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Westerfield's Fate In Hands Of Jury: VERDICT WATCH BEGINS in Van Dam Murder Case
CourtTV ^ | August 8, 2002 | CourtTV

Posted on 08/08/2002 10:28:37 AM PDT by FresnoDA


Jury's hands
After two months of hearing evidence, jurors have begun deliberating the fate of David Westerfield, who is accused of kidnapping and killing 7-year-old Danielle van Dam

TOPICS: Society
KEYWORDS: daniellevandam; davidwesterfield
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To: small_l_libertarian
Don't have any idea where it was, but there has been talk that it was stored in the motorhome.(The green jacket with blood from Danielle)

Again, IF it was stored in the MH, surely Neal could have been asked to verify that. If that were so, it COULD have been raised, to go along with the defense's contention that Danielle got into the MH at another time.

That would STRENGTHEN such a contention, IF the jacket were routtinely stored in the MH.

So did Feldman miss this, or is it the FACT that the jacket was NOT routinely stored in the MH, and therefore Neal couldn't have truthfully testified as such?

So did Feldman miss this (jacket stored in MH), or is the truth damaging to his client (jacket NOT stored in the MH)?

701 posted on 08/08/2002 11:12:33 PM PDT by truth_seeker
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To: Spunky
Interesting that apparently Det. Ott used the same dry cleaners and the clerk acknowledged he came in but she didn't recall discussing the case with him.
Another detective had the receipt and checked four local dry cleaners looking for the right one, and didn't get a search warrant till the next day.

Also the jacket is described as a sport jacket, from what I saw it looked more like a windbreaker, ski jacket or cold weather jacket. Sports jacket is same as sport coat or blazer. Clerk did not recall anything about the jacket, other than it was a sport jacket. Of course the PD described the jacket he picked up , but could it have been a mix up? The name on the other items was mixed up and had to be corrected. Was something else cleaned in the same batch that had danielle's blood on it? Since the clothes came back with stains could the filter have been dirty? Transference?

Heat is usually used to take out wrinkles,finishing it, I had thought a test would be done by the defense to see if the dna would survive dry cleaning, however perc is not supposed to degrade it by itself.
702 posted on 08/08/2002 11:21:23 PM PDT by rolling_stone
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To: small_l_libertarian
This is not my theory,please follow back posts as I was responding to someone,my point was if the bugs work against Westerfield they work against the Van Dams but please go back and read back posts.
703 posted on 08/08/2002 11:23:21 PM PDT by fatima
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To: fatima
704 posted on 08/08/2002 11:34:45 PM PDT by calawah98
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To: small_l_libertarian
Why would they keep it a secret that she was missing but call 911 in the moring
705 posted on 08/08/2002 11:42:38 PM PDT by fatima
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To: Green
The questions you are asking about the defense addressing the DNA is the only thing that really has me puzzled about Feldman. I have wondered over and over why the defense put up nothing against the DNA testing. He had no DNA experts on to counter the prosecutions DNA tests (or if he did, I do not remember them).

The reason for that is most likely that there was nothing Feldman thought her could do with that evidence, so he simply left it alone. Which is the best thing to do.

Remember, the defense doesn't need to prove their client is innocent; it only needs to raise a reasonable doubt about the client's guilt.

In the course of doing so, you contravert or call into question every item of evidence that you reasonably can, but you also keep in mind that everything you touch, you effectively put a spotlight on. That's good if you can do somthing with it; but it's bad if you can't. Very bad. It makes your case look weaker.

How Feldman "dealt with" the DNA evidence was by ignoring it and countering it the bug evidence. That, imo, was a good tactic.

Again, his goal is to create doubt in the minds of the jurors. I think he did a respectable job of attempting to do that.

One more thing to keep in mind here, is that -- unlike the prosecution -- the defense has limited resources to draw upon. It needs to spend its money efficiently. It can't hire every expert in the world in order to try to counter everything. In this case, hiring bug experts looks like it was a better strategy than hiring DNA experts would have been. We'll see,

The DNA evidence, on its own, even if damning, is (probably) not sufficient to establish guilt in the mind of a reasonable person. Not in the presence of other evidence that is exculpatory.

706 posted on 08/08/2002 11:45:36 PM PDT by The Other Harry
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To: CedarDave
707 posted on 08/08/2002 11:56:53 PM PDT by fatima
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To: crystalk
Apparently her panties were in immed assoc with the pjs and obviously had been worn by her on the night in question. There was a substantial body-fluid stain in the crotch of these panties, not blood, urine, or feces. It was indicative of a vaginal discharge. [That in turn in a 7-yr-old is often taken as evidence of molestation.]

It was THIS STAIN which was used as the basis for all later determination of Danielle's DNA being found here or there, blood or whatever.

In theory, if these panties could have been someone else's, or the vaginal discharge someone else's, the whole thing could have been fooled.

Interesting post. Thanks!

708 posted on 08/09/2002 12:09:43 AM PDT by The Other Harry
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To: Jaded
Jade get all of it out even if you have to use other means
709 posted on 08/09/2002 12:12:11 AM PDT by fatima
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Kinda explains her running away, sleeping in the boy's room, piling her bed with stuffed animals, writing things like "BEING HURT, WANT TO TELL" in her DIARY.

Would someone happen to have a link to her diary entries?


710 posted on 08/09/2002 12:15:22 AM PDT by The Other Harry
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To: Green
I thought DW told LE about his trip to the drycleaners during his interview with them when he was giving him his timeline of activities that day. Only thing is, he only mentioned one trip at first then later it was discovered he actually made 2 drop offs of items to the cleaners that day.

This is the sort of thing that can be easily confused during even honest testimony / interviews.

To wit: In the course of recounting what you did on a particular day, you say, "I went to the dry cleaners." You omit the fact that you went there twice, but that doesn't seem important at the time. You're basically telling the cops what you did that day.

711 posted on 08/09/2002 12:21:30 AM PDT by The Other Harry
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To: connectthedots
Until you have been confronted face to face with the corrupt judges and attorneys who treat the courts as their personal playground where they think they can do whatever the hell they want, you can't possibly imagine just how bad it is. I've been facing it for the last four years, but in the end, which is coming soon, a lot of those SOBs are going to the federal pen.

Jim Traficant, is that you???

712 posted on 08/09/2002 12:27:03 AM PDT by TexKat
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To: Uni-Poster
Wearing that orange vest?

Orange vest, there were orange fibers found on Daniell's body that supposedly the prosecution could not determine where they came from.

713 posted on 08/09/2002 12:38:19 AM PDT by TexKat
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To: All
This has probably already been discussed before, but...

Is anyone else bothered by the fact that DW is 49 y.o. and has only had one previous conviction for a DUI? Yet he is now accused of this crime?

Iirc from what I've read about pedophiles, that is something that is typcially established fairly early in life. At least it would be it it were this exteem and violent.

If DW is this kind of guy, there should be trails and indicators -- and I don't simply mean deleted pictures on his computer. Something more tangible than that. Getting conspicuously friendly with the local children, for instance -- which he apparently has no history of doing.

The alternative explanation that comes to mind, is that DW got into a drunken rage that night, saw an opportunity to engage in a kink that he'd previously managed to repress, and things got totally out of hand from there.

The problem I have with that is the lack of more forensic evidence. In my mind, this would be the the sort of person who would leave more than a drop or two of DNA behind. He'd leave a mess that nobody could ever clean up.

Just thinking...

714 posted on 08/09/2002 12:43:18 AM PDT by The Other Harry
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To: Green
It could very well be that the judge was very careful about allowing any testimony that would point at the parents. In fact, the way he sustained objections made by Dusek during Feldman's cross of the parents and other witnesses, it was very apparent he was allowing very little, if any, testimony get in that would have pointed any finger the parent's direction. We do not know that the defense did not want to call this person as a witness.

Yes, and see, this is a problem.

From what little I know about criminal trials, the defense *must* be allowed to present alternative theories for how the crime occured, so long as they're not unreasonable. Mudd seems to have refused to allow this. If he did, that creates yet one more basis for the appeal of a conviction.

715 posted on 08/09/2002 12:50:10 AM PDT by The Other Harry
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To: The Other Harry
Feldman brought out in his closing argument that there was other hand or fingerprints on the Van Dam stairwell that the prosecution said that Westerfield was excluded from but claims that they did not have time to examine to see if they belong to a Van Dam family member or perhaps someone else.
716 posted on 08/09/2002 1:02:57 AM PDT by TexKat
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To: lurkfree
I wouldn't want to be in the jurors shoes right now.

Then how about being in Westerfield's black boots that he was supposedly wearing the night Daniell came up missing and that the prosecutors say they can't find.

717 posted on 08/09/2002 1:16:29 AM PDT by TexKat
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To: CedarDave
And one final thought, and one that scares me more than anything, more than the Van Dams, etc. And that is that DW may be just a middle aged man, single now, who thought he might have some fun with a "swinger" (BVD), who had some porn on his computer (maybe some of it barely illegal), who is nice to kids but didn't molest little girls (or boys), who for the most part was minding his own business, but through coincidence and circumstance has been drawn into being charged with a terrible crime and may pay for it with his life. Now more than a few of us out in FReeper land are male and single now, live and work in the community, but don't have a family nearby (including myself), and could have something similar happen to us through circumstance. That is what really freightens me, and I imagine more than a few normal men in my situation, in this politically correct mad society, watch and are careful how we act and what we do so that we do not find ourselves being accussed of actions we have not done such that we might find ourselves in the position that DW is in. Assuming, of course, that he's innocent.

That was a spooky post.

You pretty much just drew my profile to a tee there.

718 posted on 08/09/2002 1:28:20 AM PDT by The Other Harry
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To: mouser
"otherwise the body fluids would leak and draw bugs if in old refreg of freezer the seal would have to be perfect to keep bugs out "

as Jaded has asked - WHERE did her body decompose? I have seen no evidence that it happened at the site, as far as I can gleen from the transcripts - there was no human matter in the soil beneath the body. The only "oily marks" I have seen attested to are the drag marks from the entrails. Anyone wish to enlighten me?

719 posted on 08/09/2002 1:55:05 AM PDT by CAPPSMADNESS
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To: The Other Harry
The van Dam /Westerfield case has been like turning over a rock. In the case of Westerfield we see a somewhat lonely middle aged man, probably entering the twilight of his libido, accused of a hideous crime. On the other hand, the van Dams seem to be embroiled in a network of sex contacts, drugs and risky behaviour.

I would not be surprised if the behavour the van Dams have tried to hide is yet a cover for even more bizarre activities.

Is anything known about the religious beliefs of the van Dams and their friends? Are they merely hedonists, or does their world view extend to belief in the supernatural, perhaps even witchcraft?

It has always seemed like these people are like wild animals, and require constant supervision to avoid embarasing themselves and their benefactors. They seem to have a natural propensity to low-tact interaction with Westerfield's associates. Witness the crude intimidation of DW's real estate agent and attorney Feldman's mother.

If the van Dams are part of a "coven", and if the secrecy of the members must be maintained at all cost, would it not make sense for "handlers" to appear out of nowhere (like they did) to draw a cordon for damage control and to influence the widest possible range of forces to ensure that the crime was pinned on the most likely innocent?

720 posted on 08/09/2002 1:59:10 AM PDT by Kerensky
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