Kelly Soo Park, in custody 2010
Commenting on Verdict Watch, Day 2 has been closed.
I will be answering questions on the Park case over the weekend. Leave a comment on this entry or email me at:
sprocket.trials AT gmail.com.
I will add your comment to the blog post then answer your question here. If there is some issue of law you don't quite grasp, or are want to know something about the trial, I will try my best to answer.
Any requests to converse privately, off the record will be honored.
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Anon @ 8 AM asked:
Indeed, she deserves it! My question out of curiosity is, how much does a trial like this one usually cost the tax payers? This seems like a short trial, is there any way to know the cost?
Thank you! The District Attorney's office does not keep track of how many man hours are spent or the particular salaries of those involved on a particular case. I do not know if the California Superior Court tracks the cost of providing a courtroom and support staff for each case that is charged.
Anon @ 9:23 AM asked:
I am wondering in your opinion if the fact that the jury is asking again for read back if that is a good sign for the prosacution or the defense?
That is very difficult to say. We won't know unless they decide to talk to us when the trial is completed. What it does tell us, that the jury is deliberating. They are taking their job seriously.
Here is a possible scenario. Understand, this is just a guess. I don't have insight into juries, because like I said, juries will surprise you. I've had veteran detectives tell me that after 20 years, they still don't get juries. It's possible that one juror believes they heard a witness make a particular statement about evidence. Another juror believes they heard the witness say something else. They ask for a read back of the testimony to determine what the witness actually said. See?
Thank you for your effort in attending this trial and documenting the details that bring it alive to of all of us far away. This is slightly off topic to the actual trial, but I find the back story (the mysterious Dr. Uwaydah) as interesting as the trial. Per your earlier post, Dr. Uwaydah is currently beyond the reach of US authorities, but what about his assets Has he relinquished all interest in his US businesses?
It is so obvious he is the force behind the murder. It may have been initially planned as an intimidation and then got out of hand. Any other associates of mysterious Dr. Uwaydah have murdered or missing loved ones?
In previous pretrial hearings, the prosecution has stated there is an ongoing, open investigation into Dr. Uwaydah and his business practices. The defense tried to get the evidence from that ongoing investigation turned over to them. Judge Kennedy denied that motion. It is unknown at this time what the extent of that investigation is, and whether or not there are other deaths linked to Dr. Uwaydah in some way. I have heard unconfirmed reports that Dr. Uwaydah has threatened at least one other former girlfriend. Like I said, for me, this is unconfirmed.
If I have paid attention in court, and to the charging document against Park, it is my understanding that Dr. Uwaydah had very little in the way of business assets in the US that were in his name. But understand, I don't know anything about that other investigation. That's just my understanding, and I could be wrong about that. We know that Golden State Pharmacy that he said he owned was not in his name. I'm sorry that I don't have a better answer for you.
Edited to add: Dr. Uwaydah is listed on the corporation documents for four companies. That's in the charging documents.
Anon @ 10:36 AM asked:
Sprocket, do you have an opinion as to how this murder occurred? Do you think it was a harassment gone bad. or premeditated? Could she have been jealous of Juliana? Thank you for sharing if you can.
I usually don't give an opinion as to what may happened, when there isn't eye witness testimony or a crime scene analyst to give their opinion. I just report what is presented in pretrial motions and the testimony from witnesses at trial.
In voir dire, the prosecution told the jury that under the law, they were not required to provide the jury with a motive, to prove a crime occurred.
However, I recommend reading the people's Motion to Admit Other Conduct (1101b), page 10. That's where the people outline their theory as to why they believe Park committed the crime.
In regards to premeditation. I would just invite T&T readers to think about how long it would take, to complete the act of manual strangulation, including the injuries that the coroner documented Juliana suffered. I don't believe it's the same as a gun accidentally going off in a struggle.
I do not feel I have enough information at this time to comment on the possibility of jealousy. I hope that helps.
Anon @ 8:46 PM asked:
Hi, my question is about the bail. If people put up homes, savings etc on behalf of the defendant, and she is convicted, do they get the money back or is it just gone? And if she were to run off, are those folks then responsible for the rest of the 3 million? Just curious how it all works...how do bail bonds folks make a living? Is it off the percentages given up front?
I really don't know that much about bail bonds, but I will share what I believe is correct information. What I do know is there are several kinds. Besides cash, real property can be offered as a bond, but I believe there are certain guidelines on how that property is valued, if a lien is put on that property by the county. I do remember during the first Spector trial, right before the trial, the defense wanted to "switch" the 1 million cash bond Spector had paid, to a real property lien. I remember Judge Fidler telling the defense something about what needed to be done to document the value the property so that it would be accepted in lieu of 1 million cash. My understanding is, you just can't "say" a property you have is worth such and such, and the court will accept that. The court may require an independent valuation of real property that meets strict guidelines before it can be used in liew of a cash bond.
Let me be clear. I did not cover this case back in 2010 when Park was trying to make bail, so I don't have first person knowledge as to what happened, what was offered for bail and how the rulings went.
I do know that Park has paid a bail bondsman Josh Herman, a fee to put up her bond. I've met him and spoken to him. He has attended many of the pretrial hearings and has shown up at court for some of the trial.
It's my understanding that in the bail bond industry, the fee is usually 10% of the bail amount. I don't know how standardized that amount is in the industry for large bond's such as Park's. That % fee is how a bail bondsman makes his living.
It's my understanding that back in September 2010, there was, what is commonly called a 1275 hearing before the judge to inquire about the source of the funds for Park's bond. Supposedly at that hearing, Park only paid Herman 3.5% of the 3.5 million instead of the usual 10%. Herman could have accepted liens on real property from Park's relatives and friends that made up that 3.5%. I don't know if that happened or not, but it's possible. If Park tried to skip and fled the country, Herman would be out his 3.5 million.
If there was property from Park's friends and family, that was used to pay part or all of Herman's fee, (and I don't know if there was or not) it's a good bet he would go after that property to recoup his 3.5 million loss.
Here is some information about bail bonds from Herman's web site.
Anon @ 5:20 PM asked:
Do you think it is possible for a premediatated conviction when there is no weapon involved? Personally, I don't. From what was presented, it looks like this was a fight to the death, and the larger person won. Let's not forget, it could have ended up the other way around.
However, part of me thinks the Ronnie Case person was in the room, probably for intimidation reasons. This concept is not too much of a stretch since we know he was in the area. Perhaps he left his cell phone in the car.
Answer: First degree murder & premeditation.
Let me explain a little about felony murder in the California Penal Code 187. I recommend reading 187 at the link to understand how the law was written. First degree murder requires premeditation. There is nothing in the code that requires a use of a firearm, or knife, or baseball bat to qualify for first degree murder.
DDA Stacy Okun-Wiese explained it well in her closing argument, when she talked about the options Park had, after Juliana went unconscious from being strangled. That she could have stopped and called 911, at any point during the attack.
There does not need to be a lot of time, in order to prove premeditation. All that is needed is to prove, is that there was time for the defendant charged, to chose a different course.
Here are my notes of Okun-Wiese's closing arguments where she argues the defendant is guilty of first degree murder.
For 1st degree, it’s the peoples finding in this case, you must find the defendant harbored expressed malice, that she acted with willful deliberate determination.
Okun-Wiese explains, willful:
You are doing an act on purpose. Deliberate. You weighed the pros and cons of your actions, before you did the act. Premeditation, means you thought about the act before hand. There is no time requirement to find deliberate or premeditation.
Okun-Wiese gives an example of driving, to explain premeditation.
You're coming to an intersection. And you’re faced with a yellow light. Should I go through that yellow light, and get to my destination quicker, and risk a ticket. Or, should I slow down, and get to my destination safe. That determination, is premeditation.
Dr. Pena could not give you an exact time, (how long it would take for Juliana to become unconscious) a couple minutes, or a couple seconds. Her hyoid bone was completely fractured. He said you would have to be pressing on the neck with both hands. At any time she had her hands around Juliana’s neck, she could have stopped. She could have called 911. She had ample opportunity to think about her actions. That is willful deliberation on the behalf of the defendant.
Anon @ 3:58 PM asked:
What happened to Juliana's dog?
I don't know. My best guess would be, her family or one of her girlfriends adopted her dog.
Anon @ 8:55 AM asked:
Hi and thank you for the great coverage...I just wanted to comment...This is really an interesting situation, because, I for myself had been following this trial, and, I had heard in the press and read in some of the reports you posted about Ms. Park harassing others and threatening them, and I also read elsewhere about her being accomplished in martial arts, I don't know if that's true or not. As an outsider, hearing those things fills in the gaps for me of premeditation and use of the hands as a weapon. It must be difficult as a juror who has not heard or read those things, (I don't believe they have, correct me if I am wrong)to come to a first degree conviction...I know it would be hard for me, even though, of course she could have stopped choking her, and, she herself decided to cross that line, its hard for the average person like me to get their head around especially as conditioned as we are from TV etc. We are so conditioned to a weapon being something besides us, and premeditation being akin to planning to kill ahead of time...I feel for those jurors, and they seem as though they are really trying hard to do the right thing.
According to the way the law is written, it doesn't require a lot of time or thought to prove premeditation. DDA Okun-Wiese's explanation to the jurors was accurate. The time it takes you, to choose between running through a yellow traffic light and risking a ticket verses slowing down, is all the time needed to prove premeditation. Here are excerpts from the California Penal Code covering the charge of murder.
Cal. Penal Code 187 defines murder.
187. (a) Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.
Cal. Penal Code 188 defines malice.
188. Such malice may be express or implied. It is express when there is manifested a deliberate intention unlawfully to take away the life of a fellow creature. It is implied, when no considerable provocation appears, or when the circumstances attending the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart. When it is shown that the killing resulted from the intentional doing of an act with express or implied malice as defined above, no other mental state need be shown to establish the mental state of malice aforethought. Neither an awareness of the obligation to act within the general body of laws regulating society nor acting despite such awareness is included within the definition of malice.
Cal Penal Code 189 states that use of a destructive device, explosive, or weapon of mass destruction is automatically first degree. However, 189 goes onto define premeditation.
189. To prove the killing was "deliberate and premeditated," it shall not be necessary to prove the defendant maturely and meaningfully reflected upon the gravity of his or her act.
Does everyone see that? It means that it does not take a long period of time to prove premeditation. All the prosecution needs to show is that there was time to make a decision process.
Anon @12:39 PM asked:
I understand the law and the DA s statement abou the interpretation of this law. But I wonder if there are one or two jurors don't understand it. If so will it result in a hung jury even though every single jurors agree she is the murderer? They just can't agree on which option for conviction?
Based on their request for read back of testimony, does it help the defense or the prosecution? It seems that if thy are still asking about transfer DNA, it's possible that they don't understand the nature of DNA?
Like I said before, all jurors must agree on the same verdict or that results in a hung jury. In the Cameron Brown first trial, the verdict was split between first degree, second degree and involuntary. Although everyone voted for guilt, the jury couldn't agree on the charge. In the Cameron Brown second trial, it was split evenly between second degree and involuntary. Same thing. When jurors cannot agree on the verdict, it results in a hung jury. That's the law in criminal trials. 12 jurors must agree for a verdict to be reached.
I cannot say what the request for DNA testimony read back meant. It would be irresponsible for me to speculate. We won't know unless the jurors decide to speak when the trial is over, and talk about their deliberations.
Towards the end of the day Friday, the jurors asked for more testimony to be read back. From what I overheard, it sounds like there are several things they want read back. We don't know what that additional testimony is. We'll find out when the prosecution and defense go on the record at 11:00 AM, Tuesday. Hopefully we will find out what their specific request is. All it says to me at this point is that the jurors are still deliberating. So far, they have not sent out a note to the judge that they are deadlocked, and to me, that's a good thing.