ROME (Dec. 20)
A jury in Venice has found Cain not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his brother, Abel.
It deliberated for 55 minutes before reaching a verdict Sunday night that could trigger a millennium of scholarly debate.
During the 10-hour mock trial, testimony was heard from historians, academicians, rabbis, criminologists and other distinguished experts.
The defendant did not take the witness stand, having died a few thousand years ago.
The trial, held in the Council Hall of the provincial government building in Venice, was sponsored by the city government, the Venetian Bar Association and, of course, the local tourist board, It was open to the public.
Practicing attorneys participated. A presiding magistrate, Luigi Maria Todaro, played the role of president of the court.
Some might accuse the jurors of favoring the criminal over the victim. While they did not deny that Cain, a farmer, slew Abel, a shepherd, they found extenuating circumstances.
Cain acted out of understandable emotional turmoil, abetted by the fact that God preferred Abel’s offering to his own, the jury decided.