Murder, She Wrote: Trials and Tribulations

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   accusation      alibi      bankruptcy      bribe      bribed      community service      conviction      cross-examined      deposition      disbarred      District Attorney      evidence      legal      lie under oath      motive      perjury      probation      settle      settling      sued      summons      testifies      trial      trumped-up      witness   
A jail break followed by a high speed police chase ends with the death of the escaping criminal, Edward Stone.

Jessica Fletcher, a mystery writer, thinks one of her fans wants her autograph, but actually, it is a court clerk serving her a -- Jessica is being for her part in putting Geraldine Stone's father behind bars! Geraldine claims it was a wrongful . Jessica's lawyer tells her that it is for the young woman to sue her, even if it is all a lie. He recommends out of court, but Jessica won't do it. That would be like admitting she had provided at the Stone .

Geraldine's lawyer, Mr. Cosmo, questions the key of the Stone trial, Mr. Angelo Vitello. He then gives the documents to Jessica's lawyer, Mr. Dandridge. The deposition reveals that the witness, Mr. Vitello, has changed his testimony. He now says that Jessica had paid him $5,000 to . Without his testimony, Jessica will not be able to win.

Jessica is shocked. She is being charged with committing . She and her lawyer go to visit Mr. Vitello, but they are turned away by his wife. Vitello is very sick with diabetes and lung cancer. He refuses to see them.

The District Attorney in the Edward Stone case, Miss Stapleton, wants Jessica to go through with the court case. She thinks Vitello has lied in the , but that when he in court and is by her, his testimony will be proven to be a lie. Winning this case will make her look good in an up-coming election. Geraldine's lawyer, Mr. Cosmo, however pressures Jessica to out of court.

Jessica puts two and two together and realizes that the behind the lawsuit is Geraldine's boyfriend's business venture. He tried twice before to open his own restaurant but twice went into . By taking Jessica to court, Geraldine and Justin could win $50,000,000. However, they could just as easily lose the case. If instead they settle quickly now, Geraldine and Justin could walk away with half a million dollars or more -- enough to open his restaurant.

Mr. Vitello is rushed to the hospital where he dies. The police detective suspects murder. Somebody had injected Vitello with sugar to kill him. With Vitello dead, Cosmo's case is even stronger. He won't be able to be in court. Cosmo advises Dandridge to settle for less than a million out of court.

A neighbor saw a woman leave Vitello's apartment at 7:30 p.m. on the night of the murder. The eye-witness described the woman as a blond wearing a hat and dark glasses. Jessica does not have a good , and she fits the description, so she becomes a suspect. She has to join a police line up. She gets singled out, but in the end the is unable to identify the suspect.

Jessica suspects the of being the blond woman in dark glasses that visited Vitello. However, she does not suspect her of murder. The woman was seen leaving by the front door, but the murder weapon (a syringe) was found 10 meters from the back door. The District Attorney admits that she went to visit him in disguise. She wanted to discuss the case without being seen by anyone.

When Jessica and the DA go to the restaurant to talk to the chef, they find he skipped work at the time of the murder. For this, he had been fired, but that had not bothered him. He looks very suspicious.

When Jessica visits Justin Fields and Geraldine Stone at the site of the new restaurant, she confronts him with murder. Justin is upset at this . Geraldine confesses to the lesser crime, the insurance scam. Justin is upset with her for confessing, so he leaves her. Geraldine then tells Jessica that her lawyer, Cosmo, Mr. Vitello with $25,000 to say he had lied. She didn't think anybody would get hurt by this small crime.

The police seach the Vitello apartment for the money. It will prove Geraldine's story. They find it in the bedroom ceiling. The police detective immediately suspects that Vitello accepted the and hid it in the ceiling. Then Justin Fields came and killed him, but could not find the money.

Jessica doubts that this is true as Vitello was too weak to climb up a ladder to put the money in the ceiling. She turns to Mrs. Vitello and asks what she did as soon as she arrived home and found her husband in a diabetic coma. She hadn't phoned 911 for 10 minutes. Jessica thinks Angelo must have left a suicide note along with the money. Mrs. Vitello then hid both the note and the money.

Mrs. Vitello admits that this is, indeed, what happened. She did not want anyone to know it was suicide because then the church would not have given him a Christian burial. But the truth is, Vitello had committed suicide because he couldn't live with himself after lying and accepting the .

Mrs. Vitello got a light punishment -- and . Cosmo will likely be and will be unable to practice law any more. Mr. Dandridge realized he based his decisions too much on money. He decided it was time for a change and plans to move to a quiet town to practice law and care less about making money.