Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Grand Jury

The scene in the lobby of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse yesterday morning as Gabrielle Macon explains to the friends of Radok that the murder case against Antoine D. Young has been sent to a Grand Jury. 
Sketch interpretation courtesy of Sarah Pollock.

 Sarah and I walked into criminal Courtroom 1150 yesterday morning just before nine for what was supposed to be Antoine D. Young's second appearance, a defense motion for a Bond Hearing.  The deputy in the front faced the packed room, he was very familiar to me because I often work in the same building that he does.  In a soft south southern drawl that sounded like someone in the movies, he slowly stated the rules that were to be followed in the courtroom.  Towards the end of the practical list of what not to do in his courtroom, the deputy talked about his expectations in case of an emergency while the court was in session.  If the alarm was sounded to evacuate the building we were to calmly follow his instructions and then him with the guarantee that he would lead us to safety.   

Minutes pass, it was warm on the verge of hot in the chamber, and there was an aroma in the air of winter coats and human bodies.  Not repulsive body odor, simply a human smell not hidden or covered up with cologne or product.  I watched the yellow light hit the walls and human forms of those sitting sitting tightly close together in the wooden pew-like benches facing the front of the courtroom and the judge's bench. There were plenty of Radok's friends sitting to our left, they took up more than one of the rows.  Even though I could not see them,  I could hear the jingling of shackles on the men and women just on the other side of the wall and door that led to the penalty box on my right.  They were in complete custody waiting to be led in front of the judge for the crimes they were accused of committing.  Those in red in the front row were there as volunteers representing, Court WatchMaybe they were there for Radok, I thought to myself with the complete realization that my hyper active imagination sometimes gets carried away.

At exactly 0915hrs my friend the deputy asked the courtroom to please rise for Judge Regan A. Miller, we all stood without thought as the criminal business of the day was called to order.  Within a minute we were seated again and the activity across the attorney's line began to pick up.  I tried to pay attention to as many details as possible in an effort to pick up on who's who, and what would happen next.  Above all sat the judge, his taught face giving away his education and life experience.  Without warning a tall angelic woman in a black and white checkered suit stepped forward and quietly asked for those who were there in support of the victim, Chris Radok to please meet her in the back of the courtroom.  Over a dozen of us stood up and followed her out through the heavy wooden double doors into the main lobby foyer of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. 

As instructed, we formed a close semi circle around her and the man with credentials around his neck.  She introduced herself as Gabrielle Macon, the Assistant to the District Attorney who would be prosecuting the Young case.  Ms. Macon then introduced the man with her as Bill Stetzer, the head of homicide investigations for the DA's office.  She went on to explain that the bond hearing would not be taking place because that morning the case was headed to a Grand Jury.  Once the Grand Jury sees the evidence she was confident that the case would be sent up to Superior Court for trial.  Ms. Macon then let the group know that the next hearing, a Rule 24 Hearing may happen as early as February 10.  Quietly she confirmed that the Rule 24 Hearing is the start of the process for the prosecution to seek the death penalty as punishment for the capital crime of murder.  In this case it is the murder of Chris Radok.

It was interesting to see the prosecution reach out to the friends of Radok present yesterday morning.  As someone in the group pointed out to Ms. Macon and Mr. Stetzer, "The only family Chris has in the States is right here."  Obviously there is plenty of focus on the proceedings of this case, legal justice is the only thing that any of us can expect because ultimately no result will bring Radok back.  Without any feelings of vengeance towards the accused, I will continue to follow and share with you the events that take place with this case all the way to the end.  None of this came my way by choice or my own control and I realize that clearly.  It is important for me to face this tragedy and do whatever I can to bring awareness to those around me.   There are many problems in society today, our now is blighted with desperation and lack of focus collectively on individual human power and beauty.  The look in may reveal to the masses that they have infinite power to use this one chance on earth in this form for something other than self destruction and throw away waste.  During a small side discussion about our society's present condition yesterday I brought up the thought that Radok was a victim of the Social War that has been escalating in our nation for years.  One of his brilliant friends quietly smiled and then almost laughed a giggle under the sadness of death.  She spoke conveying that if Chris would have been here and heard us talking about him being a casualty of the Social War, he would have rolled his eyes and immediately walked away.  How true.


Cedar said...

Good job! Most excellent coverage, of just one step on the road to justice.

ThaQueenCity said...


I have no doubt Chris is looking down and happy to see so many there in support of his life and death.

I am glad to hear the death penalty is ON the table too...I know in the past it is not something you have agreed with. But there are times when trash needs to be taken out. THIS is one of those times in my view.

Hugs n God Bless to the Radok family and friends.


Paul Stanford said...

I am an old friend of Chris'. I just found out. I am on the west coast, but considering visting the proceedings there. Chris was my best friend in my teen years. In 1978, I traveled to New York City and spent three weeks with him there, staying with his mother's house and visting his friends and the sights there. I was looking forward to visiting him there in NC and had reconnected through the internet last year. I tried to hire him to come work for me at my company in Oregon, but he said he had been hired by a Charlotte hotel. I miss you brother! Rest in peace. Power to the peaceful.

Paul Stanford