Well, folks, we’ve made it to the end of week 1 of Elijah Reid’s trial. First and foremost, I want to thank everyone for reading and commenting. This blog got huge really quickly and I’m glad you all seem to be enjoying it.
On to business. Week 1 was amazingly busy. Though there were really only about 3 days of testimony, a ton happened. With that in mind, here’s a handy wrap-up of the first week.
Day 1 – Monday, Jan. 4, 2010
What happened: Jury selection begins. 28 potential jurors, split into two groups of 14, were interviewed, as part of a group and individually, by lawyers on both sides and Judge Braud. Six jurors from the first group are seated and the second group yields three.
Day 2 – Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010
What happened: Though the second day of jury selection was supposed to start at 8:30 a.m., nothing happened until 10:05 a.m. I’m not really sure why. The remaining three jurors and one alternate are picked from the first group of 14 jurors questioned. After lunch, eight more potentials are called and the remaining two alternates are picked. A full jury is finally seated at 3:24 p.m.
Opening arguments began at 4:05 p.m. with a warning from Jeff Terronez.
“What I expect that you’re going to hear is that a number of my witnesses either use or deal drugs,” he said. “These witnesses weren’t necessarily the most cooperative with police in this investigation.”
He was quick to remind jurors they had all said in their interviews that they would give as much weight to the testimony of drug users and dealers as they would to any other witnesses.
The two victims were also involved with drugs, Mr. Terronez told the jury.
“You’re going to hear that Jermaine Robinson and Ryan Ferry went to a location in Rock Island to conduct a drug transaction,” he said.
William Schick, Mr. Reid’s attorney, agreed that some of the state’s witnesses were involved with drugs, but he pained a less-rosy picture of them.
“All the main witnesses the state is going to put on have criminal records to challenge their credibility,” he said. “My client knew nothing about any robbery, any armed robbery.”
One witness took the stand before things wrapped up at about 5:30 p.m.
Who testified: Rock Island police officer Ryan Barnett told jurors he was the first officer to arrive on the scene of the murders. “Basically, I noticed two people in the vehicle – the driver and a front-seat passenger,” he said. “Neither of them appeared to be moving, but they appeared to have their eyes open.”
Day 3 – Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010
What happened: Because of “previous engagements,” this was an early day, wrapping up just before 11:30 a.m. That said, enough happened. Jurors heard from another officer who responded to the scene after Officer Barnett. They also heard that two $20 bills, one of which was bloody, were found outside a house near the scene. A resident of the area near the crime scene testified that she called 911 when she discovered Mr. Ferry and Mr. Robinson in the car. Jurors also heard from a woman who lived in the area and said she heard gunshots, as well as a criminalist for the Rock Island Police Department. The criminalist, Mary Devine, did not finish testifying Wednesday.
- Rock Island police officer Brett Buchen said he found the bloody $20 bill.
- Latira Lee said she discovered Mr. Robinson and Mr. Ferry in the car and called 911. “I seen the black gentleman’s face real swollen. There was blood running from his nose,” she said, adding that she didn’t see any blood on Mr. Ferry.
- Leslie Solis said she heard gunshots shortly before the two men were found.
- Rock Island police criminalist Mary DeVine said she processed the evidence from the scene. She said she also examined the bodies of Mr. Ferry and Mr. Robinson.
- Seven photographs showing the intersection of 7th St. and 13th Ave., a house at 602 13th Ave and two $20 bills found outside the house.
- An aerial photograph showing where the murders occurred.
- Four photos of the black van Latira Lee said came to the scene and that she had seen previously at Century Woods apartment complex.
- The $20 bills found outside of 602 13th Ave.
- Photos of Mr. Robinson and Mr. Ferry taken before their deaths.
- Photos of the inside of the rear of Mr. Ferry’s red Oldsmobile Intrigue. In one of the photos, the bodies of the two men, in the front seat, are partially visible.
Day 4 – Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010
What happened: It was the first full day of testimony. Jurors heard the rest of the testimony of Mary DeVine, as well as testimony from friends of Mr. Robinson and Mr. Ferry. Dr. Mark Peters, who performed the autopsies, also took the stand.
- Mary DeVine, criminalist for the Rock Island Police Department, whose testimony began on day 3. She spoke of finding bloody bills in the car where Mr. Robinson and Mr. Ferry were shot.
- Dr. Mark Peters, forensic pathologist who performed autopsies on Mr. Robinson and Mr. Ferry. He said either of two gunshots could have killed Mr. Robinson and that Mr. Ferry was killed by a shot that transected his brain stem.
- Rock Island police Detective Sean Roman told jurors he found $160 in $20 bills, some of them blood-stained, when he searched jeans belonging to Mr. Reid. Early on April 16, 2008, police executed a search warrant on an apartment at 1351 3rd St., Rock Island, where Mr. Reid was staying with his girlfriend Teresa Simmons and several children.
- Kendal Tomlinson, Mr. Ferry’s girlfriend, testified she began to suspect he was using cocaines in the weeks before his death.
- Kelly Wood, a friend of Mr. Ferry’s, said he smoked marijuana and used crack cocaine with Mr. Ferry. He said he knew Mr. Ferry sold marijuana, but did not think he sold crack or cocaine.
- Paul Hesse, a friend of Mr. Ferry’s, said he knew Mr. Robinson to be a drug dealer and did not like that Mr. Ferry was hanging around with him.
- Michael Watson, a friend of Mr. Robinson’s, said he never knew Mr. Robinson sold crack.
- Brooke Hawkins, a former girlfriend of Mr. Robinson’s, said he carried “ridiculous amounts” of money with him. “I told him, ‘Somebody’s going to try to get that money from you.'”
- Several photos of the interior and exterior of Mr. Ferry’s Oldsmobile Intrigue.
- Money recovered from the same car.
- Clothing, much of it blood-stained, worn by both victims the night they were killed.
- Bullet fragments recovered from both victims.
- Body diagrams and photos from the victims’ autopsies.
- Photos of a Ford Regency van allegedly driven by Mr. Reid the night of the murders.
- Photos of Mr. Reid’s apartment.
- Blood-stained bills found in the apartment.
- A revolver, allegedly used in the murders, recovered from a sewer in August 2009.
Day 5 – Friday, Jan. 8, 2010
What happened: Jurors got their first testimony from someone claiming to have been with Mr. Reid the night of the murders. They also heard from a girlfriend of Mr. Robinson.
- Jennifer Myrick: The girlfriend of Jermaine Robinson told jurors how her boyfriend was planning to buy 500 grams of cocaine from a man she called “Elijah” for a price of $13,000. She testified that she was worried someone was setting him up to be robbed.
- Terrell Aaron: Testified that Mr. Reid talked about robbing Mr. Robinson the night of April 11, 2008. He also said that Mr. Reid said bragged about how he “killed them n—–.” But on cross-examination, attorney Stephen Richards pointed out Mr. Aaron’s testimony varied from testimony he gave during a deposition on July 2, 2009.
Evidence: Nothing new was admitted. But jurors got another look at the revolver allegedly used in the murder.
Stephen Richards didn’t finish his cross-examination of Terrell Aaron, so that will wrap up at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 11. Also slated to testify are Carter McCray and Jamil Stewart, who were supposedly with Mr. Reid the night of the murders.