Act 1, Scene 1. Richard, duke of Glaucester: "Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous, by drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams, to set my brother Clarence and the king in deadly hate the one against the other."
The legal dialogue at the St. Clair County Courthouse earlier this week wasn't a precise replication of the famed opening monologue of Richard III -- during that dark winter of our discontent when Richard plots to have his own brother jailed -- but the fraternal dissonance on display was nonetheless Shakespearean. Beth Hundsdorfer of the Belleville News-Democrat leads off her recent story on the 2010 stabbing death of Jarrell Fountain with a plea-deal excerpt fit for the Bard:
Prosecutor Deb Phillips: "Did you stab Jarrell Fountain?"
Floyd Alexander: "No."
Phillips: "Did your brother Michael Alexander tell you that he thought he stabbed somebody?"
Brothers Floyd and Michael Alexander had faced first-degree murder charges following Fountain's stabbing death in the Franklin neighborhood of Belleville two summer ago. Floyd, who is twenty, chose to accept a deal to have his murder-first charges dropped in exchange for a seven-year prison sentence for armed violence.
But the defendant's decision came with a haunting catch, it seems, based on the BND report: Floyd would need to testify against his own brother during his sentencing hearing.
You might say the situation was more than kin and less than kind.
Michael, 19, is still awaiting his own trial. The case stems from an incident in May 2010, when Floyd and Michael sought revenge on Fountain, who was 19 at the time of his death, after Floyd's bike was stolen outside a Belleville tattoo parlor, according to the BND. That evening Floyd reportedly grabbed his brass knuckles while Michael reached for a knife, and the two brothers, along with their stepfather, a cousin and a friend went looking for the bicycle thief.
When the crew spotted Fountain riding a bicycle a little later on, Floyd struck first, punching him with the brass knuckles, according to the BND report. Then ten individuals, presumably Fountain's friends, allegedly proceeded to jump Floyd. Next, Fountain raced toward Michael, who'd brandished his blade while still sitting in his car, according to the BND. A tussle ensued, ending with Michael reportedly stabbing and killing Fountain.