She saw her mother get shot in the face, and now she was sitting just feet away from the man she once identified as the killer. The 5-year-old daughter of homicide victim Alia Ansari appeared in court this week to testify before a judge and attorneys. The following are tidbits from Thursday’s session:
*Because of the girl’s age she was not sworn in as a typical witness. Under normal circumstances, witnesses are asked to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” But in this case Judge Reginald Saunders simply asked if she would tell the truth. She nodded in the affirmative, and later through a Farsi interpreter replied “No, I will not lie.’’
*In order to help the judge render his decision, prosecutor Jerry Herman and defense attorney William Caruthers asked the girl a battery of questions to determine her ability to answer and communicate. The questions focused on her ability to determine the difference between right and wrong, distinguish one item (a pen) from another (a book), and if certain people in the courtroom had moustaches. At one point she pointed to her father, Ahmad Ansari, to indicate he had facial hair. “Daddy has cut the moustache, but it’s come up again,’’ she said through the interpreter. “I’m telling the truth.’’ Some people, including the judge, giggled.
*From the onset of the hearing, the girl continued to play with the microphone in front of her. In order to turn her attention to something quieter, the court reporter handed her a Angelina Ballerina toy. She immediately named it “Mousey.”
*At two random points during the hearing, the girl grabbed her fathers face and kissed him on the cheek. He was not allowed to speak to her while she was on the stand. Attorneys only allowed him to sit on the stand with her to keep her calm.
*When Herman asked the young girl what happens to people who lie, she said “people who lie go to hell.” The phrase was brought up again by Saunders when he ruled that she understood most of the questions asked of her.
*At one point during the session the girl said she had to use the restroom. This prompted amusing dialogue from the judge: “Do you need to take a potty break? OK, we’re going to take a potty break …” The judge stopped, smiled, laughed along with everyone else, and then recessed for a brief “restroom” break.
*Moments before attorneys agreed to stop questioning the girl for the day, she began showing signs of frustration and restlessness, telling attorneys that she wanted to leave. “Bring the car and let’s go,” she said through the interpreter. She mentioned wanting to go to the park, but said they’d been in court too long and that it was likely dark outside. It was only 1:25 p.m.