A Witness is a player called upon to give testimony explaining what they saw of the crime. These testimonies often shape the entire course of the case, allowing the defense to find contradictions, re-examine the facts of the case and proceed with a potentially different viewpoint.
Different witnesses can have different roles in this case. There are four types of witnesses: Detective, Witness 1, Witness 2 and Witness 3+ (which are optional). Here's a simple run-through on how to play them:
As the detective you are expected to explain the prosecution's theory on what happened. This means you should mention the relevant evidence pieces in your testimony, explain how they are related to the crime and then explain how the crime went down. The defense attorneys will then cross examine you. This is one of the most important cross examinations because it usually gives shape to the evidence. Having contradictions in this testimony is optional and often not recommended as most inexperienced players don't know what to do with a detective contradiction.
The first witness, called after the detective, must base their testimony on the detective's and the evidence. This witness must never have directly witnessed the crime itself, because that would eliminate the need for any more witnesses (and also make it very difficult for any other witnesses to be involved as the Witness 1 would have seen them at the scene otherwise). This kind of witness commonly witnesses the defendant escaping the scene, carrying the weapon, lurking around the corpse and things of the sort. This witness must always have contradictions in their testimony and those contradictions must change some aspects of the case, be them minor or major.
A Witness 1 can also be the real killer, but in order to do that they must calculate their testimony so that the defense goes back to them after cross examining the other witnesses. Do not try to be indicted at your first appearance!
Most times the killer, the Witness 2 often witnesses key points of the case, most times being the murder itself. Any contradictions found here will wildly change the way other players view the case, and can often end with someone being indicted as the real killer by the defense. Merely finding contradictions is usually not enough to indict those witnesses, so the defense is forced to chase new evidence somehow, most times by asking the detective to ask said evidence.
Relatively rare, those witnesses are often not needed. If a Witness 3 appears, this means something went wrong with the previous two witnesses. The Witness 3 must then avail the situation and see what is needed in order to fix the trial's flow. Is the case lacking a killer? If so, the Witness 3 can be the killer. Maybe the case lacks some way to indict one of the other two witnesses? That is also simple to fix as the Witness 3 can give a testimony that, once debunked by the defense, indicts one of the other two witnesses. A fourth or fifth witness should never be needed.
Being even more rare than third witnesses, having the defendant cross examine can be a suicide move and lead the case to disgrace. That because no matter what the defendant says, the prosecution can always dismiss it by saying "You wouldn't trust the defendant!', and also because the defendant's involvement is often limited. It is, however, possible to have the defendant confess to the crime. When this happens, the detective doesn't testify. Instead, the defendant appears and explains all the details about how the crime went down, and the defense is forced to debunk their testimony or deal with a verdict.
Some classic mistakes that many witnesses commit will be listed here:
- Excessively helping the defense by spoonfeeding them
- Having an irrelevant testimony that doesn't help the prosecution in any way
- Not putting any contradictions in the testimony
- Denying other players' "asspull" attempts to avoid getting indicted as the killer
- Testimonies that are not in agreement with the testimony of previous witnesses
- Constructing a wall.