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Experts examine remains
The Modesto Bee ^ | August 12, 2003 | John Cote'

Posted on 08/13/2003 5:39:24 AM PDT by runningbear

Experts examine remains


Members of the Scott Peterson defense team leave the criminalistics laboratory of the Contra Costa County coroner in Martinez after spending Monday morning examining the bodies of Laci Peterson and her unborn son. TED BENSON/THE BEE

Experts examine remains

By JOHN COTÉ
BEE STAFF WRITER

Published: August 12, 2003, 09:15:51 PM PDT

MARTINEZ -- Scott Peterson's attorneys and a pair of high-profile experts examined the remains of Laci Peterson and her unborn son Monday, looking for evidence to clear their client of double murder charges.

Eight members of the defense team, which now includes criminalist Dr. Henry Lee and forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, were inside the coroner's facility here for about 2 1/2 hours. They later went to the Petersons' Covena Avenue home.

Attorney Mark Geragos said little about the substance of the examination when the defense team emerged from the Contra Costa County coroner's office at noon.

"There's not much that we can talk about obviously between the gag order (previously issued in the case) and just in deference to both the Peterson and the Rocha families," Geragos said. "Obviously Dr. Wecht and Dr. Lee have agreed to come on board and to help us in this matter."

Senior Deputy District Attorney Dave Harris, one of the prosecutors handling the case, and members of the Modesto Police Department oversaw the defense examination.

Lee, the former director of the Connecticut State Police Forensics Science Laboratory, was a defense expert in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. He testified regarding crime scene reconstruction, blood splatter interpretation and trace evidence.

Wecht, coroner of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania, is a renowned forensic pathologist.

"Both are thought of in their fields as the foremost experts," Geragos said. "Given the consequences in this case, and given, I think initially at least, some of the investigative things that were done, I think it was important to get the best people in the field."

Peterson, 30, is charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of his 27-year-old wife and unborn son. He could receive the death penalty if convicted.

Defense attorneys maintain police ignored other leads and focused on Peterson almost immediately after his wife was reported missing Christmas Eve. Her body and that of her unborn child were found separately in April along the east shore of San Francisco Bay, within four miles of the spot where Scott Peterson said he launched his boat Dec. 24 for a solo fishing trip.

Peterson was arrested near Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla on April 18, the day DNA testing identified the bodies.

Autopsies were performed on the badly decomposed remains shortly after they were found just over a mile apart along the shoreline near Richmond.

In the face of massive media attention, Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Al Girolami ordered those autopsy reports sealed, along with a host of other documents in the case. Death certificates were made public; however, no cause of death was listed.

Last month, Girolami granted a defense request to conduct its own examination of the bodies. On Friday he issued a ruling that laid out guidelines for the examination, including the use of photographs, videotape, X-rays and the removal of "reasonable" amounts of tissue and fluid samples.

The defense team was required to provide its own medical instruments, and the group brought in cases on wheels, a large brown paper bag and other items.

Defense experts routinely review autopsy findings in murder cases, and second autopsies are becoming increasingly frequent, said Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York City medical examiner, who has worked with both Lee and Wecht on other cases.

"Mistakes can be made, intentionally or unintentionally," Baden said. "It's always appropriate for the defense to review things. Suppose they come back and agree 100 percent with the prosecution. The defense may want to plea bargain."

Prosecutors are expected to reveal a substantial amount of their case at a preliminary hearing scheduled for Sept. 9. At the hearing's end, Girolami will determine if there is enough evidence to hold Peterson for trial.

Defense attorneys have asked to keep the hearing closed to the public, arguing the inevitable media attention would make it impossible to find a fair jury.

News organizations, including The Bee, are seeking to keep the hearing open, arguing that open proceedings guard against abuse by judges or prosecutors and other means, such as moving the trial and sequestering jurors, can ensure Peterson a fair trial.

Prosecutors want the hearing open but want television cameras barred from the courtroom.

On Monday, the defense filed paperwork saying an open........

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Attorney Matt Dalton, right, briefs forensic experts Drs. Henry Lee, left, and Cyril Wecht at the forensics lab in Ripon. DEBBIE NODA/THE BEE


This photo shows an interior wall of a concrete structure that has paintings on all sides. This and other artwork, below, are near where the bodies of Laci Peterson and her unborn child were found by the bay. DEBBIE NODA/THE BEE

Defense outlines cult theory

By JOHN COTÉ
and GARTH STAPLEY

Published: August 13, 2003, 05:14:27 AM PDT

Scott Peterson's defense team Tuesday briefed two forensic experts on a statanic cult theory, including paintings and artwork near San Francisco Bay and an experiment showing that the pregnant Laci Peterson's body could have been placed in the water at the art site. Attorney Matt Dalton, using a laptop computer, showed artwork that he said depicted ritualistic killings and occult practices, and said the artwork could be found near the end of a peninsula in the bay.

Dalton also said that the defense team placed weighted flotation devices in the water at the end of the peninsula, and they ended up in the Richmond Inner Harbor, not far from where Laci Peterson's body and that of her unborn son, Conner, came ashore in mid-April.

Scott Peterson is in Stanislaus County Jail, charged with both their murders.

Dalton gave the briefing to criminalist Dr. Henry Lee and forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht while the three waited to review prosecution evidence held at the state crime labora- tory in Ripon.

Tuesday afternoon, the bayside presented evidence of its own: more than a dozen paintings on plywood and scrap lumber mounted on wooden frames at what East Bay residents call The Bulb, the rounded point at the end of the peninsula that holds the Albany Waterfront Trail, an area popular with dog owners.

Some of the artwork features decapitation and devil figures. Many of the paintings portray sexual activity, and several show pregnant women.

But, if the defense is trying to link the painters to Peterson's death, "that's utterly ridiculous," said Bruce Rayburn, a member of an artist collective known as Sniff. "That's reaching for straws."

He said he and three friends painted much of The Bulb artwork over the past five years.

Rayburn, a 50-year-old general contractor, said Tuesday from his El Sobrante home: "We're regular guys with full-time jobs who go down there once a week on Saturday mornings with our families."

Rayburn said neither law enforcement nor defense investigators had contacted him about the paintings.

One shows a man with an ax beheading a man in a rowboat on a body of water; a topless woman kneels next to the beheaded man.

Another shows a devil figure beheading a well-dressed couple in a theater balcony. And another portrays three children, their umbilical cords attached, in a body of water as a giant octopus wraps its tentacles around a naked woman.

"This is all done in fun and games," Rayburn said. "We've had a lot of criticism by certain groups of people who are offended by some of the paintings. There's a lot of good themes going on, but if you're looking for something to criticize, you can find it."

On the inside of a concrete structure on the peninsula, Rayburn's group painted a goat-headed figure spearing a caged man as a demonic image lurks.

"We called the inside of that place hell, because that's what it was to paint," he said. "You had to lay on a board in a foot of water to paint it."

The Bulb for years was a landfill at the edge of the city of Al-bany. The dump closed, and the land evolved into an encampment for homeless people before becoming part of a plan for a waterfront park between Richmond and Emeryville.

Albany police Sgt. John Geissberger said he was not aware of any ritualistic activity at The Bulb -- but that does not mean that it has not occurred, he quickly added.

"There are things that happen that we never hear about," Geissberger said.

Karla LaVey, founder of the San Francisco-based First Sa-tanic Church, said the Peterson defense team was using the satanic tactic as an attempt to deflect blame on a misunderstood and unfairly vilified group.

"Satanism does not involve any type of sacrifice or ritualistic killing," LaVey said. "Satanism obviously is a subject people are ignorant of, and so they tend to be biased and prejudicial."

The experiment

Dalton, in his briefing with Lee and Wecht, said defense investigators experimented with flotation devices -- putting them in the water at the end of The Bulb, between Berkeley Marina and Point Isabel. The current then carried them away.

Laci Peterson's body was found at Point Isabel, and her son's body was found about a mile away in south Richmond.

Scott Peterson has told police that he launched his 14-foot aluminum boat from Berkeley Marina on Christmas Eve, then went fishing for sturgeon off Brooks Island.

He said his wife was gone when he returned home. Family members reported her missing at about 6 p.m.

Dalton, an attorney with lead defense counsel Mark Geragos' Los Angeles law firm, hinted at another possible defense strat-egy -- telling Lee and Wecht about a man accused ......

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From the Stanislaus County Sheriff's press release:

Superior Court, Stanislaus County August 11, 2003

Reply to Media Entities Opposition to Motion to Close Preliminary Hearing

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and

Superior Court, Stanislaus County August 8, 2003

DA's Motion to Conduct Venue Survey

(Excerpt) Read more at modbee.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: avoidingchildsupport; baby; babyunborn; conner; deathpenaltytime; dontubelievemyalibi; getarope; ibefishing; laci; lacipeterson; smallbaby; smallchild; sonkiller; unborn; wifekiller
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Heard a book author on Tom Sullivan Show KFBK yesterday, called "Prosecutors" (I think) sounds like a great book to read. In a comment, a defense attorney if knowing the evidence is proving to be damning on the suspect, and a speedy trial is normally conducted on those who know of guilt or innocense, (cut or dry cases), then they get the speedy trial and close it ASAP. In a case similar to Mr Peterson's, if evidence is proving the guilt on the suspect, then the defense doesn't move so swiftly towards a speedy trial.

hummm, does that mean Geragos knows his client is toast is is 1)milking the petersons for all the money, 2)buying scaughty more time to live if he gets the death penalty?

1 posted on 08/13/2003 5:39:24 AM PDT by runningbear
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To: Rheo; Mystery Y; Searching4Justice; brneyedgirl; Scupoli; sissyjane; TexKat; Lanza; Mrs.Liberty; ...
pinging......
2 posted on 08/13/2003 5:40:17 AM PDT by runningbear (Lurkers beware, Freeping is public opinions based on facts, theories, and news online.......)
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To: blondee123; hergus; submarine; texasbluebell; truthkeeper; BobFromNJ; WestCoastGal; Sunshine55; ...
pinging......
3 posted on 08/13/2003 5:40:55 AM PDT by runningbear (Lurkers beware, Freeping is public opinions based on facts, theories, and news online.......)
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To: runningbear
btt
4 posted on 08/13/2003 5:45:26 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: runningbear; Sandylapper; Howlin; Canadian Outrage
"Mistakes can be made, intentionally or unintentionally," Baden said. "It's always appropriate for the defense to review things. Suppose they come back and agree 100 percent with the prosecution. The defense may want to plea bargain."

My favorite quote of the day!

5 posted on 08/13/2003 5:49:10 AM PDT by EllaMinnow
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To: runningbear
RB.....thanks for all your pings. I've been following along but haven't been able to post much :(
I think Geragos is more concerned about getting his face on the news and in the papers rather than worrying about SP. If he really thought SP was innocent he wouldn't be stalling and putting out his moronic theories. Whatever the outcome of the trial, Geragos wins. He gets paid and he gets publicity. His client gets found guilty? Oh well....on to the next case!
6 posted on 08/13/2003 7:04:44 AM PDT by Wednesday's Child
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To: runningbear
Et tu, Wecht?
7 posted on 08/13/2003 7:57:14 AM PDT by truthkeeper
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To: runningbear
If there was any lingering doubt as to the allegiances of Lee and Wecht...

Oh, darn. This is really gonna put a crimp in their talking-head engagements.

I find it funny--and also heartening--that the satanists are outraged at Geragos' accusations of them.

And don't you just love the way Matt Dalton, idiot extraordinaire, had to come and "brief" Wecht and Lee on satanism? They might as well have said, "Matt Dalton was present, and told Drs. Lee and Wecht what they were expected to find."
8 posted on 08/13/2003 8:29:22 AM PDT by Devil_Anse
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: Nettie
ACK - I missed that part!
10 posted on 08/13/2003 8:38:14 AM PDT by EllaMinnow
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To: redlipstick
Here's my favorite quote of the day:

"That's reaching for straws."

11 posted on 08/13/2003 8:39:40 AM PDT by Howlin (<------Being stalked by a whacko!!!!)
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: runningbear
Wow! Thanks for the articles, rb!
13 posted on 08/13/2003 9:55:20 AM PDT by Sandylapper
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To: runningbear
Hi everyone!. I think of all of you daily. Been a busy summer. Been doing alot of research and some activism on the illegal alien explosion.

Can't wait to get back here. Miss all of you.
14 posted on 08/13/2003 10:13:16 AM PDT by oceanperch (Prayer time during Perseid meteor shower for FR Friends/Family)
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Comment #15 Removed by Moderator

To: runningbear; All
Gagarogross' new sunglasses, mirrored surf style, look lame on a man his age.

LAME-O. He is sooooo never going to be cool looking.
16 posted on 08/13/2003 10:18:36 AM PDT by oceanperch (Prayer time during Perseid meteor shower for FR Friends/Family)
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To: oceanperch
LOL - Have you noticed that Geragross seems to have lost more hair since he took this case?? This Defense team have to be poopy pants scared by now. They are acting utterly rediculous!! I doubt that the Defense will have any luck pushing Dr. Wecht to say something that isn't true. He has declined to testify for the defense before. I'm not as trusting of Dr. Lee.
17 posted on 08/13/2003 12:38:38 PM PDT by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South)
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To: redlipstick
I LOVE that quote too!! Where did he say that??
18 posted on 08/13/2003 12:39:49 PM PDT by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South)
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To: runningbear
1)milking the petersons for all the money, 2)buying scaughty more time to live if he gets the death penalty?

One but not two. In CA Scotty will die of old age before we put him to death.

19 posted on 08/13/2003 12:42:47 PM PDT by Yaelle
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To: Canadian Outrage
Wecht and Lee? When I heard this today, I just had this thought of seeing Scaughty getting acquitted somehow, and leaving the courtroom with that SMIRK. PLEASE G_D don't let that happen.
20 posted on 08/13/2003 12:44:46 PM PDT by Yaelle
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To: runningbear
Were all of those paintings already there before Dec 24? What do paintings have to do with the murder, anyway? Even if the actual painter committed the murders, how do they get him on them?

The prosecution should get John Douglas, the Mindhunter FBI profiler, to testify for them. He could correct the jury's impression of this Satanic cult thing. After all, why would the cult start and stop their murders with one middle class Modesto wife and mom-to-be, 90 miles from their dumping grounds? They would be far more likely to murder some drug addicts or street people or prostitutes who are far less connected to society by family, friends, homes.

And this woman just HAPPENED to have a highly, highly suspicious man as her husband?

What more was found out about that mailbox he rented on Dec 23?

21 posted on 08/13/2003 12:50:05 PM PDT by Yaelle
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To: Canadian Outrage
Have you noticed that Geragross seems to have lost more hair since he took this case??

I think he's looking somewhat defeated these days.

22 posted on 08/13/2003 12:52:46 PM PDT by Sandylapper
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To: Yaelle
We'll have to wait and see what Wecht does. He has been known to refuse to testify for the defense, even after put on retainer.
I think he leaves himself an out in his contracts. He can't testify for the prosecution, though - and that may be MG's reason for bringing him in.
23 posted on 08/13/2003 12:53:03 PM PDT by EllaMinnow
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To: oceanperch
Hi OP! We've missed you!
24 posted on 08/13/2003 12:53:56 PM PDT by Sandylapper
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To: Canadian Outrage
Michael Baden said it. It's in the first article at the top of the thread.

I wonder if the prosecution will hire him?
25 posted on 08/13/2003 12:59:22 PM PDT by EllaMinnow
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To: Yaelle
he would hope so, unless upon conviction, someone pokes him, and he looses it.....lol...
26 posted on 08/13/2003 1:15:57 PM PDT by runningbear (Lurkers beware, Freeping is public opinions based on facts, theories, and news online.......)
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To: Devil_Anse
I just get this feeling that if Dr Lee takes the stand on behalf of defense, that Mr Lee will be drilled, and slip up and say what really happened... ;o)
27 posted on 08/13/2003 1:19:18 PM PDT by runningbear (Lurkers beware, Freeping is public opinions based on facts, theories, and news online.......)
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To: redlipstick
Yeah I have wondered that also. Looks like Geragos is gonna stick with his moronic satanic cult theory. That theory is going nowhere!! I can't believe he's got the b@lls to keep peddling it. There is absolutely NOTHING satanic about this case other than the fact that Snott is full of the devil.
28 posted on 08/13/2003 1:21:12 PM PDT by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South)
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To: Wednesday's Child
Hi WC - Last night on LKL, Nancy Grace said that she was sure that the Geragos team will have to ask the State for money very soon. I think it's awful that the State has to foot "any" expenses on behalf of Peterson.
29 posted on 08/13/2003 1:29:54 PM PDT by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South)
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To: runningbear
Actually bear - You make a good point about Dr. Lee. If he get's grilled he will tell the truth. I can't see this Prosecution team treating him with kid gloves just because he's Dr. Lee. In fact, THIS prosecution team strikes me as very confident. I can hardly wait to see Peterson squirm along with his slimy Lawyers.
30 posted on 08/13/2003 1:35:09 PM PDT by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South)
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To: Canadian Outrage; pbear8; RGSpincich; All
This is all on this story on KTVU Oakland:

According to a newspaper report Wednesday, Scott Peterson's defense team's briefing with two noted forensic experts focused upon among other things drawings found on the Albany Waterfront Trail in an area nicknamed 'The Bulb.' More Details

Peterson Defense Team Completes Examination

Forensic Pathologist Michael Baden Talks About Examination

Peterson Turned Down Death Sentence Deal

Peterson Defense Targets 'The Bulb'

31 posted on 08/13/2003 1:47:28 PM PDT by runningbear (Lurkers beware, Freeping is public opinions based on facts, theories, and news online.......)
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To: Yaelle
I though the mailbox might be used for Ebay sales as it leaves him anonymous. (Selling his wife's jewels etc.) Wonder if he opened a new charge account also AND an Ebay account.

It sounds like he planned this for a month or so and I'd go back and look at his "patterns".

32 posted on 08/13/2003 1:51:12 PM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: Canadian Outrage
Hi back to you too!
I usually have FOX on during the day and was half listening when it was being discussed that it looks like the defense IS going with the satanic cult defense. The four "experts" that were on the show said he was basically throwing the whole case away if he does! Geragos would be boxing himself in with the cult theory and then couldn't present any other scenerios without looking stoopid :) They all also agreed it was the worst defense they ever heard of especially with all the leaked information that has come out! They said if they were SP they'd be looking for a new lawyer ASAP!
I agree with you.... the state shouldn't have to foot a lot of expenses. There should be some accountability by Geragos or maybe a limit on the amount the state should have to pay IMHO.
33 posted on 08/13/2003 2:53:28 PM PDT by Wednesday's Child
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To: Wednesday's Child
Thanks WC - That's great news. That is exactly what I think also. I said months ago that I hoped Petersons liked wasting their money. Geragos is not up to the task of this case. It is clearly beyond his ability. The thing that threw him right off was the GAG order. He entered this thinking he could try the case in the media like his other cases. Come to think of it tho, he's lost a lot of those also!!
34 posted on 08/13/2003 3:11:04 PM PDT by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South)
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To: Wednesday's Child
Thanks WC - That's great news. That is exactly what I think also. I said months ago that I hoped Petersons liked wasting their money. Geragos is not up to the task of this case. It is clearly beyond his ability. The thing that threw him right off was the GAG order. He entered this thinking he could try the case in the media like his other cases. Come to think of it tho, he's lost a lot of those also!!
35 posted on 08/13/2003 3:20:11 PM PDT by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South)
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To: runningbear
Thanks, rb! I tried clicking on the link and never could bring up the full story.
36 posted on 08/13/2003 3:26:54 PM PDT by Sandylapper
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To: Sandylapper
Looks like I stuttered above there!! Anyway, I clicked on the link also and got nothing.
37 posted on 08/13/2003 3:42:40 PM PDT by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South)
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To: Sandylapper
OKAY!! So where is everybody??????????
38 posted on 08/13/2003 4:53:23 PM PDT by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South)
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To: runningbear
Thank you for the ping rb! I have been away from puter and TV for the last couple of weeks and I was taken aback when I saw today that Whect and Lee were signed onto the Dream Team Jr. I kind of expected Lee but not Whect.
39 posted on 08/13/2003 5:30:07 PM PDT by Jackie-O
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To: Canadian Outrage; Jackie-O
I dunno, but I'm going to watch TV and see if anything's new. BBL.

Jack!!!! So good to see you! We've missed you terribly! You have mail.
40 posted on 08/13/2003 5:33:19 PM PDT by Sandylapper
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To: Devil_Anse; Velveeta; Sandylapper; maggie mae
You all have freepmail! ;0)
41 posted on 08/13/2003 5:34:33 PM PDT by Jackie-O
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To: Sandylapper
Hi darlin! I sent you one before I jumped on the thread...I'll go read yours now!
42 posted on 08/13/2003 5:36:36 PM PDT by Jackie-O
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To: Jackie-O
Jackie don't worry about Cyril Wecht. He will tell the truth. He is nobody's puppet. Not even for the fee. If he proves me wrong I'll crack up and have a breakdown!! FOFL. Seriously tho, at this point, I DO trust him. Who knows, he may even keep Lee honest.
43 posted on 08/13/2003 5:48:04 PM PDT by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South)
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To: runningbear
Now THAT would be worth beating in the courtroom door to see and hear! Course Lee would then coolly claim that they misunderstood his "English".

"I not say he drug her and chop head off. I say he drag her and she chop own head off."
44 posted on 08/13/2003 5:49:57 PM PDT by Devil_Anse
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To: Jackie-O
Were you enjoying the summer with the kids???? And why did you forget me? LOL. I am a full fledged SCOW you know!!
45 posted on 08/13/2003 5:50:06 PM PDT by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South)
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To: Jackie-O
Great to see you back, Jackie!
46 posted on 08/13/2003 5:53:21 PM PDT by Devil_Anse
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Comment #47 Removed by Moderator

To: Devil_Anse
I'm willing to bet the barn that there is absolutely NO evidence of Laci's limbs being sawed or cut off with a tool. That girl was weighted down pure and simple. Peterson has a lot of cement he cannot account for PLUS some anchors he can't account for PLUS some weights he bought (has the receipt) but can't account for where they are. In fact I heard Wecht say with my very own ears that in his opinion she was held down by weights and that the perp did not expect the body to EVER surface. In fact he went on to say rather emphatically, "THAT body was NEVER supposed to surface"!! And now that he has examined the body for the defense, the Prosecution can now play that video clip for the Jury to rebutt anything he would now say to the contrary.
48 posted on 08/13/2003 5:59:30 PM PDT by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South)
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To: Nettie
Nettie I know where your coming from. I think we are all still stinging over that Simpson Jury. However, I have to remind myself that THAT was a very unusual jury. That really was a bozo jury and in fact they had decided their verdict before the trial even took place. I know CA has more whacko's per square inch than most places but Modesto and some of the smaller cities are more sensible. The Prosecution just needs to be very careful in selecting a Jury of real common sense people who have probably decent employment and are family types. But all that said, I know what you mean, I worry about CA juries too. I just keep reminding myself that OJ was an aberration!! AND it was in downtown LA!!
49 posted on 08/13/2003 6:08:45 PM PDT by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South)
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To: Canadian Outrage
No, I wouldn't forget any of my SCOWS, Lynn! I've been away because of some problems w/my 16 year old daughter and last week a tragedy...my Uncle was killed by a comuter train. I will look up the story and post it for you all.
50 posted on 08/13/2003 6:13:23 PM PDT by Jackie-O
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