It was like a testimonial dinner. From Diamond Bar, from Pinot Way, from the Mondavi winery, they had come to take the stand for Gary Ramona. Rebuttal was Gary's last chance to challenge and correct the arguments made against him. There was his St. Helena neighbor Charlie Piazza, sobbing as he said, "All I can say is they're great people . . . To me, Gary Ramona is tops." There was his former secretary Teresa Speck, talking of the boss who "was our leader, always available, always encouraged . . . who made me feel like an equal" -- the boss whose daughter Holly was "a very relaxed, happy kid, a normal teenager" who'd "pop her head in and say hi to her dad." Two Mondavi executives risked reprimand to appear and reject Tim and Michael's "dictatorial" as an adjective for Gary and replace it with "collegial . . . communicative . . . A-plus at marketing." Eleven witnesses testified to the hugs and warmth and normalcy of the Ramona family they had known.
In Jean Sawday's opinion, Gary had influenced the neighbors' testimony with two wine and cheese parties he and Harrington had staged down south. "Ask the neighbors in Diamond Bar," Gary said later. "Go through the neighborhood. Ask them how they saw us as a family. They owe me nothing.''
Why wouldn't Miroglio listen? Jean worried. She kept trying to tell him, "This is not a case of whether the jury is going to believe these doctors did anything wrong. This is a case of, Do you believe Holly or do you believe Gary? . . . If you don't bring forward the people who knew this family" -- Holly's friends in St. Helena, the children of Stephanie's friends -- "the jury won't get it at all." In fact,