Saturday, October 27, 2012

The defense boat demonstration - is it credible?

RoseMontague commented:

I think the boat video is pretty silly. Man, motor, and body all in the back of the boat with the guy trying to lift as he is sitting down in the very back of the boat. The prosecution was allowed to show an example of someone fitting into the compartment up from that one which would be in a more stable area.
Conversely, the man is shown in the first part of the video one compartment up standing up and the boat appears stable from that standpoint. He could have done his lifting from the middle of the boat rather than the rear. In addition the fishing expert (and they do catch some very heavy fish) indicated he believed he would not have a problem disposing of a body over the side of such a boat.
I wondered after seeing the video what was cut out of it from the point of the guy standing up to the point where he is being silly.
Can we agree that the Prosecution's demonstration should not have been admitted?  It no way can be considered a replication of the crime:  this was a living woman who was able to crawl into the boat and squirm around until she fit.

Here is the defense demonstration for those who haven't seen it.

There were other boat-dumping experiments.  One of the reporters who attended the trial and had doubts about Scott's guilt did his own experiment and reported that he could not do it without capsizing the boat.  Two brothers who attended the trial and were absolutely convinced Scott was guilty did an experiment.  They did successfully dump the body without capsizing the boat, but the body wouldn't sink.  I'm not sure whether there are videos of these demonstration available or not.  If anyone knows, please leave the information in the comments.

Detective Hendee wanted the MPD to do its own experiment during the investigation.  He seems to have had some question about the boat being stable enough to dump a body from.   The lead detectives said No.  However, Grogan did theorize that Scott would have to stabilize the boat, and they examined the boat for any signs of paint transfer to indicate he had tied the boat to one of the buoys. They did find some red paint on the boat, but it didn't match the paint used for the buoys and the defense suggested that the red paint transfer came from the red dolly where the boat was stored.

The fisherman's testimony -- he does say he believes he could dump a body the size of Laci and weighted down with weights from a boat Scott's size.  I wish he would have been given the opportunity to show that he could do it, alone.  He did say in his testimony that in handling the large fish, he usually had someone along with him, and that they "slid" out of the boat when they put them back into the water.   The other key factor is that we have no evidence that Scott had a similar experience with large fish.  Unless he did, could he match the feat of that fisherman?

So, for boat experiments, we have two that capsized while trying to dump the body, and one that could not get the body to sink.  

And I find it interesting that a lot of people ridicule Scott for taking such a small boat out onto the Bay to fish, but don't have any trouble believing he took it out on the Bay to dispose of Laci.


RoseMontague said...

I appreciate your commenting on this, Marlene. I get the feeling the video that we do have shows someone trying to fail. If they were trying to succeed I believe we might have a different video. I agree that it was probably not easy.

Marlene Newell said...

I agree that a member of the defense team doing the experiments is going to raise questions about just how much effort went into succeeding.

For me, it would be much more believable that he bought the boat specifically to use to dump the body if we had some evidence he had actually tried out the boat previously to be sure he wouldn't end up with a drastically failed situation. Or if we had some evidence that he was experienced at handling very large fish in a small boat.

Jane said...

Kim Fulbright in photo #1 is in the position that the "body" was when it was dumped from the boat in the defense video.

That seems the best position to do it. The man is sitting on the seat and lifting the body over the side without standing up. The boat sank.

Marlene Newell said...

Adding the weights to the body would not only make it heavier, but much more clumsy. I would think a better way would be to tie a rope to the body, get it over, and then attach the weights. But then I'm not a boater, a fisher, or a body-dumper.

An even better idea would simply to bury her somewhere else and then go boating/fishing at the Bay. Then that would make sense for an alibi.