Ripped from the headlines

On this Take Your Child to Work Day, I remember the time in August 2008 when my daughter — a fan of the televison show Law & Order — tagged along as I covered a double-murder trial in Montgomery County.

I told her not to expect there to be a lead male prosecutor and a female assistant sitting “second chair,” a staple of the long-running NBC show. 

I also warned her that gruesome pictures of the crime scene would not be introduced into evidence, as occurs often on the program. After all – as I was told in law school – the prejudicial effect of such photographs on the defendant outweighs their probative value for the jury.

But when we entered the courtroom, there was Montgomery County State’s Attorney John J. McCarthy at the prosecution table sitting with his female assistant, Kathy Knight. And during the trial, the prosecutors successfully introduced into evidence bloody pictures from the 2002 slayings of Gregory Russell, 47, and his 9-year-old daughter Erika Smith at the father’s Silver Spring home.

My credibility now destroyed, what happened next was only fitting.

During a break in the trial, McCarthy came over and introduced himself to my daughter. She politely responded, “Hello, Mr. McCoy.”

[For those of you who may have been in a coma for the past 16 years, or without a TV, the chief prosecutor on Law & Order is Jack McCoy, played by Sam Waterston.]

As for the trial, defendant Anthony Q. Kelly was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

For extra credit, name the movie that co-starred Waterston and someone who was famously acquitted of a double murder. The answer is here.

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