Staunton jury watches three hours, 33 minutes of porn


The trial against the owner and cashier of After Hours Video is the first obscenity case in Staunton in recent memory.
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Nearly ten months to the day after undercover police first purchased the two DVDs from then-newly opened After Hours Video, a four-man, three-woman jury sat through Sugar Britches and City Girls Extreme Gangbangs in the misdemeanor obscenity trial against After Hours owner Rick Krial and cashier Tinsley Embrey. For three hours and 33 minutes, the jury watched an unrelenting series of sex acts on a projector screen, while all anyone in the gallery could do was watch the looks on the jurors' faces, and listen to constant, tea kettle-like screams reverberate off the wood-paneled walls of Staunton Circuit Court.

The jury's discomfort was apparent from the first moan. The men shifted in their seats every few minutes, each covering his mouth or holding his face in his hand, hiding their full expressions from the rest of the court. At least two of the four turned a deep purple as the moans grew more shrill and the unmistakable sound of flesh slapping flesh grew more rapid. The women, all over 50, sat stone-faced, expressions ranging from annoyance to disgust.

But as the day went on, jury's distaste quickly gave way to boredom. Jurors yawned, chewed their nails, picked their teeth, checked their watches, and exchanged raised eyebrows, as if to say, "There's more?" One even dozed off for a second before reviving himself, aware that a nap, however brief, could mean a mistrial.

Not that there was much to hold the jury's attention. Sugar Britches featured no musical score, and no pretense as to why these two people were having sex–- not even a pizza to be delivered or a pool to be cleaned. It took 25 minutes to get to the first line of dialogue: "Oh, yeah!" Not a single polysyllabic word was uttered for the entire hour and 46 minutes, unless one counts "yeahyeahyeahyeahyah!"

Perhaps, though, the jury caught their case of the yawns from the defense. Throughout the movies, defense attorneys Paul Cambria and Louis Sirkin, both former attorneys for Hustler publisher Larry Flynt among other famous X-rated magnates, arched their necks, opened wide and yawned without so much as covering their mouths. Defendant Embrey nearly nodded off multiple times, looking less like a 28-year-old man watching porn and more like a 12-year-old boy trying to stay awake in Algebra I.

Asked about these long, gaping yawns once court adjourned, Sirkin said simply, "Human sexual activity after three hours gets boring."

Meanwhile Staunton Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Robertson watched intently, fixing his eyebrows into a permanent scowl, as he shifted his gaze back and forth between the screen and the laptop on which he was playing the DVD. At one point, Robertson bowed his head and almost appeared on the verge of tears

Judge Thomas Wood rubbed his eyes and blinked frequently, as if trying to wake himself up from a bizarre dream.

The jury returned from lunch at 2:31pm to watch City Girls Extreme Gangbangs. This selection offered a little more narrative. The premise? Guys recruit girls to have group sex with them in a movie. The film seemed to have a cinema verite motif with improvised, Altmanesque overlapping dialogue over a soundtrack that sounded like a collaboration between Kraftwerk and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

Finally, at 4:18pm a woman screamed out for her partner(s) to, er, finish "on my f***ing face!" and (spoiler alert) evidently someone complied with the request, for so too did the movie finish. At that point, Judge Thomas Wood called for a brief recess, during which several gallery members stepped out for a cigarette and, because it was raining outside, a shower.

However, watching all the naughty material almost ended up for naught. When the jury returned, the prosecution called as a witness Dr. Mary Anne Laydon– a University of Pennsylvania psychologist specializing in rehabilitating the victims and perpetrators of sex crimes. When Matthew Buzzelli (a federal prosecutor on loan to the Commonwealth from the Justice Department) asked Laydon to evaluate a still image from Sugar Britches. "The female has no pubic hair, no breasts, a an angular body type. Typically this is someone whose body has not yet fully developed sexually. In most industrialized countries, this occurs at the age of 12."

Defense attorney Cambria sprung out of his seat to object.

"Right from the beginning," Cambria said, "the Commonwealth has tried to make this an underage case. They have no proof and no good faith basis to allege that any one of these performers is underage and I move for a mistrial."

Buzzelli, having made this argument in federal court before, protested vehemently. "It speaks for itself, that girl is clearly made to look like a child!"

Staunton Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Robertson pressed further. "It's no accident she looks the way she does," he said. "This film does appeal to pedophiles. Pedophiles will guy this film and get off on it!"

Judge Wood wasn't buying it.

"Give me a break!" he said. "You're saying she's like a child because she has small breasts? I saw this movie, every one of these women was shaved!"

When Buzzelli and Robertson continued to argue the point, Wood sternly warned them, "If your witness makes this sound like a kiddie porn film, we're going to have a mistrial."

After a long conference with the prosecutors, Laydon returned to the stand. She only offered her professional opinion that acts such as "inserting two penises into one vagina" and "removing the penis from the female's anus and putting it in the mouth of the female" are "risky behavior."

The Commonwealth rested at 5:30pm.

While disappointed he didn't get to put on his case as he would have liked, Robertson says he still has hope of a conviction.

"We''ll just have to argue from the movies themselves," he said. "They're the best evidence, and they speak for themselves."

The defense will begin to make its case Friday morning at 8:30am, the fourth day of the scheduled four-day trial. Cambria estimated that it would take approximately two hours for the defense to present its case, so jury deliberations could begin as soon as lunchtime.

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3 comments

Quick-
someone tell the porn studio the Staunton court is publicly exhibiting their movies for FREE.
That's a $250,000 fine. It would serve the busybodies right.

I thought tropic thunder was funny. This article was killing. I don't think I've laughed that hard in a while. Very funny stuff.

AND WHO'S PAYING FOR ALL THIS ??