Kelly Soo Park, in custody 2010
Jurors return to court at 9:00 AM today to continue their deliberations. At the close of court yesterday, the jurors requested gloves and to see the actual latent print card that contains the fingerprint of Kelly Soo Park. During the trial, crime scene specialists testified this latent print was lifted at the crime scene from an orange plate in or near the kitchen sink.
Answering questions left on yesterday's post.
A verdict was not reached yesterday. If/when a verdict is reached, it will be read in open court that same day.
The reason this is not a death penalty case is because of the California Penal Code and policies set by the LA County DA's office. If you read the Code, there is not an extenuating circumstance to the crime under section 190.2 of the Calif. Penal Code. The death penalty isn't something that is sought after in every case. It is carefully considered. There is a panel in the DA's office that reviews every case submitted for the death penalty. If I'm remembering correctly from the DA's race debates last year between former DDA Alan Jackson and DA Jackie Lacey, one of five specific circumstances criteria must be present in the crime before the DA's office will seek the death penalty.
Sentencing options are set by the Penal Code. The judge does not have discretion. If Park is convicted of first degree felony murder, she will receive a 25 years to life sentence. If Park is convicted of second degree felony murder, she will receive a sentence of 15 years to life.
If there is a hung jury, the district attorney's office can file to recharge the case. If she is found not guilty, she cannot be charged with this crime a second time.
The jury only considers the evidence presented at trial. They do not get to consider that Park is married to a retired police officer. Those facts are not related to the crime.
I will update once I reach the 9th floor.
I"m inside the courtroom on the 9th floor. Terri Keith from City News is sitting to my right. She is such a hard working journalist. I have quite a bit of respect for her. There is another case that has a pretrial hearing at the moment. Judge Kennedy is on the bench.
Answering questions in the comments. The jury is not sequestered. It's been many years since a jury has been sequestered in this courthouse. It's my understanding Park got married late last year. The jury was not told Park is married to a retired police officer. That has no relevance to the crime. The prosecution did not present evidence of other crimes, murders. All this trial is concerned with is the death of Juliana Redding.
I do not report my personal opinions when I cover a case. This is the goal of a journalist, to report what happened during court proceedings with transparency. The Jodi Arias trial was held in a different state from where I live and had lots of media coverage. I rarely report on trials that I don't personally attend. My friend and blogger, Donchais, covered the Arias case on her blog, Calls For Justice, and it has a strong following. Calls For Justice is a pro-prosecution blog, so the reporting is from that perspective. T&T strives to report on cases it covers from an unbiased perspective.
Jurors come in by twos and threes. Detective Thompson is inside the courtroom. Her hair is neatly pulled back into a tight french braid.
Buzz! All the jurors are in the jury room and starting their deliberations for today. The clerk just got a call from Judge Kennedy's bailiff. He is tied up on the 10th floor (a jail holding floor) and will be down as soon as he can. I believe the current case is waiting for the defendant to be brought out. The prosecutor that handled the City of Bell Counsel corruption scandal are in the courtroom. There may be a hearing on the refiling of that case after the current pretrial hearing. Judge Kennedy has momentarily left the bench.
Park's mother, Irene enters the courtroom. She greets her son-in-law with a kiss before she takes a seat beside her daughter.
There are a lot of people here and media for the City of Bell hearing. The courtroom is filled with chatter. Judge Kennedy is about to take the bench. The bailiff is here and tells people to turn their cell phones off.
A defendant is in the courtroom for another case. The City of Bell hearing will be after that. Other pretrial hearing case is People v. Chavez (sp?). Defense moves for new trial. Denied. This is a sentencing hearing.
Judge Kennedy is presenting her thought process on the sentencing in the Chavez case.
Answering a comment. I believe my reporting is unbiased, not biased to a particular side.
Park case. Latent fingerprints were collected at the crime scene. A latent print was found and collected on an orange ceramic plate, found in the kitchen, in or near the sink. Fingerprint experts testified that the latent print collected from the orange plate matched a print belonging to Park. There was no testimony presented at the trial, about fingerprints on Juliana's neck. The coroner's criminalist took a DNA swab from Juliana's neck at the scene. That was collected as part of the sexual assault kit. That DNA was analyzed and a mixture of two profiles was found within that DNA.
The Chavez case, the defendant was sentenced. Counsel for the City of Bell corruption case went into chambers with Judge Kennedy.
There are many conversations going on in the gallery and the well.
The Bell City Counsel group comes forward. Judge Kennedy reads the last names of the five defendants. DDA Miller & DDA Huntsman for the prosecution. Miller won't continue for the people. Huntsman will take over the case. It is the people's decision to retry the counts where the jury did not reach a verdict.
As of today's date, there is no specific determination as to who, if any of these defendants will be continued to be represented by their present counsel. Judge Kennedy asks if they have decided on a return date. One attorney asks for July 2nd for a reading of sentencing for the verdicts that were reached. That's it for that hearing. The gallery thins out.
Cars near the scene. That information was in the Charging Document and Statement of Probable Cause. That is the document that was prepared to issue an arrest warrant. The prosecution did not present witnesses to the jury to testify about cars that were caught on video in an alley near the scene. I do not know why they chose not to present this evidence in their case-in-chief. The jury only considers the evidence presented at trial.
The courtroom is quiet. The gallery is not that full. The bailiff grabs a snack at his desk. Cameramen are setting up microphones at the judge and clerks desk. Detective Thompson is in the well of the court. Verdict watch can be very tiring and boring at times.
I am asking that people please try to be civil in the comments. I will start censoring comments or turn the feature off altogether. Comments are a way for those of you following the trial to ask me questions about court proceedings and the testimony that was presented.
Answering a question. When Judge Kennedy instructed the jurors, they were told that they would be able to view the physical evidence if they asked for it. However, Judge Kennedy asked that the jurors use gloves when handling physical evidence that may contain biological materials. The gloves are for the jurors to handle the evidence.
People are free to comment their opinions on the case. T&T is not obligated to publish your comment. All T&T asks is that you be respectful. I understand that emotions are on high and people are on edge. There are many people who support the victim Juliana and Park.
Buzz! Buzz! The bailiff investigates. Break time.
Three jurors exit the jury room for a break. The only witnesses I've seen in the courtroom on prior days have been Juliana's girlfriends. At this moment, I mostly see Juliana's family members in the gallery. The man with the bicycle helmet was here to serve Park with papers. I do not know what the papers were. Detective Thompson, who testified is in the courtroom waiting in the well.
Right now, the mood in the courtroom is very quiet. People are reading or looking at their cell phones.
How the police focused on Park is detailed in the Charging Document which you can read at the link above. The "Female James Bond" comment comes from prosecution motions. One place you can read that is the people's motion to admit other conduct, page 12, lines 27-28. The "James Bond" comment was not presented to the jury because it is hearsay.
Jurors file back in from their break.
Greg Redding testified that he became concerned when he believed that Golden State Pharmacy did not have the proper licenses to manufacture large amounts of "pain cream." His license and reputation would be on the hook if there was any illegal activity going on. I don't remember the amount specifically, but it's my understanding Redding testified that he saw thousands of empty jars in the Pharmacy facility. My understanding is, the difference is large scale manufacturing verses compounding individual prescriptions.
There were cell phone records entered. I remember the number of phone calls and their time frame to Dr. Uwaydah were presented to the jury. I would have to go back and review my notes to see if I took down the specifics of that particular testimony.
Tom Chronister is retired from the Oxnard Police Dept. The crime occurred in the city of Santa Monica. Look those cities up on Google Maps. They are not near each other. Most of the witnesses who testified (police, coroner, criminalists), are back at work.
I am only one person. I can't type in the blog posting window, and approve comments at the same time. Sometimes, my internet connection doesn't bring the comments through quickly. Please have some patience people. I don't have a huge network machine behind the time I am devoting to this case.
I believe that Redding backed out of the business deal because he felt uncomfortable. I don't believe he testified that it was because anything that his daughter said to him.
If Park is convicted, it's my experience from past trials that she will be taken into custody until sentencing. For her to get out on bail again would require her to be sentenced then an appeal filed. All of that takes quite a bit of time.
Judge Kennedy is having a conversation with (I think) a deputy DA at the clerk's desk. From the back, it looks like it's DDA Francis Young, who is assisting DDA Sean Carney on the Gerhard Becker case. I've been typing away and I didn't see the sharply dressed woman enter. She turned around and I can see now that it is Francis Young. I love Young's style. Young enters the back area behind the clerks desk. I can now see Francis chatting for a moment with Judge Ito.
Judge Kennedy ruled that Dr. Uwaydah's travel plans would not be presented to the jury.
Young was kind enough to stop by on her way out of the courtroom to say hello.
A forensic specialist did testify that the scene indicated evidence of a physical altercation in the living room as well as an attempted clean up. A specific crime scene analyst was not hired by either side to testify.
I don't feel that I am on pins and needles at this point. I am very tired due to less sleep than usual and my real life responsibilities to Mr. Sprocket's business.
If Dr. Uwaydah had any convictions of any kind, they were not presented to this jury. Dr. Uwaydah is not on trial in this case.
There was no testimony that spoke of a jealousy motive. Jealousy was not the prosecution's theory of the crime.
DDA Okun-Wiese is in the courtroom. She is in a conversation with the bailiff and Detective Thompson in the seating area behind the prosecution table.
The prosecution's theory of the crime has been documented in motion to present other evidence. At trial, the prosecution did not present a motive to the jurors. They are not required to do so.
Since the jurors have not "buzzed" each time they have started and stopped deliberations, I have not kept track of the number of deliberation hours.
It's still relatively quiet in the courtroom.
Thank you Anon @ 11:30 AM. I never try to predict a jury. I've learned that juries will surprise you.
The latent fingerprint card was reexamined by a forensic specialist (fingerprint expert) a year after it was collected. In that examination, the analyst thought there might be a drop of blood on the card that was collected when the print was lifted. To test that spot on the card for blood, she would have to lift the tape off of the white card. She testified that she has experience in this field, and she would have been able to tell if the tape had been lifted prior to her lifting the tape off the card. The presumptive test for the spot was positive for blood. The blood was analyzed and a profile developed. It came back to a single source profile. That profile could not exclude Park as being the contributor.
Only a couple of minutes before the lunch break.
Buzz! Buzz! This is most likely the jurors notice that they are breaking for lunch. Yes. They start to exit the courtroom.
We are asked to leave.
I'm up on the 9th floor. The hallway is packed and stuffy. Mr. Sprocket didn't cook last night so I had to find a salad at the underground city. This is slightly less-bad food than the court's cafeteria. The CBS 48 Hours crew is sitting on a bench to my right. Both families are here in the hallway, far apart from each other.
I'm going to move down towards the courtroom now, and unplug from a wall outlet.
Back inside Dept. 109. Judge Kennedy is going to take the bench in another matter.
The blood drop on the latent print card.
This was discovered in 2009 when a forensic specialist with the Santa Monica PD was performing a review of the latent prints collected in their case file. The specialist testified that the spot was round, about the size of an eraser at the end of a pencil. She testified that the edges of the blood did not appear to be smeared, like what would be present in a blood smear or swipe. This drop of blood was not noticed during the initial collection.
Sometimes, evidence isn't always found the first time around. I don't have any statistics to confidently say if that is unusual or rare.
The blood drop was found on a latent print card, where the latent print was collected at the crime scene. The latent print card was stored in an evidence locker until it was reexamined and the spot discovered.
The latent print and the blood were collected at the same time via the lifting tape.
When evidence is found. Well, that's hard to say. In the Lazarus case, the crime occurred in 1986. Evidence was collected at that time, but was misplaced in the coroner's office freezers. It was rediscovered in late 2004 and tested for DNA in 2005. In that case, the discovery of the evidence and the testing didn't make that evidence less relevant.
If I've missed answering any of your questions, I do apologize. I was out late last night. I'm trying to wake up with a four tea-bag hot tea.
Ever since I first covered a case in Judge Kennedy's courtroom (back in 2011), I've been fascinated by all the large and small figurines on the left (her right) side of her bench. Back then, I asked the bailiff if I could get a closer look at them to describe them, but that request was denied. If I squint, I can make some of them out. Most are animals.
It's organic Chinese green tea. I blog under the moniker "Sprocket," but I am not "anonymous." I use my real name when reporting at court. You can read about why I started blogging under a moniker on the About T&T Page, in the section under my name.
I believe people who follow a case are allowed to have opinions. It is only within a court of law that a defendant is presumed innocent until a jury reaches a verdict. Famed prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi wrote about that in his book, Outrage. The police, prosecutors, etc., can have an opinion. It's the jury's job is to remain neutral and keep an open mind.
Bail bondsman Josh Herman enters and from the expression on Park's face, she is quite happy to see him. They step outside together to chat privately.
The cases listed on the right that I did not attend are Christian-Newsom (covered by guest blogger David in TN) and Casey Anthony (covered by co-blogger ritanita). The rest of the listed coverage, I attended.
I attended most, but not all of the Lois Goodman hearings. I know I missed the last hearing, where the charges were dismissed. I do not know what the reasoning was, to drop the charges. I did not speak to the prosecution about that. However, sources within the LAPD lead me to believe that the original investigation was flawed.
DDA Okun-Wiese is inside the courtroom, chatting with the bailiff at his desk.
I don't know if Park's relationship with her bail bondsman is unusual or typical. Detective Thompson entered Deptl 109 has joined Okun-Wiese and the bailiff in their conversation.
I have to say, I'm very impressed with all the people on both sides of the table who are coming to court and sit for verdict watch.
Judge Kennedy has stepped out from chambers and is discussing something with her clerk. Judge Kennedy is wearing a dark blue and black sleeveless dress. I'm trying to get a sense of how to describe the long necklace she is wearing. My eyesight isn't great under these fluorescent lights. From where I'm sitting it looks like inch wide mother of pearl buttons with spaces between them.
I meant to mention that Patricia Redding looks like she had her hair done. I like the new hairstyle and highlights. It gives her a softer look. Patricia's hair is now down with slight soft curls verses being pinned up on her head similar to a french twist.
Park reenters the courtroom with Herman and Chronister.
One of Park's supporters hugged her goodbye. I believe it was her sister, Kim.
The conversations in the gallery get a little loud and the bailiff addresses the room, "Quiet in the courtroom please!"
Park's famous sister is Kolleen Park. If you Google her, you can see images.
Another deputy steps into Dept. 109, nods to the bailiff who acknowledges him. The deputy then leaves.
Detective Thompson left the courtroom. I did not notice when that happened. Okun-Wiese is at the bailiff's desk. The bailiff left the courtroom a few moments ago.
The bailiff's nod had nothing to do with a verdict. They were just acknowledging each other. When we hear three buzzes, that's when a verdict has been reached.
Okun-Wiese leaves the courtroom.
The bailiff is back at his desk. The court clerk appears to be working hard.
I'm having a bit of trouble staying connected to the Internet through the court's free WiFi.
A tall suited bearded man with a leather briefcase stepped into the courtroom, sat down, looked around then left.
The court day in Judge Kennedy's courtroom goes from 9:00 AM to 4:15 PM. They have been instructed in that. In prior days, the jury has stopped deliberating at 4:00 PM. They cannot deliberate past 4:15 PM because that would require so many court staff to stay for overtime.
FWIW: Sometimes, blogger does a blip and comments unintentionally end up in the spam file folder. I don't know why that happens. So sometimes, comments will show up published late when I find them in the spam folder and then approve them.
In prior days, the jurors have left at 4:00 PM. They can deliberate as late as 4:15 PM today.
Thank you everyone for your support and kind words about my trial coverage efforts.
So far, only three comments from today were not published.
Buzz! Buzz! The bailiff opens the door. The jury is done for the day. The jurors file out.
Judge Kennedy addresses park from the clerks desk. "Ms. Park, you are ordered back at 9:00 AM. Bail stands."
When we heard the first buzz, then the second one, I believe I heard Judge Kennedy say, "Come on, one more buzz."
See everyone back here tomorrow.
It's 12 hours later from when I first posted this morning.
A BIG SHOUT OUT to those of you who have made donations to my trial coverage costs. My husband and I are truly touched and thank you for your support.
Thank you to everyone for your kind words (on and off the record) regarding my trial reporting efforts. It's very rewarding to know that many of you appreciate the time and energy I am dedicating to transparent reporting on this case. I hope to see everyone back here tomorrow.
One last note.
I've answered this question several times, but one more time for the road. If the jury is unable to reach a unanimous verdict, then the people have the option to retry the case. Although it will be as if the first trial didn't happen, all testimony in the first trial is admissible in the second trial. For example, if a witness is suddenly unavailable (moved out of state/country; in the hospital, incarcerated, dies, etc.) that individual's testimony from the first trial can and would be admitted into evidence at the second trial. That happened in Phil Spector's second trial (Dianne Ogden died), and in Stephanie Lazarus's trial (Criminalist Lloyd Mahaney's testimony from the Lazarus preliminary hearing was used after he died.)
The criminal case doesn't necessarily affect a civil lawsuit the family may or may not have filed. I have not checked with the court's Pubic Information Office to find out if civil suit has been filed by the family. Usually, it is my experience that both parties in a civil suit (and the judge) will delay a civil suit going forward until the criminal trial is adjudicated. That's what happened in the civil suit brought against Phil Spector in the death of Lana Clarkson. The Clarkson family lawsuit settled exactly nine years after Lana Clarkson was murdered.
To the anonymous prosecutor who left a comment. I am honored at the suggestion that you would like to form a partnership. My best guess is, you said that in jest. I just want to assure you, reporting on trials in this venue (with no advertising or grant/sponsorship) will not pay anything close to what you can make by continuing as a public servant.