Spectral Evidence: The Ramona Case: Incest, Memory, and Truth on Trial in Napa Valley

By Moira Johnston | Go to book overview
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13
Courtroom B

For four years, the Ramonas' tragedy had cast its pall over an expanding universe of friends, lawyers, and experts. But as jury selection began on Monday morning, March 21, 1994, the case had not yet caught the public's eye. Even the Napa Valley Register had not yet picked up the story, although the lawyers had noticed a young woman from the paper at all the hearings. Their interview with Holly a year earlier seemed to have vanished without a trace. "I'd been under the impression that Robert Mondavi had put the squelch on any writing by the local press up here," said Ed Leonard, echoing Stephanie's fear. But with microphones shoved in his face as he arrived for the first round of jury selection, he mused, "Apparently the squelch is off." He had flown up the night before, joined Mary and Bruce Miroglio for a pleasant dinner at Terra, and turned up that morning in a sport coat, not expecting to be met by ABC, NBC, AP, the Register, and the San Francisco dailies. As Leonard and Miroglio were pursued by reporters, Miroglio quipped, "What I want to know is, where can I get a toupee by tomorrow?" Leonard responded, "Yeah, and how do I lose a hundred pounds?"

That morning, San Francisco's major paper, the Chronicle, had run a teaser to the trial. The Register followed, that afternoon, with a front-page story, the first of almost daily front-page, color-photo coverage. As the story spread nationwide -- and People magazine and ABC's Inside Edition sent reporters to cover the trial -- people lined up at the courtroom door, vying for the fifty available seats.

What lured them to the Ramonas? The sensation, of course incest, hate, money; the prospect of lurid sex and a peek at the Ra

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