State v. Jones

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State v. Jones

Postby Justice Hog » Wed May 12, 2004 7:21 am

A lot of you have requested updates on my murder trial. I have no problem providing updates because felony trials in Delaware are open to the public so I would not be giving up any "confidential" information.

First, let me lay some background on you:

The event
4 people were hanging out on a front porch at a residence in the city of Wilmington drinking. (This home was a little notorious for being the place where one could come to get some marijuana.) As they were hanging out, around 10:45 p.m., 3 guys wearing black hooded sweatshirts come walking down the street. As they pass, one person on the porch (victim-VIC) yells, "Weed Out, Weed Out"...apparently offering to sell some marijuana.

The defendant ("DEF") yells back an insulting remark (I'll omit that here because we're in "the lounge") and the VIC responds similarly. With that DEF comes up on the porch and shoots VIC twice in the chest and once in the head.

As he did this, 2 of the three people on the porch (WIT#1 and WIT#2) manage to get inside the house without being shot, even though DEF shot into the house. A third person on the porch (WIT#3) runs up the street and DEF shoots off a couple of rounds at him.

The other 2 guys with DEF run from the scene. DEF follows them. As they are running another witness (WIT#4) sees the 2 guys get into a pick-up and drive away...and sees DEF standing around and stuffing the gun into his pants.

DEF was charged with: Murder First Degree, Attempted Murder First Degree, Reckless Endangering First Degree (2 counts), Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony (4 counts), and Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited.
Last edited by Justice Hog on Wed May 12, 2004 7:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
Fran Farren
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Postby Justice Hog » Wed May 12, 2004 7:22 am

DAY ONE - Tuesday, May 11th

Not much happening today. It took all day just to pick the jury.
Fran Farren
"Justice Hog"

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Section 341, Row 8, Seats #15 & #16

"Justice that love gives is a surrender, justice that law gives is a punishment."
-Mohandas Gandhi

... deep in TX
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Postby Texas Hog » Wed May 12, 2004 9:56 am

dot the i's and cross the t's and put this loser behind bars for good
God bless our troops and Joe Gibbs.
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#21 gone, but never forgotten.

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Postby Justice Hog » Wed May 12, 2004 2:16 pm

DAY TWO - WEDNESDAY, MAY 12th

Due to a family emergency of one of the participants (lawyers) in this case, we only had a 3/4 day today. After opening statements by both the State and Defense, here's what happened:

Victim's Mother [my co-counsel's witness]
This was the State's first witness. She basically testified what VIC was doing all day up until the time she put him on the bus to head towards Wilmington. That was the last time she ever saw her youngest child alive.

Paramedic [my witness]
Our next witness was the paramedic who first arrived at the scene. He testified about the nature of the VIC's injuries...and about the blood all around the victim. He stated that the VIC was pronounced dead at the scene. It was kinda graphic, but essential.

First Reporting Police Officer [my witness]
Next was the first officer on the scene. His testimony was really limited to his initial observations (VIC on the porch) along with identifying a few shell casings that were found near the scene. His primary purpose was to testify that he cleared the scene and put out "crime tape" to keep the scene secure.

Chief Investigating Detective [my co-counsel's witness]
Next was the lead detective. He testified how the defendant was labled as a suspect early on. We also got in a lot of exhibits (pictures, maps, etc.). Really basic stuff. He'll be called later on to give us more detailed information.

Crime Scene Video [my co-counsel played this]
We finished off the day by showing the jury the crime scene video with a chalk outline of where the body was. Also evident in the video were the bullet casings and clothing at the scene.

That's basically it in a summarized nutshell. To be continued....

Today's media coverage: http://www.delawareonline.com/newsjournal/local/2004/05/13trialstartsfor2.html

Ironically enough, the newspaper got it wrong. This crime occurred in 2001, not 2002.
Last edited by Justice Hog on Thu May 27, 2004 3:20 am, edited 2 times in total.
Fran Farren
"Justice Hog"

Newark, DE

6th person to join the "new THN message boards"

Section 341, Row 8, Seats #15 & #16

"Justice that love gives is a surrender, justice that law gives is a punishment."
-Mohandas Gandhi

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Postby REDEEMEDSKIN » Wed May 12, 2004 3:44 pm

Egad! This is definitely not G-rated.

Are you on the DEF's side or the State? (I'm not familiar with your specialty)
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Postby Justice Hog » Wed May 12, 2004 4:00 pm

I'm tryin' to make this PG or, at worst, PG-17. My apologies if this is too much.


I'm on the side of righteousness , honor, integrity, goodness and the American Way. In other words, I am a prosecutor.....NOT a defense attorney.
Fran Farren
"Justice Hog"

Newark, DE

6th person to join the "new THN message boards"

Section 341, Row 8, Seats #15 & #16

"Justice that love gives is a surrender, justice that law gives is a punishment."
-Mohandas Gandhi

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Postby REDEEMEDSKIN » Wed May 12, 2004 4:11 pm

That's okay. I just never expected this on thehogs.net. I guess it shows the diversity of this forum.

Okay, Mr. Prosecutor, keep it up! Blessings!
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Postby skinsfan1 » Thu May 13, 2004 9:51 am

Way to go JH! We need more great people like yourself to put these scum bags away. Keep up with the details no matter how graphic. It is very interesting to get a insiders view. Once again keep up the good work.

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Postby floridaskinsfan » Thu May 13, 2004 1:05 pm

The updates are great. Good luck.

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Postby Justice Hog » Thu May 13, 2004 5:14 pm

DAY THREE - THURSDAY, MAY 13th

The trial is starting to heat up a little. We had a full day today. Here's what today's activities included:

Medical Examiner [my co-counsel's witness]
One word describes this witness' testimony: "graphic". He testifeid to the victim's multiple gunshot injuries. The path of the bullets through his chest, abdomen and head. The cause of death (blood loss). The state also introduced several pictures of the autopsy and the victim's lifeless body on the table. Because this trial is an open forum, I respectfully suggested to the victim's family that they wait outside of the courtroom during this testimony....because of its graphic nature. Thankfully, they took my advice.

Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms [my co-counsel's witness]
The next witness was a gun expert from ATF. He testified that several of the shell casings found at the scene were fired from the same gun. He also testified that the type of gun that was possibly used in this case was a "Tech 9" semi-automatic 9 mm caliber gun (no gun was ever recovered in this case). The purspose of his testimony was to show the jury there was only one shooter.

Evidence Detection Officer [my co-counsel's witness]
Next witness was a police officer in charge of evidence detection on the date of the crime. This was pretty dry information. Discussion about measurements, where certain casings were found, showing photos of all of the evidence, entering all of the pieces of evidence through her. Took a while....but necessary.

Witness #4 [my witness]
The final witness of the day was one of our first eye-witnesses. This was the guy who saw the two guys get into the pick-up and drive away. He also saw a 3rd guy run from the scene and stuff a gun into his waistband. This witness had a lot of baggage (many felony convictions) and he did not really want to cooperate because he feared for his safety, since he is presently incarcerated in the same prison as the defendant. He did a decent job and, I thought, was relatively trustworthy notwithstanding his felony record. When I asked him if he was able to identify the person who ran from the scene and stuffed the gun in his waistband, there was a long pause....then he (finally) pointed to the defendant and said, "It looks like him." I knew he was 100% sure it was the defendant...but he was scared to give a 100% positive ID. Considering what I thought he was going to say, I was happy with this. We'll have better witnesses coming.

[Defense mistake #1: This witness was given a photo lineup and could not identify the shooter early on in the investigation. Because of this, I certainly didn't ask him any questions about it. The defense absolutely should have...and failed/forgot to do so. Major mistake on their part, in my opinion.]

Before the day concluded, because another of our witnesses is being reluctant to show up, I asked the Court to issue a "material witness warrant" for that witness' arrest. If need be, that witness will be incarcerated (to secure their appearance) this weekend.

We will be resuming on Monday, May 17th...so don't expect any more updates until then.
Last edited by Justice Hog on Thu May 27, 2004 3:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
Fran Farren
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Postby REDEEMEDSKIN » Fri May 14, 2004 8:30 am

WOW. I was wondering WHY the ATF guy's testimony was important, and then you answered my question. The legal process is amazing. i applaud you for being able to stomach these situations. Speaking of which, do the details of this (or other cases) ever appear (haunt?) you in dreams? I hope I'm not probing too much. If so, please disregard.
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Postby BossHog » Fri May 14, 2004 8:53 am

Well if the ATF guy stated merely that 'several of the casings' found out the scene were from the same gun... what were the other casings? That implies that there were other casings doesn't it... what gun were they fired from?

... was there only one shooter? What if there were 2 shooters and they had the same gun 'cause they bought the gun from the same 'source'. Was it determined that those casings found came from that exact semi, or that they could have come from that TYPE of semi?

Oh that's right... nobody knows... no gun was found...

... the forensic ballistics still sound pretty circumstantial to me bro.

:shock:

I'm also curious to know what percentage of people that are COMPELLED to the stand through a material witness order actually tell the truth? I know they're under oath and all that, but surely that means little to some of the miscreants that we are probably talking about here.
Sean Taylor was one of a kind, may he rest in peace.

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Postby JansenFan » Fri May 14, 2004 3:56 pm

I don't know, I read the story that you linked us to JH, and it appears that the defense is not guilty by reason of imperfect memories? What is that? At least the twinkie defense was imaginative!
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Postby Justice Hog » Fri May 14, 2004 4:05 pm

RED(EEMED)SKIN asks:
[D]o the details of this (or other cases) ever appear (haunt?) you in dreams?


I don't mind this question at all. Luckily, I have never lost sleep over any case or dreamed about any case I've had thus far. Don't take this to mean that I am not passionate about these cases, however. I think that I may have become a little desensitized over the years so I am able to look at cases more "professionally" and less "emotionally". I have to say, it some cases [such as this one], it's tough to keep my emotions in check.

BossHog writes:
Well if the ATF guy stated merely that 'several of the casings' found out the scene were from the same gun... what were the other casings?


Sorry if I confused you. All of the casings found at the scene came from the same gun.

[W]as there only one shooter?


Yes. That's what our witnesses say (you'll hear about them later).

[W]as it determined that those casings found came from that exact semi, or that they could have come from that TYPE of semi?


The testimony was that the casings were fired from the exact same gun...not the exact same type of gun.

[W]hat percentage of people that are COMPELLED to the stand through a material witness order actually tell the truth? I know they're under oath and all that, but surely that means little to some of the miscreants that we are probably talking about here.


Luckily, I spoke with that witness today and it appears as though she'll voluntarily be coming in on Monday. We'll have that warrant ready to go, however, if she doesn't.

To answer your questions, many people would certainly be reluctant to get on the stand if they were compelled to do so against their wishes. My goal, however, is really to get them on the stand. Once there, I can make it clear to the jury that they don't want to be there (so the jury understands their answers to my questions.) Hopefully, as in this case, I can then play a videotape of the witness' prior statement that was more forthcoming. In closing, I can then argue why the jury should believe the videotaped statement (which was taken closer to the date of the crime and not compelled) over the in-court statement.

JansenFan writes
I don't know, I read the story that you linked us to JH, and it appears that the defense is not guilty by reason of imperfect memories? What is that? At least the twinkie defense was imaginative!


That might give you a little clue about the strength of the State's case versus the potential defenses. :wink:
Fran Farren
"Justice Hog"

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6th person to join the "new THN message boards"

Section 341, Row 8, Seats #15 & #16

"Justice that love gives is a surrender, justice that law gives is a punishment."
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Postby BossHog » Sat May 15, 2004 9:58 am

Thanks for cleaning all that up brother...

Continued good luck...
Sean Taylor was one of a kind, may he rest in peace.

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