Monster Summary and Analysis of The Case Against James King


Back in the courtroom, Lorelle Henry is called to testify. Henry explains that she saw James King in the drugstore, thus confirming that he was at the scene of the crime. Henry then identifies James in court. During the cross-examination, the lawyers reference that Henry also correctly identified James in the lineup at the precinct. Bobo, clad in a prison jumpsuit, then takes the stand.

Briggs argues that Bobo’s presentation is harmful to his client’s testimony. At the stand, Bobo tells the jury that he’s known James King his whole life, whereas he just met Steve directly before the robbery. Bobo is currently serving time in prison for selling drugs, and he tells the jury that he’s been previously arrested for breaking and entering, grand theft auto, and manslaughter. Bobo explains that he and James decided to rob the drugstore, and they initiated the robbery once they were given the signal from Steve Harmon. Bobo tells the jury that King shot Mr. Nesbitt. Following the altercation, King and Bobo had a meal together.

Bobo explains that King did not originally intend to kill Nesbitt. Rather, he shot the drugstore owner in an altercation when Nesbitt tried to stop the robbery. Bobo tells the jury that he was busted after selling cigarettes to Holden. He was then arrested while selling drugs to an undercover cop. For his testimony, Bobo was promised a shorter sentence.

Briggs begins cross-examining Bobo. Briggs is the defense attorney for James King, and he intends to prove that his client is innocent by addressing Bobo’s culpability. During his cross-examination, Briggs confronts Bobo about his involvement in the crime and Bobo’s drug-dealing past. Briggs asserts that Bobo, as the “experienced” criminal, coerced James into the crime. Briggs also argues that Bobo is inherently selfish and merely testifying in order to shorten his own sentence.

O’Brien takes the stand to cross-examine Bobo. She asks about Steve’s involvement in the incident. Bobo tells O’Brien that he does not know Osvaldo well, and that he never threatened Osvaldo nor pressured him to be an accomplice. Bobo confirms that both he and King were waiting for Steve to give them the “all-clear” before entering the drugstore. Bobo explains that following the death of Mr. Nesbitt, everyone involved in the incident decided to “lay low.” As a result, nobody received the pay cut that they expected.

O’Brien tells Steve that Bobo’s testimony damaged their argument. In a journal entry, Steve writes that his defense case will start the following day. He is incredibly anxious, and he begins thinking about the past year of his life. Once again, Steve expresses his suicidal ideations. Before falling asleep, Steve thinks about how much he misses his younger brother, Jerry.

The trial continues on the following day. Briggs calls James King’s cousin to the stand to testify as a character witness. Petrocelli asks another witness if King is right or left-handed, as the victim’s wound suggests that the shooter is right-handed. O’Brien tells Steve that he should testify in order to prove his innocence. O’Brien then practices with Steve, advising him how to give a proper testimony.


The question of images and appearances take center stage in the case against James King. Bobo's prison outfit especially works to the disadvantage of King’s defense team. O’Brien tells Steve that the jurors are incredibly impressionable, and thus every image and every behavior is subject to intense scrutiny. In this way, Bobo’s prison suit is damaging to James King, as King is the suspect most closely connected to Bobo.

When Bobo explains that King did not intend to commit murder, the reader is prompted to consider the importance of intention when analyzing a crime. Does James King’s intention really matter when deciding his sentence? Similarly, Steve’s alleged involvement in the crime is as a conspirator, not as a perpetrator. However, Petrocelli argues that all four men involved are equally culpable in the murder. Once again, the reader is prompted to analyze intention and involvement and form an opinion about whether these issues are valid in a court of law.

During King’s defense case, Asa Briggs calls King’s cousin to the stand. This testimony is an example of the role of character witnesses in the court case. Briggs uses King’s cousin’s point of view to try and vouch for his defendant’s character. However, it is clear that his cousin does not know much about James and his habits, values, or beliefs. In this testimony, the reader becomes aware of how far lawyers will go to try to make a point in their favor.

Although the theme of deceit is most evident among witnesses, it is also important to analyze how the lawyers and alleged “upholders of justice” utilize deceit to their advantage. During James’s defense testimony, Asa Briggs questions the character witnesses as to whether James King is right or left-handed. This is a question that falls outside of the realm for a character witness to answer. Asa Briggs then attempts to use this information to construct a convoluted argument about James’s innocence. This is an example of how lawyers attempt to deceive the jurors in order to skew the results of the trial.

This scene also points, once again, to the pervasiveness of ambiguity in the court of law. Osvaldo Cruz had previously testified that he was intimidated by Bobo Evans to participate in the crime. However, during Evans’s testimony, he claims that he barely knows Cruz, let alone had a conversation with him. This, once again, exemplifies the pervasiveness of deceit in court. This exchange also provides the reader with insight into the juror’s perspective. Although there are lives on the line, there is no conclusive evidence that would allows the jurors to conclude decisively who is culpable.