Author Topic: The Button and the Headphones  (Read 33389 times)

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Offline nomatter_nevermind

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The Button and the Headphones
« on: January 11, 2013, 10:50:54 PM »
I'm starting a new thread for these two items. I don't like discussing them in a thread whose very title includes disputed information.

The report the headphones were in his pocket could have (and likely did) come from Diana Smith's report on page 80

I think it came from CST Smith herself, making a careless entry when she logged the items. Her report doesn't say all the DMS-10 items were in pockets.

I think the letters on the evidence tags are the initials of the person who logged the item. The first item is Zimmerman's gun, and it has Timothy Smith's initials.

It seems ME Investigator Tara Malphurs collected the items on Martin's person. That probably included the earphones because the blanket had been covering them, at the time the other items on the ground were being identified and given object markers.

Malphurs would have given the items she collected to CST Smith, who transported and logged them.

CST Smith's report (80/184) doesn't say she witnessed the collection of those items.

Comparing the reports, I think the ME people arrived around the time Smith and Ciesla finished measuring the items on the ground. Smith proceeded to collect those items, while Ciesla observed the preliminary examination of the body.

Offline MJW

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Re: The Button and the Headphones
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2013, 11:42:37 PM »
nomatter_nevermind, you've said several times that you think the headphones were found on the ground near Martin's body. I doubt that for at least three reasons. First, they were not marked with an evidence marker like the cell phone, flashlights, medical kit, and plastic bags. Second, CST Smith specifically said they were in Martin's pockets or on him. Third, they were in the same DMS-10 group as other items which were certainly on Martin's person.

Offline MJW

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Re: The Button and the Headphones
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2013, 12:08:09 AM »
It seems ME Investigator Tara Malphurs collected the items on Martin's person. That probably included the earphones because the blanket had been covering them, at the time the other items on the ground were being identified and given object markers.

Malphurs would have given the items she collected to CST Smith, who transported and logged them.

CST Smith's report (80/184) doesn't say she witnessed the collection of those items.

Comparing the reports, I think the ME people arrived around the time Smith and Ciesla finished measuring the items on the ground. Smith proceeded to collect those items, while Ciesla observed the preliminary examination of the body.

According to the Crime Scene Contamination Log (48-49/284), CST Smith arrived at 8:03 PM, Malphurs at 9:45 PM.

Offline MJW

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Re: The Button and the Headphones
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2013, 12:15:57 AM »
Ciesla arrived at 8:14 PM.

Offline MJW

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Re: The Button and the Headphones
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2013, 02:44:45 AM »
Did Tara Malphurs not write a report? Her title is M.E. Investigator, and she seemed to be deeply involved in the initial investigation. It's hard to believe she didn't submit a report, but I haven't been able to find one. As nomatter_nevermind mentioned in the DeeDee thread, she's been deposed by the defense, in a deposition that allowed for up to 90 minutes. From the fairly lengthy time, it seems apparent the defense was quite interested in what she had to say. I sure wish we could see some information from the deposition.

Offline AghastInFL

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Re: The Button and the Headphones
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2013, 08:16:02 AM »
I'm starting a new thread for these two items. I don't like discussing them in a thread whose very title includes disputed information.

(Snipd)

Pg 22/184

DMS-10 PERSONAL EFFECTS
One (1) red "711" brand name lighter, photo button, bag of skittles, and headphones.
and collected from with in the victim's pockets.

I know what the rest of your comment states; I only wish to make one concise point. I did not start a thread erroneously the title came from the evidence.


Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: The Button and the Headphones
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2013, 05:19:53 PM »
I did not start a thread erroneously

I didn't say you did.

There is no need to make this personal.

Quote
the title came from the evidence.

It came from cherry-picking one piece of evidence, ignoring other evidence, and thus representing as a fact something that is actually in controversy.

I like for thread titles to be neutral, indicating the subjects, not taking sides on controversies regarding those subjects.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: The Button and the Headphones
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2013, 06:57:10 PM »
Did Tara Malphurs not write a report?

Not that I know of.

There is a brief summary of her actions at the scene in the ME report, 137/184. It says Malphurs arrived on scene about 9:44, and left about 10:10.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: The Button and the Headphones
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2013, 05:45:32 AM »

CST Smith specifically said they were in Martin's pockets or on him.

That's what her report says (80/184).

In the report, unlike the log entry, Smith did not use the word 'collected'. Taken literally, she was only indicating that she believed these items had been on Martin's person at some time.

That is how I would expect her to write, if Tara Malphurs handed her the items in bags, having collected them while Smith's attention was elsewhere.

I don't believe CST Smith knew exactly where each item was collected. Her report was carefully vague. Her log entry was carelessly specific. She was probably tired, and maybe in a hurry to end her shift.

The log entry said both the button and headphones were 'collected from with in [sic] the victim's pockets.'

Sgt. Stacie McCoy reported that she saw the ear phones (17/184).

Quote
I observed a can of Arizona Ice Tea and a pair of ear phones, in close proximity to the victim's body.

I have seen no explanation for why she would make this up. Nor have I seen one for why she would be hallucinating ear phones, while the real ear phones were out of sight in Martin's pocket.

Ayala allegedly told SAO he saw the button (2/284).

Quote
Ayala saw a gunshot wound on his torso under a photo button that Martin was wearing.

The same questions arise. Why would Ayala make this up? Why would he hallucinate a button, when he had no reason to suspect there actually was a button?

Sgt. Ciesla's report corroborates McCoy and Ayala (20/184).

Quote
The victim had $ 40.15 in US currency, a bag of Skittles candy, a red 7-11 red[sic] lighter in his pockets, headphones next to him, and a photo pin on his sweatshirt.

Ciesla's report doesn't say that he saw this himself. It does indicate that Ciesla was watching for at least part of the examination .

Quote
When the ME investigator lifted the victim's clothing I saw a single gunshot wound to the chest.

If Ciesla didn't watch Malphurs collect the items, it was most likely from her that he got his information on their locations. It's possible that Malphurs left without giving Ciesla this information, and he went to McCoy and Ayala to fill him in before he wrote his report. But all these suppositions seem less to likely to me than CST Smith getting careless with one log entry.

Offline MJW

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Re: The Button and the Headphones
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2013, 01:19:00 PM »
I don't doubt the headphones were at some point next to Martin, just as the drink can was at some point next to Martin. If the headphones were on the ground beside Martin, Smith wouldn't have had to wait for Malphurs; she would seen them, and probably assigned an evidence number to them that was lower than the number assigned to the money in Martin's pocket.

If Smith didn't observe the evidence collection by Malphurs, that's all the more reason to find it almost unbelievable that Malphurs didn't prepare a written report.

Unless other evidence comes out, I think the button was pinned to the hoodie, just as several people stated.

Offline MJW

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Re: The Button and the Headphones
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2013, 01:50:50 PM »
Unless other evidence comes out, I think the button was pinned to the hoodie, just as several people stated.

One thing I do wonder about is why Malphurs would remove a button pinned to the hoodie. That seems like a poor choice, given that the button was said to be near the bullet hole, and therefore the button location might be significant. Also, why is there no report of the button being tested for DNA?

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: The Button and the Headphones
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2013, 06:51:45 PM »
One thing I do wonder about is why Malphurs would remove a button pinned to the hoodie. That seems like a poor choice, given that the button was said to be near the bullet hole, and therefore the button location might be significant.

My feeling is exactly the opposite. To me it seems obvious the button should be removed and bagged separately.

The location would be recorded photographically.

Offline MJW

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Re: The Button and the Headphones
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2013, 08:11:03 PM »
My feeling is exactly the opposite. To me it seems obvious the button should be removed and bagged separately.

The location would be recorded photographically.

I didn't say it should have been bagged with the hoodie. I don't think it should have been removed in the field. It should have been left pinned on the hoodie until after the hoodie was taken off of Martin, and both sides photographed. And no matter when it was removed, it should have been tested for DNA and firearm residue.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: The Button and the Headphones
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2013, 08:36:25 PM »
If the headphones were on the ground beside Martin, Smith wouldn't have had to wait for Malphurs; she would seen them

If they were close to the body, they would have been under the blanket.

80/184, unredacted 13/29
Quote
I arrived on scene at approximatly 1955 hours and met with Officer Ayala and Officer Mead who briefed me on the scene. . . . I walked through the scene with the officers and they pointed out items of evidence . . . the victim's body that was covered by a yellow medical blanket . . .

Martin was pronounced about 7:30. It seems likely the body would have been covered by the time CST Smith arrived around 7:55. Her report indicates it was covered when she first inspected the scene.

Sgt. Raimondo covered the body (16/184).

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: The Button and the Headphones
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2013, 10:39:59 PM »
I didn't say it should have been bagged with the hoodie. I don't think it should have been removed in the field.

Sorry, I'm being a little slow on this. I see what you mean now. The button could have been left in place, and collected at the ME's office, like the watch. As to whether it should have been, you may be right. I don't feel qualified to have an opinion.

Looking over the reports, I noticed that CST Smith traveled to Volusia County to pick up the items collected there. Her report doesn't say she logged them in, but it's likely she would have, to keep the chain of custody short. So, items collected at the ME's office were tagged ME, regardless of who logged them in. The items Smith brought from the scene were tagged DMS, even when they were collected by Malphurs.

I'm not saying this is good or bad. I'm just trying to keep track.

 

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