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Eleven Angry Jurors

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CSIblack
Eleven Angry Jurors
Eleven
Season4
Number11
WriterJosh Berman
Andrew Lipsitz
DirectorMatt Earl Beesley
Original AirdateJanuary 8, 2004
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"Eleven Angry Jurors" is the eleventh episode of the fourth season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

When a stubborn jury member in a murder trial is found dead himself, the investigation reveals that just about every other jury member had a motive and that there were a lot of ways in which the victim could have been killed.

Plot

In a flashback, we see a storm over Las Vegas; a husband and wife argue; he strangles her. In the jury room, the jurors argue over the evidence, and vote again. One of the jurors says that they don't have 'beyond a reasonable doubt' because there was someone else in the house that day, the cable guy. They take a break and wait for lunch while milling around in the hallway outside the jury room. The court officer tells them lunch is there; they go back in to the jury room and find Chris Gibbons dead on the floor. Brass and Grissom arrive and examine the scene; Grissom comments that Sartre was right; hell is other people.

They photograph the body; Grissom says his early opinion is blunt force trauma, and notes a medic-alert bracelet which shows an allergy to penicillin; Brass points out that they have 11 potential suspects. Grissom finds a blond hair; Brass tells him that one juror, Ms. Davis, is a blond; Grissom notes that there are no tags on the hair, but whoever it is, isn't a natural blond. Brass goes through the voting slips and finds that there are 11 guilty votes, and one not guilty, and points out that that could be the motive. Catherine arrives; the jurors are in the hall, arguing; they want to go home, and want to know if a mistrial is going to be declared. Catherine tells them that she has to interview them; she starts with Ms. Davis. Catherine tells her that they found a synthetic blond hair; Ms. Davis removes her wig, then admits teasing the deceased a little in an effort to get him to change his vote, but he turned her down. Catherine points out that attempting to influence a juror is a felony.

At the lab, Detective Vartann talks to Nick about a missing persons case that he was involved in four years ago; Rita Minden-Westanson, a case that Nick worked with Grissom. Vartann tells Nick that Rita's sister Faye is there, and she's now saying that it's a murder. Nick speaks with Faye and asks why she's coming forward now; she admits that four years ago she lied, and she's been living with the guilt ever since. They inform her that lying is a crime; she declines a lawyer, saying that that's not important. She tells them that four years ago, Rita, her sister, didn't disappear; she came home and found Aaron, her husband, in the barn with another woman; Rita said that she was going to leave, but Aaron lost it, and killed her. Nick points out that they investigated Aaron four years ago, and he had an alibi; Faye says that his alibi was a business partner who owed him money, and would have said anything; she also tells them that the business partner died a month ago, and he was the only other one who knew other than her. Nick asks what Aaron did with the body; Faye says that he put it in a barrel and set it on fire, adding that Rita burned all night, and in the morning, Aaron dumped her ashes in the water. Det. Vartann asks how Faye knows all this, and Nick correctly guesses that Faye was the other woman.

Warrick finds something that might be blood on the window in the jury room; he tests it, and it is blood. Catherine asks Mr. Jervis why he has bloody fingers; he tells her that he simply couldn't take it, and jury duty has been the worst experience of his life. He starts to talk about the case, but Catherine stops him, saying that since the case is still on-going, he can't talk about it. Mr. Jervis tells Catherine that Gibbons was the only hold-out on the jury, and he just wanted to get back to work; he lost his temper while trying to open the window to let some air into the room, and that's how he got blood on his fingers and on the window.

Nick looks through the photograph evidence in the case; Grissom asks if they missed something four years ago? Nick tells him that their conclusions were reasonable at the time, but now the witness, Faye, has changed her story. Grissom notes that since Nick was only a level 2 CSI at the time, it was Grissom's choice to close the case.

Dr. Robbins shows Sara hives on Gibbons' body, noting that he had a severe allergic reaction. He speculates that GIbbons choked as a result of an allergy, and hit his head as he fell. Dr. Robbins notes that Gibbons' medic alert says he's allergic to penicillin, and there are puncture marks on his body that would be consistent with him being injected with that. Sara comments that all the other jurors hated him, so it could have been any of them.

Faye takes Nick and Det. Vartann to the spot where Aaron burned the body, and tells them that although she hasn't been back there since that night, she's sure it's the right spot. Nick takes samples of the ground to test for gasoline fumes that would have settled into the soil as hydrocarbons. At the lab, the dirt is tested, but no evidence of hydrocarbons is found. The lab tech tells Nick that he's sorry that Nick didn't get the promotion, and he heard that Grissom only gave the promotion to Sara because of their history. Detective Vartann comes in and tells Nick that Terry Minden, Faye's other sister, recently got engaged to Aaron.

Catherine tells Grissom that there was no penicillin in Gibbons' system, only epinephrine; Grissom notes that Gibbons probably gave himself the shot, so they need to look for a syringe. Catherine talks to Greg and asks him to test Gibbons' blood for shellfish and the standard allergies. He runs the tests...

Warrick tells Sara that they're looking for nuts that begin with "P". They go over the lunch food, and Warrick notices some peanut shells under the table by Mr. Durham's seat. They look more closely, and find shells under Mr. Gibbons' seat as well. They talk to Mr. Durham, who tells them that he was just messing with Gibbons' head, and he didn't know that just by touching a shell it would send Gibbons into a fit; he tells them that this happened, and Gibbons gave himself a shot of epinephrine. Sara comments that none of the jurors mentioned this; Durham tells her that after the shot, Gibbons was fine.

They talk to Faye again, and ask why she didn't tell them about her younger sister, Terry. Faye tells them that she knew that it would come to this, and that she's not jealous of Terry, she's scared for her and doesn't want the same thing to happen to her as happened to Rita. They ask about Faye's relationship with Aaron; she says that it ended, not well or badly; she knows that if she told Terry what really happened to Rita, she'd just go to Aaron, and Faye knows what Aaron is capable of, since he made her help him dispose of Rita's body. She adds that it was a wet winter that year, but not raining the night that they burned Rita's body.

Warrick finds the epinephrine hypo that Gibbons used in the jury room; Sara looks through the chili that Gibbons ate; Warrick looks over the pop cans, and then sniffs one, and asks Sara if the peanuts could have come from peanut butter in an individually wrapped package, as that's what he's found in the pop can. Sara digs deeper in the chili and finds a glob of peanut butter in the bottom of the chili and decides that they're looking at a murder.

Sara tells Grissom that the defence has brought a motion for a mistrial on suspicion of jury tampering; Grissom doesn't understand how that could work. Warrick works on the peanut butter package, steaming it to see if he can get a print off of it.

Nick goes back out to the site where Rita was burned and digs deeper in the dirt, then runs tests for moisture, and cuts branches off the tree nearby, and takes it all back to the lab. Grissom points out to him that the soil doesn't support the evidence that they have from Faye; Nick tells him that the moisture that year was 18%, and 10% is a full saturation, so the extra rain could have washed away evidence of hydrocarbons, but the tree rings would show any anomalies. He counts back on the rings, and finds that the one from four years ago is thinner and distorted, which could be evidence of a toxic event, like something being burned. He has the branches tested by using sawdust from them to find evidence of hydrocarbons, which they find in the sample.

The Court Officer tells Catherine that the jury had been sequestered for two and a half weeks. She asks him about their food; he tells her that breakfast and dinner were at the hotel, but lunch was at the courthouse, and always from the same place; Gibbons had chili every day, because of his food allergies. Catherine asks about the jury's access to the vending machines; the Court Officer tells her that they had access to them, and adds that they weren't allowed to have cell phones, but he caught one of them with a back up cell phone which he confiscated even though the battery was burned out. They talk to the juror; he claims that he was taking pictures of the other jurors so that he could make a scrap book later on; Sara points out that he just had $30,000 deposited into his bank account; he admits that he sold his story to a tabloid, noting that it's a high-profile case, and the jurors were at each other's throats, so the tabloids wanted the story.

Nick and Detective Vartann go to Terry's place; Aaron is there, and he remembers Nick from the investigation four years ago. He asks if they've found Rita; they tell him that they have a warrant to take a sample of gas from the tank on his property. Terry informs them that she's a lawyer, and wants to know why they want the gas; Aaron tells them that he had nothing to do with Rita's disappearance. Nick goes to the back of the property, and stands looking at the barn; he tells Detective Vartann that four years ago, he and Grissom went over every inch of the place, and he's sure they didn't miss anything; they found no signs of a struggle in the barn. As Nick pumps the gas out, Detective Vartann asks why it's red; Nick tells him that because it's used for agricultural purposes, it's colored so that it can be distinguished for tax purposes, and there are no taxes on agricultural diesel fuel.

Warrick finds a partial print on the peanut butter package, and runs it through the system. He matches the print to one of the jurors; she tells him that she was supposed to get married in five days, and she just wanted to go home; she's already missed her dress fitting and bridal shower. She tells them that when the lunch food came, she put the peanut butter into Gibbons' chili and mixed it in, but then at the last minute, she changed her mind and gave him the chili that she'd ordered for herself. She tells them that as she handed it to him, he dropped it, and so took her chili instead... the one with the peanut butter in it. She insists that she didn't know that it would kill him, because when the other juror threw the peanut shells at him, he didn't choke up, he just got hives. She just wanted him to get sick, so that the alternate would be put in in his place, and they could end the case, and she could go home and get married.

Greg runs tests and determines that the peanut butter isn't what killed Gibbons; the levels in his blood were insufficient to cause a reaction on the level that would be fatal. The cause of death was anaphylactic shock, but from some other source.

Nick tells Detective Vartann that the fuel in the tree was not diesel; Vartann suggests that maybe four years ago, Aaron was using unleaded gasoline. Nick has contacted the Nevada Department of the Environment and found that Aaron only ever had diesel fuel. Nick checks for other places where unleaded gas might have come from; he finds that there's only one other gas tank in the area that has unleaded gas, and it's Faye Minden's.

Dr. Robbins determines that Gibbons didn't die of a food allergy, and that if it were something environmental, then some of the other jurors would have reacted too. He examines the body and pulls a stinger out of one of the puncture wounds. Grissom tells Sara that they're looking for another body; they return to the jury room and search the floor for a bee; Sara finds it by the table leg. She comments that Mr. Jervis complained about the heat in the room and opened the window, and that's how the bee got in.

Nick goes to Faye's farm with Detective Vartann. She asks them if they went to Aaron's farm, and thanks them for pushing forward with the investigation. They ask if they can take a sample of gasoline from her tank; she thinks that Aaron has turned on her. They go to her tank, and Nick notes that it's marked "Unleaded Only." Nick tells her that the gas used was unleaded; Faye tells them that she now remembers that Aaron's tank was empty, so they had to use gas from her tank. Nick goes into her barn and looks around, notes that she has barrels and various farming implements that could be used to kill someone. He sprays them to test for blood, and gets a positive result on a tree branch clipper. He comes out of the barn and tells Faye that he believes her that her sister was murdered; blood evidence doesn't disappear, and Rita was murdered... by Faye. Nick tells her that she killed Rita, put her in the barrel, and burned her body, all so that she could be with Aaron. Back at the lab, Nick explains to Grissom, saying that when Aaron chose Terry, Faye tried to pin the murder on him. Grissom asks if Nick agrees with the decision that Grissom made to close the case four years ago; Nick says that four years ago, he agreed, but now he'd fight Grissom on that decision, pointing out that they can't just ignore the human element. Grissom points out that when you start to have feelings about the case, you lose objectivity; Nick says that he's not Grissom, and adds that he can live without the promotion as well. Grissom tells Nick that they don't need another Grissom around the lab; Nick leaves, and Grissom turns to the computer to type up a report in which he recommends Nick for a promotion.

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