Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bizarre Moments . . .

In his September 30, 2004, article, Richard Cole calls attention to some very bizarre trial moments.

First, the incident wherein Fladager challenged one of their own crime photos.
The incident capped a day of shadowboxing over issues so obscure that experts and reporters following the case were left scratching their heads.

Prosecutor Birgit Fladager attacked Modesto Police Department photos used by the defense to throw doubt on a police demonstration.

In that demonstration, police put a pregnant Stanislaus County district attorney's office employee in the toolbox of Scott's pickup truck to show he could have hidden Laci's body in the tight space.

But defense attorney Mark Geragos showed jurors earlier photos police took when the truck was seized. They showed that the toolbox was too packed with boxes, shoes and other items to fit a body inside.

When Fladager resumed questioning lead Modesto police Detective Craig Grogan, she had him take a closer look at the crime scene photos used by the defense.

She triumphantly showed that the police photographer whose name appeared on the bottom information line of the photo actually could be seen in one frame -- proving she could not have taken the shot.

"Those are her own photos!" a bewildered Geragos said from the defense table.

It was not Fladager's best moment.

Second, Fladager makes a pointless point.
Fladager showed Grogan photos of Scott during his first police interview on Dec. 24, 2002, the day Laci disappeared. She made the detective note that Scott was wearing a blue shirt and brown pants with a wide leather belt.

She then showed photos of the same shirt and pants in a clothes hamper at the Petersons' home. The photos were taken during a search of the house two days later.

What significance that might have to the murders of Laci and Conner was not explained.

Third, forensic tests never completed.
Grogan acknowledged that police developed a theory that Scott had strangled or asphyxiated Laci because there was no evidence of blood or violence in the Petersons' home.

The detective said that police confiscated the Peterson's bed linen - and then apparently never checked it for forensic evidence such as urine, which is often found when a victim is strangled.

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