Saturday, May 30, 2009

JNS BLOG EXCLUSIVE: Murder Trial Of Edgar Barrientos, Ben Myers For The Defense... Photo, "Tears Of Blood"

Some days ago, while observing the "True JACC" court room drama to determine the destiny and control of the Jordan Neighborhood association, I ducked into the murder trial of Edgar Barrientos. Ben Myers--who against all common sense still proclaims himself the Vice Chair of the Jordan Neighborhood, rather like the Reverend Jim Jones proclaimed himself somewhere up there with the Son Of God--was one of the defense attorneys.

Young Edgar Barrientos is on trial for...

...bad marksmanship, actually, which SHOULD be a criminal offense, but it's tragically all-too-common among the gangster set; far too fixated on the romance of holding, posing with, stroking, fondling a sexy weapon rather than the dull utilitarian purpose of the weapon itself.

Barrientos is accused of shooting a young man named Jesse Michelson, but the record appears to show it wasn't even Michelson that Barrientos was trying to hit. No, rather Barrientos was a terrible shot and Michelson had worse-than-terrible luck. Allegedly. All allegedly. Just go throughout the text below and sprinkle in "allegedly" where it needs to go. Thanks.

So there was my twin-brother-in-Parody-World, public figure Ben Myers, sitting at the defense table with accused murderer Edgar Barrientos, like they were BUDDIES or something.

I say! Ben has been running the neighborhood association, (into the ground) defending a murder defendant in a colorful case, getting himself quoted in the big daily paper about the fate of the Big Stop there any doubt my evil twin brother Ben Myers is a PUBLIC FIGURE?

What twists and turns of human chaos: because Edgar Barrientos launched a few badly-aimed bullets several months ago, and ends up on trial for his freedom, testimony in another trial is delayed; a trial about the fate of a neighborhood association virtually LOOTED by Ben Myers and Jerry Moore.

Can anybody see, predict, know the random and fractalizing consequences of each tiny deliberate act? Obviously not, but there are some easy rules to avoid this kind of negative chaos: don't drive around in a car shooting at other human beings, thinking you're a bad ass, thinking you're ALL THAT.

Barrientos was looking clean and spiffy in a starched shirt, a conservative haircut. He sat calmly, without a great deal of physical agitation, but two deputies were nearby, never taking their eyes off him. At moments like this I think, "How would a person run, escape, dodge, make their way out of this massive government building and to freedom?" The best I've come up with: STAIRWELLS are very important. You can't stand around waiting for an elevator. You need to run down a stairwell, and you need to run like hell.

One side of the room was almost empty, the other side packed with friends and relatives of the victim, sitting behind the prosecutor like her biggest fans. Among the spectators was a young woman, tall and willowy, not unattractive but with a hard, hard facial expression. Her age was hard to determine (as young as 15, as old as 21) and she had numerous homemade tattoos on her right leg, all names, like everybody-signs-the-birthday-card. Here's a pen. OH MY GOD WHY ARE YOU STABBING THE PEN INTO YOUR LEG?

Periodically, the young woman of indeterminate age would cradle a baby, other times she would hand the baby off to a woman who may have been her own mother, possibly the grandmother of the baby, but always the baby was cared for, fed. I never saw anybody cross with the baby, nobody less than gentle. Some of these folks were rough-looking people, but they loved their children, as decent people should. They should have never been here in court at a murder trial. The victim in this shooting did nothing wrong. He was playing football at a cousin's birthday party.

Ben Myers was asked a question by the judge and answered, "Your honor, we take no position at this time" in response to some kind of issue about adding the words "drive by shooting, murder committed in the course of..."

It was mentioned the defense had agreed not to refer to the defendant "by his first name only" during closing arguments. Yeah, like that would have worked. Nobody is going to convict a guy named EDGAR. Behind sweet, oh-so-innocent Edgar sat a woman who appeared to be either a mother or a sister. It was hard to tell. Sometimes my gut said "mother" and sometimes it was "sister."

I sat there thinking "Mother? Sister? Mother? Sister?" rather like that classic scene in the movie "Chinatown" with Jack Nicholson, click here and go to 2 minutes, 14 seconds.

The woman of indeterminate relationship sat directly behind Barrientos, wearing a sort of tightly knit fishnet blouse with shimmery highlights. I think she was trying to look conservative in the courtroom, but had some limited wardrobe choices. She had a new, complimentary hairdo: a lush cascade of brunette, with carefully applied dark blond highlights. It seemed to match her shirt. She'd taken care in her grooming and outfit, and yet the overall impact was...not what pleases judges in court. Not careful, prudent, conservative, socially-contributing. Just a bit on the trashy side.

Though she usually kept her gaze fixed on Barrientos, I never saw him turn once to acknowledge her. Self-centered little prick. Like he's the only one in the world with FEELINGS.

The defense attorney who wasn't Ben--looking like an alter boy, all grown up, every brunette hair in place--rose to say he had an "unusual request" which was "hard to ask," but he wanted to ask for the rules about children in the gallery, specifically in regard to the baby, "if it begins to cry."

Yes, "it."

Like the sweet little baby was an annoying, yappy puppy.

The judge--who said she has three children herself--said the baby is a "close family member" to the victim. Furthermore, in the last few days, though the child was often present in the court room, "I've heard nary a peep from the child." Her Honor agreed, however, that if the child cries in "more than a low murmur" that somebody must take the child outside.

In the hallway, I spoke long enough to some of the victim's family members to merely obtain the name of the defendant, a handle to figure out much of the case. I mentioned that I was only in court because Ben Myers is involved in another lawsuit, and the suit in question was about the neighborhood association.

A young woman--possibly 15, with a sort of an "A plus student from a tough background" personality, jumped into the spokesperson role, and said of Ben Myers, "Everything he says is just STUPID."

I had to bite my tongue to avoid answering, "Well, you are biased. That's not entirely true. There are times, for example, when he's quoting ME."

The jury came in, and for the benefit of the historical record I took note of their composition, which was 8 white females, 4 white males, 1 Asian male, one male who may have been Latino or white, hard to tell. They looked like this:

# The Total Hottie. A brunette in her early 20s, with a white scarf looped through her belt, trailing at her hip, pirate wench style. She wore a black dressy suit with a HOT PINK top. A lip curling look on her face during jury instructions seemed to say, "Oh, it's all so much to understand!" but could I forgive her flaws?

A thousand times I could forgive those flaws.

# The Grandmother. She sat next to the total hottie, keeping a gentle and helpful eye on her. In her early 60s, spectacles, actually sitting with her hands primly folded in her lap as though she'd been taught to sit like that, long ago, taught these things along with cleaning one's plate, laying the knife and fork just so in the middle of the plate in the shape of a cross. She wore a blue, long-sleeved shirt that covered her ample, matriarchal body like a tent, a white collar emerging at the top.

Voted most likely to invite all her fellow jurors to Thanksgiving dinner.

# The Freshman. A young man, possibly still in his late teens, certainly no older than early to mid-20s. He has reddish hair, a thin face and build. His face is not animated. He sits dutifully, as one would sit through classes not particularly enjoyed, but necessary. He's going to send Edgar to hell in a hand basket. You watch.

# Mr. Mustache. A white mustached man, white hair, wearing a blue jacket even though the room isn't THAT cold. He has a pen handy in his pocket. Something about him says "take charge personality," like a manager or foreman.

# White female hottie number 2. There was something familiar about her face and eyeglasses and then I realized...Oh. My. Word. If my friend Connie Nompelis had a sister ten years younger, this could be her. Same face, same hair, same glasses. Blonde, thin, very attentive. If she has the same attitudes as Connie, she'll put that little (expletive) Edgar away for life, and not lose a moment's sleep, though she'll really need a CIGARETTE after.

# The Hot Housewife. Mid-30s, white (all 8 females on the jury are white) with a long, lush auburn ponytail, understated gold hoop earings. Not Sarah Palin hot, but...pretty hot for (I suspect) a soccer mom.

# The Working Woman. Female, possibly mid-30s, jean jacket, straight blonde hair, not particularly dolled up. She looks tired. And, at times, another look flickers across her face: resentment.

# The Gray Man. A white male in his mid-50s, maybe, with gray hair, a gray shirt, striking patrician facial features. It is a character-filled face, like that of early American presidents. He looks like somebody who would be talkative, tell funny stories over beer, beer, hey, how about another beer?

Most likely to compare the defendant to no-accounts thugs from his own high school days. Sigh? Where are they now? Mostly dead or in prison.

# Mr. Blinky. An Asian male in his early 30s, he blinks constantly in a nervous way, chews gum.

# Mr. Five O'Clock Shadow. A white male, lanky, early 50s. He wears a grim expression. You would, too, if you were about to send a man to prison for a long, long time.

# Hottie Number 3. Shoulder length, slightly wavy blonde hair, black blouse. What's the deal with this jury? Did the lawyers use the drivers license PHOTOS instead of REGISTRATIONS? This is the hottest jury I've ever seen!

# The Working Man. A young male, possibly Latino but he could be white, late 20s, small in stature, casually dressed in blue collar plaid.

# The Bundle of Energy. A white female in her 30s, with an oft-changing facial expression, she seems not quite happy with the role of always being forced to listen, not talk or ask questions. She has short brunette hair, which seems to crackle with frizzy energy. Though she seems white, she may be one of those folks who can lay claim to some Native American background. I see opinons, questions about this case locked up in her, wanting to get loose.

# The Nun. A white female in a dark suit, with a dark hair covering like a nun or certain conservative Christian religious sects, black glasses. She looks like an extra in the movie "Doubt."

I sat through some of the final arguments. It was a lot of stuff about a car driving around and people aboard up to no good, about people with nicknames like Smoky and Scrappy.

My impression was the case required a meticulous piecing-together. Johnny Cocharan might be able to create reasonable doubt out of thin air. But take it from his twin brother: Ben Myers is no Johnny Cocharan. I'm the one in the family named after Johnny Cocharan.

Ben was named after...well, Benzadrine. That's really all I want to say about THAT. Honor thy father and mother, even if mom was doing A LOT OF DRUGS when she found out she was pregnant with Ben, too.

In any case...

Odds of Edgar Barrientos walking from these charges: 1 in 14.


1 in a BILLION.


Anonymous said...

U can't lead the people if U steal from the people.

Anonymous said...

I am quite surprised by the fact that Myers has yet to petition the court to eliminate the need for a jury (or even the judge's input)in this matter.

I mean afterall, he and Jerry Moore were smart enough to run a community organization without any outside input from the constituency. As such, why in the world would a jury (or judge) really be needed in a murder trial that Ben is involved with?

Can you say megalomania?????

dennis plante

Anonymous said...

Babylonian Wheat.

Johnny Northside said...

The comment above apparently alludes to a conversation had last night with a lovely, wonderful NoMi person...about the consequences of tiny deeds, how these consequences ripple, infinitely, into the universe.

Anonymous said...

you want to talk about "biased"? this was biased.

Anonymous said...

You know anybody who truly knew Edgar would really be upset by what is wriiten here. I personally knew Edgar and you make it seem like he was what did you say a self involved prick? Edgar is a person who does not show his feelings outwardly infront of people...especially strangers. But in more intimate sttings where he is with close friends he will show his true feelings, and let me tell you he does have a huge heart! Also I would like to state that Edgar is innocent...and its only a matter of time before the truth comes out. Than maybe you would like to apologize to him?

Johnny Northside! said...

I am doubtful I will ever occupy the strange and unlikely alternative universe where he is proven innocent. A jury found him guilty...why don't you go seek apologies from all of them?