Court convened at 10:30, once the judge, attorneys and Mr. Frederick returned from the residence.
Judge Arrington ruled in favor of Mr. Broccoletti’s motion to limit questions to be asked of Mr. Wright regarding prior drug sale activity, and agree to give the jury special instructions, i.e. that they were to view Mr. Wrights testimony in light of the current charges that Mr. Frederick is being tried for.
A short recess was called at 10:45 (not sure why) – reconvened at 11:00, jury brought in at 11:03.
Detective Thomas was first witness. He was Lead Investigator for the event. Mr. Conway questioned him.
Several items that were in the evidence room had not been tested when they were first collected, so Det, Thomas had these few items (mostly miniscule amounts of marijuana) tested in August ’08.
On cross-examination (by Mr. Broccoletti), Det Thomas said he didn’t know how old the items were, and may not be related to the 2.6 grams of marijuana found in the baggie in the back bedroom.
Steven Wright was next witness. Mr. Ebert questioned him. Judge Arrington instructed jury, as stated above.
Mr. Wright is 23 years old, and has charges of Credit Card Fraud, Grand Larceny, and Failure to Appear in his background. He met Mr. Frederick thru his (ex) girlfriend Stephanie Cox, and Mr. Frederick’s fiancée Kimberly Cox. They met sometime (he wasn’t sure of date) between April and July of 2007.
Mr. Wright stated that between July and November of 2007, he bought marijuana from Mr. Frederick 40 – 50 times, was often in his house and detached garage, discussed the particulars of “Hydroponics” marijuana cultivation. He said that Mr. Frederick had the plants in “portable closets” 6 feet tall 3 – 4 feet wide, which had zippered closures and had lights mounted inside them. (I believe he said that Mr. Frederick had three of the “closets”). He said the first time Mr. Frederick showed him his “grow operation,” (in July ’07) the marijuana plants were 5 feet tall.
He said that he and Mr. Frederick often smoked marijuana together. He said the marijuana was very potent, and that he visited Mr. Frederick’s home 40 – 50 times over the several months. He said that Mr. Frederick was almost always high when he (Wright) was there. He said that Mr. Frederick had as few as 10 plants and as many as 30 at various times, and in various stages of growth. He said Mr. Frederick told him that it was possible to make a profit of $450.00 on an ounce of “Hydro.”
Mr. Wright said that he met with Detective Roberts (I believe he said in November) and told him that someone he knew who was selling drugs (not Mr. Frederick) had threatened him (Wright) and he wanted to retaliate. If I heard correctly, Det. Roberts “took care of it” and Mr. Wright was paid $60.00 for the information that he provided Det Roberts.
At that time, he also told Det Roberts about Mr. Frederick’s grow operation.
Mr. Wright broke up with his girlfriend (Stephanie Cox) who was Mr. Frederick’s fiancée’s (Kimberly Cox) sister, and became persona non grata at Mr. Frederick’s, sometime in late November (if I heard correctly).
He said he signed a contract to be a “CI” for CPD in December 2007 – provided (State Police? – not clear who he was working with for this) information on another case that the State Police paid him $500.00 for. Said he was paid $50.00 by Det Roberts, for information on another case.
On the morning of Friday, 11 January, 2008 (according to Mr. Wright) Mr. Wright, Mr. Renaldo Turnbull, Mr. Aaron Curley (sp), and Mr. Robert Eckland (sp) got together at Wendy’s for breakfast (I didn’t know that Wendy’s had a breakfast menu) and decided to steal half of Mr. Fredericks (10) marijuana plants, and then turn him in to the police over the other half, so that they could have the marijuana, and get paid $500.00 by Det Roberts. This was their plan.
Apparently, according to Mr. Wright, he had told his old school chum, Mr. Eckland that he was a police “CI” and it wasn’t real clear whether the other two “gentlemen” were aware, or were taking it all on faith, or were just plain stupid.
They drove over to Mr. Frederick’s house, where Mr. Eckland dropped Mr. Wright and Mr. Turnbull off, and then he and Mr. Curley parked several houses further down the street. Mr. Wright called Mr. Frederick, to ensure that he wasn’t home, then knocked on his door and rang his doorbell, to further ensure his absence.
Then, he and Mr. Turnbull went into the back yard, where Mr.. Turnbull “back kicked” the door of the detached garage, and they went in to find one “portable closet” with ten plants in it. They took five plants, put them in a black plastic bag, took a plastic rectangular Tote” box with some lava rocks and pebbles in it, and left the garage. Mr. Eckland drove them all over to his girlfriend’s house in Norfolk, about 10 – 15 miles away. They put water in the “tote” with the rocks and pebbles and “planted” the five plants in it (figuring to cultivate the plants (that were 1 ½ to 2 feet tall) themselves).
Finally, they took a video of the plants with Renaldo Turnbull’s cell phone camera, and sang a song of victory and celebration, over their successful coup. Then Mr. Eckland drove Mr. Curley and Mr. Turnbull to Great Bridge (Chesapeake), dropped Mr. Curley at home and dropped Mr. Turnbull at the police station, where he picked him up some time later (not sure why Mr. Turnbull needed to go to the police station).
Mr. Wright said that sometime soon after (maybe later that day) he got a call on Mr. Turnbull’s cell from Mr. Frederick (he put it on speaker so all of them could hear), telling him (Wright) that he needed to “turn himself in” to Mr. Frederick, or he (Mr. Frederick was going to kill his (Wright’s) family (or have them killed). Mr. Frederick told him that he had already been over at his (Wright’s) job (at Hooters) looking for him. He said Mr. Frederick told him he knew that he (Wright) and Mr. Turnbull had broken in and stole his plants, because he had a video of it.
He was called in to the office by Det Roberts, because he had an outstanding warrant. While there he told Det Roberts that Mr. Frederick’s garage was broken into, and that Mr. Frederick had threatened him. He did not tell Det. Roberts that he and Mr. Turnbull had committed the burglary. Det Roberts arrested him at that time for Failure to Appear for Credit Card fraud (the reason for the outstanding warrant). He was released after 14 days, and the charges were dropped. He said that Det Roberts asked him “a couple times” if he had anything to do with the burglary, and he told him no.
He said he never told anyone about his and Mr. Turnbull’s involvement in the burglary, until the second time he met with Mr. Ebert, Mr. Conway and Mr. Willett. On that occasion, Mr. Wright’s lawyer was present, and Mr. Wright started to lie to them, but his lawyer told him to tell the truth. So he told the prosecutors at that time (not sure that he ever disclosed the date) about the burglary, and that he had lied to them the first time he had met with them (don’t remember the date of that meeting being disclosed, either).
Mr. Broccoleeti’s cross-examination consisted of reminding Mr. Wright that he had several examples of criminal behavior in his background, and that basically the jury had little reason to believe anything he said. He asked Mr. Wright if he was going to tell the truth to the jury, and Mr. Wright said that he would.
Mr. Wright’s indiscretions included Grand Larceny, Credit Card Theft, and Credit Card Fraud, and was looking at up to a maximum of 20 years in prison. After he was released from jail in January, he got another FTA in April, and the previous charges that had been dropped were reinstated in May. He turned himself in, in September, and has been in jail in Va. Beach since October, 2008. He has been denied bond, and was scheduled to go to trial on December 4, 2008, but it was continued until January 29, 2009 (two days hence).
Mr. Broccoletti asked him if he was instructed to commit the burglary, or if he felt that he was under police authority to commit the burglary, and he said no to both questions. He admitted that he violated several of the conditions of his “CI” contract. He said that he had not been offered any deals by the prosecution. He said that he didn’t turn the plants over to the police because it constituted a violation of his “CI” contract.
Next witness was Aaron Curley – lives with grandparents, no record.
Questioned by Mr. Ebert.
Met with Mr. Wright, Mr. Turnbull, and Mr. Eckland , for breakfast at Burger King on Monday, 14 January, 2008 to plan burglary of Mr. Frederick’s house. The burglary was Mr. Wright’s idea. After the meeting, Mr. Eckland drove his car (Chevy Blazer) to Mr. Fredericks house, Mr. Curley sat in back seat. Mr. Wright and Mr. Turnbull got out, and Mr. Eckland drove “around the block.” Mr. Curley said he refused to get out of the car.
Mr. Wright and Mr. Turnbull broke into the detached garage, stole five marijuana plants, and put them in a black plastic bag. They called Mr. Eckland to have him come and pick them up.
They took the plants to Mr. Elkland’s girlfriend’s house (on Halprin Dr, in Norfolk), where they placed the plants in a tub of water. Plants were 1 ½ – 2 feet tall. Mr. Turnbull made a video of the plants with his cell phone camera. Mr. Eckland took Mr. Turnbull and Mr. Curly back to Great Bridge (Chesapeake). He dropped Mr. Turnbull off at the police station.
Mr. Broccoletti cross-examined.
Mr. Curley said he knew Mr. Eckland from school, and had only known Mr. Turnbull for about two weeks – but they were already good friends. He said that he did not know Mr. Frederick had all.
Mr. Curley met with Det Thomas several weeks after the event – met with prosecutors several days after that.
Next witness was Det Meinhart. Mr. Conway questioned him.
Det Meinhart went over the various smoking devices – shredder, bong, power bong (found in attic of house), and glass pipe (found in detached garage).
Det Meinhart was accepted by the judge as an expert in the area of marijuana cultivation, distribution and use. His only real contribution was stating that in his opinion, the materials and equipment found in the house indicated to him a grow operation that was too sophisticated to be for strictly personal use.
Mr. Korslund cross-examined. He pointed out that there was no evidence of distribution – no packaging material, no scales, no money, and no unusual bank account activity.
Det Meinhart pointed out that the DEA uses an estimate of one pound of product per plant.
The next witness was Jamal Skeeter. Mr. Conway questioned him.
Mr. Skeeter said that he had been in the Chesapeake jail for a period of about 10 days in June of 2008. He had been brought here from the Correctional facility at Lawrenceville, where he was serving a 14 year sentence. He was here to testify as a witness in another case.
He wore red coveralls, indicating that he is in solitary confinement. (Mr. Frederick has been in solitary confinement throughout his entire stay at the jail). He said that in June he was in the gym (on his one hour daily “break”) when “someone” pointed Mr. Frederick out (thru a glass door) as “the guy who shot a policeman.” Mr. Skeeter somehow arranged to speak to Mr. Frederick (through a glass door) and that Mr. Frederick immediately “broke out in a story” saying that he knew he was shooting a cop, but that he was trying to get off on self-defense.
He said Mr. Frederick told him that he saw the police going into his back yard, so he got his gun and shot at the cops when they kicked in his door. He said Mr. Frederick told him that he heard the police say “Police, Open Up!” He said Mr. Frederick told him that he grew and sold weed, and that he could “grow Hydro in a fish tank.” He said Mr. Frederick told him that someone broke in and stole his weed, and that he knew who it was – when he gets out, he’s going to do something about it – hire his uncle (to kill them?).
He said Mr. Frederick told him that he was high when the police got to his house, and that he had hollow points in his gun. When asked about Mr. Frederick’s demeanor, Mr. Skeeter said he “was trying to be a gangsta” and didn’t seem sorry for what he had done.
Mr. Skeeter claimed that he has made no deal with anyone, and that he’s doing this (testifying against Mr. Frederick) for Det Shivers family because “it ain’t right.”
Mr. Broccoletti cross-examined.
Mr. Broccoletti emphasized that Mr. Skeeter has multiple convictions for various street crimes (too numerous to list here), and has either testified or was scheduled to testify in at least two other murder trials in the past. He made it abundantly clear that Mr. Skeeter is not a particularly honorable individual.
Mr. Skeeter claimed that he talked to Mr. Frederick on three occasions (thru a closed glass door each time) during the one hour breaks that solitary prisoners get each day. Mr. Skeeter was only in Chesapeake jail for ten days, in June, 2008 – and as it turned out, he wasn’t needed to testify in the murder trial that he was brought here for.
He said that at the time, he knew nothing about Mr. Frederick, or his case, and that someone he didn’t know (and still doesn’t know this worthy’s name – he was only there ten days) told him that Mr. Frederick was “that guy that killed a policeman.”
He said that Mr. Frederick told him that his mother had bought him the gun. Otherwise, all he and Mr. Frederick talked about was cars, clothes and weed. He said that there may have been others that overheard the conversations he had with Mr. Frederick. He said that he wrote to a detective at the jail about the conversations he had with Mr. Frederick, and that he spoke to that (unnamed) detective at the jail, before he went back to the correctional facility in Lawrenceville. He said he talked to the prosecutors 2 or 3 times while he was here, also. He said that at the time, he kept track of the date(s) and time(s) of the conversations, using the clock that was by the deputy’s station.
Mr. Broccoletti produced a letter written by Mr. Skeeter on 21 October, 2008, to the prosecutor that was handling the murder case that Mr. Skeeter had been scheduled to testify for, in June.
Mr. Skeeter said that the police had come to visit him in prison. He said that no one had offered him any deal for his testimony, and that everything he said was “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
The next (and final) witness was Lamont Malone. Mr. Willett questioned him.
Mr. Malone is serving a 19 year sentence obtained thru some type of deal he made with Federal authority – his list of charges (including Grand Theft Auto, Possession and sale of 50 or more grams of Cocaine, use of a Firearm, etc.) would have warranted a life sentence.
He said he is currently in the Chesapeake jail (he has also been in Suffolk and Portsmouth), and has “gotten to know” Mr. Frederick. He said Mr. Frederick’s jailhouse nickname is “Calvin.” He said that Mr. Frederick calls his gun “Roscoe” and that Mr. Frederick shot the police after they kicked in his door because he “panicked” and “had to get rid of his product.” He said that Mr. Frederick told him that he grew “Hydro” and that he had to get rid of his plants. He didn’t say how he did this.
He said that Mr. Frederick told him that he wanted to keep his case in Chesapeake because of the support, and that he expects that his lawyer is going to get him off.. He said that Mr. Frederick has expressed no remorse.
Mr. Broccoletti cross-examined.
Mr. Malone has been convicted of 7 felonies, including auto theft, drug dealing, obtaining money under false pretenses (which Mr. Malone termed a “misunderstanding”), and use of a firearm.
His “indiscretions” have resulted in a combined sentence of 225 mos (roughly 19 years), and could have been a life sentence, except that he made a plea agreement with the Federal authorities.
He claimed that he has made no deal with anyone, or discussed any reduction in his sentence, in exchange for his testimony, and that he was serving a 19 year sentence. When Mr. Broccoletti asked him if he had been bragging over at the jail about “going home” after he testified in this case, he denied it. He claimed to be unaware that a Federal prosecutor had the authority to grant a motion to reduce his sentence. He had made a deal with a Federal court to testify against a co-defendant, which is the reason that his (potential) life sentence was reduced to 19 years. He had been scheduled as a witness against James Boughton (Missionary case), but was unneeded to testify.
He said that he talked to Mr. Frederick often, during the one hour periods when solitary prisoners are allowed out of their cells. He said that they had to talk “thru the cracks” of the two doors (one iron, one glass) that separate them, and that the deputies in the jail don’t prevent these interactions between the prisoners.
He said that he has not learned anything about the case from news media, and that Mr. Frederick has continued to talk openly to him, even though Mr. Malone is listed as a prosecution witness. He said that Mr. Frederick makes unkind comments about Mrs. Shivers, and that he doesn’t seem sorry for what he did. He said that Mr. Frederick has been “laughing it up” with another prisoner, who is facing similar charges.
He said that he has met with detectives 3 or 4 times about the case, has spoken to a DEA agent about the case, and has not been subpoenaed about the case.
He claimed that he was speaking the truth.
The defense hopes to begin its case tomorrow (the prosecution has two other witnesses, and may bring in 1 or 2 more) by having the jury view the residence. The judge said that she will rule that the press will not be invited, nor will there be any “published photos.”
The jury will not be permitted inside the house or the detached garage. There was some discussion of replacing the front door, but Mr. Broccoletti contended that it that happens, the jury is entitled to see both outside and inside aspects of the door – it was decided that the door will remain in the courtroom.
Mr. Broccoletti reminded the judge that the issue of his cross-examining Det Roberts regarding the re-enactment video is still before the court. Mr. Ebert objected vehemently to this being allowed.
Judge Arrington ruled that Mr. Broccoletti can bring the re-enactment video in as a defense exhibit, and can cross-examine Det Roberts as a hostile defense witness.