Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Prosecutor's Case .. continued

Continued . . .

Go ahead and click back on that picture.

This is where the defendant said, remember this is where Dr. Cheng said the bodies had to be because of the shallow area in here, because of the currents?

Dr Cheng stated in his testimony that he could not connect the body of Laci Peterson to any reasonable location that the defendant was. Once again the prosecutor is misstating his own witness testimony.

Go ahead and click on it. This is what it into likes. This is the tip of Brooks Island, that tip with the seagull in it, so you know we're looking at the same spot. This is just right off the tip of Brooks Island, looking back towards the shore. Those are all buildings. This little, tiny, there's a little, tiny blue thing that you see there? That's that huge, I mean you can't even see it. I mean I see people squinting. You can't even see it from this far away.

That's that huge U.S. postal building that's blue where Laci Peterson washed ashore. You can't even make it out in the picture from Brooks Island. There's no way, I don't care if it's bright, this is a bright daylight. Look at this picture. There's no way that anyone that's on that shore can see a single thing that anybody's doing out in the Bay. It's impossible.

Once again a dishonest statement. You cannot make this judgement based on photographs.

Go ahead.

Now, what does the evidence show as to how the defendant committed this crime?

It's very simple. The defendant strangled or smothered Laci Peterson the night of February, January, December 23rd, or in the morning while she was getting dressed on the 24th.

Where is any evidence of the manner of death? The prosecution has produced none to this day. He is assuming a method of death and then using his assumption to prove guilt and thus to support his assumption.

I can't tell you when he did it. I can't tell you if he did it at night. I can't tell you if he did it in the morning.

He can’t and didn’t offer any serious proof of the time of death at all. The evidence is strong that Laci died around the 15th of March.

I'm not going to try to convince you of something that I can't prove. I don't have to prove that to you. I only have to prove that he did it.

But where is the proof? None was offered.

What did the doctor tell us about strangling and smothering? It's not going leave a bunch of evidence.

So the complete absence of evidence is proof of the method of death? A reasonable conclusion is that Laci was neither attacked nor killed in the home. Why was the small bedroom in the Medina home trashed – as if a struggle had taken place?

Remember this whole, went through all of this evidence. Where's the bloody crime scene? Remember what the doctor said? As crude as this sounds, and I hate to say it: If you don't put another hole in somebody, not going to get a big, bloody crime scene. It's just not going to happen.

But if you kill someone their bowels will usually loosen – a pregnant woman even more so. Where is that forensic evidence?

When he was ready to leave the house, he wrapped her up in that blue tarp. And I'm going to talk about that later. He backed up his truck to the gate. Take a look at the diagram. And you've seen the pictures so I'm not going to spend a ton of time on this. You back a truck up to the gate here at the house, and this is Laci's Land Rover parked right there. You back a truck up right there, you got, you got a fence and house on one side, you've got his house on the other side. Nobody can see a single thing that you're doing.

He carries Laci out, he puts her in the back of the truck.

Why didn’t he go to the warehouse, get the boat, and move her one time? Why all the extra risks and effort of moving her twice? As Distaso says, the home was much more private.

Remember what he said he did that morning? He said he loaded a bunch of patio umbrellas into his car to take to the warehouse, which, of course, he never took to the warehouse that day because they were still in his car that night. He said he was doing that, Well, I'm doing it because of the rain. Of course, the patio umbrellas, here they are, and you can see how big they are, those full-size patio umbrellas, everybody's seen them. He says he took the patio umbrellas, they're folded up. He said he was going to take them to the warehouse and, because it was starting to rain. That's what he told the detectives. The real reason why he said that was because he wanted to have a reason why they were still in his truck all day. He loads Laci into his truck. He puts these patio umbrellas on top of her. She's got the tarp on her.

With all of that weight on her, why is there no evidence in the truck? No bodily fluids?

No one is ever going to know what's going on. It's not that difficult to do. This is not some big mystery. You know, I mean, look at this. We got cameras in the courtroom, we've got all these people out here as if we're here for some big murder mystery. We're not. It's a very simple case.

If it is so simple why can he not offer proof of anything? He has only offered supposition and suspicion.

He puts Laci Peterson in the back of the car, he snaps the leash on the dog, and he leaves the gate open and he drives away. And, you know, like most dogs, I have a dog, and probably a lot of you do, you put a leash on my dog he's going to say, Hey, we're going for a walk.

Why would he do this? It makes no sense. Is it because Distaso is trying to force the solution to fit the facts, even though it does not?

He followed her out into the, he followed the truck out into the street as Scott Peterson drove on down the road.

Of course, that's when Karen Servas found the dog, right as Scott Peterson went away.

Where is the proof of this? Once more it is all supposition with nothing to back it up.

The defendant drives to his warehouse, opens up the door, backs his truck into that open space. I don't think I put a picture out for that, but that open space right where the boat was. He backs in, he unloads her into the boat, he shuts the door.

He moves her from the truck to the boat out in the open in a place with many, many businesses next to a highway where anyone can come by at any time? This was not a holiday, this was still a business day.

Now he can do whatever he wants. He puts her, she's in the boat. He attaches the weights to her.

What weights? Where are the weights? Why didn’t the prosecutor produce them? What did he use to attach the ‘weights’ to the body with? Why was that not produced at trial?

He gets, in the process he gets some of her hair caught in these pliers. And let's talk about that. I'm going to talk about it a little more later, but just right out of the gate: Your hair does not fall into and wrap around the teeth of pliers. That doesn't happen.

How many of you sitting on this jury operate pliers on a regular basis, probably most people. Everybody uses needle-nose pliers for something. How many times does your hair fall into the pliers and wrap around through the jaws? That doesn't happen.

And his own witness, the police officer, testified that the hair did not ‘wrap around the teeth of pliers’. It was squeezed in them, probably when and as the office picked them up.

After he gets the weights attached, he puts the cover on the boat. Here's what it looks like. You can't see into the boat with the cover on. Straps it down, just like Bruce Peterson said you can do. You just put some bungee cords, it's got those little hooks on the side.

Where are the bungee cords? Why weren’t they produced? What witness testified that the cover could be attached with them and how? The evidence at trial was that the boat could not be towed with the cover on, it would blow off.

You guys are all going to able to see this evidence. I'm not telling you anything that's not right here. He puts the bungee cords on, straps it down, and he drives off to the Bay. Nobody can see a single thing that this man has done. And everything that he did that I just told you took probably about the length of time that I took to tell you, which is, what, maybe ten minutes?

Then why did he stay at the warehouse for two hours, putting together a machine, sending Xmas cards and doing other things? Distaso is once again misstating his own evidence.

He drives out to the Bay, and, you know, everyone is thinking like, Well, gosh, he drives out to the Berkeley Marina, you know, in the middle of the day; boy, that's risky. Of course it's risky. It's risky to kill your wife. I'm not going to tell you it's not.

It’s even more risky to stop at a corner store and go inside for some shopping leaving your wife’s body out in the uncovered boat yet that is what the prosecution would have you believe, although Distaso is avoiding pointing this out.

On the other hand, he drives out there on a day when there's no one around.

Who says there is no one around? Where is the proof of this? Pictures?

... To be continued

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Prosecutor's Case

One way to look at the prosecution case is to study the closing statements. This is where the prosecutor can expound on his theory and show how the actual evidence makes his theory the only one which fits all of the facts. In this case it is shocking to see how poorly the theory and facts fit together, and how often the prosecutor resorted to trying to testify himself, testimony not supported by anything except his own opinions.

Trial Proceedings

Prosecution Closing Arguments given by Rick Distaso

Monday, November 1, 2004

MR. DISTASO: Thank you, your Honor.

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for your time. I'm not going to spend a lot of time doing that because I want to spend time on the evidence. I want to thank you for your time you spent in this case. You've been here a long time and everybody in the trial really appreciates it. I think in this case an important place to start right from the beginning is hearing from Laci herself.

So go ahead, John. (Video played)

That was Laci Peterson early in her pregnancy; happy, as you can see, obviously; not aware of what was about to befall her some months down the road; obviously in love with Scott Peterson. And I think that's the biggest part of this case. The betrayal aspect of Scott Peterson. Laci Peterson had no idea what was coming from this man. And, in fact, she probably trusted him more than anybody else, I think is what the evidence showed us.

But this is not what the evidence shows. Distaso is assuming the guilt of the defendant, then trying to use it to prove the guilt of the defendant. It is up to the jury to convict based on the evidence, not based on assuming guilt. This is circular causation, a logical fallacy.

Now, let's go to the next picture, John, Laci in life at the Christmas party. This is probably one of the most telling pictures in all of the trial. Laci sitting alone at that Christmas party, by herself, teetering in on those big high heels, even though her feet are swollen with an advanced state of pregnancy, with a smile on her face, making the best of it. That pretty much describes in a nutshell Laci Peterson's life in December of 2002.

Once again Distaso is using prejudice to convict.

Go to the next picture, John.

Of course, here's where we ended up. Laci Peterson washing ashore on the San Francisco Bay around Point Isabel and found at that dog park on April 14th.

Laci Peterson didn't wash ashore totally alone in the San Francisco Bay, of course. She washed ashore with her unborn son, Conner, about a mile north on April 13th.

No evidence was offered that Conner ‘washed ashore’. In fact there was overwhelming evidence that he was placed exactly where he was found.

Go ahead, John. Show that picture. Okay. Click out of there.

It's no mystery how we got here. Scott Peterson is the one who brought us to this place.

Once again Distaso is using prejudice to convict.

Like I told you in the beginning of this case, when we did opening statements, this is a common sense case. It might have seemed complicated. You know, it took a long time to put on. It's not.

Distaso took 5 months to put on a case that expert lawyers have said should have taken one week, at most two. What is his point?

It's a very simple common sense case. Go ahead, click on that, John.

The most important fact in this case, go ahead and click on "common sense", the most important fact in this case is, and the one fact that cannot be refuted, no matter what anybody says, no matter what any interpretation of the evidence you want to believe, you cannot deny one particular fact, and that's that the defendant went fishing right here off of Brooks Island. Or he said he went fishing.

Scott stated this over and over, however it is important to note that ‘fishing’ and ‘boating’ are often used interchangeably. In this case it was clear Scott was testing out his ‘new’ boat. What is Distaso’s point?

That's where he took his boat that day. Laci Peterson washed ashore right here at Point Isabel.

Conner Peterson washed ashore right here at the Richmond shoreline in that marshy area.

No evidence was offered that Conner ‘washed ashore’. In fact there was overwhelming evidence that he was placed exactly where he was found.

The only man, or only person that we know without any doubt that was in the exact location where Laci and Conner's bodies washed ashore, at the exact time that they went missing, is sitting right there. Not another soul do we, have you heard any evidence fits that description. That alone is proof beyond a reasonable doubt in this case.

You can take that fact to the bank and you can convict this man of murder.

To describe this as an utterly extraordinary statement seems somehow inadequate. Clearly any one or more of 200 million people could have abducted Laci Peterson during the day she disappeared. Equally, any one or more of 200 million people, the same people or others, could have dumped the bodies of Laci Peterson and her baby within a day or two before their discovery. Scott Peterson was 90 miles away from Laci when the abduction occurred. He was 400 miles away when the bodies were dumped. The state failed to even try to prove that Scott Peterson was the one and only person who could have been involved in both actions, yet they appear to be trying to do just that, based solely on the fact that Scott knew Laci. I don’t think any ‘bank’ would accept that for any purpose.

Go ahead and click on the pictures.

Remember what he told us? He said he went fishing off an island two miles north. He said there was some broken-down piers. You can't see them on the screen, but that box shows, and the picture's there in evidence and you'll see them there. He said there was a no landing sign. Click on the other one, john.

There's a no landing sign on the island. There it is. Go to the tip of Brooks Island.

This is the tip of Brooks Island. Another no landing sign and some trash on the shore. He also described that area. So we know without any doubt this is where he went. Now, look, here's what I know some of you are thinking. Look how far Brooks Island is from that shore. Those are buildings. Some of you are thinking How do you take a boat out in the Bay and nobody can see what you're doing? Well, look how far Brooks Island is off the shore. I'll show you another picture in a minute, but, these are buildings. Now, put it in people size, and put in a small 14 foot boat. No one on the shore can see a single thing you're doing a mile and a half out in the Bay. It's impossible.

What is impossible is to make any sort of judgment of what is visible based on photographs. An honest test would be to place a boat in the vicinity the state or the defendant claimed was his location, then observe him from the closest point with binoculars or a telescope. There is no indication that this was done, and this appears to be a fraud on the court.

... To be continued