Jury Duty

As I begin my third time at Jury Duty, I’m moved to repost my private journals of my first experience.

This was first posted to my private journals in 2006. It’s going to be very long.

The short version: I was juror #14 (second alternate) on the double-homicide trial for a man named Thomas Marshall. He was the defendant in the shootings that took place at the Southcenter Mall in 2005. For those who don’t remember the case or are not in the area, here is the link.

As an alternate, I did not end up deliberating, but I do agree with the decision that was made in the case. It was the same decision that I would have made, based on the evidence presented.

Day One

18th-Oct-2006 02:22 pm – JD: Testimony Day 1 – Tuesday October 10, 2006

This is a tough case. Shitty, in fact. News story links in previous post. It’s the South Center Mall shooting from a year ago.

Warning, this is long. I tried to cut out all the graphic stuff. You all don’t need to read the horror I saw and heard about.

We started the day with opening statements. The prosecution’s statement was fairly damning. She laid out all the evidence and it was fairly clear-cut. Double homicide, execution style, with a .380 in a car. What it appears is that this man was engaged in a drug deal with the two men in the front seats of the car.

Defense hinges on:

1. Where is ALL the blood
2. Where is the gun
3. Where is the motive?

Testimony starts.

As far as dealers go, they actually sounded like decent guys. I know that sounds weird. Ivan was a 16-year-old kid, and Felix was 30 and had just gotten married in Mexico and come across to find a better life. They were cousins. Sounds to me like they were making some “easy money.” Their other customers testified to them being polite and respectful, even going so far as “yes ma’am” and “no sir” – From my own experience with my ex, I know that there are in fact polite dealers out there who are in it for the money and nothing more. They don’t carry weapons, don’t threaten folks, and will let people slide a bit on payments if they’re “normally a good customer” – so I don’t doubt the similar stories told by their customers on the stand. What would they have to gain by lying? They’re not being paid to be there.

The witnesses. Ayeayeaye, the witnesses. A then-19 year old girl and her boyfriend returning from shopping at Nordstrom. She says they were in the store 10 minutes, he says an hour or two. Chalk that one up to perception of time, especially when doing something like shopping for shoes for her. He was obviously bored, she was thrilled to find the shoes she’d been looking all over town for, and the time was probably somewhere in between. I’d guess a half hour, 45 minutes they were there.

They walked out, started to get in their car and heard “a couple of sharp cracks” – she didn’t think much of it, he thinks it’s a gunshot, tells he to get in the car NOW. They get in, and he looks to the side, sees a wisp of “thin smoke” trailing upward from rear passenger side door of a car 8 or so spaces away. One car is parked next to the car with the smoke, between the victim’s car and the witness’s, but not blocking his line of vision. (Crime scene pictures show victims car straddling two spaces front and back, don’t know if it’s been moved, assuming not, but would account for direct line of sight if car was way forward in its space, into next space)

He looks and sees a man getting out of back of the car, from same place as smoke, and walk around back of car, calmly into the other car. He gets in, and pulls forward, driving away the wrong direction down the aisle. Male witness is careful to notice man’s appearance and try to remember every detail, as he has feeling he knows he’s just seen “something bad.” Girlfriend does not see man or smoke, just the car driving wrong way down the aisle. She gets good look at driver. She doesn’t know significance yet.

Male witness asks girlfriend to “look over there, are those people asleep or dead?” and she sees driver slumped over steering wheel, not moving at all. They decide to take a closer look, and drive up the aisle, in front of the car, and see two men and a lot of blood. They are obviously beyond help. They call 9-1-1.

There are more witnesses. I’ll spare the details.

Unfortunately for the defense, there WAS some blood in defendant’s car. It was found a few days later, is a rare car and the driver’s side was thoroughly cleaned.

Where is the gun? The defendant lives in Washington. There is more water here than most, if not any, states – he could’ve dropped it off a ferry into the Puget Sound. What are they gonna do, dredge the Sound? He could’ve dumped it anywhere along the way between Tukwila and his house in Gig Harbor. That’s a lot of shrubbery… And motive. The drugs in the car were left there, as was the money. This is where I have an issue. However, how much money or drugs were in the car to begin with? There wasn’t much left – some drugs, and a hundred dollars or so. They were UNDER the younger victim.

The defense attorney stated, “Why would a drug addict come in search of drugs and leave them behind?” and then she also stated “he was at the scene, sure, the blood shows that, but it doesn’t show he committed the crime.” Well, if he was at the scene, and went INTO THE CAR (had to in order to get the blood on him) then why, as an addict, would he not take the opportunity to take the drugs and GO? Maybe he took some, but not all…

Doesn’t make sense. But who knows WHY people do things. And it doesn’t ultimately matter, if the evidence shows he did it, WHY he did it. Just THAT he did. Or didn’t. Trying to keep the open mind.

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