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Skip to comments.Deliberations Resume Friday, 8-9-02 In Trial Of David Westerfield (VERDICT WATCH CONTINUES!)
Posted on 08/08/2002 10:18:48 PM PDT by FresnoDAEdited on 04/29/2004 2:00:58 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) --A San Diego jury began deliberations Thursday in the trial of David Westerfield, accused of kidnapping and killing 7-year-old Danielle van Dam.
The panel of six men and six women adjourned for the day without reaching a verdict. It is set to resume deliberations Friday.
(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...
Dusek reminded jurors that the girl's blood was found on a jacket that Westerfield took to a dry cleaner two days after she vanished.
"This is the smoking gun ... Danielle's blood on that jacket," he said pointing to a photograph of the blue, hooded coat. He said the defense had been unable to offer an explanation for the evidence.
Dusek ended by telling jurors that if by some miracle Danielle could be brought back to tell the court who killed her, she would say, "I've already told you. I told you with my hair and where you found it. I told you with the orange fiber that you found on my choker and where you found it. I told you with the blue fibers that were on my naked body and where you found them. I told you with my fingerprints, and I told you with my blood. Please listen."
In closing arguments Wednesday, defense lawyer Steven Feldman said it was "absurd" to suggest Westerfield could have entered the van Dam home and taken the girl without being caught or leaving physical evidence. Westerfield, a businessman with two college-age children, had no motive to assault Danielle.
Feldman argued expert testimony proved Danielle's body couldn't have been dumped before Feb. 12, when Westerfield already was under constant police surveillance. He suggested a third party was involved, noting that a fingerprint found in the home and a hair found on the body were never identified.
Danielle was last seen alive on Feb. 1 when her father put her to bed in their two-story home in suburban northern San Diego. After a massive search, the girl's nude body was found on Feb. 27 along a rural road east of San Diego.
The trial, which began on June 4, saw Feldman argue that the lifestyle of Danielle's parents, which included marijuana use and spouse-swapping, exposed their family and home to a number of people who might be responsible for the girl's disappearance.
"We don't blame the parents," Feldman said Tuesday. "We don't think they recognized the dangers of the lifestyle they led."
The trial captivated much of San Diego, with local television and radio stations broadcasting gavel-to-gavel coverage and talk-radio programs delving into minute details of the case and speculation about the van Dam family and Westerfield.
Jurors heard testimony from more than 100 witnesses -- from friends who partied with Danielle's mother, Brenda, the night of the abduction to several entomologists who spoke at length about how bugs found on the body indicated a range of potential times of death.
Prosecutors also called Westerfield's 18-year-old son, Neal, to testify after a defense witness suggested the college student owned some of the pornography seized from the defendant's home.
The son admitted looking at pornography on the Internet but said the thousands of images, including some that contained minors and violence, on computer discs belonged to his father.
Brenda van Dam and her husband, Damon, testified early in the trial about their marijuana use the night their daughter disappeared and previous extramarital sex. But the parents, and prosecutors, asserted their conduct was not relevant to Danielle's death.
After concluding their testimony, the van Dams watched the trial with friends from the rear of the courtroom, looking down when details of their daughter's death or their lifestyle arose. Reporters at the trial said Westerfield appeared impassive throughout the proceeding.
The jury could come back with a verdict at any time. Watch NBC 7/39 for the latest information on the case, and sign up for NBCSandiego breaking news e-mails.
I have no problem with Westerfield being convicted. If he's guilty I want him to fry and rot in hell. I just want to be comfortable that he's the perp, not some sicko family friend that nobody's caught on to yet.
I did a little experament the other day. I've been looking into purchasing a new still camera. One of the things I've been checking out has been sample photos from different cameras. As I checked out the camera sample shots, I clicked on a link that took me to a Japanese site. As I looked at the photos, I noticed some rather young looking women. Someone had said that the Japanese dabble in very young girls participating in porn. I decided to see if I could find evidence of it. I spent about one hour clicking links and looking around.
I did find some young looking women. They looked like they could have been as young as fifteen or sixteen. My guess is they were of age but looked a few years younger. I didn't find anything way over the line. But after I was done looking around, I decided to check my system.
I went to the cache directory of my browser and reviewed what I found there. In that 45 minutes to one hour I had picked up between 50 and 75 photos in the cache. Now if I were into this type of thing, it wouldn't take but a few months before I'd have literally thousands of these types of photos in that cache. I'm sure I didn't even focus on about 75% of the small photos and icons I picked up. But if someone were reviewing my hard drive, they'd be convinced that I was drooling over each little photo as I went along. Heh heh heh, lets just state for the record that what the Japanese photographers seemed to think was sensual, wasn't exactly what I think is sensual. When I was done I expunged my cache of any possibly questionable icons or graphics.
The point is, it wouldn't take long at all to have literally thousands of these small photos. If I spent one hour a month over a few years I'd have many many such photos. Someone could make the case that I was fixated on these shots, focusing on the worst ones they could find. And I wouldn't have any defense that anyone would reasonably believe.
Well, this may not mean much to some people. Others will know what I'm trying to say. Appearances can be very decieving. Making a bonified case out of questionable material can be very misleading. I have no way of knowing if Westerfield is as bad as he is portrayed to be. He may be. I'm not convinced.
May the guilty party fry. Westerfield or not.
When I was a snot nosed kid about 35 years ago, I got involved in some petty theft. One night a friend and I picked a lock and walked into a room with four adults waiting for the same perps who had already been pilfering items. We weren't them, but these guys were certain that we were.
I picked the lock. As a young kid I learned how to pick the easist of locks, the older ones. It was mostly the idea that I could figure it out and do it that drove me. On this night I picked a really old door lock. Most old timers know how easy the old time door locks were to pick. The old wing of the school had ancient fixtures. The new wing had modern Sladge locks. I didn't know them from Adam, but these guys were convinced that if I could pick on, I could pick all.
The mentality behind the Westerfield photos seems like the same thing to me. Westerfield has lots of photos, thereby he's a perve. Sure he's had that computer for a couple of years, but he just had to be a full time porno abuser. They were positive.
From my own experience I have seen how some investigators jump to conclusions. Yes the data seems to confirm what they say it does. But alternate explanations also do. Westerfield may have used the computer in the day, his son at night. Who knows which of them accumulated the majority of the pictures. A young kid with raging hormones could have responsible for most of it. In one evening he could have easily downloaded 500 small photos without hitting the download key once.
I don't know. I'm just not as comfortable with the public prosecutor's explanations as I'd like to be. So much for that.
Take care. BTW, I hope you uncover enough material to slam the door on homosexuals who prey on school kids.
From the trial evidence, I conclude his interest was more than inadvertent image retention, from web-surfing.
I do not contend that mere possession or pornography, alone, makes one a suspect for rape or murder.
The prosecution contends that DAW's possession of illegal minor-child pornography, suggests his interest in young girls, and obviously, he is being tried for the murder of one.
If DAW is in fact an innocent man, he is the "victim" of a series of highly unlikely circumstances. It is more likely he is guilty. The jury is made up of the only people who's opinions matter.
Apparently the images viewed by the jury showed a young girl being raped. Those images belonged to DAW, according to his son. That cannot help but impact the jury.
Your example, about surfing Japanese camera sites gives you an explanation, for images on your computer, should a girl become missing from your neighborhood.
Feldman did not, IMO, offer the jury a reason for not considering this harmful evidence, against his client.
At this point, I'd say Feldman did fairly well, with what he had to work with (not exceptionally well). Dusek did fairly well, muddying the bug evidence, which was the best defense available.
I wonder if at some point he tells why he did it. Sometimes they do.
I would have to disagree with you here. When I back up my computer, I use CDs. I also back up almost everything. I don't distinguish between pictures I might like, and those I might not like. It all gets backed up on cds. If I had gotten some porn popups or the like on my drive, most likely they would have been backed up on my cds, not because I wanted to keep them, but because I'm fairly lazy as computer users go. Some people back up on zip disks--Westerfield also had zip disks. I do not necessarily assume what was on the cds and zip disks were there because he wanted to keep those images.
Or, how about some other choices? 1. The explanation, even if innocent, would have sounded so lame to (especially) non-computer savvy jurors that it would have made him look even more guilty (your narrative, for instance, might have lots of people snickering and saying, "oh yeah, that's the ticket, it was all innocent, snicker wink nudge..."); 2. he honestly didn't know about the child porn, because it had been downloaded (and when you browse an image, you download it--it's in your cache) by his son in secret.
After seeing some pedophile cases here in Oklahoma, I'm convinced that if he had a bonafide interest in having sex with children, there would have indeed been a mountain of evidence--on his computer, and in hardcopy. Recent cases here have shown LE carting away boxes piled upon boxes of the pictures and magazines, and loading them into the back of trucks the size of regular U-Haul moving trucks. The computers were loaded down with thousands and thousands of not only pictures, but emails with others of like mind. They like to share stories with one another, apparently, along with pictures.
None of this ever appeared with DW. I find that troubling. Under 100 images, most of which had been (apparently) immediately erased--this does not suggest a man who's really sexually interested in children. If the original figure we all saw had been valid--and it wasn't--68,000 child porn images--that would have been more in line with the computer of a pedophile.
My thoughts in a similar vein struck a chord with some others on last evenings thread. See my post found on the previous thread at #638 and response comments at #643, #661, #718, and #730. There may more than a just few men who think that this may be a horrible mistake on the part of the police, but we don't know for sure, do we?
The spam pop-ups literally froze the computer, but they kept running a loop amongst themselves. Couldn't get back to Google, couldn't get to my task-bar screen, couldn't even Control-Alt-Delete to shut down those VanDam things. I had to turn off the computer and run scan-disk just to get back to the internet. I'm willing to bet money, though, that I now have "INCEST!! Click here for more!" websites stored on my hard drive, along with the accompanying pictures from that ad page. Help!
P.S. Irony of it all...the software program I was looking for info about when I clicked on that link was firewall program Zone Alarm! Have now downloaded ZA from their website and have it running in conjunction with WindowsXP's firewall.
1. Greg, show me incontrovertible proof that Danielle van Dam was abducted,...by anyone. You can't!
2. Greg, show me incontrovertible proof that David Westerfield entered the van Dam home on the night of Danielle's disappearance. You can't.
3. Greg, show me incontrovertible prooof that Danielle van Dam was abducted from her home by David Westerfield. You can't.
4. Greg, show me incontrovertible proof that Danielle van Dam was murdered (keeping in mind it's always possible she died accidently either at her home or elsewhere.) You can't.
Westerfield may indeed be guilty, but the burden of proof was on your boy Dusek, and he didn't deliver,...at least to my satisfaction.
If perchance the jury finds him guilty I think it may be a sign of the rampant hysteria sweeping the country in the wake of several well publicized abductions and murders. That is not to say parents don't have a right to be concerned. We do. But convicting a man on such scant evidence would be, in my opinion, a rush to judgement in a climate of protective fervor.
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