Kelly Soo Park, May 13th, 2013, opening statements
Court resumes at 11:00 AM today with counsel reviewing the specific testimony the jury would like read back. If both sides agree on the specifics of the read back, (which witness, how many lines of their testimony) then they go on the record. If both sides cannot agree, then Judge Kennedy decides on the specific testimony read back. It is unknown at this time how much testimony was requested. Last Friday, as I was trying to listen to counsel and Judge Kennedy speak at the side bar, I got the impression it would take the court reporter some time to find the specific testimony and print it all out to be read.
Jurors were ordered back at 1:30 PM.
I have to say, I don't believe I've ever heard of this many people (for the victim's family and the defendant) waiting inside the courtroom for verdict watch. Usually, the judge will give counsel and the families of both sides a period of time to get to court when a verdict has been reached. My experience of verdict watch has been that the courtroom is usually empty except for a few reporters.
I'm inside Dept 109 and I'm the only journalist here. When I first entered, there were two different bailiff's sitting around the regular bailiff's desk. The regular bailiff arrived a few minutes later and they are all chatting. There is no one inside the courtroom from Juliana's family or from Park's family. I did not see any family members on the 9th floor either.
The line to get into the building was quite long this morning. Unusual for 10:30 AM. The media was out on the Temple Street plaza, waiting for Park's arrival. There are several officers in the gallery chatting, waiting for another case, along with family members. I have no idea what the wait is for. Although the well is empty of counsel, there are lots of boxes and a few bulging manilla envelopes on the prosecution table, as well as a laptop.
One of the camera guys dropped in for a moment and asked if I was working hard. "Not really," I answered.
I see that several people are hoping for a verdict today. Here's what I do know. Jurors will be here at 1:30 PM. They will need to be seated along with the alternates. Then the read back will commence. It will take some time for the read back. Then the jurors continue their deliberations. Court officially ends as 4:15 PM, two hours and 45 minutes later. I don't know if we will get a verdict today. Anything is possible.
It's surprising that no one is here. I'm wondering if the time was moved back. I'm going to go out and check the hallway.
Park and her husband, Tom Chronister, are in the hallway on the 9th floor. They are on a bench a ways down the hall. DDA Okun-Wiese and Detective Thompson enter with their clerk.
The court reporter says hello to Kassabian and asks if they want to go over transcript. It doesn't look like much in the way paper. Kelly Soo Park, Chronister and Buehler enter Dept. 109. Beuhler immediately leaves with Kassabian and Okun-Wiese to go over the requested read- back testimony.
Terri Keith from City News is here. It's likely that nothing will happen now on the record. If counsel agree, we probably won't hear anything until 1:30 PM.
Counsel are still out in the hallway reading over the transcript. Several Park supporters have arrived and are sitting with her in the gallery.
Answering a question. It has not been made public (on the record, via the judge) which part of testimony will be read back. Counsel are still going over it now.
Judge Kennedy is on the bench in another matter. Two defendants are at the table with counsel and Spanish interpreters. Camera crew enters Dept. 109. Judge Kennedy asks, "Gentlemen, if you could just wait until this matter is over. It will just be a few minutes. The camera crew park their rolling cart and take seats in the gallery.
One of the defendants, at the last minutes has decided to reject the package offer from the prosecution to take a plea. The other defendant is still considering the plea. His counsel says, "He's wavering now, but it is something that he is considering." The prosecution is making an offer of a determinate sentence. It's one that has a fixed beginning end. Judge Kennedy explains the difference between an indeterminate sentence. It is very unusual, for the prosecution to make the kind of offer they have made today. Doesn't know if the offer will be made individually, or if it will continue to be open.
Judge Kennedy makes it clear to the defendants, that the offer exists today, but may not be available in the future. A defense attorney asks if his client's mother can speak to her son. The bailiff won't allow it. Judge Kennedy speaks to the mother in the gallery. The mother is speaking in Spanish and the interpreter for her son, is interpreting for her. The defense attorney explained to the mother that it would be 32 years. Nine years for the attempted murder. More years for the gun and gang allegations. He would do 27 years and 2 months, provided he had no problems. If he's convicted, he's facing fifty years plus.
The other defense attorney for the other defendant, asks to speak to the court, and asks if they can come back at 1:30 PM.
Judge Kennedy tells counsel, that she has a problem. She has a jury coming in at that time, that will have at least an hour and a half of read back.
So I've heard now, on the record, that there will be at least an hour-and-a-half of read back for the Park case.
Park, Chronister and a few friends get up to let the cameramen push their cart of equipment back into the far right corner of the gallery. They sit back in the back row.
Answering a question.
Park is out on bond. I do not know the specific restrictions that were placed on that bond. She may be allowed to travel within Ventura County (if she still lives in that area) and Los Angeles County. I don't know. We know from prosecution that Park has been driving her husband's vehicle that has private/protected plates, from his years of employment by the Oxnard Police Department. Inside the courthouse, she has used her cell phone.
From my observations, people behave normally inside the courtroom. The families politely steer clear of each other. There are no confrontations. There is a lot of hugging of friends when the various supporters of Park or Juliana arrive.
The bailiff keeps pretty good control of Judge Kennedy's courtroom.
Counsel for both sides have entered Dept. 109 and are sitting at their tables in the well.
Park enters the well of the court. Now it's never mind. There is a Spanish woman in the gallery that is a relation of one of the defendants in the prior case. She's having a health issue and the bailif ordered everyone out of the courtroom.
Everyone exited. Park, her counsel and a few members of the press. I think that the DDA and Detective Thompson are still inside. The bailiff and Detective Thompson were asking questions of the woman, who was sitting with a companion, about her health. Whether she was diabetic, if she needed water. They did not want her to stand.
Kassabian exits the courtroom and speaks to Buehler.
Defense counsel for the ill woman's son exit the courtroom and briefly speak to Kassabian and Buehler. The woman appears to be a bit better. We wait to see if this case will go on the record before lunch to discuss the read back.
Firefighter paramedics, three of them, enter Dept 109 wit a chair gurney for the ill woman that's still inside the courtroom.
Okun-Wiese comes out to speak to Kassabian and Buehler. She says to them, "She just wants to order her back. I've agreed to what ever you wanted." (This is regarding read back.)
Kelly says to her supporter's after the quick few seconds inside, "Let's go."
Although I am at lunch, I feel compelled to interrupt it to address a comment about the OJ Simpson trial. Although this is the same courthouse where Simpson's trial occurred, it is not the same judge or courtroom, and we are no longer back in 1996, and all the racial tensions that were present at the time.
OJ Simpson was a celebrity, and his trial captured world wide attention. Simpson's trial went on for about 10 months and every day of the trial was broadcast on network TV at the time. OJ Simpson had many people in the general public who supported him.
Kelly Soo Park is not a celebrity here in the US. She does not have a public following that are attending the trial and supporting her. And Park's jury is not the OJ jury. Phil Spector did have many fans who came to support him for his two trials, but Park does not. She is an average citizen. Those in the gallery supporting her are family and friends. They all appear to be people Park knows, and are not "fans." Her trial barely lasted a five days of testimony before closing arguments were presented. Those are huge differences. I don't think mentioning OJ's case, here, is appropriate or has any relevance.
Although there are cameras here that recorded the opening statements, closing arguments as well as being prepared to tape record the verdict, that is not unusual for this courthouse. There are many other cases where Dateline or 48 Hours has shown an interest, and parts of those other cases have been filmed.
The reality is, this is not a very big case here in the Los Angeles area. I am the only journalist that I know of, who has filed a daily report of the trial. The local news channels had very short clips or news reports in the local papers when the opening statements began and when closing arguments were presented.
It is totally irrelevant that OJ Simpson's trial happened to have occurred in this same courthouse. That case has nothing to do with how this trial was conducted or how this jury is dedicating themselves to their jury service.
It is a guess by a commenter what testimony the jury wants read back. There has been nothing said on the record. We have not been told what the specific read back will be this afternoon.
Hello dear friend!
Inside te courtroom. It’s not that packed today. Missing are the bevy of beautiful babes that make up Juliana’s girlfriends. Just as I write that, two of the friends enter and sit with Juliana’s family.
The camera crew is placing microphones at the judge’s bench. The courtroom is cold today. You never can tell how warm a courtroom is going to be.
The jurors are all present and deliberating again. Greg Fisher from CBS 48 Hours and Terri Keith from City News are here.
We wait for Judge Kennedy to take the bench. Judge Kennedy takes the bench.
JK: I assume that both sides have been able to review the proposed testimony?
Yes your honor.
JK: Are we read to bring the jurors out?
Yes, your honor.
Bailiff: Please be sure all cell phone are turned completely off.
The alternates enter the courtroom and join the jurors.
JK: All jurors and alternates are present. The court reporter is going to read that back to you at this time.
Cross examination by Mr. Kassabian of Ms. Jennifer Zychowski
I did collect some hair from the crime scene.
Why did you collect hair?
Because potentially the hair could have DNA evidence.
Not sure how many pieces of hair she collected.
She collected clumps of hair. She refers to her report. Six clumps of hair were recovered from the crime scene.
Lists the items of hair and where they were recovered from the crime scene.
Asks about the number of swabs that were taken from the crime scene.
Swabbed a spot on the kitchen wall for DNA. Swab on a spot on the kitchen living room door.
Direct examination of
Fingernails. Is here a standard kit that you use?
Direct and cross about the fingernail DNA collection.
Direct and cross Ms. Cathy Kuwahara
Now testimony, direct of Ms. Jennifer Zychowski
about the fingerprint card with Park’s fingerprint.
Testimony about the control of that card and when/how it was booked into evidence.
They are typically kept in the fingerprint locker and not booked into evidence.
She booked it into evidence because she observed what she thought was blood under the latent lift.
More testimony about how she thought she saw blood under the latent print lift, how the analysis is done and who does the analysis.
She labeled the entire card (print lift) into evidence.
Testimony about her fingerprint comparison experience. She compared the latent print.
Explains what a latent print is.
Compared the latent to a 10 print fingerprint card. Explains what a 10 print card is.
More testimony about when the latent print was entered into the system. Cathy Kuwahara entered the print into the system.
Explains the matching process into the data base.
(I’m not typing all this testimony for a second time.)
More testimony about the matching process of a latent print in the computer system.
That’s the process they use to compare.
Explains unique characteristics of a fingerprint that they use to make a match.
Now cross of the same witness.
The latent print was lifted by Leslie Funo.
No one brought to her attention, the blood spot on the plate.
As far as she knows, she was the first person to see the blood spot.
Redirect by Ms. Okun-Wiese.
How big was this drop of blood. Maybe a little smaller than, an eraser on a pencil.
Doesn’t remember if it was immediate when she saw it or not. It peaked her interest and she thought it might be blood. She brought it to the attention of Ms. Thompson.
Direct exam of Leslie Funo
That is a latent print that I recovered. There are my initials on the card.
Review of her procedures of collecting a latent print.
It is not scotch tape. It has to be clear. It’s almost like a packaging tape.
Explains where her supplies are kept in her kits.
Her card is blank on one side, and then several things she has to fill in on the back side.
Explains there are different types of tape. I like to use the roll. We have different sizes of tape. I would keep mine in the package that it came in.
Once she lifted the latent, she places it on the card.
Once the cards are taken back to the department, she explains storage and filing procedure. Once back at her lab, the fingerprint is scanned into a computer.
She was assigned to do the diagram, so that took up most of her time. She’s not sure when she entered the print back into the system.
She no longer works for Santa Monica Police Dept. since June 2009.
Questions about her termination and why that happened. Was it because of delay in entering fingerprints into the system?
There were several cases that she had secured in her locker that she was working on. When she came back from vacation, her locker was completely empty.
So that was yes?
In part, yes.
Court reporter asks to refer to counsel. Quickly done. Back on the stand reading more of her testimony.
Usually she would put latent prints she’s collected in her pocket of her uniform. She did not put tissue or anything between the cards. She said it wasn’t required.
So the items would be in the breast pocket of her uniform.
Once her pocket becomes filled, she would get an envelope and transfer them to that envelope so they can all be transported back to the police station.
They would be in charge of their own evidence so she would have transferred that evidence back to her crime lab.
The crime scene log would probably show her in and out time, at the crime scene.
Explains what happens with the card when it gets back to the lab. She believes she locked it up in her locker, the next day she would come back in.
Supervisor and crime scene tech, kind of like a manager that have keys/access to her locker.
The print was in a case folder. Put in an envelope with all the other prints collected at the scene.
They don’t need gloves after the latent print has been processed.
Redirect exam by Ms. Okun-Wiese.
Don’t need to put prints in separate envelopes because the latent print is covered by tape.
After it is processed and it is on the card (gloves) are not necessary.
She remembers the plate was smooth and shiny, so a good surface to process.
Doesn’t remember if the other plates on top of that plate in the sink were wet.
She helped to process the whole house. The place was covered with powder pretty much.
Direct of Cathy Kuwahara, supervisor who reviewed the exam of the fingerprint card.
She was the second level of comparison of this fingerprint on June 28th, 2010.
She then formed an opinion that these two were a match. That the latent and Park’s print were one and the same.
I think I see Juror #3, a woman take a note. I think I also see juror #7 take a note. Possibly #2 also may have taken a few notes. It’s difficult to see from where I’m sitting.
Now direct of Ms. McCall
Did you test any of the items for blood.
One of them being on a latent print card.
People’s 101. A latent print card the witness identifies.
The jurors all appear to be paying attention.
Procedures she did to test the spot on the card for blood.
The fingerprint she received, is really under the tape. Yes.
She would be able to tell if the tape had been lifted before she lifted the tape.
This testimony was all read on Friday.
Continue with direct of Ms. McCall
Testimony about the profile developed from the blood drop found on the fingerprint card.
Profile from apparent blood on the fingerprint card, was the same as the unknown profile obtained from other items swabbed at the crime scene.
She also developed a profile for Kelly Soo Park.
She used IdentiFiler. and came up with a profile for defendant Park. Compared it to the samples she had previously obtained from the case.
Blood stain on print card could not be excluded as belonging to Park.
It sample, so the frequency of choosing a person at random is more rare than one one trillion individual.
This testimony was read before.
The blood drop DNA was a single source profile.
It appeared not to be disturbed at all.
Cross by Mr. Kassabian.
The alleles that she tested, matched to Kelly Park?
Direct exam of the recall of Ms. Jennifer Zychowski
This testimony is about the print card again.
Juror #12 lis leaning forward and had her left hand covering her face. Her left elbow is resting on her left leg. She holds this position for maybe a minute, before sitting back up.
Now, direct examination of Karen Thompson.
Direct regarding the 42 DNA reference samples she collected.
There is only one person who could not be excluded as being (the source) of the DNA found at the crime scene, (on the tank top, Juliana’s neck, the stove knob, etc.)
Dr. Pena direct.
Testimony about the nails and the cracked fingernails. There was no nail on the thumb.
Goes over the injuries on the hands.
Testimony of Mr. Robert Hernandez. Entire testimony.
Police Sgt. SMPD, first responder at the scene.
John Gilmore saw me approaching and he made contact with me.
John Gilmore was identified as Juliana’s boyfriend.
Obtained Juliana’s phone number from him and tried to call her cell phone.
His full testimony is being read back to the jurors.
Judge Kennedy is on the bench, looking at her computer screen while the testimony is being read back. From the back of the room, it appears like she could be reading the web.
Judge Kennedy appears to be pressing the fingers of her right hand on her forehead right above her right eye.
Juror #12 is leaning forward again. Her head is down. Now her head pops back up and she looks at the gallery. Now she looks down, leaning forward again, with her left hand on her forehead.
She’s the only juror that is leaning forward like this. Now her elbow is on her leg and her hand is covering her mouth, as she looks down. It’s unknown if she is writing with her right hand as she’s in this position.
Juror #12 looks as the gallery.
Understand, that I cannot see the faces of all the jurors clearly from where I’m sitting. Juror #12 could just be tired; I don’t know.
No cross of this witness.
Direct of Richard Lewis.
Sgt. with SMPD. Robbery Homicide Detective.
(I can’t believe it. LIsa Tomaselli from ABC’s 20/20 is here. I totally missed her entering the courtroom earlier.)
Testimony of what he saw and observed when he investigated the crime scene.
Testimony of Richard Lewis is still being read back. There is quite a bit of this testimony being read. I don't transcribe any of it. I step outside the courtroom for a moment to publish these notes so far.
I'm back inside the courtroom. Richard Lewis testimony is still being read to the jurors.
This is quite a bit of testimony that is read back to the jurors.
I think they are close to being done. Lewis's testimony was presented on Day 3 in the afternoon.
That concludes the testimony. Directs the jurors to return to the jury room. Judge Kennedy leaves the bench.
People get up to stretch their legs. Park joins Chronister in the gallery. Park exchanges greetings with Lisa Tomaselli.
Understand, that while Judge Kennedy is on the bench, I can not publish updates from inside the courtroom. I have to step outside to publish. The read back of testimony took over an hour and a half.
Answering a question. There was no testimony about testing of the hair. Just testimony about the clumps of hair the criminalist collected from the scene.
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The other case from this morning, the counsel in that case are back inside the courtroom. There may be a decision on one or both of the defendants. If one of the defendants takes a plea deal, sentencing will happen immediately.
The courtroom is quite noisy at the moment. There is a conversation gong on in the well between the prosecutor and the attorneys for the other case. There's also a bit of conversation going on in the gallery. Polite chatter.
Counsel on the other case tell the bailiff they are ready.
Court is in session. Judge Kennedy is on the bench. Announce the parties for the record. Return on June 6th. Case is discussed.
BUZZ! BUZZ! The court clerk goes to inquire. The bailiff can't leave while there are in custody defendants in the courtroom.
The clerk tells Judge Kennedy the jurors want to know if they can go home. The jurors file out of the courtroom. It looks like one of the jurors handed a a paper to the bailiff as they passed.
Ms. Park is ordered back at 9:00 AM. Park speaks to Lisa Tomaselli as she leaves. Judge asks to speak to counsel. Park is stopped and asked to get her counsel.
I hear Judge Kennedy say, they've requested the actual fingerprint card, and some gloves.
The clerk asks, Ms. Wiese, was that item #95. Wiese responds, I'm thinking it was item 101 but I'll have to check. The clerk replies that she has the list and she'll find it.
People start to file out of the courtroom.
Answering a question. The prosecution get's one bite at the apple. If Park is found not guilty, she cannot be charged for the same crime again by the State of California. The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution protects people from double jeopardy.
Juliana's family can bring a wrongful death suit against Park. I do not know if they have filed a lawsuit.