Saturday, May 28, 2016

Lonnie Franklin, Jr., "Grim Sleeper," Penalty Phase - Motions

Lonnie Franklin, Jr., pretrial hearing, possibly July 2010
Photo Credit: Unknown pool camera

Prior post can be found HERE.
T&T Case coverage and Media Links HERE.

Wednesday May 25, 2016
8:55 AM
Mona Shafer Edwards, the sketch artist is here along with ABC reporter Miriam Hernandez. Well, they were in the hallway. City News Reporter Terri Keith was trying to decide whether to continue with the Jace murder trial in Judge Robert Perry's courtroom or drop in on these evidentiary hearings.

Atherton was in his chair, rocking when I arrived. Over at the bailiff's desk was the court’s regular bailiff and Deputy Sargent Westphal.

I step out quickly to get a bottle of water before court begins. Defense attorney Seymour Amster arrived right before I stepped outside. Mona and Miriam enter Dept. 109.

9:17 AM
The German witness is here. There is discussion as to whether or not the witness will be sketched. I think they agreed that the witness will decide whether the media will be able to use a sketch of her.

Franklin is brought out. He’s in an orange jumpsuit.

The German woman has her husband with her, a female victim's advocate from the DA's office I've seen before and a woman sitting in the bench row behind her who is comforting her by patting her back. I find out later that the woman in the row behind her is from the crime lab. Both the victim's advocate and the crime lab person speak German.

Judge Kennedy greets parties.

The thing everyone wants is to hear is if the German woman will agree to an interview with the defense or the defense investigator, but that's not what the court starts off with. There are 402 issues on both sides.

Amster argues that he has received no written motions.  There is no law that that requires him to give an offer of proof. He argues that he's not required to give discovery.

Regarding a witness named Williams, Judge Kennedy asks, "You said that he was going to testify as to the destruction of evidence. Is that not true anymore?" Amster states he will be testifying about the body dump. As far as destruction of property, it’s solely to Inez Warren and if he had that evidence, to him, [witness] that might strengthen or change his opinion about the body dump.

Amster states that it is his witness's opinion that the Warren case is not a body dump. Well, it is a body dump but different than other body dumps in this case, verses hiding the body which did not occur. We had a rapid leaving of the scene of individuals or individual that we did not see in other individual [cases]. We know the victim was alive where we know in other scenes where the victim was dead when left at the scene. They are contradictions and dissimilarities. And that’s what his testimony will center on.

Judge Kennedy slowly responds, "Okay..."

DDA Silverman counters, "All of that would not be an area for expert testimony. He can argue, but all of that would be prior hearsay testimony he wasn’t at any of these locations."

Judge Kennedy asks if Amster can qualify him as an expert.

Amster responds, "He’s had the same amount of experience as the people’s expert. They opened the door. We have under the law, to be able [present him?]." Amster continues to object to the 402 since he insists the people never filed a motion.

DDA Silverman counters that. "The defense is wrong. ... The people did file a motion, back in November. ... There was no destruction of the sexual assault case in Inez Warren. She was taken to the hospital. There was no sexual assault kit collected."

The court rules in favor of the 402.  "He’s not testifying as a police practices expert. Just testifying what makes this case difference than the other cases.  [Warren]. They [people] do have a right to have him questioned as to his expertise."

An older black gentleman gets up from the seats by the door and takes the witness stand. Amster starts off with very simple questions. In no time DDA Silverman is objecting and Judge Kennedy is having to direct some of the examination.


Were you eve employed by the LAPD?
Yes I was.
Were you employed by as a detective?
Yes I was ... I was employed as a detective from 1979 trainee. I was promoted in 1981 and retired in 2003.

Did you investigate homicides?
I did.
Would you investigations include situations that would be a body dump?
I did.
Did you you believe your expertise ...

Judge Kennedy tells the defense, "Deal with his qualifications first."

Did you gain knowledge and experience to determine ... knows about body dumps? ... How many homicides did you investigate?
How many of those involved a body dump?
Objection. No foundation.

Judge Kennedy tells the people to wait with the objections because this is a 402 hearing. She'll rule. DDA Silverman lays out her battle lines. "The people's position is, is that they have to lay a proper foundation."

The witness explains he received on the job training from his partners to see what constitutes a "body dump" scene. He would check post mortem lividity to see if the body was moved or other types of evidence of the body not being there.

And as a homicide investigator, was it part of your duties to determine if this [Warren] was a body dump?

And that's it. Amster believes he's done all he needs to do. The court asks the people if they want to cross the witness. DDA Silverman replies. "No foundation."

I believe at this point the court starts questioning the witness.

In your opinion what is a body dump and what are you looking for?
Where, someone is killed at another location and then they place it in another location. That's my terms.
What is it you specifically look for?
Witnesses that may have seen or heard anything. ... Physical evidence that may exert itself on the body. Post mortem lividity. Body is moved and the lividity. ... May have witnesses who say they walked through that area.

Judge Kennedy replies with a question, "That's it?" It's hard to interpret the expressions on the court's face during questioning. At times, it looked like she was puzzled or, not believing what she was hearing. The witness adds a bit more.

There may be other evidence that suggest that a body is a dump. You may have a purse that's near the body. You may have something that shows that the activity that the homicide was not there at the scene or someone else.

The court asks the prosecution if they want to cross. The defense wants a completed ruling.  The people state they haven't heard anything from this individual. Amster states they are not asking particular opinion on this case. People proffered a detective that Inez Warren was a body dump. His opinion is exactly the same as Mr. Williams, someone who was trained to recognize a body dump or not.

Judge Kennedy continues with her questioning. "Your opinion of a body dump is that the person is killed elsewhere and then the body is left at some other location after death?" The witness replies, "That's my opinion and the long and short of it."

The look on Judge Kennedy's face is priceless. I believe she asks another question. "If the evidence is [the victim] is dying or has received significant injuries elsewhere, but is left someplace different from where the injuries were inflicted, that's not a body dump?" The witness states, "In my opinion, that is still a body dump if the person was alive or dead."

Amster argues that his witness is going to render an opinion verses what was given by the people. The defense position is, that the crime may have or might have occurred at the location, not on the ground where the individual was found but in the van right there ... But the way that the evidence, ... the rapid leaving of the scene is contrary to other scenes.

DDA Silverman is not happy. I don't think she is believing what she is hearing that the court may consider this witness an expert, in comparison to Detective John Skaggs.  She moves forward in cross examining the witness.

Can you give a list of all the 44 homicides you claim to have worked?
[He cannot remember.]
Can you list one?
[He can't remember.'
You can't list one homicide? ... What homicide division was that you were assigned to?
77th Street Homicide.
Who were your supervisors? ... Tell us who your superior was?
Joe [?] Lieutenant over detectives at that time.

The witness mentions two more names. He's asked who his partner was and he names him. He was assigned to 77th Street homicide as a detective for a little over a year. He states he worked 44 homicides when he was working child abuse as well.

DDA Silverman gets more specific in her questioning, whether he investigated any women who were shot to death and left at a particular location. Williams sates he can't name one, but he's sure he has, he just can't name them. The time frame is gone over as to when he actually worked homicide. And he states he was lead on about 20% of the homicides. He's asked who was the D3 [detective 3] in the unit. When asked what homicide schools he attended, he states he needs to check his CV.

The people ask that the CV be turned over. The court orders it. Amster insists that he's already turned it over, or he thinks he did, but then he says he's not sure but that he will.

DDA Silverman continues her relentless questioning of the witness for his training and qualifications. Question after question after question about they types of cases he worked and what units he served in.

City News reporter Terri Keith and Jane Robison from the DA's office arrive.

The witness states that at one point, his job was to review all homicides through the bureau and review them and some were body dumps. He would make recommendations to the commanding officer. He states, "I have had my experience dealing with [them?] throughout my career."

But DDA Silverman is not finished. She wants to know how much of his education was specifically directed at body dumps. How many of the 44 homicides was he a patrol officer. What is it that you're saying was different with respect to Inez Warren? What is it that you claim to be testifying about that is different?

I believe the distinction is the difference between Inez Warren and others.

And then Judge Kennedy rules. "I think he has sufficient expertise to render an opinion.

He has copies of his CV and he is ordered to give a copy to the people.

The people object to Amster's "mitigation expert." DDA Silverman argues that anything she says is hearsay. The people were given a document of five pages that doesn't have a source. The last page is numbered Page 2. Some pages are in a different font. The people believe that all this information is hearsay and not expert opinion.

Judge Kennedy looks through the information on the five pages and states, "I don't understand."

Amster argues that the information is being offered under Factor K. "Her experience and expertise is the same as Dupree when he testified about the conditions, about that area when he was growing up. Ms. Kaiser [sp?] was also in that area in that time period. Thease are the things that she observed and we feel that all these facts and circumstance that are state in that [document?] ... circumstances factor into the crimes and how that woud affect someone in that area at that time and something where ... for the jury to consider under Factor K."

Amster then adds that this is under the defendant's fifth, sixth, eighth and fourteenth amendment rights. DDA Silverman states this is exactly the type of information that is excluded under the law.

Judge Kennedy opines, "I read this document over. And [there's] no mention ... there is no evidence in the record that the defendant even grew up in Los Angeles. He was there during that time [during the murders] ... [and somehow this?] is the basis of some evidence about how this affected the defendant's life or was his life or certain factors about the crimes that he committed or ... that were brought up. I don't see that this is Factor K evidence."

The court adds that this is all very interesting but the court doesn't see in the evidence where it has to do with Mr. Franklin that the court has heard. Amster counters that it's not to be considered as to the defendant growing up, just the circumstance of living in South Los Angeles during the crimes. Amster adds that everyone was influenced by the circumstance, ... the weight that should be given to it. And it should be up to the jury. That's how we're stating it. That's why we're giving it rendering. Introducing it as Factor K.  Amster states it's also being rendered as Factor A. Just because a factor is listed, it's not necessarily aggravating it's mitigation, too. Amster insists that nothing in the law says something has to be used as mitigating or aggravating. The defense is saying this evidence is mitigating under Factor A and Factor K.

DDA Silverman tells the court that there is a lot of commentary in there that may be historical. She reads what I'm interpreting are snatches of text from the document. "... multiple [serial?] killers, homosexuality ... corruption of the police ... election of Bill Clinton ... rap records ... genocide in Rowanda and the million man march. ... And the only way to seek happiness is to seek God. ... Religion. ... Nothing specifically related to the defendant. ... If you read through it ... those are someone's opinions that have no basis in a court of law, and to point to one area that this person does [not?] know what they are talking about. ... The snooty box hotel. ... Numerous spelling errors and factual errors and none of this has shown to be relevant in this case."

Amster argues that not all the information should get in. However, he goes onto say that his mitigation expert, described the events as seen in that area where the crimes occurred and to give as much experience ... that Ms. Kaiser can give first hand knowledge of that area and how it would affect all the residents in that area. The drugs, the prostitution, murder, the amount of drugs. Amster says something to the effect that the court will give the appropriate ruling.

Judge Kennedy tentatively rules, "It seems to me, number one, you have, somehow, have to connect this to this defendant. That he experienced this thing and it affected him in some way. You haven't established that link. ... I don't know ahat Mr. Franklin grew up in South Los Angeles. The only thing I know about Mr. Franklin is, is the time he worked for the city and the addresses that were [on file] with the Sanitation Department or the LAPD. ... At some time he was in the military and so he was out of the country somewhere ... about activity in Germany. ... Prior to that, I don't know if he grew up in Los Angeles or grew up somewhere else. Minimally, you have to establish it's relevant to him and his experience. ... And all this stuff on who got elected president, I don't get it. I don't understand it."

The look on Judge Kennedy's face, when she says she doesn't get it or understand it, is priceless.

Amster counters, "The only thing I want to put on the record, ... we do not know how this influenced him growing up, but how it influenced him when he lived in that area."  DDA Silverman responds, That would require him to take the stand and we would welcome it." Judge Kennedy makes a final ruling, "On the basis of this document, I'm not going to let this person testify."

For weeks now, I thought this woman in a wheelchair who has been in the gallery was a defense investigator. Turns out she's supposedly a mitigation expert. I don't know if I'm correct or not, but it sounded like, the only expertise she had was, growing up in the area. I did not hear anything read or argued in court about this individual's credentials as a mitigation expert.

The people ask for an offer of proof for more names on the defense witness list and what they are going to testify to. Several names are said but I know I did not get them all down correctly. Then the court interrupts to ask a question.

"Mr. Atherton, what are you doing?," the court asks. Mr. Atherton responds something to the effect that he's trying to get an appearance rescheduled. I could not see, but my best educated guess was, Mr. Atherton was using his cell phone at the defense table. The court tells him, "Maybe you can go out in the hall and do that." [I'm astonished.]

Now there is discussion as to whether or not the defense is going to call DNA analysts from Sorenson, to testify that no DNA belonging to the defendant was found on Enietra Washington or her clothing.

DDA Rizzo tells the court, "... we had testimony from Sorenson. We got into the waste-band, front of the crotch, side crotch. I've no idea why we would need to bring in [the Sorenson witness] in for the same testimony."

Amster tells the court, "Our position is this. The jury rejected our position on Ms. Washington. We feel there is no DNA connecting the defendant to Ms. Washington. We feel that we have a law enforcement lab doing their own analysis on the panties ... finding this conclusion ... using up all the sample ... this happens but we were not allowed to [do our own analysis]. We feel that under lingering [doubt?] giving information from another lab ... as to Sorenson, so it's a lingering doubt position."

There's more argument back and forth regarding Enietra Washington. The defense continues to argue there was no evidence of sexual assault linked to the defendant with this victim. The people did not put on any DNA evidence linking Mr. Franklin. The court responds to the defense that if the people are willing to enter into a specific stipulation, that there was no DNA that connects the defendant to Enietra Washington, sexual assault kit, the underwear, her clothing, whatever, would that work.

DDA Rizzo states that, if counsel wants to draft a stipulation they will look at it and assuming [the facts are correct] the people will so stipulate.

Judge Kennedy asks the defense if they want to argue lingering doubt.

Another witness is named that the people state they don't have any report with regards to that witness, a Mr. Coon [Cook?].  The court states they have something on their bench some where. She starts looking for a document. She then adds that they had a discussion at sidebar last week. It has to do with a Mr. Coon [Cook?] could review the fingerprint evidence. Apparently, there needs to be an order for the crime lab. DDA Silverman states she's never received a report from this witness. The defense states there is no report.

DDA Silverman argues, "It's the same thing with respect to Mr. Lamagna. We're asking for an offer of proof." The defense states they gave a lot of fingerprint evidence on Monday. All of this testimony is going to involve all of the evidence that was turned over. The court asks, "Is he a person that doesn't believe in fingerprint evidence?" Amster responds, "No, no. It's not that he doesn't believe, it's to the exclusion of all others. The significance of pattern and everything else."

DDA Rizzo replies, "I believe that based on the forensic review of all the various disciplines, that in forensic comparison, ... they do not testify to the exclusion of all others. ... [The defense?] knows of the changes to [testifying?]. ... The people are .... the court is aware that the NAS is revisiting the guidelines as to the way testimony is presented in court and the FBI has reviewed the way testimony is present in court ... to the exclusion of all others."

Amster disagrees. "He [Deacon?] said it was unique. He's [defense expert] going to testify ..."  DDA Silverman states that the people haven't received anything from him, even a CV. DDA Rizzo states it was included on a CD [the defense provided.] DDA Rizzo states she looked at it briefly. She thought this whole issue had come up a few weeks ago.

Now there is another issue. Defense attorney Dale Atherton has given a document to the court for the judge to sign but he hasn't passed it by the people first. This is law 101. Judge Kennedy appears quite perturbed and tells counsel, "As far as evidence, I would never sign an order without the prosecution seeing it first. Ever."  The people will not agree to this. The defense has waited until the 11th hour.

Amster insists that everything they have, that the people have, the defense turned over and this was the order 'he' got. [That doesn't make sense or my notes could be wrong.] The people state that the defense will have to fashion a new order so the people can review it. DDA Silverman states, "Once again, defense delay."

Apparently, what this involves, is for the defense expert to go to the LAPD fingerprint department with the order in hand so that the defense expert can look at the prints, the latent prints that were found on the [gun] magazine. The expert needs to be able to scan in the photographs. One doesn't look at the prints on the magazine. One utilizes the photograph and it can be digitized and enhanced. So the expert needs access to any photos that are in the file. The problem is, there were things done in the courtroom. [That was when the defendant was printed again on Monday, before the afternoon session began.]

The people argue that it's not their job to go through and explain to them [defense] what [evidence] they have that was turned over. Besides, it's not in the people's possession anymore.

Amster argues that this was done at the last second, the print roll in court. The people's expert, didn't compare the print from the gun and magazine, to what was rolled in court. The court reminds Amster that the expert compared the prints found on the evidence [A] to the print card from AFIS [B]. Then the print card from AFIS [B] was compared to the printcard [C] rolled in court.

Amster argues, "I don't want to place semantics on this." The court replies, "Semantics are critical."

Amster argues that they want the original photographs. The people insist that all documents [turned over] are in the file with the original photograph. That's what they are representing . The people also state that there are no notes regarding Mr. Deacon rolling the defendant's fingerprints. He rolled them on that card and that's what he indicated. The court tells Amster, "You have that testimony. ... Mr. Coon [Cook?] was here." Amster agrees that his expert was here in court. So the court tells him to now redraft his order for the court. Amster wants this fingerprint exam to be on Friday. The court asks, "Why wait? Why not today? ... Even if you hand write it ... [the order] can we just get it done so I can sign it?"

DDA Silverman tells the court, "They are just using this as another reason to not start [the defense case] on Friday." The court tells counsel, "Just get it done." Amster tells the court that he can't get it done today. He doesn't have access to a printer today.

[I'm shaking my head in disbelief.]

DDA Rizzo asks, "Is Mr. Coon [Cook?], is he going to testify as Mr. Lamagna as to the state of fingerprint evidence and is he going to be allowed to testify to that without a hearing?" Amster states he is going to go into the state of the evidence.

DDA Silverman states that the people need a 402 hearing. The court tells Amster, "If he's going to go into the NAS, then we need a hearing for that." The people then insist that they want a report and what the basis [is] of what he's going to say. Amster tells the court, "There is no report. We had no report on Mr. Hamby."

Back and forth, back and forth the arguing and comments from both sides go. Judge Kennedy in a loud voice commands counsel, "STOP. ... STOP."

Again, there's another interruption with another snide comment.

I believe the court tentatively concludes, "If he wants to testify that in his opinion ... based on his experience that there could be another person, untested person, who has the same fingerprints ... that the science hasn't come to the definitive conclusion ... they said that [finding?] ... and I say that's fine. ... And then lets do that and get done with it."

Amster states that the basis of his experts opinion will be the NAS reports. The court counters, "The NAS report does not say thatt, that there's another person that has that fingerprint. ... Mr. Deacon did not say to the exclusion of all others and he did testify that they were unique fingerprints."

Back and forth it goes, questions about what Mr. Coon [Cook?] will testify to, what the NAS report said about fingerprints to the exclusion of all others and whether Mr. Coon [Cook?] analyzes fingerprints in the same way. Interruptions back and forth again on both sides. Back and forth.

Amster insists he doesn't want to be locked into what his experts opinion is, all those studies and everything else. There's something else about the NAS [studies?] that were done with different parameters. I can no longer follow the arguments on both sides.

Amster states that the defense is challenging the uniqueness [of the fingerprint] and that there's lingering doubt that this is the defendant's fingerprint. He tells the court, "I think that science can't eliminate someone else with the same fingerprints because they've not tested everybody in the world."

Back and forth it goes as to what Mr. Coon [Cook?] will testify to and if those are Mr. Franklin's prints or not. 

Amster states that the only issue he is having, is that he doesn't want to be locked into a box. He doesn't know if his witness uses the same technology that Mr. Deacon used, and that there are some variances.  DDA Rizzo adds that Mr. Amster did mention several minutes ago that Mr. Coon [Cook?] may be modifying or enlarging.  Judge Kennedy tells the defense, "We need to know what methodology he's using." Amster replies that he doesn't know if his expert is enlarging [the evidence digitally].

Judge Kennedy tells Amster, "The point of his testimony, that you want to get in front of the jury, I think you can get that easily. I think you can do it and you don't have to reinvent the whole analysis of fingerprint analysis because we're not going to do that."

With Judge Kennedy's ruling, DDA Silverman is shaking her head left to right. She asks the court, "Can't we find out in the meantime, as opposed to waiting a week?" The court answers, "We're not going to wait a week. ... I assume he's not here this morning? ... When is he going to be available to look at the evidence?"

Amster wants his expert to look at the evidence on Friday.  DDA Silverman wants to do this today. Amster doesn't know if his expert is available. The court tells Amster that he can make a phone call.

Now it's back and forth, questions about whether the people are going to put on DNA evidence in the penalty phase. The people state that the defense said they are putting the Sorenson expert on the stand. Judge Kennedy reminds the defense that the stipulation only deals with Enietra Washington's panties. Amster states that there will not be any more DNA evidence from them.

Exhausted, Judge Kennedy states, "I need a martini."

Now the court changes the topic. The court wants to talk about the witnesses from Germany. DDA Silverman tells the court that they've been patiently waiting here. The court asks if they have a German interpreter here.

The court clerk tells Judge Kennedy that she called for a German interpreter and also sent the interpreter department an email. Still no German interpreter. They take a 15 minute break while the court tries to locate a German interpreter and Amster to finish rewriting his order for his expert to visit the LAPD fingerprint lab.

About 20 minutes later we're back on the record. Judge Kennedy tells counsel that she printed out some jury instructions for the guilt phase that she though were applicable.

Amster states,  "I'm assuming that they're going to prove up the events in Germany because the witness is there.  And they have the report of the foreign commission."  Judge Kennedy states, "The events in Germany, the crimes have to be the same as ours and I don't know if you have all that. ... There's the issue of proving a foreign conviction in Germany.  ... only if we have the objection to identity."

Amster replies, "Yes. We don't know what the witness testimony will be." DDA Silverman responds, "It's going to follow the transcript of the witness counsel has." Amster responds, "The foreign conviction, yes, we have copies of it. There is a procedure that they have to document ..."  DDA Silverman interrupts and Judge Kennedy tells her not to interrupt. Amster states, "We're not conceding to the conviction on any of those grounds."

There's more back and forth.

DDA Silverman states there are other witnesses. 'We have a JAG officer who observed the trial, who will be able to connect up the defendant. There is also a military representative with respect to official records to the defendant's name and date of birth."

Amster responds, "Again, I don't want ... we're not trying to take advantage of any situation. ... ID is an issue as far as, particular acts. ... We're not conceding to anything. "

Judge Kennedy gives a tentative analysis. "What Ms. Silverman is saying, she feels she is going to be able to prove identity from the witnesses and you have [the] documents report. ... If that's the case she's not planning on introducing the physical documents of the German conviction."

Amster replies, "We're not conceding the German court documents or the military court marshal documents because the military never made a founding [about the conviction?]." DDA Silverman replies, He was discharged based on the conviction. ... Unless counsel is going to make an issue out of the identification then we have that as well."

I believe at some point, DDA Silverman tells the court that a copy of the discharge papers were found in the search of the residence.

Amster replies hes not sure if he's going to make an issue because he doesn't know what the testimony is going to be. DDA Silverman adds, "There was also an attempted forced oral copulation."

The parties move onto talking about jury instructions. In the mean time, they were unable to get a court certified German interpreter here for the morning session. They will have to wait until the afternoon. Judge Kennedy orders everyone back at 1:30 pm.

Afternoon session.
Several members of the mainstream press, Christine Pelisek, Terri Keith, and Stephen Ceasar are here.  The court goes on the record.

DDA Rizzo tells the court that they did the redaction's on the two priors and stipulated to in court and those are exhibit numbers 653 and 654.

The court's German interpreter is here. She is getting acquainted with the witness. The interpreter states her name for the record.

The witness requests to only be identified by a first name and an initial. Amster then asks his question, "So does Ms. [ ] wish to participate in an interview with the defense or the defense investigators?"  The German witness answers, "No."

There's nothing further on that issue. She, her husband and the various German interpreters leave the courtroom.

As far as interviewing Ms. [ ], nothing else can be done at this point. The defense just wants to make sure that any interviews that the people have... DDA Silverman states that she turned over extensive notes that she did with the witness and Mr. Pyle.  Tomorrow, they pick up with the jury.

DDA Silverman informs the court that the people expect to finish their case tomorrow. There will be short testimony from the victim. Short testimony from the JAG officer and representative of the US Army. There will be three victim impact witnesses. That is the extent of the people's witnesses tomorrow.

Amster tells the court that he anticipates the defense penalty phase case should be two days, or at the very most three. Amster asks the court that they start on Tuesday. The court replies, "I will dot that on the condition that your fingerprint expert gets his report on Friday. Amster states he will rearrange his schedule. The court states that on Friday, they won't be in session unless to conclude the people's case.

There are discussions about making arrangemenets with Mr. Coon [Cook?] to look at the evidence as early as possible on Friday. They are hoping to schedule that at 9:00 am at the fingerprint department.  DDA Rizzo states she provided explicit directions and instructions, and who Mr. Coon [Cook] is supposed to meet at the lab. The German interpreter is ordered back for tomorrow.

There's nothing else to take up at this time, and court is over for the day.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The following morning, with the courtroom packed with family, the media and the people's next witnesses, Judge Kennedy asks counsel if they are ready for the jury. Amster then stands up and drops his latest bombshell.

Continued in Day 9......

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lonnie Franklin, Jr., "Grim Sleeper," Penalty Phase, Day 7

Lonnie Franklin, Jr. pretrial hearing
Associated Press Pool Camera, date unknown

This post has not yet been fully edited for spelling and clarity. Sprocket
Prior post can be found HERE.
T&T Case coverage and Media Links HERE.

Friday, May 20, 2016
8:45 AM
Defense attorneys Seymour Amster and Dale Atherton arrive. There are two attorneys here sitting at the defense table. Over at the deputy's desk, Judge Kennedy's bailiff is giving his two new assistants what their duties are for the day. He tells them when they are required to stand, what to watch out for and the zero tolerance regarding cell phones in the courtroom. I like Judge Kennedy's current bailiff. He's actually a funny guy and from what I have heard, a good jokster.

Judge Kennedy comes out from her chambers. Shes' wearing a beautiful red sleeveless dress. Judge Kennedy, known for her love of the Dodger and "Dodger Blue," is asked, "Why are you wearing red?" Smiling she replies, "I have to give credit where credit is due." There's laughter with her reply. I take it from her comment, the Dodgers did not win last nights game.

The other counsel in the well were waiting for someone to arrive. When he does, all three go into chambers with counsel.

8:54 AM
The defense team's investigator arrives. A woman in a red dress and a much younger woman, possibly her daughter sits in the gallery.  About ten minutes later, the courtroom starts to fill up. The people arrive with their support staff.

9:10 AM

Amster is ecstatic. He says out loud to the room, "The 9th circuit just came down and reversed in our favor." He says it out loud enough that everyone in the courtroom hears. He's quite happy, joyful. Smiling from ear to ear, he goes up to a few people and whispers in their ears. I know this can't be about the Franklin case, but what kind of message does that send to the victim's families that are sitting in the gallery? Amster leaves the courtroom to make a phone call. Dale Atherton, sitting at the defense table, continues to rock in his chair. When Amster returns, he continues to laugh and smile over his good news with his co-counsel at the defense table.

9:19 AM
Franklin is brought out. Amster brings up the witness from Germany again. He tells the court, "The people have implied that they have not had any communications themselves with the witness. Yet yesterday, they've represented the witness has refused an interview. And if they've had some type of communication..."

DDA Silverman interrupts. "That's inaccurate. ... We haven't take any statements that deal with the schedule of detail of her testimony."

Amster continues. He's very concerned about the fact that the prosecution is going to feel that way. It doesn't not mean that she [the witness] doesn't want to be fair and the material facts to her. He adds, "I don't think it's up to the prosecution what should be the type of communication that should be turned over or not." Amster is requesting an in-camera hearing and [the prosecution?] telling the court why [their communications with the witness?] should not be turned over. "At this point, I'm extremely concerned that any discussion the prosecution or law enforcement is going to be presented in a manner or implied, or expressed persuasion. I'm requesting an order by the court that the prosecution or law enforcement not have any discussions what so ever." The court rules, "I'm not going to order that at this time."  The court does order a German interpreter. The witness will be brought to court on Wednesday. At that time an inquiry will be made if she wished to be interviewed [by the defense].

DDA Silverman tells the court that she is aware of her discovery obligations. She then mentions the defense and their issue with discovery violations. Some years ago, the witness [had said she was terrified]. The prosecution's office had access to a German interpreter, who has been attempting to assist us in getting her here. We don't have any statements from interpreters.

Amster feels this is a discovery violation at this point. The court states she is not going to do this at this time. Amster is asking for an order that the people turn over any notes and communication from a third party.

DDA Silverman, or the court replies, that what an interpreter said third hand or second hand, is not what you can use to impeach a witness. If an interpreter is interpreting simultaneously that becomes her statement. The court wants to get the witness here first. Amster want's the people's interpreter here. DDA Silverman tells the court that their interpreter is not a certified court interpreter. It's just someone they know that speaks German.

The court asks, "None of these people who are helping you have not taken statements regarding the crime?" DDA Silverman replies, "Except for the one short interview done by Detective Dupree, no. ... Detective Dupree kept a log of all the contact that was made with the German victims. That was turned over to him [Amster] a long time ago. ... We didn't speak to them for three months. ... The interpreter doesn't know about the case and has never been to court."

The court orders that all recent contact be added to Detective Dupree's list and that turned over to the defense.

Amster has another issue, this time regarding Dr. Vivian Williams testimony. "I reviewed my discovery lat night. I did not see any reference to the name Lonnie in discovery." DDA Silverman counters, "That interview, the last line of her statement mentions that line of that statement that she said."

DDA Silverman then brings up an issue that I'm guessing was brought up at sidebar. "Yesterday, because of the complaint by the defense that victim impact statements should be called twice, there is absolutely no law that indicates that that is somehow prosecutorial misconduct for not calling the witness twice. ... that entire scenario is unsupported by any law. Just because counsel doesn't like the evidence in this case doesn't mean that he can require the court to fashion some procedure that's required by law." DDA Silverman gives a measured review to the court about counsel's behavior, that he is, or appears to still be upset by the jury's note. "If we could please get through this trial in somewhat of a professional manner."

Counsel then discuss the stipulation to the prior convictions. Amster states he agrees to the priors package unless there is something that they ask the court to redact. DDA Silverman wants to go over each item in detail and get that out of the way now. Amster doesn't appear to have reviewed the documents yet. They go over the priors packages and make stipulations.

9:42 AM
The jury is brought in. Judge Kennedy comments to the jury on her dress that she has to give credit where credit is due. The jury laughs. The people call their next witness.


The woman who steps up to the witness stand is a strikingly attractive woman I had noticed in the gallery many times.

Do you know someone named Rolenia Morris?
She's my sister.
Are you younger or older?
So you're her older sister?

Amster interrupt testimony to request a side bar.

You said that Rolenia was 4 years younger than you?
Are there any other siblings?
I'm the oldest. Yolanda lives in Atlanta, then Rolenia and then the younger sister, Regina.

When her sister got dislocated from her apartment she came [to live with her]. Rolenia's children at Donte, 22, and Donchae [sp?], 25.

When they all moved in with you, how old were the kids?
Donchae was 14 and Donte was 10 or 11.
When she moved in with your for a while, where were you living?
When the first time, I was 25 and she relocated from Pasadena to Los Angeles with my other sister.

All three sisters in Los Angeles lived together. Then they moved to a bigger place to have room for the kids. They always stayed together.

Rolenia, where was she living in September 2005? If you know, from your own knowledge.
She was living in Los Angeles.
South LA?
Yes. ... Near Manchester and Western.

On September 5, 2006, did you and your sisters go somewhere to, get together?
They came to my house.
Was that for a barbecue?
Was that in the San Gabriel Valley?
At that time, yes.

She lists the other family members who were there at the barbecue.

Where was Rolenia living?
She was living with Regina.
What happened after the barbecue? Did everyone leave? ... Did Rogenia and Rolenia go back home?
I drove them home.

After the date of September 5, 2005, have you ever seen you sister again?
I have not.
Have you ever heard from your sister again?

A few days after that, I asked my boss if I could leave because I believed my sister was missing.

She went to the 77th Street Station and filed a missing person's report. She also gave them a photo of her sister.

In terms of your sister Rolenia who went missing, have you has she had any contact with her two children, if you know?
Objection. Sustained.

Do you have a father who is still alive?
My step-father, Albert Morris. ... He lives in Lancaster.
Are you in contact with him?
Are you also in contact with your other sisters/
Yes, I am.
What about Rolenia's children, are you in contact with them?
Did you come to court one day, and bring Donte with you?
Yes I did.

Was your sister working at the time she went missing?
Yes, she was.
How was she working? In what capacity?
She loved helping elderly people so she did a lot of in-home type of service position type of jobs.
How old was she when she went missing?
Were you contacted at some point towards the end of 2010, by a Detective from the LAPD, Robbery Homicide Division?
I wasn't contacted through them first.
You contacted RHD, is that right?
No. They contacted me.

Have you had meetings with Detectives McCoy and Dupree?
Not so much Dupree, but since ...  Mccoy.
In regards to your sister, you had more contact with Detective McCoy?

When your sister went missing, did you determine if any of her property .... are you aware of any property that went missing?
Objection.  Sustained.
Did you ever go over to the house where your sister went missing with Rogenia?
Were you familiar with your sister's habits? Would she take her purse with her?
Did you find her purse anywhere where she was living?

Judge Kennedy asks her own question. "Did you look for the purse?
Judge Kennedy asks again, "What was the result?"
I didn't find it.

Were you familiar with the contents of [the things your sister carried in her purse?]?
Yes. Driver's license, California ID and a security card. Perfume, napkins.
Did you find any of that type of property, her ID? Did you find any of that or observe any of that at your sister Rogenia's house?

Did your sister live for a period of time in Las Vegas? ... Do you have any family in Las Vegas?
Yes. My mom's eldest sister.

There are questions about her mother that I don't quite follow regarding Las Vegas. There is a long explanation about losing their lease on a house they were living in so that's why the sisters had to split up. There are continual objections by Amster and a motion to strike her answers.

Prior to 2005, [specifically] had your sister ever disappeared before?
Did she discuss with you, your sister, her plans for the future?
Objection. Sidebar.

A few of the jurors appear to be laughing but I'm not sure what it's about.

Did your sister indicate that she had pans to go back to school of some sort? What were her future plans, if you know?
She wanted to go back to school to become a nurse.

When you looked through your sister's property, what kinds of property was left behind?
Her clothes, a bible, shoes, books, pictures of her children, letters, that sort of thing.
So everything but her purse with her identification? ... How about things like her toiletries? Were there makeup, a toothbrush, things of that nature?

Did your sister have a passport?
Not to my knowledge.
At some point did you give up hope that your sister would come back?
No, I didn't. I was still hopeful. I was always hopeful.
At some point did you try to call her cell phone?
Yes, I did.
Did you do that over and over again?
With what result?
No service.
Did you have... let me ask you this. What did you do with respect to your niece and nephew?
My sister [Regina?] had already spoken to my nephew's father.
Did someone take care of Donchae and Donte?
How old were they, when your sister went missing?
Donte was 12 and Donchae was 16.

Did you assist in raising them over the last ten years?
And did you do that along with your other sisters?
What was the custom, if any, on their birthdays? Did family get together to celebrate birthdays?

Did you and your family get together to celebrate Donte and Donchae's birthday prior to Rolenia going missing?

When the next birthdays rolled around, did she make any contact with you?
No mam.
What about all of their birthdays?
Did she ever show up at the house?
What about their graduations over the years?
Did you attend their graduations?
Yes I did.

In your mind, as knowing your sister as you did, if your sister was alive.
Objection! Sustained.

At some point did you have some type of memorial party or remembrance party for your sister?
April 2012.
What was the purpose of that?
I'd spoken to my sister Yolanda in Georgia
Objection! [Miss ruling.]
Did you have a memorial party that you lost hope that your sister was still alive?
Who attended that memorial?
All of my family, myself, close friends and relatives. A pastor came and spoke on behalf of my sister.
In your view, do you view your sister now as deceased?
Yes I do.
How did that impact you, that your younger sister isn't ever coming home? ... At one point did you realize that your sister was dead?
Um, when I went to Parker Center and they had her ID and social security card.
Objection! Motion to strike! Sidebar.

I hear DDA Silverman at the sidebar. "Can he just make a legal objection and just move on? The side bar is over.

You were shown an ID card and photographs by LAPD?
[Yes.] When I got to Parker Center, they had us sequestered in a room. they asked me who I was.

Judge Kennedy asks, "Were, at some point, were you shown some ID related to your sister?

People's exhibit 366D is presented.

Is this the ID card that was shown to you?

The card says, Rolenia Adele Morris.

And who is the person?
My sister.
Did you ever see that card before that day?
Do you recognize your sister's photos?
Yes I do.
Did you know what address [was on the card?]?
I didn't know the address but I knew.

I note the birth date on the card. 2/4/1954.

Is that the same ID card that we see in 366C?
Objection. Sustained.
Do you recognize your sister's photo here?
Yes I do.
Do you recognize this person?
Yes I do. ... My sister Rolenia.
Do you also recognize her in this photo of her?
Yes I do.
Do you recognize her clothing?
Yes. I do.
Was this a blouse or top you'd see her wear before?
Yes I have.

One of the pictures, Rolenia is posed like Janecia Peters, with one breast exposed. Next, the missing person's flyer is put up on the ELMO. Latanya testifies she gave that photo to detectives so that it could distributed  to missing persons websites throughout the country.

Who is this person?
My sister.

Another photo she is asked to identify. It's her sister. She does not know when the photo was taken. More photos of Rolenia with other family members and her children. A photo of Rolenia's daughter of Donchae at her prom. It's the witness's niece and her prom date.

When did this take place?
Several years ago?
Before or after she went missing?
You went with her, to buy her prom dress?

Another photo of Rolenia, taken in Riverside at Regina's children's father's house. More photos of Rolenia with family. The next photo is of Rolenia with her sister Regina's son.

Do you still have parties like this for the family?
Not really. ... They're older now, since my sister's been gone...
[So you haven't gotten together as a family?]
We do but we usually go out to dinner. Not big like we used to do.

Another photo of the children, having a big birthday party.

That was the same day. It was Donte's birthday as well so we celebrated along with ... celebrated both their birthdays .... with two cakes.

Another photo.

That's Rolenia's grandson. He's six now. His name is Tyce [sp?].

More photos of Rolenia with her children. Then photos of her children older, after Rolenia went missing. Another photo of Rolenia as a little girl.  Then a photo, of family at the memorial. They are all wearing shirts with her baby photo.

We had t-shirts made when we had the memorial.

More photos of Tyce, and the four girls when they were young. A photo of Rolenia's mother. Latanya tells the jury her mother is not alove. She passed January 26, 1995, before Rolenia went missing.  Another photo of her missing sister.

Were you responsible for getting all these photos together? What was that like, getting all these photos together, knowing the venue?
It was hard. ... I know these girls. Once my mom passed, I just took over the mom role.d I knew it had to be done.

Another photo of Rolenia and her children, and then a photo of Rolenia's grandson Tyce again. Then the photos, recovered from the defendant's home.

Do you recognize these original photos recovered from the Franklin home?
Of the three sisters that you have, who was the one you were closest to when growing up?
I was close to them all. I didn't have a favorite. I was called sister mamma. I loved them all the same.

She dabs a tissue at her eyes.

We would have a few squabbles, but she knew that I loved her.
Typical sister squabbles?
Were there any special things that you two did together as you look back?
Not me or her, all of us. ... It was always all of us. ... Because that's the way my mom raised us, just to be there for each other.

Given the close relationship, did that make it all the more difficult that she's been missing for so long?
Given that you've had this memorial, ... what is it like to believe that, in your sister's [case you've] not had a place to bury her.
Very difficult. ... I'm always wondering where she is and what happened to her, and, what happened.

You've been sitting through a lot of this trial. Do you think it affects you differently because there isn't a body to bury and you haven't had the opportunity to have that funeral and a place to visit?
What was the impact?
I was very depressed for a long time.
Did you get help?
No. I just prayed.
Did that give you a sense of comfort?
In terms of depression, is that something you seem to carry with you whereever you go?

Can you describe what it's like, on her birthdays?
Just sad. Sad because we always celebrated and did things as a family unit. ... And to not have that, and to have that taken away from you is very traumatic because we'd never experienced anything like that in our family. ... We don't really celebrate like that anymore. Seems like everyone started doing their own things since this happened.

Unless you are the instigator, to put everything together, it sort of all falls apart?
How is it for your niece and nephew?
Donte, he's devastated. He was a mamma's boy.
Who did they live with?
He lived with his biological father, in Rialto.
And my niece is with her grandmother in Rialto.
So they were separated?

Do you have conversations with them about this case?
Donte yes. Donchae, no. ... Donte is more receptive of getting the information. I try to try to give him the information. ... With my niece, this is hard for her. She doesn't want to hear about the case or anything about him.
Do any of them ask you for information?
Donte, yes.
Donchae doesn't even speak about her mother?
Were there special events you looked to celebrating with your sister and her family that you've been deprived of?
Of course.
In going through this process through the last several months, has this provided you with some closures and some answers?
Some answers, but I will never have closure.

No more direct. Amster gets up to cross the witness.

When was the last time you physically went to the place where she was living?
September 5, 2005.
And that was in Los Angeles?
Since September 5, 2005 to the current date, have you maintained the same cell phone number?
No, I haven't.
Prior to September 5, 2005, did your sister ever call you on your cell phone?
When did you change your cell phone number that she used to call you?
I think I changed it in 2010 because I wanted to keep it the same in case she contacted me so I waited a while.

Once you changed your number, did you do anything [leave a forwarding number?] if anyone knew about the old number they could contact you on your new one?

She had a forwarding system set up so that if someone called the old number, it will tell the caller what  her new number was.

And is that still active today/
No, I don't do that anymore.When did you stop that?
A while ago. 2013, something like that.

Nothing further. No redirect. We take the morning break.

10:41 AM
Latanya is comforted by DDA Silverman and Mary and Donnell Alexander in the gallery. I am awed at how patient and understanding DDA Silverman is with these victims' family members. She often tells them how strong they are.

11:04 AM
Judge Kennedy calls for the jury. The jury enters. The first order of business is the stipulation about the priors package. Once the stipulation is over, Judge Kennedy tells the jurors, "When the parties agree to stipulate you are to regard those facts as proven.


Since the jurors know who LAPD Detective Dupree is from the guilt phase of the trial, she does not reintroduce him.

With respect to crime scenes relative to Georgia Thomas, Inez Warren and Sharon Dismuke, are you familiar with those locations given your experience in the areas?
Are you also familiar with the documentation with respect to those three homicides?
And have you sat through the testimony in this case?

Sharon Dismuke, found 1/15/1984. DR #84-13-029088
Inez Warren, found 8/15/1988. DR #88-12-28738
Georgia Thomas found 12/28/2000. DR #00-13-02969

The witness is shown the next people's exhibit. The exhibit documents how close the Barbara Ware and Georgia Thomas body dump sites were and the proximity of the crime scene locations.

What about the location that  we just heard about a few moments ago, with respect to Latanya Clark, with respect to where her sister Regenia [and Rolenia] was living. Do you see this location on this map? ... You can't see it because it's in the green circle area.
How far away [is it] from the defendant's location?
Nine city blocks.

Nothing further. No cross examination. The people have no additional witnesses at this time.

11:12 AM
Judge Kennedy addresses the jury. "Because w'ere going to have this block of several days off, and the other witness coming ... a long time ... as much as it pains me to do it, I'm going to give you a few more days off. We will be continuing on Thursday, May 26. ... Lady in red, have a good trip."

Judge Kennedy reminds the jury about their admonitions. "A ring tone on your phone, just pretend it's me [telling you], don't discuss the case, no posting and research on the Internet.  We'll be picking up again on Thursday at 9:00 AM

11:14 AM
All the jurors and alternates have left. Then Judge Kennedy adds, "Not going to see any of you hopefully until Wednesday morning. ... You [people] need to know about some of the defense witnesses or whether or not they are testifying."

They will have a 402 hearing on "Williams." The defense want to call Diana Kaiser. The people ask who she is. The defense states shes a mitigation expert. The people ask for a 402 hearing on her and the scope of her testimony in her so-called report. The people want to know if she is presenting anything the defendant [said?] in her testimony.

Judge Kennedy states, "I don't know what's in her report and who it's necessary."

The defense rolls of names he "might" call in his case. I don't get a single potential witness name correctly. However, Amster states that he's not finalized his witness list. "We've not made a decision until the people's case is over. ... The offer of proof is in the reports."

Judge Kennedy tells Amster, "Are you, will you have made up your mind by Wednesday. ... I don't what to do a 402 hearing on people that will not be called."  Amster asks about the people's remaining witnesses. The court answers that it's her understanding that the people's remaining witnesses are the woman from Germany, someone from JAG, someone from the military.

There's another individual from the military for the record and a couple victim impact witnesses left. The people feel they can finish their witnesses on Thursday.

The court asks Amster, "How long do you feel your case is going to take? ... Mr. Amster, you have the Sorenson witnesses?"  Amster is not sure they are going to call the Sorensen witnesses. The court responds, "On Wednesday, you need to tell us. ... I don't know if you have witnesses to counter."

The people are asked who the victim impact witnesses are. Diana Ware and Billy Ware and Romy Lampkin will be the final victim impact statements.

The court reminds the parties that June 1st, is Juror #9's child's graduation. And they've been so accommodating. ... Is because we've taken so long, they've been so good about all the delays we've had. The court also talks about going over jury instructions and that a special instruction needs to be crafted. Atherton states he just wants to check if the principal [language?] is in the law to see if it's already in the instruction, otherwise, they'll rely on CALJIC.  Amster states that by Tuesday noon, if they're requesting a special instruction, they will supply them to the court and email the DA.

And that's it. Wednesday at 9:00 am for evidentiary hearings. We are in recess.

Continued in Day 8, Evidentiary Hearing....

Monday, May 23, 2016

Lonnie Franklin, Jr., "Grim Sleeper," Penalty Phase, Day 6

From l-r: Lonnie Franklin, Jr., Kristen Gozawa, Seymour Amster.
Photo Credit: Al Seib, Los Angeles Times via AP

UPDATE 5/23: spelling, clarity
Prior post can be found HERE.
T&T Case coverage and Media Links HERE.

Thursday, May 19, 2016
8:54 AM
Inside Dept. 109, Judge Kathleen Kennedy's courtroom. Defense attorney Dale Atherton is at the defense table.

Judge Kennedy is at her clerk's desk. There is a conversation with her bailiff and clerk about "court shows" and which ones are scripted and which ones are not. The chat is quickly over and Deputy Sargent Westphal arrives and hangs out with the bailiff and his two assistants today.

9:01 AM
Amster arrives and then Atherton leaves with Amster for a moment. Courtroom sketch artist Bill Robles arrives. Amster leaves and then he comes back.

9:07 AM
Prosecution team arrives. DDA's Beth Silverman, Marguerite Rizzo, Paul Pzrelomiec and two of the DA's victim advocates that are assigned to this case. The old bailiff from the Kelly Soo Park trial is here. He no longer has the hair he used to have.

9:11 AM
DDA Silverman steps into the gallery to speak to her firearms expert. She then comes over to speak to the victim's families. She's always very engaging with them. The second bench row is packed with family members.

9:16 AM
The defendant is brought out.

9:19 AM
Judge Kennedy takes the bench and asks counsel if they are ready for the jury. Amster asks for a moment. "One short thing, your honor."

It's about the witness that are coming in from Germany. Amster would like the opportunity to meet with them. He knows they are coming in on Sunday. DDA Silverman responds that it's up to the victims. The prosecutor tells the court she will have contact with them hopefully on Tuesday. Amster would prefer that the victims state to the defense directly instead of going through the DA's office.

Amster asks that the court order a German interpreter, that they need a German interpreter anyway. Amster suggest that they do this Wednesday, so that if there are any issues, they can deal with it.

The court asks if they can have the witness present on Wednesday, and they will have other issues to do on Wednesday. There's a 402 hearing on Wednesday. Amster is asking the court to issue an order that the "cut off" be for Wednesday morning for all notes and reports of the people's interview with the German witness to be turned over.

DDA Silverman states that any statement that the witness makes, that is relevant, she'll turn over. DDA Silverman plans to interview her on Tuesday.

Amster has another issue, and that's of showing of any photographs of Mr. Franklin, to the German witness. He asks that they only show her a six pack, and not a single photograph. DDA Silverman answers that she wasn't going to show her a single photograph. She might not show her any photographs.

Firearms examiner Dale Rubin retakes the stand. I note that the sketch artist Bil Robles is using a small, single magnifier, almost like an opera glass to look at the witness before he sketches.

9:25 AM
The jury is brought in. Judge Kennedy greets the jury. The court comments on the "Dodger Blue' that a few jurors are wearing as well as the one juror who is wearing "a little bit of Angel Red." The jury laughs, engaging with the judge.

Rubin is back under cross examination by Amster.

31. DALE RUBIN - testimony continues

You're familiar with studies of test fired bullets from sequentially manufactured firearms?
You're aware that a test fired bullet gives you more information than an evidentiary bullet?
Test fired [bullets], the damage to them is minimal. Evidentiary bullets are not pristine. They may be damaged and you might have enough information.
Can an expended bullet not have enough information to be compared?
Your lab has standard operating procedures?
Does it define when a bullet is too damaged for comparison purposes?
I don't have the procedure manual memorized, but I do not recall that there is a specific definition in the written procedures.

There are questions about standard operating procedures and that the standards require that examiners must have a working knowledge of the standard operating procedures.

Mr. Rubin outlines the initial steps he takes in examining firearm evidence.

Prior to conducting the comparison microscopy, I look at the evidence under a stereo microscope. If I don't see any tool marks on the bullet or fragment, then I know it is completely unsuitable for this type of examination. If there is any tool mark on the bearing surface, then I proceed to the next step and proceed to the comparison microscopy.

Are there any objective standards?
If there is a tool mark present, then the comparison is conducted.
Is it suitable or not suitable?
If there is a tool mark then it is suitable. If there isn't a tool mark, then it isn't suitable.

Can they [examiners] disagree as far as to the damage to the bullet ... and should not be used for comparison purposes?
Rubin repeats his previous answer again.
And the amount or extend of the damage will limit the amount of tool marks present? ... If the bullet is damaged can you... Can there be a situation where, ... bullets from two different weapons can be matched to the same weapon?
I believe I've explained that already.

I'm surprised. Jurors are covering their mouths. Some are smiling. They might be laughing.

Rubin created a bullet worksheet. He also explains about the department's internal management numbering system. There are more questions about the bullets and now a question about a micro photograph he took of a single bullet.

Rubin's answers are technical, measured, and leave no room for wavering or misunderstanding.

What is the purpose of the measuring?
So I can collect data.

"Really?" Amster replies. "Your honor, can we approach?" Amster appears animated at the side bar. The jurors are intensely watching counsel at the side bar with the court. I believe I hear that Amster is asking that the court have the jury step inside the jury room. Amster appears upset.

The court addresses the gallery. "Yesterday, I admonished the audience to please not make any audible responses. I don't know if the people yesterday are the same people today, but I know this has been a long trial and a long time getting to this point. It's a long time for all of us. Everyone is under stress and strain, but it is not acceptable to make audible comments with regards to the questions that are being asked or the answers that are being given by the witness."

Judge Kennedy continues.

"The attorney did indicate he did hear something. Yesterday, another attorney said he heard something from your folks [unclear who Judge Kennedy is addressing here]. What we're having the jury do is letting them make their decision. ... By comments, faces made, or sighs, or anything from you folks in the audience. What you're risking by that is one having to exclude you and I know you want to be here and you want to show support. ... But I cannot have that kind of conduct. If that's going to happen I'll ask you to leave. You risk having a mistrial in this case. ... Someone will claim later of not having to be a fair trial because of the conduct of the gallery. ... Wouldn't that be horrible if we go through all this and the long time and to have the trial reversed by conduct in the gallery? ... There's not much more. We're [all] having to get through it ... Is that agreeable to all of you?"

Amster tells the court that he would like to voir dire individually the jurors. The court denies that request. Amster then makes a motion for a mistrial. He argues, "These individuals have disrupted the proceedings and I feel it's still going to happen and will continue to disrupt [the trial]."

The court responds, "I did not hear any comments. Ms. Silverman did not hear any comments. ... Maybe they only heard, 'Oh my God.' And that does not rise to that level.

DDA Silverman asks the court, "Could counsel address the court and not the gallery?" Amster responds that he's having his death penalty investigator take notes so he can file a writ.

9:49 AM
The jury is brought back in and Amster starts his questioning again.

Amster goes over with the witness where it's documented in his notes the measurements he's taken of the lands and grooves.  Amster states his question as fact, that the only information regarding the bullet 13B was the worksheet for land and grooves impressions. Rubin states that there is always a possibility of evidentiary bullets being altered during an examination.

That means, that any examiner that examines your work there after, could be looking at a piece of evidence with more tool marks?
Correct. ... When an artifact is introduced onto a piece of evidence ... that procedure is documented in the notes and a qualified examiner would be able to identify that.
So that could also alter the ability to see the impression on that bullet?
In the universe of extreme possibilities, then yes.
After you were done examining the evidence, you had someone examine it to verify ... and it's potentially that person examined it after ... ?
In the context of what we've been discussing, yes.
So people going back wouldn't be able to [duplicate? or see what you saw?]?
As you stated in such an extreme case, yeah.

So, operating the way you're doing, we have no guarantee that your work is reproducible?
I would disagree with that statement. Wholeheartedly. ... As I stated, it's only in extreme cases where an artifact would be introduced. ... A qualified examiner would take great care, not to modify the [useable? readable?] tool marks on this evidence. ... After the evidence fragment is finished being handled and manipulated, it is examined using the comparison microscopy. So, no need to further introduce [any more marks, or handling]. The comparison microscope, the microscopy is completely non-destructive.

There are questions about whether the analysts handle multiple cases at once.

Often times when a case is started, it gets to a certain stopping point and needs to stop for the technician, or other cases become a priority. The open case is sealed before another case is opened so there is no [contamination]. When I do the actual lab work there is only one case open at a time.

Is it your opinion that human error could not occur and use calipers [miss rest of question]?
Objection.Vague. [Miss ruling.]
An individual could alter a tool mark because they were working on one case and not another? ... You don't feel it's a good scientific practice or [safer?] to take photographs that everything you saw ... is reproducible for another analyst?
Objection. Assumes facts not in evidence. [Over ruled.]
I will say that I do not feel it is necessary.
You feel it is not necessary because the other analysts in your lab cannot alter evidence?
Objection. Argumentative. [Sustained.]
Are you even aware of an error being made in your laboratory?
Objection! The court states they need to hear the entire question first.
Are you even aware of being aware of [any] analyst making an error in your lab?
Objection. Irrelevant. [I believe this question is sustained.]
Amster asks to go to side bar before he asks his next question.

Amster tries to get in question after question about potential errors that could have been made in the lab and if the lab has ever made an error before.

Objection. Sustained.  Juror #2 shakes her head. Jurors smile and look at each other. This time, it's a long side bar. Jurors intently watch counsel at the side bar.

Amster is back to asking questions about the worksheet for bullet 13A, and measuring grove impressions. Amster states that the witness didn't take a micro photograph to reflect the entire area he measured. Rubin states, "That's correct."

I note that very few jurors are taking notes.

Do you remember if you looked at a portion of the bullet that was not part of the groove impression that you measured?
I looked at the entire bullet, including the ... I describe how I measured the width. [Rubin faces the jury when he answers.] And to be clear, I used a similar technique to measure the groove impression. I only measure one slit for the tool mark identification. I look at the entire bearing surface of the bullet.
So the entire bearing surface was not measured?

Rubin states that he doesn't need the entire tool mark, to render an opinion. He then gives an analogy example and adds, "That's why it's an analogy and not a complete illustration of tool mark examiners."

Do you think different too mark examiners could ... ?
No. I feel that a qualified examiner will come to the same conclusion.
What of an examiner that uses the CMS method?
Objection. Sustained.
So you feel that, no matter what, generally ... ?
If they are indeed a qualified tool mark examiner, it is my opinion they will come to the same conclusion.

When you render the opinion that all tool mark examiners ... are [they?] only using the same methodology that you use, or that only... ?
I am not the one qualifying the examiners. That's up to the agencies and the courts [whether] they testify in or not.

Amster is asking questions about every item listed in the examiner's worksheet.

You used the term reproducibility yesterday. What does that mean?
Reproducibility. That a tool mark will repeat or reproduce from one exemplar to another.  ... That tool mark reproduces from one tool mark to the next.

More than one juror is covering their mouths with their shirt or jacket during this cross.

Amster keeps asking how the witness "remembers' the number of reproducible marks. Rubin states he is comparing them visually and seeing, in that moment in time, the marks were reproducible.

Did you inspect inside the barrel of item #721?
Why do you inspect inside the barrel?

Rubin explains what class marks are and what are sub class marks. Rubin explains how different class marks are identified.

You said sub class marks could exist on several barrels that were manufactured by the same manufacturer. On item 624, you did not look at other marks and models of those firearms to see if those same reproducible marks?
So each of the reproducible marks, you believe were unique marks?
That are unique to that barrel, yes.

The court calls the morning break.

10:55 AM
We are back on the record. The jury files in. Another exhibit is put up on the ELMO.

[The jury has heard firearms examination evidence ad nauseam. They heard it in the trial itself from defense and prosecution witnesses and now they are hearing basically the same information all over again.]

Amster now wants the witness to look at micro photographs and identify specific aspects of the photo, the number of lines, etc., that he was able to match to another bullet or firearm. Rubin replies that the problem is, a photograph does not document the comparison. It only documents the work that was performed.

[Dr. Hamby testified that the human brain and eye, in conjunction with a comparison microscope is still superior to a computer program trying to make a tool mark comparison between bullets and firearms. It's a low cost, tried and true method that has worked for as long as comparison microscopes have been in use. A two dimensional photograph, cannot be used to show comparison work because it does not give dimensional information to what was seen with the eye, using a comparison microscope.]

Amster now moves onto the Sharon Dismuke evidence. I don't see a single juror taking a note. I see several crossed arms, yawns and mouths being covered. Now Amster is asking about the detailed information in the examiner's notes.

Amster asks about NIBIN, an imaging system. There are several parts to it so there are several names and initials. Rubin verifies he has access to this system. Bullets are uploaded to this system, but Rubin cautions, not just any bullets. The system is limited to 38 special and 38 magnum bullets.

Are there any systems that you are aware of that would allow you to upload 25 caliber bullets?
I don't know the limits [of these imaging systems].
Were any of the firearms you examined, were they 38 caliber?
Did you upload any of those firearms to see in those systems?
I don't recall. I'd have to go back to look at the lab.
Why do we have NIBIN in the first place and why do we use it?
NIBIN, in general, a fired ammunition component is photo micro graphed, taken of the tool mark and that image is digitized beyond the scope of my expertise, and this evidence and test fired exemplars [that is entered]. ... When an item is entered into the system, the system searches the data it has to see if there are similarities, to see if one case is related to another case. ... It's a screening tool that labs use to aid investigators.

Another question about .38 caliber evidence updated to the system. Objection, irrelevant. Sustained.

Another micro photograph is presented.

You used test fired bullets to compare to coroner evidence/
This photograph, does it help you, does it refresh your memory in any way ... ?
Again, [Rubin turns to face the jury] as I've said to the other two photos, they show areas that were representative of the tool marks. By the way it's reproduced I cannot say significantly what is a comparison.
Do you see any dissimilarity?
Again, that photograph is ... The photographs themselves don't show everything, and that's all I can say.
And you don't have any other notes that document reproducible marks to show how you came to your conclusion?

Another micro photograph the witness took during his examination. The witness is asked to tell us what the exhibit is.

That is a photo micrograph showing the left side bullet, 18B on the right is the test fired pistol [721?] showing the land engraving.
And you don't have any other notes that would reflect your observation as to what you saw in the pattern?
A specific portion of the tool mark, no.
Does your standard operating procedure say anything about what you are allowed to photo and digitize in your lab as far as expended ammunition?

Judge Kennedy steps in and asks her own question.

You don't use the photos for comparison, it's only used for note taking?
It came out strongly in our training not to use photographs for comparison.

I believe Amster asks the last question.
Did your training address using digitized photographs to make comparisons?
No, never.

The witness explains this [micro photographs] goes back to when they used film to document their work. Amster's cross is finished.

DDA Silverman redirects her witness.

With respect to the marks that you noted on 13A. You told us there was a marking, a WM. Does that stand for another firearm examiner, William Moore?
And RKM, does that refer to Richard Maruka [sp?]?
He's retired, but he did work in our laboratory.
The markings that you noted that were consistent to firearms examiners who worked in your office?

The redirect is finished. Smiling, Judge Kennedy addresses the witness. "Thank you Mr. Rubin. I think you can go." The jury laughs at that and Rubin thanks the jury.

The people call their next witness, Sherry Costa. She's sworn in. As soon as she takes the stand, Amster requests a side bar. I can hear snatches of the conversation at the side bar. Towards the end of the side bar, a note has come from the jury to the court right after the side bar. It appears that Mr. Amster is addressing his questions to the jury instead of to the witness. I also hear, "We the jury appear to be...."

Judge Kennedy retakes the bench. She apologizes to the witness and excuses her until 1:30 pm.

The following italicized text was already reported in this post on May 19. Sprocket.

The court states, "We have an issue we have to take up. ... I have a note in my hand. It's written by Alternate #3."

Judge Kennedy reads the note. [I do not have the entire text of the note verbatim. I will try to obtain it. Sprocket]

Good morning. Today we have noted [the defense attorney] is physically directing his questions to us the jury and not the witness. We have come to the consensus his actions have made us feel uncomfortable and threatened.

This does not affect what the jury is here to do and listen to all the evidence.

P.S. We can still be fair.

The court inquires with Alternate #3. The jury tells the court it was a combined effort. Alternate #3 was chosen because she has the best handwriting. Then Juror #8 speaks for the group.

Judge Kennedy asks, "You and the jurors feel threatened by the way the defense attorney [is communicating?]

Juror #8 answers the court:
It’s more or less the questions are directed [at us], it's the body language, [eye contact], its physically directed toward us and not specifically ... [to the witness]... He’s done this [with other witnesses throughout the trial].

The jurors are looking down rather than look up and its uncomfortable to [us] that rather then the questions [directed at us, he] should be looking at the witness.

Judge Kennedy asks another question. "And so you feel uncomfortable and some of the jurors feel uncomfortable ... and some of the jurors are nodding their own heads, yes."

Judge Kennedy continues. "Some attorneys have their own style and manner of communicating.
I do know that Mr. Amster has no hostility toward you. ... I’m concerned that you might not be able to render a fair verdict towards Mr. Franklin."

Juror #8 responds, "Not at all. We are here for a reason and we are all here for a reason. We are asking that he modifiy his behavior so that we do not feel uncomfortable doing our job."

The court inquires, "Do you feel that you would be unfair?

[I miss the answer but I believe the juror answers that they can be fair."

The court and counsel then go back to side bar. After the sidebar, the court excuses the jurors to an early lunch. After the jury has left, the court has counsel discuss in open court.

Defense attorney Amster starts off.
Our problem with Ms. Silverman ... at side bar, she point at the jury. She continually interrupts me in the middle of a question. We have tried to control ourselves but we are human and we have emotions and it's gotten to this point, unfortunately. ... What we have done has not [influenced?] this jury. If my conduct is unprofessional then [make a complaint to?] the state bar. ... It's about the defendant's rights. ... If there is something that I've done, that the jury is no longer impartial...

Amster suggests he write out a letter of apology for the court to read and we move on.

Judge Kennedy replies, "But as I said at side bar, I think that this is an advantage that this has been communicated to you because most times you wouldn't get this information. They are indicating to you that they feel uncomfortable by how you're asking questions and it's distracting them from paying attention to the evidence. ... They've also indicate that, that they want to listen to the evidence and the don't want to be distracted. ... So they could have just kept to themselves and continued to be more and more unhappy if the way that you're asking questions continued.  ... So write something during the lunch hour and see what it says. And if it’s appropriate, I’ll read it on your behalf and well move forward.

Amster counters that it is the defense position that this is something that they [the jurors] should have communicated to the court and not each other.  Amster then misspeaks and says, "Seeing that we brought this to the jury..." He's quickly corrected by the court and he apologizes.

He continues. "Seeing that the jury brought this to us. ... Being that we have a heightened sensitivity to this issue. I have to have a heightened sensitivity on this issue, ... this will give the prosecution an unfair advantage if they continue to interrupt us."

The court has a theory and a suggestion. "I will suggest, I'm, maybe ... before you were questioning from the lectern, and now you're not. If you're at the lectern, and you're looking straight on at the witness box, maybe that would ameliorate that to some degree."

Amster counters,  "The way this court is set up, I hear so many snide remarks, I'm tired of it."

Amster and the court go back and forth about the snide comments that he hears and that sometimes it's difficult to get to the lectern because the legs are stretched out. The court tells Amster that she's brought it up and made admonishments. Amster states that it's continually happening.

DDA Silverman offers to move her staff to behind the front rows. The court tells the people they don't have to do that. Judge Kennedy states it's just his [Amster's] field of vision.

And that's where it was left when the court breaks for lunch at about 11:55 am.

At 1:30 pm, Amster prepared a statement but the people objected to his statement being read to the jury.  DDA Silverman argued the statement would be tantamount to the defense attorney, testifying to the jurors. Judge Kennedy compromises and states she will read something to the jurors, which she did.

1:39 PM
On the record. The jury is present. Judge Kennedy speaks to the jury. "I have spoken with counsel. Mr. Amster wanted me to let you know he does apologize for creating any discomfort on any part of the jury, and he is going to question all the witnesses  by looking directly at them and not at you. ... I want to remind you that anything the lawyers do, defense or prosecutor, you're not to let what they do per se, affect your decision and your job. And like you wrote in your note, it's to base your decision on the evidence, or not with anything that I may do. ... And thank you for bringing it to our attention."

The next witness is Sherry Costa


Do you know someone named Barbara Ware?
She's my niece.
Who's the relationship [where does it fall?]?
She's my brother's daughter.
Now, did you grow up living close by?
Yes. ... I was living in Kansas and she would come to visit the grandparents. And we would see each other. They were in California and I was in Kansas. ... Later, I moved then to California in 1979.

The witness was an adult and Barbara was almost an adult as well.

Did you call her Barbara Beth Ware?
Her nickname was Beth.

Since Beth was the name Barbara was usually called, DDA Rizzo switches to that name.

When you relocated to California, where were you?
I was here in Los Angeles. .. I moved out with my brother and sister-in-law and I stayed with them for a short while. ... I got to know her for a short time.
Were you close?
We were close ... we were close. ... She eventually came and lived with me for a short while. ... We celebrated holidays, birthdays. We had a good time together.

Their age difference was about 20 years.

Would you do things together with Beth?
Yeah. A lot of times she had her daughter and I had my children. ... She babysat for me while I worked.

A cell phone goes off in the gallery. It's the witness's phone, in her purse she left with her friend in the gallery. The courtroom laughs.

You said that Beth lived with you for a while, is that right?

This was after the witness moved out of her brother's home and into her own apartment.

She had children of her own then.
And Beth came to live with you at that time?
She was, um, maybe in her 20's.
And she brought her daughter? ... What's her daughter's name?
And she was very young when she lived with you?
Yeah. It was fun and we had the good times. My children were young and we celebrated a lot of birthdays together.

What was she like?
Well, she, ... she was a happy person. She loved to laugh. She was a good spirited person. And she trusted people.
Do you think that was a fault of hers in some way?
I couldn't say it was a fault, no.
Too trusting?
Yes. Too trusting. .. I never ever heard her put anyone down. I never heard that from her, no. ... She was always so good about people. She was a fun loving person. She was about life.

The witness is asked about some of the things that Beth liked to do.

She loved to roller skate. I loved to roller skate.
The old fashioned kind?
Yes. We used to go to the roller rink. ... Rolling wheels.
Was she a good roller skater?
Yes, but I was better.

The courtroom laughs.

What about your children and Beth's daughters. Did they all get together to celebrate holidays?
We celebrated as a family.
Who do you say was the person that was the closest person to Beth?
Maybe her sister.
When Beth was living with you, did she talk to you about what she wanted to do with her life, her hopes and dreams?
I talked to her about improving herself. She went to night school. She got her certificate.
So she wanted to do better?
She would take care of my children during the day and go to school at night.
Then when she went to school at night, you took care of her daughters?
Yes. ... It worked out.
So the whole family supported each other and made their life better?

How did you hear about Beth's death.
I think my brother gave me a phone call. ... It was hard to believe. I didn't understand why. ... We didn't know what happened to her.
At some point did you find out what happened to her?
Quite a few years later. I thought that they had found out what had happened to her, but in the long time, we never knew.
But eventually, you found out?

My brother and his wife planned the funeral.
You went to the funeral?
What do you remember about that day?
It was a sad day. Sad day.
Did it seem surreal to attend the funeral of your young niece, ... especially when you didn't know what had happened?

She goes to the cemetery now every memorial day to remember her and her brother, who passed away. Her birthday is in January.

What about the holidays? Does you family still get together to celebrate holidays?
The holidays, yes. ... As far as my other family, we put their names on balloons and release the balloons. ... So that they are not forgotten.
Do you do that once a year?
Usually on Memorial Day.

She shows the witness some photos.

When you went roller skating, did you wear outfits?
No, I didn't.

Photos of Barbara Bethune Ware is presented. She's beautiful.

That's Beth. Barbara.
Do you know when that photo was taken? ... It looks like she was in her early 20's?
She may have been, yes.

Another photo, exhibit 420 a and b. Both are of Beth. One is of Beth with rollers in her hair. The other, she was at her aunt's house.  This was when she was living with the witness, and getting ready, starting her day with her rollers in her hair.

More photos of Beth with family, her father Clifford Ware, back in Wichita, Kansas. This was when Beth was out visiting. Another group photo with Sherry's daughter Angela, Barbara in the middle and Barbara's daughter in front of her. Sherry's niece Treva and Treva's daughter in front of her. It was taken on a Mother's day. All the daughters played together and got along.

Another photo of the little ones. Her daughter Angela, Naomi, Tia and her nephew Shawn. Another photo of Beth with Naomi and Angela. In this photo, they were at Chuck E. Cheese. It was somebody's birthday party.

More photos. These are of Beth when she had taken a class at Crenshaw High School and she had gotten her certificate. The photo shows Beth's teachers at the ceremony. This was the certificate that she went to school at night to obtain.  A photo of Beth with her certificate.

Was she proud of her accomplishment?
Yes. And we were proud of her.

Another group photo of Beth with her classmates. The next photo is of the funeral program and Beth's obituary. The funeral was at Harrison Ross Mortuary, View Park Chapel. You can see in the obituary, all the many names of the people that Beth left behind. She's buried in Inglewood cemetery. A photo of her marker stone. It says Barbara Bethune Ware. January 8, 1964 - January 10, 1987. She was 23.

When you do go there, what do you do?
We go and we usually clean off the graves, and a lot of times we let off balloons. And we make sure the grave site is clean and we lay flowers.
Do you talk to her?
No. ...It's still hard.
Still hard?
Do you think about her?
Yes I do.
How often?
Not as often as I used to. ... Something can come across my mind and I will think about her.

What do you miss about her?
Her laughter. She was silly.
And everyone around her [enjoyed her?] laughter?
When was the last time you saw her?
New Years Eve, before she passed away.
And she was murdered a couple of days into January?
What do you remember about that New Years Eve?
We were all together as family at my brother's house.
Do you remember anything special about that New Years Eve?
Not right off hand. ... It's been a while.

No cross examination.

The people call Treva Anderson.


Do you know someone named Barbara Ware?
Yes. That's my sister.
You called her Beth?
Would you like me to refer to her as Beth?
That's fine.
How old were you at the time of her death?
I'm not sure.
What's the age difference?
We were seven years apart. ... So I was about 30.
Did you grow up with Beth?
No. I was born and raised in Wichita Kansas. ... I believe she was born in Los Angeles.

We didn't refer to each other as half sisters.
Did you have other brothers and sisters?  And she had other brothers and sisters?
I only know Billy. ... I think he's younger. No, he's older.

So you were in Wichita Kansas growing up and Beth was out here. At some point did you make your way west?
Yes. I moved to San Diego in '78, and I got to know Beth a lot better. ... We saw each other a lot. We came down every other weekend, and lots of relatives were down here all the time. ... And Beth and us were really close.

Describe the relationship for us.
We didn't know each other growing up. We'd only met a couple of times. ... Once I moved to San Diego, I really got to know her. Every time we [met] I got to hang out at the furniture store. We would come up for the holidays ... and just for, to come up. ... And a lot of catching up too.  And our kids were kind of growing up together.
Once you and Beth got to hang out together, did you feel as though you knew her for a long time?
I felt like an older sister and she used to ask me for advice. So I'm used to playing that role and she fit right in.
What kinds of things would she ask you about?
Working, raising kids, just general every day stuff.
Did she have her daughter by the time you moved to California?
I'm not sure if Naomi was born [yet]. I remember her from an infant.

All of their kids got to know each other and play together.

What were some of the things you would do together when she came out on the weekends?
Hang out at our aunts house, barbecue, go to the movies and hang out.
[Did you go roller skating?]
I wasn't aware of the skating. ... There was a little competition between her and Aunt Sherry.
Did Beth talk to you about what she wanted for her future life?
Not really. We didn't have those kinds of talks. It was always about fun. [She was] funny, a joker.

Is there something you remember about her, the way she laughed?
She, every time I came up here, she always tried to hit me up for something. ... We had an ongoing [joke?] about that. Money, cigarettes, something. She really didn't need it but she just wanted to get it from me.

They didn't share clothes. Beth didn't like her style.

Who was the closest person to her?
Her brother?
How is it you learned about Barbara's death?
My father called me, and we had just been here for New Years. Beth and I had run out to the store to get ... she wanted some cigarettes and we were trying to make it back before midnight. And it was raining. We were running for the car and we were just giggling like little girls.

She stops for a moment and rubs her eyes.

And then my father called me and told me she was dead. ... And it was 10 days since I'd seen her. And it was so hard. We had just seen her. It was two days after her 23 birthday. It was the worst thing that could ever happen. ... It hurt my father really bad. ... He probably didn't recover from it.
That was his baby?
He wasn't the same after that. That was his baby.
How was the rest of the family?
We got over it, because we have a close knit family. Every birthday, every holiday, we still do everything together.

What about New Years Eve? Do you think about that wonderful New Years Eve that you had together?
That was one of the days that sticks out to me. ... We don't celebrate [that] anymore. ... My father isn't here.

Did you help plan the funeral?
No, but I went to the funeral.
What was that like?
It was terrible. It was the first time I'd ever seen my father cry.
That was a hard thing to see?
He was my protector.
Do you go to the cemetery?
Every year and on Memorial day.
I'm the one that does all the cleaning and digging in the dirt. We have a lot of people there that we go visit and put flowers there. ... Billy has never been to her grave and that's what he wants to do.

I'm going to show you some photos, okay?
Exhibit 468, a photo of Barbara.
That looks like a photo her father had down at the store. He had a photo of all three girls on his desk.

The next photo is of Bill, her grandfather and Beth. This was probably one of the times they were in Wichita.  Next is a photo of the memorial program. She doesn't remember when the photo on the program was taken. The obituary, and all the people named in the obituary that were left to mourn her, after she was killed.

You indicated that one of the last times was that New Years Eve, right before she was murdered.
If you knew it was going to be the last time you were going to see her, what would you say to her?
That I loved her. she knew I loved her and I probably did tell her that. ... I don't know. ... That kind of stuff that happens, I guess I would have told her to be safe.

No cross examination. DDA Silverman calls her next witness, Dr. Vivian Williams.


Tell us who you know by the name of Georgia Thomas?
She's my younger sister.
What was the age difference?
Two years.
Who was older?
Were there any other kids in your family?
There were a total of six of us.

How many other sisters other than Georgia?
Two sisters and two brothers.
Are you the oldest of the children? ... Georgia was the second oldest?
Did you share a close relationship?
Did you know where she was living at the time of her death?
I think it was on near Martin Luther King Blvd. ... I sure knew how to get there.
Was it also near Western?
Where were you living?
In Gardena, on Manhattan Place.
Where Georgia was living at the time, ... is that all in the South Los Angeles area?
Yes. ... She was basically between there and my mom's house.
She would go back and forth?
Yes. Mom lived on West 57th.

How is it you learned about your sister's death?
Detective Greg McKnight called. ... He went to my mom's house.
And he called you from there?
He called you on the phone?
Yes. ... He was at my mom's house [which also was?] my younger sister's house. ... My mom had since passed away, and my younger sister [Kathy?] was there and she was so distraught. ... So he called me.
How old was she?
She was older than 20. She was in her mid 20's.
So you spoke with [Detective] McKnight on the phone?
He told me that they had found Georgia. ... First he asked me if I knew her. ... And I wanted to know why and he said they had found her. I said, Why are you asking me that. I know her. ... He said they found her and that she had been found murdered.

What did you think to yourself?
I first thing that I thought is, I need to get to my sister. ... Let me get to her. ... I told her I'm on my way and I rushed out of the house to get to where my sister was. When I got there, she was on the floor. She was a mess. She couldn't tell me anything, really.

Was Detective McKnight still there?
No, but the neighbors were there and he left his business card.
Did you keep in touch with Detective McKnight [over the years].
That's my brother from another mother. ... I contact him on his birthday, every holiday, his son going to collage.
So ... Detective McKnight has become a member of your family. ... So he is someone over the years, that has been there as a shoulder to lean on as you've been waiting all these years for your sister's killer to be apprehended?
[Yes.] This was the first time [in court] I'd met him.

Did your sister have any children?
She had one son who was murdered in September '93.
September of 1993?

Did you and Georgia have a close relationship with your mother as well?
And you mentioned she lived with her mother as an adult?
I was always fussin' with her, You have to be an adult and [can't] be in and out of mom's house.
Did your mom also die?
February 21, 1993 mom passed away. ... She won her battle with cancer.

Who went to the coroner's? Did your mother or did you do that?
Mom was already gone. Actually I identified Georgia's body.
What was that like?
It was hard, but it was my responsibility as the older sibling. ... We didn't have parents [with us]. Our father lived in Arkansas.
Who planned the funeral and all of that?
It was me.
How did you go about doing that? You had your own family and your siblings and you were the oldest child so you felt that you were responsible for acting like a mother?
What was that like?
As my aunt and uncle told me, it was my responsibility to do what I could and handle it. ... So I had to take care of it.
Was that a difficult day?
It has been the hardest. I found my mother's was the hardest.
But your sister's was less difficult?
After mom, I still had my family, but when Georgia was murdered, I lost my family.

It's difficult to lose a family member under any condition, right?
Does it make a difference losing someone when they pass away from age or illness, or say when you know they die a violent death?
My experience has been, the answer to that question would be yes.
What's the difference? ... When you think back with your mother, do you tend to focus on that span of time and that relationship you had all those years?
With my mother, I get to think about the fact that she's not suffering any longer. That's the [time?]. And right now, to be totally honest, I'm really glad shes not here. ... I wouldn't want her to go through this. I think this would put her in the grave. And I would not want to push her in a crypt, to push her in a crypt because of this. I'd rather cancer put her there, than this.

So you think this would have destroyed her?
I do.
Has it been difficult for you?
Did you at some point, give up hope that your sister's murder would ever be solved? ... What was that like, knowing she died in a violent manner and not being able to have any sense of closure?
It was hard. It was very difficult because I always felt that, in my mind, I always felt that I was unable to protect her. I always felt that I had two other sisters and a daughter and there's this crazy person out there. I don't know where they are and if they might come back. I never stopped to think about well, girl they know who you are. I alwasy thought they would know who they are. I always worried about my other sisters and daughter.
That feeling, that not knowing who, you were scared?
What has been the impact on you or changed the way you see things, or maybe treat your own child?
Smothering. I ... [she pauses] I [denied?' allowing her to travel with her friends. I found reasons that I would take yer. Her friends went on a trip around the world together. I wouldn't allow her to go so I quit my job and I took her. And I feel bad about that, but I chose to find a reason so I could protect her because I was so afraid that this crazy person was out ther and I couldn't be out there to protect her.

So you feel guilty that you were not able to save your sister?
I do.
So you are very cautious even with your daughter, even though she's an adult?
I talk to her about what happened. She knows.
And she's been a source of comfort to you, even though you lost your sister? ... Has she been able ot provide you with a sense of of comfort?
She has. She tries to talk to me. She says, well mamma, it's not your fault. You shouldn't feel guilty. I try to appease her.

Are there times of the year where you think about your sister more than others?
What tie of the year is that?
Around birthday time because that was my birthday vacation that I spent preparing her funeral.
And her birthday time?
August 30.
Her birthday was August 30? Of what year?

The following notes were previously posted in a condensed form.

Years ago, did you ever take your sister to visit a friend [of hers] who lived on 81st Street?
And where was that, do you remember on 81st?
Just off Western.
Do you remember what the house looked like?
I don't but I used to tease her that it looked like a "cookie house."
Like a gingerbread house?
How many times do you think you took your sister and dropped her off at her friends, just off Western?
Maybe eight, ten times.
And when you dropped her off there, did you ever seen your sister's friend?
Where did you see her friend?
At the gate. ... Her friend would open the gate to let her in, because we would never leave until I saw someone let her in. ... And they would wave to me. Her friend would wave to me.

Was it a female or a male?
It was a man. ... A black man.
Did your sister ever tell you your friend's name?
What did she tell you?

When you would drop your sister off there, did you drop her off near the time of her birthday?
It was at different times.
Did you drop her off there at different [times?]?
Did she tell you about [the birthdays?]?
That they had dual parties. That they celebrated the birthday. Their birthdays were the same dates.
Your sister was born in 1957?
I'd like to show you some photographs.

Exhibits 601 to 610 and 644, 645. Exhibit 610 is put up.

That's Georgia Mae.
Do you know what age she was?
I don't know. She was in her 30's.

Another photo she identifies as Georgia. Another photo that Vivian states looks like her sister was at a bar. Then another photo with Georgia and her son Ricky [sp?].

And you said he was murdered at what age?
I think 18.

Another photo with Georgia at Vivian's house. She identifies the people in the photo. Georgia and my daughter Anesha [sp?], when she was 2.  Another photo with Georgia and their mother, before their mother passed away. Another family photo with a cousin, Vivian's daughter and Georgia. More photos, this time with Georgia and young children at their mother's house. The photos keep coming of Georgia with various family members.  Another photo of Georgia, at a barbecue at their uncle's place. She points out all the people in the group. And another photo of Georgia and her son Ricky when he was a little boy. Another photo, of her funeral program, and then a tribute that Vivian wrote for her sister that was inside the program.

What kind of sister was Georgia?
She was fun. She was too trusting.
She thought everybody was her friend?
Everybody she knew was her friend.
Do you remember what kind of things were her favorite things to do ... ?
She wanted to dance, and she knew I couldn't dance. ... She loved to dance and she loved to cook.
Was she a good cook?
What would you say, during her adult life, what was the greatest joy that you would say that she had? ... Was that her son?
Did the two of them have a close relationship?
I thought she was going to die when Ricky was murdered. She couldn't do anything. She couldn't help me do nothing.
Eventually she was able to pull herself together. ... How long before she was murdered before she got her life back together?
Her brain started coming around because she said her house was boring.
Eventually, did she get her life together and start doing things again?
Yes. ... She started going back around her friends and stuff and doing her own thing.

What is it that you would say you miss the most about Georgia?
Her laughter. Her phone calls, her prank calls. I really miss that.
Has being here during many days of the trial and listening to the evidence and seeing the evidence, has that provided you with some answers all these years?
Yes, it has helped a lot.

2:45 PM
Nothing further. Defense attorney Amster asks for a side bar. It's longer than usual.

Amster will cross the witness. This is the first family member to undergo cross examination.

You say that you used to take your sister over to a house.
Yes I did.
How many times did you do this?
I don't know the exact number. Maybe eight to ten times, maybe. ... It was normally on a Sunday evening. ... Usually it would be on a Sunday evening. They would go dancing.
Was this for a period of two or three months?
No. It was longer than that.
About six months?
I don't think so. I don't know exactly.

The last time ... You say that you would drop her off at the house and you would see a man come out?
Did you see him make eye contact?
Yes, as a matter of fact. He would wave at me.

The witness makes a waving gesture with her right hand.

At some point, you were notified about her death?
How much time had elapsed ... and she was notified about her death and the last time you dropped your sister off at this location?
I don't remember that.

The witness shakes her head as she answers the last question.

You were contacted by the police about the death of your sister, yes?
Did you ever tell the police about [this friend]?
I didn't think it was necessary. No. Wait. I mentioned it in an interview. ... I mentioned it to ... I did mention. I mentioned it to Detective McKnight.

Do you [know] ... did he ever show you any pictured of the house [to you?]?
Did you ever go with him on this street and [show him] this house that you used to drop your sister off at?
When you said you mentioned it to Detective McKnight, was that after an arrest or was that before?
Way before.
When you would drop your sister off, would you only see one adult or more?
I saw a person and it was the same person every time.

Did she ever make any statement that there was violence [related to this person? location?]?
Did she ever say anything to you about this person that led you to believe it was a bad relationship?
Can you estimate in any way, the time period between when you last dropped your sister off at this house, and the date you learned about your sister's death?
Sir, again, I don't remember the dates.
Do you think it was months, years or weeks ...?
I don't recall. If you want to know abut the relationship, she told me it was her boyfriend.

The court interrupts and asks, "Mam, you have to wait for another question."

3:10 PM
Amster is finished with his cross examination. A juror has a medical appointment so they are ordered back at 9:00 am tomorrow. She wishes the jury a wonderful evening. "Even the lady wearing red, I wish you a wonderful evening." The jury laughs, and the court thanks them.

All the jurors have left. The court asks the people what witnesses they are calling for Friday morning.

DDA Silverman responds, Ms. Clark, John Hernandez [sp?] Jeff Deacon, unless the defense wants to stipulate to the prints. Amster states he cannot stipulate to the prints. He will stipulate to the priors package that was him. Amster states he will have Mr. Atherton work on that, and then he laughs and laughs.

DDA Silverman mentions about Amster stipulating to the priors package, and then states she will call Detective Dupree and that testimony will be brief. The Friday session will be short. The court asks if there's anyone else that they can fit into Friday. DDA Silverman mentions one witness but the rest are out of town witnesses. There's a bit of housekeeping in getting an exhibit marked, the witness that will be called again are mentioned and that's it.

Continued in Part 7.......