Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Feminism on Trial

On Trial: Part 2
— Jack Takes
the Stand

The success or failure of the state's case against Ginny hinged on the testimony of a single witness John "Jack" Sidote. What he would have to say would make or break the state's case and the D.A.'s office, with whom Jack had cut his immunity deal, were out to make him look as credible as possible before a jury. Even to the extent of dressing him conservatively and trying to give him an air of respectability as he took his place on the witness stand.

Konrad began the questioning by asking Jack questions about how he met Ginny and how the relationship between them evolved. Soon he was describing the circumstances under which, he claimed, Chayo was lured from a Bourbon Street bar by Ginny, then driven to the remote area in Metairie where the murder took place. He described the struggle that ensued and told the court that Chayo was hit a number of times with tire tools by both him and Ginny. After the victim had been knocked to the ground, Jack said he and Ginny dragged his body over to a nearby canal and left it there after taking his wallet. However, there were inconsistencies between his testimony and what he had said in his 1977 confession. In his confession he said that Ginny was the lone assailant and that Chayo's body had been left where it fell. There was no mention of dragging it to a canal.

After the incident, Jack testified, he and Ginny drove back to their hotel where she brought him a change of clothes and they drove around the corner where he changed. Then, he said, they returned to the hotel where he gave Wasyl some money and told him to drive the car to Texas. After that, he went on, he and Ginny went up to their room where they emptied the wallet of $1,400 and some foreign currency, and tore the wallet up before flushing it down the toilet. Where he had gotten the money to give Wasyl before going through Chayo's wallet wasn't explained. After that, arrangements were made for he and Ginny to fly separately to Houston (or Dallas, he wasn't sure which), where they would all rendezvous and continue their westward journey. There were other inconsistencies in his testimony, as well.

Following a brief recess, Glass began his cross examination. During his grilling of Jack, many inconsistencies were brought out between what Jack said in his confession and other previous statements and what he said on the witness stand. There were inconsistencies of times, locations, and descriptions of the murder site. There were also discrepancies between Jack's physical description of Chayo and the facts that were already known about the victim's physique and facial characteristics.

The issue of Jack's alcohol addiction also came to the fore, as Glass hammered away at his earlier testimony under Konrad. Jack conceded that he might have, at times, talked to himself during a drunken stupor. With this admission, Glass tried to establish that Jack might have been talking to himself when he said, "You shouldn't have hit him so hard," as Wasyl had said during his testimony. Glass also grilled Jack on his immunity agreement, establishing for the jury that, in exchange for his testimony, the Jefferson D.A.'s office would attempt to intercede on his behalf with authorities in Nevada.

Cross examination continued the following day. Glass grilled Jack on a number of issues related to his violent, volatile character, trying to paint an unsympathetic picture of him for the jurors. Several years earlier, in a drunken, desperate robbery attempt of his former employer John Lipani's home, he assaulted Lipani's wife Marie. This was brought out during cross examination, despite prosecution objections. Pictures were shown to the jury of what Marie's face looked like after Jack beat her before the judge could sustain Konrad's objections.

Just prior to that, when asked about his beatings of Ginny, Jack denied most of them. Under pressure, however, he said, "I struck her but I never beat her," as if to imply there was a distinction between the two. Jack also admitted to the time he nearly choked Ginny to death but he denied saying he was going to come back and kill her.

Jack also denied writing a letter to Ginny's parents in which he threatened to kill her. He denied being motivated by a desire for vengeance against Ginny when he made his confession to the New York State Police. Finally, at the end of cross examination, Glass asked Jack to look directly at Ginny and repeat his accusations against her. Jack refused.

The prosecution had the option of putting Jack back on the stand for further testimony but, during the following session, Konrad declined to do so. Instead, to the surprise of nearly everyone in the courtroom, he announced that the state was going to rest its case.

 

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