The prosecution conducted direct examination of Mrs. Giant. She explained all about how her husband loved to sing that old giant favorite, “Fee Fi Fo Fum,” and how the lyrics were just lyrics and should never have been taken as threats.
Mrs. Giant held firm. She didn’t let the defense change her testimony.
The prosecution then called their next witness, Inspector Albert Morse. Inspector Morse testified that he found Jack at the crime scene with an ax and the golden goose and egg.
Of course, the defense had to cross examine him, too.
Then it was the defense’s turn to call their first witness, Mr. Jack Jones. Mr. Jones admitted that he had taken the goose, but claimed that Mrs. Giant had given him permission. Mr. Jones testified that he had no idea the giant was on the beanstalk behind him, and that he acted in self defense when he chopped down the beanstalk.
The prosecution cross-examined Jack. His criminal record troubled them, and they didn’t buy his story that he didn’t know the giant was on the beanstalk. Jack held firm, though.
Then, the defense called their next witness, Mrs. Nora Jones. Mrs. Jones testified that her beloved son was helpful around the house and trustworthy.
Then it was time for the prosecution to make their closing argument. They denied that Mrs. Giant gave Jack permission to take the goose and claimed that the giant had not been threatening Jack so self defense had not been proven.
The defense made their closing arguments, emphasizing that Jack had acted in self defense. Even if the giant had only been “singing” there was no way Jack would have known that the threatening words were simply part of a song.
The jury (five fourth graders on generous loan from Ms. Allan’s class) retired to deliberate. They returned about ten minutes later, and found Jack guilty on the burglary charge and not guilty on the murder charge. The jurors were swayed by Jack’s testimony that he meant to take the goose and that he took it because the giants had so many other things and could do without it. They felt he was clearly guilty of burglary. They were, however, convinced that Jack had acted in self defense. They felt that, even if the giant were just singing his favorite song, there is no way Jack could have known this, and his fear for his life was reasonable.
**Note that, at the end of the other group’s mock trial, the jury found Jack not guilty on both counts. As they explained, they believed Jack’s testimony that Mrs. Giant had given him permission to take the goose. Further, Mrs. Giant admitted on the stand that she had given Jack permission.
Thank you so much to everyone for all of your support throughout this unit. To the parents who helped draft and practice questions, statements, and arguments; and who joined us with standing-room-only in a small, sweltering room to observe the trial. To the second grade teachers who dealt with time and date changes in addition to an already-confusing regular schedule to accommodate the trial and preparation. To Ms. Lang, who helped do everything from move furniture, to take pictures, to prepare and supervise the jury (all on her own time). To the third and fourth grade teachers who loaned us their students, and to the students themselves, who served as thoughtful, reasonable jurors. Thank you ALL!