" I saw Dr Ayres sitting in a holding cell, alone, on a wooden bench under an American flag, in an orange jumpsuit and in shackles" - Testimony from victim Steve S, a California inmate.
Because of other demands, our correspondents are not going to be able to give as lengthy a report on the proceedings today. For a more detailed report, please see Sprocket's report, which should appear in a day or two.
We will start out by saying that the media presence has dwindled to about the size of a pea. Liz Pfeffer was there from the County Times, but that was it. Many empty seats in the courtroom. Even the eager-beaver, fresh faced law students have abandoned the trial.
Victim Orion B finished up his testimony today. Yesterday, he wept on the stand and was highly emotional. When we saw him today, we were astonished at his transformation. It was as if he had grown up overnight. A huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He looked strong and proud and happy and free. A number of spectators were moved by the closeness Orion has with his parents and siblings. After Orion finished his testimony for the day, he and his family couldn't stop hugging each other. It was inspiring to see the solidity and closeness of his family.
We can't help it but we have to contrast the closeness and palpable love displayed by Orion's family with the chilliness between the members of the Ayres family. Today Robert Ayres, son of Dr. Ayres, loped awkwardly along next to his parents in the hallway. He looked embarrassed to be with them, and awkward too. We have to admit that our heart goes out to Robert Ayres. He appears to be a man in need of a loving father, and we don't see how he could get that with the arrogant Bill Ayres. Robert Ayres actually looks like a good guy, and he didn't choose his father.
The testimony by victims Orion, Scott T, and Steve S moved us to tears today. We could say a lot more about them but out of respect for them, will not. But what we can say is how much we admire them for having the courage to speak up. These victims for years believed that Ayres had a power over them, but we think they realize that by testifying they have slayed the dragon. As they grow in power and stature, and as they find their voices, the doctor looks weaker and paler and diminished.
All of the victims who have testified and who will testify, are genuine heroes.
We couldn't help but notice that the doctor - who looked as ghastly as we have ever seen him - would not look at the victims as they testified. He fiddled with a pen and pretended to scribble notes but we suspect that what he wrote was just jibberish. After more than forty years, he has been exposed. His life has been a lie, a sham. We hope that the remainder of his life will be a living hell.
There is just one detail we would like to add before closing. Victim Steve S, who is doing time for a felony in a fire camp and who is incredibly poised and articulate, recalled on the stand today about the first time he saw Ayres in the san Mateo McGuire Correctional Facility just after Ayres had been arrested . He described seeing his predator - in a holding cell sitting alone on a wooden bench, under an American flag, in an orange jumpsuit, his hands cuffed. What we wouldn't have given for a photo of that!