Kelly Soo Park at opening statements, May 13th
Jury deliberations continue today in the Kelly Soo Park murder trial. Park was ordered back by Judge Kennedy at 9:00 AM. Yesterday, the jury requested a read back of testimony. The specific testimony requested is unknown at this time.
There were some questions left on yesterday's entry after I went to bed, and I will address them here. Commenting on yesterday's entry is now closed.
Park's defense counsel tried several times to introduce into evidence testimony about John Gilmore. Each time, Judge Kennedy ruled that evidence did not meet the California Evidence Code rules of evidence for 3rd Party Culpability. Let me see if I can explain. In California, like in other states, there are rules regarding what evidence can be admitted at trial. Certain types of evidence must meet a standard.
If you watch crime or legal dramas on TV, and are relying on those shows for your understanding of the law, you will be lost. I've watched many crime dramas over the years. I have yet to watch a single crime or legal drama on TV, that gets the technical details, such as rules of evidence, 100% right.
Just because Juliana dated someone who had a temper, does not mean that fact can be presented to the jury. Just because that person may have gotten into arguments with the victim in the past, threw some furniture, etc., doesn't mean you can tell that to a jury. For that fact to come before a jury, before counsel can point the finger at someone else, there must be a connecting event, a nexus, between that person and the alleged crime. There must be some type of evidence that indicates John Gilmore could be the perpetrator, before you can tell the jury he had a temper when he dated Juliana. The fact that he dated Juliana, that's not a connector to the crime.
Santa Monica PD investigated John Gilmore. The prosecution stated in pretrial arguments, that John Gilmore had a solid alibi for the night of the murder. It's my understanding that Gilmore has several witnesses who would swear to his whereabouts at the time of the murder. It's my understanding that LE has John Gilmore on store video cameras throughout some of that time period. John Gilmore's DNA was not found at the crime scene. Juliana was manually strangled. Male DNA was not found around Juliana's neck. The only male DNA that was found on Juliana, was on her breasts and belonged to Brian Van Holt. Holt testified he had intimate contact with Juliana on the evening of March 14th, almost 24 hours before she was murdered.
The defense failed to present evidence to Judge Kennedy that showed a nexus between John Gilmore and the crime.
Although amylase was found in the sexual assault kit swabs, no sperm was found. The only male DNA that was found in the sexual assault kit swabs was on Juliana's breasts and was connected to Brian Van Holt. Just finding amylase is not a nexus to John Gilmore.
The jury will base it's verdict on the facts presented at trial. From the testimony I've heard so far, I don't see how, Juliana's sexual relationships in the last few days or weeks of her life, have anything to do with the crime. So what if Juliana was dating two people at the same time. So what. In my opinion, to bring that up in a negative way, is passing judgement on Juliana's life style, and is an attempt to trash a murder victim. I will not approve another comment that attempts to trash the victim of murder.
I will not attempt to predict what Park decides to do over the weekend if a verdict is not reached today. I will update when I reach the 9th floor.
I am inside Dept. 109. Juliana's parents, Greg and Patricia are here along with other family members. Park arrived a few moments ago. There are a few other supporters here with her. The camera operators are setting up their equipment. Jurors are starting to file in. Terri Keith from City News is here. Tom Chronister, Park's husband arrived. Park is wearing a tailored blue and white striped shirt with a white collar and white cuffs. She just got up to speak to Kassabian in he well area of the court.
Juliana's supporters are wearing pink ribbons on their clothing. Court is expected to resume some time after 9:00 AM. There are not very many people here at the moment, but it's expected it will get packed soon.
The standard of justice in the US, in regards to criminal charges is there must be a unanimous verdict among 12 jurors. Civil cases are a different matter. For this case, this trial, the jurors have three choices. First degree felony murder (premeditation), second degree felony murder (implied or expressed malice), or not guilty. If the jurors do not reach a unanimous verdict, the jury is considered hung. They can deliberate as long as they want. There is no standard time frame, for jurors to deliberate. If they reach an impasse, the judge can order them back to deliberate. However, if they still unable to reach a verdict then a mistrial would be declared. It is the prosecution's decision whether or not to refile the case at that time.
An older gentleman sitting with the Redding group has his arm around Patricia Redding. More people arrive and sit with the group they are supporting. Greg Fisher from CBS enters the courtroom and takes a seat with the rest of the journalists sitting by the door.
Two beefy looking black men enter Dept. 109. The bailiff gets up and asks the men what they're here for. They ask about a robbery case. I believe the bailiff tells them there hasn't been a robbery case in this courtroom in two weeks. They leave. More jurors enter and go back to the jury room.
I do not know how much Park paid the bail bondsman to post her bail. The standard in the industry is, I believe, 10%.
Buzz! Buzz! The bailiff enters the jury room to inquire. I'm guessing the jurors are all here.
It is unknown what type of arrangement Park has with her bail bondsman.
I hear the clerk say that everyone (jurors) are here.
Park takes a seat at the defense table. We are almost ready. The courtroom is not as packed as I thought it would be.
Judge Kennedy takes the bench.
Good morning! On the record with the mater of people verses court.
Have a question from the jury.
Read back of Annette McCall (DNA analyst)
The read back is requesting her testimony about:
Can not be excluded.
Object never touched.
(I think one other statement.)
JK: Is there an agreement except for one part.
SOW: Feels the testimony about the amount of DNA on the cell phone, the number of cells should not be included.
Talking about 15 additional lines. On page 67. People would have them stop, and we would have them (the read back) continue there.
Judge Kennedy reads the transcript.
JK: I don’t see any problem with reading those additional lines.
The court reporter will read back the testimony.
Lori buzzes the jurors to enter the courtroom. The bailiff gets the alternates out in the hallway.
JK: We have all 12 jurors and alternates present. ... We have the testimony for you. Lori will sit up in the witness stand to read back that testimony for you.
This direct examination of Ms. McCall by Okun-Wiese
What was the purpose of swabbing the tank top?
To obtain DNA sample.
Neck swab result.
Judge Kennedy asks that Lori slow down a little bit. Judge Kennedy sees that a juror is indicating for Lori to slow down.
(This testimony is all about the profiles found on the DNA testing of the tank top, and the neck, the cell phone. I am not going to retype all this testimony. I did that once already. I'll just type highlights. Sprocket.)
These DNA samples (from the neck, cell phone, tank top) were all a mixture of major and minor profiles of two females.
The unknown profile, was consistent on all items.
There were several items tested for blood. One such item was a latent fingerprint card, other items came from a vehicle.
Testimony about the blood evidence found on the latent print card. That item, had a single profile. The blood drop was a nice round circular stain. It did not look like a swipe.
Kelly Park could not be excluded as a source of the DNA on the latent print card.
Frequency estimate. Explains how the frequency is determined.
The frequency of choosing someone who cannot be eliminated from the DNA. It is the sample, not the defendant’s profile, the frequency of choosing an individual at random, is more rare, than one in one-trillion individuals. So, in order to get one-trillion, you have to add more than 3 billion people on the earth, now.
So, statistically speaking, it would take us a while to get someone with the exact same profile. So, at a minimum, you would have to add three more billion people on the earth, to get to this profile?
I determine (Park) could not be excluded as the major contributor to the cell phone. It is more rare than one in one-trillion individuals.
Now about the stove knob. Kelly park could not be excluded as the minor contributor of the right front stove knob. It is more rare than one in 20 thousand individuals.
Now, front and back of the tank top. Kelly Park could not be excluded as the minor contributor on the back and front of the tank top. It is more rare than one in 200 billion individuals.
Now the neck swab. Kelly Park could not be excluded as the minor contributor to the neck swab. Is more rare than one in 300 million.
Cross examination by Kassabian is read.
Question, Primary transfer one person moving the DNA along. Secondary transfer is another person moving that DNA along.
It is possible.
Question about the DNA on the door knob. It also depends on how much DNA I have on my own hand as well.
Can you tell the method of deposit of the cells (from? in?) the DNA? I cannot tell how that DNA got there.
You cannot tell if by a direct deposit, or secondary deposit. Tertiary, you might be able to tell. It depends on many factors.
Swab from Ms. Redding's neck was a mixture. Yes. And Ms. Park cannot be excluded as a minor? Correct.
Now the tank top front.
Ms. Park cannot be excluded as a minor contributor? Correct.
Back of the tank top.
Are you able to tell us or render an opinion where on the cell phone the DNA was.
I cannot say that. I did not collect the sample.
It seems like there was over over a nano-gram of DNA on the cell phone. Approximately talking about 200- 250 cells? Correct.
Ms. Brooks did not match the samples from the tank top, cell phone and other items in this case?
Re Examination by prosecution.
For the single source profiles, only one source.
When talking about the cell phone, when there was a mixture, that is more rare than one in one trillion.
The frequency is more rare, than one in one trillion people. This is a frequency estimate.
That profile, is those 15 loci, that match up?
The single source profile, that you contained from Park, is consistent with the cell phone. ... with the profile on the front and back of the tank top. ....with the neck sample. .... with the stove knob. ....with the door knob. There were six different samples that contained that specific profile.
Defense asks to approach. Sidebar.
Judge Kennedy directs the jurors to return to the jury room. She also tells the alternates that they are doing a great job, and directs them back to where they previously were. The alternates leave the courtroom.
Judge Kennedy says that all jurors have left the courtroom and we will continue to wait. Judge Kennedy leaves the bench. DDA Okun-Wiese leaves the courtroom.
Park and her attorneys confer.
9:40 AM End.
It's back to being quiet in the courtroom again. Okun-Wiese and her clerks are chatting with Patricia Redding. Park and Chronister left the courtroom for a moment.
Park enters Dept. 109. The courtroom has thinned out a bit. Terri Keith had other cases to cover. Luz from Dateline is here. Okun-Wiese and Detective Thompson are at the prosecution table. People in the gallery are reading books, magazines. Others are engaged with their cell phones. It's now quite boring in the gallery.
An attorney enters the courtroom and goes up to the clerk. "I am so sorry. I am so sorry," she says. She explains her delay. She then sits with a female defense attorney sitting in the well and they discuss their case. We will have a hearing on a totally unrelated case.
Judge Kennedy takes the bench. Detective Thompson gets the bailiff out of the hall for Judge Kennedy. The bailiff brings out a defendant. The prosecutor spells her name for the court reporter.
Judge Kennedy tells the prosecutor. "We shouldn't have to be tracking you down." "Yes," the prosecutor replies.
Brief discussion on this other case. Case is held over to another date. The defendant is remanded. Judge Kennedy leaves the bench, and counsel in that case leave the courtroom.
I get up to stretch my legs in the hallway for a moment.
Park and her husband are in the hallway. Her counsel are in the hallway, waiting also. The bailiff gets up from his desk and goes over to Detective Thompson and Okun-Wiese at the prosecution table, takes a seat and starts to chat.
The bailiff's chat is over.
There is a phone ringing in the gallery and the bailiff tells them to turn it off. The response from the gallery is, "I'm working on it." The bailiff responds, "I can help with that."
Two deputies enter the courtroom and chat with our bailiff for a moment then leave.
Buzz! Buzz! The jurors have a question. The bailiff investigates. The jurors are taking a break.
DDA Okun-Wiese and Detective Thompson stand while jurors exit the courtroom. Park is in the back of the courtroom, standing while they exit. Three or four jurors left the courtroom.
Some of the Redding family leave the courtroom.
Answering a question. The verdict will be read when the jurors reach a verdict. There is no way to know how long it will take them to reach a verdict. If the verdict is reached at the end of the day, court will stay open for the reading of the verdict.
I stepped outside the courtroom to check in with my friend Matthew, and see how he's coming along with his book on the Lazarus case. His work is moving along well. I don't know if all the jurors are back and if they are deliberating again.
One more juror, no, two more jurors enter and go back to the jury room.
Buzz! The jurors are back deliberating.
If I knew when a particular jury would come back with a verdict, I would be famous. That's why people never try to predict juries and their deliberation process. There is no set method, or time because each case is different. Each jury is different. Terri Keith comes back.
I'm following the Michael Gargiulo case, but I missed his pretrial hearing this morning in Dept. 108, Judge Ohta's courtroom. Terri tells me that his next pretrial hearing is June 14th. I will try to find out what happened at that hearing later.
The bail bondsman Josh Herman enters. Park and one of her supporters give him a big hug.
Terre decides to go watch a death penalty case across the hall in Dept. 102. It's the same case that LA Times writer Jack Leonard wrote about yesterday. Listening to testimony is more interesting than sitting in a quiet courtroom waiting for a verdict.
Answering a question. Everyone is very respectful to each other in the courtroom and in the hallway. I have not observed any starring or invisible "daggers" being thrown from each side. Both sides have quite a few supporters, which I think is a good thing. I think that's a good thing for the jury to see. They may not know who everyone is, but they can get a sense.
Answering a question. A "read back" means, the jurors sent out a note to the judge. They asked to have testimony read back to them. The testimony they asked to have read back was that of a DNA analyst, Annette McCall, who did DNA testing and came up with DNA profiles from collected evidence. I have no idea what the papers were that Park was served with. It could be many things.
DDA Okun-Wiese and her two clerks leave the courtroom.
The courtroom is packed again. More friends on both sides of the table have shown up to show support.
Park and Chronister get up to leave the courtroom. Before they leave, Park catches the eye of the bailiff and points to outside.
Two young Asian men enter the courtroom. Park points out to them older woman in Park's entourage whom they give a hug to and sit with Park's family.
The gallery is getting a tiny bit restless. I've yawned too many times to count. I'm still way behind on my sleep.
On a completely unrelated subject, here are before and after photos of the devastating tornado in Oklahoma.
Chronister motions to Park to enter the ante chamber. Another supporter is with Chronister. Park and the other supporter hug. The gentleman and Chronister are still chatting in the ante chamber. Now the friend leaves and Chronister enters the courtroom. Detective Thompson enters the courtroom to retrieve some items from the prosecution table and then leaves. The courtroom is packed once again.
Answering a question. DNA can be transferred from person to person. We have that in this case. Park's DNA was found on Juliana's neck. The Defense, in their closing argument, conceeded that it was her DNA. They just disagree on how that DNA got there.
There is more than just DNA evidence in this case. Park's fingerprint was found on a plate in the kitchen. That is completely separate evidence than DNA. Fingerprints are unique to individuals.
It is true that Park is not shaking or breaking down in the courtroom. On the other hand, I don't think she is taking these proceedings lightly. That's just my opinion. I don't know what Park is thinking about.
Jurors leave for lunch and start to file out of the courtroom. People start to pack up to leave.
I'm up on the 9th floor. Waiting for the courtroom to open. Juliana's family is in one group by the courtroom door. The Park supporters are in another group a little farther down the hallway.
I'm inside the courtroom in my second favorite seat near the inner courtroom doors. I'd rather be over where the video camera is set up, so I can put my feet up on the end of the long wooden benches. However, the camera crew has moved all the plastic chairs that are against the wall for their equipment and rolling carts, so that's why I'm on the opposite end of the courtroom.
Most have filed back in and are reading books, magazines, or are on laptops.
Answering a question.
Aphrodite Jones has not been in the courtroom for this case. But I wouldn't be surprised if she does a show on this case at some future time. When the DNA testing came back that there was an unknown female profile around Juliana's neck, LE started to eliminate women connected to Juliana. They did not have Park on their radar at first. The steps the Santa Monica detectives took in narrowing their focus to Park is outlined in detail in the CHARGING DOCUMENT & STATEMENT of PROBABLE CAUSE. That document should answer your questions.
Park and Uwaydah may have been romantically linked at one time.
I don't foresee Park making a deal. Sentences for murder are set in the penal code. For first degree it's 25 years to life. For second degree, it's 15 years to life. The judge and the prosecution can't change that. Park would have to make a deal before the jury returns a verdict.
The DA's office would have to offer a deal, first. In my humble opinion, I don't see that happening in this case. Dr. Uwaydah currently is beyond the reach of US law enforcement. Even if Park did cooperate, it's my understanding that LE believes Dr. Uwaydah is in a country that does not have an extradition treaty with the US.
Mark Kassabian enters department 109. Walks over to Park then turns around and exits. The bail bondsman enters the courtroom, gives Park a hug goodbye then leaves.
California has the death penalty, however, there are circumstances about the crime that must be present, before the DA's office can seek it. I recommend reading the California Evidence Code governing 187, felony murder and potential sentences. The laws governing the death penalty in the US will vary from state to state.
Park and Chronister catch the eye of the bailiff before they exit the courtroom together. A moment before, Park was showing something on her cell phone to one of the youngish Asian men who came to court today.
I get up to stretch my legs and back out a bit in the ante chamber. The plastic chairs are creating havoc with my low back. Several people have left the courtroom to hang out in the hallway, including Greg and Patricia Redding.
Park and Chronister are back inside the courtroom.
I hear something... sounds like a TV feed, or a radio feed. It could be coming from the bailiff's desk or from the rooms in the back behind the court clerk's desk/judge's bench area.
I could almost fall asleep right now, I am that tired. I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining; just stating fact.
Detective Thompson enters the courtroom and places her back pack by the defense table. She then goes over to sit with the bailiff.
The bailiff's radio goes off quite loudly with a squak. The surprised expression on Detective Thompson's face was priceless.
Answering a question. I usually only attend at the most, 2 trials per year. However, I do try to attend all the pretrial hearings in a particular case all the way up to trial. You can see a list of the cases I'm following by scrolling down the blog for the list on the right.
The case I'm following that might go to trial next is the Cameron Brown case, 3rd trial. It may start in the fall of this year, or be delayed until January 2014.
I will be here when a verdict is reached. If I hear the three buzzes, I will immediately publish that I heard them, and I will be here when the verdict is read.
Buzz! Buzz! Kelly Duncan let out this big gasp when she heard it. She then said, "I've never heard it before." The bailiff gets up, to go to the jury room and when he passes Duncan, with a big smile on his face tells her, "It doesn't mean anything."
I will say, every time I hear those two buzzes, my heart jumps and the adrenaline starts to race.
The bailiff exits the jury room with a paper that he takes back to Judge Kennedy.
Detective Thompson leaves the courtroom, saying to the bailiff, "Do you need them?" I'm guessing this means counsel on both sides.
DDA Okun-Wiese and the Reddings enter the courtroom. People file in to find out what's up.
Counsel are at side bar with the judge going over the jury question. I can hear Judge Kennedy saying something about Lori has to find them.
My opinion: It must be testimony. Testimony won't be read back today. It will take time for the court reporter to find the requested testimony.
Judge Kennedy said to counsel, "That's why I say ... it's going to take time to find everything."
JK: Did you bring them a computer?
The bailiff tells Judge Kennedy that he just got that going right now.
My best guess is, they want to listen to the audio recording of the serving of the search warrant for Parks fingerprints.
Kassabian and Park go to the antechamber to chat.
Park looks over the jury request in the antechamber with Kassabian.
Park and Kassabian reenter the courtroom.
It appears that this jury is going over the evidence in this case.
In my opinion, I think it is way to early to be calling this a hung jury. This is what deliberation looks like people. It takes some juries time to come to a verdict. Reaching a verdict doesn't always happen when we "think" it should happen. Never try to predict a jury, because juries will surprise you.
Terri Keith of City News drops in to check on the case.
Answering a question. What this means is, there are jurors that want to review evidence. That's all it means.
Judge Kennedy's court room day goes from 9:00 AM to 4:15 PM
Judge Kennedy has her robe on.
On the record. The jury sent out a question a while ago, indicating they wanted various read back. We informed the jury it would have to occur not this afternoon.
Juror #11 has a funeral that they have to attend Tuesday morning, until Monday afternoon. Because the jury is going to be gone for a long period of time, I do want to bring hem out and admonish them.
Judge Kennedy said, I meant Tuesday.
Buzz! Buzz! Like clockwork, Judge Kennedy says.
I think Judge Kennedy said she wants counsel back at 11:00, to go over the testimony the jurors want read back.
Judge Kennedy tells the jury this is a long weekend. Tells them about the juror with a funeral. They won't return until 1:30 in the afternoon. They've requested readback, and there's quite a bit involved in it.
With regard to, jury service, and your employers pay policy. She doesn't have anything to do with that. And I do know that some have in their pay policy, they expect you to go to work the other half of the day. I will tell you, as far as the court is concerned, if you come for any part of jury service, it counts as one day. Let your conscience be your guide. You are coming in at 1:30 on Tuesday.
What I did want to remind you, since gone for a long period of time, and going to family functions, people that know you are on jury duty, are going to be probing you for information. And you need to comply with the instructions that I've given you. Additionally there may be some coverage on television somewhere along the way, you need to be doing as you have been doing, avoiding any coverage on the case.
All of you are extremely important to this case, and we want you to be healthy, so please don't do any bungee jumping or anything like that. So thank you ladies and gentlemen.
Jury exits. Counsel and Park stand for the jurors exit.
Counsel and the defendant are ordered back on Tuesday at 11 AM.
That's it for today.