The star witness for the defense was Paul Archer. Paul wore what had become his standard outfit for court appearances: blue blazer, rep tie, khakis. This was the witness whose soft, sad eyes could melt a cheerleader's—or maybe a juror's—heart at 30 feet. Paul Warren Archer II, everybody's son, everybody's sweetheart.
He testified that he was 10 feet away when Leslie started speaking to Bryant in Cartaret Park in Glen Ridge. "She said things like 'Bryant Grober, you're really hot, you're really sexy, I like your bod.' " These suggestive remarks were uttered in such a toneless voice by Archer that they seemed expurgated.
He said Leslie reached for Grober's crotch and said, "Nice package," which "startled" and "shocked" Bryant. Archer said he heard Leslie tell Bryant, "I'd like to give you a blow job."
Archer said that in the basement, Kevin handed Leslie the broomstick and she inserted it into her vagina for "about 20 seconds." Archer testified that Leslie said, "It feels so good. It feels just like a cock." Toneless. It could have been algebra.
Paul went on to describe in chilling detail, but in the same flat tone, his version of what had occurred in the basement, insisting that Leslie was "voluntarily doing everything." Finally came the signature line, the headline-maker of Paul's first day of testimony. "She was totally in control," the college senior said. "She made all the advances. She was the one who did the propositioning. She was the one doing everything. It was all her idea."
When prosecutor Glen Goldberg cross-examined Archer he emphasized inconsistencies between what Paul had told Glen Ridge police lieutenant Richard Corcoran when he had been questioned in April 1989 and his testimony at the trial. But in the end Paul Archer's long-awaited appearance on the witness stand didn't provide a climactic scene, as a courtroom melodrama would in the movies. The defense couldn't transform him into the shining savior of his brother and his buddies. The prosecutor couldn't wrench out of him a sobbing admission that the defendants had raped Leslie Faber.
But his testimony did leave the jury with a number of hard questions to answer. Could a witness who admitted that he had lied repeatedly be believed when he said that everything that went on in the basement was Leslie's idea? Would the jurors believe Paul's account of his friends as pawns in the hands of a scheming sex bomb after they had seen Leslie testify? Paul Archer left behind lots of questions when he stepped down. With their verdict the jury would answer them.
On March 16, 1993, five months after the trial began, the jury delivered its verdict:
Christopher Archer: guilty of two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault with the bat and broom.
Kevin Scherzer: the same verdict, guilty of two first-degree counts of aggravated sexual assaults—in other words, guilty of rape.