The Trial of Bernhard Goetz: Testimony of Christopher Boucher

The following excerpt is included in The Trial of Bernhard Goetz (Aae Films, 1988).

Direct Examination by Gregory Waples:

W: Mr. Boucher, how old are you?

B: I’m 33.

W: And what is your occupation in San Francisco?

B: Display artist for a department store.

W: December of 1984 and shortly thereafter did you visit New York for a period of time?

B: Yes.

W: Did you have a friend In New York that you were visiting?

B: Yes.

W: What’s that friend’s name?

B: Loren Michaels.

W: December 22nd, 1984 Mr. Boucher, do you remember that day?

B; Yes.

W: Did you have occasion to go into the New York City Subway system on that day?

B: Yes.

W: Did you go there alone or with anyone else?

B: With Loren.

W: After you got on the train at 96th street, or shortly thereafter, did you become aware of one or more youths on that train?

B: Yes

W: What caused you to take notice of this group of persons?

B: They were loud, talking loud, joking.

W: tell us what happened when the train left 14th.

B: After 14th street, we were not talking; the train was very noisy at this point. There were no people standing, the aisle was clear. I was pretty much staring ahead. We were getting off at Chambers Street. And at some point, the first thing I noticed, a woman had jumped up and then balled over Loren. And I heard popping noises and my immediate thoughts were the kids at the other end of the train were shooting off firecrackers. And Loren helped this woman up with the baby and were heading them towards the door. And other people were running by, and I was just staring straight ahead. And as he helped her up my vision became clear to the end of the car and I was looking down to see what was going on and the immediate thing I saw was the man with the gun standing at the end of the car.

W: And what happened next?

B: He shot someone sitting in the seat.

W: You saw that?

B: Yes.

W: What did the person, who was sitting down, do at the moment that the shot was fired?

B: Well he was sitting, grasping a bench and he just tightened.

W: Did you ever see that person try to get out of that seat?

B: No.

W: Did you ever see him threaten Mr. Goetz?

B: No.

W: Did he have anything in his hand, that you saw?

B: No.

W: Is there any question in your mind now that you saw a person sitting in that seat when that show was fired?

B: No. No doubt.

W: And how is your eyesight?

B: Perfect.

W: That’s all judge.

Cross-examination by Barry Slotnick:

S: Good morning Mr. Boucher, my name is Barry Slotnick and I represent Bernhard Goetz. Now… isn’t it a matter of fact that this was a very startling experience?

B: Yes.

S: You say that as a result of what happened you were emotionally upset, traumatized?

B: I wouldn’t use those strong words.

S: when was the last time you saw people lying on the subway floor?

B: I was shocked, I was shaken…

S: … no, no, no, just answer my question, please. If you would.

B: I have.

S: When was the last time, before this incident, if you ever saw anybody as you saw, shot?

B: I’ve never seen that.

S: When was the last time that you saw a gun?

B: I’ve never seen a gun.

S: How long have you heard gunshots?

B: Never.

S: So at a minimum,  would you say that December 22nd, 1984 was, for you, a little bit unusual?

B: Yes, very much.

S; But you uh… remained cool. You were not traumatized, and you did not get emotionally upset?

B: Pretty much so, I was surprised.

S: Yeah… You’re saying that you saw this tall, blonde man with a gun firing down into a seat, is that correct?

B: Yes.

S: Now could you please come down…

J: Please come down…

S: Mr. Boucher, perhaps demonstrate to the jury exactly how you say you saw this man sitting?

B: Well as I recall he was sitting … he was sitting like this and he was grasping the bench.

S: Just like this?

B: Yes.

S: And certainly, you’re looking from forty feet down, straight down, and you had a very clear view?

B: Yes. 

S: Now, based upon when you are now, please tell me, position me as to where you say the tall man with the gun, I’ll move around here, you tell me when to stop.

B: …right there.

S: Right about here?

B; No, closer.

S: Right about here?

B: Yes.

S; And he had the gun like this

B: Yes.

S: And the gun went bang? It is your testimony that he then turned around and looked toward you?

B: Look, he was like looking down and he looked at the end of the car, yes.

S: What did he do with the gun?

B: He was still holding it at his side.

S: Like this?

B: No, the arm still seemed to be bent. Still cocked at the elbow, I guess.

S; Like this?

B: Like that.

S: Then, What did you see?

B: At that point I got up and I turned my back and I never saw anything after that.

S: Thank you very much, you may return to your seat.

Now, the train leaves 14th street, very loud and noisy. You’re looking straight ahead and up into the air?

B: Yes.

S: Until you heard the firecracker sound you didn’t look to the north end of the car, did you?

B: No.

S: As a matter of fact, you don’t know if someone came up to him with a machine gun, because you didn’t look down into that area, and you just wouldn’t know.

B: I know that there was no commotion.

S: You said the train was very loud.

B: I didn’t hear, but I could see by glancing around.

S: Oh, oh… so now you glanced up to the north end? After 14th street?

B: Well, I was always glancing around back and forth.

S: So your earlier testimony, that you were looking straight ahead is incorrect, because I asked you if you ever glanced up to the north end, you said no, so your earlier testimony is wrong, is that correct?

B: you asked if it took my attention; no, it didn’t.

S: So is it your testimony now that you can’t say that four individuals got up and stood around Mr. Goetz, isn’t that correct? And you don’t know what precipitated the shooting? Is that correct?

B: I don’t know what precipitated the shooting, no.

W: Mr. Boucher, is there any doubt in your mind that on December 22nd, 1984 you saw this tall, blonde man firing his gun into a person who was sitting in that seat?

B: I have no doubt about it, no.

W: That was your perception on December 22nd?

B: Yes.

W: It’s you r perception today?

B. Yes.

W: What was that man in the seat doing to menace the man with the gun?

S: Objection, your honor.

J: Sustained.

W: Nothing else.

J: Any recross?

S: No, your honor.

J: Thank you very much, Mr. Boucher. You may step down.