College student shoots roommate for trespassing on her side, pleads the second
3:15, Wednesday afternoon. Ithaca City Courthouse is silent as the defendant, 19-year-old Elena Moore, approaches the stand to testify in her own defense. Moore has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon after shooting her college roommate, Thelma Higgins, in the leg in February. The defendant looks nervous, a slight sheen of sweat on her forehead as she settles into her seat. As she is being sworn in, her defense attorney begins to pace the floor, flashing a smile at the judge and jury, displaying the charm and charisma of Richard Gere in Chicago. “Ms. Moore,” he states, leaning against the stand. “Let’s not beat around the bush. You did, in fact, shoot your roommate, Ms. Higgins.”
“I did,” Moore boldly states. She turns to the jury. “But I had no other choice.” Billy Flynn smiles.
“Thelma and I were such good friends at the beginning of the year, we did everything together.” Moore pauses, collecting herself. Richard Gere whips out a handkerchief, offering it kindly to the defendant. The jury eats it up. Next he’s going to start singing “Razzle Dazzle.”
“Tell us all about the first incident.” Moore nods.
“In November we were having a movie night and ordered Insomnia Cookies. The cookies arrived while I was at the library, and when I got back…she had eaten them all! She ate my cookies!” The entire courtroom erupts in chaos. Various observers whip out their phones, checking to see if Insomnia Cookies is open yet and if they do in fact deliver. (Of course they do, ignorant townspeople.) The judge bangs his gavel.
“Silence!” He shouts. “I’m calling a recess.”
[Let the record show that during the recess the jury and judge ordered Insomnia Cookies. Upon their return they appear to look more sympathetically at the defendant. Juror number ten still has some chocolate smeared around his mouth and crumbs stuck to his shirt.]
“Everything went from bad to worse,” Moore continues. “The second incident occurred a few weeks later. It was in the middle of the night, I was sleeping when suddenly I awoke to find Thelma standing over me, a crazed look in her eyes. She whispered, ‘I’m da captain now,’ doing her best Barkhad Abdi impersonation.” Moore shakes her head. “What hurts the most is we saw that movie together!” At this moment, Juror number eight stands up and yells, “Barkhad should’ve won the Oscar! He was robbed!” The judge restores order once again in the courtroom. Members of the audience begin whispering, trying to remember who won the Oscar instead of Barkhad.
“It got to the point where I put a piece of duct tape down the exact center of our dorm. I waited up that night and she started creeping over to my side, her eyes crazier than Crazy Eyes’ eyes. I did what I had to do!” Moore stands up. “I shot her! It was self defense! She was trespassing!”
“I rest my case!” Richard Gere shouts. The jury exits, going to discuss the verdict. In a record time of four minutes, the jury returns, Juror number ten with even more chocolate on his face and hands.
“We the jury find the defendant not guilty!” Cheers erupt in the courtroom as justice is served (along with complimentary Insomnia Cookies).
Rachel Mucha is a freshman journalism major who doesn’t support gun violence unless her GrubHub account is at stake. Email her at rmucha1[at]ithaca.edu.