UPDATED 7:20 PM: Edited for clarity and errors.
UDATED 2-12-12 for spelling.
Sherri Rae Rasmussen, victim
Yesterday, Mr. Sprocket told me more bad news. Besides the broken valve springs, the engine had also blown a head gasket. So more time for the repair and more ka-ching. I told Mr. Sprocket that we have so much time invested in my little old Toyota, we’re never getting rid of it.
Yesterday before court started, Pat LaLama introduced me to her husband, defense attorney Anthony Brooklier. It was like old home week since my colleague and friend Steven Mikulan (now writing for LA Magazine) came to court for the morning session. I adore Steven and think he is a fabulous writer. During the first Spector trial, I used to print out Steven’s articles in the LA Weekly for Dominick Dunne to read while we waiting for trial to start. Dominick appreciated that because he would get frustrated when he couldn’t find them on the Internet. If you ever want to read a very witty slant on that first trial, search for Mikulan’s Spector coverage in the LA Weekly archives.
The number of reporters covering the Lazarus case has really thinned out since opening statements. There are several available seats for the general public for those of you who have expressed an interest in seeing the trial in person. CNN corespondent Ann O’Neill was pulled off the story. ABC 20/20 producer Lisa Tomaselli and I had a working lunch in the cafeteria together on Wednesday, both of us on our laptops. It was 1 o’clock before I finished answering my mail. Lisa has so many other stories she’s trying to juggle and probably won’t be here for much of the science. Lisa is not interested in the science whereas, I love it. One of my inspirations is criminalist Dr. Lynne Herold. I’ve been fascinated by science since my teens. I paid rapt attention when a blood spatter expert testified in the Robert Blake trial as well as when Steven Dowell from the coroner’s office testified about using an electron microscope to find gunshot residue (GSR).
8:00 AM Today
I'm finally up on the 9th floor, waiting for the security station to open. When it opens I go directly to the courtroom to leave my sweater in the spot where I'd like to sit, then come out to the hallway to write. Sherri's family is here and I just saw Scott Young enter the courtroom. I smile and wave at Dateline producer Robert Dean who's just arrived. The rest of the hallway is empty. People are starting to go in so I'll try to post an update on the morning witnesses at the first break.
UPDATE 10:24 AM
My friends in the MSM tell me that Overland stated in his opening statement that the torn bite mark envelope was not sealed.
This morning we had three new witnesses. #13 William Moore, LAPD criminalist who collected evidence from the stolen BMW. #14 Leona Thomas, Retired LAPD traffic officer who located Sherri Rasmussen's BMW. #15 ALICIA RAMIREZ, coroner office evidence room custodian who found the bite mark swab envelope.
UPDATE 2:38 PM
I have to tell you that during the first break, while I was trying to publish an update, Mark Overland comes over to me and introduces himself. I was so caught off guard, I don’t even remember if I told him my name. He tells me that he noticed that I’ve been here every day and he just wanted to come over to introduce himself. I’m almost tongue tied. I explain to him that I’m quite shy, and I usually don’t introduce myself to people. It’s because of a bad experience I had at the Phil Spector trial. I tell him that the Spector’s took photographs of me and posted them on the Internet. Mark smiles and tells me that he would never do that. I explain again that I’m just very shy and that it’s not my personality to introduce myself to people.
After the break, we had #16 Jackie Garcia Partida, who worked in the coroner’s office property/evidence room in 2004 with Alicia. #17 Dan Anderson, LA County Deputy Coroner, supervising criminalist who requested the evidence/property department do a search for the bite mark swab and repackaged the envelope.
UPDATE 5:45 PM
In the afternoon session, there were witnesses that were presented out of order of the prosecution's case, since some of the witnesses they had planned for the afternoon had ill children and were ill themselves.
The next three witnesses were the internal affairs undercover unit that surreptitiously collected a DNA sample from Stephanie Lazarus on May 28th, 2009. #18 Roberto Morales, LAPD Detective, in 2009 worked Internal Affairs Dept., on undercover investigations. Collected the cup Lazarus discarded and another in the trash and placed them in a manila envelope. #19 Dante Palacio, LAPD in 2009, worked Internal Affairs Dept., on undercover investigations. Provided the envelope for the two cups that Morales collected. Took possession of the envelope and closed it with the metal clasp. #20 Sargent Jim Hensely, LAPD Internal Affairs surveillance officer, took possession of the envelope from Palacio and delivered it to a supervisor at the LAPD crime lab, Mr. Yamauchi.
After the DNA sample collection guys, the LAPD crime lab DNA analyst #21 Jennifer Francis, who conducted the DNA extraction tests on several blood sample items at the scene and the bite mark swab took the stand. She's still under direct examination at the end of the court day. We start tomorrow at 8:45 am.