Category Archives: Trial Videos
Just a quick note to update. The introduction to the video says:
Dylann Storm Roof who shot and killed nine black parishioners at a historic Charleston church in 2015, pleaded guilty Monday to state charges stemming from the massacre as part of a deal with prosecutors to spend the rest of his life in prison to avoid a second death-penalty trial.
Roof already had been sentenced to die earlier this year for his convictions in federal court on hate crimes charges, though the state could have pursued a second such penalty in its murder case against the young man.
Roof was charged both federally and at the state level after the June 2015 massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, when nine black parishioners were shot and killed down during an evening Bible study.
The federal death sentence still stands!
After impact statements and Roof’s grandad speaking on Roof’s behalf, the Judge sentenced Roof to 9 life sentences on state charges.
A jury of 12 and 2 alternates have heard opening statements and is hearing testimony in the trial of Derrick Stafford. The trial is taking place in Marksville, Louisiana. Stafford, along with his partner Norris Greenhouse, Jr. are charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the November 2, 2015 shooting death of 6-year old Jeremy Mardis. Jeremy was the in the vehicle with his dad, Christopher Few, who was wounded when Stafford and his Greenhouse, Jr. opened fire.
Greenhouse, Jr. is scheduled for a separate trial later this year.
“Video from a police officer’s body camera shows the father had his hands raised inside his vehicle when the officers fired their semiautomatic pistols. At least four of their 18 shots ripped into the child’s body while he was strapped into the front seat.
Relatives of the victims wept as jurors watched the graphic video from the shooting. Several jurors were also seen wiping away tears.”
Stafford and Greenhouse stated that they opened fire on Few because he tried ramming his car into them. A state police detective has testified there isn’t any physical evidence that Few’s car collided with Greenhouse’s vehicle.
Ballistics evidence shows none of the 18 shots fired by the two deputies hit the front or back of Few’s car. The prosecution is using that as evident that neither deputy was in danger. “Cars don’t move sideways,” the prosecutor said.
Hat tip to Yahtzeebutterfly for keeping up with this case.
Florida’s controversial stand your ground law came upfront when 17-year old, unarmed Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida on February 26, 2012. The law allows people to use deadly force when they fear death or great bodily harm. Stand your ground, if granted, gives the defendant immunity from being placed on trial for the results of using deadly force. If the person who used deadly force was the initiator, they might not qualify for immunity under stand your ground.
That is part of the controversy with stand your ground law. It depends on perception, and when the person is dead, they cannot testify of their perception.
You might have heard of the “popcorn murder.” It is the Reeves’ case. In January 2014, 71-year old Curtis Reeves shot Chad Oulson (43) to death in a movie theater over texting. Reeves also wounded Oulson’s wife. Reeves is charged with second degree murder and he claims self-defense, alleging that Chad hit him with something so hard that it knocked his glasses off his face. Read the rest of this entry
In December 2016, we followed the trials of Michael Slager and Dylann Roof. There was also another trial.
In August 2012, Officer Patrick Tuter of Garland, Texas led a vehicle chase of unarmed 25 year old Michael Allen. Tuter fired at Michael 41 times, reloading several times and hitting Michael 3 times. The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Officer performed the autopsy and determined that Michael suffered gunshot wounds to his upper back, side, and left elbow.
Tuter’s official report was that he opened fired after Michael rammed a patrol car. The dashboard video however, showed that it was Tuter’s patrol car that rammed into Michael’s truck. Tuter fired his gun from the back, left-side of Michael’s truck.
Michael Allen’s body was pulled out of the cab of his truck by a K9 who chewed his face.
In March 2013, Tuter was fired for violating department policies on pursuits and use of force. He had been on the force 7 years.
The jury began their deliberations early this afternoon. It did not take them long to decide that Dylann Roof, the murderer of nine people, receive the death penalty.
At closing argument, Roof reminded the jury that its decision must be unanimous. Apparently, he was looking to impress upon just one juror not to sentence him to death.
Also during his closing argument, Roof told the jury, “I still feel like I had to do it.”
It is reported that every member of the jury looked directly at Roof as he spoke for about 5 minutes.
The prosecutor’s closing argument included;
“They welcomed a 13th person that night … with a kind word, a Bible, a handout and a chair,” Richardson said during his closing argument. “He had come with a hateful heart and a Glock .45.”
On December 15, 2016, a jury in Dylann Roof’s federal trial deliberated less than 2 hours, and convicted him on all counts of hate crimes, obstruction of religion and weapons charges. This blog followed the trial.
The same jury panel of nine Whites people and three Blacks reconvened today to decide whether Roof is sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.
Originally scheduled to begin on January 3, 2017, Dylann Roof asked that his sentencing trial be delayed for a day. His reason was because he spent the weekend undergoing a competency evaluation. Federal District Court Judge Gergel has now, twice, found Roof competent to represent himself.
Roof’s competency took focus in his opening statement today when he told the jury;
“The point is I’m not going to lie to you,” Roof said. “There’s nothing wrong with me psychologically.”
Roof also made a statement that he felt betrayed. Coupled with things that he wrote in his journal, it paints the idea that Roof’s desire to murder Blacks was influenced by other White Supremacists who he assumed would do the same. Read the rest of this entry
I have a bit more confidence of the federal trial because they are going to argue the charge of lying to investigators. Once Slager’s lie is proven, the verdict of guilty should come easy. But, we know that all jurors don’t “see” the same. The month of May cannot come soon enough.
On August 18, 2015, East Point, Georgia police officers Cpl. Howard Weems and Sgt. Marcus Eberhart were indicted on charges related to the April 11, 2014 death of 24-year old Gregory Towns. Eberhart resigned and Weems was terminated after the incident. Their trial began on December 5, 2016.
On April 11, 2014, Weems and Eberhart responded to a domestic violence call in the Atlanta suburb. Another officer was also present. Gregory Towns ran and was apprehended. According to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, after apprehending Gregory,the officers handcuffed him. They demanded him to stand and walk to a waiting patrol car. Gregory indicated that he was out of breath and could not stand. Both officers used their tasers on Gregory, and even after attempting to walk but collapsing, the officers continued to tase him.
Gregory was tased 13-14 times. Read the rest of this entry
The jury in Dylann Roof’s federal trial deliberated less than 2 hours, and convicted him on all counts of hate crimes, obstruction of religion and weapons charges.
The panel of nine Whites people and three Blacks will reconvene on January 3, 2017 to decide whether Roof is sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.
Minutes after the verdict was read, Roof told U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel he wanted to represent himself during the penalty phase.
On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof went to the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina where they were holding Bible Study. He shot and killed 9 people. A manhunt resulted, and Roof was found and arrested in North Carolina. He confessed to the killings.
Roof is an avowed White supremacist who perceived that he had to save the White race from Blacks. He wanted to start a race war. Roof waited until parishioners closed their eyes to pray before firing his Glock .45-caliber pistol. When it was over, Roof had fired more than 70 shots, striking his victims 60 times.
The 22-year old is charged with 12 federal counts of hate crimes, 12 counts of obstructing the exercise of religion, and 9 counts of firearm violations. Federal prosecutors seek the death penalty.
Discarding empty magazines and reloading his weapon, Roof found survivor Polly Sheppard hiding as she prayed. Roof told her to shut up, before asking if she had been shot. Sheppard was then told that she would be left alive so that she could tell others what had occurred. She will likely serve as the final witness for the prosecution in the guilt phase of the trial.
Since he was arrested, there have been numerous pleadings and hearings in the case. To report on each one would be tedious. The most recent included a motion to find Roof mentally incompetent to stand trial. The court denied that motion. The LA Times reports that Judge Gergel found Roof capable of standing trial on the basis that he completed the 9th grade and had an “extremely high IQ” and was able to understand courtroom proceedings. A legal expert however, stated that there is a clear difference between intellectual ability and judgment.
It is not known what type of mental illness or emotional disturbance Roof may or may not have because the hearings were closed to the public.
Roof’s attorneys offered to change Roof’s plea to guilty in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without parole. Federal prosecutors turned down the offer.
Just before jury selection, Roof motioned the judge to release his attorneys. He wanted to represent himself. The judge granted Roof’s motion. After jury selection, Roof asked the judge to rehire his attorneys, but he wants to represent himself during the penalty phase. The judge granted his motion. Read the rest of this entry
Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager was charged with murder or voluntary manslaughter in the killing of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man. Walter Scott was shot in the back 5 times.
A by-stander’s video was released shortly after the deadly encounter that shows Slager unholstered his weapon and fire as Walter ran away. Slager’s attorney then withdrew his representation and Slager was terminated from his job and charged with murder.
On Friday, the jury told judge Judge Newman that one juror was holding out for a not-guilty verdict. Subsequently, the jury told Judge Newman that with further instructions on the law, they might be able to come to a unanimous decision.
After sending questions to the court this morning, and receiving answers to those questions, the jury sent a note saying they were deadlocked.
Judge Newman declared a mistrial.
Michael Slager also faces federal charges, including violation of Walter Scott’s civil rights. That trial is scheduled for next year.
Michael Slager took the witness stand at his murder trial today. Following him were defense witnesses who tried to explain how Slager has selective memory.
Before watching Slager’s testimony, and if you have not yet watched it, here is the video captured by a bystander. It shows when Slager fired his gun at Walter Scott as Scott was running away.
Here is Slager’s testimony, giving his non-video version.
Hat Tip to Pat/Ohio
(Published using Press This)
Ray Tensing, a former University of Cincinnati officer who shot and killed a black man during a traffic stop in 2015, will be retried on murder and voluntary manslaughter charges, prosecutors in Ohio announced Tuesday.
A mistrial was declared November 12, after jurors spent more than 25 hours deliberating but could not come to a decision.
Tensing, who is white, shot Sam DuBose in the head in July 2015 after pulling him over for a missing front license plate and asking for his license, an incident that was largely captured on body camera video.”
After careful consideration, I have decided that the Tensing case will be retried,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said in a statement Tuesday.
“This decision was made after review of the trial transcript, discussion with some of the jurors, and consultation with my staff,” Deters said.”I am hopeful that a second jury will be able to reach a decision to bring justice in this case for the victim’s family and our community.” Read the rest of this entry
The murder trial of ex-cop Michael Slager began on November 3rd, and you can find the videos of the trial at the following link up to Thursday, November 10th. There was no trial on Veteran’s Day.
Post and Courier reports that the trial has been contentious. Judge Clifton Newman has cautioned defense attorneys to not testify themselves, but the defense continues using that tactic.
During trial, you hear “SLED” allot. That is the acronym for South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
Here are some highlights of the trial;
- The bystander who filmed the killing, Feidin Santana, has testified. He stood strong against the defense trying to get him to agree that there was a “fight,” and Santana continued correcting the defense that he saw no fight.
- Slager’s former colleagues have testified that he told them that Walter Scott managed to wrestle his taser away from him and pointed it at him, prompting him to fire his service weapon.
- On Tuesday, Almon Brown, a state crime scene investigator, testified that he was concerned when he examined Scott’s body because what he saw didn’t match what he had been told about how Scott died.
- Levi Miles, a private investigator for Michael Slager’s former defense lawyer, testified that Slager showed him during a re-enactment that Walter Scott was coming toward the officer before the gunfire. When he compared that with what he saw in a video of the shooting, Miles said, “That part of it seemed to be a lot different.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the case, please see coverage of the trial at this link.
The jury of 10 Whites and 2 Blacks deadlocked. The decision came on the fourth day of deliberations.
Ohio Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Megan Shanahan accepted the jury’s deadlock Saturday morning. The case is now back in the hands of prosecutors who must decide whether they will retry the case or dismiss it. Ray Tensing remains free on a $1 million bond.
Cincinnati.com reports that after the judge lifted the gag order, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters revealed the jury voted eight to four in favor of a voluntary manslaughter conviction. Three jurors were willing to find Tensing guilty of murder.
The deadlocked jury is not rare in cases involving police officer shootings of unarmed citizens. The jury deadlocked in the trial of Charlotte, North Carolina police officer Randall Kerrick for killing unarmed Jonathan Ferrell. The jury deadlocked in the trial of Baltimore police officer William Porter, in the death of Freddie Gray. In New Mexico, two officers stood trial for the killing of James Boyd, a White homeless man. The jury deadlocked. Richmond police officer David L. Cobb was put on trial for killing of 18-year-old Paterson Brown Jr. The jury deadlocked.
In the Ray Tensing trial, the defense said Dubose used his car as a weapon, and Tensing pulled his gun when he feared for his life as he was dragged. Prosecutors maintained that Tensing was not dragged. They presented bodycam footage and frame-by-frame photos showing that Tensing shot Dubose in the head before Dubose’s car moved.
On April 4, 2015, in North Charleston, South Carolina, at approximately 9:30 a.m., Walter Scott was pulled over for a non-functioning brake-light. At some point, Walter got out of his car and ran. He was pursued by police officer Michael Slager. The situation ended with Slager shooting 50-year old Walter 5 times in the back as Walter ran away from him.
A by-stander recorded the portion of the incident where Walter ran, Slager fired his gun, and then picked up a taser and placed it by Walter’s body. Slager’s defense centered around the taser. He alleged that Walter used the taser on him and was coming towards him, causing him to shoot Walter. Slager’s original lawyer, David Aylor, withdrew as counsel within hours of the release of the video. Read the rest of this entry
On July 19 2015, Sam DuBose was shot and killed by now former University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing. Hamilton County prosecutors say that DuBose’s death was unwarranted and it was murder. Sam did not have a weapon or appear to be reaching for a weapon.
Tensing’s defense is that DuBose dragged him with the car.
Prosecutors say that Tensing’s bodycam shows that he was not dragged. A grand jury indicted Tensing on charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter. Tensing was terminated from the police department.
The murder charge carries the possibility of life in prison. The voluntary manslaughter charge carries the possibility of 3 to 11 years in prison.
In June, I reported on the conviction of former Colorado police officer James Adam Ashby. Ashby was found guilty for killing 27-year old Jack Jacquez in October 2014. Ashby’s sentencing was scheduled for September 23, 2016. There was a delay in sentencing. Ashby’s attorneys tried to have the conviction overturned, claiming there was insufficient evidence to convict, errors by the court during the proceedings, and several instances of juror misconduct. The Colorado Judicial Department says the motion for a retrial was denied by a judge on October 20, 2016.
The second-degree murder conviction meant that Ashby could be sentenced up to 48 years in prison.
Today, Otero County District Court Judge Mark MacDonnell sentenced 32-year old Ashby to 16 years in prison; a $10K fine, and 5 years of parole upon his release.
An autopsy concluded that Jack Jacquez died from a single gunshot to the back that struck his spinal cord and pierced his heart and a lung. Jack was in his home, which he shared with his mother who was home at the time. Ashby had no reason to enter the house and said that he feared for his life because Jack was holding a baseball bat. At trial, prosecutors argued that even if Jack was holding a baseball bat, that Ashby’s shooting him in the back evidenced that Ashby was not in fear for his life.
On September 2, 2015, West Penn, Pennsylvania Township police sergeant Melissa M. Ruch said that she was assaulted. She gave a description of the alleged perpetrator’s vehicle, and said that she deployed her taser which made contact. Ruch, 42-years old, was treated at the scene and then flown to a hospital.
During the minutes and hours after the alleged assault, numerous state and municipal police units from several counties, along with a state police helicopter, searched for the vehicle described by Ruch and also for the man she said assaulted her.
To commemorate Patriot Day, on Sept. 11, 2015, state Senator David Argall presented Ruch with an award for her service and bravery stemming from the September 2nd incident.
On December 23, 2015, Ruch was charged with one misdemeanor count of false alarms to agencies of public safety and three misdemeanor counts of false reports to law enforcement authorities. Ruch denied the charges saying, “The truth will come out.”
On October 19, 2016, Ruch pleaded guilty to one count of making a false report to law enforcement. Prosecutors withdrew a second count of false reports to law enforcement, plus charges of false alarm and furnishing authorities with false information.
On January 13, 2013, 17-year old Kendrick Johnson’s body was discovered in a gym mat in Valdosta, GA. Local authorities and a government medical examiner determined that Johnson died of “positional asphyxia” due to an accident. They described the accident as Kendrick placing his shoes inside the gym mat and while retrieving them, he became stuck in the mat.
In October 2013, Kendrick’s parent had an independent autopsy performed. The cause of death was determined to be “apparent non-accidental blunt force trauma”. CNN reported on the independent autopsy.
Thereafter, the Department of Justice opened an investigation. In June 2016, the DOJ closed their investigation citing insufficient evidence.
During the DOJ’s investigation, two suspects were brothers Brandon and Brian Bell. Brian Bell now attends the University of Akron where he plays linebacker on the football team.
On September 22, 2016, Raycom News Network reported that Brian Bell was charged with misdemeanor assault. The charge stems from a May fight. The victim, a 24-year old, said that he had a disagreement with one of Bell’s friends. He alleged that Brian Bell yelled at him and sucker punched him in the face. The victim was taken to Akron General Hospital and treated for a cut on his nose and swollen eyes.
Bell was arraigned on September 30, 2016. Arrest Nation, which reports on the arrests of athletes, also reported the arrest.
The media then went silent.
According to court records, on October 12, 2016, Brian Bell entered a plea bargain for the lesser charge of disorderly conduct. His sentence included payment of costs to the victim, no contact with the victim, and a $247.00 fine.
Nothing is reported as to whether Brian Bell’s arrest and conviction resulted in temporary suspension or other penalty for the football team.