Today, before the jury was brought in, the defense asked the judge to compel the return of a witness. Det. Edward Winkelspecht was the first to interview Frederick after his arrest and could answer questions regarding Prosecutor Willet’s allegation that Frederick was “stoned out of his mind” and acted in a “drug induced rage.” Det. Winkelspecht was on the prosecution’s witness list, but without notice to the judge, he was allowed by the prosecution to leave for a BATF training course in Atlanta of several weeks duration. Judge Arrington ruled he must be made available to testify.
Today’s testimony began with Det. Sergeant John Landfair, the team leader for the second team of seven officers assigned to simultaneous do a knock and announce search on the detached garage. The second team was slowed by the difficulty of opening Frederick’s sagging gate and did not begin their knock and announce on time, went through only two knock and announce cycles trying to catch up and then entered the unoccupied garage without incident. They were then informed by radio that there had been a shooting and to withdraw to a “barricade” disposition to prevent any escape.
The team ‘cleared” the garage, meaning they determined there were no people in it who might pose a threat, but did not conduct a detailed search, noting only that there was a lot of clutter and no obvious “grow operation.”
Det. Jason Bates wielded the battering ram on this team and got the door open on his second strike. On cross examination, he stated that it was their standard practice for the officers who are assigned to be first in to enter immediately on a successful breach without waiting for a separate order to do so.
Det. Alvin Jaydayday (sp?) Testified that after getting into position he heard Det. Jenifer Walker’s distinctive voice announcing “Chesapeake Police, Search Warrant, Open the door” from the front team, but he had not heard Det. Roberts preceding announces. This supports my impression from yesterday that Det. Roberts voice does not carry as well as hers and his announces may have been less effective.
Officer Nathan McGanty, who was at the tail end of the second team and not part of the entry team, testified that he saw a shadow of a silhouette move in Fredericks bedroom about the time of Robert’s second announce. He shouted that he saw movement, but did not think anyone heard him. He established that the garage entry team was not in place until well after the main entry team had begun its efforts at the front door. This would mean any announcements made by his team at the back f the house would have come too late to have been of use to alert Frederick of their presence.
Forensics Technician Grover Davis provided details on where various items of evidence were found. One .380 shell casing was found in the living room and another near the door of the bedroom in the rear, which was consistent with the previous testimony that one shot was fired from inside the living room and a second, accidental shot was fired as Frederick retreated to the rear of the house.
On cross examination, some discrepancies with previous testimony were revealed. A pry bar which was recovered at the scene on the night of the incident was not depicted in the photograph entered into evidence from the reenactment the police conducted in March of last year. No blood was found on the porch, which the prosecution alleged was proof that Det. Shivers was not on the porch when he was shot. However, on cross examination, Davis admitted he had also not found blood on the ground where Det. Shivers fell, so the absence of blood on the porch does not preclude his being there. Blood was found at the location where Shivers was taken to shelter and for attempts to save him.
Police have testified there was only one attempt to open the door with the ram, which only knocked out the lower right panel on the door, however photos revealed the inner molding on the door was broken out as well, indicating the door may have been subsequently forced open.
The day ended with the jury removed from the room for a request by the defense for access to a video of the reenactment staged by the police last March. Though the video was the product of a search warrant, the prosecution has maintained it was an internal ‘work product’ of the prosecution crafted to help them develop their theory of the case and not subject to discovery by the defense. They admitted that the defense was entitled to any measurements, drawings, photos or graphs resulting from the search, but not the video. But they also claimed they made no measurements, photos or drawings, only the video.
However, they had entered a still from the video of the reenactment into evidence as a visual aid to the positions of the policemen. The defense argued that if one still from the video could be used in court, then they were entitled to see all of them (a video is, after all, just a series of still pictures shown in rapid succession. ) In the end, Judge Arrington ruled the defense would at the least have to be allowed to view the video to see if there was any information on it of an analytical nature which would be subject to discovery.
In particular, the still entered into evidence showed a yellow string stretched from the point on the re-enactor portraying Det. Shivers where he was struck back into the house through the broken out door panel, illustrating a possible trajectory of the bullet. (Actually, the angle of the string was improbably low, two officers have testified they saw Frederick’s feet running toward the door when the shot was fired and the angle depicted in the picture was so low he would have had to have been down on his knees or lower.)
The string could have been moved around the perifery of the hole in the door to determine where Frederick could have been standing to fire the shot, or conversely, to confirm if the re-enactor was accurately positioned.
I don’t really know if any imprtant evidence will be derived from that video, but the ferocity with which the prosecutors argued to keep the defense from seeing it makes me wonder if there is not something important there.
The trial will resume on Monday, but I will not be able to attend next week. John Wilburn has volunteered to attend and provide me with an account.