Connor Murphy: 13-16-year-old street-smart kid who has many secrets. Troubled but salvageable, he comes before the Peer Jury with an attitude.
Robb: 15-16-year-old, jury foreman, who is absolutely an obstinate, obnoxious jock who takes his role as the foreman way too seriously. No one should like Robb.
Lance: 15-16-year-old fairly decent kid who is there to make a difference. He is the actual leader of the group and clearly puts Robb in his place several times during the course of the hearing.
Vic: 15-17 year old lesbian girl who doesn’t take crap off of anyone, especially Robb. She is the only one who treats Connor halfway decent, too.
Carrie: 15-17-year old preppie girl who constantly refers to the paperwork at their disposal, and is annoying with her bookish attitude toward Connor and the others, always stating, “Well, if we go “by the book” or “according to the report.”
Cal: 15-17-year-old tough guy who doesn’t have much patience for Connor or for Lance. He is Robb’s right hand man, backing him in most cases. He also doesn’t care much for Vic because she is a lesbian or for David, who is gay.
Becky: 15-17-year-old rather pleasant girl who is only there to do the right thing. She sides with Vic and Lance on most points, but has little patience with Connor’s so-called “threat.”
Crystal: 15-17-year-old jockette who has a crush on Cal and backs him throughout the hearing. But she is also smart and grills Connor most thoroughly about his drug use and other questionable activities.
David: 15-17-year-old out gay teen, who adds color to the cast with his mannerisms and cockiness.
The audience and most cast members should find him charming and likable.
Other characters to be involved in the court hearing which follows the murders:
Detective Morgan: male or female, who describes the murder scenes in court, constantly referring to the coins found on the victim’s eyes which relate to paying the Ferryman to cross the river Styx. Something about the “last voyage” keeps getting mentioned.
The DA: male or female, tough and by the book prosecutor who tries Connor in court, and is thoroughly convinced he is the murder suspect.
The Public Defender: male or female who constantly objects to the DA’s terms and loose usage of the language referring to the murderer.
Therapist: male or female, who is the star witness for the DA.
PO: male or female, who has no support for Connor, being the difficult kid that he is.
Pitbull shelter owner: Who is there in court to defend Connor as a kind and caring animal lover, to bolster his defense attorney’s claim that any kid who loves dogs like he does, would not be able to be a cold-blooded killer.
(Takes place at juvenile court with 8 kids seated in a semi-circle before the Hot Seat. This is the set up for the hearing that is about to take place for Connor Murphy who has violated his probation.)
Robb: As Jury Foreman, I hereby order this hearing to get underway. Any objections, jurors?
Lance: Yeah, I object to you being such a dick. We elected you to be foreman just to be official, so we comply with the court’s rules. So, Robb–
Robb: Lance, you have the right to remain silent, lest any more dribble that spills from your lips incriminates you. As Jury Foreman, I have the authority to remove you as one of our esteemed jurors–
Vic: Oh, shut up, Robb. Like Lance said, quit being such an ass. Take your role serious or we’ll all vote to replace you!
Robb: (stands up and walks over to the judge’s bench. There he scoops up the gavel, goes around behind the stand and taps the gavel in a sarcastic display) Order in this court, or I’ll summon the bailiff to put a gag in your mouth, Vic. And you, too, Lance. Do you others understand the power I wield with this little wooden hammer?
Cal: Yeah, maybe you should use that hammer on this prep’s head (he slaps Lance across the chest) Or hammer home silence for this les–owww! Let me go, Vic! I was just joking! (he attempts to slap Vic on the arm, but she instead performs a wrist lock on him in mid-sentence.)
Vic: (releasing his wrist, she smirks) You’re a real comedian, Cal. Now behave, you moron, so we can conduct this hearing.
Crystal: Enough of the drama. We need to discuss this case. We have about 10 minutes to do that. Have you read his files, Robb? You might have been elected the foreman of this jury, but all that gives the rights to is helping the rest of us make a decision regarding this kid . . . uh . . .
Lance: Connor Murphy.
Vic: Yes, Connor. I’ve read the files, have all of you?
Becky: Yes, and according to the report, this kid is seriously troubled. He was first placed on probation for skipping 88 days of school–
David: But no criminal activity? That seems ridiculous to me, to put a kid on probation just for being truant from school.
Carrie: But 88 days of missed school? That creates a serious truancy problem. Why do you suppose he didn’t want to attend school?
Cal: Probably a pothead that was too stoned to get his lazy butt outta bed. He probably would have been so toasted he wouldn’t have comprehended what teachers were saying anyway.
Vic: Comprehended? My that’s a big word for you, Cal.
Becky: Vic, please. Cool this thing between you and Cal, so we can stay focused.
David: Getting back to his sentencing. What were his terms? And did he like violate any of them?
Lance: As much as I hate to admit it, Cal might be right about Connor being a pothead. He failed his last UA. Ordinarily, he would have been locked up in detention for that, but–
Becky: But according to the report, Connor complied with the rest of his terms. Stayed in school. On time for all his classes. Performed 60 hours of community service. Kept a steady job at a Dog Rescue Ranch. The only thing he screwed up on was his intake of marijuana.
Robb: Oh, and for one more thing, Miss Becky. Did you read the hen scratches attached to the bottom of his report? The letter he wrote to his parents?
Cal: Yeah, now that is–
Rob: some sick–
Cal: –stuff, for sure.
Robb: Did any of you guys read the hate mail he sent his folks?
Becky: According to his PO’s report, Connor swears he didn’t write it. But given his behavior, I don’t know what to believe.
Lance: I guess I glossed over that, because the handwriting looked like Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Better re-do my homework, huh?
Vic: Got it right here, Lance. Better yet, I’ll read it to you all, then we can decide if our Boy Wonder really wants to kill his parents or–
Carrie: What? I didn’t read that either. He threatened to murder his parents? Are you serious, Vic?
David: Allegedly threatened to murder his parents, remember? Our boy claims he didn’t write it. Besides, why would he send it to his parents in the mail like this?
Becky: Yes, according to the report, his mom opened the mail and freaked out when she read it. She wanted his probation revoked immediately. She also wanted him committed to Garfield Institution, to have him undergo a psych eval. His father was leaning toward believing Connor when he said he didn’t write it, but all the same it got included in this last report.
David: Oh, great, and the PO leaves it up to us to sort this out? How insane! What if the kid really is a psycho? What if he did threaten to murder his mom and dad. I mean, hasn’t every kid been so angry with his folks that–
Vic: Yes, I once told my mom I wished she would up and die–
Becky: Vic? That is so cold. How could you even voice something that like?
Vic: Ever had a mom so committed to changing your orientation, she sent you to a repairative therapy ranch? By the time they poked and prodded and Bible blasted me with scripture after scripture, I wanted to strangle my mom myself! I was so red-hot pissed–
David: Yes, I recall a time when I was so mad at my dad for making fun of me in front of the whole family at a wedding we attended, I wanted to slug him into next Wednesday. He pissed me off so bad that if had had a gun, I would have–
Becky: That is not normal. I am sorry, you guys, but I have never even thought about killing my parents.
David: Maybe they just never made you mad enough . . . yet.
Cal: I would say you are all twisted, even talking about this.
Lance: Twisted or not, all Vic is saying is that we’ve all been angry with our parents for one thing or another. And probably said things we didn’t mean in a fit of rage. I know I have.
Vic: Yes, we have all had similar circumstances, I am sure. That doesn’t mean any of us would follow through and actually do the deed, though.
Lance: So what does this letter that our alleged perpetrator say, Vic? Would you read it to us?
Robb: Hurry it up, we’ve got about five more minutes before Charlie Manson Jr. enters this room, and we have to address his issues. So get to it, Vic. I as Jury Foreman hereby order you to–
Carrie: Shut. Your. Mouth. Robb. You’re not our foreman to order us around. You are simply in charge of keeping us on track.
Lance: Yeah, so quit with the bullying. Vic? Please read the letter. Okay?
Cal: Just don’t use any big words. Or I might not understand them.
Vic (shoots him a smirk, then holds the letter up): Can you live with the consequences? Sound familiar? Now ain’t these the very same words you use on me all the time? There are definitely going to be consequences for your actions, right? You drill me with these same words constantly. Well now, I say there are going to be consequences for the things you’ve done to me, mom and dad. First, you took away my phone. Then you confiscate my game system. Ban me from using the computer. Limit me to one hour of watching TV. Keep me from hanging out at the mall with my friends. Ground me. Restrict me. Take away my social life. Monitor my every waking moment because you think I might get high. Well this totally sucks! I am like a prisoner in my own house! I am at my breaking point and I cannot take anymore. You were always saying, “Be reasonable. Think things through before you act.” Well, I have done that, and the only course left to me is this: Rid myself of you! So now there will be consequences to your actions. You are going to pay for the things you put me through. And yes, there will be blood–
Crystal: Oh, my God! He actually wrote something like that?
Becky: That is very morbid.
Cal: This kid is a major psycho. He’s a loon, for sure.
Lance: If he even wrote this, that is. Because he is claiming he didn’t. Vic? Is that all? Were you done reading the letter?
Vic: Almost. After the comment about the blood, it goes on to say: So sleep with one eye open or I will be rid of you once and for all. And then there will be a permanent consequence for your actions. A permanent solution to all my problems.
David: And the kid who wrote this psycho babble is coming into the room with us? And we are going to have to decide his fate in the juvenile court system?
Becky: What if he wants revenge for the consequence we decide for him? I mean, those are some serious threats. Shouldn’t we just let his probation officer know that we don’t want to be involved in this particular case?
Robb: Aw, what’s the matter, Becky? You freaking out over this? What did you think our Peer Jury was going to do? Hear a case, and decide whether some stupid kid gets grounded? Or whether a kid needs to do more community service?
Cal: Yeah, those are lame compared to this. We get to decide if this kid needs to be locked up and put away. And I for one, say good riddance to a nut-job like this. Lock him up and throw away the key.
Crystal: Isn’t that a little harsh? Suppose he really didn’t write this letter?
Carrie: Suppose he did? Suppose we make a decision he doesn’t like? How long can they lock a kid up for making threats like this? I mean, suppose he gets out sooner than we expect, and he wants us all to suffer some kind of consequence for us sending him away?
Robb: Carrie, my dear, you watch too many horror flicks. This is just a punk kid. You don’t think I won’t protect you–
Cal: Yeah, he comes after me and I will just–
Vic: Enough of the macho talk. If this Connor kid did write such a letter, first we have to decide if he was just angry–
Robb: There will be blood? I don’t think that was just playing around, Vic! He’s more than likely got a red-hot rage inside of him.
Cal: Yeah, we ought to just royally piss him off so we can prove it. Then we would definitely know the kid should be locked up.
Lance: We are not here to play games, Cal. This is serious. All we are asked to do is ask him a few questions, listen to his response, and then make our decision and turn that into his probation officer.
Becky: So let me get this straight. Once we file our report, it is up to the probation officer to make the final decision on this kid, right? He can’t really hold us responsible for our decision.
Carrie: Well, doesn’t the judge make the final decision?
Lance: Our report will be slightly minor compared to the P.O., the therapist, the psychologist, and all the other professionals who are working with this kid. He will never be able to blame us for any consequences. I mean, if he wanted to target us, I suppose he could. Who knows how his mind works.
Carrie: Maybe after his hearing, he will put us on his hit list, too. Have you guys thought about that?
Vic: If he even wrote this letter?
David: Oh, my. I suppose if we asked him if he did, do you suppose he would tell us the truth? I mean, if any of my private writings got confiscated like this, I would deny. Deny. Deny.
Cal: Who would want to read your private writings, anyway?
David: Well, one time my little sister found the key to my diary–
Cal: Oh, my Gawd. I don’t think I wanna hear any more of this. If you mention porn I am gonna hurl chunks!
Vic: Porn? You pervert! Why would you think his diary contains porn? You are a bone-headed jock, do you know that? A shallow-thinking moron.
David: As if it were anyone’s business, they were my own private thoughts. Something that no one should have read. In fact, I just wrote some honest stuff about one of my boy friends because I thought that no one would ever read my personal, private thoughts. So my sister took it to my dad and once he read about my feelings for another–
Cal: Porn! I told you to shut up about your–
Becky: David? Is there a point to this?
David: I thought I was making a point. I wrote, thinking no one would ever read my true feelings. And then, when they did, things were blown out of context and I was sent to a ranch to repair me, as if there they could fix me, change me. The point is, maybe we are blowing this kid’s personal writings out of context–
Robb: Oh I think they are in context, written in rage to his mom and dad, sent to them through the mail, and then probably put things in colorful perspective for dear mom and dad. It all became clear that their dearly beloved son was a psycho, a little deviant, maniac time-bomb just waiting to explode.
Carrie: But don’t you think that is weird in itself?
Becky: What? To put in writing a death threat?
Carrie: No. To send it through the mail. Why not just leave it out for them to read somewhere in the house?
Crystal: Yes, because maybe someone else did send it to Connor’s parents. Someone who knew about all his problems and just wanted to complicate matters for him.
Cal: That’s crazy. Who would go through all that trouble?
Lance: Maybe someone who was royally pissed off at Connor. Someone who wanted him to face bigger consequences with a damning death threat letter like that.
Robb: You’re defending this kid before we’ve even met him?
Vic: Just like you’re assuming he’s guilty as charged? Not one of us knows this kid, and yet already we are all assuming the worst?
Crystal: Well, according to the rules of this Peer Jury, we are to be given the facts, past violations, present situations, and any infractions of his probation. Then we are to make an assessment, discuss it after questioning the boy, then write up our report.
Becky: Yes, besides this crazy letter that he might or might not have written, what else has he done that brought him back into court?
Lance: Just the failed drug test.
Carrie: Just? You trivialize the fact that he is on probation for a crime, and that one of his stipulations of his sentence is he is to remain drug free, but in fact, he tested positive for THC. And you say he just failed his drug test?
Lance: Well, I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant he hasn’t committed any major crimes like a lot of these kids who end up in juvenile court. Smoking pot is a minor offense, compared to robbing someone or breaking into a house and burglarizing, don’t you think?
Carrie: Minor? Major? The bottom line is he screwed up. For that, there has to be a consequence.
Vic: Now you’re sounding just like his parents.
Cal: Yeah, better be careful, Carrie. Next he’ll be sending you a death letter for seeing that he has consequences.
Crystal: Well, I think we all have to be careful with this kid. If he is emotionally disturbed, he might later target all of us for some kind of vendetta. I’ve heard of that happening before.
Robb: He’s a punk, Crys. He’s a good-for-nothing punk, and he can threaten us all he wants, but we have the power to see that he goes down big-time. And by the time he gets out of any loony bin they lock him up in, we will all be married, have our own kids, and be happily moving on down the road of life, with no regrets.
Vic: No, Crystal is right. We are all placing ourselves at risk by volunteering for this jury. If this kid is disturbed there’s no telling what kind of grief he might cause us later down the line. So if any of you are uncomfortable doing this, now is the time to leave.
Robb: What in the hell you doing, Cal? Leaving?
Cal: Of course not. I wouldn’t miss this for anything. No I am opening the door to usher out all the losers who seem to be scared of this little psycho deviant.
David (looks to Vic): So if we leave now, you won’t consider us pussies or wimps or anything?
Cal (laughs): You’ll be both whether you leave or stay, Davey-boy. Of course, you already knew that, didn’t you?
Vic: Enough, Cal. (She looks to David) No, no one will judge you for looking out for yourself. If you feel threatened by this situation, feel free to leave.
Robb: But if wimpy-boy leaves, that leaves us with only seven members of our jury. We need eight to fulfill the requirements.
David: Wimpy-boy is not leaving. I was just curious.
Robb: Curious about what?
David: Well, Vic is able to handle this with a cool head, giving us all the option to leave, dismiss ourselves from jury duty if we feel threatened by this kid. But I was just wondering about you.
Robb: Me? What the hell you talking about, dipwad?
David: That. Is. Exactly. What. I. Am. Talking. About. (slight pause) You’re supposed to be our Jury Foreman, and yet you are little more than a big, dumb jock.
Robb: (starts to get up) Hey, what the hell? (He is standing now, glaring across the circle at David) You better show me some respect or–
David: Respect is something you earn. And in this case, you are lacking any of mine.
Carrie: Robb? Please sit down. David? Have you lost your mind? We’re here to interview Connor Murphy, not insult the members of our own jury. Robb, after all is the foreman and–
David: Nothing but a big, dumb jock.
Robb: (starts across the circle, enraged) That’s it, you little peckerwood! I won’t take any more crap off of you, you mouthy little fa–
Vic: (leaps up and places herself in Robb’s path) Cool your jets, Robb. (She places a hand on his chest and stops him. She then glances back at David). And you? What are you trying to prove? Carrie is right. We are here to make a decision on this Connor kid, not turn this into a pissing contest. One that you would surely lose.
David: Do you see how easy that was? I tripped his trigger with merely a few words, and he lost it. And yet he’s our Foreman, supposedly in charge of deciding the fate of one psycho kid? I am glad my fate is not in his hands.
Robb: What the hell gives you the right to mouth off like this? (He starts back across the circle, but Vic latches onto his arm as he pushes past her, Lance stands up in front of David, his hands outstretched until Robb comes within inches of being touched by him. They both stare down at Lance’s hands scant inches away from touching Robb’s chest.)
Crystal: Robb? Please sit down. He did all of this on purpose, don’t you see? To show us how easily we overreact when we’re angry, right, David? You were trying to teach us all a lesson before we meet with his kid, to show us how he might have overreacted with the threats to his parents, right?
David: Right, Crystal. (He smirks at her) That is exactly what I was doing. Teaching you all a lesson. Pretty good, huh?
Cal: Pretty stupid, since it about got you ass kicked.
David: As if I would have deserved that for just a bunch of words.
Carrie: Which again is what this letter Connor supposedly wrote: Words.
Becky: Yes, but words that could turn everyone against him in this situation. Because of that letter, I am really close to making my reccomendation to his PO.
Vic: Which is?
Becky: Lock him up if he is a danger to himself or his parents, or even us. Who knows what some kids who are so full of anger are capable of? If he admits that he did write such a threat, I say he needs to be confined to a mental institution to be evaluated.
Crystal: Yes, because if we put in our report that he is not a risk to anyone, think how we’d feel later if he actually carried out his threat?
Vic: Assuming he did write this letter.
Crystal: Yes. Just think if his letter would have been about suicide. We certainly wouldn’t just blow that off as a simple threat. We, as a jury, deciding his fate, would want to see that he got professional help, right?
Cal: Well, time’s up, students ( he holds up his wrist watch). We are about to meet our real live juvenile delinquent with the serious case of mental problems.
Vic: After all that we discussed, that is a helluva way to start off this hearing. What about, “Innocent until proven guilty”? Let’s at least give the kid the benefit of the doubt, okay?
Cal: Do you really think he’s gonna tell us the truth? Look, Vic, most of these kids who are in court have the belief that nothing they do is against the law, until they get caught. This kid ain’t gonna be no different. We ain’t here to hear the case of an angel, more like the case of a fallen angel.
Vic: Well, even fallen angels deserve mercy.