Introducing the jury
Juror No. 1 – The Foreman (Krys Wesselink)
I’m Foreman of the Jury. I was born in a town outside of New York that is now just part of the suburbs. My childhood was quiet and uneventful, my parents were shopkeepers. I went through high school, and became a bookkeeper in a local accounting firm. I volunteered for the war effort when America entered World War 2, but being older than most, I was kept Stateside, and worked as a supervisor of clerks in the Port of New York: not particularly exciting, but important work. After the war, I took some college courses and become a manager of junior accountants. I live in a modest home with my wife and family, and believe we are living the American Dream.
Juror No. 2 (Mehdi Patry)
Not sure what to tell you really. I’m just an ordinary sort of guy, 35 years old, wife and three young kids, clerk in a big insurance office in downtown Manhattan. Like most guys my age I got my call-up as the war was ending but never served overseas. Can’t say I welcome this jury service. I don’t always find it easy to make my mind up, as my boss has told me several times, so I just hope that some of my fellow jurors can help to guide me. Frankly, I’d much sooner be home with my family.
Juror No. 3 (Chris Reynolds)
I was born in Boston in 1907. My childhood was rough but it made me understand you have to be tough in life. I started working in the docks when I was 14 and moved up to checking cargo. I met Eileen in the offices there and we got married in 1935. Jake was born 2 years later. Eileen died when Jake was 3. He left home when he was 15 and I haven’t seen him since. Jobs in Boston took a hit when they built the Massachusetts Turnpike, so in 1952 I moved to New York; now I’m branch manager of a delivery company. The service is open 24 hours a day, so life is pretty stressful.
Juror No. 4 (Adrian Butler)
I am in my late sixties. I’m a respected member of the local community with a successful main-street clothing store. I grew up in a traditional New England middle-class family in Boston and attended my local Presbyterian church and school. I learnt the clothing trade from my father, who was a tailor. I prospered in World War 2 from the provision of uniforms for high-ranking military officers. I’m married with two sons: elder killed in Normandy landings, younger currently taking over business from father. I still go to work daily to oversee business and keep in touch with customers. This is my first experience of juror service.
Juror No. 5 (Pavle Dragaš)
My name is Santino James Byrne, but just call me Santi. I was born on June 24th 1933 in Gary, Indiana. My father’s name is James, my mother’s Maria. I grew up in New York City, mostly West Harlem. I lived in a lousy neighborhood, what you’d call a slum—Jews, blacks, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and of course Italians. You name it, they were all there. I couldn’t ever get my head around it, but since I saw my first knife fight at the age of 5, I’ve never been the same. Just like my father was never the same after the war.
Juror No. 6 (Andrew Wright)
Hi. I’m a motor mechanic by trade, aged 53, and I moved to New York after the war from my home in Owensboro, Kentucky, the site of the last public hanging in the USA, in August 1936. My memories of that day and of my experiences in the war, maintaining and repairing Jeeps in the Italian campaign, have shaped my world view and my pysche. Over ten years later, I am still traumatised by the horrors I witnessed. I guess you’d say I’m a loner, full of doubt and worry. I have an instinctive, physical aversion to violence. If people knew what I was thinking, they might say that he thinks too much and that, sometimes, his thoughts are positively “un-American.”
Juror No. 7 (Niall Sheerin)
I’m Pat Sheeran. I’m a 5 Boroughs boy born in the Bronx down by Cypress Avenue in October 1920. Spent my youth running with the local Irish, Italian and Jews. Speaking was easy as a kid, if you get what I mean. My Pa had connections and kept supplies running. I enlisted in ’41 and, with my brothers in the 45th Infantry Division – “the Killer Division” – we got the job done in the Italian campaign and I had my fun. I learned that in life as in war you do what you gotta do and then get on. Things have been changing round my ’hood since I got back but I’ll keep making deals and going to the ball game so long as nobody gets in my way.
Juror No. 8 (Jamie Brown)
I’m Juror No. 8 from New Jersey. What should have been a distinguished career as a naval officer and veteran of the Korean War was subsequently marred by allegations of “conduct unbecoming”. I was deemed “unfit for service” and received a Blue Discharge in late 1952. Shortly after, I moved to a small apartment in Gravesend, Brooklyn, and managed to secure myself a position as a deck officer with the Pan-Atlantic Steamship Corporation. When not at sea, I live the life of a bachelor. I usually spend my free time smoking my tobacco pipe while reading contemporary American poetry and hardboiled crime fiction.
Juror No. 9 (Richard Thayer)
I was born in 1884 in Providence, Rhode Island, where my father had a gents’ outfitters. I took over the business when he died but by the late twenties it was clear that I was not cut out to be a businessman. I had married and at first we seemed happy together but in 1937 she simply walked out and disappeared. I moved to New York, just to get away. I’m still there. I can’t afford to retire and I’m still in the same tiny apartment. I’m employed, as bookkeeper and clerk in a small publishing house and I suppose you could say that I am as content, if not exactly happy, as I’m ever likely to be.
Juror No. 10 (Luther L. Weathers III)
I was born an only child in Alabama in 1903. My mother, a frail and gentle woman, died in 1913. She left her 200 acre farm to my abusive alcoholic father. At the age of twelve I left school to work the fields. We had “those people” working for my daddy but you know how “those people” are. In 1920 my father died. I sold the farm and took jobs with many manufacturing companies. Most of my bosses were sympathisers; would not listen to me, and definitely had it out for me. In 1937 I moved to New York and with the profit from the sale of the farm I built my parking garage empire. I run it my way. The American Way!!!
Juror No. 11 (Edmond Perrier)
I fled my native country – then a totalitarian state – many years ago. For me, the United States symbolises freedom and democracy. I have been an American citizen for nearly twenty years and have worked my way up, through my own efforts, in a construction company. I feel myself to be more American than some of my fellow citizens and consider it an honor to be able to play a full and active part in my country’s democratic life.
Juror No. 12 (Elia Boggia)
I am 31 years of age and proud of where I am professionally: a member of the creative team at the third most renowned advertising agency in Manhattan. I thrive with visuals, numbers, shapes and colors, maybe less so with questions of morality. Though I would never stray from being a decent, respectful person, I would rather dwell on complex designs than contemplate important socio-political questions. I am the youngest of five children from a comfortable suburban family, but perhaps grew up in the shadow of my older siblings, in a politically apathetic house silently dominated by a strict father.
The Guard (Abdel Kenoufi)
I’m the guard. I’m 55 years old, 5 foot 7 inches tall, I weight 120 lbs and I’m proud to be a part of the U.S. Justice system—the finest in the world, I’m telling you. I have a real responsible job. The heart of the U.S. Justice System is the jury—those twelve good men and true who decide cases without fear or favor—and my role is to ensure that those twelve guys are properly protected and have everything they need to do the job. And when it comes to doing my job, I don’t take no shit from anyone.