~ And the Sweeney Brothers And More ~
WHERE IS THE BLOOD?
The ultimate question, of course, is did Micah Stewart kill Cortney Fry? My answer has to be yes. For the simple reason, if not Stewart, then who and why?
But you have to prove it in a court of law. And the prosecution didn’t do that. And what concerns me the most about this case is - where is the blood?
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hackman said in his closing that the prosecution had “a mountain of evidence.” No, they didn’t. They had a desk covered with brown evidence bags with nothing of note in them.
Both Lancaster County’s forensic coroner, Dr. Wayne Ross, and the Mercyhurst forensic anthropologist testified that Fry received several forceful blows to her face. One blow broke the bones on both sides of her nose, Ross testified.
Where is the blood?
An object pieced her skull. Where is the blood?
The police forensic unit searched Stewart’s apartment and didn’t find any blood. The only thing they found was a box of latex gloves. Apparently they took at least two rug samples that were not a DNA match with Fry. One policeman testified about a bucket of damp rags in a closet – implying Stewart had been cleaning – but apparently those rags weren’t taken and tested or if they were – nothing came of it.
How did Stewart get her body into what was described as a “small” Dodge Aries K car? Hackman, in his closing, said the car was packed with Fry’s things as she was planning to leave Stewart and move to her mother’s house. How did Stewart fit the body in with all of her belongings already in the car?
Why didn’t they find blood in the car? The only, let me repeat, the only blood they found in their entire investigation was on the tip of two latex glove fingertips found between the cushions of the drivers seat of Stewart’s car.
In his closing, Hackman said the blood on the gloves came when Stewart was cleaning his car. I don’t think so. Again, I’m not an expert, but if Stewart was cleaning the car and there was enough blood to get it on the glove fingertips, then why didn’t the police find any blood in the car?
Where is the blood?
Zebulun Sweeney, a 2005 Columbia High School graduate who since moved to York, is wanted on charges of attempt to commit criminal homicide and aggravated assault.
…The Sweeney brothers testified against Micah Stewart earlier this year in a Lancaster courtroom. They claimed Stewart -- who was convicted last week of first-degree murder for killing girlfriend Cortney Fry -- shot at them last year in an alley behind his Columbia home.
“York man wanted for assault - Allegedly dropped flowerpot on police officer's head,” today’s Intell, Page B-l, (as of 9:30 a.m. this article has not been posted on line.)
The trial mentioned above ended in a mistrial and will be retried.
These two emails in. The first under the subject “Detective Geesey”:
Let the Fry family ALONE! You have no right to your opinions on Courtney's remains. Quit playing on the anguish the people involved with this case feel. It is none of your business. The trial is over! You have no right to question experts. You have no right to question the prosecution. In fact, you have no right to question the defense. You have no right to question the integrity of the witnesses or even to place judgments of any kind towards anyone. People who live in glass houses should not case stones.
The absolute only reason I check your daily "reporting" is to monitor your hatred of certain people I hold in high regard. I know you want to know who I am. All you need to know is that I'm sure I have the approval of a certain detective, as well as many, many people I come in contact with. Good luck in attaining that goal for yourself.
And this, from my favorite poster:
Beingreal is just a few rows away from you today; white shirt,
med. length hair.
She has a laptop.
She knows your face and is watching you in amusement every
Can you guess where she is? How many times she has watched
Every day of the trial, in fact?
I know. :))))))
I know, Becky Holzinger.
And the pathetic home-made tag you wear matches the look on
your face: devoid of intelligence.
Do you see her?
She sees you.
Funny, I didn’t see her. My response to these two emails will come tomorrow along with the two Millersville professors – the plant and the bug expert!
DID STEWART DO IT?
Please check back later today…
*** BREAKING NEWS ***
I WON’T FORGET!
"Sousa admitted she had trouble keeping her composure when Fry’s friends testified. She sympathized with them when they described the last time they had seen their friend alive. She sympathized with Stewart’s half-brother who was compelled to testify against him."
”Experience ‘that I won’t forget’”, Bernard Harris, today’s New Era (click here).
There are two problems here, Bernard Harris; it was not Stewart’s “half-brother” and you didn’t spend one minute in the courtroom. Please check back tomorrow. These papers are an absolute and total disgrace.
~ Spirits and Nonsense ~
I was sitting in the courtroom during the morning break. Brett Lovelace, the Intell reporter, and I were the only members of the gallery in the courtroom. Lovelance was talking to County Detective Arnold. Arnold said he interviewed Christina Arnold thirteen times. Thirteen times.
I asked him about the whole fear of the back bedroom thing. He responded, “Spirits.” I gave him a doubtful look. He nodded yes and again said, “Spirits.”
Christina Arnold testified via videotape in the courtroom. Her testimony was taken this August because she is in the National Guard.
She testified she knew Micah Stewart through his brother, Lionel, and called him on July 23, 2006 asking him to come and pick her up from Delaware where she was staying with a friend. Stewart agreed.
He spent several days in Delaware “hanging out” with Christina and her friends and had a sexual relationship with her friend Michelle, she testified.
They returned on July 27th to Stewart’s apartment. They were only there a few minutes when Arnold testified that Stewart’s sister, Alicia, came to pick him up and take him to be interviewed by the police at his mother’s home.
Arnold said she called Angelica Rivera, Stewart’s father’s girlfriend, and Rivera told her to come to their house because the police were going to search the apartment. Micah apparently spoke to Angelica, because he called Arnold a few minutes later and asked her to scrub out the tub with the baking soda in the bathroom and empty all of the ashtrays down the toilet before she left.
RED HERRING NUMBER 1
Several days later, after the police had searched Stewart’s apartment, Arnold testified she came across a piece of “reddish yarn” just lying in the hallway. “Did you think it might be blood?” Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hackman asked. “I thought it might be,” she responded.
She testified that she showed it to Stewart and he took it into the bathroom, burned it with a lighter and flushed it down the toilet.
On cross examination, Stewart’s defense attorney Roger Renteria, asked her how long the piece of yarn was. “One or two inches,” she responded. “Did you ever see any other yarn in the apartment?” Renteria asked. “Not that I can remember,” she testified.
RED HERRING NUMBER 2
Arnold testified that she and Stewart never slept in the back bedroom. She said that’s where Stewart and Fry slept on a waterbed. She testified that Stewart was “scared of the bedroom” and “thought people were trying to break in through the windows.”
“Did you give a statement to Detective Arnold about the back bedroom?” Hackman asked on re-examination. “Did you tell him ‘the bedroom freaked him out?’” Hackman asked. “Did you tell him he [Stewart] used you as a human shield to go into the bedroom at night?” “I guess so,” Arnold responded.
Later, under cross examination by Renteria, she testified that the two windows in the back bedroom were at some point nailed shut.
RED HERRING NUMBER 3
“Did you ever have a conversation with Micah Stewart about killing someone in general?” Hackman asked. “Yes,” she said. She testified the conversation took place at Stewart’s father’s house.
“He said he wanted me to catch my first body. He said when you’re killing somebody you should lay down trash bags and shoot them in the back of the head.”
“When did you have this conversation about ‘catching your first body?’” Renteria asked on cross examination. “I think it was in August,” she testified.
RED HERRING NUMBER 4
“Was it your choice to leave him or was it mutual or what?” Hackman asked on re-examination. “I think it was more him than me,” she responded.
PLEASE CHECK BACK ON MONDAY
~ And Investigate Totaro ~
DON’T DO IT,
"Prosecutors plan to release the skeletal remains of murder victim Cortney Fry to her family for burial.
….County Detective Joseph P. Geesey and Assistant District Attorney Christopher A. Hackman decided not to display the bones during the trial to prevent them from being kept as evidence during any appeals.
'The Fry family felt very strongly about being able to bury the remains as part of finding closure,' Geesey said. 'We respected their wishes and decided early on in the case that only photographs would be used at trial.'"
“Cortney on her way home,” today’s Intell, click here.
I understand the Fry’s family’s wishes, but this should absolutely not happen and the District Attorneys office knows it. I don’t believe the Fry family will be happy when her remains are exhumed for the appeal.
As I have noted previously, it was only three weeks ago that Dr. Ray from Penn State Harrisburg came to Lancaster and inserted the screwdriver found in Stewart’s car into the hole in the skull. He testified he came back another day when the photographs used in court were taken. He never testified that he tried putting any other screwdrivers or tools into the hole to see if they “fit.”
I don’t know when Stewart’s defense attorney, Roger Renteria, was notified of this “evidence” or the fact that they had the pictures. But it could only have been two or three weeks prior to the actual trial.
Did Renteria have an opportunity to physically view the skull and try inserting screwdrivers or other tools he could have purchased at Home Depot or any hardware store to see if they “fit?” Was he advised they were going to use a poster with four pictures of the screwdriver in the hole?
The pictures of the screwdriver in the skull have been reported as the deciding issue for the jury in terms of their decision between first and third degree murder.
The case is being appealed. That has been reported by WGAL and the Lancaster Newspapers. There is absolutely no reason to return the remains, or at least certainly the skull, until that process has concluded.
Otherwise, there will just be more pain for the Fry family.
"The commissioners’ citations were the only punitive actions recommended by a grand jury that spent the past year investigating both the sale of the county nursing home in 2005 and the hiring of Gary Heinke, the county’s former chief human services officer, according to District Attorney Donald Totaro.
Both investigations are now concluded, Totaro said."
“Commissioners guilty of violating state law,” today’s Intell, click here.
Is this a joke? A grand jury investigated for a year and this is it? The grand jury was supposed to be investigating racketeering, drugs and unsolved murders. That’s what Totaro put in his application for the empanelling of a grand jury. How much has this cost the public?
Investigate Totaro now. There will be much more on this at a later date.
Tomorrow – the witness who throws out three absurd red herrings in the Stewart trial, the convention center and “Lost Angels.”
[Before today’s article, I thought I would post some emails I have received. Thank you for writing. My responses are in bold]
I agree with you about the bias reporting that the local news puts on the Micah Stewart case. I'm glad that someone is in there giving an unbiased opinion of the proceedings. Brent Lovelace is the worse of the worst. He once did an interview with Micah's mother and twisted everything she said and left anything out that put a less that glowing light on Cortney Fry.
The story that Cortney's mother Holly suggested to Cortney to date within her race is a joke I myself had it from Cortney's own lips (I use to take her to school at Park City) that her mother gave her an ultimatum to stop seeing Micah and that if she did not she had to leave. Then when Cortney told her she would not stop seeing Micah her mother Holly threw her out. When Holly found out Cortney was staying at Micah's home Holly and Holly's boyfriend at the time brought Cortney's belongings to Micah's and threw her belongings all over the sidewalk in the pouring down rain. Also Cortney's sister Sammy had to sneak off to Park City to visit with Cortney. When Sammy got caught making calls to Cortney, Holly threatened to get a babysitter for Sammy.
As for Cortney's friends, they are big time party girls and not just smoking a little marijuana.
I have heard the story about throwing the clothes from others as well. I agree about her friends. They found cocaine in Cortney’s system the day she gave birth to her daughter. These friends said they “hung out” with Cortney at least every other day but testified they knew nothing at all about cocaine.
LNP is breaking all journalistic code the way they "steal" from each other. They should be quoting "Intelligencer" or "Lancaster New Era" instead of pretending they wrote it.
I know that one of the papers got sued because they quoted the other without attribution and therefore got drug into the suit!
It is disgraceful. The New Era reporter would only be in the courtroom for an hour and fifteen minutes every day. Then they would use the Intell article word for word including quotes as if they were there. It is absolutely unethical. All the information readers got came from one Intell reporter who often has a problem with the facts.
I am going to write a piece about what the Lancaster Newspapers never reported in this trial – and what they reported incorrectly.
Is your hatred for Det. Geesey so strong that you think Stewart is not guilty? Hackman did a fine job. Apparently you don't know much about jury trials. That of course is quite apparent with what you wrote about Hackman. Maybe you should write about something you know something about.
Interesting. I think I mentioned Detective Geesey once so far and all I said was he sat next to Hackman every day at the prosecution table. I will come to Geesey’s testimony shortly. Again, I stand by everything I said about Hackman. This man wants to be a judge? Are you kidding me? We’ll see how his antics and lying stand up under appeal.
Actually, Phillips head screwdrivers DO come in standard sizes: 0, 1, 2, and 3. A #2 is what most people are used to seeing. #0 is tiny, #1 is small, #3 is rather large. Generally speaking, most Phillips head screwdrivers have a shaft that is about the same size as the largest dimension of the head; this is the most economical use of the metal.
Straight blade screwdrivers are a completely different issue. Some, but not all, are sized by the fraction of an inch width of the tip. The shaft can be either round or square. The wild card is the flare at the base of the tip, which is created when the metal is hammered or forged to create the tip. As a result, the flare is usually - but not always - much wider than the shaft (I've purchased straight-blade screwdrivers specifically without a flare, to get into tight places). The size or even presence of a flare above the tip of the screwdriver can vary greatly, depending on the manufacturer and/or the quality of the screwdriver.
Generally speaking, a straight-blade screwdriver makes an elongated hole (which is why most people use a Phillips to poke holes in drywall, to insert an anchor etc.). Only a specialty screwdriver, or one manufactured to very high quality standards, would make anything approximating a round hole.
Thank you for responding to my question. I don’t doubt that they could find several thousand screwdrivers and other items in Lancaster County that would fit very nicely into the hole. There will be much more on this coming later.
No one needs a wackjob who obsesses about 'beingreal' and incest attending a real trial. What would you report? That you saw beingreal in the jury? Or in the front row? Or behind the bench? Or that someone in the courtroom was getting it on with their dad?
Reese knows a joke when he sees one.
GOOD JOB, REESE, in keeping the lunatics out of the courtroom.
For those who do not regularly read my site, this is from my favorite Talkback poster and “men’s right’s” nutjob, “BeingReal,” who sent me 10 emails the following day. I see you snuck over the other night and posted a link to a piece by David Usher, “Senior Policy Analyst” for pathological liar, Terri Lynn Tersak (“Starling” formerly of Talkback). There will be much more at a later date. What a hoot! (P.S. Mr. Reese did not keep me out of the courtroom!)
DON’T DO IT DETECTIVE GEESEY! PLEASE CHECK BACK LATER TODAY…
"He hesitated for about 30 seconds before saying, 'The (expletive) got what she deserved,' " she recalled.
“Stewart lawyer: Proof is missing,” New Era, 12-12-06 (click here).
Do you know that neither paper used the word “bitch” in their articles? This is what ADA Hackman refers to as the “piece de resistance” in this case and neither paper prints the word bitch or even indicates the letter the word starts with - leaving some to assume it may have been a “worse” word.
Of course, Cindy Stauffer, wouldn’t know. She wasn’t there. She took this directly from the Intell coverage – quote and all.
This is terrible reporting and journalism. There is absolutely no excuse for this.
Please see the story immediately below regarding Renalda McClair who testified Micah Stewart said the above.
~ And Crack Addicts ~
“HE CALLED HER ‘MOMMIE’”
Everyone in this country is entitled to a defense. Micah Stewart didn’t get one. He is entitled to a new trial.
I don’t know why his defense attorney, Roger Renteria, bothered to show up in court.
It was so bad that twice Judge Georgelis had to step in. They both involved evidence. The second time was when Assistant District Attorney Hackman had a DNA expert on the stand and was not making clear where the evidence he was referring to, such as plastic, was coming from. The Judge told Hackman that with every piece of evidence he referenced to tell the court whether it was gathered from where her body was found, Stewart’s car or his apartment.
That’s how bad it was. Stewart’s defense attorney should have done it but the Judge rightfully had to step in.
Do you know that with the two rug samples that were sent for DNA testing and were not a match with Cortney Fry’s DNA – to this day we don’t know whether they came from his car or his apartment or one from each?
Do you know that we were never told whether Stewart had rugs in his apartment, especially in the back bedroom or in the doorway area to his apartment?
I stand by every comment I made about ADA Hackman’s closing. It was a sneering, sarcastic, lie-filled and ugly performance. And a prosecutor should not lie. Let me repeat that – a prosecutor should not lie.
Very early in Hackman’s closing he referred to Angelica Rivera, Stewart’s fathers live in girlfriend, and said, “She was his [Micah Stewart’s] mom. She lived with him and raised him for 12 years.”
Stewart’s mother, Cindy Adams, was sitting directly behind me in the courtroom. She said out loud in a low voice, “That’s a lie.” Yes it was. The testimony in the trial was that Stewart spent weekends at their house and more time over the summer. Stewart lived with his biological mother, Cindy Adams, who “raised” him.
Later in his closing, Hackman said of Stewart and Rivera, “He called her mommie.” This was never testified to during the trial and I think it’s doubtful and this was nothing more than a pathetic attempt to add veracity to Rivera’s extremely questionable testimony. If you recall, Hackman referred to the crack addict during the trial as a “hostile witness.”
Speaking of crack addicts, I want to return once again to the last prosecution witness and her testimony that Hackman repeatedly referred to in his closing as the “piece de Resistance” of the case – Renalda McClair.
This school bus driver testifies that she never met Cortney Fry but knows what she looks like from flyers in Columbia where she lives. She is so up on the news that she testifies that two months later she did not know Fry’s body had been found.
So she testifies she has a chance meeting with Stewart at his father’s and Rivera’s house where she testified she procured crack cocaine in the past. She testified she had had several beers prior to showing up at their house and had a beer while there.
She testifies that there’s a girl in the home who looks exactly like Fry. Now remember, this woman testified that she doesn’t know Fry’s body has been found. So does she ask Stewart, “Gee, where was she all this time? When did she come back? How did you find her?”
No, she says there’s a woman who looks exactly like Cortney in the house, she doesn’t know her body has been found and she asks Stewart, “Whatever happened to her?” Does that make sense to you?
Stewart’s defense should have chewed this woman to pieces and Renteria should have made the prosecution embarrassed they ever put this woman on the stand.
For more lies from Hackman please see the two stories immediately below on this site.
Tomorrow, another witness who never should have testified and who throws out three absurd red-herrings and the defense does nothing. And more about the screwdriver and Fry’s actual remains.
***BREAKING NEWS ***
The jury has returned with a verdict of guilty of first degree murder in the Micah Stewart homicide trial.
Please check back tomorrow for a wrap-up of the Stewart trial.
~ And Unprofessional ~
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hackman’s closing argument was deeply disturbing and unprofessional. He got up close into Micah Stewart’s face three times, taunting him, and once did the same with Stewart’s defense attorney, Roger Renteria.
His closing was done as sarcasm, saying, “Stewart wants us to believe that he was a victim of circumstance and a convergence of coincidences. Let’s humor him,” Hackman said. “He must be the most unlucky man on the face of the earth.”
Hackman then proceeded to list all of the “unlucky” events in Stewart’s life beginning with Stewart’s ever meeting and becoming involved with Cortney Fry.
Hackman came to Stewart throwing out numerous items Fry owned. Hackman said, “Stewart told us he was throwing out her old pregnancy stuff.” He opened an album with pictures of the 52 items recovered from the trash. He showed a picture of a stuffed animal, a zebra, to the jury and then looking and moving directly to Stewart he said sarcastically, “Yeah, I guess that was ‘old pregnancy stuff.’”
He talked about Stewart going to Delaware and New York. Hackman stated he did this because “He wanted to avoid the tough questions.” He looked directly at Stewart and moved within two feet of his face. “And his friend, Manny Santos – he doesn’t tell him that Cortney is gone,” he said sarcastically. He was bent down staring and smirking directly at Stewart from less than two feet away. He was taunting Stewart. It was uncomfortable and disturbing and unprofessional. Stewart stayed calm and looked directly back at him.
The third time was when Hackman discussed the “piece de resistance.” It was the woman in Columbia who said she had a chance meeting with Stewart and when she asked him about Fry testified that Stewart said, “The bitch got what she deserved.”
Once again Hackman got right up into Stewart’s face. He said the comment, “Was the best window into the defendant’s mind” and then said it was time to end the “charade.” He said the prosecution had a “mountain of evidence.” He said with great sarcasm that Roger Renteria, Stewart’s attorney, tried to “pick-axe it away” and he got up into Renteria’s face.
Several minutes before the end of his argument Judge Georgelis said, “Mr. Hackman may I see you?” He said something briefly to Hackman. Hackman looked slightly taken aback before he continued with his closing.
He came back to the Columbia woman again right at the end and quoted Renalda McClair’s testimony that Stewart told her, “The bitch got what she deserved. Micah Stewart should be convicted of first degree murder,” he concluded.
Please see McClair’s testimony below on this site. She testified she never met Cortney Fry. She said she only knew she was missing and what she looked like from flyers in Columbia. She testified she met Stewart a “couple of times.” She testified that two months after Fry’s body was found she was not aware of that fact.
She testified she bought crack cocaine at the house where she ran into Stewart - (his father’s and Angelica Rivera’s house) but not on that night. She testified she had been drinking. She described other people in the house as “dark guys.” She said there was a girl there who looked exactly like Cortney. She said the girl had long blonde hair and had a blanket wrapped around her.
She testified that this, for some reason, prompted her to ask Stewart “whatever happened to her.” To which, she testified, he responded with what Hackman referred to several times as the “piece de resistance,” of the case - “The bitch got what she deserved.”
PLEASE ALSO SEE THE ARTICLE BELOW, “OVER-THE-TOP.”
~ ADA Hackman ~
The prosecution had their desk covered with the now opened, brown evidence bags when Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hackman stood up yesterday to give his closing argument in the homicide trial of Micah Stewart about 10:30 a.m.
And first off, in his offensive, sarcastic and over-the-top closing, I want to address several issues where he lied. And there is one that is just common sense.
He said the Mercyhurst forensic anthropologist put in his report that Fry’s remains had been burned and an accelerant had been used. He said that information was never in the newspapers so when Lemuel James told detectives months later that Stewart told him he burned her using some kind of “flammable fluid,” James had to be telling the truth because there was no other way he could have known.
Common sense tells most people an accelerant was used. There were reports in the newspaper that her body was “badly burned.” You cannot burn a human body unless you have built a fire or use an accelerant. And I don’t think anyone using common sense, thinks the killer built a fire in a field in the dark and put her body on it. There were never any newspaper reports indicating wood or a fire was found with the body.
Hackman also said there was no blood evidence found in Stewart’s apartment because he was a “good cleaner.” I don’t think so. I’m not an expert on this but I don’t believe you can “clean” blood evidence out of rugs or a bathtub. And he didn’t have all that much time to “clean,” because he had several guests the day after and a girl slept over the second night after she disappeared. After that, he went to Delaware and upon his return the apartment was searched.
Hackman presented three gruesome theories on when Stewart might have allegedly stabbed her in the head with the screwdriver. One was in the apartment when he was strangling her but he stated she might have regained consciousness and that’s when he stabbed her.
The second was when Hackman alleges Stewart had the body in his car. He said he might have stabbed her then when Hackman said her body was wrapped in plastic and that, he said, “would explain why there was no blood evidence in the car.”
The third and most gruesome was in the field. Hackman said Stewart might have worried that she was still alive and might get up and run around when he set her on fire and that’s when he might have stabbed her with the screwdriver.
He picked up the poster with the picture of Fry’s skull and the hole and four additional pictures of the screwdriver inserted into the hole and told the jury "You can take this (the poster) back to the jury room with you." He said, “It sure looks like it fits." (He was referring to the screwdriver found in the trunk of Stewart’s car.) Hackman said there was no DNA on the screwdriver because, again, Stewart was a “good cleaner.” He said Stewart might have left the screwdriver in his trunk “because he never saw this coming.”
A dress of Cortney Fry’s was sent to the DNA lab in Greensboro. It was obtained from her friend, Laura Hess, and all that was ever stated was that there was a “blood stain on the inside front of the dress” during the trial. My understanding was the dress was forwarded to the lab as another “absolute” DNA match for Fry so they could compare other items to it.
In his closing, Hackman said the blood on the dress was from the night Stewart allegedly beat her on their drive to Stewart’s sister’s house in Elizabethtown. This was never stated or mentioned or alluded to during the trial.
Hackman said one of the pieces of melted plastic from where the body was found was analyzed as black and gray plastic. He said that was the same as the “black plastic sheet” found in Stewart’s trunk. That is a lie. The sheet in his trunk was always described as black and there was never a mention of it being “gray” or having any gray characteristics at all.
Hackman gets up into Stewart’s face is coming later today along with his “piece de resistance.”
OF MICAH STEWART
I want to commend the Sheriff’s deputy who questioned my credentials. I am serious. He was always polite and has a very difficult job. He had no idea initially who I was.
There were many days during the trial that there were too many observers to fit in the two benches in the courtroom His first priority was always family members (from both sides) and the press. And please understand that in Lancaster “the press” usually means only one person, or actually two, until the New Era reporter has to leave about 10:15 a.m. to meet their deadline and opens up a seat.
The Judge in this case and the deputies ran an excellent trial. It was on time, orderly and the Judge and the deputies were alert and attentive and respectful to all.
Please check back later today for the closing arguments by the attorneys as we await the jury’s verdict.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hackman got in Micah Stewart’s face three times today during his closing argument. I mean got in his face. He was taunting and sarcastic and seemed to be trying to provoke Stewart to jump out of his chair. Stewart remained calm. It was disturbing and unprofessional to say the least. Please check back tomorrow.
Renteria steps up and Hackman steps over the line. The Judge is now advising the jury on their deliberations and choices in the Micah Stewart homicide trial. The jury has a choice between first degree murder (premeditated) and third degree murder (willful, wanton disregard for life) and not guilty. Please check back tomorrow for a recap of the attorney's closing statements unless the verdict is handed down today.
It was an overflowing courtroom this morning and TV-21's truck just pulled up.
WHERE WAS THE DEFENSE?
Whoever killed Cortney Fry, it was no accident. The blow or blows that broke the bones on both sides of her nose and chipped her teeth and cracked her jaw must have caused bleeding, I assume. We don't know. The question was never asked.
I am still in shock this morning. I was expecting a defense. I thought we would learn something about the cocaine in
Fry's system when she gave birth. I thought we would learn about Stewart's where abouts the night the prosecution alleges Fry was killed. Nothing. I am in shock.
I thought witnesses were not being grilled by Roger Renteria, Stewart's attorney, because he had a defense. I was dead wrong.
To show you how bad the prosecution and the defense were in this case, I will take you to the prosecution's last witness, Renalda McClair. Her testimony came right after lunch yesterday and then the Commonwealth rested.
Ms. McClair said she lives in Columbia and knew Fry was missing because she saw flyers in July of 2004. She testified about a chance meeting she had with Micah Stewart on March 4, 2005.
Ms. McClair testified she was not aware that Fry's remains had been found two months previously.
Under examination by Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hackman, she testified she and a friend went to Angelica Rivera and Dave Stewart's (Micah's father) house at 415 Locust Street in Columbia that March night with a friend to see if "Angie" wanted to go to a bar with them.
"Was Micah Stewart there?" Hackman asked. "Yes," she said. “He was in the kitchen." "Was he there with someone else?" Hackman asked. "There were a couple of dark guys and some girls."
McClair testified that there was a girl there who looked exactly like Cortney Fry. When she encountered Stewart on her way to the bathroom she testified that she asked him what had happened to Fry. "The bitch got what she deserved," she testified Stewart replied after a short pause.
Under cross examination by Renteria she said she met Stewart a "couple times." "Did you know Angelica well?" Renteria asked. "No," she said. "I got to know her." "Did you ever procure drugs at 415 Locust Street?" Renteria asked. "Yes," she testified. "What kind?" "Crack cocaine," she answered. Did you buy crack cocaine that night?" Renteria asked. "No. I don't believe we did. I'm a school bus driver. I can't do that except for the summer."
"Had you been drinking that night?" Renteria asked. "Yes. We had a few beers before we arrived."
Did you have a beer while you were there?" Renteria asked. “Yes," she testified. "Are you sure you were talking to Mr. Stewart?" Renteria asked. "Yes," McClair testified. "You only met him a few times?" Renteria asked. "He was there," she said.
Can you imagine the prosecution even putting this witness on and Renteria not eating her alive? Can you imagine? That's how bad it all was.
Closing arguments are this morning at 9:00 a.m. Five and one-half days of prosecution testimony and less than one hour of defense.
I misspelled the first witness from yesterday. It should be Josh Rittenhouse, not Joss. I apologize.
I also apologize for this layout and look. The computer I'm using does not have the word program I need (or a spell check!) I will clean it up over the next few days.
They put up a huge Christmas Tree in the entrance to the courthouse yesterday. Very pretty. Is it Christmas time? Why didn't someone tell me?
Do you know that Zimmermans Restaurant at 66 N. Queen Street opens at 6:00 a.m.? You can get two eggs, hash browns, toast and endless coffee for $2.97! Yes, I'm on a caffeine high!
Several interesting emails in. They will come at noon. Please check back then.
***BREAKING NEWS ***
Monday, December 11, 2006, 3:15:11 PM
The defense in Micah Stewart's homicide trial for the murder of Cortney Fry called the following five witnesses today before resting at 2:30 p.m. after less than an hour of total testimony.
1. JOSS RITTENHOUSE - He testified he is a teacher's assistant at Donegal High School. He testified Cortney Fry was in a school suspension he was supervising in the Spring of 2003 and she said to the room something to the effect of "I'm going to pack up and move to New York."
2. DIANE TYSON - She testified she was the Program Director for the Lancaster County Academy where both Fry and Stewart attended. She testified she knew both of them and said Fry's home life with her parents seemed "strained" and Fry moved around a lot.
3. JESSICA KUHNS - She testified she was an employee of Musser Markets in Columbia from 2001 to the present. She knew Cortney when she worked their while Fry was pregnant. She testified Fry quit before the baby was born. She testified she "didn't know Cortney outside of work." The night of July 20, 2006, the night Fry "disappeared" she testified Fry and Stewart came in without the baby. She said she had never seen the baby and asked about her. They said the baby was with Stewart's mother but they returned with the baby in about half an hour.
She testified she saw no signs of physical abuse on Cortney.
4. JACKIE BENNETT - She testified she was also employed at Musser's when Cortney worked there. She testified she never saw any signs of physical abuse on Cortney. She also testified about the above night Fry "disappeared" and seeing the baby. She said Fry looked "tired," and added, "She just had a baby. I'd be tired, too."
5. SOPHIA TRAN - She testified she was a good fried of Fry's while both attended Donegal High School. She testified about Fry's prior relationship with David Sabato. On cross examination by Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hackman, Tran testified the last time she saw Fry was before the baby was born. Hackman asked, "So you didn't know anything about their relationship after the baby was born?" "No," she responded.
Closing arguments are scheduled for 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.
THE DEFENSE RESTS
"The defense rests," Roger Renteria, Micah Stewart's defense attorney said after less than an
hour and after calling only five witnesses today at 2:30 p.m. Please check back later...
Amazing. Simply amazing. Can anyone out there tell me if screwdrivers come in "standardized" sizes?
This morning, Dr. Gautham Ray, a Professor of Engineering at Penn State Harrisburg took the witness stand. He testified that he specializes in mechanical and bio-mechanical engineering. He explained that bio-mechanical means that he studies how much force is necessary to fracture bones and other areas of the human body.
Last November he was asked by Detective Geesey to look at and offer an opinion on what kind of force and what kind of instrument might have made the hole in Coutney Fry's skull.
In November of 2005 he issued his first report and testfied he had these three conclusions:
1. It was a blunt object or an object with a blunt end that was forced into her skull.
2. It had to be harder than bone - such as steel.
3. the dimension had to be slighter samller than the 1/4 inch wound.
In that report he also said in parenthesis, "such as a Phillip's head screwdriver" under item 3.
This November - that's right - three weeks ago the prosection contacted him again and he came to the Lancaster Courthouse and put the flathead screwdriver found in Stewart's trunk into the hole in her skull. He testified, "I was suprised at how well it fit. It was snug. It fit in the hole and the corners." They took four pictures of the screwdriver in the hole.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hackman asked him, "Is that the object that caused the hole?"
Dr. Ray made it very clear to Hackman in his answer that it was a "potential candidate as the object." He said a screwdriver of this size was a strong potential candidate..
What a hoot! Can someone please tell me if screwdrivers come in "standardized sizes?"
Stewart had eight days to toss the screwdriver. Why didn't he?
This morning, Officer Curtis Oakes of the Lancaster County Forensic Unit also testified. He was the officer who did the search of Stewart's trunk and found the screwdriver. Roger Renteria, Stewart's defense attorney, asked him on cross examination what else was in the trunk. "A suitcase, numerous baseball hats, towels, a stuffed bear, a bottle of vodka, a blanket, two pillows, a pair of sneakers, a Walmart bag with women's clothing in it and sand," he testified.
Apparently the prosecution has one more witness and then it will switch to the defense.
I found my nice, homemade, yellow laminated press pass and proudly wore it on my shirt. The sheriff's deputy said this morning, "That looks homemade!" I told him it was. He said he was used to fancy passes. He said he'd have to check with his superiors. So far - so good!
~ And Partiality ~
THE TRIAL OF
Some Sunday notes before the trial resumes tomorrow:
~ The jury is made up of six men and six women. All are white except for one woman who might be ethnic or of mixed ethnicity. There are four alternate jury members. Three are men and one woman. They are all white. One male jury member falls asleep almost every afternoon. One female jury member watches Micah Stewart very carefully.
The Judge has told the jury they may eat lunch were ever they choose and apparently they have eaten in the courthouse lunch room at least once this week. The Judge on Thursday firmly told the gallery (the spectators and reporters) that they are not to have any contact with the jury members if they see them outside of the courtroom. All of the jury members (except for the napper) listen intently to the witnesses and pay very close attention to everything going on. (There are two male jury members I can not see from where I have been sitting.)
~ Michael Stewart has worn the same gray suit and blue stripped tie every day of the trial. He appears to have put on twenty or thirty pounds since the preliminary hearing over a year ago. He watches every witness intently. He does not take notes. He occasionally talks to members of his defense team. I sit behind him so I rarely get to see his full facial expressions. He is brought into the courtroom in handcuffs every time before the jury enters the courtroom and the handcuffs are removed. Two sheriff’s deputies sit behind him at all times.
~ The New Era reporter (this week it has been Cindy Stauffer four days and Chad Umble one day) have to leave the courtroom by about 10:15 a.m. to make deadline. So they write up the little that occurs while they are there and then repeat almost word for word the Intell coverage from the previous day. The New Era reporter or any replacements do not return for any of the afternoon session. So almost everything you read is from the Intell and their reporter for every day of the trial so far has been Brett Lovelace (see the story below titled, “Disgraceful”).
~ I received this email on Friday:
"The grass he is referring to is probably: Panicum grass
There's a good link here: http://www.bluestem.ca/panicum-virg.htm
Good reporting on the case so far. I am checking the website for the reports. Sounds like you are a little partial in the case, though.
Seems strange there would be a screwdriver in the trunk with no prints? Looks like they're building a strong case against him with the cheating, hooking up with women right after she left, sleeping with a 15 year old (stat. rape = more years to add)."
Thank you for writing. If you go to the site mentioned you will see that the grass is very tall. Interesting. There was absolutely no mention of how tall panicum grass is in the courtroom. I obviously do not know if all varieties of panicum grass are this tall (if unmowed obviously).
~ I am not “partial.” I am trying to report what is actually occurring. The newspapers keep referring to the black plastic in Stewart’s trunk as a “tarpaulin.” I do not believe that word has ever been used in the courtroom. The expert who testified referred to it as a “sheet of black plastic.” The expert said there was a fingerprint of Stewart’s on it and a palm print of his. Does this surprise anyone? One other note regarding this plastic. Several melted plastic pieces found with the body of Cortney Fry were analyzed by the State Police lab. One expert testified the material in one of the specimens was a combination of black and gray plastics.
PLEASE CHECK BACK TOMORROW AFTERNOON.
~ Saturday ~
Cortney Fry was punched in the face several times, strangled and then killed when a flathead screwdriver penetrated her skull, forensic investigators said Friday.
Brett Lovelace, “Expert describes vicious attack on Fry,” today’s Intell (click here).
This opening sentence is a lie. It is very simply a horrendous lie. Neither expert ever said a flathead screwdriver was used. Never. They said the hole in her skull could not be a bullet wound. They speculated on the type of object that might make such a hole. But let me repeat this – neither expert ever, ever said it was a “flathead screwdriver.”
Lovelace even says this further below in the article:
“It’s a definite that an object was used to penetrate the skull,” Ross said. “I believe it was a long, fixed object with a long, fixed end.”
“An object.” How does Lovelace go from that to stating it was a flathead screwdriver? This is disgraceful. Do you have a screwdriver in your car? Do you have any black trash bags in your car or trunk?
I had both at one time and still have large plastic trash bags in my trunk. I at one time had a screwdriver in my glove compartment and I can’t honestly remember why I put it there but it was there for several months. Does this mean I killed someone?
The Lancaster Newspaper’s coverage of this trial and their headlines are an outrage and do not reflect what is actually happening in the courtroom.
I am going to come back extensively to that on Monday along with the Millersville bug expert – but I have something more important today.
I have been telling you and having fun with my several run-ins with the Sheriff’s deputy and his desire to see my “press pass.” Friday after lunch, at approximately 2:45 p.m., I was called out of the trial. A Chief Reese told me that I have to provide “credentials.” I told him I have a website. I told him I know for a fact at least one member of the prosecuting team reads my site by comments he has made to me.
He didn’t care. He told me on Monday I would need credentials. He “allowed” me to go back into the courtroom on Friday but said I was not allowed to take notes.
Listen up, Chief Reese, before you get a major lawsuit. There is something called “freedom of the press” in this country. You can sit in your office and pull up my site on your computer any time you want. It’s a new day and age in Lancaster and you will see more than just Lancaster Newspaper and WGAL reporters. Get used to it.
I will bring my nice yellow, laminated press pass on Monday if I can find it. If I can’t, I will write my name and my news organization on a slip of paper and clip it to my shirt. And if that isn’t good enough for you, Chief Reese, prepare to be in a courtroom yourself.
During the Friday afternoon break, I spotted Ron Harper, Jr. in the hallway (probably trolling to see if I was really there)! We had a pleasant conversation and I vented to him and he agreed and said to call my lawyer.
Of course I made my nice, yellow laminated press pass. Who’s going to make it for me? Who do you think makes the Lancaster Newspaper reporter’s fancy press passes? The Lancaster Newspapers, that’s who. I suggest you check with some higher-ups, Chief Reese, because you just plain and simple can’t win this one and the fact that you made this attempt is a disgrace.
NOT ANOTHER MILLERSVILLE PROFESSOR? THIS TIME IT’S A BUG EXPERT AND WE GET A LESSON IN THE “BLACK SOLDIER FLY.” (HE'S NUTTIER THAN THE FIRST ONE!) AND THEY REFUSE TO LET ME TAKE NOTES IN THE COURTROOM! (WHERE’S MY LAWYER?) PLEASE CHECK BACK LATER TODAY. OH, AND I SEE RON HARPER, JR IN PERSON! WOW!
The prosecution has one blood match in the murder trial of Micah Stewart for the murder of Cortney Fry. Frank Kist, a DNA profiler for the PA State Police DNA Lab in Greensboro, testified this morning that the blood found on two fingers of a latex glove was Cortney Fry's. The glove was found in between the cushions of the driver's seat of Stewart's car.
Tfhe blood matched a PAP Smear of Fry's taken during her pre-natal care and three of her ribs that were also tested at the lab. The screwdriver found in the trunk did not contain any DNA, Kist testified.
On cross examination by Stewart's defense attorney, Roger Renteria, we learned two other items were sent to the lab that Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hackman had failed to mention. Kist mentioned two rug samples and when Renteria questioned him about them, Hackman objected and requested they approach the bench. There was a very long sidebar with the judge lasting possibly five minutes. When it was over, Hackman withdrew his objection and the Judge told Renteria to restate his question. The origin of the rug pieces was never identified, but it would seem they were from Stewart's apartment as one was referred to several times as "the tag end of a rug."
Kist testified that the tag end did not contain DNA. Apparently the other piece of rug did and Kist testified he got a profile but it was not listed as matching Fry's. It would seem Hackman wanted to keep the jury from hearing about the non-matches with the rug. Again, the prosecution only has one piece of "evidence" with Cortney's blood on it - the two latex glove fingertips.
Dr. Wayne Ross, the forensic pathologist for Lancaster County began his testimony this morning. He said the autopsy on Fry's bones revealed a number of traumas shortly before she was killed. The bones on both sides of her nose were broken and he testified that was the result of a blunt trauma. There was a hole in her skull above the left ear. He said her first four botton teeth were chipped and cracked and it indicated a forceful impact to the area. He said there was also upper jaw damage and some of those teeth had their enamel chipped, also indicating a forceful impact.
Seven of her ribs were cracked. Six on her left side and one on the right side. Also both of her femur bones (leg bones) had fractures. Renteria will continue his cross examination of Ross this afternoon.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
On a lighter note, over the morning break I ran into Bennett J. Vonderheide on the first floor of the courthouse. Honest. I recognized him and went up and introduced myself. He had a video camera and began to take footage of me. He said, "You're not as ugly as I was told." He followed me to the elevators and twice asked, "Has your publication decided to stop supporting Wendy Flanders?" I said, "No comment." What a hoot! Ben, are you going to put me in your movie now? Yahoo. I'm a movie star! (Vonderheide is involved in the nasty custody fight being "featured" on Ron Harper, Jr.'s website.)
PLEASE CHECK BACK TOMORROW.
"I could look for it now (panic grass from the "tape lift" of the driver's side of Micah Stewart's car). If I open it up I can look now," Dr. Christopher Hardy, a Millersville University Botanist testified. "Why don't you do that right now?" asked Roger Renteria, Stewart's defense attorney.
Hardy was sitting behind 15 brown bags lined up in front of him. They were the vacuumings and tape lifts from the five quadrants of Stewart's car. He had already testified no honeysuckle was found on the driver's side. He described each bag with a plastic cylinder of the collections as being about a tablespoon of material. He found a bag from the driver's side, opened it and emptied the contents on a piece of paper.
It was indeed a moment. The whole courtroom watched as he sifted through it. After about three minutes he said, "I'm approximately 80 percent done. I've done the loose materials. Okay, there's material imbedded in the hair and fibers. Let's see what's there." We waited. After another minute Hardy said, "I've been through all the material. There a 2 millimeter long potential floweret - it's looking like a gloom. I would need magnification to verify it is panic grass."
That was that. He poured the material back into the cylinder. He said, "There are small soil samples on the paper I can't get off." The Judge checked with Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hackman and the Judge told Hardy he had permission to discard the paper.
After four days of testimony and over 40 witnesses this is what we have for physical evidence against Stewart for the murder of Cortney Fry:
~ A sheet of black plastic from the trunk of Stewart's car with his finger print and one palm print of his on it. An expert testified that it is a very common form of plastic.
~ A screwdriver found in the trunk of Stewart's car. An expert testified there were no finger prints on it and there were no trace elements on it.
~ Two fingers of a latex glove found between the cushions of the driver's side seat of his car. An on-site test determined there was blood on the fingertips. It was a preliminary test that does not even distinguish between animal and human blood. We have not heard about any further testing on the blood - although I assume it's coming.
That's it. That's all they have presented so far. We learned yesterday from an expert that we will never know the accelerant used to burn her body.
Today it's expected than a forensic anthropologist from Mercy Hurst will testify.
Several vital questions remain. Who is "JJ?" Hackman made a reference to JJ during his examination of Angelica Rivera. And who is Dr. Ray? He apparently determined that the screwdriver caused the small hole in Fry's skull.
PLEASE CHECK BACK LATER TODAY...
WOW! The botanist sifts through a tablespoon of evidence looking for honeysuckle fragments or panic (possibly panicum) grass while the courtroom watches! Does the drama get any better than this?
PLEASE CHECK BACK TOMORROW!
I have to switch up today because just before lunch we got an amazing lesson in botany in the Micah Stewart trial. This morning we learned about the searches done on Micah Stewart's car and apartment from Corporal Eric Schmidt of the Ephrata Police Department. He testified that he supervises the county's forensic team.
. He said they found no blood or bodily fluids in the car. However, they did find two fingers of a latex glove (a box of Rite Aide latex gloves was also found in Stewart's apartment) that had a substance on it that tested positive for blood. This was a preliminary onsite test and it does not indicate whether the blood is human or animal. The glove was found on a final look through when Schmidt pulled the driver's seat cushions apart. A screwdriver and a black sheet of plastic were found in the trunk. Schmidt testified that he "did not notice any unusual substance on the screwdriver."
We also learned that the car was vacuumed and after that a "tape lift" is done as well. They had 15 brown bags of items that were collected. Schmidt also testified on Renteria's cross examination that no blood was found in Stewart's apartment including the bathtub and back bedroom.
The prosecution then called Dr. Christopher Hardy to the stand. He is a Biology professor at Millersville specializing in Botany. The Judge accepted him as an expert in the field of Botany. Hardy testified he was asked by police to examine specimens of plant materials from the car and from the scene where Fry's remains were found. Well, we learned more than you can image about panic grass, honeysuckle and the common blackberry. These, Hardy said, are the primary plants where Fry's remains were found. He said panic grass grows in disturbed areas and has two unequal sized leaves called "glooms." He also said the grass is distinctive because it only has one flower or "floweret." Hardy found panic grass in some of the items vacuumed and lifted from Stewart's car. He also found two stems of honeysuckle in the evidence from the car. We received a lesson on the 14 species of Honeysuckle that grow in Pennsylvania paying particular attention to three. He could not distinguish between the three but they have a common feature which is a hollow pith or stem. He said if the samples had leaves he could distinguish but that Japanese honeysuckle, which was the predominant growth where Fry's body was found, has the hollow pith.
After lunch, it is defense attorney Roger Renteria's turn to cross examine Hardy. I simply cannot imagine. This seems like a huge stretch and I don't care how much of an expert Hardy is. I saw several jurors with looks of disbelief on their faces and even thought I caught Judge Georgelis looking skeptical. Hardy did say that panic grass grows in disturbed areas and would not likely be found in the City of Columbia. I assume our botany lesson will continue this afternoon.
A regular attendee of the trial caught me in the hall this morning. She said she had been to my website. I apologized for the appearance and carried on. She said, "I don't think you should talk about people's clothes on there. Is that what you're writing down when you're in there? I don't know why they allow you in the courtroom." Panic! I hope the sheriff doesn't read this! I want to give people a feel for who is in the courtroom and the atmosphere and the climate. So, I will advise her to stay away from my site and shortly I will tell you about Micah Stewart's demeanor and his clothing and some other courtroom facts and fun.
"I consider him my brother," Lemuel James said on the witness stand yesterday in response to a question posed by Roger Renteria, Micah Stewart's defense attorney. He said his mother, Angelica Rivera, never married Stewart's father, David Stewart, but they grew up together in Columbia. He testified he grew up with his mom, Dave Stewart, his brother, Lionel James and his sister, Leslie James.
Renteria asked him how his family life had been. "Dysfunctional," James responded. "Did your mom take drugs?" Renteria asked. "Yes," said James. "What kind?" Renteria asked. James hesitated and cried. ""She smoked crack cocaine." James said,”She did more as we got older." "Does your mother still do drugs?" Renteria asked. James cried again. "I think so," he said.
When previously questioned by Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hackman, James said Stewart told him on July 28, 2004 he killed Cortney Fry. "How?" Hackman asked. "He choked her. They were arguing. She died. He choked her. He was on top of her and she was on the floor. He choked her and she died. He said he took her to a field or woods. He said he burned her."
"How did he burn her?" Hackman asked. "With some type of liquid - some flammable liquid. I can't recall what he said. I'm assuming it was gasoline he poured, or something, on her and burned her."
Angelica Rivera testified after her son. She said she'd know Micah Stewart since he was six years old. "Was he raised in your household?" Hackman asked. "He came every weekend just about," she said. "And in the summer he was there a lot," she said referring to the house at 415 Locust Street in Columbia where she lived with her three children and Stewart's father. She said she considers Micah to be her son.
"Did you ever have a conversation with Micah after you brought him back from New York?" Hackman asked. "A little something," Rivera answered. "Not a conversation." "What was the first little thing?" Hackman asked. "He said, 'I did it.' He was crying because he missed her."
"How long after the New York trip?" Hackman asked. "A couple of days, I guess." "Where did this take place?" Hackman asked. "At 415 Locust Street." "How did the subject come up?" Hackman asked. "He was crying. I comforted him - I believe he said 'I did it,'" Rivera said. "Did you follow up on that?" Hackman asked. "No," Rivera responded.
"Another time did the subject come up?" Hackman asked. "Yes." "How much time lapsed between the first and second time?" Hackman asked. "I don't know. A day, two or three. I don't know," Rivera said. "How did it come up?" Hackman asked. "I can't remember right now," Rivera said. "What did he say to you?" Hackman asked. "Can I take a break? I feel like I have to take a break," Rivera said crying.
The Judge told her to have another drink of water. She cried. Hackman resumed after a brief pause. "Did Micah Stewart tell you how he killed Cortney Fry?" "No," Rivera answered, "He did not. Whatever happened was an accident. He said he hit her by accident." "How did he hit her?" Hackman asked. "He backslapped her face. It was an accident," Rivera responded.
"Why did he backslap her?" Hackman asked. "She was upset. They were arguing." "Was she upset about the paternity test?" Hackman asked. "Yes. He said he backslapped her and grabbed her and pulled her into the bedroom." "How did he get her to the bedroom?" Hackman asked. "He said he picked her up." "How?" "From behind." Rivera said. "What did he do?" Hackman asked. "I don't know," Rivera said. "He backslapped her. That's it."
"Did he tell you she died?" Hackman asked. "No," said Rivera. "He didn't?" Hackman asked. "No," Rivera said. There was a long pause. Hackman asked, "Did he tell you what he did with the body?" "I can't remember." "Did he tell you what he did with the body?" Hackman asked again. "I can't remember." "You don't want to remember," Hackman said. "You know what he told you. Are you going to tell the truth here today?" "He backslapped her and took her up and took her to the bedroom. That's all. I need a break. I cannot think right," Rivera said.
THE FIREWORKS ARE ABOUT TO COME. PLEASE CHECK BACK LATER TODAY.
Wow! Fireworks in the courtroom! Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hackman yells at Angelica Rivera!
Please check back tomorrow!
Micah Stewart had sex with 15-year-old Rosalind McAlear two days after Cortney Fry disappeared, McAlear testified this morning. A very calm and collected, now 18 year-old, said they had sex the night of July 22, 2004, the same night Columbia Police came to his apartment earlier looking for a missing Cortney Fry.
Stewart's friend, Manny Santos, also testified this morning that Stewart called him very early on the morning of July 24, 2004 and told him he was going to Delaware to meet up with some girls he knew. Santos asked Stewart to come and get him so he could go but Stewart said he was already half-way there and didn't want to turn around and come back for him.
Sgt. Jack Brommer of the Columbia Police also testified. He interviewed Stewart at the Columbia Police Department on July 23, 2004 regarding an investigation into a missing person - Cortney Fry. He testified Stewart came in of his own free will after being asked by the police at his apartment the night before to do so. He interviewed Stewart for 20 minutes and termed him "cooperative." He said Stewart said Cortney had depression and took Zoloft for it. He said Stewart said that he left Cortney and the baby at the apartment at 7:00 p.m. on the evening of the 20th and Stewart went to see his father, David Stewart. He said Lemuel James was also at his father's house. Sgt. Brommer testified that Stewart told him that when he returned to their apartment about 8:00 p.m. that night, the baby was in her room but Cortney was missing.
PLEASE CHECK BACK TOMORROW AND I APOLOGIZE FOR THE FORMAT.
Twenty witnesses in one day. It was a long and boring day in the Micah Stewart trial. Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hackman's desk, where he sits with lead Lancaster County Detective Joseph Geesey, is filled with brown evidence bags. We've only seen three opened. One contained a sundress of Fry's. It was a reminder of how tiny this 4'11" woman was. Two manila envelopes, each containing one of her rings have also been opened. I assume one of the bas contains the screwdriver Hackman says Stewart used to stab Fry and which he says was found in the trunk of Stewart's white Dodge Aries K. I assume some of the bags must contain "blood" items. We will see.
This trial is going to come down to what is in those bags and Lemuel James' and Angelica Rivera's testimony. Hackman, in his opening statement said, "Stewart poured gasoline or something like it - some flammable liquid - on her body and burned it." Apparently the prosecution still does not know exactly what "fluid" was used.
Stewart is either the coldest-blooded killer ever or something else is going on. He and Cortney had a very busy day on July 20, 2004, the day the prosecution alleges Fry was killed. They traveled to Dallastown for a DNA test in the late morning. Cortney talks on the phone to several friends and also her mother apparently very close to the time she was killed (the prosecution says between 8 and 9 p.m.) and Fry's father pays a very brief visit just as Fry and Stewart are about to leave their apartment. July 21 and 22 were also very busy for Stewart and the prosecution alleges he was already seeing another very young girl. Stewart then goes to Delaware on the 23 staying until the 27th when his mother calls him to return.
July 27th is also the day the police find 52 pieces of Fry's clothing and belongings in a dumpster including a "zebra" pillow and stuffed animal. Numerous witnesses have testified that Fry loved zebra prints.
Fry's mother, Holly, played to the jury. She looked at them at least half the time she was testifying. She testified that Cortney ran away at age 15 and they had troubles. Holly Fry did not like Fry's prior boyfriend who she described as "Spanish." She testified that she told Cortney she should date within her own race.
The most "entertaining" witness of the day was Deborah Morgan, a hairdresser for 37 years. She did Cortney's hair for the first time ever on July 16 when Fry's two friends took her for a haircut to cheer her up. Morgan said "Merry Christmas" to defense attorney Roger Renteria. She testified that she found four "weeping wounds" on Cortney's scalp where the hair had been pulled out. She also testified that Fry had a "hematoma bruise" on the right side of her breast and a bruise on her shoulder she saw after Cortney removed her sweater. She testified that Cortney was "very depressed." Renteria, on cross examination, asked the location of the wounds on her scalp. Morgan said one was just below the "obcivical bone" and she told Renteria to feel the bump the bone makes on his own scalp. Renteria felt the back of his neck and said, "I'm feeling it."
Please check back later today.
Wow! Four policemen testify about the incident in Elizabethtown in Micah Stewart's murder trial. Several state Cortney Fry had "no visible signs of physical abuse."
A hairdresser who is also apparently also a doctor and psychiatrist testifies. A nurse at the DNA clinic Fry, Stewart and the baby went to on the morning Fry "disappears" testifies that Fry was furious, throwing the "f" word around and was being "very abusive" to Stewart. She said Fry said when she got home she was going to pack up some items and leave him. She describes Stewart as "polite, kind, calm and gentle."
Fry's half-sister testifies and race enters the picture. She testified that her mother "didn't approve of interracial dating."
Please check back tomorrow for details. P.S. I'm still in the front row but holding my breath! The Sheriff and I have another talk!
Neither of Cortney Fry's two best friends saw any signs of physical abuse until July 12th - eight days before she was killed. Neither of these two friends ever saw her do cocaine although it was found in her system when her baby was born. Both admitted to smoking pot with Cortney several times while she was pregnant.
How did Stewart afford a new apartment and a car? His attorney, Roger Renteria, said Stewart was dealing drugs but did not identify what kind in his opening statement.
Six witnesses testified yesterday. Stewart's sister. Aliicia was the final witness and Renteria will cross examine her this morning. She testified about one event just days before Cortney died when she and Stewart drove to her house in Elizabethtown. Stewart was in a jealous rage and threatened Cortney and his sister. Alicia called the police. Even though the two friends testified that Stewart beat Fry during the entire ride to Elizabethtown, Alicia testified the police did not arrest Stewart because there were no signs of physical abuse on Cortney.
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
Worst Dressed award goes to Laura Ann Hess, one of the two friends of Cortney mentioned above who wore a very short, very, very tight black skirt and knee high boots. It wasn't pretty.
Stupid Jerk award goes to Louis Riley, Cortney's supervisor at the telemarketing firm of Home Team, Inc., who testified he asked Cortney out even though she was very far along in her pregnancy. He testified that she turned him down saying she had a boyfriend. Renteria lit into Riley, asking if it was appropriate for him to ask an employee out. At the end of Renteria's cross he asked Riley if he had been arrested and convicted of retail theft in 1999. Riley said he had.
Lancaster is not expecting a flood, Mr. Renteria. Please have your pants tailored so they come down over your ankles. And the slicked back hair - bad move. A pony tail is fine, but lose the grease.
I forgot my homemade, laminated, yellow press pass. The sheriff's deputy questioned me and when I said I had a website he said I was not "real" press. He asked if I knew Ron Harper, Jr... The three people sitting in the courtroom after lunch laughed loudly (do they read my site?) and I told him I did indeed know Harper. He told me he doesn't let Harper sit in the front row! Wow! The things you learn. Will I get the front row again today?
Please check back later today.
The trial of Micah Stewart heats up with a spurned proposal!
Please check back tomorrow...
~ Cortney Fry ~
“July 2004 should have been the happiest month of Cortney Fry’s life,” Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hackman said in his opening statement in the murder trial of Micah Stewart this morning.
Instead, she was beaten, strangled and stabbed with a screwdriver in the head, he told the jury.
Stewart’s attorney, Roger Renteria said in his opening statement, “Micah Stewart is not guilty of the crime that the Commonwealth has charged him with.” The defense strategy at this point appears to be that Cortney left Stewart and the baby of her own free will.
The Commonwealth stated they will call 50 witnesses to the stand. Hackman also stated that Cortney’s body had a “severely beaten face, teeth knocked out, rib fractures - the kind caused by a heavy weight - and a hole in her head above the ear.”
The jury also learned that Fry and Stewart’s baby tested positive for drugs and that Children & Youth Services were involved in home visits to assess the situation.