For two solid weeks, we heard testimony from prosecution witnesses. The key witnesses for the prosecution were the two victims, the family friend who finally alerted the authorities back in October of 2008, and Seattle police officers.
The witnesses were interesting to say the least. One witness actually pointed directly at me when asked to point to the defendant in the courtroom. Yikes. Anyways, I felt awful for those forced to relive the awfulness of what happened. No details were spared for the most part.
After the police were alerted, a search warrant was issued for the defendant’s apartment. A couple days after the warrant was obtained, the Seattle police had the defendant in custody.
It goes against human nature to not be able to react. Seated right next to the witnesses was possibly more difficult than watching the horrific videos. I wanted badly to comfort those in pain, especially when they had to sit there in tears during a sidebar.
As I said, we got testimony from the two victims, 3-4 family friends, and all the police involved with this search warrant. The cops were there to document the procedures used to handle evidence during the search of the defendant’s apartment.
After a week of testimony, I didn’t think the prosecution had swayed me much. The burden of proof was on the prosecution, but after four days of testimony… it was fairly inconclusive in my mind. There were some graphic Polaroid pictures, but they were not definitive proof of first degree rape of a child.
During some of the more difficult testimony of the first week, a high school class filed into the courtroom. The courts are open to the public and therefore many classes visit the court to see how the legal system functions. All the kids were about 15-17 years old, based on my best judgement. At first I thought it might be a prosecution stunt. After a few interruptions, the judge politely asked to either stop leaving the court or sit still. All of the students took that opportunity to leave the courtroom. I wish their teacher stuck their nose in the courtroom prior to them overhearing intimate details about blow jobs. It was most unfortunate.
Week two there were two full days of testimony with only one witness called by defense. After Tuesday’s testimony you could feel a strong case was being made by the prosecution. Even though, after that day I was still up in the air about things. The detectives who witnessed opened many key pieces of evidence, but didn’t show them to us until the following day.
At the end of Wednesday, my head was spinning. It was that day when we got our first glimpse into videos found by a Seattle Police computer forensics detective. He recovered files from the defendant’s computers. The defendant stashed a CPU unit in each of his two cars at the apartment. I’ve never had a more awkward 15 minutes or so of my life. Sitting in the courtroom with 13 other jurors watching the defendant in the courtroom engaged in sexually explicit conduct with children. His voice was creepy and the things he muttered in the videos haven’t escaped my head as fast as I’d like. There was no mistaking the fact that the man in the videos was definitely the man sitting on trial.