DEFENSE OPENING STATEMENT p. 1 of 2
May it please the Court, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Recently I observed a small
child playing with a toy that required her to place blocks through holes in the lid of a container.
And as I watched, I observed the child struggling to place a square-shaped block into a round
hole. She pushed, and pushed, and pushed some more. And that block got stuck. No amount of
pushing or pulling could get it free.
Ladies and gentlemen, that is exactly what the State is attempting to do in this case;
trying to force the evidence to fit their theory. The story that the State just told you is just that, a
story. It is not evidence; rather it is what they hope the evidence will be.
It is true that my client, Mr. Izzy Freeman has been in the restaurant industry for a long
time, and finally got the opportunity to open Shallots with Dee Frost. Izzy has spent the majority
of his adult life preparing food for others. Izzy is not particularly sophisticated and I suppose you
could say a little bit naïve and overly trusting. Izzy did learn that Dee was stealing. And he was
justifiably upset. Who wouldn’t be? But the evidence will clearly show that he didn’t kill Dee
Frost. To the contrary, the evidence will be that he proposed a plan to get Dee out of this mess by
going to the police to turn in the loan shark that was draining Shallots dry.
During this trial you will hear the testimony of the State’s witness, investigating agent
Jeri Riggs. Riggs will tell you that he has been after Lou Contralto for years for such things as
extortion, loan sharking, and other “heinous crimes” he committed in his profession as a
mobster. Initially, Lou Contralto was charged with the murder of Dee Frost, but later the charges
were dismissed and my client was blamed for her death. This week you will learn that Jeri Riggs
was investigated by his department’s internal affairs division for possible corruption in
connection with a prior Lou Contralto investigation. You will also learn that evidence in this
case, evidence that would have absolved my client was collected by Jeri Riggs and ultimately
And let’s talk about the other “star” witness for the State, Lou Contralto. He is a loan
shark, a mobster, and was owed $300,000.00 by Dee Frost. She had already paid him
$200,000.00, and the evidence will be that there was no more money left. Lou Contralto knew
the well was dry, knew that Frost was considering going to the authorities, and killed her to send
a message to others to “encourage” them to fulfill their obligations.
DEFENSE OPENING STATEMENT p. 2 of 2
We will call witnesses who will show beyond any doubt that my client, Izzy Freeman had
nothing to do with Dee Frost’s death. You will hear from Pat Ives, a criminologist and an expert
on organized crime. He will tell you that the murder of Dee Frost has all the signs of a
sophisticated organized crime “hit”. He will tell you that burn and strangulation marks found on
Dee Frost’s body are common “punishments” for people that get behind in their loan shark
payments. He will also tell you that when it becomes clear that a “customer” of a loan shark
can’t or won’t repay their debt, they are killed in a gruesome manner; again, to “encourage” them
to fulfill their obligations.
We will also call J.L. Byrd. Mr. Byrd is what you would call a “snitch”. His adult life has
centered around petty thievery, gambling and various scams. By his own admission, he is a “low-
life”. However, he isn’t even in the same league as Lou Contralto. Byrd will relate a specific
conversation he had in a paddy-wagon with Contralto after the murder of Dee Frost. He will tell
you that Contralto knew there was no more money left. He will tell you that Contralto admitted
to having Dee Frost “iced”. And he will tell you that Contralto wanted Frost to suffer for
thinking she could turn him in to the police. The only way J. L. Byrd could know these details is
if Contralto told him. You will also learn that Byrd isn’t receiving any plea deal, or time off of a
sentence to testify. He will tell you that for once in his life he wants to do what’s right and not
see an innocent man convicted of murder.
Lastly, you will hear from Izzy Freeman. As I stated earlier, Izzy is all about the food. He
will tell you that he was upset upon learning of Dee’s stealing. He will tell you that he proposed
a plan to get Dee out of the mess by cooperating with the police against Lou Contralto. He will
tell you that he proposed a plan that would assign Dee’s interest in their next restaurant “Just
Desserts” to him. He will tell you that he would have figured out some way to save the business
and get help for his partner.
As you listen to all the evidence in this case, and the theories that are argued, I want you
to think about how the evidence “fits”. When all is said and done, I believe the State will fail
miserably in their burden to prove the elements of the crime of murder against my client, Izzy
Freeman. Like the little girl with the block, they will be stuck. There will be reasonable doubt.
The evidence won’t fit. And if the evidence doesn’t fit, you must acquit. THANK YOU.