In his Opening Statement, Rick Distaso told the Jury:
Here's the location where Conner Peterson's body was found. There is a tidal flat. If you are at high tide, it's covered in water. At low tide it's flat ground. You are going to see this is all tidal flat. There is a walking path here. There is nowhere to drive down. You can't drive a car down to this particular location. You can walk along the beach here, at low tide. Then low tide, you can walk out onto the flat. But high tide it's mostly covered in water.>>>>Here is where Conner's body was recovered. The reason that this is dark on this chart is because that's those, it's a tidal flat. That means it's land in low tide, it's water in high tide.>>>>The body is found behind the jetty right here in this particular tidal flat. Next picture. This is a picture [People's 100] that was taken later, not on the day Conner's body was find, was taken to show you what the tidal flat looks like at high tide. You can see the residue line is just barely exposed. Come down, there is no waves breaking over the jetty, but this entire flat is covered with water at about, I think it's about a foot and half, two feet deep.
After he and Dave Harris solicited the same blatantly incorrect information from three witnesses -- Michael Looby, Tod Opdyke, and Brian Gard, none of which are experts on water levels at the Conner Recovery Site, or even frequent visitors to the site -- Distaso said in his Closing Argument:
I was again at the Conner Recovery site on April 13, 2011, the 8th anniversary. The photos I took again prove how ridiculously stupid it is for anyone to believe that this site is "covered with water all the way" at "high tide."Remember that area where he came ashore is a tidal flat, so at high tide it's covered with water all the way. At low tide it's ground. He came ashore on a heavy .
I arrived at the site at 7:13 a.m. to view the high tide predicted for that morning. Here are the predicted water levels compared to the preliminary water levels. The Accoustc column is the one to pay attention to, as that has proven to be a very accurate representation of verified water levels. The high tide was predicted to peak at 8:06 a.m. and hold steady at 5.11' until dropping a mere .01' by 8:24. The actual water level was just a bit higher -- 5.17 is .06' or 3/4 of an inch higher than 5.11' -- and peaked a bit later, at 8:30. However, the water level at 8:06, the projected peak high tide, was only .01' lower than the actual peak, and .01' is a mere 1/8 of an inch.
Station Date Time Pred 6 Acoustc Backup DCP#: 1 1 2 Units: Feet Feet Feet Data%: MLLW Local 100.00 100.00 100.00 Maximum: 5.21 5.17 5.18 Minimum: 0.13 0.23 0.24 ------- -------- ----- ------- ------- -------
9414863 20110413 07:54 5.09 5.08 5.09 9414863 20110413 08:00 5.10 5.12 5.13 9414863 20110413 08:06 5.11 5.16 5.16 9414863 20110413 08:12 5.11 5.15 5.16 9414863 20110413 08:18 5.11 5.15 5.16 9414863 20110413 08:24 5.10 5.16 5.17 9414863 20110413 08:30 5.09 5.17 5.18 9414863 20110413 08:36 5.08 5.15 5.16 9414863 20110413 08:42 5.06 5.12 5.14 9414863 20110413 08:48 5.03 5.11 5.12
For the sake of those that are visiting the blog for the first time, or who, like me, have short memories, here are the water levels of significance to this case:
5.45' MHW (average of all H and HH tides5.88' water level from HH tide on morning of April 13, 20036.05' MHHW (average of only the HH tides)6.39' water level for People's 100
You can see that 5.17 is below the MHW of 5.45, well below the MHHW of 6.05, and very much below the People's 100 of 6.39.
First, let's view the digital photos taken from 8:16 - 8:18 a.m., with the water level at 5.15'. They are of the south breakwater just in front of the grass section where Conner was found and then moving to the west. You can see that the water from the tide is barely at the front of the rocks.
In the above photo, the rock we believed Gard measured from is in the right forefront. The turtle rock (named so because it has a shell-shape with a protrusion that looks like a turtle head) is to its left and just slightly in front of it.
First People's 100, and then the next set of photos taken at 8:44-8:45 a.m., with the water level falling from 5.12' to 5.11'. Interestingly, this was at the predicted water level for this high tide. The photos take you full circle around the site.
The two faded-red flags you see in the photo above and below are the two possible locations where Conner was found.
The 3rd red flag shown in the photo above, and by itself in the photo below, is the location marked by Gard's GPS readings for the exact location Conner was found.
Some readers may wonder whether this high tide of only 5.17' is a fluke, out of the norm for this site. I will provide objective evidence from the NOAA that this high tide is not a fluke in my next article. And I am pleased to say that I was able to get onto the Bay side of the south breakwater to take photos from that perspective. I also found some interesting debris both on the site and in the rocks -- more to look forward to.