By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
Danny, Hobbs Porter says, treated her with respect. In fact, he sometimes would caution her when not to visit his home.
"Why not?" Lewis asks.
"I got the sense he wanted to protect me, and sometimes maybe there was something he did not want me to see," she replies. If she'd showed up during a drug transaction or when a large group of guys were hanging around, she could have been in danger.
Hobbs Porter echoes earlier testimony from Danny's uncle Jimmy, the man the Crips shot while he was sleeping on the couch at 2727 California and they mistook him for Danny. Jimmy had talked about a neighborhood where 95 percent of the male population used or sold drugs. A neighborhood so tough that when Theresa forced nine-year-old Danny to go back outside and fight a neighbor boy, it was "the right thing to do...If you didn't fight, the other kids would think you were weak and take advantage of you."
The last time she had seen Danny had been several years ago, Hobbs Porter testifies. She had been walking down the street when a car pulled up. It was Danny, and he wanted her to see his twin boys.
On cross-examination, Randall gets the probation officer to acknowledge that boys don't join gangs just for a replacement family. They also do it for money and power.
Even ten years ago, Danny made a choice to leave Arkansas, where he was doing well, "and he chose his friends," the attorney suggests.
"True," she says, and shrugs.
Hobbs Porter steps down from the stand. The defense's case is over.
The prosecution presents a brief rebuttal, calling two Jefferson County deputies to the stand to testify about behavioral problems Danny's had in the jail.
After all the testimony in this trial, these difficulties seem minor. In one instance, Danny was upset about not being allowed to take a shower after playing basketball. "Paybacks are a bitch, as you and your homosexual partner will find out," the deputy recalls him saying.
In a second incident, he got angry about a jail rule concerning the correct wrist for wearing identification bracelets and warned a female deputy, "I'm not in here for selling crack."
"How'd you take that?" Sargent asks.
"As a threat."
At last, both sides rest and it's time for closing arguments. But first Lewis formally announces that his client will exercise his right of allocution--to speak on his own behalf without being sworn in.
While his mother, sister and other relatives weep, Danny shuffles to the podium. A few days earlier, he told his mother that he wanted to apologize but didn't know what to say. "The words won't come," he said. To which she replied, "It only takes two to say, 'I'm sorry.'"
In the end he does a little better than that, without asking for leniency or mercy. "Your Honors, I just want to apologize to both families--my family, Brandy's family--for what has taken place. Also to Your Honors about putting them in a position like this.
"I know it's not easy for nobody, and there's really not no words..." Danny chokes up and has to start again. "...You know, there ain't no words that could really just explain anything about this. But, you know, I just want you to know whatever happens, that's the Lord's will.
"So, you know, there's no--any hard feelings against anybody, no matter what happens, and I'll just make the best out of whatever happens. And thank you for being respectful to my lawyers. Thank you."
Members of the panel, there are no words that can describe the horror of this crime."
It has fallen on prosecutor Randall to make the closing remarks for the state.
"There are no ways to have three judges understand the terror that a fourteen-year-old girl went through," he says, pausing to turn and point at Danny, "at the hands of that man. There's no way to explain his crime.
"But through words and the evidence that we have left of Brandy, the evidence that he left is bloody jeans that she wore when she died, bloody handcuffs that that man placed on her that she wore when she died, bloody jewelry her mother had to identify at the coroner's office, and..."
Randall walks over to the backseat taken from Quintana's car "...a bench seat where she last sat next to him.
"I don't have Brandy here to try to show you what is left of her," he says, but the panel has "the photos of how he left her. And they are horrible, and they are graphic, but they are this crime. They are his crime."
Once again, like a snuff film that keeps rewinding and playing itself, Randall recounts the horror of what happened to Brandy--and Danny's role in it. "Blood is pouring out of her anus, and that man has his penis inside of her. He gets off of her, and he's covered with blood from the waist down.
"That's who Bang is. Actions speak louder than words, and that speaks volumes of who he is. Even the ultra-evil Pancho...didn't do that."