MORE notes from Briana Waters court case 2-13
Here are the rest of Tuesday's as well as today's notes.
February 12, 2008; Day Two
Court resumes after lunch
Prosecutor Friedman calls John Comery to the witness stand; sites his history background, education, and work experience. Comery identifies himself as a member of the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) national response team's internal arson fire investigator. He has been involved investigating ALF/ELF claimed arsons since 1997. He spoke briefly of points linking these arsons i.e. nature of targets, types of devices used, who claimed responsibility and methodology patterns. Comery goes on to explain his process of investigation to find origin and cause of fire.
Friedman questions him on a number of fires: Cavel West; Susanville, two fires in Olympia, Childers meats, Boise Cascade, and Superior lumber. Comery details the evidence collected, the number of devices used, the increasing complexity of the devices used, how they work, K-9 involvement, and claimed responsibility. He read part or all of the communiqués and sited monetary damage for each fire.
Comery steps down, jury recessed, court adjourned until 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, February 13, 2008.
February 13, 2008; Day Three
Court resumes 9:00 a.m. John Comery returns to the witness stand and is cross examined by defense attorney Fox. Fox clarifies that Comery did not investigate UW fires, asked various questions about timing devices, ignition devices, and accelerant (fuel). Fox questions Comery about interviews with Phillabaum, Kolhar, and Meyerhoff. Introduces exhibits of Comery's handwritten notes from January interviews with Kolhar; no mention of Waters. Also introduces FBI 302 report of Meyerhoff interview of March 2006 in which he was shown a photo Waters and states, " She looks familiar but was not involved."
Comery steps down.
Prosecutor calls Donald Rice to the witness stand. Rice is the manager of Jefferson Poplar Farm. He overviews the history and working dynamics of the farm and recalls what happened Sunday, May 21. Events of the fire were detailed, many exhibits entered as evidence.
Cross examination by Friedman who expresses sympathy. Witness is excused followed by a ten minute recess.
Prosecutor Bartlett calls Cheryl Glenn to the stand. Glenn is an ATF special agent trained in arson, firearms, and explosives. She investigated Jefferson Poplar and describes the events. Identifies and describes evidence sent to ATF lab for classification: buckets, liquids, device remains, clocks, flares, matches, model rocket igniters. All exhibits identified and entered as evidence. Cross examination points out her investigation was of Jefferson Poplar fire only; no other fires in Washington or Oregon.
Prosecutor Bartlett calls Bradley Cooper to the stand. Cooper identifies himself as ATF terrorist explosive expert. He briefs court and the jury on his education and training. Cooper currently works as forensic chemist in Walnut Creek, California. He describes his investigation of the evidence from Jefferson Poplar fire, and sites 55 exhibits entered as evidence. Cross examination identifies no involvement in UW case.
Prosecutor calls Brennon Phillips to the witness stand. Phillips identifies himself as an ATF bomb technician. He uses the word "bomb" no less than 37 times in his testimony. He details his examination of the Jefferson Poplar evidence, calling devices, "incendiary bombs." Defense objects every time. Bartlett briefly questions Phillips about December 2005 search of Roger's residence in Prescott, Arizona. He identifies evidence entered as exhibits i.e. literature, photos, computer discs... Cross examination inquires about Phillips judgment being influenced by institutionalized bomb experience, which he denies. Defense tries to clarify the difference between "incendiary device" and "incendiary bomb." Is it the volume of fuel, timing devices, ignition systems, burn rate of accelerant, and ultimately indicating it is not up to the ATF to determine. Prosecution objects; Phillips steps down.
Prosecution calls Officer Ronald Trezise to the witness stand, UW police patrol, on duty the night of the fire. He identifies maps and photos. Cross examination indicates he saw nothing unusual before fires broke out.
Prosecutor calls Dan Priest to the witness stand, Seattle fire department, station 38, first responder. He details the event. Cross examination questions discrepancy of 50 minutes documented dispatch time. Witness is excused, jury is dismissed. Court adjourns tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m.
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