Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bailiff’s Christmas Message – A Final Swipe at Harper and Power

Well, the Bailiff has done it again! In his typical ‘Jersey way’ of spin, William Bailhache publicly denounces the media and the child abuse scandal investigation.

This is the last time that I shall have the privilege, as Bailiff, of writing a Christmas message for readers of the JEP.

Retirement looms, although I hope that it will not involve a complete withdrawal from public life. Looking back over the last 12 months, it has been in some respects an annus horribilis for Jersey or, in plain English, a bad year.

The national and international media fastened upon some injudicious statements from the police in relation to their investigation into historic child abuse, and the Island was subjected to a torrent of wild and extravagant reports which most of us knew in our hearts to be untrue. A more sober assessment of the truth is now beginning to emerge.

All abuse of children is a shocking breach of trust, and we can but hope that any past wrongdoing will be exposed and appropriately punished. The extreme criticisms of Jersey have, however, been shown to be without foundation.

Sorry Billy, that drivel doesn’t pass muster!

…and the Island was subjected to a torrent of wild and extravagant reports which most of us knew in our hearts to be untrue.

Most of us knew in our hearts to be untrue? Is that you, your brother, Frank Walker, and the other clowns in the good, old boys club? A lot of people out here have a much different opinion.

A more sober assessment of the truth is now beginning to emerge.

Not by a long shot. Warcup, Gradwell and Lewis proved nothing with their shameful presser. Makes one wonder how may spin doctors are employed by the States of Jersey and how many conspiracy theories they can dream up.

…we can but hope that any past wrongdoing will be exposed and appropriately punished.

Not as long as the current legal system in Jersey is allowed to obstruct and interfere. Dismissing charges and sitting on investigative files for months won’t expose what has been carefully hidden for years.

The extreme criticisms of Jersey have, however, been shown to be without foundation.

Really? Guess it depends which side of the aisle you sit on – that of the privileged or with the brave, responsible folks who are attempting to get justice for the 100 victims who have come forward. That little fact is pretty hard to ignore.

Hey Billy, don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

If you have the stomach for it, to read more of his prattling go to The Rag – JEP.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Crimes Against Children Don’t Happen Only in Florida

Guest Entry by CaliGirl9!

While we all have been transfixed at the horror that is the Caylee Anthony case, last month in Hollister, a small Central/Northern California town, 39-year old dog groomer Cheryl Busch shot her 19-month old daughter Donna May Busch in the head and chest with an unregistered .357 Magnum handgun while the toddler was in her playpen.

San Benito County Sheriff Curtis Hill claimed, “In my 32 years in the county, I don’t recall a mother ever killing her child.”

Cheryl Busch, who is said to be visually impaired to the point of legal blindness, was charged with first-degree homicide on November 21. Donna May, who was Cheryl’s only child, was one day shy of her 19-month birthday when she was killed on November 19. Busch was also charged with felony corporal injury to a spouse, and also special allegations related to the child's death for intentionally discharging a firearm and also firing a weapon to cause great bodily harm. If convicted, Cheryl Busch could face a sentence of 75 years to life. The death penalty is not on the table in any way, shape or form. Child homicide is not a capital offense on its own in California. (Thank California’s liberal worried-about-criminal’s-rights senate for that. Three years ago, SB 817 sought to do just that. The bill died on the senate floor.)

Sadly, this was not the first time that San Benito County deputies were aware of problems at the Shore Road property.

On November 24, 2007, Cheryl Busch was arrested for a domestic violence/misdemeanor battery against her husband, John Dean Busch, and child abuse against 7-month-old Donna. Cheryl Bush threw a boot at her husband’s head during an argument, causing John Busch to fall forward while holding the baby. According to Brent Cardall, San Benito County’s chief probation officer, up until the day of Donna’s murder, Cheryl Busch had been in full compliance with her terms of probation. The child abuse charges were dropped, and she served 31 days in jail, paid a $650 fine, and was participating in a 52-week anger management class, along with three years of probation. As terms of probation, there were to be no guns in the home.

Although the November 2007 incident was the only one on in the court’s records, law enforcement were aware of ongoing problems in the household. According to Sheriff Hill, there was known “angst and disagreement between the parents.”

On November 19, John Busch made the initial call to the sheriff’s department on a regular line, not through 911. That call was made at 9:40 a.m., and a sheriff’s office employee noted he “thinks (his) wife shot their child.” Busch claimed his wife and child were in a grooming trailer on the property, and that he’d already removed the gun from his wife’s possession.

Eventually Cheryl Busch took the phone and admitted she’d shot her daughter.

John Busch, a bodybuilder, was initially arrested along with Cheryl but was released later that day. Cheryl Busch remains in one of two mental health cells in the San Benito County jail on suicide watch. Her bail is set at $1 million.

On December 10, San Benito County Deputy District Attorney Anna Marie Padilla requested, and was granted, a no-contact protective order between Cheryl and John Busch. Cheryl Busch must stay 100 yards away from her estranged husband (this is the first time John Busch has been described as being estranged from Cheryl), which should be easy as she’s not leaving the confines of jail anytime soon. The preliminary hearing will be held on January 14, 2009.

No doubt there will be some sort of mental illness defense, but the cause is NOT likely to be postpartum depression or psychosis, given that Donna May was well over one year old.

What do you think? Could Donna May have been saved? I am sure that more will come to light as this case winds its way through the court system. Did the extended family worry about Donna’s safety? I am betting that among business to be taken care of in January’s court date will be a request for a change of venue. San Benito County is a very rural county, sandwiched in between Monterey and Santa Clara counties. (San Benito County itself is so small, baby Donna’s autopsy was conducted in nearby Salinas in Monterey County.) Hollister itself is a bedroom community; many residents make the short drive north to nearby Silicon Valley for work. The county’s population is under 54,000 residents, with three-fifths of the population residing in Hollister, which is also the county seat. Santa Clara County has a population of 1.8 million; Monterey County a population of 410,000.

My bet is this lands in Santa Clara County, unless it’s plead out.

Accused child killer banned from contact with husband

Sheriff continues assistance to DA in child murder case

Report sheds light on suspected child killer's prior conviction

Updated: 911 transcript details call to authorities

Child murder absent from list for capital offenses

Probation chief baffled, says Busch had complied fully

Sheriff: 'Nothing new I can share' on mother's motive

Gun used to kill child was absent from tracking system

Suspected child killer charged; plea expected today

Lenny Harper on the Haut de la Garenne Investigation

I was tipped-off this morning by a friend in Jersey that a new BBC radio program, ‘Taking a Stand’, was featuring Lenny Harper as a guest. According to the BBC site, “Fergal Keane talks to people who have taken risks and made sacrifices to stand up for what they believe in.”

The 28-minute interview can be listened to here.

I was not surprised, but still taken aback that the host apparently has bought into the crap that Walker, Lewis, Warcup and Gradwell have spewed about the investigation – the bones are too old, the shackles were gutter ties, the “skull” fragment was coconut, the milk teeth - WITH ROOTS ATTACHED - could have been tooth extractions that occurred at the former children's home.

Lenny faired well during the interview and brought out some interesting points – none of which were very complimentary to the government.

Harper is to give evidence to the High Court in the UK next month regarding the obstruction and interference in the investigation by Jersey politicians.

Thanks Mark for the heads-up!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Nicholas Sheley Found Fit to Stand Trial; Case Enters Uncharted Ground Regarding Defendant's Fitness to Represent Himself

Guest Entry by Katfish!

Today, Monday, December 22, I attended another hearing in the case of IL v. Nicholas T. Sheley. Sheley is a 29 year old Sterling, IL man accused of a two-state killing spree in late June, 2008. Knox County is the first to prosecute Sheley. He is charged with bludgeoning to death a 65 year old Galesburg, IL man, Ronald Randall, and robbing him before he dumped his body and stole his pickup truck. If convicted, Sheley will face the death penalty.

When I pull up to the courthouse at about 1 p.m. I’m surprised to get a parking spot right in front….does it seem petty to note this?….not when it’s sub-zero temperatures and icy out , those spots become valuable! LOL ! On my way to the entrance, I take a peak at the back side of the courthouse where they usually bring in the prisoners, it doesn’t look like Sheley has been brought over from the jail yet, he is usually escorted by a caravan. The hearing is supposed to start at 1:30 p.m..

As I enter the courtroom I see there are more people here than usual. Ronald Randall’s family is here, sitting in the first two rows on the prosecution side. There are a few more of their family here today, that’s really good to see. Strength in numbers. I’m sure it’s hard for many people to attend court on a regular basis because of work. Shirley Pringle, a victims rights advocate for Knox County joins them. She does a great job and provides a lot of support. ( She rescued me today, I'll get to that later)

There are people seated on the defense side that I haven’t seen before, a young couple and an older couple who seem to be together. During Sheley’s hearings, the court wants to know who is in the courtroom and their reason for being here, I overhear the older woman say they are here for Russell Reed. The bailiff tells them if there is any trouble in the courtroom with Sheley, everyone should go to the jury room at the back far side of the courtroom. Russell Reed, 93, of Sterling is the first homicide victim in this alleged killing spree.

I must have a puzzled look on my face because the bailiff asked me wasn't I aware of the procedure if there was trouble with Sheley in the courtroom? I tell her I hadn't heard that before, but had decided on my own, if Sheley represents himself, I'm sitting in the back row. LOL ! She repeated the plan to me and said that door will be unlocked. I'm sure this plan wasn't formulated just for Sheley, Knox County has had other violent crime cases, even where the defendant represented himself....always good to have a plan.

A female (late teens or early 20’s) comes in and sits in the back row on the defense side of the courtroom. The bailiff asks her the normal questions, I couldn’t hear her response but I do hear the bailiff tell her she is not allowed to say anything to Sheley when he comes in the courtroom, if she does she will be asked to leave. Hmmm, I will try to find out more about her.

Continue reading at katfish ponders...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

T&T is wishing everyone a happy and memorable holiday season this year. Please share with us what you are doing to make this year special. Mr. Sprocket and I are going to celebrate with a movie and possibly a turkey tomorrow. We still haven't decided on cooking a turkey.

Ever since I adopted Sprocket fourteen and a half years ago, I've not put up a Christmas tree. Some years I decorate the windows and archways of our house with the various ornaments I've collected over the years, but I've always enjoyed seeing how others decorate for the holidays. has a nice entry on a variety of Christmas trees from around the world in years past. Here is an upside down tree from neatorama, and here is a kitty quite engrosed by a Christmas tree. The Welshman blog has a photo of a Florida palm tree decorated with lights. If you are a fan of Mountain Dew this is a tree for you! And last, for the fabric lovers here is a Christmas tree rag quilt.

Anakerie has this LOLcats image on her blog and I had to snag it.

Do you have a favorite tree image you'd like to share with us? If posting a link in blogger, please break it up on several lines, or email me the link. Once you post your link I'll include it a the bottom of this entry so that people can see it.

One of the treats we plan to do this evening is visit all the decorated houses in Hastings Ranch. In years past there has been a competition and every street has a theme. There are some houses that are over the top with lights and many people come from all over to see the decorations. Here are some photos on Tim Harwick's flicker page of decorated houses in Hastings Ranch last year.

Hanukkah started on December 21st this year and ends December 29th. Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26th through January 1st. Please share with us what you will be celebrating this year. T&T wants to hear how you make this time of year special for you and your families.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Scout Kitty Update & More Spector Trial Day 20 notes

Scout Kitty Update

First off, I wish to thank everyone who has opened their hearts and generously donated to Scout's surgery fund. We are grateful that we have received donations to cover about 40% of his total bill. With Mr. Sprocket on disability for the past eight months and several more months of recovery still ahead for him, your generosity in helping with Scout's surgery is an answered prayer. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Several of you have written me asking for an update on how Scout is doing. He is recovering well. On Thursday evening he was up and about and acting like all was well and time for him to go outside again. His ears are finally cold which told us his temperature was back to normal. That's good news. On Friday evening he got his drain tube removed and we had a long conversation with his doctor about his sneezing and what the possible causes could be. The most likely culprit is the herpes virus. We have a strong suspicion that in Scout's prior life he had been vaccinated. His sneezing is not accompanied by other serious symptoms and it could be that with the infection he had with the bite wound, his immune system was depressed a bit, giving a virus the opportunity to express itself. His doctor felt the sneezing would be gone completely in about two weeks.

The other fur kids must be smelling the antibiotics he's on (he still has another bottle of liquid to go through) and are keeping him at bay with a few hissing fits when he tries to say hello with his traditional head butt. Meanwhile, he's letting us know vocally how unhappy he is to be staying inside 24/7. He gets his stitches out December 30th. Until then we are making him wear his skirt bandage. Here is Scout on one of his favorite spots.

Phil Spector Day 20th Notes

During the short court day on December 17th, it was obvious that AJ was tired. He did mention to someone in the gallery who asked that he had been up until 2 am working on motions. The trial was put in a holding pattern even before Juror #1 became ill over what latitude the defense has in their cross of Dr. Pena and whether any testimony on "psychological autopsy" will be admitted into evidence. According to Mr. Jackson, he only had 4 hours of sleep last night. AJ also stated that the prosecution team was welcoming the holiday break so that they could "recharge their batteries." It will be interesting to see if Weinberg delivers on the Judge's orders to turn over written discovery on his potential witness, Dr. Seiden by next Tuesday as ordered. Weinberg has delayed turning over this discovery on at least two other occasions leaving the prosecution with no other choice than to file a motion accusing Mr. Weinberg of gamesmanship. Each time, Mr. Weinberg has had a different excuse as to why he did not deliver the discovery as promised.

I'm guessing that the prosecution's case will take one more week to present, once court resumes on January 5th, 2009.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Caylee's Remains Identified

In a press conference this afternoon, Orange County Chief Medical Examiner Jan Garavaglia announced the results of DNA analysis performed at the FBI Lab in Quantico, Virginia. The remains found just a short distance from the Anthony home are indeed those of Caylee Marie Anthony.

Dr. Garavaglia announced that the remains were completely skelatonized with no soft tissue remaining. There was no ante-mortem damage to the bones and toxicology results are pending. The manner of death is homicide by undetermined means.

She also stated that this case should be judged in a court of law.

Although it had been assumed since their discovery that these were Caylee's remains, hearing the official pronouncement is painful for those who have followed the case since she was first reported missing in July.

A precious little girl is dead and her mother Casey is standing trial for her murder.

Caylee remains in all our hearts. Let us now look forward to justice for Caylee Marie Anthony.

WFTV View raw video of press conference
CNN Find Caylee Blog

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Harper and Power Being Set Up As Fall Guys in Jersey Abuse Scandal?

Lenny Harper will be giving evidence to the High Court in London next month about obstructions he faced in trying to bring cases to court during his tenure as lead investigator at Haut de la Garenne.

MP John Hemming and Jersey Senator Stuart Syvret challenged the High Court over the handling of the Jersey child abuse investigation with claims they don’t have confidence in the Jersey’s authorities ability to properly administer justice. Harper will provide evidence of the obstruction and interference he faced during the investigation an is expected to tell the High Court that victims may not get justice unless an outside body steps in. He said he is concerned that there have been no more arrests or further progress in the investigation.

Harper has filed a complaint with the Jersey Police Complaints Authority about the smear comments made by Deputy Chief Officer David Warcup and Detective Superintendent Michael Gradwell at a recent press conference.

Mr. Harper told the Belfast Telegraph he recently received a “bizarre” letter from Mr. Warcup requesting the return of any unused documents relating to the case.
“I have no unused material whatsoever. I have nothing which is relevant to the inquiry. This letter was very puzzling and a little disturbing. I can only think of two possible reasons — one that it is an attempt to intimidate me just before I give evidence in the High Court or two, that it is an attempt to set the scene to blame me for any discontinuation of proceedings. In light of all that has been happening I believe I am being set up to take the blame if no charges are brought.”

Suspended Police Chief Graham Power claims that he is the victim of a ‘blatant abuse of political power and an independent review may be held soon.

Constable Simon Crowcroft has submitted a proposition to Jersey’s Bailiff calling for a ‘compliance check’ into the way Minister Andrew Lewis handled the suspension of Graham Power. Power has claimed that his November 14 suspension was not carried out properly.


Senator Stuart Syvret Blog

What Will the “White House Boys” Investigation Turn Up?

Six weeks ago the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice invited five men back to the school to dedicate a plaque outside the cinder block building where they were beaten and to close it down forever.

Roger Kiser, 63, of Brunswick, Ga., believes he witnessed two to three deaths while at the school in 1958 and 1959 and again in 1960. One was a white boy shaking cream to make butter under the dining table, when a school attendant suspected him of masturbating. He was taken away "and never seen again."

Another time, he saw one of the school staff members order two boys into the tumble dryer. Later, their bodies were hauled away and he and others were ordered to say nothing about it.

They were warned, Kiser said, that if they caught us talking to them "we would be taken to the White House and beaten. Corporal punishment was the means by which they controlled us," he said. "We lived in daily fear."

The men have also asked that the investigation include the school's use of the boys for slave labor, sexual abuse, sex trafficking and kidnapping for sexual assault.

But, a local historian, Dale Cox, says the graves really aren't that mysterious.

~ Ten supposedly date back to a 1914 fire that started when an oil lamp exploded in the main dormitory. Eight students and two employees were killed in that fire.

~ Eleven students and one employee died when an influenza epidemic struck in 1918.

That seemingly accounts for 22 of the 32 graves.

Cox claims the others all date from prior to 1949.

~ Three are allegedly of pets the students kept at the school.

~ An additional seven students died from various causes between 1897 and 1949 and also buried in cemetery.

Cox may or may not be right. I do wonder why the families of the students and employees who supposedly died and were buried at the Florida School for Boys didn’t claim the remains of their loved ones for a proper burial.

I’m not sure what the graves will yield, however the stories the White House Boys tell are pretty horrific, and a thorough investigation is clearly warranted!



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Phil Spector Retrial: Day Twenty and Scout Kitty Update

December 17th, 2008
Prosecution Witnesses: None

Accredited Press inside the courtroom: Harriet Ryan of the Los Angeles Times

There was no testimony presented today. One of the jurors, Juror #1 was taken to the emergency room last night and did not come to court today. Court is in recess until 9:00 am, January 5th, 2009 for counsel and 10:00 am for the jurors. Spector, Rachelle Short and their bodyguard were not in court today. Spector was informed of the ill juror and he waived his right to appear.

Outside the presence of the jury, both sides extensively argued motions on how broad the scope of cross examination the defense can perform on coroner Dr. Pena. The defense's position is that it is their right to cross examine Dr. Pena on statements he made during the first trial but were not presented into evidence in the second trial, to show his bias and impeach his testimony. The prosecution contends the defense cannot cross examine Dr. Pena outside the scope of his testimony in this trial. The defense has not yet completed their motion for the court on this issue.

will testify to on the stand. In Two things were settled today. First, Fidler ordered that a 402 hearing will be held to determine what questions Weinberg will ask Dr. Pena regarding manner of death and his investigation into that. The prosecution feels that this is an "end run" tactic for the defense to bring into the case testimony on a psychological autopsy. Fidler has stated that until he rules on this issue, no questions can be asked by the defense.

Although the people wanted the 402 hearing to occur today, the defense requested the hearing be held after the holidays. Fidler agreed to this request. Alan Jackson again asked the court to order the defense to turn over their discovery on expert witness Dr. Sieden. Judge Fidler ordered Weinberg to meet with the prosecution team sometime today and give them an oral statement of what his expert witness, Dr. Sieden will testify to. In addition, he must follow that up with a written statement by next Tuesday.

Scout Kitty Update

Ever since Scout came home late last night, he had been behaving out of sorts. He was wobbly on his legs, bumping into things and appeared disoriented. We took him back to his doctor who decided to remove the neck cone and put a stretch bandage over his incision and stitches. Apparently, the cone prevented Scout from feeling where he was with his whiskers. Since the cone was removed, his balance and orientation is much better. When we discovered the injury a few days ago, he had one watery eye and had been sneezing quite a bit. Today, the doctor discovered he now has a fever when he didn't before. We are worried about rabies and/or the possibility of a viral infection in his lungs. He also received more pain medication today. It's a wait and see at this point if the antibiotics will clear up the eye and lung issues. He was too sleepy to open his eyes for the camera a little while ago.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Phil Spector Retrial: Day Nineteen of Testimony, and The Trials & Tribulations of Scout

December 15th, 2008

Prosecution Witnesses:

#29 Dr. Louis Pena (LA Co. Deputy Coroner; performed the autopsy on Ms. Clarkson; under 1st cross examination)

Accredited Press inside the courtroom: Harriet Ryan of the Los Angeles times for a short time in the morning session.

When I get inside the courtroom I see that Truc Do is wearing a light gray pantsuit with a pretty white top. The jacket had a nice design of passants with I think, a button holding them down. As you can tell, I'm a fan of Ms. Do and her exquisite wardrobe.

Dr. Pena is in the courtroom and Jennifer Barringer introduces herself to him. "Hi, I'm Jennifer. Remember me from last year?" she says. I see AJ who is standing in the well near the prosecution table, texting on his blackberry. Truc has her laptop set up already. She's always fast with this task.

The courtroom is a little colder than usual today and a few in the gallery are wearing their coats. I notice there is something different about Rachelle, but I can't quite place it. Later, Sherri tells me that Rachelle had her hair done over the long weekend. It's a much lighter shade of blonde and under the harsh florescent lighting appears almost white near her forehead. Spector is wearing a black suit, white shirt and red tie. His shoes of choice for this trial are flat, two toned shoes.

There is a hearing outside the presence of the jury to hear motions on the issues that Judge Fidler requested last Thursday. The two issues are, can information about a "psychological autopsy" be admitted into evidence and whether or not Dr. Pena can be cross examined and impeached by what was discussed during the meetings held with other County Coroner staff, the investigating detectives and the prosecution team back in 2003-2005.

The people filed a brief on the psychological autopsy issue. In that brief the prosecution referenced five other legal cases where the decision was the information could not be introduced at trial. The prosecution recommended the court follow these rulings. In regards to the meetings, the prosecution request that the cross of Dr. Pena be limited to the testimony presented on direct which would be the autopsy findings and cause of death. The prosecution states that these discussions are heresay and all took place after the cause of death was determined on February 4th, 2003.

Weinberg states that he will not ask Dr. Pena questions about a psychological autopsy because he didn't perform one.

Judge Fidler asks, "Is he going to be asked if there was one considered?" Weinberg responds, "I'm getting to that. [...] Mr. Riordan states that it will take him more than a week to get their motion [completed on this issue]."'

Weinberg feels that he should be allowed to cross Dr. Pena on testimony he gave at the first trial, that he did not give in this trial. As an example, he gives the Dr. Baden "Ah-ha moment." "Suppose we called Michael Baden and we didn't ask him about the Ah-ha moment. Do you think the prosecution can't cross him on that? [...] He (Dr. Pena) has given an opinion in the past that has no [foundation?] or basis. [...] When he talked in the past about suicide when he knows nothing about it. [...] His certain misuse in other cases. [...] And all the other things he said about suicide that he knew nothing about." Weinberg gives an example of a shaken baby, and that the coroner raises the question, shouldn't we consider the possibility of this was an accident? "The fact that Dr. Pena came to the conclusion of homicide verses suicide with absolutely no expertise."

As Weinberg is addressing the court, I see that AJ is looking directly at Weinberg as he is speaking.

Weinberg continues: "Nobody thought a psychological autopsy was invalid they just derailed it. [...] We should be able to say, "Did you do a psychological autopsy? (No.) Well, why not?"

I don't have it in my notes but I believe that it is Truc Do who speaks first since she is the one who is presenting Dr. Pena's testimony. "I don't think that it [this issue] is the same as Dr. Baden. The timing of that opinion bared on it's credibility. Dr. Weinberg is incorrect about what the coroner's said what went on in those meetings. Steven Dowell raised the question of a psychological autopsy. [...] A psychological autopsy is only done when the result is [equivocal ?] and the family contests the results."

AJ then jumps in and says, "Mr Weinberg's analog to the shaken baby is totally flawed." AJ goes onto explain this but he gives his explanation so fast I'm unable to write it down. "Mr. Weinberg is not foreclosed from putting on Dr. Pena and ask him. [...] "Mr. Sortino (the previous prosecutor) never said, no, don't do it; we'll do it. [What he said was] We're in the process of interviewing everyone and we'll give you what we have. [...] Remember, Mr. Weinberg brought this up and said, with his hands up in the air, that, well, if the prosecution doesn't ask then we won't need to call Dr. Seiden.

Weinberg responds, "Well, to refer [return?] to history to it's rightful place. [...] [Dr. Pena] Issued an autopsy not until September 19th. [It was] kept under seal for several months [while they decided] 'can we call this a homicide?' " Weinberg reads parts of Doug Sortino's letter where "...he tells the coroner to put it on hold. [...] It's still relevant that the medical team didn't investigate accident."

Fidler states that he is prepared to rule. "Yes he can be crossed on the meetings. That is all fair game." Then Fidler brings something up that was said in the first trial that no one can forget; it's Cutler's famous line from his opening statement. "Murder on their minds." Fidler disagrees with Weinberg's examples that he gave. Fidler states that he will "..make no finding at this time. If I find it's inadmissible, the fact that it was or wasn't done [can not be brought into the trial].

Weinberg doesn't appear to be real happy with this ruling and asks a clarification question or two of the judge.

Fidler states, "No one disputes state of mind is admissible. [...] You can present independent evidence of state of mind. [...] We are not discussing [it] at this point in the case."

Weinberg replies, "I don't mean to argue and I appreciate the courts opinion."

Fidler replies, "You can present what was going on in the person's life at that time."

Weinberg presses on. He feels that he should still be able to cross Dr. Pena, be able to impeach him and show his bias by crossing him on what he said in the first trial. He mentions the patently false conclusions by Dr. Pena again.

Fidler closes the issue. "The prosecution is not conceding that. [...] You are trying to say an absolute when it's not. [...] As to the psychological autopsy, all questions are on hold. As to meeting discussions, you can question as to bias."

It's only 10:09 am and court will resume with the jury at 10:30 am. Truc and AJ talk privately over by the projection screen. After he steps back to the prosecution table, he coughs a few times. He's at the tail end of getting over that cold that settled in his lungs.

This was an interesting hearing and I'm disappointed I didn't get more of the arguments transcribed. This will be a long arduous cross and I'm sure Weinberg will try to take things to the limit.

10:21 am: Spector leaves his seat at the defense table and goes over to speak to Rachelle. His voice is still very raspy and I suspect he did not have the surgery on his vocal cords. If he did, I suspect he would not be talking at all for a time. The courtroom is quite empty and sound is magnified. It sounds like Spector is updating Rachelle on the status of the case since I overhear him say in a tone similar to Marlon Brando's Godfather voice, "And psychological autopsy, we're going to get them on that." As Spector is speaking to her, it appears like to me his eyes get quite a bit wider. A few minutes later he returns to the defense table.

Truc and the court reporter talk about shoes and Mrs. Clarkson's attorney arrives. During the first trial, Mrs. Clarkson and Fawn stepped out of the courtroom and waited in the hallway for almost all of Dr. Pena's testimony. Today is the first time that I am aware of that Mrs. Clarkson did not come to court. I hear faint laughter coming from the jury room.

Before court starts, AJ informs the judge that Dr. Lynne Herold is ill. He states that he still has two more witnesses to call after Dr. Pena. Dr. John Andrews and Dale Falicon. Judge Fidler states that Dr. Herold's testimony will be lengthy with a lot of technical information and it would be better if her testimony is not interrupted. She will be presented after the holiday break.

AJ addresses the court that they are asking the defense on who is going to testify. It's not clear in my notes but I believe Weinberg states something to the effect that the prosecution is not entitled to know [which witnesses are going to take the stand]. Fidler states, "If counsel doesn't have to cooperate..." He then stops himself and tries to use a different word than "cooperate," doesn't wish to.... He then talks about discovery a bit. It's not clear from what is said next whether or not Weinberg has turned over his discovery for his potential witness Dr. Sieden or not. AJ responds, "[I] just wish to ask, what expert witnesses he's going to call. The real list not the fake list."

Judge Fidler informs the parties that a juror will need the afternoon of January 21st off. It's the same reason Juror #7 had for the other half day. When the jurors reenter the courtroom, Fidler informs the juror that they are okay for their afternoon off.

Weinberg crosses Dr. Pena about that significant bruise on the left side of the tongue that he testified could have come from the gun being shoved in Ms. Clarkson's mouth. Weinberg asks Dr. Pena if he had the opportunity to measure the muzzle of the murder weapon. No, he hasn't. Weinberg points out to the doctor that the crane below the gun barrel leaves only a little over 1.25 inches of length to reach a bruise that Dr. Pena admits is farther back on the tongue than the short barrel can reach. Weinberg brought out that anatomical head and the model of the tongue from the first trial to prove his point. He asks Pena, "Did you see this [model] at the first trial?" "No," he replied. "I see it in the magazines that I get." He asks him if the model is accurate. Pena says, "It's a good job but it's off about 1/2 inch."

The left side bruise is a little beyond, farther towards the back of the tongue than the sterate wound in the middle of the tongue. That sterate wound was measured to be 1.5 inches. Taking into account the lips and teeth, the left side bruise is approximately 2" from the front of the face/lips. Weinberg asks, "Your a scientist, correct?" "Well, I'm a physician first," Pena replies. Weinberg challenges Dr. Pena. "I'm asking you how medically a gun with a 1.25" barrel could reach a 2" back wound?" Dr. Pena responds, "Well, her tongue would have to be out." "But when you were here, you said it was the only possibility," Weinberg counters. Pena replies, "I said it was one possibility."

Weinberg crosses Dr. Pena on his testimony at the Grand Jury, and how it differs from his testimony now. At the Grand Jury, Dr. Pena would not commit to the age of the bruises or how they could have occurred. Weinberg asks him what has changed since then. "Experience. I've seen quite a few more cases. I have more confidence," Dr. Pena responds.

Then Weinberg asks Dr. Pena, "So there was blood on her hands, correct?" "No," Pena responds,"There was blood on the back of the wrists that I did not see." Weinberg then says, "So whether it's the wrist or the hands we're not going there." When that happens, I look over on at the jury and I see something interesting. A juror in the back row appears to be trying to keep themselves from laughing at Weinberg's response. The juror covers their mouth, and almost with a rolled eye look, looks at the witness and ignores looking at Weinberg.

11:34 am: Harriet Ryan enters the courtroom and sits in her usual spot in the fourth bench row.

During the last half hour of the morning session, Weinberg crosses Dr. Pena on the conclusions he made about all the bruises.

When we get back from lunch, Weinberg requests clarification on some issues of cross examination and the limits that have been imposed on him. Previously in one of the bench conferences, Weinberg wants to be clear on the parameters that have been placed on him. He argues that it's the job of the coroner to determine manner of death in addition to cause. The witness did, in that determination. "In the document that he generated [autopsy report] he made reference to certain aspects of suicide. [...] As reasons as to why he rejected suicide. The entire process by what everybody functions is.... the state of her life had to be included. [...] When Dowell raises the question of psychological suicide, Doug Sortino says, 'we're already doing that.' " Weinberg is arguing this point again. "But when Dr. Pena makes notes within his report, thi it's part of cross examination. (Dr. Pena on February 4, 2003, in one of his preliminary pages of the autopsy report made a tentative diagnosis of homicide.) I'm having trouble trying to eliminate that because he says that within the autopsy. [...] I should be able to cross on a psychological autopsy."

Judge Fidler states, "It's not as clear cut as both sides would like me to believe."

Weinberg presses on. "That statement of no suicide adulation was based entirely on talking to Donna Clarkson and nobody else. [...] That's not objective."

I can faintly hear the jury laughing in the jury room.

Weinberg states he should be able to question Dr. Pena on his determination that she didn't have a history of depression. He reads from medical reports that she did go see a psychiatrist, one visit and listed several depression related complaints, one of which is crying all the time. Weinberg then brings up the "Ah-ha" moment again. Weinberg argues that he should be able to cross on things Dr. Pena said in the first trial, but not in this one to impeach him. "He said, women don't shoot themselves in the face; don't shoot themselves in the mouth," Weinberg argues. He then brings in the the study that Dr. Lachmana did on intra oral gunshot wounds in Los Angeles County over several years. There were 700. 80 of them women. 24 of those, intra oral. Lachmana presented a presentation to a symposium, looking at those 24 suicides. He found one patient that was different that the rest, a hypothetical case based on Ms. Clarkson. (I believe I have that argument correct from Weinberg.) "Dr. Pena said it [about the women shooting themselves in the face] without research which tells us something about his method. [...] That was an incorrect statement and he had nothing to support that."

Truc Do defends the prosecution's position that the court already ruled on this issue.

Fidler still thinks that the issue is beyond...more complex that what both sides are arguing. Fidler tells Weinberg that he has some cases in mind to review on this issue but he can't get the correct answer by tomorrow. He tells Weinberg that he will have to stay away from those areas until the new year. Dr. Pena will not be excused and he will be able to readdress this once Fidler rules.

Truc speaks up and suggests that they break for the day so that everyone can research this issue. Weinberg agrees, stating something to the effect that he should have thought about suggesting that. Fidler agrees and the attorneys are ordered back at 10:00 am tomorrow. The jury is ordered back at 10:30 am. Fidler informs the court that they are starting late tomorrow because he has a heavy calendar. All his case load that is usually taken care of on Friday has been moved to Wednesday morning because he's going on vacation.

The Trials & Tribulations of Scout

Please send our kitty Scout your good thoughts and prayers. As you can see, he is recovering from surgery he had today to clean out an abscessed bite wound from (we think) a new kitty in the neighborhood. Scout was an abandoned kitty who showed up on our back patio about three years ago, trying to find shelter from a heavy rainstorm. We started taking care of him, leaving food out and making a wind protected warm bed to sleep in until we gained his trust. It took some time, but Mr. Sprocket slowly won me over to letting Scout come inside, meet the other kitties and be a full fledged member of the household. He is the most sweetest natured, friendliest kitty ever now and he just loves to be petted. I remember the first time we brought him inside. He immediately approached Sprocket and Jumpy, gave them each a head butt and tried to lick them. Scout is our only kitty that was allowed to go outside for a few hours each day. Sadly for him, that will have to change.

Scout's surgery is a steep, added expense that has taken us unexpectedly. Because of this I have finally relented to Mr. Sprocket's daily suggestion to put a Paypal button on the blog. If you feel you are in a position to help us offset the cost of his emergency surgery and post-op care, we would be forever grateful for your donation.

Scout & Jumpy in happier times

The Case Against Casey Anthony, Waiting for ID of Caylee Marie

Since a meter reader discovered the remains of a small child a short distance from the Anthony home, those who have followed the case have been in a waiting mode. It is an excruciating time. It is Caylee, but until a definitive DNA match is made, no official word will be released.

The Orlando County Sheriff's Department and the FBI have been processing the scene for five days now and there is yet no end in sight. There have been reports that the body was wrapped in a plastic bag and some type of linens which directed the OCSD to get a search warrant for the Anthony House.


The defense team is apparently sticking to the "Zanny did it" theory. Baez representative Todd Black released a statement on Saturday stating that (Casey) Anthony stands by her claim that she dropped off her 2-year-old daughter with a sitter in June and never saw her again. That won't change if it turns out the skull and bones belong to Caylee. "Casey Anthony handed her daughter off to a woman in a park who was with another woman in a car." "Her position and the position of the law firm has been that she handed her child off. ... It would be difficult for a prosecution to absolutely tell a jury that Ms. Anthony is the one who injured the child."

How long this story will be in play would seem to depend on the forensic testing of the evidence found at the scene. George, Lee, and Cindy have already given exclusionary fingerprints and Casey's are on file from her arrests. Aside from the positive identification of the body, the fingerprint results from the black plastic bag and the duct tape found around the head will help to prove or disprove the theory.

Meanwhile, the defense experts are chomping at the bit to get their hands on the crime scene evidence and the child's remains. Judge Stan Strickland ruled at Friday's emergency hearing that it is up to LE to determine when they can take over the crime scene. The OCSD stated at the hearing that they could have it when they and the FBI were finished. As more and more pieces of evidence are found, the further LE has to dig into the soil to find the tiniest of bones, the slightest bit of evidence. The judge also ruled they could not attend the autopsy as the remains had not been officially identified by the FBI lab at Quantico, VA.

After Friday's hearing, we were treated to some pretty annoyed experts. Werner Spitz stated on Geraldo At Large Friday night that, "I have never encountered a situation where I was excluded by another forensic pathologist from doing an autopsy. I wouldn't be doing anything. I would be standing there watching. But I would be watching science and science can not be changed. Why can not I be allowed the same privilege as the state or county medical examiner? I think that's horrendous. I think that has never happened. It should not happen!"

(Thank you, Kitty Malone for the transcription.)

Dr. Henry Lee stated on Nancy Grace that Science is science. It should speak for itself, and it shouldn`t be manipulated. And if it can, then it`s not science. We have qualified people, the best in the business, reviewing this evidence so we will be able to actually verify it independently. And that`s all we`re asking for, nothing more. And we`re not even asking to hide it. We`re allowing them to observe whatever it is we do.

Defense entomologist, Timothy Huntington said the study of insects could determine the time of death, but he said "insect" evidence changes over time and insects could be compromising evidence right now. "The sooner I could get access to that, the better it is and the more accurate it will be,"

At today's hearing, the defense again brought up the need to see photographs of the crime scene now, rather than later. As the Orange County attorney pointed out, the photographers are still working the scene of the crime and are on their hands and knees in the dirt, documenting everything. She does not want to pull them from the active crime scene at this point. Judge Strickland agreed and told the defense they would have to wait to get the photos through the normal discovery proceedings. (See my notes about the hearing in the previous entry.)

At the outset of the hearing, the judge stated that the issue of a second autopsy was moot.

To sum it up, even though this is an unusual case where the defendant has been under indictment for murder before the discovery of the remains, the traditional rules apply. The defense will not be given a jump-start on the evidence. They will have to follow the rules of discovery as in any other case. They will not be allowed to examine the remains until they have been positively identified and turned over to the family.

George and Cindy Anthony

When the remains were discovered, George and Cindy Anthony were in California, having appeared the previous night on The Larry King Show. It's pure karma that Cindy Anthony stated on the program that there was no way that her daughter harmed Caylee. Throughout the program she sited various sightings of the child. She was in the mall in Orlando, she was in California, she had just been sighted in a a grocery store in Tennessee.

When the Anthonys returned from California, they were whisked away to a local hotel. They couldn't go home, it had become a crime scene. The house was thoroughly searched and van loads of evidence was removed from the house. VIDEO

While still in flight, it was announced that George and Cindy had retained a new defense attorney, Bradley Conway. With the departure of Michelle Bart, their second spokesperson, Conway has now also become the family spokesman. Since his appointment, the Anthonys have not made any public comment, except through him.

In a press conference, Conway read a statement from them.

"The last six months have been the hardest six months of our lives and we understand that the ongoing investigation and prosecution of our daughter, Casey, will consume our lives with conflict," Conway read from the statement. "Based on recent developments we are realistic but continue to hope and pray that these remains are not those of our precious granddaughter Caylee Marie."

Conway also broached the subject of possible obstruction charges against the couple.

Conway said he plans to meet with the lead prosecutor and detectives later this week to ask for full immunity for the Anthonys.

Conway admits the Anthonys have made conflicting statements in the past. They will be re-interviewed by investigators. He said, for the next interview they give to authorities, there will not be any conflicting statements.

That is a relief for those of us who have realized all along that what the Anthonys say on TV and to the investigators don't jibe. I'm sure there are many of us who will be anxiously awaiting for these new and improved interviews to become public record.

Larry King Live

Anthony Emergency Hearing

Ok, yet another waste of taxpayer money and the court’s time!

Ugh, Baden is attending telephonically!

Good lord, Baez does whine!

JB: Want schematic drawings…

LKB phone-in atty.

Baden: Autopsy

Judge: Second autopsy moot.

JB: Crime scene photos, etc.

Where we were at the last hearing there was an attempt by both parties to work out crime scene. They said defense could hire off-duty officers to help them go through the scene themselves.

Were to be given 2-3 hour notice

Next day - told they would be finished the NEXT day (13th) We flew in the experts or had them on stand-by.

Important to get to it before media.

Now, not allowed to hire off-duty officers.

Following day... going through the "dance" every single day. LE not sure when they will be done. No longer crime scene, excavation site.

Exhibit A: crime scene tech. kneeling next to numerous bushes and trees.

Exhibit B: ME walking behind.... more trees & debris, crime scene techs. carrying away possible loads of soil.

Don't want to prohibit them from doing their job but they have first dibs on the scene after LE.

They would like to have the ability to see the scene as it was. It's not the same now!

Submits an article co-written by Henry Lee laying out importance of forensic botany. What can be learned by looking at plant life?

Submitted sworn affidavit by etymologist... it will be difficult to get into.

Press and other civilians will make the situation worse!

Anticipates the State will say it's an investigation and we can't turn the photos over to defense.

Baez needs to just shut up and let them conclude their investigation! Helloooo, Jose - this is how it normally gets done!

Jose says there is a time constraint and it's their duty to preserve evidence. There is a good faith basis to understand that this evidence needs to be preserved.

He asked Det. Allen if he could have photos as soon as they are done.

Allen said he could have them through discovery.

Only the defense is taking this seriously.

It's up to the courts to preserve evidence so as not to impede a fair trial.

County: Photographs

As more evidence is found, it has stretched out the investigation. It is not an excavation, it's a crime scene. It is still an active crime scene. It will change when body identified and LE is finished with the crime scene.

They have the ability to pick and choose photographs to give to Baez. They will not give picture of skull until body Identified. They will put markers into the ground.

It is at Orange County's discretion.

JB: He thinks they're getting somewhere. He'll take what they've offered and is willing to stipulate to dissemination of the photographs.

He says they can't be released under the Dale Ernhardt Law.

He makes every assurance he will not release them to any third party.

He feels that LE sometimes misses things and it's the defense's job to find what they miss.

Judge: release of photos and autopsy photos an issue for another day.

He's asking for them ahead of discovery rules.

Baden (on the phone)

Some Maceration of bones at Quantico. What bones have been shipped if any? Any possibility that they be macerated? Any forensic testing changes remains anyway.

It's hard to hear her, but they want the ME to request information from FBI about what remains they have and if bones will be macerated (de-fleshed).

Judge: point is moot until body ID's

It is a continuing request.

Teehee! Strickland ain't buying it! Just how much of the court's time and taxpayer money is Baez going to be allowed to waste??????

Asst. Cty. Atty. Guthrie:

A minimal amount of material has been sent to Quantico for ID only.

Dr. Garavaglia says there has been no maceration yet. 3'' of bone will be consumed for testing, including toxicology.

Dr. G. has a right and an obligation to do her examination correctly. She would not do anything untoward to the remains.

When it is complete, the remains will be turned over to next of kin and their experts.

She does not feel she wants to be observed.

Baden - pictures and x-rays of original autopsy

Judge: He read the motions and he understands some of what defense is requesting. He can't do what he asks to do.

He was hoping LE could give a definite time but now realizes it can't be done.

He can't tell the ME to tell FBI what to do.

If LE doesn't do complete investigation, defense would say it is a shoddy job.

He's asking the court to assist him, and he CAN'T ASSIST HIM IN A MURDER INVESTIGATION!

LE is entitled to do what they have to do.

No requirement to leave crime scene in pristine condition.

Motions DENIED!

He will receive material through usual discovery.

Baez: Would like the photos the county has as soon as the crime scene is cleared.

County Atty: Photographers are busy at the scene and she won't pull them off the scene.

Judge: Unusual situation since the body was found after defendant charged. However, usual discovery procedures will be followed.

ritanita: Wowzers! Did we call those results or not. As of now County/State 100% = Baez/Baden 0%.

ritanita provided the transcription – great job – I provided the sarcastic color commentary!

The Case Against Casey Anthony, Judge to Hold Emergency Hearing


The hearing will also be broadcast on InSession at TruTV. Beth Karas will be covering it.

Judge Stan Strickland has called a hearing for 2:00 ET today. Defense attorney Jose Baez has filed motions

...calling for the prosecution to turn over photographs, video recordings and drawings taken at the scene where the remains of a small child were discovered Thursday.

The defense has also asked for a second autopsy on the skull found among the remains.

Jose Baez, Casey Anthony's attorney, also said he wants it ordered that forensic evidence in the case be preserved. Baez said he wants his own experts to examine the remains, and fears the FBI could destroy that evidence after the remains are identified.

Should be a very interesting hearing. I'm wondering if these motions are being asked for a bit early as the remains have yet to be definitively identified as those belonging to Caylee Anthony.

Channel 13

Jersey Christmas Speech and Senator Stuart Syvret Under Arrest?

In just a few short hours, Senator Syvret is scheduled to address the assembly as they finish the session for Christmas break.

Last year’s Christmas speech was an attempt to express empathy and acknowledge the Jersey child abuse survivors.

We all know what happened there! The Bailiff called a halt to the speech and cut Stuart’s microphone. Then mayhem ensued as other States members came up to Stuart and screamed in his face.

Stuart no doubt will attempt a similar speech today and has declared if prevented from delivering the Christmas speech he will simply do it outside of the assembly, publicly, in the Square.

How fun is that?

Now, remember Stuart’s, “you’ll never take me alive, copper!” response to the UK police?

Syvret possibly faces legal threat, intimidation, having his home raided and his files seized, and the prospect of his blog being shut down. He could be arrested and prosecuted because he allegedly received a leaked, confidential report.

The good Senator believes there is likelihood the raid could be imminent. You see, the States assembly shuts down for the holidays this afternoon and the UK parliament will be finishing up for the holidays as well. The MPs who support Syvret will be off for a month and unable to raise the issue.

Timing is everything!

To be sure, if any or all of this occurs Stuart, the outcry will be heard round the world!

Senator Stuart Syvret Blog

Painful Memories for the White House Boys

He’s in his 60’s, married for 42 years, and owns a multimillion-dollar company. He established a scholarship fund at the Arthur Dozier School for Boys where he speaks each year to the students about hard work and a hopeful future.

It was at that same school he learned his trade as an electrician, which turned him into a self-made success story. But, the future wasn’t always so bright for Dick Colon.

Roger Kiser, Dick Colon, Robert Straley and Michael O'McCarthy call themselves the ‘White House Boys’. All served time at the Florida School for Boys during the 1950s and ‘60s.

The men connected on the internet and began sharing stories of horrific physical beatings with long leather straps, reinforced with metal. Often, a large industrial fan was turned on during the beatings to drown out the screams of the boys, as they were tortured.

A makeshift cemetery on the grounds of the school holds thirty-one steel tube crosses. Painted white and unmarked, the men believe the crosses mark the graves of boys who suddenly vanished from the school, never to be seen again.

When boys disappeared from the school, administrators explained it away, said former student Roger Kiser.

They'd say, "Well, he ran away and the swamp got him," Kiser recalled. Or, "The gators got him." Or, 'Water moccasins got him."

It was the ‘White House Boys’ who convinced Florida Governor Charlie Crist to open an investigation into the school. They believe authorities will find the remains of children sent to the Florida School for Boys half a century ago.

Crist wants Florida Department of Law Enforcement, FDLE, to determine if anyone is buried there, whether crimes were committed, and if so, who was responsible.

The investigation will not be an easy one. Locating records and witnesses from fifty years ago will be difficult if not impossible. Many of the administrators and supervisors of the reform school are long dead.

The ‘White House Boys’ live with painful memories and say they want justice. They have waited most of their lives and will wait as long as it takes.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Phil Spector Retrial Update V

My detailed trial notes for Thursday, December 11th have been added after the short entry for that date. You can find them, here.

An Unfortunate Crime of the Times?

Guest Entry by CaliGirl9!

It was just another day in California’s Silicon Valley on November 14, 2008, when 47-year-old Jing Hua Wu, a Chinese national who had worked in the Bay Area as an engineer for over 10 years, was fired “with cause” from his job at SiPort as a product test engineer. These are difficult times for the tech industry, and no doubt Wu’s sudden unemployment wasn’t the only one suffered in the Bay Area that day.

Following his firing on that that unseasonably warm fall day, Wu requested a meeting with the 56-year-old CEO of SiPort, Inc., Sid Agrawal, the 47-year-old Vice President of Operations Brian Pugh, and the head of human resources, 67-year-old Marilyn Lewis. The trio agreed to meet Wu later that afternoon, and in a conference room at SiPort’s headquarters on 2996 Scott Boulevard in Santa Clara, Wu pulled a 9 mm handgun and calmly dispatched his former supervisors with a bullet to each person’s brain. Wu then nonchalantly walked out to his silver Mercury Mariner SUV and drove off as if it were any other day.

Unfortunately for Wu, everyone in the complex heard the gunshots and saw him return to his vehicle. Two of the three 911 calls released by Santa Clara County reveal that the callers were able to identify Wu by name and describe his clothing and vehicle. Santa Clara police and fire and rescue were on scene nearly immediately, but it was too late. Wu was nowhere to be found, and there were three dead people in a conference room.

Wu’s freedom was short-lived; he was arrested the next morning in nearby Mountain View. The 9 mm handgun was found in the trunk of his rental car. Wu was booked into the Santa Clara County jail mental health ward, and ultimately arraigned on November 19 for three counts of murder, three related gun counts and one special circumstances count for allegedly killing multiple people. This is a possible death penalty case, though no decision has been made according to deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen. The DA will take into considerations Wu’s prior record as well as the wishes of the victims’ next of kin. Wu’s next court appearance is on December 18.

Sid Agrawal was an American success story. An Indian American father of two, Agrawal earned a technical bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur in 1974. He immigrated to the United States in 1975 to complete his education at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, earning his M.S. in electrical engineering in 1977, and finally completing his education at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, earning his MBA in general management in 1984.

Wu was also quite the American success story and has done quite well for himself during his time in the United States. He and his wife Jie Zheng Wu, parents of three young sons, managed to collect numerous investment properties starting in 2004, including vacant lots and rental properties, in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas (yes, that same Hot Spring Village sold via late night infomercials starring Erik Estrada, aka “Ponch” from CHiPs), owns two rental properties in Vancouver, Washington and in California, and also owns his family home in Mountain View. There are a total of 19 investment properties owned by Wu and his wife, with those investments said to be worth $2.4 million, though of course some are no doubt now in negative equity with the recent real estate crash.

Upon his arrest, Wu claimed he didn’t have the money for an attorney and a pair of public defenders were assigned to his case. A media report claimed that Wu had earned $110,000 in 2008, and that SiPort had fired him with a generous severance package and the promise of positive letters of reference. Authorities are pouring over Wu’s portfolio to verify that he is truly financially destitute and cannot afford his own counsel.

Thus far there are no “answers” regarding SiPort’s specific reasons for firing Wu (could he have been distracted by “managing” his far-flung investment properties; could he have been in over his head with overwhelming negative equity and not performing his job up to standards?) nor has Wu’s counsel offered the reason for killing Agrawal, Pugh and Lewis. There were no signs that Wu was a violent person—his neighbors described him as quiet and a family man though co-workers did describe Wu as a bit disheveled and as someone who kept to himself. There were no red flags telling Sid Agrawal, Brian Pugh and Marilyn Lewis that their lives were in danger by agreeing to a meeting with a recently-fired employee.

Could this tragic case be a harbinger of things to come? Remember the term “going postal” in reference to the United States Postal Service workplace killings in the early to mid-1980s? The slang term’s original meaning refers to sudden extreme uncontrollable anger to the point of violence in a workplace setting. Between 1986 and 1997, more than 40 people were killed in 20 instances of workplace violence. According to an article in, workplace murders increased by 13 percent in 2007—a total of 610 homicides. In an article posted on TruTV’s website, worker-on-worker violence is the second most common form of workplace violence (criminal acts such as the Murrah Federal Building bombing and the 9/11 attacks are number one), and tend to be clustered in service or retail settings. The typical violent worker is a white male, aged 25 to 50, a loner with a history of violence and a fascination with weapons. Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder appear to be directly linked to workplace violence.

Is there a way that employers can do a better job of screening prospective employees for possible mental illness? In today’s politically correct times, such screenings are looked upon as a violation of someone’s privacy. There is no doubt more people are going to be losing their jobs in all industries and workplaces in today’s troubled economic times. What’s the answer? Metal detectors at every place of employment? Locked doors? Armed guards onsite when people are given their pink slips?

Just how many workplace killings like this one will take place in 2009?

I sure hope I am wrong about being concerned about this type of crime …

Thank you so much, CaliGirl9! Sprocket

Santa Clara triple-killing suspect arrested

Suspect in triple slaying owned 19 properties

Suspect in office deaths described as family man

Triple-slaying suspect could face death penalty

Fewer people die on the job

Workplace homicide is increasing

Tech engineer kills three bosses at Silicon Valley start-up after being sacked

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Case Against Casey Anthony, An Editorial by ritanita


Beth Karas has informed T&T that there was a communication error at In Sessions. Lee Anthony was not present at the hearing on December 11th. Thank you Beth. Sprocket
Please, A Little Respect for the Dead

I think that many readers here have been in a situation where a relative has died. There is a respectful funeral and polite reception. Then, the grieving relatives hurry over to the house of the deceased and, like a pack of vultures, pick the place clean of items of "sentimental" value.

That's how I feel about this time in the Casey Anthony case. It's a terrible time. The remains of a small child have been found a mere forty second drive from the Anthony residence on Hope Springs Drive. Those of us who have followed the case and have become emotionally involved in sweet Caylee's disappearance are waiting for a positive identification of the remains. We feel such mixed emotions about the discovery. We hope it is not Caylee and that somehow she is alive and well. We know realistically that it probably is Caylee. We hope that is her so that she will finally have a proper burial. We want to see the prosecution up the ante in their case against her mother.

This has been such a bizarre case and the press has been all over it from the beginning. Casey's parents, George and Cindy, have done their best to support their daughter by splashing themselves all over the news proclaiming Caylee to be alive and that their "investigators" are busy all over the country hunting down supposed "Caylee sightings."

George and Cindy Anthony have up until today taken their new attorney's advice and avoided the media. However, they and Kid Finders have announced a press conference for tonight at 7:30 PM.

The media, on the other hand, has descended on the house and reporters wait in front to interview whoever approaches. They are camped at the crime scene around the corner watching as the OCSD and FBI painstakingly sift through the entire scene for the tiniest bone, the smallest clue.

On one hand, I wish the press would decamp and let law enforcement do it's job in peace. On the other, it is comforting to me to know what is happening.

What bothers me the most right now is the new defense "Dream Team" and their current shenanigans. In the emergency court hearing on Friday, Judge Stan Strickland supported the prosecution's arguments that new Team Casey forensic pathologist, Dr. Werner Spitz not be allowed to attend the autopsy since the remains have not been positively identified. In an interview, Dr. Spitz proclaimed that this is the first time he has not been allowed to observe an autopsy. Sorry, Dr. Spitz, the judge was only following the law.

Last night, the entire team showed up at the crime scene and stood around for a few hours doing interviews and whining about not being allowed inside the tape to observe the processing of the site. Again, this team wants to get to the evidence before it is completely processed to insure that it is done correctly. They obviously think that the OCSD and the FBI don't know what they are doing.

The fact is, it is entirely normal and proper for law enforcement to process a crime scene and then turn it over to the defense. Dr. Henry Lee felt that he couldn't do a proper investigation because the scene will not be the same as when the remains were discovered.

Sorry, Dr. Lee! Don't you remember the Phil Spector case? You were able to go into the crime scene only after it was processed by law enforcement. You found some evidence and somehow lost it.

Of course, that was an indoor crime scene. In this case, the crime scene is a formerly flooded wetland area. To do a thorough job, the investigators have to sift through every inch of the scene to locate the tiniest of bones, the smallest clue. That is the nature of crime scene investigation. I am sure that, if the investigators were not to do the most thorough job possible, the defense would appear at trial and blast the OCSD and FBI for not doing a proper job! The defense team is making this all a lose-lose situation!

This is the point where I compare "Team Casey" to a pack of vultures. In my opinion, they are standing at the scene, the last relatives to get to the scene and have lost the "best pickings."

Please, "Team Casey," stay away until the work by law enforcement is done. Have respect for the little child whose body was unceremoniously dumped there in a garbage bag and duct tape over her face. That area is sacred ground. It is a place which should be treated with respect for the dead child.


Jose Baez and his forensics team
Baez Looking For Answers
Linda Kenny Baden, Jose Baez

News Links:

CNN Find Caylee Blog

Friday, December 12, 2008

Anthony Emergency Hearing

In yet another waste of the court’s time, the hearing was over rather quickly.

Linda Kenny Baden will cover the forensics.

Jose lays out his argument. They believe that it would be important the court address their ability to observe "alleged" crime scene and forensic testing.

Pros: his motion doesn't have crime scene

Judge: not going to mention crime scene

LKB: Missing body of child found and still in possession of ME. They want either/or:

Have somebody observe autopsy for defense:

getting Dr. Kathy Reichs (sp) forensic anthropologist from Montreal

To observe, not to interfere, as well as Dr. Werner Spitz on call to observe the autopsy


Pros: Me required to maintain specimens, seize and retain info relating to ID and COD.

ME has COMPLETE CONTROL, FL laws are very clear.

Issue is the body is unidentified.

The ME needs to have the dignity and integrity of their office preserved. Should not make a circus of autopsy. ME office must preserve all evidence.

Judge: Second review of the body?

Long and short: Laws are designed to preserve evidence.

OCSO ATTY: FBI will do ID. Ongoing investigation, no identity. After ID, kicks over to States attorney.

Pros: No due process right to discovery in FL law that would allow this.

Until body determined to be Caylee, defense has no right to observe testing of any evidence.

Confidentiality of videos, photos, etc. of autopsies. Public policy... autopsies have higher level of respect than any other examinations.

Not make them public record.

Respect for dead carries over into this case. Doesn't want a defense expert on a national news show describing this child's remains. Cites Henry Lee doing so after examining Casey’s car.

LKB: Crime scene: they expect to have H. Lee to come in, after State is finished. Want it held for Dr. Lee.

Also, Dr. Timothy Huntington, forensic entomologist.

If not observe in situ, to allow them to come in after autopsy to review the body

no videotapes to be taken

want to see x-rays now, not later

Pros. objects... no motion filed yet

LKB - will file a motion

LKB is told to limit her arguments to autopsy

LKB: Observe first-hand/do a review immediately after

OC Atty: this issue is not ripe, defense has no standing, remains not ID'd yet. Speculation, anticipation, but no scientific response.

Judge asks if it would be too late.

She says no. ME's responsibility to ID body FIRST.

No testimony presented that a complete and adequate examination can't be done after the autopsy.

Calls observation egregious. "Strangers" present for the autopsy of a young child.

LKB said she wanted her experts to suggest things... that’s interference!

Baden replies: Wants best information for her client.

Judge: Has county said there has been no tentative ID?

LKB: Baez was told child likely Caylee.

(Size and hair color match)

Do they have to wait for FINAL ID?

Asking not to desecrate any remains... observe in situ

Pictures won't be as good.

County: no tentative ID

Judge: Body of the motion, para. 5. If body id's as Caylee...

Request DENIED! No tentative ID.

Court may reexamine in terms of second review of body after ID and autopsy.

Would interfere w/ME and those w/statutory duty

After ID, ME will notify whoever needs to be notified.

DEFINITIVE ID! Not tentative.

Pros: Can't give date. FBI has that.

LKB says that nobody can get in FBI labs.

They are going to hold up the body 2-3 weeks???

Pros: They will be notified after definitive ID.


Jose speaks: more emergency issues

These forensic items have passed a certain time and time is of the essence, wants permission for a second autopsy via written motion.

Crime scene: pros has no problem turning over crime scene (shades of Spector)

Judge wants time frame.

"Total guess"

Judge: ASAP

By agreement of the parties (however rare they are - judge)


Thanks ritanita!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Phil Spector Retrial: Day Eighteen of Testimony

December 11, 2008

Prosecution Witnesses:

#28 James Carroll (LA Co. Sheriff's Department firearms expert; examined murder weapon, as well as three other firearms found, the ammunition, performed firing tests, and examined the thumb latch; testimony complete)

#29 Dr. Louis Pena (LA Co. Deputy Coroner; performed the autopsy on Ms. Clarkson; under 1st cross examination)

Accredited Press inside the courtroom: Aphrodite Jones during the morning session

Manner of Death
As a strategic move, the prosecution chose not to present evidence on manner of death in their case in chief. Under direct, Truc Do did not ask a single question of Dr. Pena on the manner of Ms. Clarkson's death or what his final determination was on the autopsy report. When the people were finished with their initial direct of Pena, they requested to approach the bench. The jury was then asked to leave the courtroom for a few minutes while the attorneys litigated an issue. Fidler ruled that until he heard arguments in a special hearing scheduled for Tuesday morning, at this time Weinberg could not cross examine Dr. Pena on suicide, manner of death or what was discussed at any meetings that were held with investigators and other coroner personnel.

I have a bit of sewing that I must get done tomorrow and I hope to update this entry on Friday evening or Saturday.

Trial Notes for December 11th, 2008. (Added December 15th) unedited draft entry

I’m all caught up with orders that needed to get shipped in time for the holidays which means I now have time to write up last Thursday’s trial notes.

I make the 8:39 am train but I don't get a seat. It’s not until two stations later that a seat opens up and I gratefully take it before the train leaves the Highland Station.

As I was coming up the walkway behind the Criminal Courts building, the Spector’s Mercedes was just entering the parking lot. The 1 (heart) Phil -moblie has a reserved parking spot in the lot directly behind the building. I don’t know if Spector has purchased a monthly contract for this lot but I do know that he pays (possibly on top of that amount) $40.00 a day to get the exact same parking spot. Those orange cones are in the spot reserving it until he arrives. This spot is one car away from the ramp entrance to the back of the building. I have some photos of this and I will put them up in the next few days.

When the Spector’s enter the building, they always go through the employee only security scanners and not the scanners for the general public. I have no idea if this is a procedure that was agreed to during the first trial, when Spector had a sheriff escort into and out of the building. Now days with no media interest, Spector has to use the public elevators and go through the second security checkpoint just like everyone else.

9:30 am: I’m inside the courtroom. Linda in San Diego tells me that she believes Juror #5 is wearing a Heath Ledger “Joker” t-shirt. I hear laughter coming from the jury room. Rachelle is intently reading or texting on her blackberry.

James Carroll and AJ enter at the same time and Carroll sits in Linda Deutsch’s regular spot in the second bench row. Linda and I chat about the Caylee Anthony case and the breaking news that the 2-year-old child’s body may have been found 15 houses away from the grandparent’s home. Linda notices that AJ is wearing his “turkey tie” again. A man in wide horizontal striped shirt enters and sits in the back row.

Jennifer Barringer is not here today. The young defense clerk who complimented me on the blog will handle the defense exhibits today. I see AJ obtain the shotgun from Wendy as well as the other weapons that have been admitted into evidence.

A little bit of laughter in the courtroom right after the jurors enter and sit down. One of the alternates left her glasses in the jury room and she asks Fidler if she can go get them.

The next witness is James Carroll, who is a firearms and tool mark expert for the LA Co. Sheriff’s Department. His duties are the analysis of firearms, ammunition and tool marks evidence. He explains all the things he does as a part of his job. He can perform serial number restoration and also examine tools and tool marks.

An older gentleman who was here yesterday joins us in the gallery.

Carroll’s duties are rather varied and he lists a whole litany of things he does as a normal part of his job. He performs serial number restoration to determine ownership and trace a weapon back to it’s origin. He also performs GSR analysis.

Carroll lists his CV and it’s extensive. He mentions all the places where he’s trained as well as taught. He’s published papers in peer review journals. In 2003 he was still an employee of the LA Co. Sheriff’s Office.

Carroll states that he first observed the weapon at the scene but he did not take custody of the weapon at that time. He first received the murder weapon on June 9th, 2003. Carroll identifies the weapon. “Would you like me to look at the weapon?” Carroll asks AJ. AJ responds, “Please take a look.” Carroll picks up the weapon and ensures that it’s “safe” to handle. He states that the weapon has been rendered “safe.” There’s a type of plastic strap through (I think) one of the chambers that is very similar to a wire tie strap. The serial number on the weapon is B66745.

AJ asks Carroll to take a look at Exhibit 36A. “I didn’t take that photo, but that’s a similar weapon [a Colt Cobra.” Carroll goes over the lab receipt and explains that the lab receipt is a unique number and is a way to track crime scene evidence. The number is assigned as the item is booked into evidence. He describes the procedure for signing the lab receipt document. Another Exhibit is put up on the ELMO and AJ is still coughing. That cold he’s been fighting has really lingered. This next photo the witness states he directed to be taken. It’s the photo of the three different handguns retrieved from the house and admitted into evidence in this case along with the ammunition that was found within the weapons.

Carroll states he did an exam, a forensic examination of the weapon. He starts his exam by recording information and documenting everything about the firearm. He documents the condition of the item, checks the safety mechanisms and weighs the trigger pull. He looks for any parts that may be missing or out of place and any modification that may have been made [at the factory]. “I test fire the weapon and compare rounds,” Carroll states.

Carroll describes the action and function of the gun to the jurors. The overall length if the gun is approximately seven inches. The barrel length is two inches.

AJ: Is this is what’s commonly known as a snub nose revolver?

JC: Yes, it is.

He explains that there is aluminum in the construction of the weapon and why it’s use. It makes the weapon lighter if you have to carry it all day. “But again, as the holder, [you] would feel more of the recoil,” Carroll testifies. “For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. [...] Because it is a lighter [weapon] steel than the heavier steel brother. [...]”

AJ: The shooter will feel more of the muzzle flip?

JC: Yes, there will be more muzzle flip and muzzle rise.

Some court personnel enter and sit in the third bench row.

Carroll testifies about ammunition and explains the various parts that make up the “cartridge case.” The bullet is the projectile, the gunpowder is the propellant, the cartridge case (shells or casings) acts as a container. In the base of the case is the primer. It’s struck, it burns the gunpowder.

Spector turns and faces the ELMO.

Carroll states that the cylinder turns before firing. It will stays in that 12 o’clock position (after firing) until someone fires again.

The court personnel leave.

AJ: What’s the significance of the hollowed out point of the bullet?

JC: That hollow cavity will help that bullet to either mushroom or expand.

The difference between a flat nose verses a hollow point is a hollow point will cost a bit more money. The mushrooming is to cause more damage to the life [target]. It will also cause it to slow more rapidly. The example of a police shooting is given. You don’t want the bullet to go through a suspect and hit another individual. Carroll states the above example is probably why they were developed.

Carroll states he test fired the weapon several times. It functions properly and within major specifications. He fired the weapon for a powder pattern analysis. He shot 24 rounds.

AJ: Does the weapon have internal or external safety mechanisms?

JC: Yes, it does. [...] It’s very common for a weapon. [This weapon] has 2 safety mechanisms. They are internal and not external. [...] It doesn’t have an external button.

The two safety mechanisms are the rebound lever and the hammer block safety. Both safety mechanisms were working perfectly [when he examined them].

Carroll describes other safety mechanisms. The golden rule of firearm safety is the forefinger. “You keep the finger off the firearm until you are ready to fire. [...] You want to treat all weapons as if they are loaded at every time. [...] If you pointed it [a weapon] at me, I’d be highly offended.”

AJ: You never, ever point a weapon at someone unless you’re ready to fire?

Objection! Over ruled!

AJ then gives several loud demonstrations to show that this gun would not fire accidentally even if it was slammed, dropped or knocked.

AJ Unless that trigger is pulled all the way to the rear, that gun would never fire? [...] Well, something would have to be in there to pull the trigger?

JC: Correct.

Carroll states he found no modifications to the weapon. Trigger pull is then discussed. Trigger pull is the amount of force to be attached to the trigger. Carroll explains how they test the trigger pull to determine the amount of weight needed to pull the trigger. It’s tested by the gram metric (?) method. Using the single action method with the hammer cocked the trigger pull is 4 to 4.5 pounds. Using the double action method, it’s 11.25 to 11.5 pounds if the hammer is already down. Hence, the two actions.

Carroll explains how they maintain integrity for test firing. There are two methods for test firing; into a tank of water or a box full of cotton batting. He used the cotton batting test firing method. Afterwards, he made an examination of the lands and groves. Carroll gives an explanation of the “rifling” of the barrel. There are groves in the barrel in a round twist pattern. “It gives a bullet spin and makes it more accurate. [...] The uncut portion is called lands. [...] The barrel will have either a right or left twist. [...] This weapon had six lands and groves and a left twist.”

Carroll describes the “head stamp” of a cartridge case and how each manufacturer will have a slightly different head stamp. He details the different head stamps the two types of ammunition had that were found at the residence and in the handguns. Carroll states that the S & W Plus P ammunition is loaded to a higher than normal pressure specifications. It means that the muzzle flip would increase recoil and muzzle flip.

10:25 am: I glance over at Rachelle sitting in the front row on the defense side. Her eyes are closed and her arms are crossed over her chest. Her blanket is wrapped around the lower part of her body.

Carroll examined the cartridge cases under a microscope. He states he looked for unique marks left by the firearm on the primer. He explains how each weapon is different in the marks they will leave.

I look on over at the jury. They watch Carroll demonstrate the weapon and they all look like they are interested in his testimony. He’s an excellent witness in that he addresses the jurors and engages their attention.

Carroll states that on the microscopic level in the manufacturing of the barrel, there are all kinds of imperfections. Carroll testifies that the empty cartridge left in the chamber was fired from this weapon.

Carroll then testifies about receiving the expended bullet that was recovered from Ms. Clarkson’s body, when it was received (2/4/03) and the “J” number attached. The bullet pieces recovered were in five fragments. Four were just lead and very small. It was badly damaged.

1o:37 am: A young nicely dressed couple enter and sit in the third row. A few moments later Sherri and Detective Tomlin enter the courtroom at the same time. Tomlin leans in and speaks to the DA’s clerk.

Carroll describes how he determined the weight of all the pieces of the bullet: 99.7 grains. There still some unrecovered mass.

Spector is still facing the ELMO.

Carroll was provided information that gunpowder was recovered from Ms. Clarkson’s hard and soft palate. He was told there was no stippling on her lip or on her face. This is often seen when firearms are fired close to the skin. Carroll testifies that the majority of gunpowder is consumed in the firing, but not all of it is. It is an incomplete process. Some comes out of the barrel in a “cone” pattern. He did test firings at specific distances to determine the size of the cone this weapon produced.

Carroll states that from his analysis the gun barrel site had to be beyond the position of Ms. Clarkson’s teeth.

The morning break is called.

A well dressed middle aged woman in a tan pantsuit enters and sits in the front row. The sheriff’s motion her to move to another row. Mrs. Clarkson and Detective Tomlin greet and exchange a few words. The very pretty woman from Tuesday comes in and sits beside me in row two. I get my courage up to ask who she is because I think it’s Aphrodite Jones. It is. She asks me if they can use blackberries in here and I tell her, “Yes. Just keep it low in your lap.”

Wendy comes out from the jury room and addresses the attorneys. “One of the jurors tells me that one of the attorney’s pointed the gun (murder weapon) directly at her and it freaked her out.” Addressing Weinberg, Wendy continues, “So, do you want her to put it in writing?” It’s juror #18. Wendy doesn’t mention who it was, and I don’t hear Weinberg answer Wendy’s question although he may have nodded his head. AJ says in a loud voice, “I know exactly who it was.” Meaning, it wasn’t him.

At 11:04 am break is over and the jurors are seated there is some exchange between the jurors in the first row and the bailiff. The jurors softly laugh and giggle. I miss what is said.

Carroll testifies that he examined the other weapons found at the residence at the Sheriff's Dept. property locations. One of the exhibit photos is of one of the handguns and a holster but it is not a Hunter type holster.

Carroll testifies about the difference between a 357 magnum and a 38. A 357 will fire 38 ammunition but not vice versa. That’s because a 357 is a “souped up” 38 special. It was manufactured after a 38 and has longer ammunition. Evidence photos of the other handgun are put up on the ELMO and identified. Both of these weapons are fully functional. Then the shotgun is entered into evidence. Carroll testifies that the shotgun has a “ribbed fore grip” and that it’s a 12 gauge pump action shotgun. There was nothing to suggest it wasn’t in working condition.

The Hunter holsters are presented into evidence. Carroll testifies that he contacted the manufacturer to date the holsters. All three Hunter holsters predate 1985, when the horn logo embossed on the holsters was changed. The holsters were all made out of leather; all the same color; all the 1100 model; all had the horn logo that predated 1985. Carroll testifies about all the ammunition found in residence and that the Speer ammo was from the same manufacture, same profile, same head stamps and the same primers. Carroll goes over the same for the S&W Plus P ammunition and that all the rounds are from the same manufacture. Carroll testifies that this ammo is somewhat uncommon.

11:26 am and direct is finished.

DW: Does keeping a gun in a holster make it more or less safe?

Objection! Over ruled!

JC: It depends.

DW: Is there anything about keeping a gun [un-holstered] more dangerous or more lethal?

JC: A holster has nothing on lethality. When you are talking about danger, I don’t know what that means.

Weinberg then points out what he perceives is a difference in his testimony from the first trial to this trial. It’s very minor but he keeps going over it. He will go over this again and again. It has to do with “recoil” and “felt recoil.”

The young couple in the third row leaves.

Weinberg asks Carroll if looking at the first trial testimony will refresh his memory. Weinberg asks him something to the effect of, ‘Is there anything that you’ve learned from the first trial that made you change your testimony?’ The witness counters Weinberg. He doesn’t believe that he’s changed his testimony. Weinberg’s tone is very confrontational now. “At the last trial, you said ‘may have’ more recoil.” There’s an objection and Fidler steps in to clarify that there are two different points here. “Recoil, and felt recoil.” Weinberg now asks a complicated question about felt, recoil, and felt recoil. Carroll states, “Recoil is something that can be measured. Felt recoil is something that you perceive.”

DW: I’m sorry. I don’t mean to argue.

Carroll holds his ground with Weinberg. He does state that he never used the words “muzzle flip” during the first trial. Carroll is asked, “If one were holding a gun firmly in their hand, a single hand, would that control the gun more?” He replies, “I don’t think we can generalize [that type of comment].”

Weinberg asks Carroll about Ms. Clarkson’s teeth and that something could have caused her front teeth, “...could have projected them eight to ten feet out of her mouth?” Carroll replies, “Please understand that I’ve never studied projectile[s] .... It’s possible.”

Weinberg then crosses Carroll on the pounds of weight needed to pull the trigger. He asks about the physical effort of curling a finger to pull and that it’s a totally different motion than pressing. When Weinberg asks him, “What about pressing with thumb[s]?” He replies, “There needs to be more to that,” meaning, he needs more information.

Weinberg then crosses him on the thumb latch. Carroll received a request from Detective Lillienfeld to examine it and determine how it became separated. He examined it and wrote a report based on what he’d been given.

DW: And you could not tell if it had been forcibly removed in any way?

JC: No. I couldn’t reach any conclusion.

Weinberg tries to ask this same question again and Carroll gives the same answer.

DW: You spoke to Dr. Lynne Herold?

JC: Well, I speak to her every day.

Weinberg then says it concerns matters in this case.

DW: You were asked to determine the muzzle of the gun’s location in relation to the mouth?

Carroll drew a simple diagram that’s put up on the ELMO. He testifies that diagram is out of context. When Weinberg asks him a question as to what it’s supposed to represent Carroll responds, “No. This is an illustration as I’m thinking on paper. It has nothing to do with it. It’s a concept on paper.”

Weinberg tries to make it like it’s a big deal that Carroll was asked to do all this testing to find out where the gun was positioned in relation to Ms. Clarkson’s mouth. Carroll states that at the time he was asked these questions, he did not know that tooth material had been found on the site, that it had been identified on the date he was asked to do the tests.

More questions about was he aware of the autopsy, was he aware that stippling had been found on the inside of the mouth. Carroll states that he had heard the term “sudo stippling.” He believes he asked about it at the time but he does not recall what he was told.

There are a few more questions about whether he would have done the test or not if he had the additional information and we break for lunch.

1:25 pm: I’m back in the courtroom. There is a strange, weathered looking man with a much younger woman (I overheard by the elevators that she is his “secretary”). He has dyed black hair a little longer than the nape of his neck. His outfit is all black if I’m remembering correctly. Someone tells me that John Amos was in the building lobby at the LAPD sign in counter. Wendy comes out and tells the attorneys that the jurors would like the lights dimmed when something is put up on the ELMO.

Bill Mahr was spotted in the 9th floor hallway down at the other end. He was wearing a juror’s badge. Fidler takes the bench for the afternoon session at 1:38 pm.

Weinberg asks about the trigger pull and the force needed to fire the weapon. Carroll agrees that some ways of applying pressure is harder than others. Weinberg asks about a part of the gun he hasn’t heard about yet and that’s the “support” under the barrel. Carroll states that part of the gun is called the “crane” of the gun. He asks Carroll about the measurement and could he determine it from the photos. “Is this something that you could do in a few moments?” Carroll replies “One or two minutes.” Weinberg addresses the court, “Your honor?” Fidler says, “No, not at all.” Meaning, sure, go ahead and take the time to figure it out.

The measurement of the crane comes out to 32 millimeters, or, just over an inch and a quarter.

Cross ends.

AJ goes back to that contentious cross earlier where Carroll kept insisting that Weinberg was taking his response out of context.

AJ: Was Mr. Weinberg putting your answer in it’s entire context of what your answers were?

Objection! Over ruled!

AJ reads the entire prior testimony into the record and Fidler lets him. It clears it up.

AJ: Was that your testimony? [...] Is that any way inconsistent with what you testified today?

JC: No.

Two older casually dressed men enter and sit in the second row.

AJ gives Carroll some examples to respond to. If your hand was on the trigger and I came up to you and startled you and put my hands o your hands, grabbed your hands... could that be enough to startle you and put enough [additional] foot pounds of pressure on the trigger?

JC: It’s certainly possible if you add up the foot pounds.

AJ then goes over the thumb lock and that it’s designed not to come off for the life of the lock. Carroll states that he’s used hundreds of them and heavier had one fall off. AJ then moves onto stippling vs sudo stippling.

AJ: Have you heard of agencies confirming their findings by testing independently through other agencies or departments?

Redirect is finished and recross begins.

Weinberg gets Carroll to admit that there was nothing that he saw or know that caused that thumb latch to come off. Many, “You don’t know” questions where Carroll answers “No.”

Weinberg then won’t let the recoil/felt recoil issue go. He goes back to it and his first trial. Weinberg says you said then, “may feel more recoil and now “will feel more recoil.” Carroll feels he’s answered this question be he said he’s willing to read his answer again.

That’s the end of recross and AJ redirects.

AJ : So let’s just ask. It’s a lighter frame; there will be more recoil?

Carroll testifies they will “feel” more recoil.

And that’s it for the firearms examiner. Truc Do calls Dr. Louis Pena to the stand.

Dr. Pena is a Los Angeles Co. medical doctor. He is a forensic specialist. When Dr. Pena takes the stand, Mrs. Clarkson leaves the courtroom for the first time in the second trial. I remember when her and Fawn left the courtroom during the first trial. It was during Dr. Pena’s testimony.

Dr. Pena testifies about the difference between anatomic pathology and forensic pathology. He goes into a little bit of his CV. He’s been a Deputy Medical examiner since 1996, also known as a coroner. He worked for a short time in San Diego for about six months. He testifies that he’s performed approximately 3,800 autopsies. About 1,000 of those were gunshot wounds. He occasionally will roll out to a crime scene. It’s uncommon, but it does happen. He’s testified in court well over 300 times.

He testifies about when he arrived at the crime scene and names the team that went with him. Dan Anderson, Jaime Lintermoot, Barbara Nelson, Richard Gijalba (sp?), the photographer. He started documenting when he arrived at the residence. He entered the residence at 7:18 pm. On the ELMO is a photo of Ms. Clarkson in the chair. Dr. Pena states he could see a weapon from the door when he looked in from the back door. He spoke to Detective Lillienfeld and states that they left the weapon so that he could see it specifically.

He did a cursory exam at the scene. He did a gross exam of her facial area and saw that her two front teeth were damaged. At the scene he palpated the back of her head to feel other areas of the head. He could feel a bone fracture coming out but not breaking the skin. He didn’t make any determination at that time.

Dr. Pena describes the steps taken to try to protect the left side of Ms. Clarkson’s jacket. He was present when the purge event happened at the coroner’s office and described what happened.

He left the crime scene at 9:30 pm.

Dr. Pena said he was able to examine her hands and fingers better at the lab. Ms. Clarkson’s right thumb was diagonally fractured. The acrylic nail cracked, but not the natural nail underneath. He didn’t visually see any powder marks on her hands. At the lab he went over Ms. Clarkson’s body with a fluoroscope light. He then X-rayed the body and found the wound track. He could see the wound going through the spinal cord and into the head. The cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head. The bullet did not exit the body.

Pena demonstrates the trajectory of the bullet using a pen on his own face and neck, opening his mouth and putting the pen in his mouth then putting the pen beside his face and neck to demonstrate the trajectory. The bullet lodged in the occiput bone (which is at the base of the skull).

The bullet went through the mouth and nicked the top of the tongue. It destroyed the soft palate. Based upon the nature of the injury and the autopsy, it will not tell you the manner of death.

A new diagram is put up on the ELMO. It’s one I’ve not seen before. It’s different than what AJ did for the first trial to show that it is impossible from the autopsy to determine “where” Lana’s head was from the track of the bullet. There is one diagram with the head straight up. A second diagram with the head tilted back some and a third diagram with the head tilted back more. So, although the trajectory of the bullet is “upwards” what that means is the bullet traveled upward, towards the head. It doesn’t mean that’s the position of the gun or the position of Lana’s head.

TD: Are you telling us that the gun was fired in an upward projection?

DLP: No.

TD: Are you telling us by this trajectory the position of the head?

DLP: No.

TD: Can you tell the position of Lana Clarkson’s head from the autopsy?

DLP: No.

TD: As a [medical examiner] you can’t tell from the autopsy what position her head was in?

DLP: Correct.

Dr. Pena testifies that he recovered more pieces of the bullet in Ms. Clarkson's esophagus.

TD: How did it break up?

DLP: From when it struck the neck bone....

An autopsy diagram is put up on the ELMO. It’s the one with the detail of the tongue and voice box area. I so remember this diagram from the first trial. Dr. Pena states that he removed the tongue “in block” which means the entire area. As I see this, I’m remembering the testimony from the first trial.

Dr. Pena testifies that the left side bruise was caused by blunt force trauma. That the wound was acute or recent. He testifies that the wounds on the very back of the throat, those did not have any depth, like the bruise on the left side of the tongue.

Dr. Pena describes the bones surrounding the spinal cord and the function of nerves at that level. The bullet went through just below the medulla. (The medulla is just below the pons. My Anatomy Coloring Book says, “The medulla contains life-sustaining control centers of respiration, heart rate and vasomotor function. Nuclei for cranial nerves VIII, IX, X, XI and XII exist here.”)

Fidler calls the afternoon break. There are several public people in the courtroom in the afternoon. There are about eight to ten people besides me, Linda from San Diego and Sherri. I can’t help it. I ask the gentleman behind me what he does. He states that he’s a “Police Reporter for news and a part time stunt man.” He says he “knows Spector real well” but he calls him Spencer. He doesn’t get the name right. Spector doesn’t acknowledge him during the break and he talks to his “secretary” as if he doesn’t know him. He didn’t no say for which paper he worked, so I’m doubtful he’s part of the accredited press. He did have an old, official looking ID that might have been issued by some police department clipped to the middle of his shirt. I saw the word police on it, but could not tell what type of ID it was.

2:55 pm: The white haired man, Harvey, enters. Sherri’s friend Robin arrives. The part time stunt man goes over to speak to Harvey. I finally take the time to note what Spector is wearing today. It’s a dark navy blue suit for a change with a dark blue striped shirt, and dark blue tie and blue kerchief. Spector comes over to where Rachelle is sitting to speak to her.

At 3:00 pm the jury is called. The part time stunt man is still talking too loud to his secretary as the jury enters and I turn around and visibly put my finger to my lips to let him know he needs to be quiet.

When the break is over, Truc resumes her direct examination. Dr. Pena explains that the spinal cord is the “information highway. It’s how message get to and from the body.” Dr. Pena states that Ms. Clarkson experienced a complete dissection of the spinal cord. She was immediately incapacitated. He talks about soot and sudo stippling on the inside of her mouth. He states that Ms. Clarkson had recently had her teeth redone. The sudo stippling was on her inner lips, the upper and lower areas. It was caused by the shattering of her porcelain crowns and maybe a little by the bullet. The stippling was on the inside plane of the teeth.

Dr. Pena describes the bruising he found on the left hand. The bruise was 1/2” x 1.” It was significant an the back side of the left and and it was recent or acute. He saw bruising on the right wrist on the medial surface, the pinky finger side. The bruise is very visible in the photo. It’s a nice purple color. It’s 1/2 x 1/2 of an inch.

There is a bruise further up on the forearm, but no more on the wrist area. Dr. Pena incised them. They were very recent 1/4” in diameter and very red inside which indicates to him they were fresh.

I see Juror #5 take some notes on Dr. Pena’s testimony right then.

Dr. Pena testifies that the bruises on the wrists, their location would be consistent with being grabbed. All the bruises, all are about the same. The blood is fresh. He could see red blood cells. The bruises have not been there for days since there is no inflammation. The bruises range from zero to 12 to 24 hours, but not days. In his view, they are all in the same age range. In his medical opinion they are consistent with a struggle. They are all of the same age and occurred in the same event.

Truc then asks Dr. Pena about the age of the bruises on the tongue. Dr. Pena thinks they are of the same age and event.

The prosecution then states they have nothing further and ask to approach the bench. I can see that Weinberg is upset at the bench. The jury is asked to step out of the courtroom. Weinberg asks that Dr. Pena step out of the courtroom.

The prosecution is asking the judge to limit the cross examination of Dr. Pena to just the areas the prosecution covered in their direct. If Mr. Weinberg wishes to bring Dr. Pena back to ask him about the manner of death, he can do so within his own case.

Weinberg states that he does not intend to go into suicide.

The prosecution asks that Weinberg not ask (as part of their case) questions about what went on in the meetings with other coroner’s and detectives on the case.

I have in my notes, “cause of death” but nothing else. Weinberg is shaking his head as he often does when he doesn’t agree with something that he hears. He feels that he’s entitled to ask about the meetings.

The prosecution states that beyond the scope of direct, if he wants to bring of a case of suicide, he should do it within his own case.

Weinberg is very unhappy. He says, “At the very last minute they decided not to ask a question they've been fighting to ask.”

I think Fidler at this point asks Weinberg, “What are you going to ask?”

Truc says, “I think it’s completely disingenuous to file a motion that this defense...” (This is about when the defense filed a motion to prohibit Dr. Pena from even testifying, and if he did testify, that he couldn’t testify about suicide because he didn’t do a psychological autopsy.)

Fidler says, “First of all, we don’t want to litigate [this]. We don’t need to do it right now. [...] I want to have a further hearing on it. On Tuesday, when we come back. I’m asking you not to get into it right now. [...] These meetings may or may not be relevant to cross exam. “ So Fidler tells Weinberg at this point, he can not ask these questions. It doesn’t mean that he will never be allowed to ask; just not at this time until he hears further arguments.

From the expression on Weinberg's face you can tell he is not happy with Fidler’s ruling.

3:35 pm Weinberg begins his cross.

Over and over and over from the beginning of his cross, Weinberg asks question after question after question to point out that Dr. Pena could not determine cause of death from the autopsy. Dr. Pena states that in Los Angeles County he gets requests to visit the crime scene three to four times a year. Sometimes he’s called by the investigator; sometimes he’s called by the coroner’s team. But when he was in San Diego for those six months, he was called out every week.

Pena testifies that yes, before he came into the house, he was briefed by LIllienfeld. He was told about the “confession.”

DW: Looking at that scene, could you tell if it was a suicide or a homicide?

DLP: No.

Dr. Pena states that he couldn’t determine at the scene if it was an intra oral wound. He was hoping it was outside the mouth because that would make it easier to determine homicide verses suicide.

DW: The medical evidence couldn’t tell if it was a homicide or a suicide?

DLP: Correct.

Question after question after question about this issue.

He couldn’t tell who was holding the gun or who shot Lana Clarkson. There was no stippling, there was only sudo stippling. He couldn’t tell if the lips were tightly or loosely around the gun. There was no blunt force on the lips or mouth. There was no evidence of any hard blow to the outside of the mouth. He measured Ms. Clarkson and her height was 5’ 11.” He states her weight but I could not tell if he said 151 or 161 pounds.

Weinberg asks him when he did the autopsy, and gets him to state that he did not issue a report until seven months later.

Weinberg asks again, “There was nothing that medically changes your opinion?”

Weinberg then tells the judge that’s as far as he can go (with the limitations imposed on him) and then Fidler releases the jury until 10:30 am, on Tuesday.

The jury leaves and Dr. Pena leaves. AJ has just two issues. AJ hands the special subpoenas for the expert fees to Weinberg. Fidler states he needs to know if evidence of a psychological autopsy is even allowed. He needs some research on that. He also needs to know what went n in the meetings that Dr. Pena attended. Because the prosecution brought up the possibility of a struggle, what went on in the meetings may come in via cross. Fidler states that he wants to know if the discussions biased him. If so, then the discussions will come in.

And that’s it. Court resumes at 9:30 am Tuesday so that Fidler can hear arguments on the issues that were just discussed.