Here is Secret Blog Reporter’s 2/10 report (finally), followed by a writeup from her notes from yesterday.
Before the jury was called into court, the judge ordered security not to allow people to come in and go during testimony. Prosecutor stood and stated his objections, requesting that we take a break every hour, on the hour. The Judge plainly told him and us that her order stands. It is a distraction of the jury and a security issue. We have been taking plenty of breaks, at less every hour, in which the people are free to come and go.
The jury was called in and Reeves called Bruce Miller, the Well Doctor to the stand. A heavy-set late mid-aged white man, blond and balding. He lives and has his business on Brady Lakes Road. He drills well, installs water systems and takes smell out of well water, and has been in business about 7 years. He also has had a second business doing flea markets, dealing with antiques, baseball cards, toys, comic books and other collectables, for about 2 or 3 years. But he is no longer do that. He did not deal with many coins. He did not run a pawn shop. He had a lot of collectors come in and try to sell him their stuff. Cortez grew up with his kids, played football together with them. No he wasn’t an employee really. Bruce fired him twice. He was mostly like a baby sitter. Pressed, Bruce admitted yes, Cortez was on the pay roll, or Cortez did work for him and Bruce paid him for that work. This last time, Cortez came to him pleading for employment. He didn’t have any place to stay. Bruce knew Mr. Lowther vaguely. He came in try to sell Bruce his Black baseball cards and another time some commemorative coins. The old guy just like to talk a lot. One time he came in needing his well fixed; he didn’t have any water. Bruce didn’t charge the old guy for this service. Mr. Lowther lived in like a one room shack, down the road from Bruce. Yes, he was in Lowther’s home. His well is located near the front side door of his house. Bruce only had one visit at Lowther’s home and he met his neighbor man. Lowther never showed him his collection at his home, mainly just talked. No, Bruce didn’t tell Cortez about Mr.Lowther’s home. Junior was with him during the visit. Cortez was at the store once when Mr. Lowther came in.
“Yes, I have a past. Yes, Felonies, B & E, drug trafficking, recovering ect.” He got out of prison in 1999.
He did not give Cortez permission to use the truck.He was just popped for pot with Bruce’s kids. “I called the police that morning, after noticing my truck wasn’t there. I had a dentist appointment.” He called around, even talked to the tow truck driver. He told Bruce, the he did tow a vehicle that night, but it wasn’t his. Then Bruce called Cortez’s sister and she told him that Cortez had been arrested. “I was pissed”.
Break again till 10:30. Reeves called in Junior, Mr. Robert Grayhouse. Long pony tail with three bands in it, BIG gut shoved in a yellow T-shirt, grey beard. He’s known Bruce since the 7th grade, helped him out a few times both at the store and with wells. In 2009, he worked with Bruce about once a month. 3 – 4 jobs. Yes, he’s been to Lowther’s home and in his home with Bruce. Lowther came into the store and said he couldn’t get his plastic filter case off his unit. He talked about his comic book collection and stuff. Bruce and Junior went to Lowther’s home. The filter case was cracked. Then Junior went to neighbor’s house for about 40 minutes with Lowther, leaving Bruce at Lowther’s home alone. Then Lowther and Junior went back to Lowther’s home and Lowther took them both back to the back room to show them a collection of coins. As they walked through the house Lowther led, Bruce walked behind him and waved and pointed at different things in the house to Junior, who was walking behind him. Junior liked Lowther’s air rifle. Lowther said he wanted $150.00 for it. That was a little too much for Bruce. After Bruce and Junior got back in the truck to leave, Bruce said “That guy is going to get robbed”. And Junior told him “Nothing better happen to that old guy”. To that Bruce said “It won’t be me”.
Yes, he met Cortez a couple of times. Found him well mannered and a nice guy. Cortez was at the store more than Bruce was. Junior met up with Bruce at Sheetz gas station. Bruce told him that the police questioned him and wanted his name. Bruce told them only Junior and lied to them about his last name. Junior was mad at him for giving the wrong name to cops.
10:45 jury was excused from court room. Oliver decided not to testify and the defense is going to rest now. Called jury in and Judge announced that bit of news and called lunch. During lunch we will go through the jury instructions and print them up. We are having trouble with our computers. Reconvene at 1:00 and we will be ready for closing arguments.
1:52 Computers are still down to do instructions, the weather is getting pretty bad out there. We will reconvene again tomorrow morning at 8:30 for charging the jury.
Things began with some procedural dickering. The prosecution wanted to add complicity to murder to the available charges. Defense pointed out that this could only be presented as a principal charge, and wasn’t raised in the indictment. Cited State vs. Stevens. Pointed out that there were 2 with complicity and 2 with murder. Pros. responded that they decided on a case-by-case basis. Defense says that the prosecution decided 6 months ago. Judge nixed the additional charge, said it would muddy the water. She told the sides to split an hour for closing arguments.
Jury in at 9:02. State first. Recaps time line (which I won’t here). Lowther told EMT that he was attacked from behind, grabbed head and threw him to the ground and pinned him there. Defense claims Lowther didn’t say that, paints DD an Jody as “snitch/crack whore with a heart”, turns focus to Well doctor.
15 min. break. 43 pages of jury instructions.
Defense comment to Oliver, overheard: “I wanted the original- it’s back to the way it was.”
Verdict forms approved. Jury in at 11:15. Told they can’t change the law, indictment is to inform defendent of the charges and is not evidence, neither are opening and closing arguments, can’t speculate, don’t have to believe somebody just because they’re under oath, can’t discuss punishment. Explains all terms, especially felony murder.
1:30 Jury told to come in. Vigliucci (Co. prosecutor) was there, first time. Only black juror was an alternate with 2 others, did not decide on case. Nobody allowed to leave for 10 minutes after verdict read, giving jury time to leave. Done at 1:45