Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Feminism on Trial

Pre-Trial Maneuverings

Ginny remained in New Paltz to help her mother with the estate, then returned to California to finish business there before returning to Louisiana that summer. Her attorneys, Reed and Glass, were pushing to get her a speedy trial or have the charges against her dropped. District Attorney John Mamoulides of Jefferson Parish had assigned two of his assistants, Tom Porteous and Gordon Konrad, to the prosecution team.

Ginny's lawyers attempted to convince them to honor the promise made six years earlier by Shirley Wimberly that their office had no case and there would be no prosecution. However, since the agreement was not in writing, the D.A.'s office would deny its validity. They did, however, offer Ginny a plea-bargain deal in which the murder charge would be dropped in exchange for a plea of guilty to being an accessory. Ginny and her lawyers laughed off the deal, confident their case was strong enough to beat the murder rap.

Prior to Ginny's arrest, Porteous, Konrad, and even Mamoulides himself, had made several trips to Nevada to persuade Jack to testify against Ginny. Four years into his 25-year sentence, Jack had been released but a drunken driving arrest shortly after his release landed him back in jail for a parole violation. Jack was once again offered immunity from prosecution in the Chayo murder but he was initially hesitant to testify against Ginny. A codicil was added to the immunity agreement stating that Louisiana would put in a good word with the Nevada Parole Board in exchange for his testimony, and that seemed to do the trick. He would implicate his former wife.

The months leading up the trial were spent, by both sides, gathering whatever evidence they could and interviewing potential witnesses. Wasyl Bozydaj was located and he agreed to testify for the prosecution, despite his denials of any knowledge of the killings in Louisiana and Nevada. Ginny was put through a form of therapy in an effort to jar her memory of long-ago events she had deliberately suppressed over the years. Her case was also assigned by her team to the National Jury Project in an effort to help shape an effective defense strategy.

Both the therapy and the NJP efforts focused heavily on trying to elicit emotion in Ginny; trying to get her to morph into a character that a jury could sympathize with. The decision had already been made to put her on the witness stand in her own defense. She now had to become more convincing in her retelling of a long, ongoing pattern of abuse at the hands of the man who was the state's chief and only witness who could conceivably put her at the scene of the Chayo murder. She had to become the vulnerable, impressionable Virginia Galluzzo again; not the confident, self-assured Ginny Foat.

Eventually these strategies worked. By the fall, Ginny was ready to face a jury.

 

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