Guilty or Not guilty?

Discuss the September 2015 book of the month Defending Jacob by William Landay
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Christinar81
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Guilty or Not guilty?

Post by Christinar81 »

*****SPOILER ALERT******


If Leonard Patz hadn't "confessed" to the murder in his "suicide" note, would Jacob had been found guilty or not guilty?


This was very difficult for me to answer. For most of the book I flip-flopped back and forth between whether I thought he was guilty or not. There was substantial circumstantial evidence like the blood on his hand, the bloody fingerprint on Ben's jacket and the anonymous story on the violent erotic website. Even with all that I couldn't say I thought he was guilty without a doubt. I questioned that if he murdered Ben wouldn't there be some sign that he was in a fight. While they said Jacob and Ben were about the same size they also stated the Ben was very athletic. I felt like Ben have fought back or at least struggled a little bit. If Jacob had done it he should have shown some sign of being in a struggle. What are your thoughts on this?
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Post by gali »

Guilty of course. 8)

I think that he would have been found guilty without the "confession". I wasn't sure till the end whether he was guilty. After the second girl died, I was sure of his guilt. I think Ben was too surprised to fight back.
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Christinar81
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Post by Christinar81 »

Same here. Once I finished the book and the girl died I felt sure he was guilty. It was too much of a coincidence that he was around 2 deaths and was innocent. But during the trial for Ben's murder the defense attorney was doing a pretty good job of creating doubt. I'm not sure if the jury would have found him guilty or not at that point.
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Post by ashley_claire »

I'm really not sure. Like you, I also think there would have at least been some slight sign of a struggle. It's hard for me to believe that Jacob could have cleaned himself up, except for the small amount of blood on his hand, and just gone straight to school without being late or distressed or anything. But Andy's opinion that they were probably going to lose the trial carries a lot of weight.
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Post by bookowlie »

I thought Jacob was guilty all along and that Leonard Patz was used in the plot as a red herring. I agree with Ashley_claire that it was strange that Jacob was able to clean himself up and then gone straight to school without seeming distressed. Still, I think that was done in the story to make the reader has some doubt if he was guilty. For me, there was just something off about him.
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Post by lmmallia »

I thought Jacob was guilty once Leonard Patz was found dead. I agree it did seem unusual that he was cleaned up by the time he got to school. According to his friends he didn't act any differently either but I think the fact that he had cleaned up after himself and he acted normal was the author's way of letting Jacob's true personality peek out. I think the jury would have convicted him because of the fingerprint.
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Post by bookowlie »

Immalia -+- Good point about the fingerprint. I still think the jury might not have convicted him. How did Casey Anthony get off with more evidence against her in the death of her daughter?
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Post by peprica21 »

I went back and forth about guilty or not guilty the whole book. After Paz was found dead and Andy learns of Father O'Leary's protection stunt I had an odd thought that maybe the girl's death was a set up from Andy's father. However the story never brought back the O'Leary character so I had to rule that idea out and eventually settled on the idea that he was indeed guilty.
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Post by amybo82 »

You bring up some great points about Jacob being guilty vs. him being found guilty by a jury. I think the defense attorney really did make me doubt the kid's guilt. By the end of the book, though, I was ready to put that kid in jail.
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Post by quadbrookie »

I continued with this same issue throughout the book. It would seem as if he would be covered in blood splatter, leaves, his appearance would be disheveled; since Ben was larger and agiler. I thought Ben could have even overpowered Jacob because your natural warrior gene uses all your strength combined with adrenaline, so you live. This triggered another thought the MAOA Knockout would have given Jacob all force and agility he would need.
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Post by Crossroad Readers »

It's hard for me to say but I thought that he was guilty. I would hope the jury would have convicted him.
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Post by quadbrookie »

I thought not guilty. That was until the girl's body was finally found, washed up and strangled, that Jacob spent all his time with on vacation! I felt like I had been missed signs that everyone else must have gotten.

-- 28 Sep 2015, 21:25 --
bookowlie wrote:Immalia -+- Good point about the fingerprint. I still think the jury might not have convicted him. How did Casey Anthony get off with more evidence against her in the death of her daughter?
I would like to know that myself! It almost seemed like they tried to blame her father. In a weird twist, they were attempting to blame Jacob's dad and his grandfather by using the hereditary angle.
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I did law but never past university study. Too many cases decided on flimsy evidence either way just from my studies.
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Post by Artiste8 »

I think the jury would have found him not guilty. There was not enough evidence and it was very circumstantial.
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Post by Heidi M Simone »

I absolutely think he is guilty.

With him hurting children when he was younger and looking at The Cutting Room website, he clearly was a messed-up kid. Violence just didn't seem to phase him at all. Therefore, it doesn't surprise me at all that he wasn't shaken up after killing Ben and Hope because of the two reasons above. He was a psychopath, in my opinion, and needed serious help.
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