need time to make my decision." the judge told everyone. "Court will reconvene at 2:00 PM." With that, they left. Danny heard a pleading voice, but told the person to be silent. He was getting exactly what he deserved. What happened to him didn't matter anymore.
"Where is Vlad?" asked Maddie. "I can't believe after all this he abandoned us."
"Maddie, I'm sure he's doing something to help us." Jack reassured. "He's got connections we could only dream of. I just hope Danny can survive all this." Both Sam and Jazz were crying and Jack had to admit, it was difficult to stop himself from doing so, as well.
After what seemed like an eternity, the court was back in session. The judge made a deep sigh and began speaking. "This is far from an easy decision. I have weighed all the factors, and while the defendant is undoubtedly guilty, the punishment he deserves is a much more difficult decision to make. He has killed a defenseless classmate, shows no remorse, and has a boatload of evidence pointing to him. The defense has brought up some legitimate points concerning the justice system and it is true that no one so young has ever been sentenced to prison. That being said, based on the horrific nature of the crime and the defendant's history, I believe the defendant cannot be rehabilitated. Daniel Fenton, in accordance with the laws of California, I sentence you to a term of no less than 25 years and no more than the rest of your natural life in a place to be determined by the Department of Correction."
There were mixed screams of joy and shock. Maddie grabbed onto her son like his life depended on it. Jack flipped off the judge and prosecutor, promising a lawsuit. Finally, a voice shouted. "It was me! I did it! I killed him!" Of all people, it was….Jazz.
"Objection, your honor!" Baker exclaimed. "She is lying to protect the defendant!"
"I went to his house and brought the knife!" Jazz continued, tearing up yet again. "I stabbed him again and again because of what he did to my brother! I'm sorry, Danny! I'm so sorry!" She hugged him tightly, crying into his shoulder.
"The prosecutor is right." Danny spoke up. "I killed Dash. My sister is lying to protect me." The officers began to take him away.
"Why, Danny, why?" she asked tearfully.
"You have a future Jazz, a wonderful life ahead of you. I don't and it's better that the worthless one take the fall." The Fentons left the courthouse, terribly upset. The adults couldn't even bring themselves to yell at Jazz and drove home in silence. Vlad soon joined them and offered his consolation. He took Jazz to a private room.
"I want to know what happened Jasmine." Vlad requested softly. "I know it's difficult, but you have to tell me."
Jazz sighed and began her story. "Two weeks before I killed Dash, I finally found out what happened to Danny. He was… raped by both Dash and his dad. I was furious and went to confront him. Dash laughed and offered a deal. He would leave Danny alone if I had sex with him and his dad. I did so, not wanting Danny to suffer any more.
"But it just got worse. I felt like a prostitute, but was willing to endure it for his sake. Dash broke his promise, though, and broke Danny's. I decided to get him out of his life permanently. I went to his house and he was expecting sex. I gave him alcohol and cocaine, saying it would increase the excitement. When he was helpless, I knew exactly where to stab him. I thought that was the end of it; I never expected Danny to go to prison1 I should have said something sooner!"
"Are you willing to testify to that?" Vlad asked, hugging her gently. "We can bring him to justice. Let me worry about getting Daniel out before any permanent damage is done. Are you willing to help me?"
"How can we prove it? He'll just say that's Danny's lying."
"I have various ways to create evidence. You'd be surprised what my technology can do. Just let Uncle Vlad take care of him."
Robbins and Smith walked to the Baxter house yet again, knocking on the door. Mr. Baxter answered the door and they immediately went into action.
"Put your hands behind your back." Smith demanded, cuffing him. "You are under arrest for the rape of Daniel Fenton and unlawful sexual intercourse. You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, anything you saw can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford and attorney, one will be provided for you by the state."
Finally, the story's done! Figured I'd show some justice, as well as giving a reason why Jazz killed Dash. As for what happens to Danny, well, I'm thinking about writing a sequel. Or maybe I'll simply leave it to your imagination. Please review!