Thursday, February 7, 2008

Cutts case gaining life of its own

A few thoughts after three days of testimony ... I can't believe we've had so much heavy testimony in the first few days of the case.

The prosecution is really cutting to the chase. Putting Patty Porter up first and getting right into her finding Jessie's ransacked room was really blunt.

We hadn't heard Bobby's voice much before the tapes of his conversations with Sheriff's Deputies were played in court Tuesday. He's really soft-spoken.

I think most folks were surprised-yet-not-surprised to see two other women on the stand that’d also had relationships with Cutts. One claimed she'd aborted Bobby's baby .. and later we learn that Jessie had a miscarriage with another of Bobby's babies. Makes you wonder how much Bobby's fellow officers knew of his out-of-control personal life .. and if any of them tried to straighten him out.

Myesha Ferrell's testimony was jagged enough that it fit what sources told us to expect. That she was just naive enough to go along with a violent plan that showed up at her door one night ... and then not smart enough to come forward before it collapsed around her.

Not trying to create a conspiracy here .. but did Kelly Shaub (Cutts' ex-wife) put herself under the miscroscope by testifying that Jessie Marie Davis was trying to break up her marriage to Bobby? She claimed that Jessie went so far as to call and brag about having sex with Bobby and even left her underwear in Kelly's drawer. Obviously, police have cleared Kelly and verified her alibi that night -- again, not making a leap or insuation here -- but her testimony identifies someone other than Bobby who could have had a grudge.

The Medical Examiner's testimony that's yet to come will be brutal at best. The photos of the scene at the Top of the World are the stuff horror movies are made of. Expect testimony also about what animals did to the crime scene. I can only hope that Jessie's family will step out of the courtroom.

Opening statements reminded me of the Prade trial 9+ years ago. Prosecutor Chryssa Hartnett delivered the first words of this trial in hopes of connecting with the jurors. In the Prade trial, it was Alison McCarty (now an Akron municipal court judge) who got first crack in the courtroom.

If I remember correctly, prosecutors told me that McCarty went first instead of her male co-counsel because jurors seeing a woman would be more likely to focus on Margo Prade -- the victim -- instead of the suspect. That was important to laying the groundwork. Likewise, now comes Hartnett instead of her male co-counsel .. and she too looks to connect while talking about Jessie.

I don't pretend to know much about the psychology of courtroom testimony, but the two trials are showing some similarities.

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