Tuesday, May 31, 2011

James Fayed Penalty Phase: Jurors Vote DEATH!

James Fayed, left with his penalty phase attorney, Steve Meister

Note: Spelling errors corrected. Sprocket.

After deliberating three days and two hours, the jurors in the James Fayed murder-for-hire trial voted for death instead of life-without-parole. It was a somber ending to the month long trial. The jurors took well over twice as long to render a verdict in the penalty phase than they did in the guilt phase.

I have to say I was very impressed with the professionalism of the defense attorneys, both of whom took the time to say goodbye to me at the presser. It was like night and day compared to how I was treated by Spector's gang of legal defenders on both trials.

After the verdict, many of the television reporters were waiting around just to see if a juror would talk to them, or if they could spot Desiree Goudie coming out of the criminal court building. While waiting around on the lookout with Greg Fisher and another CBS investigative reporter, Randy Paige, I spotted three of the female jurors coming up Temple Street. I alerted the guys in the MSM, but the jurors rebuffed them. I can totally understand. After sentencing a man to death, would you want to talk to the press or have your face be on camera? I expect the experience of this trial will affect these jurors for a long time to come.

I think Alan Jackson in his presser was spot on. There are no winners here. Like Eric Harmon eloquently said in his closing arguments, Fayed's actions were like the stone thrown into a smooth lake. The ripple effect of Fayed's greed affected many lives and even three years after their loss, I believe the many people affected are still grieving.

Greg Fisher was kind enough to invite me to lunch at a classy French restaurant Kendall's Brasserie & Bar over on Temple & Grand. It's an beautiful place to dine while in downtown. For someone who usually takes their lunch to court it was a welcome treat at the end of a long trial. I had the Cesar Salad with chicken; very, very good.

Over lunch, we chatted about the upcoming cases we'll both be covering: Stephanie Lazarus, Kelly Soo Park and possibly the Grim Sleeper case. There's a camaraderie that happens among reporters during a long trial. I imagine it's much like what happens on a film or television set. After a while, you become like a family. And once it's over, there is this odd feeling that can come over you, where you feel a bit disconnected. When I left Dept. 109 to go to the news conference on the 12th floor, I made a point to say goodbye to the bailiff Sean and Judge Kennedy's clerk, Lori.

Where are my thoughts at the conclusion of this trial? With Desiree Goudie. The day after the initial guilt verdict was read, I was in the hallway on a bench, working on my trial notes. The prosecution had just presented their opening statement in the penalty phase and I was about to go off to lunch. Desiree Goudie came up to me and thanked me for my blog. She said it helped her get through the trial. Today, after the penalty verdict was read, she came up to me, hugged me, and thanked me again. I was humbled by her actions and generosity. In my mind, there is no greater gift my blog can give, than to help a grieving family member stay in touch with the proceedings, especially when they are barred from attending. That alone is payment for my time.

When I got home, there was a surprise waiting for me in my mailbox. A jury summons. Guess I'll be going back to court sooner than I anticipated.


dawn said...

I would like to thank you on behalf of the Goudie family for your coverage of the Fayed trial. Our sister Pamela died far too young and it was with mixed feelings we learned of the verdict today. Our heart goes out to the jury who had to make such a difficult decision.

Your blog provided a way for our loved ones and friends to stay informed while we were there in California attending the trial. There were many days that it was too difficult to talk about, but our families knew what we were feeling because of your postings. I never realized the value a blog could have until this trial and appreciate the time you spent every day to cover this trial.
Thank you again,
Dawn Goudie Opoulos

Liz said...

Dear Sprocket

The Anthony trial seems to have taken over much of the crime airways - but thankyou for your reporting from LA. It is interesting that one of those Spector folks you speak of is hanging around the edges of the Anthony Case.

The thanks from Dawn above is so lovely to read - the internet is surely remarkable in how far its reporting can travel - and how nice that you could keep the folks informed on what was happening.

I don't comment alot, but always follow your detailed reports.

many thanks