Court convened at 10:04. The first order of business was Judge Arrington denied Mr. Korslund’s motion to bring in a map depicting a 3 mile radius area, centered on Mr. Frederick’s neighborhood, that would depict robberies and homicides that have taken place within that area, in the last 12 months.
Next, Mr. Broccoletti informed the court that he had been contacted last evening, by phone, by at least three attorneys from Portsmouth, at least one of whom was a Commonwealths Attorney, and one who worked in the Public Defenders Office. All three of these individuals indicated to Mr. Broccoletti, that the jailhouse informant named Jamal Skeeter (the first to testify on Tuesday) was a “professional witness” and that his testimony should be considered suspect, and that he, personally, should be considered a “not credible witness.”
Mr. Broccoletti stated that he would need some time to make some arrangements, either to have these attorneys come in to testify or possibly (this is speculation on my part) to secure some form of affidavit that would serve as evidence to the court, of its exculpatory value.
Mr. Ebert indicated that he had also been contacted by at least the same Commonwealth’s Attorney, and was party to the same or similar information. It was unclear when Mr. Ebert had been contacted, or for how long he had been aware of this. He denied that the information was necessarily “exculpatory” (information that serves to indicate the innocence of the defendant).
The Judge asked Mr. Broccoletti how much time he needed, and he said he would have something to go forward with, at 2:00 this afternoon.
Judge Arrington had the jury brought in and told them that the court would be in recess until 2:00, and instructed them, as always, that they are not to seek out information regarding the case from news sources, Internet or from any other source, and to not discuss the case with anyone.
For the record, and in my opinion – Judge Arrington is doing an excellent job in an extremely difficult case…
Mr. Earl Mobley (Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney) and four other attorneys wore sworn today – they will be giving testimony (as witnesses for the defense) tomorrow in regard to the jailhouse informant, Jamal Skeeter.
The jury was brought in at 2:10.
The first witness of the day was Professor William Cooke. He is a professor of Pharmacology in Norfolk. Mr. Broccoletti questioned him.
Prof. Cooke is an expert in pharmacology, which is the study of the effects of drugs on the human body, as well as how the human body metabolizes drugs. He has also testified as an expert in Biochemistry and Physiology.
He defined the effects of marijuana as a mild euphoria, that can cause anti-anxiety (feeling of well-being), not as intense as opiates and amphetamines. It does not become addictive, it mellows a person out. Whereas cocaine causes and intense high to the point of self-aggrandizement, marijuana causes an altered perception of time, increased appetite, and a general feeling of well-being. It can be used as an anti-nausea agent, in cancer therapy.
The effects of marijuana generally last from three to four hours; it causes increased blood flow the eyes, and is absorbed by the fat in the body, so it stays in the body for several days to a couple weeks. Although users generally get “laid back,” it causes mild paranoia in novice users. Regular users need less to achieve a “high” because of the build-up in the body’s fat tissue.
He said that it usually smoked, although it can be eaten. The effects of marijuana are usually felt in less than ten minutes. Cocaine has a strong reinforcing effect (addictive) but no withdrawal, marijuana has neither effect.
Mr. Willett cross-examined.
When questioned, Prof. Cooke stated that he had little knowledge of cultivation, or the methods used to increase the concentration of THC, (Delta 9 TetraHydraCannabinol) which is the active ingredient. Mr. Willett showed a picture of Mr. Frederick taken right after he was arrested, with a close-up of his eyes; Prof. Cooke said he saw no redness,
Prof. Cooke said that there is no tolerance built up in the body for marijuana, as there is in the case of heroin use. He said that worry over a problem, coupled with marijuana use may or may not cause paranoia. He said that two drugs having a similar effect (such as marijuana and zanax – both anti-anxiety drugs) be used simultaneously would have a greater effect than the sum of each drug taken separately (1 + 1 = > 2). He also said that discontinuing heavy drug use would most likely cause weight loss not gain, at least in the short term. The long term effects are unknown, although he felt that the person would most likely go back to there pre-use weight.
Prof. Cooke said novice users usually experience mild paranoia, and regular users may, although it isn’t written up in the literature the he is familiar with.
The next witness was Mr. John Fletcher, who is a retired attorney, who has practiced law in both State and Federal Court, in both Criminal and Civil cases. He is an expert in Federal Sentencing Guidelines. His testimony was somewhat technical, and its obvious purpose was to impeach the testimony of Lamont Malone, who is currently serving a 19 year sentence, (in lieu of a life sentence) having made a plea agreement with a Federal Prosecutor, agreeing to testify against a co-defendant.
The gist of Mr. Fletchers testimony, is that any deviation from his agreement with the Federal Prosecutor (such as giving false testimony in any court of law), and Mr. Malone can and will have his plea agreement voided, and he will serve a life sentence. (I think Mr. Broccoletti is looking for blood…)
The next witness was Detective Tom Downing, with the CPD Homicide Unit.
Mr. Broccoletti questioned him.
Det. Downing had a post arrest interview with Mr. Frederick, that started at 10:50 p.m. on 1/17/08 and ended around 1:00 a.m. 1/18/08 (approx. 2 hours).. He said that Det. Thomas of the CPD (Lead Detective for the raid) was present. He said he read the Miranda rights, and Mr. Frederick said he understood them. He said that Mr. Frederick Showed anxiety, complained of being cold and thirsty, and vomited (more than once).
Mr. Willett cross-examined.
Mr. Willett suggested that Mr. Frederick had gained weight because he was no longer using drugs; Mr. Broccoletti objected, and asked Mr. Willett if he had ever eaten jail food.
Det. Downing was excused.
The next witness was Ryan Frederick.
Mr. Broccoletti questioned him.
Mr. Frederick is 29 years old, born on July 17, 1979. He understands why he is on trial, and understands that he is not obligated to speak. He wanted to speak to the jury and to Mrs. Shivers, and he asserts and believes that he is not guilty of Capital Murder, nor is he Guilty of Manufacturing and Distributing Marijuana.
He grew up in South Norfolk (Chesapeake), and has lived at 932 Redstart Ave., since age five. He was visibly upset when speaking of his mother. His father passed away in 1991, and his mother died of an overdose (mistake made by her doctor) in March of 2003. He has a sister, Amanda, who had moved out, at the time his mother died.
He said his mother was against guns, and did not give him the pistol he owns. The only gun he owned while she was alive was a pellet gun. He has maintained continuous employment since age 12, when he had a paper route. At age 15, he worked for a while in construction. At age 16, he got a job as a Banquet Server, and worked his way up to Assistant Manager. He eventually got a job with Marriot, as a Banquet Manager, and then was transferred to the Sheraton, Ocean Front. He left that job due to long hours, and having to work most weekends. He took a job with Coca Cola in June of @007, and worked there until his arrest in January, 2008.
At Coca Cola, he made 12.65 per hour and was paid .65 per mile, for his mileage.
His two-week take home, depending on his hours and routes, was $800 – $1200. He was engaged to his fiancée, Kimberly Cox, who he was living with, at the time of his arrest.
He and Kimberly were to be married on September 13, 2008.
He identified a picture of himself, taken in the pajama bottoms and Coca Cola T-shirt he was arrested in. He stated that when arrested he weighed 120 pounds, lost weight initially during the beginning of his arrest and went down to 100 pounds, but due to medication he is taking for depression (that slows his metabolism) he regained weight, and currently he weighs 185 pounds.
He spends 23 hours a day in a 9’ x 5’ cell, and is allowed a 1 hour break per day, and is very stressed out. His only comfort is snacks, and he has a sweet tooth, especially for honey buns. He sees a psychiatrist for depression, which he has had bouts with, since his mothers death. He says that his fiancée brought happiness into his life.
At the time of his arrest he had 2 frogs, 2 Guinea Pigs, 2 Dogs (A Yellow Labrador & a Pit-Bull Terrier Mix) and 1 Cat.
He said he bought the pistol at Bob’s gun shop, several months after his mother died, for protection. He’s small and slight and was living by himself in a high-crime area of Chesapeake. The crime in the area was a concern to him. Several cars (including his mothers and his) and houses in the neighborhood and immediate area have been burglarized, and a number of home invasions, robberies and homicides have also taken place.
He said he bought two types of ammo for the gun; regular cartridges for practice on the gun range, and hollow points for protection, which was recommended by the gun shop. He said he keeps his pistol, loaded but with the safety on (the weapon has two safeties, one requires an Allen wrench, and another one that is thumb operated). He only took his pistol out of the house when he went to the gun range.
He keeps his drapes closed so that his personal possessions are not visible from outside, i.e. he doesn’t encourage burglaries. He had a nice TV in the living room, and Navy Blue curtains on the Master Bedroom windows (where officer McGanty claimed that he saw a human silhouette thru light-colored curtains).
He says he has smoked marijuana for about 10 years, and usually uses a bong. He used to smoke cigarettes (before his arrest), drinks very rarely, and uses no other drugs except prescription zanax, for depression.
He started growing marijuana in 2007, to reduce risks associated with buying it (laced with who knows what, etc.). He says that it was stupid – it got him where he is.
His hobbies are fishing, landscaping, gardening, fixing up his yard and watching football. He was also trying (unsuccessfully) to breed Japanese “Koi” fish, which are valuable, but challenging to breed.
He said he bought the books and magazines on marijuana growth at Barnes & Noble, and bought his grow equipment at a shop on Newtown Rd, at Home Depot, and at Wal-Mart. In addition to growing marijuana, he grew a banana tree, tomatoes, cucumbers and Japanese Maples. He was knowledgeable about Hydroponics, but says he’s no expert.
He explained various things about the uses of the equipment, and said that resin was only found on things that were used to grow pot – most of his lights were used to grow things other than pot. He said he never had more than ten plants at a time and that one out of two plants are males and that males have to be removed – pollination will ruin the pot. Start with 10 plants, end up with five. The plants (female) have to be 2 to 3 feet high before you can start smoking the pot.
He said he didn’t grow the pot that the police found – he bought it before Christmas. He said he had three smoking devices, a water bong, a glass pipe and a “vaporizer.” He said he has no idea why things were pictured as and where they were – he didn’t take the pictures. He said that the pictures of pot crops found in the house were not of his grow operation – they came out of various magazines. The pictures of crops that were being grown inside somewhere were taken in a building that was considerably larger than his detached garage (it only measures about 10 x 10, and is more of a shed than a garage…)
He said he knows Mr. Wright – he met him thru his fiancée’s sister, Stephanie, who used to date Mr. Wright. He said the first time he saw Mr. Wright was in February, 2007 and had a casual relationship with him up until a Birthday Party for a mutual friend that they both attended, at a club in Norfolk. This was in April, 2007. He said he had little to do with Mr. Wright after that, mainly because he treated Stephanie badly, and his fiancée, her sister, didn’t like Mr. Wright. He said that Mr. Wright only came to his house one time after the Birthday Party.
He said that he smoked pot with Mr. Wright maybe 4 or 5 times, always in the garage. He said he never sold Mr. Wright any pot. He said he did not know Aaron Curley, Robert Eckland or Renaldo Turnbull. On 14 January, 2008 he had a total of 8 plants in his detached garage, and since they were only 1 to 1 ½ foot tall, they weren’t smokeable. On that date, someone broke into his detached garage, and 5 of the plants were stolen. He said that at that point, he was done, at least until spring, and threw the remaining 3 plants out. The burglary caused him an overall feeling of uneasiness.
He said he didn’t have any idea at the time who had done it. He thought about recent home invasion crimes, and his uneasiness began to affect him more and more. His garage had been ransacked, but only the 5 plants were taken.
He said he noticed two numbers on his caller ID that he wasn’t familiar with, that had called about a minute apart, so he called the first number, and got the answering machine for Steven Wright. He left a message “call Ryan,” and then called the second number. A person whose voice he didn’t recognize answered, and he (Mr. Frederick) asked for Steven. The person said “he’s not here now,” so he asked the person to ask Steven to call Ryan.
He put his equipment away in the attic, planning to get it back out in the spring (didn’t throw it away). He didn’t throw out the small baggie of pot he had in the house or his smoking equipment. He didn’t call the police to report the burglary, because, he said, “you can’t very well tell the police that someone stole your pot plants, and you’d like them to find the plants, and bring them back.” (Everyone in the courtroom, including Mrs. Shivers, laughed).
He said he called his neighbor, Lori McReynolds, to ask if she’d seen anything – she hadn’t. He called his Uncle about getting the materials needed to repair his garage door.
He called Steven’s number the next day (1/15/08) got “no longer in service.” Called the other number. The person who answered said “Steven’s not here right now.” He left a message again – call Ryan.
At that point, he suspected that Mr. Wright had done it, but didn’t know for sure. He did not ever reach Mr. Wright, so did not threaten him, did not demand the return of his plants – he was done, and didn’t want the plants back. He did not contact Mr. Wright’s employer – didn’t even know that he had a job.
On 1/16/08 he decided to buy locks, a dead bolt, and a lag bolt. He was still uneasy about the break-in, as well as the recent home invasion where the one year old was shot and killed, and about the home invasion of Shawn Taylor.
On 1/17/08 he went to work, had an easy route, got off early and was home by 12:30. He took a couple bong hits, made a sandwich, and played a video game. His fiancée went to a girl’s basketball game at ODU with her father. About 6:00 he went to Burger King, then to Home Depot, to buy the locks, and the tools he needed to install the locks and repair the door frame. He got home about 7:00 (the police testified that he didn’t get home until 8:00). He watched some TV, took a shower and layed down on top of the covers, drifting in and out of sleep. The TV was on – he said he usually goes to sleep with the TV on.
He said he was wearing blue pajama bottoms, and a red Coca Cola T-shirt. He took a Zanax (anti anxiety medication) and was lying on top of the covers, watching TV; drifting in and out of sleep (we’ve all done this). He said he had not been drinking – he rarely drinks. His dogs were in the house. The living room light is on, the porch light is on, and the curtains are closed.
He heard his dogs barking, more aggressively than usual, so he turned the TV down, and heard someone knocking on his door – a normal knock, not hard or loud. He did not hear anyone yelling or shouting or screaming or anything other than a knock, and his dogs barking aggressively. He said he wasn’t expecting anyone, his friends and family all know that he goes to bed early, because he gets up early, and anyone who was going to come over, would call first. He didn’t know who was there.
He started getting anxious, thinking about the burglary, so he went to his dresser drawer, and got the pistol. The thumb safety was on.. He went down the hall, and just before he reached the living room, he heard a bang, as loud as a shotgun, and heard the sound of wood splintering. Then he saw the hole in his front door (from the breached panel). He said he saw part of a face thru the hole, just the nose, mouth and chin, (mouth was open), and he thought that someone was going to kill him.
He said he thought for a second, of the baby girl that had been shot during a home invasion a couple months before, just down the street. He didn’t see the battering ram, the dogs were going crazy, he saw the panel laying on the floor of the living room – then he saw an arm reach thru thru the hole in his door – dark clothing and gloves – he believed it was reaching for the door knob – thought “Oh my God!” pointed the pistol, and fired once. He said he didn’t know if he hit anything. After he fired, he got a glimpse of blue jeans, behind the person who had been reaching into his house. He didn’t hear a scream or voices.
He said he didn’t know it was the police, and didn’t hear any announcements. He said that people don’t break in your door unless they want to hurt you. He said his gun jammed up, and he ran back down the hall to his bedroom. He tried to force the slide of the gun forward to clear the jam, and accidentally fired the gun into the wall next to the doorjamb. He said the gun jammed again, so he ejected the magazine, and started stripping the rounds out of the magazine, so the gun wouldn’t accidentally discharge again. He said that by this time he was in a state of fear and his brain wasn’t working.
He said he had never been intruded on before, and had never fired his gun, except on the gun range. He started looking for his phone, and couldn’t find it, so he went back out towards the living room, to see if it was on the charger. When he got there, he looked thru the hole in his door – he had the gun but no magazine, as he had dropped it in the bedroom. He peeked out the door from about 3 – 4 feet away and then heard, “Police! Come out with your hands up!” He put the gun down, and slipped his feet into his shoes on, and went out with his hands up.
He said he didn’t that he had shot a police officer – didn’t know that he had even hit anyone. He went down the steps and slipped, and lost a shoe. He was told to get down on the ground, so he did. A police officer asked him, “Do you know what you did?” He said “no.” “You just killed a police officer!”
He said he kept saying, “I’m sorry” and the police officer kept telling him to “stop resisting” so he finally stopped talking.
He said he wasn’t stoned – hadn’t had anything to smoke since the two bong hits at 1:00. He was not enraged, has never seen anyone who was stoned on pot get enraged, and said he had never been enraged in his life. He said he was crying, he was cold, he threw up, and he kept saying “I’m sorry.”
He said he did not know Det. Shivers, or anything about him, and was crying when they told him what he had done. He said he was taken to jail and put on suicide watch for the first day. Then he was put in Medical Observation for 24 hours. Then moved to “protective custody” in 4 Alpha, where he spends 23 hours of every day, totally alone, in a 9’ x 5’ cell. He gets a 1 hour break from the cell every day, but cannot mix with anyone except deputies. There are steel doors with windows an inch or two wide. If he goes to the gym, he plays basketball all by himself.
He’s been threatened by other inmates, who say they’ll falsely testify against him, if he doesn’t allow them to have portions of his food.
He said he has not had any conversation of any kind with Jamal Skeeter or Lamont Malone, (he says that he has seen Lamont Malone) as there is no way that he CAN talk to them, as he’s separated from them by two doors, one steel, and one glass. He said that he has never made any unkind comments about Mrs. Shivers, would not do anything like that, and would never “laugh it up” about killing someone.
He said that inmates on the other side of the cellblock have threatened to falsely testify against him, so that they can go home. He said that Deputy Cella told him he should contact Internal Affairs (Sheriffs Dept.) by letter. He wrote a letter to the Internal Affairs Office (Sheriff’s Dept.) and Detective Thomas from the CPD (Totally different organization) interviewed him about it. He said that he has never told anyone that he knew that it was the police at his door.
He was an entirely credible witness – everything he said was obviously true.
Mr. Willett cross-examined him.
He started by saying that Mr. Frederick is basically exaggerating about the dangers that are present in South Norfolk. He asked if Mr. Frederick knew that a retired chief of police lived in his neighborhood, and the head of the school board. Mr. Frederick said yes.
Mr. Frederick said that he only used marijuana and prescription Zanax. He said that he had weighed 120 pounds from age 16 to the time that he was arrested. He also said that before he was arrested, he was a vegetarian, but eats meat now, out of necessity. He has put on 60 – 70 pounds since he’s been in jail. He said that he threw up after he was told that he shot a police officer.
He said that he smoked pot around 1:00 p.m. on 1/17/08 – and took Zanax before he went to bed. He acknowledged that he had heard Prof. Cooke mention the compounding effect of two drugs taken together. Mr. Willett asked if he thought that someone who is on drugs should be careful with a loaded firearm. Mr. Frederick agreed, saying that anyone should be careful with a firearm, period.
Mr. Willett asked if he was a nervous person – Mr. Frederick said he may be, he’s been nervous all week.
Mr. Willett began going over the transcript of the interview with Det. Winkelspect, and the written statement that he provided to Det. Thomas, in the two hour interrogation he was subjected to, after he was taken to jail. He concentrated on what were actually minor and inconsequential discrepancies between his testimony today, and what he stated then, when he was scared and confused and in a frenzied mental state.
The entire cross-examination was abusive, heartless, disgusting and enough to make a preacher cuss…
May the prosecution team experience what Mr. Frederick has experienced…