Steven choked at the mention of his wife’s name. “Yes, uh…she…she killed herself shortly after my accident was staged…”
Gasps from the crowd were heard once more. The Falcones had been known to stir up trouble in Huntsport from time to time, but John Romano’s murder left an even stronger impression. The pain that Peter Falcone had manged to inflict on Steven Bains alone had been his undoing, at least in the court of public opinion.
“I know this is very painful for you, Mr. Bains, given all you’ve been through, but could you please give the reason as to why she killed herself?” Carolyn Fleming’s voice had a cold efficiency to it.
A lump began to form in Steven’s throat as he thought back to the day he found out. “…From what her letter read…someone brought it to me eventually…she said that she couldn’t go on living without me…”
More gasps from the crowd. The district attorney turned to the jury. “Ladies and gentlemen, I have here Diane Bains’ suicide note,” said Fleming, removing a sheet of paper inside a plastic bag, “Mr. Bains, we have no further questions at this moment. You may leave the room if you wish, as we will be presenting this as evidence.”
“Objection!” shouted Roger Harper, “This has no bearing on the case against my client. While Diane Bains’ death is certainly tragic, her suicide note is about why she killed herself, not the alleged murder of John Romano!”
“Judge, this note shows the magnitude of Peter Falcone’s actions. We have Mr. Bains testimony that places him at the scene of the crime, as well as the fact that he was placed under cover for fear of losing his own life. Diane Bains was collateral damage of Mr. Falcone’s actions.”
“I’ll allow it, but make it relevant, Ms. Fleming,” said Judge Cartwright.
After Steven had left the stand, Fleming recited the note:
How I wish you were here with me right now. Words cannot begin to describe how much I’m missing you. When Burt McNamara told me that you had been killed, well Steven, my heart shattered. A part of me left my body knowing you were gone. I want to say that I forgive you, Steven, because I know this wasn’t just some freak accident. Falcone was involved, I’m sure of it.
When he called me the day after you came home so upset, I knew something was wrong. He never calls here. He told me that he’d find you, one way or another…of course, he pretended to be so charming about it. I know that crash wasn’t your fault, Steven. You did it to protect me, from whatever it was that man had done. I’ll always love you for that. I’ll be with you soon enough though. We’ll be drinking champagne together, just like the old days.
“Let’s connect the dots, people,” said Fleming, “Peter Falcone kills John Romano, Steven sees it, fakes his death, his adoring wife can’t live without him and pops one too many pills–”
“You better be getting to the point real soon, Ms. Fleming,” said the judge.
“The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that Diane Bains knew something wasn’t right. The phone call she references did take place…we have the phone records. It’s true, Peter Falcone had never called the house until that night. What were his intentions? We’ll never know, but Diane Bains knew they were less than noble. The tragedy is, she died not knowing her husband was alive and well, still fighting Peter Falcone.”
Roger Harper rolled his eyes. The only chance he had of winning against Carolyn Fleming’s passionate tirade was Peter’s testimony. It would have to be damn good one, too.