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Witnesses picked for Westerfield penalty phase ( SBR penalty Watch).
San Diego Union-Tribune ^ | 2002-08-27 | Alex Roth , UT Staff

Posted on 08/27/2002 8:55:29 PM PDT by dread78645

The judge in the David Westerfield case said yesterday that he has decided which prosecution witnesses will be allowed to testify at the penalty phas e of the murder trial, but he refused to be specific.

Superior Court Judge William Mudd made his announcement following a closed-door hearing with the lawyers. He didn't identify the witnesses or the nature of their testimony. He simply said some prosecution witnesses "will testify, others will not".

Westerfield was convicted last week of kidnapping and killing 7-year-old Danielle van Dam. She was discovered missing from her bedroom Feb. 2; her body was found more than three weeks later in a brushy area off Dehesa Road in East County.

Tomorrow, the jury will begin hearing evidence on whether the 50-year-old Sabre Springs design engineer deserves the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

Westerfield's lawyers objected to some, if not all, of the prosecution's witnesses. They also opposed airing a videotape of Danielle, which the judge will allow.

Westerfield's lawyers raised constitutional challenges to the death penalty. The judge said he will consider those arguments at a hearing today when he also is scheduled to decide whether to disallow still photography during the remainder of the trial.

The issue arose after a Union-Tribune photographer took a picture of Danielle's parents in the courtroom gallery as the jury returned its guilty verdicts.

The judge said photographer Dan Trevan violated a court rule that prohibits photographing spectators. The newspaper says the van Dams weren't spectators but witnesses who testified during the trial and who have been photographed frequently inside and outside court.

Following path of other parents, mother of Danielle van Dam creating foundation

SAN DIEGO --Following the path of other parents of murdered children, the mother of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam is creating a foundation to promote child safety and preserve the memory of her daughter.

Brenda van Dam hopes to have the foundation running by Sept. 22, which would have been Danielle's eighth birthday.

"With all the other missing children, we felt there's got to be something we can do," said Susan Wintersteen, a van Dam family friend who is helping to organize the effort.

Danielle's parents are prohibited by a gag order from speaking to the news media about any issue related to their daughter until after the sentencing of David Westerfield.

A jury on Aug. 21 convicted Westerfield of kidnapping Danielle from her bedroom and killing her in February. The penalty phase of the trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday.

Brenda van Dam and five friends met over the weekend at Wintersteen's home, not far from where the girl was kidnapped, to work on the details of what is to become the Danielle Legacy Foundation.

Modeling their group on Mothers Against Drunk Driving, they plan to use the network of volunteers who helped in the search for Danielle to promote child safety and promote programs like the nationwide Amber Alert system, Wintersteen said.

The system, named in honor of Amber Hagerman, a Texas girl killed in 1996, is a way of quickly disseminating information about a missing child through news media and other outlets. It's used in more than a dozen states.

The San Diego effort follows other advocacy and safety groups born out of tragedy. They include the Laura Recovery Center, named for Laura Kate Smith, murdered in Friendswood, Texas, in 1997. The group fields volunteer searchers in child kidnapping cases.

Laura Recovery coordinated thousands of searchers after Danielle was reported missing Feb. 2. One of the volunteers found her body along a rural road nearly a month after the abduction.

Marc Klaas created the Klaaskids Foundation, after his daughter, Polly, was kidnapped and murdered in Northern California in 1993. Another group is named for Carole Sund, who was killed with her daughter, Juli, and the girl's friend Silvina Pelosso while they were visiting Yosemite National Park in 1999.

"A lot of families tend to start an organization in their loved ones memory, so there are a lot of them out there," said Kim Petersen of the Carole Sund Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation, based in Modesto. "It can be very healing."

It can also be very difficult. Foundations trying to raise donations often find themselves competing with similar efforts or overshadowed by larger o rganizations, said Klaas, who lobbies, speaks on child safety and helps other groups.

Still, "There's always room for innovation, for fresh new ideas," Klaas said.

Wintersteen, whose daughter was in school and Brownies with Danielle, said one of the group's first efforts will be to distribute identification kits that parents can use to set aside their child's fingerprints, DNA and a recent photo.

Investigators had to scramble to collect such identifiers when Danielle disappeared in February.

"We still feel there is change that needs to be done," Wintersteen said.

Mudd rules some prosecution witnesses will be allowed to testify, and that the music video produced of the victim will be shown to jury over defense objections

TOPICS: Heated Discussion
KEYWORDS: freefresnoda; stealtnijadave; vandam; westerfield
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To: just me
I'm with you.....

...what is tugging us to these that awful courtTV....

....I truly think it's because we saw injustice under the Clinton administration.....

...and that's what this appears to be....injustice!

His tired, worn fact is haunting....

101 posted on 08/29/2002 6:01:48 PM PDT by Guenevere
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To: Lucky
Lucky......tomorrow is another day (Scarlett & I agree!)

I'm tired.....and that witchhunt of a penalty trial today was exhausting...

I'll be glad to talk to you tomorrow :)

102 posted on 08/29/2002 6:03:25 PM PDT by Guenevere
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To: The Other Harry; UCANSEE2
You know we've gone over this many times, DW getting into the VanDam house unnoticed, taking Danielle to his house, his suv, motorhome, traveling all over, dumping her body in a most inconvenient place, coming back into the neighborhood, all this and leaving only a spot of DNA in the motorhome and on his jacket, one hair, etc. The bug evidence, the dog evidence, none of that has changed just because a girl recalls vaguely something that happened 12 years ago. Only remembering more after talking to her boyfriend about it. I'm standing firm, DW didn't do it.
103 posted on 08/29/2002 6:05:36 PM PDT by I. Ben Hurt
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To: Guenevere
Good night, I'm tired too.
104 posted on 08/29/2002 6:06:03 PM PDT by Lucky
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To: I. Ben Hurt
Besides, what that girl described had nothing to do with being molested. After DW mentioned something about it to the police they went to that girl right away and tried to make something out of nothing.
105 posted on 08/29/2002 6:16:41 PM PDT by Lucky
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To: All
Good night
106 posted on 08/29/2002 6:17:02 PM PDT by just me
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To: Lucky
OK one final thought for the evening...
....Is it my imagination (no, it can't be!)...

..but are Nancy Grace, Lisa Bloom, et al, calmly, rationally discussing the merits of the ..''Florida boys case who killed their dad"........

...without displaying the hyperbole of the Westerfield case.

Aren't two young boys beating their dad to death with a baseball bat as hideous as what they say the Westerfield case is about.

makes one does

107 posted on 08/29/2002 6:19:59 PM PDT by Guenevere
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To: just me
just me---My husband too thinks I spend to much time on this trial. If I'm not at the computer, I'm talking about it to someone. Well, there's nothing happening until Tuesday so think we'll be at the pond pulling in those crappie and bass.
108 posted on 08/29/2002 6:22:10 PM PDT by I. Ben Hurt
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To: I. Ben Hurt
...none of that has changed just because a girl recalls vaguely something that happened 12 years ago.

I beg to differ.

I believe her. That was not included in the original trial, but it is relevant to the question of whether he is probably guilty.

Going into the daughter's bedroom and fussing with the niece's teeth in the middle of the night is *not* a normal behavior. I have a daughter who is around Jennifer's age, and I am around DW's age.

There is no way in HELL that I would ever have done anything like that. I went out of my way to avoid ever getting accused of doing anything improper.

If there had been some sort of a problem, I would have called in the girl's mother. Lacking her, another adult female. You don't go messing around with little girls like that. Even back in those days, that was common knowledge. You just didn't do it. Never.

You might change diapers on your own daughter, but you would be hard pressed to ever change the diaper on any other child. Not becuase you weren't willing, but because you didn't ever want to be even remotely accused of doing anything improper. This was no small issue.

If Jennifer's story is true -- which I think it is -- then I think DW may have actually done it.

109 posted on 08/29/2002 6:35:11 PM PDT by The Other Harry
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To: The Other Harry
If, if and if ... the bugs do hamper that jump. There are so many ifs, and a similar parade marches up and down saying Damon also by if logic did it.
110 posted on 08/29/2002 6:56:09 PM PDT by bvw
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To: the-gooroo
How long does it take to get a passport? I thought it took a while--longer than a week.

If you have all the paperwork --2 maybe three weeks.
I got mine in the Navy; The ship was going to make a port-call in a non-NATO country (NATO members accept military ID + orders in lieu of passports).
We got them in 5 days, but that was with a paper-pusher from the State department.

My last renewal took about two weeks.

111 posted on 08/29/2002 6:58:11 PM PDT by dread78645
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To: I. Ben Hurt
The way I look at it is, if Westerfield did *not* do it, there would *not* be a single speck of blood or a single hair.

He was framed, you say? Who ever framed him was certainly sure they would find those tiny specks of blood & that one hair. If I was going to frame someone I'd throw a little more evidence around for insurance. I'd put out bloody smears & clumps of hair. I don't think I'll ever be framing anyone for murder, its just not my style. So that just my opinion.
112 posted on 08/29/2002 6:58:32 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: The Other Harry
The story the girl told is a mystery. My point was, there's still no reasonable way he could have killed Danielle and left such trace evidence.

DW's own daughter was also in that room that night. He'd truly have to be some kind of wacko to try something with her in there and as I heard it, a lot of people in the house. If the girl bit him as hard as she said, I'd think it would have been obvious, maybe bleeding. He would have had to explain that.

I'm not putting the girl down. She sounded sincere but she did say she signed that statement because the lady LE wanted her to.

I'll admit I'm naive about such kinky things. I have led a sheltered life.

113 posted on 08/29/2002 7:00:33 PM PDT by I. Ben Hurt
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To: The Other Harry
Westerfield, and honest and simpler man, is held to most major account for smaller things, that in the van Dams and crew are discounted. Why discounted? Because they are known liars and decievers, reckless parents, materialistic, narcissistic in all things. How could we possibly hold such no accounts to any account at all. Therefore let us hang an honest man, who remembers a singular appearance of a transgression long ago. An honest man ought to be held to higher account!

But that is not Justice, is it?

114 posted on 08/29/2002 7:02:27 PM PDT by bvw
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To: Ditter
A frame by a tiny group of trusted sleazeballs of cops would do what has been suggested -- they would have only so much opportunity.
115 posted on 08/29/2002 7:04:25 PM PDT by bvw
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To: Ditter
I did not say I thought he was framed. I believe Danielle could have been in the motor home when it was parked on her street. It was there for a year before the homeowners assn made him quit parking it there.

If Danielle had been in there that weekend, the dogs would have gone crazy. They did not. That's my opinion.

116 posted on 08/29/2002 7:09:39 PM PDT by I. Ben Hurt
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To: The Other Harry
The hand print in the MH also bugs me. It implies -- assuming that that it wasn't planted -- that she was alve when she was in there.

Yes, there are some folks that want to go with the "plant".

It's posible --but I go with the kids playing in the MH from last year.
Danielle L & Jennifer's prints ware found from 14 months ago !

117 posted on 08/29/2002 7:15:17 PM PDT by dread78645
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To: bvw
So it was Damon who killed her, he gave the cops a speck of blood & a hair & they planted in the MH. Why does the SDPD do this for Damon?

He is fabulously wealthy & he pays them off? No. Oh I remember, one of the cops is a swinger, he does a favor for his swinging friend.

What about the rest of the cops? They all went along with it? I heard a cop gave DW Feldmans card, so thats part of the trap, Feldman is in on it. He didn't try very hard to win, screwed up big time.

Now Feldman has all DW's money, house etc. (he'll pay off the other cops) Damon skates, the cop friend is not exposed as a swinger (only we know). Ah, what a tangled web.........
118 posted on 08/29/2002 7:24:46 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: dread78645
If the VD family was leaving for Italy in a week, wouldn't the passports have taken longer than that for the kids? Also, how did Brenda find the time for all this partying--when was she going to pack for this overseas trip with a family of five?
119 posted on 08/29/2002 7:31:20 PM PDT by the-gooroo
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To: Ditter; bvw
Damon's high on my suspect list, but there are others. The blood in the MH could still have occured while Danielle was playing there. She was prone to nosebleeds.

I have read the DA was extremely anxious to get somebody arrested so he could look good and win the nomination for the upcoming election. In politics, anything goes.

120 posted on 08/29/2002 7:38:04 PM PDT by I. Ben Hurt
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