Friday, July 12, 2013

Kelly Soo Park Trial Synopsis, Part III: Defense Argument; People's Closing Argument

Juliana and girlfriends with Uwaydah on his jet, 
Las Vegas birthday celebration trip, October 2007.

Continued from Trial Synopsis, Part III, Prosecution's Opening Argument...

Defense Argument, presented by George Buehler.
"I want to start just by reminding you that the things the lawyers say to you now are not evidence. And so you should check what I say to you against the evidence as you think back over the evidence. ... Now I want to start with that because I think there are a number of things that have been said by the prosecutor that were incorrect, okay?"

Buehler tells the jury that the prosecution spoke mostly about things that are not in dispute. The injuries are horrible. The question is, who inflicted them?  The severity of the injuries and the strength to overpower Miss Redding, it sounds like something happened very quickly. It took a lot of strength for somebody to overpower her.

"And even though Mrs. Park may have three inches and 40 pounds on Miss Redding , I submit to you that that's not enough to account for the brutality here, nor do you know anything about Kelly Park that would suggest that she has the level of really brutal evil intent that the murderer here had."

"Nor do you know anything about Mrs. Park, notwithstanding this lengthy investigation that would provide any reason why she would have done something so horrible. And the link to Dr. Uwaydah is just a neutral fact. ... There is nothing here to show that even Dr. Uwaydah had a motive to do this, let alone that Kelly Park would have done it for him.

Buehler agrees that when you see someone strangled right in front of you, you don't have to worry about why they did it. But when relying on circumstantial evidence, no one here was present when that happened.  You have to weigh this very carefully. "What do I know about this defendant where it would make sense that she would do something like this? And there is no evidence here to suggest that."

No matter how long the prosecution talked about the injuries or the huge numbers involved in the DNA -- we don't dispute that-- that that's Kelly Park's DNA. That's not what's in issue. "The question is what the significance of that is. What can we really conclude from that evidence?"

Buehler points out to the jury that the picture of Kelly Park that was presented by the prosecution during this trial was a booking photograph, and no one looks in those, even the innocent. They were put in front of you to give you a negative impression and that's not fair.

Buehler says the same thing about Detective Bambrick. The prosecutor said she refused to give fingerprints. "No she didn't. You can go back and read the transcript. She said, 'Take me to a police station.  She was willing to provide fingerprints; she wasn't wiling to provide it to those people."

Buehler tells the jury that Bambrick didn't show Park his badge, he only said, "Here's my card," because it isn't in the transcript and that Bambrick should have said from the beginning, "Here's my badge."

Buehler goes over the facts of the serving of the search warrant and that Mrs. Park kept asking to call her attorney and Mrs. Park had suspicion and frustration as to how she was being treated.  Buehler asks the jury, "They were all ready to arrest her. They did arrest her later that day. They already had a warrant based on their DNA evidence. Why did they have to go through that kind of trickery? If their evidence was really so strong?"

Buehler moves onto the DNA evidence. "The fact of the matter is, that in this case their case rests entirely on DNA evidence. They want to pretend it doesn't, but it rests entirely on DNA evidence. And you will have to ask yourselves, 'Is that enough for me to find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Mrs. Park is guilty in this case?"

"Now when the prosecution brought out the NA evidence in the courtroom, there were two aspects to it that they didn't bring out to their witnesses. They asked a few questions about the transfer of DNA. Mr. Kassabian asked a lot more questions to bring out the phenomenon of transfer DNA. And that phenomenon simply is that DNA can be passed from person to person; that -- it way that aren't entirely clear to the scientists."

Some people when they touch something won't leave DNA and others seem to always leave a lot.  How much you leave may depend on when you last wash your hands.

"But when I touch an object, if I leave my DNA, then someone else can come along and touch that object and pick up my DNA. And they may go touch another object and leave my DNA, and I never touched that object. So we went through that with Annette McCall. And what could be particularly significant in this case is that if you pick up a rag or a towel and you wipe your face or you sneeze into it or you wipe your arm -- you are sweaty or something -- you can leave a lot of DNA fr someone to come along and touch that towel or use it for something and now be spreading your DNA around."

"The thing about DNA is, it tells you that somebody's cells are in a particular spot, but that's all it tells you. And Miss McCall said that. It doesn't tell you how that DNA got there; It doesn' tell you when that DNA got there. It doesn't tell you how long it has been there. And under the right conditions DNA can last a long time. Months. Years. ry, not hot. Not exposed to light. DNA endures; it lasts. So the transfer of DNA is an important issue to think about in this case."

The prosecution didn't want to think about it or discuss it but we did in cross examination of Miss McCall.

Buehler then talks about the 'possible' alleles, and the 'spikes' on the graphs, and the spikes that were below the threshold.  But Miss McCall acknowledged that you could be looking at actual alleles. There just isn't enough material to identify the marker correctly.

"So in almost every object here where Mrs. Park's DNA was found inside the apartment, there were those kinds of possible alleles, meaning that there were quite probably other people's DNA in the shpt; it is just not there in enough quantity that they are able to see who it is. And who knows how it might change your evaluation of the NA evidence if you knew who the people were who left those below threshold Alleles."

Buehler mentions that they know Brian Van Holt's DNA was found on Miss Redding's breasts. "What if his DNA had been found on the neck? That might change your view of the evidence."

"So all I'm suggesting to you is that that's a dimension of DNA that has to be looked at too and thought about as we think about what's the significance of it here and what inferences can we draw."

The extra single allele on Miss Redding's neck, an allele 17, could have been Cher Brooks; but it could have been somebody else's. That shows you, that there was at least two persons, that there was a mixture. In this instance we know there were at least three because you had that extra marker.  There was Juliana's DNA, Mrs. Parks DNA, and that extra 17 marker which didn't belong to either Juliana Redding or Mrs. Park.

"So there are pats of the science of DNA that the prosecution would just as soon forget about because they want that DNA to be perfect evidence. Now, because the DNA can be transferred and because the fact that Miss Park's DNA is in those spots, ti doesn't -- you don't know when it got there or how it got there -- you have to think about the possibility that Miss Park --- Mrs. Park's DAN got into Juliana Redding's apartment by some means other than Mrs. Park going in there and committing a murder. If Mrs. Park were in that apartment some time and left her DNA, then the murderer when he came in could have touched something that had her DNA on it and left it in these spots."

"If somebody had been some place else where they got Mrs. Park's DNA on them, or they had an object that had Mrs. Park's DNA, they could have brought it into that apartment and got it on their hand s in that way when they committed the murder."

"And you haven't been given any evidence by the prosecution that show you that Mrs. park was never in that apartment, nor do you know what possibilities there are as to how someone might have brought DNA into that apartment from Mrs. Park; maybe someone that knew Mrs. Park, had been with her recently."

The defense tells the jury that they probably wondered why they called Cher Brooks and Wendy Tavera, a neighbor and friend of Juliana's. It was to establish that Juliana had been rearranging furniture and she was going to give Tavera some plates.  This suggests spring cleaning, getting rid of things; the lamp she offered to Brooks.  And Mary O'Grady.  Five months prior, Juliana was living in the Beverly Hills home on Beverly Grove owned by Uwaydah, until her birthday weekend in Las Vegas and the blowup and the relationship with Uwaydah ended.  O'Grady remembers meeting Juliana at that home while remodeling it.  O'Grady remembers meeting and seeing Park there, in the kitchen of that home, on the same day.  "Here is one place where Juliana Redding and Kelly were in the same environment; maybe not at the same time, but were crossing paths."

A few months later, Juliana is doing some spring cleaning. "Now, could she have brought with her from the Beverly Grove apartment --to her apartment a towel? An orange plate that had been touched by Mrs. Park when she was in that house?  And that she brought it -- remember it sounds like she left Beverly Grove pretty abruptly. So maybe she just packed some things quickly and moved, and she actually brought with her to her apartment a plate that Mrs. Park had touched and left a fingerprint on and a drop of blood on, and maybe a towel, a napkin, something that Mrs. Park on a hot day in August might have wiped her face with, but-- like I say, sneezed into or whatever but left a lot of DNA there."

"And it just so happens that on that Saturday she is doing her spring cleaning and she pulls that stuff out, and that night when someone comes in and murders her, that person somehow touches those things. There is a very logical reason why a murderer might grab a towel or a napkin or something to clean up with."

Buehler tells the jury that they might think this idea is "far-fetched." Then Buehler tells the jury that it's more far-fetched that Park, a successful business woman, who has no relationship with Juliana Redding, would show up on a Saturday night and commit these heinous acts. "What do you have to show that that's a likely event? Is that anymore likely than the scenario I am suggesting to you that might have occurred?"

Buehler then talks about the blood in the fingerprint on the plate a bit more.  That Miss Funo, did not notice or recognize the blood and just put the fingerprint away. It was only months later that Zychowski looked at the fingerprint and saw that it was blood. Buehler asks the jury, "Was that blood fresh when it was lifted at the scene? Because that orange plate is in a sink sitting upright."  Buehler adds, "If that represents blood that Mrs. Park dripped onto that plate that night when she was allegedly committing this murder, why was it just a nice round drop as Miss Zychowski testified it was? Why didn't it run? Blood runs when it is fresh."  Buehler asks the jury that if it was fresh, or even 24 hours later, "Wouldn't it have been red? Wouldn't it have been the type of red that you recognize?"

Buehler explains, that since Funo didn't see the blood and recognize it as blood, "It got there some other way. And the way that could have happened is that that plate came from Beverly Grove. And then the question is, did it come with someone else that Had Mrs. Park's DNA on it, had her cells on it? Like a towel? A rag? Something that the murderer used and then took with him, probably because he used it to clean up?"

Buehler reminds the jury that the only other fingerprint besides Juliana's that was found was this single print of Park's.  Buehler then talks about the clean up, but that the clean up was incomplete. The broken necklace, the oil under the tray. "I mean, the reason you would clean up is, you would go around and you would want to wipe down all the places where you might have left your DNA and your fingerprints. And if that was done with a rag that had Mrs. Park's DNA on it, all those places would not have the killer's fingerprint or DNA, and would have Mr.s Park's DNA."

Buehler asks the jury that if Mrs. Park actually committed this murder, she didn't go around and clean up because her DNA is there. If her DNA is on the door knob, why isn't her fingerprint there?  Or the stove knob, why isn't her fingerprint there with her DNA?  Why aren't her fingerprints on the vase with the spilled oil that was cleaned up?  "One explanation would be, you have a killer who has got a rag; he is going around, he is wiping the places to get rid of his fingerprints, his DNA. And he has got Mrs. Park's DNA, unbeknownst to him but to his great benefit, on that rag."

"So think about those things as you listen to the prosecutor tell you how overwhelming their evidence is.  There are dangers in prosecutors want to jump to a conclusion and shut down their investigation as soon as they come up with something like DNA evidence."

Buehler tells the jury that they are not even arguing about whether or not the DNA is Parks. The defense agrees it's Park's DNA. Buehler tells the jury, "We are arguing about how it got there and what does it mean and how significant is it, and is it enough for you to find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she is guilty of this terrible crime when they haven't given you anything to show why she would have been there doing this horrible thing, if she is even capable of it?"

"When I say 'capable' I mean physically capable of it, to go in there and inflict that kind of brutal force that quickly, and whether she is emotionally, psychologically, capable of it. What have they shown you about Kelly Park? She is a successful business woman. She is a mortgage broker. Ah, but a mortgage broker that has a connection to Mr. Uwaydah."

Buehler mentions the "bank capitol campaign" the Park was involved in along with Uwaydah. He asks the jury, does that connection mean she did this horrible crime?  He then asks the jurors what do they know about Uwaydah? "You don't know enough to conclude that he would even think of committing this crime."

Buehler reminds them about Uwaydah's business dealings with Greg Redding. That the negotiations broke down and then they started up again. That there was a period of time that they had nothing to do with each other. "And just note that no one got killed. Okay? I mean, if he is-- if Uwaydah is the guy that likes to kill people when they break off negotiations with him, no one got killed at that point."  Then Reddings fears were allayed and the relationship started up again.  Redding got his California pharmacy license and then, "they both walked away from the contract."

Buehler tells the jury the only details they have, is there wern't licensing agreements in place for the sale of the pain cream. The other thing was about the private plane that wasn't in the contract.  All we really know is that after they both went over everything, they decided not go to through with the contract. "There is no testimony about any rancor, any anger, any harsh words, any threats being exchanged.  When Mr. Redding's daughter was found dead, he didn't go tell people, "I think it is Dr. Uwaydah because he was threatening me" or "he was such a difficult guy or a bad guy. So how are you supposed to draw the conclusion that Dr. Uwaydah had a motive to kill Mr. Redding's daughter."

"So what's the significance of that link? So Kelly Park knows Dr. Uwaydah; does business with him; talks to him on the phone 16 times in the three days they had their wiretap up.  About what? Maybe they had a big business deal going on then. And you are supposed to conclude that because of that relationship, she had a motive to kill Juliana Redding? That is stretching it. I mean, that is really stretching it."

"And the fact that they would do that shows that they now that without a motive, even though they don't have to prove motive as an element of the crime, they know they need a motive to convince a rational jury to find Mrs. Park guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, for this horrible crime. That's why that's all in here about this Dr. Uwaydah guy whom you really know very little about and put much evidence in."

Buehler tells the jury that the prosecution hasn't come up with any evidence to show them that Dr. Uwaydah had a motive to do this or that Mrs. Park would even think about doing something like this.

Buehler tells the jury the DNA isn't as clear as the prosecution submits it is. "There are ways that that DNA could have gotten there because the DNA does not tell a story; it just says, "This is whose DNA is here. It doesn't tell you how it got there, when it got there."

"There is absolutely no reason in the world anybody can show why she would have done this -- There aren't many people in the world period who would commit that kind of crime; you have no reason to believe that Kelly Park is that kind of person, and she gets the benefit of the doubt."

Buehler reminds the jury that Natasha Hovey helped Juliana move boxes out of the Beverly Grove house. Buehler puts up a photo Juliana Redding's hands, showing the jury again the broken fingernails. "Those fingernails are not chipped or damaged from the fight."  Buehler tells the jury about the testimony from the coroner's assistant, and that the coroner's assistant cut the fingernails at the scene.  "Rely on your memory of the evidence, not on what the lawyers tell you, including the prosecutor."

Buehler presents the jurors with the letters between Greg Reddings attorney and Uwaydah's attorney.  He explains Reddings letter as, "So what you have is a letter acknowledging that both side are withdrawing their offer. Now that's different because the prosecutor wants you to thing that Greg Redding has broken it off, and therefore you can think that Dr. Uwaydah gets angry about it and causes a murder to happen. That's not true."  Buehler tells the jury the evidence shows that both sides decided to call it quits.

Buehler moves onto the testimony about the luminol and that if it fluoresces, that can indicate the presence of blood bu there are other things as well that can cause that. "It is not clear that there was blood in those spots.

"I am using my memory, so if I am forgetting something, then forgive me. But I am pointing out to you places where I think the prosecutor has told you something that's incorrect.  So I am going to surprise the prosecutor by finishing quicker than I told her I would. In closing ladies and gentlemen, I want to remind you of the rules that govern here. It is the prosecution's burden of proof, okay? I mean, that's a rule that comes out of centuries of development of the legal system of England when they gradually developed the democracy and overthrew the tyranny of kings. It is an important rule. It was passed and enshrined in the 5th amendment of our constitution."

"When someone is charged with a crime, the state, the government, the prosecutor has the burden of proof. It is not just any burden of proof; it is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. And the defendant has no obligation to do anything but sit there and say you haven't proven it.  And they haven't proven it here. Mrs. Park did not commit that horrible murder.  Let the Santa Monica Police department go out and rethink their case and find the person that did it.  Thank you."

Prosecution Closing Argument
"The burden of proof is the burden of proof that the prosecution welcomes in this case.  The DNA in this case does tell a story. The DNA in this case does tell a story. This isn't a case where there is an abandoned car and one item of -- one item has DNA on it."  Okun-Wiese goes over all the items that have Park's DNA on them in Juliana's residence.

"There is no contention here, according to the defense, that the DNA we found at the scene on these six items belongs to the defendant. They want you to speculate about possibilities of how that evidence got there. You don't need to speculate because on each one of the items that the defendant's DNA was found on, there is an explanation of why that DNA is there; because this defendant is the killer."

Okun-Wiese tells the jury that the defense wants them to believe there was another person there and possibly another allele. "If there was another person there, that doesn't negate the defendant being there."

"The defense is asking you to speculate about information and evidence you didn't receive in this case.  You didn't receive evidence about Juliana taking a plate five months earlier from Uwaydah's house to her house. The evidence that you heard was, there was an orange plate in her sink. And according to Miss Funo, there was droppings of water on that plate in the sink. That plate, according to defense, has been sitting in that sink for five months undisturbed? And somehow the defendant touched that plate at the Beverly Hills home, and it made its way to Juliana Redding's home?  That's a ridiculous argument to make, quite frankly. The defendant's DNA and her fingerprint are on that plate because she moved that plate during the commission of the murder of Juliana Redding."

Okun-Wiese reminds the jury that motive is not an element of the crime. That she doesn't need to prove to the jury whether or not Park was capable of committing murder. The evidence in the case proves she did.

"The defense wants you to speculate that somewhere out in the world Juliana maybe picked up a towel that had the defendant's DNA on it and when she got to her home, she wiped that towel on her neck; she wiped that towel on the cell phone, she wiped that towel on the stove knob; she wiped that towel on her door, and she wiped tha towel on her tank top.  Then how do you explain the fingerprint? And how do you explain the blood?"

Miss Funo testified she used black powder to collect the latent prints. The jury has the fingerprint card. The blood wasn't that easily identifiable.  Miss Funo testified she lifted tons of prints. Of all those, only 16 were usable. Not everything you dust will reveal a latent print.

"The defense says, 'Yes, it is the defendant's DNA, but we want to -- we want you to speculate about how it got there. Maybe she was there at that apartment sometime before.' There was no evidence to that fact. The evidence was, she was there on the night of the murder , not any other time."

"And possibly, according to Miss O'Grady, they may have met one time five months before the murder, and somehow there was all of this DNA that was transferred from the defendant into Juliana's home and onto her person.  That's unbelievable."

Okun-Wiese reads to the jurors, jury instruction number 224, about circumstantial evidence.

"And that's what the defense is talking about here. He wants you to come to an unreasonable conclusion about how the defendant's DNA got to that location."

"The defense asked, 'What really does the prosecution have to prove that the defendant killed Juliana?'  We have provided you with all the evidence. The numbers are there. And there is not even a contention by the defense that it is the defendant's DNA on and around Juliana. That proves that the defendant killed Juliana. She is the one who placed her DNA around Juliana's neck when she was suffocating her and breaking her bone."

Okun-Wiese goes over all the other items that show Park put her DNA on those items herself.  Okun-Wiese tells the jury that the defense wants you to assume that Park is a successful business woman. "What we have heard is, between -- in the period of 18 months, the defendant received over $1 million from Dr. Uwaydah. And we have heard that she is, one, a medical consultant; two, she was a mortgage broker; three, she is overseeing something going on at Dr. Uwaydah's home; and four, she is in some type of bank venture."

Okun-Wiese reminds the jurors there was no testimony as to what that money was for. "It didn't go out to some real estate venture; it went into her personal account."

Okun-Wiese then touches on the relationship between Greg Redding and Uwaydah and the letters back and forth between counsel. "And nowhere in that letter does it talk about Mr. Uwaydah pulling out of the contract first."  Greg Redding ended negotiations because he didn't like what he was seeing from Uwaydah. He wasn't trusting him. He pulled out of the deal and five days later his daughter ends up dead.

Okun-Wiese tells the jury that they need to look at this case as a puzzle, and each piece presented by the prosecution completes the entire puzzle.  The defendant failing to provide her fingerprints when asked. The fingerprint on the plate at the location. The link between the defendant and Juliana and Uwaydah.

Okun-Wiese talks about the question the court asked them during voir dire, if they all had "common sense."

"How could that DNA have gotten there without the defendant putting it there?  Is it really likely that this DNA could have been transferred from five months prior? And the answer to that is no. And the defense wants to harp on the issue of motive. And I gave you examples. And yeah, if you saw me commit a crime against Detective Thompson, you are seeing it with your own eyes. But you still have no idea why I committed that crime. It doesn't change the facts of the case."

"And whether it is circumstantial evidence such as DNA evidence or a fingerprint, or it is eyewitness testimony, it is still evidence. And both types of evidence are acceptable in a criminal case such as this.  Having a motive or not having a motive doesn't negate the fact that the crime occurred. It doesn't take away from the people's burden to prove the elements of the crime, and it doesn't take away the fact that a crime was committed.  The people have proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt and are asking you to return a verdict of guilty as to first degree murder. Thank you very much."

To be continued.....


NancyB said...

Hi Sprocket, I can see that you have been a very busy bee! Now I will have to carve out some time to catch up on all the cases that we, your readers, follow on your wonderful blog.

Unless you present something fairly dramatic in your remaining posts of Part III, I am doubtful that my initial very strong opinions on the verdict and the jurors will change in any significant or meaningful way.

It really does not matter to me whether you eventually post my comment or not. Actually, the act of writing that long missive proved to be entirely therapeutic on a personal level and just what I needed, even though I did not know that at the time! I was then, and remain now sorely disappointed in our judicial system. I do believe that the jurors were "fooled" into believing that the true scientific evidence, the DNA, was lesser than the junk science the defense sold them.

Thanks again, for all of your very hard work.