Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis


Sunday, July 29th, 2018
Murder Trial Part II

If you haven’t read part one and you want to, click here

I left off last time having talked about the procedure of the courtroom and what I’d learned. Now I’ll move on to the evidence.

The first person on the stand that I got to see was the assistant coroner. She got asked a lot of questions about her experience and her qualifications to testify, and then the questions turned to the body. They showed pictures of the body on a monitor, which was facing the jury so I couldn’t see it that well.

It was already established that Jason had emptied the magazine of his automatic pistol into Sparky. I can’t tell you what caliber, but I believe it was probably a .9 mm or a .45. I believe he fired eight shots total.

According to the coroner’s testimony, the first bullet went into her left shoulder at an angle. That’s the shot that killed her, going to her heart. After that, she was shot seven more times in the back.

After discussing the wounds and the likely order of them and which killed Sparky, it was time to move on to the cops who first on the scene. Jason was waiting outside for them. They secured him, and went inside. They found Sparky facedown sort of slumped up against the back of the couch.

The prosecutor now had one of the detectives lay up against the Judge’s stand (I don’t really know what that’s called) to demonstrate to the jury. The cop adjusted the detective until the scene imitated how he’d found Sparky.

Next he was asked about her body. In one hand she was clutching two children’s backpacks so tight that they had to be pried from her hand, and her other hand she held the knife that Jason claimed she tried to kill him with. The knife released easily from her fingers, which were loose on the handle. Her phone was found on the counter.

Then the prosecutor asked about the brass ejected from the gun. My understanding of the layout is this: A short hallway led from the front door to a room that was open concept. On the left was the kitchen with an island and the refrigerator was on the left as you walked in, blocking the immediate view of the kitchen. On the right was a pony wall with a computer set up in front of it, and directly ahead was the living room area with the couch where Sparky’s body was found.

Brass was found on the keyboard, on top of the fridge, and then littered around the kitchen floor.

The defense then asked whether the officer had made a mistake by removing the knife from the scene before the detective arrived and whether he thought the officer thought he’d tampered with the scene (there were no pictures of the knife in her hand).

Next is was the investigating detective’s turn. He was sworn in and asked about his report being correct and all that stuff I mentioned in my first post. He was then asked what he saw when he came on scene. I don’t remember if the body had been removed by then or not. I want to say no.

But the prosector focused a lot on the knife. The knife block with all the knives was produced, and then the knife that Sparky was supposed to have attacked Jason with. The last was a serrated breadknife with a very sharp inch-long or more point. It was established that these knives belonged to Jason. The defense queried about the fact that the knife was dirty, and indicated that before Sparky was supposed to have grabbed it, it had been used for cutting bread and so was on the island, not in the block.

This last was important because to get to the block, she’d have had to cross the kitchen, reach under the cabinet to the back of the block to get the knife. On the island, it was much more accessible to her.

Next they showed a video of the house interior and exterior. This, apparently, is common protocol in a murder investigation. Everything is filmed to establish where things were and where they weren’t. The body had been removed by this time. As he walked through the house and filmed, the detective indicated where certain pieces of furniture were and where rooms were. One thing they made a point of was that the gun safe was in another room.

So at this point, they dismissed the detective and called another detective, specializing in forensic sound and cybernetics. This is where I learned that Sparky had recorded her murder.

Next time: The recording.

4 comments to “Murder Trial Part II”

  1. ChrisP
    Comment
    1
     · July 29th, 2018 at 11:26 pm · Link

    Holy Cow! I’ve been a juror on two trials, but neither (I’m not sure how I feel about this) has been a murder. Happy that I didn’t have to see the photos, at least. I can’t imagine what I would feel if I knew the participants.

    When I was 10, my dad survived an attempted homicide. I saw the results (scars and partial paralysis), but Dad did not allow me to see him until he was as healed as he could get. At the time, I missed my dad. But now, as a parent, I think that perhaps NOT seeing him in a hospital bed was better for me.



    • Di Francis
      Comment
      1.1
       · August 2nd, 2018 at 2:17 pm · Link

      I watch so many true crime shows that it didn’t really hit me. I think it would have been different if I knew her for sure. And I couldn’t see them very clearly, which no doubt helped.

      Wow. What a horrible experience! I’m so glad he survived. What happened if you don’t mind me asking?



  2. Lee Norville
    Comment
    2
     · August 6th, 2018 at 4:28 pm · Link

    I have spent a lot of time in court as I was involved in Law Enforcement back when I was younger. Homicide trials are especially horrid as they tend to show the animal instinct of man in the propensity to do violence and on the other side of the coin, the instinct of survival and how the flight or fight instincts that are deeply ingrained in our genetic memory play out. I was first on scene to a number of grisly homicides in my time, and the images of things I saw are still very much in my mind. It is something you never forget.



    • Di Francis
      Comment
      2.1
       · August 6th, 2018 at 4:38 pm · Link

      I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a cop and to see all the things that they see and experience everything they do. I watch real crime shows and it always amazes me somehow how much the cops feel as they tell the stories. Not because I don’t think they have feelings, but because I’d think they’d wall them up to try to survive. If that makes sense.



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