THE MAN ON DEATH ROW
Brennan and Booth investigate the case of a man on death row who some believe to be innocent; they manage to dig up new evidence ó including two additional murders ó which forces them to question the wisdom of the stay-of-execution they have helped grant.
On death row of a state prison, former janitor Howard Epps waits in his cell. He is about to die for the murder of 17-year-old April Wright. At Agent Boothís FBI office Dr. Brennan is applying for a license to carry a gun. A defense lawyer, Amy Morton, arrives to ask Booth if he will visit the prisoner whom he arrested before Epps dies by lethal injection. Amy believes Epps to be innocent. Booth visits Epps in jail to relieve his conscience, but still thinks heís guilty. Dr. Brennan works late with her assistant Zack Addy and Dr. Jack Hodgins. Angela stops by to get Brennan to go out with her. Booth arrives to ask Brennan if she will do him a favor this weekend and research some loose ends from the Epps case. Amy is so adamant that Epps is innocent that itís causing Booth to have some doubts. They donít have much time: Epps will be executed in 30 hours.
Brennan, Zack, and Hodgins sift through evidence from the old murder trial. Booth tells them that April was beaten to death with a tire iron, and her autopsy showed she had consensual sex before her death. A phone number was found in her pocket, but it turned out to be a nursing home. The only clue unaccounted for is a pubic hair that never matched anyone. Brennan identifies some particles that might disprove the prosecutionís theory. She sends Zack out the murder scene to take photographs of the area. Brennan and Hodgins continue working; and Angela returns with her date, Troy, to help them. Zack, photographing the park, realizes that the phone number found on Aprilís body was actually a note indicating a time and place to meet someone. Brennan and Hodgins discover more clues that lead them to question the prosecutionís case. They determine that April was killed someplace other than where she was found. They need to exhume her body. Booth visits Aprilís parents, who are upset that the Epps case is being reopened. Their lawyer, David Ross, tells Booth that April worked as an intern at his law firm. Booth informs Ross that new evidence will reveal the identity of the man April had sex with the night of her murder. Ross pales, and Booth guesses it was Ross. Ross refuses to admit it, but asserts that it doesnít mean that person killed April.
Dr. Brennan and Amy go to visit Judge Cohen at home to get permission to exhume Aprilís body. Booth interrogates Ross at the FBI under the watchful glare of his top boss, Deputy Director Sam Cullen. Cullen gives Booth a hard time for reopening the death-penalty case. Ross insists he did not kill April. He is surrounded by his lawyers. Brennan goes back to her lab with Amy and starts to exhume Aprilís body. Angelaís date, Troy, grows upset and leaves. Booth arrives with a bag of Rossí underwear to check for a match to the old pubic hair, but they can only do a visual match. DNA confirmation requires 10 days, and Epps will be dead by then. Booth still believes Epps is guilty, but his doubts cause him to go visit the judge to ask for a stay of execution. Booth, Brennan, and Amy visit Judge Cohen at home again, who is unhappy to see them. The Assistant District Attorney, Larry Carlyle, argues that Booth is recycling old evidence. He accuses them of trying to stall. The judge dismisses them. They donít have enough evidence for a stay of execution. Booth and Amy go to the prison to tell Epps the bad news. Back at the lab Brennan, Hodgins, and Zack discover two chemicals and pollen in Aprilís bones which lead them to believe that April was murdered in a marsh along Chesapeake Bay, near a chemical plant.
Booth questions Ross again. Rossís lawyer Harmon is present. Booth informs Ross that he had means, motive, and opportunity. Ross insists that he did not kill her. This time Ross admits he had sex with April that night, but she ran off. Ross feels guilty he didnít go after her, because she ran into a stranger who murdered her. Booth asks Cullen for permission to search for the missing murder weapon in a marsh. Cullen is annoyed, but gives him metal detectors and a dozen agents. Amy sits with Epps as he eats his last meal. The clock is ticking fast. Booth and Brennan speed to the marsh, and ó with the help of Angela, Hodgins, and Zack on video relay in the lab ó they manage to dig up not only the missing murder weapon, but also two more bodies of dead girls buried in the marsh. Aprilís killer was a serial killer, and it undoubtedly was Epps. He snatched April at the park after she ran away from Ross, brought her to the marsh, killed her, and returned her dead body to the park where she met Ross in hopes of implicating Ross in the murder. Booth and Brennan realize that Epps played them. They debate about waiting an hour to stall. If they donít report the dead bodies, Epps will be executed. If they do, Epps will be spared until the new murders can be investigated. They decide they have an obligation to do the right thing, and duly report what they found. Epps will get his stay of execution, but Booth and Brennan are so furious with Epps that when they go to prison to meet with him, Brennan winds up breaking Eppsí wrist.
They retire to Wong Fooís to have a drink, exhausted from a bad day.