"Eduard Von Bock!" the bailiff said pleasantly, walking over to escort the witness.
From the crowd of spectators stood a blond, bespectacled man. He was entirely unremarkable except for the fact that as he stood, it became apparent that he was shaking from head to toe. These convulsions only grew worse as he neared the witness stand. When he arrived, the bailiff smiled down at him with a grin that could have been described as a friendly leer.
"Follow me." The courtroom was silent (save for the muffled footsteps of the bailiff and Eduard), holding its breath, waiting for the testimony to begin.
"Please raise your right hand," Ivan instructed. Eduard shakily lifted his trembling hand. "Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give is the whole truth, without omission?"
"I-I d-d-do…" he managed to stutter out.
"Please be seated, then," Ivan commanded. "For the record, state and spell your name."
"I-I… I'm Eduard Von Bock; V-O-N B-O-C-K."
"Your Honor, may I proceed?" came Arthur's voice from the podium.
Alfred jerked his head towards Arthur's general direction, which Arthur assumed meant 'yes.'
"Good day, Mr. Von Bock."
"Could you please give us your background information?"
Eduard blinked and gave a nervous cough. "Um… My name is Eduard Von Bock… I go to – ahem, I went to Himaruya University with Tino. I went there to major in world history, but when I met Tino, I switched my major to business management so we could spend more time together. We…we were best friends. We became good friends as soon as we met."
Arthur nodded curtly. "Can you tell us a little about the defendant?"
"Objection, Your Honor!" Antonio eagerly chimed in, happy that he spotted an objection. "No foundation has been laid that Mr. Von Bock knows Mr. Oxenstierna, here."
Alfred shrugged. "He's got a point, man. Sustained."
Arthur rolled his eyes. "Bloody hell," he muttered, turning back to Eduard.
"Mr. Von Bock," he said, putting pressure on his words. "Do you know the defendant, Berwald Oxenstierna?"
"Is he in the courtroom today?"
Eduard gave a slight, timid nod. "He's over there," he confirmed, pointing a trembling finger towards Berwald, who was sitting at the defense counsel table, next to Antonio.
"May the record reflect that the witness has identified the defendant?"
"Reflected," Alfred said, suppressing a yawn.
"Now could you please tell us about him?"
Eduard coughed again. "Erm… well… We weren't close at all. I mean, we weren't friends, really. But he and Tino were really close." He nodded, as if agreeing with himself.
"What is Mr. Oxenstierna like?"
"Objection—the question calls for character evidence."
Arthur sighed. "Your Honor…"
"I'll overrule the objection."
What? What the hell was this? The prosecution can't bring forth any evidence of the defendant's character, until the defense brings it out themselves.
"Your Honor… May I be heard?" Antonio asked indignantly.
"Nope. I've already ruled on the objection. Carry on."
Arthur repressed the urge to dance around triumphantly. Being 'friendly' with Judge Jones was great.
"Would you like me to repeat the question…?"
"N-No, I got it. Erm… Well, he's very quiet. I mean, he doesn't talk much. He doesn't… yeah. And he's a little scary…" He blushed, and looked down at his lap.
"What can you tell us about the defendant's relationship with Mr. Väinämöinen?"
Arthur mentally cringed, waiting for opposing counsel to object to lay witness opinion. Since Eduard was no expert witness, this question was perfectly objectionable, and to be frank, Arthur had not prepared a response for this question. He was fervently hoping that he could get this in without that damned idiot Spaniard objecting.
…Surprisingly, no objection came. What was this? Was Antonio that busy, writing his opening?
…It couldn't be.
Antonio had fallen asleep again.
Berwald sat sullenly next to him, staring down at the floor. Arthur could've sworn that Berwald had lost hope, too, and he almost felt sorry for the poor guy, having a lawyer like that.
Arthur Kirkland, feeling sorry for the defendant? he thought incredulously, mentally slapping himself. Pull yourself together, man. He's committed murder. MURDER.
"Erm...well, they were very close. They were close childhood friends, I know, but... I... A lot of the time, I got the distinct impression that Tino was, well, rather terrified of Berwald."
"I'd like to direct you to October 13th, 2010. Can you tell us what happened that day?"
"Oh, erm, well. That afternoon, Tino and Berwald were working in his room on one of his projects - he's really into carpentry and things like that – and…Well, then some wood fell on Tino's head and he had to go to the hospital." Eduard's tone made it clear he didn't quite believe that the wood had simply fallen. "He suffered a minor head injury and was in the hospital for eight days."
Murmurs from the jury. Alfred banged his gavel against the wood of his desk, shushing them.
"Mr. Von Bock," Arthur continued, "did you attend the Hidekaz International music festival on the night of April 2nd, 2011?"
"Did you attend this festival with anyone else?"
"I went with Tino."
"What did you do when you arrived there?"
"Well… Tino and I set up camp, and then we went down to the Pub and Go! for a drink…"
"Your Honor, may the witness approach Exhibit A?"
Alfred emitted a grunt of permission.
"Mr. Von Bock, do you recognize this exhibit?"
"What does it depict?"
"It's…a map of the Hidekaz International music festival…?" he stated hesitantly.
Arthur nodded. "Is it a factual representation?"
"I…Yeah, I think…"
"Could you please mark where you and Mr. Väinämöinen set up camp?"
Eduard circled the area labeled 'Tino and Eduard's Campsite' with a black marker, his shaking hand leaving a lopsided mark.
"Now, could you please circle where you went with Tino afterwards, the 'Pub and Go!'?"
Eduard marked the diagram once more.
"Thank you, Mr. Von Bock. Your Honor, may the witness have a seat now?"
"Yuppers," replied Alfred.
"And, Your Honor, may we move Exhibit A into evidence?"
"Moved," Alfred confirmed.
"Did you recognize anybody else when you were there?" continued Arthur.
"Y-Yes. I saw Berwald," he paused to quickly glance at Berwald, "and another colleague of ours; Matthias Køhler."
"And what time was this, Mr. Von Bock?"
"Around 9:00 p.m."
"What happened after that?"
"Well, since Berwald was there I, well, I started to get a bit…uncomfortable. So I told Tino I was going to go walk around the festival a little bit."
Hearsay objection, Arthur mentally objected to his own witness. A soft snore from the defense told him that no hearsay objection would be raised anytime soon.
"Did you see them after that?"
"I saw them from far away a little later, from far away...I saw them when I was walking to get a snack, around the East Road. They were walking towards where we set up camp. And that's…that's the last I saw them."
Estonia's voice became a bit thick. Arthur gave him a moment to compose himself before plowing on.
"What time was this?"
"I…It was at 9:30."
"Did you see Berwald again that night?"
Eduard shook his head. "No," he negated.
"Did you see Tino again that night?"
Eduard shuddered, and took a deep breath. "Y-Yes," he choked out.
"At…about 11:00 p.m."
"What was he doing?"
Eduard managed to tremble even more than he already was. "Tino was… He was lying on the floor, not moving. There… There was blood all over him," he ended weakly. Silent, pristine tears were streaming down his face.
Arthur internally jumped ecstatically. Juries were always suckers for crying witnesses.
"No further questions, Your Honor."
Alfred shifted in his seat. "…Cross-examination?" he asked, turning towards the defense.
Another snore. "Huh? Oh, claro que sí, Your Honor."
"Hey, Carriedo, try to refrain from the Mexican here, ok? None of us get you." Alfred smiled at him.
"Oh, eh, it's Spanish! But okay…"
He gathered some papers and stepped up towards the witness stand.
"Again, Your Honor, my name is Antonio Carriedo, C-A-R-R-I-E-D-O."
The courtroom remained silent.
"So, Mr. Von Bock…" Antonio stepped up towards the witness stand empty-handed. He looked blank for a moment.
It was so obvious he had no idea what he was doing, Arthur thought. Was this sympathy he was feeling? Ugh. He'd need to go home and yell at himself after today.
"Mr. Von Bock," Antonio began again, "you told us that you often felt Mr. Väinämöinen seemed…" he looked down at the journalist's paper, "…terrified of Mr. Oxenstierna, right?"
"That is correct."
"Did you reciprocate this opinion?"
"I…I did, yes."
"So," he said, his eyes twinkling, "you didn't like Mr. Oxenstierna, sí - yes?"
"Objection, Your Honor. I don't see the relevance in this question."
"Your Honor," Antonio said quickly, "may I be heard?"
"I guess," said Alfred, shrugging, avoiding the glare that Arthur was giving him.
"If I may make an offer of proof, Mr. Von Bock here will answer 'no,' and it will go to show the bias this witness has towards my client."
Alfred considered this. "I guess I'll have to overrule it, then," he hesitantly decided. Arthur made a disgusted noise.
Eduard adjusted his shirt collar.
"Answer yes or no, please."
"I…I…No, I didn't really like him."
"Thank you. Now, I'd like to talk a little more about April 2nd, the day of the festival. You said the last time you saw my client was at 9:30 p.m., correct?"
"And the body was found at 11:00 p.m., correct?"
"And you hadn't seen Mr. Väinämöinen since 9:30 since then also, correct?"
Eduard nodded weakly.
"So it would be entirely possible for him to be elsewhere, with anyone else, other than my client?"
"I…guess so, but I saw—"
"Objection, Your Honor. The witness is being non-responsive. Move to strike everything after the words, 'I guess so?'"
"Erm… I'll have to sustain the objection. Stricken from the record." Alfred shot an apologetic glance towards Arthur.
"No further questions, then."
"No, Your Honor," Arthur voiced with a sigh. He supposed not too much damage had been done on the cross. "May the witness please be excused?"
"Yeah. Go, dude."
Eduard put on a mask of relief, and practically ran out of the courtroom.
"Prosecution, call your next witness, then," Alfred instructed.
"Prosecution calls Dr. Bondevik as their second witness."