Kelly Soo Park, in custody 2010
The jury enters their fifth day of deliberations in the Kelly Soo Park murder trial. The jury will resume deliberations at 9:00 AM today in Dept. 109 of the Clara Shortridge-Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Late yesterday evening, there was a comment that stated some inaccurate information. I have not said that the jury is hung. The jury has not sent a note out and said they are hung. All we know is that they are still deliberating. The same comment left the impression that when the Santa Monica forensic specialist put the latent print cards in her locker, that was not according to procedure. I believe that is incorrect. I am not remembering any testimony that stated the evidence custody methods the forensic specialist followed were not according to procedure.
I've not toured the Santa Monica crime lab, but I have had a tour of the Hertzberg-Davis Criminal Justice Center. This is the crime lab facility shared by Los Angeles County and the LAPD that is located on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles. This is what I know of evidence custody procedures at an ASCLD certified lab.
In that crime lab, evidence is booked into a central location. After it is booked, criminalists will be assigned an item or items of evidence in a case. The criminalists will log out evidence items into their personal custody so they can start their analysis. Those items are not returned to the central evidence location at the end of each day. They have personal lockers where evidence is kept while they are performing tests.
A big thank you, again, to everyone who has made a donation to cover my expenses for reporting on this trial. It's very much appreciated. Yesterday, T&T had the highest visitor and page view numbers since the conviction of Stephanie Lazarus. Thank you all for reading and supporting T&T.
I'm inside the courtroom on the 9th floor. The camera crew are setting up. The only people who are here are DDA Okun-Wiese, Detective Thompson, Patricia and Greg Redding and the individual whom I believe is the Redding's son. This group is chatting with Judge Kennedy's bailiff in the gallery where the family usually sits.
Park and her husband Tom Chronister, were about 1/2 block behind me on Temple Street when I was walking towards the courthouse from the parking lot.
Judge Kennedy ruled that cameras were not allowed to film testimony. Cameras filmed opening statements and closing arguments. The cameras are in the courtroom ready to film the reading of the verdict, when one is reached.
Bond. It is my understanding that family and friends paid a fee to the bail bondsman. I was not at the hearing that disclosed that back in 2010. Park's bank accounts showed payments from Dr. Uwaydah's businesses to bank accounts in Park's name.
Latent fingerprint card. I believe you are misunderstanding what the lockers are. They are not 'personal' lockers where they keep their purse and other items. They are evidence lockers where they keep items that they have signed out of the central evidence location so the item can be analyzed.
An older black woman enters, sees the camera crew and is puzzled. I explain to her that the cameras are not here for a different case. That they are waiting on a verdict. The bailiff addresses her, "Mam, what are you here for?" She gives him a name. The bailiff responds, "You're in the right place. Have a seat." A single juror enters and heads for the jury room.
Park, Chronister, and several of her supporters arrive and take a seat in the second and back rows. More jurors file in. A bit earlier, a young, eager looking male clerk with the DA's office joined the conversation with DDA Okun-Wiese and Detective Thompson.
People are reading newspapers and magazines.
The jurors enter the courtroom like everyone else does, from the main hallway entrance. The young man with Patricia and Greg Redding appears to be in his 20's. He has short black hair, and to me, resembles Greg Redding.
I hear a defense attorney tell the woman who entered earlier that "He will be sentenced today." So we will have sentencing in another case.
The courtroom is unbelievably quiet at the moment. The clock on the back wall of the courtroom ticks loudly every minute. The typing of my keyboard appears to make more noise than usual.
Two women enter the courtroom. One heads over to speak to the court reporter at the court clerk's desk. The other is a pretty young reporter who takes a seat beside me.
I don't know when he entered, but there is a DDA sitting at the prosecution table. He is most likely here for the sentencing case. A young woman I've never seen before enters and sits beside DDA Okun-Wises's clerk.
Ah. the woman who spoke to the court reporter, I believe she is a reporter with ABC. She has brown hair down to her shoulder blades, model tall with sleek long legs.
More of Juliana's family members enter. Detective Thompson gets up from the end of the bench row to let them sit beside the Reddings. Thompson exchanges a smile, hug and a cheek kiss with one of the older women as they take a seat.
I will not publish comments that include hidden name calling, or are outright calling other commenters names. Sorry.
An Asian woman enters. She smiles at Park. Park stands, gives her a big smile back, and hugs her when she passes to sit in the back row. It's eerily quiet at the moment.
Regarding comments. There will always be some who are unhappy with my decision not to post their comment(s). I'm sorry.
DNA/evidence item collection. It's my understanding that the candle was not collected and placed into evidence. My guess on that would be, the criminalists did not feel it was worth collecting. Whomever lit the candle would not necessarily need to touch it to light it with a flame source.
We heard testimony about the tests conducted on Juliana's fingernails. That's standard evidence collection procedure by the coroner's criminalist. We heard testimony that the DNA under Juliana's fingernails was her own. If I'm remembering correctly, we heard testimony that states this is consistent with Juliana herself creating the scratching injuries on her neck trying to get her fingers under the manual grip around her neck.
I did not hear a buzz this morning that indicated deliberations started, but it's a good bet that they are deliberating. If there was a missing juror, I'm sure I would have heard the court clerk on the phone making inquiries.
There is another case, that had a trial sometime prior, that reached a verdict. That case will be formally sentenced today.
A van. I don't know what was confiscated by Santa Monica police in the way of vehicles. Nothing from a vehicle was entered into evidence at the trial. There could be many reasons for that.
This is an old courthouse. It is 19 floors. It was built in the late 60's, early 70's. There are not separate entrances or hallways for jurors to wait. Jurors wait in the hallway like everyone else. Sometimes the hallway is packed with jurors. There are ten courtrooms on this floor, just as big as this courtroom.
Everyone knows to be quiet when jurors are around. That's pretty standard. You get to know the faces that are the jurors in the trial you are attending/following. And, all jurors in every courtroom are instructed to always wear their juror badge. It clearly identifies them as a juror.
I know that the media is quite careful not to speak around jurors. I have been following cases for several years, and people are aware that you are not allowed to interfere with a juror/jurors. Juliana's family and supporters wear pink ribbons on their clothing.
The jurors can see members of both families that have been in the courtroom during the trial, when everyone is waiting out in the hallway. I don't see a problem with this, and evidently the court staff don't either.
A defendant is brought out from the jail holding area. He is in a brown jumpsuit. This is the first time I've seen the color brown on a defendant. Usually, it's blue or orange. Or, yellow tops with blue bottoms. There are a couple people in the gallery that are possibly here for this sentencing, but I don't think they are all family. Some could be defense attorney staff.
We get the notice to turn our phones off. Judge Kennedy takes the bench. People v. Bailey (sp?). Here to conduct a court trial on prior proceedings. The people call a witness. This is someone who was sitting in the gallery. This is a fingerprint identification expert with the LAPD. The witness is speaking very fast. She's testified as an expert over 65 times.
It is my understanding that John Gilmore has not attended the trial. I have not seen in court anyone who resembles him.
I only started covering this trial since May 2011. There were many pretrial motions in this case that I did not attend. I do not know for a fact that Judge Kennedy "barred" the information commenters are asking about, from being presented as testimony. It could be that the people chose not to use all the evidence they have. That's trial strategy. I do not know what the prosecution's strategy was at trial, or why they did not put on more witnesses to present the evidence you are asking about. You will have to ask the DA's office.
The people call another witness in the bench trail of the current case. Paralegal for the LA Co. DA's office. Experience in identifying prior convictions and "9690 V-packs." Also known as a prison package.
I'm having trouble maintaining a connection. I step out of the courtroom to publish since Judge Kennedy is on the bench.
The testimony of the other case is over. Judge Kennedy asks if there was any affirmative defense. No, but asks to present some argument. "Sure."
No buzzes from the jury.
This current case before Judge Kennedy at the moment, I believe is a three strike case. She is not going to ignore a strike. Move to sentencing.
Just a reminder, I cannot publish from inside the courtroom while Judge Kennedy is on the bench.
Judge Kennedy tells the prosecutor she doesn't understand his computation at all. Judge Kennedy explains the sentencing to the prosecutor. She says the 3 strikes changes a determinate sentence to an indeterminate sentence. The Romero motion is denied. Romero motions have to do with convincing the judge to eliminate a strike.
Sentencing over. The defendant wants to address the judge. "I just want to say, I didn't do the robbery (claim? charge?). .... That's all I wanted to say." Judge Kennedy thanks him. She's off the bench and the defendant is taken back into the holding cell area.
A few supporters on both sides left the courtroom. Detective Thompson is sitting in the first seating row on the end, diligently working on her laptop. I don't recall seeing glasses on her before, but they could be reading glasses, or, I'm just not remembering.
I have not seen Park's defense attorney's today. If I'm remembering correctly, their offices are 20 minutes away.
The courtroom is not very full at the moment. People come and go.
The reporter sitting beside me brought a book to read. The court clerk makes a few phone calls then tells the bailiff she will be right back.
Detective Thompson moves to the side to let someone pass in the first seating row. When she moves, papers spill out of her thick 3-ring binder onto the floor. The court clerk returns with two reams of white paper.
Buzz! Buzz! The clerk goes to investigate since the bailiff is out of the courtroom at the moment.
Several jurors leave the courtroom on a break.
The jury has not sent a note out and said they are hung. So, I can't say they are. However, if the jury sends a note out and says they are hung, then the prosecution will most likely refile the case. Being out on bail will depend on what motions the prosecution and defense make. Judge Kennedy would make the final decision.
Like I've said before, I never try to guess anything about a jury. In my opinion, juries are unpredictable. Juries will surprise you. The Stephanie Lazarus jury deliberated a total of 7 hours and 25 minutes. The second Phil Spector jury deliberated .... I can't find that at the moment. Will get back to that.
Park's sister Kim enters with a friend. Hugs are exchanged between Kim, Park and Chronister.
In Spector, deliberations were spread over 9 days. I do know there were a few illnesses among some of the jurors and Judge Fidler ordered the jurors to stay home for several days. Spector's jury deliberated over 9 days, a total of 28 hours, 57 minutes.
At the most, there are a total of 5 hours and 45 minutes of deliberation time available each day, IF no breaks are taken.
Jurors file back into the jury room from break. I don't notice anything unusual about the expressions on jurors faces.
I have not kept track of the number of jury deliberation hours. That's because this jury is not buzzing each time they start and stop. And, there have been days when testimony has been read back. That time would not be considered deliberating. Yesterday, I believe they took a morning break and left at 4:00 PM. That equates to 5 hours and 15 minutes for one day.
Previously, commenters have asked about cell phone records placing Park near the scene. If you read the Charging Document and Statement of Probable Cause, page 6, you will see that by the time Park was being investigated by Santa Monica PD, the cell tower records for her phone were no longer available. Park's location on the night/time of the murder could not be determined from cell tower pings.
The courtroom gallery is about 3 quarters full.
There's very little bustle in the courtroom.
People are a little restless in the gallery. Some come and go.
The courtroom clock ticks. I explain to Lonce how to take the train to 7th & Metro so she can get a charger for her phone. Camera crew staff come and go. People are reading books, magazines. Jury watch can be quite boring. The only noise is the opening and closing of the courtroom doors from people coming and going.
Yes. I covered the closing statements for both sides. You can find them on THIS entry. The postings are in reverse time order, not in chronological.
11:59 AM The bailiff tells us that the jurors are going to lunch. In the afternoon they will have 65 jurors coming for another trial. There will not be any room for any of us. We watch the jurors file out.
I asked the bailiff if Judge Kennedy would allow a single media seat inside the courtroom and he responded, "Absolutely not. I have 65 jurors coming in here."
I'm in the hallway on the 9th floor. I will be here until a verdict is reached. If by chance a seat opens up in the courtroom I will ask if I can sit in that seat. It's all up to Judge Kennedy.
Like I said earlier, there is no evidence to show where Park's cell phone was at the time the prosecution and LE believe the crime occurred.
I see the jurors being let into the courtroom.
The 9th floor hallway is a bustle of activity with jurors being called to other courtrooms.
I was standing in the ante chamber of the courtroom for a moment when I heard the single BUZZ! The jurors are deliberating again.
I heard the bailiff tell Park and Chronister that they "have to" be inside the courtroom, but he kicked out the reporters and camera crew that had plugged their cameras in.
Everyone is allowed inside Dept. 109. I take a seat in the back row near the door.
I have a correction to make. The latent fingerprint cards were stored at the Santa Monica PD in what is called the Forensic's Section. The Forensic's Section is a security section, and not everyone can enter that unit. However, it is not like a big lab. It isn't even called a lab. Fingerprints that are collected at a crime scene are kept in the case file, in this section of the department.
Nothing anyone says in the comments will affect the jury. I know emotions are high right now and that people are on edge. I'm asking people to please keep it civil.
Even if another trial begins in this courtroom, that will not affect the jury deliberations that are going on right now. Once those three buzzes are heard, various parties (counsel) will be notified. The defense counsel would have to get here. Once they arrived then the new trial would stop. The jurors would be brought out and the verdict read.
Earlier, DDA Okun-Wiese and Detective Thompson were in the courtroom. I looked up from typing and they are gone.
The young man whom I believe is Juliana's brother, is leaning forward, his forehead resting on his hands on the wood bench in front of him.
The bailiff enters the courtroom from the holding cell area.
Speculation about what's happening in the jury room is pointless. I don't have an opinion as to what's happening, and it would be irresponsible for me to even try to speculate. You can't use past jury trials as a template for this one. When people make up a jury, each one is a different entity, and like I've said many times, juries will surprise you.
A friend of mine, a fellow writer came down to court to keep me company.
Park gets up from her seat to go sit beside another supporter.
The courtoom is very quiet. Sound really echos when it's this quiet.
The court clerk and the court reporter share a laugh at the court clerk's desk.
Judge Kennedy comes out from chambers and speaks to her court clerk. Now, the bailiff leaves his desk to go speak to Judge Kennedy in the back office area.
Now Judge Kennedy and the bailiff are chatting at the clerk's desk. People occasinally come and go.
All we can say about the jury at this point is.... they are deliberating.
The bailiff is back at his desk and Judge Kennedy has gone back into chambers.
I can hear footsteps echoing in the hallway as they approach Dept. 109. It's a young woman in heels, most likely a clerk with the DA's office. More footsteps approach. It's one of Juliana's supporters and Detective Thompson, who sits in the gallery. She pushes her large bag under the benches and puts her work briefcase on her lap.
Detective Thompson opens her laptop, possibly to work. DDA Okun-Wiese enters the courtroom and sits in the front row. She turns around to chat with the family.
People in the gallery yawn. I yawn. There are closing door noises somewhere in other courtrooms.
Thank you everyone for your support and kind words regarding my trial reporting efforts. I don't particularly want a meal right now, but I sure would love some sleep when I get home tonight.
Everyone can have an opinion here. Please be civil to each other in the comments. Just because someone doesn't see the case in the same way as you, doesn't diminish their opinion.
Doors open, they close. People go back to reading their book or magazine.
Earlier, I think some one asked about Juliana's parents, and how they are holding up. I have not spoken to them, and I cannot clearly see their faces from where I am siting.. They have several supporters here.
The silence of the room is broken by the court clerks jovial conversation on the phone.
Park and her husband, Tom Chronister take a break outside the courtroom.
I don't believe a specific time of death was presented at trial.
Jurors. You have to understand that, when the jurors leave the courtroom, they leave first. We are told to wait until they leave the room. If someone approached them in the hallway, I believe they would inform the judge. Not to say it hasn't happened, but you have to understand that before court, and during the lunch break, there are a lot of jurors from various cases waiting for their courtrooms to open. The jurors are wearing a juror badge. If someone approached one of our jurors on this case, I believe someone would notice.
Before I choose a seat on a bench, I'm always watching to see if one of these 12 jurors is sitting on that bench. If they are, I find another seat. I believe criminal charges could be brought against someone for attempting to tamper with a jury.
When waiting to get into the courtroom before the doors open in the morning and for the afternoon session, the jurors sit or stand where ever they like in the hallway. Often times, the hallway will be packed with attorneys, family members, jurors. It's a big mix.
Here is the Kelly Soo Park Quick Links Page, with all the information about each day of trial. HERE is the witness list, and a link back to the day they testified.
I think there were four, or four and a half days of testimony. Although we are on day five of verdict
3:47 PM Buzz! Buzz! The bailiff is back in that area, but he could be in the restroom. The bailiff comes out with a paper, but the clerk tells him that the jurors buzzed. No question. The jury is going home.
That's it for today. The jury files out passed us.
The bailiff addresses the room. "Folks, 9:00 AM tomorrow. Come back if you want." People start to pack up and leave the courtroom.
Park kisses her family supporters goodbye. The Redding family leaves. The DDA and Thompson leave. Judge Kennedy comes out and orders Park back tomorrow at 9:00 AM.
I'm finally home. I stayed in downtown with my friend to visit and have dinner. I guess the judge could order them to stay until 4:15 PM, but I've never heard of that. Understand, if I'm remembering correctly, the jurors have gone home consistently at 4:00 PM except for the first day when they were in the jury room for about 15-20 minutes. I'll have to ask the Public Information Office about that when I get a chance.
Ronnie Case. When I was first covering the trial back in 2011, I believe he came to court a few times. I believe there was also another time, after Park and Chronister started dating where he came to court with them, but I'm not positive about that. As far as I know, Case has not been in the courtroom during the trial.
All I can say is, trust jury the process. The jurors have not said that they are hung. Until they say they are hung, they are still deliberating.
Again, I want to thank everyone who has been so generous in making a donation to my court coverage costs. Mr. Sprocket and I are truly touched and grateful.