I will post JohnWilburn’s detailed account as soon as I receive it, in whole or in part.
(NOTE: the remainder of John’s report was added at about 8 AM Saturday morning.)
I was able to attend the afternoon session and, to kill some time and hopefully enlighten, I will post some comments and observations while I wait.
I had hoped that the closing statements would come today, but that did not happen, largely thanks to Prosecutor Ebert’s unending search for do-overs and Prosecutor Conway’s deep and abiding love for the sound of his own voice.
The first afternoon defense witness was Glenda Frye, a Portsmouth Public Defender who finished the process of totally discrediting Jamal Skeeter as a constant purveyor of false testimony in hopes of reducing his jail sentence. She produced a letter from Skeeter in which he responded to her informing him that the Portsmouth Court no longer had jurisdiction over him and could not reduce his sentence in return for testimony by writing he would none the less never give up trying.
Deputy Commonwealths Attorney Ed Ferreira reiterated Ms Frye’s testimony.
The defense rested and rebuttal began.
Ebert recalled Lori (sp?) McReynolds to bring out that Frederick had told her of the burglary but later told her her property was not in danger because he had figured out who had broken into his place and she was not a target, thus establishing something we already knew.
In her first really big judicial error, in my opinion, Arrington allowed new testimony (which is not supposed to be allowed in rebuttal) from Arron Curley, one of the burglars. Instead of corroborating the testimony of Steven Wright, Ebert elicited new statements of threats supposedly made by Frederick toward the police in a conversation overheard on Turnbull’s cell phone. Later, Broccoletti produced phone records showing Curley lied about the number of calls received by Turnbull from Fredrick’s number.
Ebert continued his effort for a do-over in rebuttal by trying to introduce yet another jailhouse snitch, which thankfully, Arrington did not allow, else we would have been burdened by an endless cycle of snitch followed by their exposure as a liar, then another snitch, and exposure, until every inmate in the Chesapeake jail had his 15 minutes of fame.
(Have you noticed I have about had it with Ebert?)
Det. Michael Baronne returned to the stand to repeat his testimony and to attempt to deny that Frederick could have seen what he said he did. This was the most interesting testimony of the day to me because it illustrates something I have referred to before, that being how basically honest people can say things that are not true and not even realize it. People often confuse what they believe with what they know.
Since its my blog and I have the time, I will editorialize on that a bit.
Many years ago, I read Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land of a fictional profession of a Fair Witness a supposedly unimpeachable witness who was trained in observation and memory. In demonstrating the skill of a Fair Witness, her employer asks her of the color of a nearby house, and she answers "It’s white on this side." refusing to assume the sides she cannot see at that moment are also white. She was familiar with the house, had seen the other sides, which were white the last time she saw them, but she would not assume they had not since been painted. If all witnesses were this careful in their testimony, the task of juries would be quite simple. But in our real world, people lie and embellish, as Curley did in his testimony, but basically honest people like Det. Baronne mistake what they believe to be true with things they actually know or saw.
Baronne, in his attempt to breach the door, knocked out the lower right panel (the top of which is about armpit high on me, Baronne is somewhat taller) and immediately drew the ramback for another stroke, which he said he would have delivered in less than two seconds, but did not because Frederick’s shot came in only a second of the striking of the panel. When asked by the prosecutor if anyone, especially Det. Shivers had moved toward the door or bent down to look through, he answered that no one had done so.
He could not possibly have known that. His back was to Shivers, his attention was on the target, and when preparing to withdraw the ram and strike again in less than two seconds, he could not have turned and checked on Shiver’s position. He assumed it to be true, and reported it as so, but he could not have seen it.
I’m sure people he trusts have told him it was so, he has seen the reenactment in which the Shiver’s stand-in did not move, but he could not have seen it himself on that night.
This is why last night I wrote that both the police and Frederick could be telling the truth about that night AS THEY SAW IT. I believe Det. Baronne to be an honest man, yet he testified to something thatcannot be so.
People can fool themselves, and can assume things that are not true, and not know it. So, the jury has a job to do. To apply common sense and their own observation to reconcile these inevitable differences in how people remember and see things from their point of view.
The lesson for us?
That not every little inconsistency amounts to an intentional lie.
And that good liars can be amazingly consistent.
And that really good liars can inject just the right mount of inconsistency to make themselves look truthful.
Hopefully, the jury will be able to find the truth amidst all that.