Gagnon Lite: by ritanita
I heard Monday, March 10th that jury selection was underway for the Gagnon trial. Gagnon trial? To be quite honest, I’d missed the "heads up" about this one and hadn’t a clue as to what was going on. Then, Trials & Tribulations received a note from a loyal reader asking if we were following the trial here on the blog.
I didn’t have a chance to follow the entire trial, but it certainly got my attention! Apparently, Richard Gagnon was on trial in South Carolina for murdering Diane and Charles Parker, the mother and stepfather of his then girlfriend, Bambi Bennett. The murder occurred sometime in the evening of April 11-12, 2005. Mrs. Parker was found in the bedroom, Mr. Parker in the bathroom. Both had been shot to death and the crime scene was an awful bloody mess. Originally, Bambi Bennett had been charged and spent six months in jail. The charges against her were dropped due to the lack of DNA evidence. Gagnon went to trial based on three drops of blood found on the bottom of his otherwise clean Rebock sneakers which was the blood of the late Charles Parker. In addition, there was the testimony of a co-worker who testified that Gagnon had told him information that "only the murderer would know." That information seemed to be that there was blood evidence from a third person, who has never been identified. The prosecution also had the testimony of a jailhouse snitch, Robert Mullins.
By the end of the first day of trial, the jury had been selected and the opening arguments given.
On Tuesday, March 11, the prosecution presented their case and rested.
The only witness I heard was the snitch, Robert Mullins, who has spent most of his adult life in prison.. He told the court that, since his most recent incarceration, he’d found religion while working in the prison chapel and only wanted to do the "right thing." He ducked and bobbed and said he wanted nothing in return. He claimed that Gagnon had told him all about the crime scene and knew things that only the murderer would know. It turns out his parole hearing was the day following his testimony! Who would’ve thought that? The strongest evidence he could offer were letters he and Gagnon had exchanged.
This viewer wasn’t impressed with him at all!
I’m sorry I missed another defense witness, Gagnon’s mother, who testified as to his relationship with Bambi Bennett.
On Wednesday, March 13, the defense presented its case. The main feature was the testimony of Gagnon himself. Unfortunately, the live feed was shut down just as he was beginning to testify!
That evening, I learned that the defense had rested it’s case.
Closing arguments were given on Thursday, March 14. Again, I was unable to watch them in their entirety. I do know that the solicitor (as they call prosecutors in South Carolina), spoke very, very, very slowly and walked around with the pair of Rebock sneakers which contained the damning blood on the soles with his bare hands!
After jury instruction, the jury went out to deliberate. They came back with their decision at about 7 PM. Guilty on all counts! After a brief recess, the court reconvened and sentence was passed. Two life sentences and 30 years for burglary (to be served concurrently with the life sentence in count 1.
Trial over, justice meted out, or what?
I am by no means making fun of a very serious trial. As I listened to bits and pieces and followed it online, I had a deep feeling there were some very serious flaws in this entire trial. Here were some of my concerns:
The original police investigation was very flawed. The crime scene was released the same afternoon and the defendant entered the house to retrieve Bambi’s mother’s purse to get car keys so they could get home. Bambi had left her keys in a different police car.
Both Bambi and Gagnon spent a great deal of the day of the murder in "the barn" with the people who found the bodies. There was a great deal of discussion about the crime and what the people saw in the crime scene.
The only forensic evidence in this case are those drops of blood on the soles of Gagnon’s sneakers. There was no blood evidence on his clothes or in his car. There was no murder weapon and the gun at the scene was not tested.
Bambi and her mother had a contentious relationship over property and money. Her mother was also contesting the custody of Bambi’s children.
There are absolutely NO witnesses who can place Gagnon at the crime scene.
Bambi Bennett was not called by either side to testify. The solicitor stated on television that he didn’t use her because her testimony might not totally help their case. I’m going to assume the defense didn’t use her for the same reason.
Bambi was all over the TV screen yesterday and today and she didn’t strike me as the kind of person I would want to vouch for me! She claimed her aunt lied on the stand and that she wasn’t having problems with her mother. They were doing just fine, thank you. She finally admitted that she thought her ex-boyfriend killed her parents. Is she all over the place or what! Oh, and she did inherit about $700,000.
Bambi isn’t out of the woods, anyway. She could still be charged in the murder if more evidence is found.
I’m sure there are more things that bother me, but they are too numerous to mention at this point.
Oh yes! I do remember ONE little detail. There was blood at the crime scene that didn’t match any of those involved. The police are running the DNA every day to find a match. See? There is someone else out there who may have pulled the trigger!
If you would like more information about the trial, go to:
Myrtle Beach Online Reporter Kurt Knapek blogged the trial live. Enjoy!