Wednesday, 4/29: (all times Eastern)
8:38: No signs of any protestors or demonstrations.It's a much cooler morning than the past two days--a welcome change of pace when Courtroom 1 lacks air conditioning.
8:59: Arielle and Victor Garcia were just checked at the security entrance, and she was then taken to a waiting room. Arielle Garcia called. Because she is pregnant and may deliver soon, defense has been allowed to call her before prosecution rests its case.
9:14: Garcia: I knew Walsh and Scully by name prior to the fight, and saw them there. Garcia: I knew Piekarsky by sight, not by name, and do not recall seeing him there. Garcia: Ramirez heard Scully call him a "stupid Mexican" and they fought again. My husband Victor tried to break it up. Garcia: I saw Victor punch Walsh. Garcia: After Ramirez fell, I yelled "stop, stop...leave him alone, he's not awake." Garcia on the shoes that kicked Ramirez's head: "I remember them being white, but I'm not really sure." Garcia on white shoe: "I"m not positive about that, that's just how I see it in my mind." Markosky provides Garcia's written statement from two days after the fight, in which she identifies white shoes. Garcia: after the kick, I yelled "you killed him!" Scully replied "no, he's still breathing." Garcia: Scully returned and said "tell them you don't know us." Garcia: Walsh stumbled backward after Victor's punch, and Ramirez fell "pretty quick" after that. Garcia: I saw multiple feet stomping the fallen Ramirez. This and previous comment coming under cross-examination by prosecution. Garcia: neither my on-scene or written statements, both to Officer Hayes, identify Scully as kicker.
9:50: Garcia says she saw what looked like a gun when all boys but Scully were gone--no further detail on who or in what context given. Tape of Garcia's call to 911 played. Garcia: I said I knew the names of the boys on the 911 tape.
9:55: Garcia: a "Spanish guy" I didn't know had the gun in Vine St. Park.
10:04: Back to prosecution witnesses. Ann Marie Kovalewski, a parademic who saw Ramirez that night, takes stand. Kovalewski: Ramirez was unresponsive, had a swollen and deformed head, and had respiratory difficulties. William Schaeffer, flight paramedic with Geisinger, also reports head bruising and swelling on left side. Paramedics say Ramirez was sedated.
Baldwin calls a 20-minute recess.
10:27: For the third day straight, Crystal Dillman is sitting with MALDEF representatives. Earlier in the week they declined to comment. All this week, defendants Donchak and Piekarsky have been writing in yellow notebooks during witness testimony.
10:36: Prosecution calls forensic pathologist Barbara Bollinger. Bollinger: I evaluate medical-legal cases and perform autopsies to determine the cause of death. Bollinger: I have performed more than 5,000 autopsies. On cross-examination of Bollinger's credentials, an objection stops a Fanelli question about why she wouldn't talk to the defense office. Bollinger: I did not observe a shoe print on Ramirez's chest, but days had passed and it might have faded. Bollinger: medical records showed no CPR or breathing assistance procedures performed to his chest. Bollinger: a scan revealed no facial fractures, but skull fractures to the left and back sides, and a displaced bone. Bollinger: Geisinger records said Ramirez's left skull was opened to relieve pressure from accumulating blood. Bollinger: Geisinger records said Ramirez's brain was contused, blood-stained.
11:30: Bollinger is using a black marker on an anatomical body, skull, and brain to demonstrate injuries recorded during her autopsy. Bollinger: head, torso and arms had contusions. There were two fractures in the sternum area. Bollinger: his left brain was not a "nice, normal tan color" but a "diffused red." Bollinger: the two skull fractures, on the back and left sides, intersected. The fracture to the back came first. Bollinger: my opinion is cause of death is blunt force injuries of head, manner of death is homicide.
11:35: Bollinger on cross-examination. Fanelli asks Bollinger why she didn't respond to "8 to 10 12" calls or various e-mails from his office. Bollinger: I am only aware of getting one call from your office, just several weeks ago. Bollinger: I spoke with the prosecution 7 to 9 times, including a couple face-to-face meetings with other doctors. Fanelli notes that the fractures to the sternum and ribs were not recorded in a CAT scan and several chest X-rays. Bollinger: I have seen multiple cases where radiological scans did not detect fractures. Fanelli asks Bollinger if she classifies the death a homicide because there are only 5 categories and the others don't apply. Bollinger: "Homicide is defined as death at the hands of others, and that's what this is." Bollinger had said it was her decision not to talk to the defense about the case.
12:07: Donchak and Piekarsky seem to be comparing notes as counsel approaches the bench.
Lunch recess called after Bollinger steps down. Trial resumes at 1:15.
1:17: Prosecution calls Dr. Daniel Brown, a neuropathologist from Allentown. Brown: I have examined almost 2,000 brains, and examined Ramirez's on Aug. 1, 2008. Brown: I observed a blood clot between his brain and a protective covering, and blood in an area usually containing spinal fluid. Brown: the left side of his brain had extensive contusions and swelling. Brown: because of motion of the brain, an injury to the back of the brain caused an injury to the front. Brown: no evidence of trauma to the right side of his brain. Brown: injuries consistent with a moving head hitting a stationary object.
1:39: Prosecution calls Dr. Isador Mihalakis, forensic pathologist and Warren County medical examiner.
1:47: Frantz doing most prosecution questioning today. Unlike Bollinger, the defense neither questioned nor objected to the admission of Brown and Mihalakis as expert witnesses.
1:49: Mihalakis: I reviewed the autopsy and neuropathologist reports for Ramirez. Mihalakis: Bollinger's markings on the anatomical skull "fairly and accurately" depict injuries. Mihalakis says there were direct injuries, as well as indirect injuries from the brain bouncing and hitting the skull opposite the impact. Mihalakis: "All the injuries cannot be from the fall... There were two separate injuries." Mihalakis: a medical-to-legal blood alcohol content conversion gave a level of .013--about one 12-ounce beer, " maybe a couple of more sips."
2:28: Prosecution calls Josh Redmond, a friend of the boys who has been mentioned as part of the group on July 12. Redmond: I was at the creek and block party with the group. We saw a boy and girl at the park, and Scully made the "out late" comment. Redmond attributes racial slurs to Scully, Donchak and Walsh. Redmond: Ramirez replied to Scully and made phone calls, both in Spanish. Redmond says he and Lawson hung back from the fighting. Redmond: Piekarsky led the pack. Ramirez threw the first punch, missed, and was tackled by Piekarsky. Redmond: I saw Ramirez hit the ground, but saw no kick. Redmond: we ran away. After the incident we encountered two males, one with a gun, who questioned us about the fight. Redmond: we told them it was our friend, not us. Donchak said he was going to call the friend, but really called the cops. Redmond: we went to Donchak's house, and Piekarsky went with officers Moyer and Hayes to the scene to identify the male with the gun. Redmond: Hayes is "Brandon's mom's boyfriend."Redmond: Walsh hit Ramirez with a "sucker punch." Redmond: we met that night and the next day to get our stories straight. I didn't tell the truth in my first two interviews.
2:57: Fanelli on cross-examination. Redmond: I wasn't drinking, and I wasn't charged with anything. We weren't setting out to pick on a Mexican. Redmond attributes no racial comments to Piekarsky. Redmond: Piekarsky left the first fight after he tripped over a short wall. Redmond: fighting resumed when Ramirez hit Scully in the back of the head with a running punch. Redmond: I didn't see Victor Garcia fighting.
3:14: With Redmond's testimony, all of the boys in the group who are not defendants have taken the stand. Redmond: Walsh didn't like the idea of the boys mentioning his punch and felt he was being blamed. Fanelli, as in other cross-examinations, points out that Piekarsky is not reported to have said "where or when" he kicked Ramirez.
3:25: The prosecution rests their case.
Proceedings are dismissed for the day. The trial resumes at 9 a.m. Thursday.