Skip to main content
CNN.com /transcript

CNN TV
EDITIONS
SERVICES
CNN TV
EDITIONS

CNN BREAKING NEWS

Nathaniel Brazill to Take Witness Stand Today

Aired May 8, 2001 - 13:54   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: This is bound to be a dramatic and unsettling day in West Palm Beach, Florida, where a 14-year-old, Nathaniel Brazill, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his teacher, Barry Grunow, is going to be taking the witness stand as the defense begins in his trial.

Let's check in with Mark Potter, who is covering all of this down in West Palm -- Mark.

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, when we talked earlier with you, we talked about the fact that there had been some scheduling surprises and some change-ups in this trial. And we've had another one -- quite a big one, actually.

Just as the lunch break ended and as the jury was about to be brought in, the lead defense attorney, Robert Udell, told the judge that the first witness in his case, in the defense case indeed would be 14-year-old Nathaniel Brazill. We had been told earlier that he would probably be on tomorrow morning -- or earlier. We were told he was going to be the last witness.

But now it appears that he is going to be the first witness up. And it's, of course, a very critical matter for the defense. They see Nathaniel as their most important witness, the make-or-break witness. And, as Robert Udell has said, this case all hinges on whether you believe Nathaniel Brazill's story that this was an accidental shooting.

As he says it, if you believe Nathaniel, it was accidental. If do you not believe Nathaniel, it was premeditated murder, as alleged by the prosecution. Now, in court, Mr. Udell, after announcing that he wanted to put Nathaniel on the stand, said he wanted to take a moment to speak to his parents, Polly Powell, Nate Brazill Sr., the father. They -- he then came back into the room.

And then he and Nathaniel left the room. And so now the courtroom is standing by, waiting. People are waiting in the audience to see what happens next. The jury is out of the room. The judge is out. And we're all just standing by to see what happens next. This is going to be very dramatic testimony. Nathaniel is going to give his version of what happened on that fateful day a year ago when he shot Barry Grunow.

He is expected to say that it was unintentional, that he might have gone to school angry, but that he did not intend for the gun to go off, and certainly did not intend for it to kill his teacher, Barry Grunow, who he described as a teacher that he liked very much.

The prosecution's allegation, of course, is that this is a premeditated murder, that Nathaniel went to school intending to kill because he was angry, because he knew he was going to receive a failing grade for this session from Barry Grunow, and because he was also mad because he had been suspended from school that day at the end of the day, the last day of school -- an important day for students -- for throwing a water balloon.

And he thought that he had been wronged by being thrown out. So it's going to be very dramatic. And probably the most dramatic part of the testimony will come in the second half. By going forward to talk to the defense, he also must face cross-examination by the prosecution. And defense attorneys say that's very risky: a 14-year- old boy going against a veteran prosecutor -- Lou and Natalie, back to you.

WATERS: OK, Mark Potter down in West Palm.

The courtroom is filling up. When and if Nathaniel Brazill takes the witness stand, we will, of course, listen to what he has to stay.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

 Search   


Back to the top