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“Road Rage” Murder Trial: Witness Provides Confusing, Mistaken Testimony

“Road Rage” Murder Trial: Witness Provides Confusing, Mistaken Testimony

Witness identifies caucasian Adam Pidel as an African-American, mistakes 30 feet distance for 50 feet

Our next piece of evidence from the Joseph Walker trial is the transcribed interview of another witness who drove by the shooting scene. As per SOP his name has been redacted. Because this transcript was attached as Exhibit H to the defense’s recent motion to dismiss the charges against Walker, I will refer to him as Mr. H.

The interview was again conducted by the Maryland State Police’s Lead Investigator on this case, Trooper First Class (TFC) Myles Roy, this time on June 9, 2013, the day after the shooting. Also present was Maryland State Police Detective Sergeant Steve Hall.

It appears that Mr. H may have observed the encounter from the southbound off-ramp of I-97. In this image the northbound on-ramp on which Walker and Harvey engaged is enclosed in a white box, and the off-ramp it appears Mr. H may have been traveling down is enclosed in a red box.

Witness I viewing of Joseph Walker shooting of Joseph Harvey

At the start of the interview TFC Roy notes that he is already in possession of an earlier statement from Mr. H, as well as from Mr. H’s wife. They were each traveling past the scene in separate cars, with Mr. H in the lead and his wife several car lengths behind.

Mr. H describes coming upon the scene:

Mr. H: As I got onto the on ramp, I saw two cars pulled over. And the first thing that struck me was how far apart they were. It didn’t seem like it was an accident, like either they knew each other and they were pulled down because one broke down.

Harvey Within 50 Feet of Minivan, Aggressive, Gesturing

Mr. H: I saw the man walking from the Honda back towards the minivan. And he was probably about 50 feet from the minivan. And he was walking in an aggressive manner, gesturing…  he was gesturing like he was talking to the guy either – and I figured they were friends and they were kidding around or something bad was going to happen. I just had a feeling, when I see a guy approaching another guy, doing that kind of body language, it wasn’t going to end good.

Witness Sees Moment When Harvey Shot by Walker

Mr. H: As I was approaching and going by, I had a clear view to my left – as I was traveling up the off ramp. And the last thing I saw [Harvey] do was kind of motioning with his arms. And he reached down to his pant leg and –can I show you? I’ll stand up and show you. It was just strange. He was walking towards the guy like this. And he did something like this, like grabbed his pant leg or something.

Mr. H lost sight of the scene as he continued up Rt. 3 towards Veteran’s Highway . He noted, however, that he could see by his wife’s headlights in the car behind him that she had pulled over.

Det. Hall: How far, when you started approaching the scene, how far was your wife behind you at that point?

Mr. H: Ten, 20 car lengths. I was driving slow, kind of waiting for her to gradually catch up with me. And she had just gotten to where I knew for sure that that was her behind me.

Detective Hall is explicitly interested in this part of Mr. H’s testimony, believing it will better inform the investigation of the nature of the shots fired.  This line of questioning never seems all that helpful–if anything, it confuses things.

Det. Hall: That’s important to us, because we have some information about how the shots went off. So the timing of it is important.

Mr. H: So she pulled over there. I pulled over to try to call her. And she was on the phone with 911. So it took me, you know, five tries. I finally got through to her. And she was pretty hysterical.

Mr. H: The driver of the minivan was standing next to the minivan.

Det. Hall: Did you get a look at him as to what he looked like, race?

Mr. H: He was wearing a — it looked like a camouflage t-shirt and shorts, as well. Khaki colored.

The observation that Walker was wearing shorts is obviously not very consistent with Trooper Henry’s inference that Walker may have been carrying his pistol in an ankle holster. This witness’ testimony only goes on to get more confusing, however.

Witness Characterizes Caucasian Adam Pidel as African-American

Mr. H: And there was a passenger out of the vehicle, the Honda. There was a passenger standing next to the passenger’s side of the Honda.

Det. Hall: Okay. Do you have a description of him?

Mr. H: He – I think he was African-American. And, I don’t know, 5’ 9”, wearing shorts, as well. [In fact, Harvey’s passenger, Adam Pidel, is Caucasian.]

Det. Hall: The passenger meaning the Honda?

Mr. H: Yeah.

Moderate Traffic May Have Impeded Ability of Walker to Reverse Minivan

Mr. H also notes that traffic was moderate at the time—a fact that could have implications for Walker’s ability to retreat from the conflict by driving his minivan backwards along the shoulder, away from Harvery.

TFC Roy: What was traffic like at that time?

Mr. H: Moderate. It wasn’t real heavy, but it wasn’t –

TFC Roy: It was light.

Mr. H: It was kind of moderate traffic.

Witness Describes the Moment It Appears Harvey Was Shot in Leg

TFC Roy: The gentleman from the Honda is walking –

Mr. H: South.

TFC Roy: — almost towards you before you split off.

Mr. H: Correct. Yeah.

TFC Roy: And you see him walking aggressively. Now, when you described that he grabbed his leg, do you know which leg he grabbed?

Mr. H: His right leg, his pant leg. I just – because it was a strange thing to see. They were clearly communicating. And the way the guy was, he was kind of animated in his movements.

Harvey’s Demeanor Aggressive . . . but Also As If Buddies with Walker?

Det. Hall: That’s what I’m asking you. You said aggressively, he was walking in an aggressive manner. What do you mean by that?

Mr. H: Well, if it was me and one of my buddies, and I was walking like that, I would have been saying something like what’s your problem, don’t you know the direction. You know, if got lost or if he ran out of – you know, don’t you know how to buy gas or something like that, did you forget, that kind of thing. So it was, like I said, it was animated as if –

Det. Hall: His hands were moving His –

Mr. H: His hands were moving as if he was talking. And I thought maybe they were buddies, and they had been traveling together.

Harvey Described As Walking At a Normal Pace

Det. Hall: How fast was he moving towards the van?

Mr. H: He wasn’t running. He was just walking, like walking at a normal rate.

No Weapons Were Observed

Det. Hall: Did you see – was he holding anything in his hands?

Mr. H: I didn’t see anything in his hands, no. Don’t know if he had anything, but I didn’t see anything.

Pidel  Back At Honda, Walker Seen Waiting for Harvey “To Get There”

TFC Roy: And where was this second guy [Adam Pidel] this entire time?

Mr. H: Passenger side of the Honda. He was either at the door – I think the passenger door was open, if I recall. He was either standing next to the Honda or sitting with his legs out.

TFC Roy: Now, was he making any kind of mannerisms or gestures?

Mr. H: I didn’t pay too much attention to him.

TFC Roy: What about the guy with the van? What were his mannerisms like?

Mr. H: He was – he’s just moving slowly. I don’t know whether – like I said, I don’t know if he was standing still or in front of or in back of the door. He wasn’t moving towards the guy.

Det. Hall: But he wasn’t gesturing with his hands.

Mr. H: No.

Det. Hall: He was just kind of – how would you describe the way he was standing there?

Mr. H: Like he was waiting for this guy to get there so they could finish whatever they were talking about.

Witness’ Wife Observed Walker Raise Pistol, Shoot Harvey

Mr. H: Like standing, waiting. I can repeat what [my wife] said to me.

Det. Hall: What did she say?

Mr. H: She said she saw [Walker] raise both hands and heard pop pop and saw the guy drop. She said he didn’t stagger, didn’t do anything. He just dropped. And she was – she was pretty shook up. She wondered how can somebody do that to the other.

Witness States Harvey “Grabbed Pant Leg” ~30 Feet from Minivan

TFC Roy: How close were [Walker and Harvey] when [Harvey] grabbed his pant leg.

Mr. H: About 50 feet, I’m guessing, probably – maybe the length of this room?

TFC Roy: Okay. This is probably 30 feet.

The Mysterious Disappearing White Toyota Pick-up

Mr. H also makes reference to a mysterious white Toyota pickup truck that he says was parked in front of Harvey’s Honda at some point. The pickup left before the arrival of police, however, and that line of questioning never really goes anywhere.

Here’s the transcript of the interview:

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–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.

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Comments

Looks like this is shaping up to be an acquittal or a compromise verdict (otherwise known as lesser included charges).

    Ragspierre in reply to platypus. | March 15, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Chief Gillespie: “I got the motive which is money and the body which is dead.”

    I don’t see where the hell you get an acquittal, except as a matter of faith.

    tom swift in reply to platypus. | March 15, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    I can’t say I see acquittal becoming more likely. Despite the obvious errors in Mr H’s account, it could be hard to make this go away – “She said she saw [Walker] raise both hands and heard pop pop and saw the guy drop.” No mention of warning, no opportunity for Harvey to desist or retreat. This is a description of an execution. We’ll have to wait to see if the wife herself gives a similar statement.

      Phillep Harding in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      A gunshot is a bit louder than a voice, and easier to hear over traffic noise.

      And, if she was approaching from behind Walker while driving a car, she would have been ever further away and behind him if he gave a verbal, so even less likely to be able to hear Walker.

      My CCW training is to pull the firearm, bring to aim, and shoot. What you would miscall “execution”.

      Hmmm. Except that most bad guys react fast enough to turn and run when they see someone pulling a firearm.

      Toxicology report on Harvey?

        tom swift in reply to Phillep Harding. | March 15, 2014 at 4:21 pm

        My CCW training is to pull the firearm, bring to aim, and shoot.

        And after acting on this training, you’ve been acquitted by how many juries, exactly?

          Phillep Harding in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 9:10 pm

          Brought to aim twice, the bad guy turned and ran before I had to shoot. I reacted quickly enough to not fire.

          The instructions were given by a lawyer as part of the Alaska CCW class, and were to avoid brandishing and avoid speaking as anything I said could, and probably would, be used in a court of law as proof of a lack of need to draw the firearm. “Do not draw until the need is immediate. If you have time to give a verbal warning, that will be taken as proof you did not believe that the need was immediate.”

          I am not up on current case law, and it would vary by state anyhow.

          OTOH, your misuse of the word “execution” indicates either ignorance of what an execution is, or intellectual dishonesty.

          Snarkiness belies your objectivity. Biased and closed minds are seen so rarely on this site, you must have an interest in the outcome.

      Even though it was from his wife, Mr. H is engaging in hearsay and I suspect that will lower the overall value of his testimony. The state trooper should not have allowed him to go there. To do so tainted the prosecution’s case.
      Previously he interviewed two witnesses together. Is this degree of unprofessionalism an anomaly?

        Baker in reply to 49erDweet. | March 16, 2014 at 1:17 am

        Even though it was from his wife, Mr. H is engaging in hearsay and I suspect that will lower the overall value of his testimony. The state trooper should not have allowed him to go there. To do so tainted the prosecution’s case.

        I think this is a stretch. This is an interview not testimony in a trial. It would seem that the worst case might be that there could be a significant difference in what he says she told him and what she actually says in a statement or actual testimony. If that is the case then maybe his credibility and/or her credibility might be brought into question. If that taints the prosecution’s case then perhaps it should.

        I can think of many situations where an interview would might include ‘hearsay’ statements. An interview is part of an investigation and the purpose is to obtain information. Barring ‘hearsay’ from interviews would cripple the investigation process.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to platypus. | March 15, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    I would love to hear the trolls argument as to how acquittal looks more promising now than before this mans statement?

MouseTheLuckyDog | March 15, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Too bad the guy with what is probably the best vantage poiunt is such a dufus.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 15, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I actually think Mrs. H’s testimony would be better than Mr. H’s. But having a witness say that Pidel was behind Harvey back at the car when Harvey was already 50 feet ahead, isn’t doing much to help Walkers argument for reasonableness, it kind of upsets the whole multiple attacker disparity of force argument.

      Doesn’t it also contradict Pidel’s statement as to his own movements?

        Gremlin1974 in reply to 49erDweet. | March 16, 2014 at 2:35 am

        We don’t have Mrs. H’s yet do we? But Mr. H says he saw Pidel, whom he described as african-american a distance behind Harvery, and even says at one point he saw him still in the car with only his legs out. So Mr. H’s statement actually corroborates part of Pidel’s statement.

MouseTheLuckyDog | March 15, 2014 at 12:42 pm

What is Walker’s use of gun record in the police force like. It could play a big role.

My last question was why interview the witnesses together and now this time they interview the witnesses separate, why? Is it possible that the first witnesses were traveling in the same vehicle and the second couple are traveling in separate vehicles. I also am interested in why they would wait to interview the witnesses instead of interviewing the witnesses a day or days later after having a chance to influence or confuse each other? It’s not as if the police didn’t know that it was a fatal shooting and both had made calls to 911 at the time of the incident not called to inform the police that they had information after the fact!

    tom swift in reply to Merlin01. | March 15, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    It would take a while to locate witnesses. It’s not like the police can follow trails of bread crumbs from the ramp to the witness’s cars.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Merlin01. | March 15, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    In the case of the G’s, they called police a few days later.
    In this case though there is no excuse. The statement indicates that at least the wife was pulled over, but I seem to remember the husband too. Plus they had the wifes 911 call.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 15, 2014 at 5:37 pm

      They can be contacted later since 9-1-1 had their locate info. No need for Mrs. H to stay there and possibly get shot because she is a witness or to wait, possibly for an hour or more, to be interviewed.

    Phillep Harding in reply to Merlin01. | March 15, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Manpower.

    Baker in reply to Merlin01. | March 15, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I’m not sure why together in one situation and separate in another but your suggestion about them being in separate cars in this instance may be on point. These two actually witnessed different things at a different times.

    As to waiting, in this case the husband approached the police immediately after the incident and told them he and his wife were witnesses. The responding police (local) spoke to them and one would assume took a statement of some sort from each of them on the site. The interview here was conducted the next day by an MSP officer and Detective.

    Only the wife had called 911. There was really no need for the husband to call. It sounds as though the wife was only on the line with 911 for a short time because 911 informed her they were already handling calls from the location of the incident.

    It is just not practical or feasible to immediately ‘interview’ all witnesses in most situations. Police try to obtain ‘statements’ including contact information and then prioritize that information to determine further interviews and investigation.

      Merlin01 in reply to Baker. | March 15, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      Just so you know where I’m coming from on this subject. I spent the last 9 years training police officers and 911 communications personnel. While I didn’t train on these specific subjects. I find the way the LEA handled this incident appalling!

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Merlin01. | March 16, 2014 at 2:39 am

    I am confused. What witnesses were “Interviewed together”? I mean the statements on the side of the road, sure, its not like they have an interview room to go to. I may have just missed something.

      Baker in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 16, 2014 at 3:57 am

      I think the ‘two witnesses interviewed together’ refers to the couple that was interviewed in Exhibit G on June 13. They were in the same car and passed the scene just prior to the shooting. They did not realize there was a shooting until they heard it on the news later and then they contacted the MSP.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Baker. | March 16, 2014 at 7:16 pm

        Yea, for some reason I completely missed the post about Mr. and Mrs. G until late last night, thanks for helping get me back on track.

A.B. – could we have a sentence or two elaborating on “This line of questioning never seems all that helpful–if anything, it confuses things.”

It looks like Det. Hall is looking for all the detail he can get about what was going on right when the shots were fired, which was the vital moment when we want to see reasonable belief that Walker seemed about to suffer a serious attack. So how is that confusing?

Eyewitnesses who don’t know the people involved are notoriously bad at recalling details about a scene. This one remembers Harvey grabbing toward his pant leg, when it’s pretty clear that Walker is the one who drew from an ankle holster.

Despite the unreliability, juries tend to give a lot of weight to eyewitness testimony. I wonder if that mistaken recollection is enough to get to reasonable doubt?

    tom swift in reply to BrokeGopher. | March 15, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Harvey’s grabbing at his pants leg would have been when he caught the first bullet.

    Ragspierre in reply to BrokeGopher. | March 15, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Why is it not the moment Walker is mortally wounded?

    Remember; no good lawyer puts on a witness who will simply confuse issues.

    Baker in reply to BrokeGopher. | March 15, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Or it could be the moment he had a twinge of pain from an old knee injury from high school football and he reflexively reached down toward his knee.

    The point is the witness is relating what he saw or remembers. Maybe Harvey made that move, maybe not. This witness is not implying anything in the statement other than he saw Harvey make that move. He evidently demonstrated the move to the investigator but we don’t have that demonstration.

    Now if someone (prosecution or defense) later ties this to some specific issue like it was ‘evidence of a shot’ or ‘Harvey was (enter some accusation)’ then perhaps you would want to consider the credibility of that assumption or the assertions of this witness.

MouseTheLuckyDog | March 15, 2014 at 1:11 pm

I once crossed a one way four lane street when the light changed and I got hit by a bus in the third lane. ( Nothing serious. ) The driver said I took a step back, a witness said I stopped and leaned forward and then straightened. It wasn’t till two years later that I realized what happened.

The light changed, I’m hurrying. As I am almost clear of the bus, I look into the fourth lane, because anyone far back in that lane wouldn’t know I’m there. Sure enough there is someone in that lane. So I straighten up and try to figure out a way to let him know I’m there. Then bam I got hit.

The point of the story is that sometimes people do some unusual things as reactions to events and then forget the event until sometime later.

Harvey was gesticulating. Is it possible that something in his hand movement made Walker think that he was about to produce a weapon. That Walker then started firing but forgot the triggering incident?

    tom swift in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 15, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Harvey was gesticulating. Is it possible that something in his hand movement made Walker think that he was about to produce a weapon

    If a weapon was involved in Harvey’s approach, the gesticulating would be typical if it was a weapon requiring gross movements to be effective, such as a club or sword. A gun, probably not.

    Gesticulation without a weapon implies to me that Harvey was in a “Jeez, where did you learn to drive, what are you trying to do to me”-type mode, rather than a menacing or dangerous one. Though the Reasonable Man might read it differently.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      Gesticulation without a weapon implies to me that Harvey was in a “Jeez, where did you learn to drive, what are you trying to do to me”-type mode

      Except that it’s been generally accepted that Harvey was poiling for a fight. A guy spoiling for a fight is not in a ‘“Jeez, where did you learn to drive, what are you trying to do to me”-type mode’.

      They are more ina one finger salute making chocking motions. Grab your crotch sort of mode. You know the kind of motion that could be mistaken as reaching for a gun in your belt.

        tom swift in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 15, 2014 at 4:16 pm

        Except that it’s been generally accepted that Harvey was poiling for a fight. A guy spoiling for a fight is not in a ‘“Jeez, where did you learn to drive, what are you trying to do to me”-type mode’.

        That’s the point. If a witness statement implies that Harvey looked and acted as if he was in that mode, then maybe the assumption that he was “spoiling for a fight” is wrong.

        Ragspierre in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 15, 2014 at 4:51 pm

        You also have not seen a witness statement that suggests anything you are fantasizing.

        Not that that has been an impediment…

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 15, 2014 at 5:44 pm

        It seems Walker was spoiling for more than a fight.

Let the new post wars begin ! 🙂

Mr H says “And the first thing that struck me was… ”

Well, I suspect like most drivers, I’ve been past ‘vehicles pulled over to the side’ more times than I can count. And most often, I will notice some things – A)hot chicks, scantily clad if possible B) major vehicle damage. That’s about it. Barring any horizontal bodies, flames / smoke, etc, I’m not even gonna pay much attention to a couple of people standing around a couple of vehicles, etc.`

How is it these people seem to have such detailed memories ? It wasn’t an accident scene, no EMT’s etc, just a couple of vehicles pulled over a few hundred feet apart. My main concern as a passing motorist is a )don’t hit anyone, and B ) is there debris in the road to avoid ?.

It reminds me of some kind of test where you are shown a picture of ‘whatever’ – some everyday kind of scene, and asked to ‘hypothesize about what may be going on in it’.

IOW – bullshit. ‘Use your imagination and make up a story line’.

(The white guy Pidel) ..he was a black guy’. This is ‘trustworthy eye-witness testimony ???

    Ragspierre in reply to pjm. | March 15, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Some if it could be golden.

    Magic word of the day: corroboration.

    Let. Us. See.

    bildung in reply to pjm. | March 15, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Good points, pjm. These roadside accounts seem almost worthless, except to confirm that Harvey was advancing on Walker.

    So lets see, so far we’ve got Rachel Pidel lying his ass off about the whole gun scenario, the G’s pegging Walker at 6’6″, and this guy unable to tell a white from a black.

    Who’s the state going to put on the stand?

      Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      “pjm. These roadside accounts seem almost worthless, except to confirm that Harvey was advancing on Walker.”

      Oh, so the accounts are “almost worthless” except for the parts that you want to use from them, lol, seriously?

      We don’t need any extra witnesses to tell us that Harvey “advanced” on Walker. We know it happened. However, no the second witness who wasn’t involved has testified that Harvey was walking and not “bull rushing” Walker.

        bildung in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 15, 2014 at 4:58 pm

        I don’t want to use them. I don’t think they matter because they lack credibility.

        These are ‘drive by’ witnesses whose accounts seem frankly a bit specious and confirm nothing, unless they also ‘confirm’ that Walker is 6’6″ and that Rachel Pidel is black.

        I like that turn of phrase “witness who wasn’t involved”.

        That rather speaks to their value as witnesses, doesn’t it?

        And the one and only witness on Harvey’s side who was involved, Rachel Pidel, has lied himself into a corner on the gun issue and will be a disastrous witness, if he even testifies.

        That leaves only Walker’s account of the bull rush standing, with no one credible to contradict it.

        And he is due the presumption of innocence which you are denying him.

        Reasonable doubt all around.

          Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 5:03 pm

          The law provides the construct that Walker is innocent until proven guilty.

          It certainly DOES NOT accord him the least credibility as a default.

          More parody.

          bildung in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 5:29 pm

          Given the presumption of innocence, it seems that credibility would indeed accrue to Walker in the absence of any credible witnesses to the contrary.

          You’ve got to get something straight: I’m looking at this through the eyes of a citizen, not legal technician. You know, the kind of person that would sit on a jury and care very little for your code words and secret handshakes.

          As for parody, that would be your script below.

          Why do you want Walker so badly as to make a fool of yourself propping up an obvious liar like Pidel?

          Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 5:34 pm

          Why do you want to keep chanting the same bs about “an obvious lie” that would be apparent to anyone.

          Make it apparent.

          Because it sure isn’t apparent to me.

          Show how my little vignette is a parody.

          And, no, hun, Walker gets NO creds at trial. He has to earn them. Plus, on the bare facts, he killed an unarmed man. The state proves that just on what we all know. Now he has to convince the jury he was justified in doing that, and that is HIS burden.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm

          Walker shattered his own credibility beyond repair with his two widely different stories to dispatch and the investigator at the scene.

          His attorney would be insane to call him to the stand. He’s obviously not too bright and can’t think on his feet worth a damn.

          Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 5:58 pm

          I’d start from the assumption he is above average in intelligence.

          His problem might just be he is guilty of willfully killing Harvey without justification.

          Not saying he did. I sure looks bad to me.

          bildung in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 6:02 pm

          You said you were a lawyer?

          Walker doesn’t have to prove he was justified in killing an unarmed man.

          The state has to prove to a jury that Walker was not justified in killing an unarmed man, isn’t that right?

          Which will be difficult when your key witness is an obvious liar.

          It is simply not believable that Pidel would let Harvey confront an armed man in a manner likely to yield violence.

          That is ridiculous and counterintuitive on common sense grounds, and the jury will not buy it. I don’t think anyone but you and Swift are buying it.

          So if Pidel sticks with that, the jury will think him a liar.

          The only explanation is that Pidel and Harvey alike did know about the gun, but are/were depraved fools who sought a confrontation anyway.

          In order to escape this case breaker, Pidel has only the option of recanting the whole ‘believed he saw a gun’ line, in which case he will directly define himself as a liar in a way even you cannot obfuscate.

          This is not complicated and you see it clearly. Acceptance takes time.

          Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 6:16 pm

          “The state has to prove to a jury that Walker was not justified in killing an unarmed man, isn’t that right?”

          Um…no.

          You are not even being rational, much less convincing.

          It appears Walker’s defense is going for the “protection of third parties” defense.

          You don’t just get to intone that in court and then the state has to prove you were not protecting third parties. Read the case law. I have. It is a HARD, HARD defense in Maryland.

          Now, for the record, I am not vesting credibility in Pidel. What I have said, and say again, is that there is nothing to my mind that is an “obvious lie” about what he said. I’ve shown how that could…I stress COULD…look in trial testimony where he stands by his statement.

          I’ve challenged you or anybody here to present your dead-bang case that he’s a liar. You always revert to an attack on me, the “everyone knows” fallacy, and the “its just common sense fallacy”. Show me the interrogation you maintain is so easy.

          You can’t. And it is apparent.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 7:10 pm

          “I don’t want to use them. I don’t think they matter because they lack credibility.

          These are ‘drive by’ witnesses whose accounts seem frankly a bit specious and confirm nothing,”

          What is your criteria for credibility? These statements are no less credible, than any other eyewitness accounts. They also aren’t any less or more contradictory than most eye witness accounts. Everyone see’s any event from their own point of view. If you get 3 people that are telling the exact same story on every detail, that is rehearsed.

          “unless they also ‘confirm’ that Walker is 6’6″ and that Rachel Pidel is black.”

          So to be credible they do have to be exactly the same? Or is it just possible that one witness just sucks at judging peoples height? I actually have no idea what Pidel looks like, perhaps he is darker skinned and it was dusk, he might have looked african american in the dusk. I believe he did say he worked construction so its possible he is very tan.

          “I like that turn of phrase “witness who wasn’t involved”.

          That rather speaks to their value as witnesses, doesn’t it?”

          Actually, no it has no bearing on their value as witnesses. It simply means that they were eye witnesses to an event and not involved in the event.

          “And the one and only witness on Harvey’s side who was involved, Rachel Pidel, has lied himself into a corner on the gun issue and will be a disastrous witness, if he even testifies.

          That leaves only Walker’s account of the bull rush standing, with no one credible to contradict it.”

          I guess you missed Walkers conflicting statements? Which a prosecutor is going to use to try to convince a jury that he is guilty of Murder.

          “And he is due the presumption of innocence which you are denying him.”

          How? As far as I can remember I am the only one who has said openly that I thought Murder 1 was far overcharged and that I would even have trouble with Murder 2. Also, we aren’t discussing his innocence or guilt of murder, we are discussing whether or not it was a valid self defense shoot. I see some serious problems with the reasonableness of Walker shooting Harvey. I am not denying him anything, I am commenting on the evidence and testimony as it is presented.

          “Reasonable doubt all around.”

          I see enough so far to make be feel like this may be “imperfect self defense”, which basically means that Walker used more force than was necessary to defend himself.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 7:16 pm

          @Ragspierre

          “Now he has to convince the jury he was justified in doing that, and that is HIS burden.”

          Uhhh, not exactly, he has to produce enough evidence that it could have been self defense, then the state has to prove that it wasn’t. I think there is plenty of evidence that it could be self defense, even if it is imperfect.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 7:23 pm

          @bildung

          “In order to escape this case breaker, Pidel has only the option of recanting the whole ‘believed he saw a gun’ line, in which case he will directly define himself as a liar in a way even you cannot obfuscate.”

          First of all, not a “case breaker” even if he is proven to be a worse lair than Jim Carey in the movie “Liar Liar”. You also are not paying attention to what you are quoting, Pidel said he “believed he saw a gun” or what looked like a gun. I could be wrong but I don’t remember him saying with any surety that he absolutely saw a gun. So its really not that hard a hurdle to overcome. Also, he can always claim that due to his felony past he was afraid of being charged with a crime, I mean they did handcuff him and not the guy who had shot someone, so I think a decent lawyer could make that walk pretty well.

          Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 7:29 pm

          I could easily be wrong, not practicing criminal law anywhere, but especially not in Maryland, but…

          the defense is signaling a “defense of third parties” angle to get past the DTR provisions of Maryland law.

          That seems to me to be generally an “affirmative defense” in which the defendant has to show a pretty high standard of proof to even get a jury instruction, based on my (cursory) reading of Maryland case law.

          Maybe the “third party defense” can be supported by some…SOME…evidence, but I sure don’t see it. Assuming Harvey posed SOME threat to poor armed Walker, there is nothing suggesting he would go after Momma and the kiddies. Unless you are Buldung, or something…

          In most any state, what’s in evidence to support defense of others, as little as it is, would be enough to get the jury instruction.

          But MD is very tough on the burden of production relative to most states, at least in the context of the law of self-defense.

          I’d be astonished in any other state to see a defense of others instruction denied on these facts.

          Not so much in MD.

          But I still think he’ll get the instruction. His own wife and three small children. They’ll give it to him. Not like he’s coming to the rescue of a meth prostitute.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to bildung. | March 17, 2014 at 3:26 am

          Bildung, Walker is his own worst witness. He destroyed his own credibility with his changing stories. It’s not they differ in small details. It’s that they bear no resemblance to each other.

          He will be crucifed if he takes the stand. His wife may be his stand-in witness for what lead up to the vehicular confrontation, but she can’t testify to what was in Walker’s mind when he shot. And she also lied or dramatized to 9-1-1 what happened, “A police officer has been attacked.” Her few other remarks to 9-1-1 don’t suggest she’s much of a threat to the prosecution.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      Oh, the statement also corroborates Pidel’s assertion that he was a significant distance behind Harvey.

      Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Here, I’ll bring this up from the other thread, for your edification (HA!) and enjoyment…

      Let’s try a lil’ vignette, shall we…???

      Prosecutor’s direct, Pidel: What did you say about seeing a gun in your police statement made under oath immediately after your friend was shot and killed by Mr. Walker?

      Pidel: I said that I’d seen a gun pointed at us during one of the times we swapped positions with the van, as we were beside the van on the passenger side.

      Prosecutor: What makes you think that Mr. Harvey saw a gun at that time?

      Pidel: I don’t think he did see it. I don’t think he ever saw a gun until just before Walker killed him.

      Defense cross: You told the police you saw a gun, right?

      Pidel: Yes.

      Defense: But you want the jury to believe that you never mentioned that to your friend as you were both walking back to the Walkers’ car, is that right?

      Pidel: Yes,sir, that is true. I never told Joe about seeing the gun.

      Defense: That was a pretty important piece of information, don’t you think?

      Pidel: Yes, it was.

      Defense: But you never even mentioned it to your friend, right?

      Pidel: Right.

      Prosecutor redirect: Looking back on your failure to mention your sighting of a gun waved by the Defendant during the road-rage part of this incident, what are your thoughts on why you never mentioned the gun to Mr. Harvey?

      Pidel: I don’t know. I don’t know why I never mentioned it. I know I wish I had. I know that Joe might be alive right now. I guess I never thought anybody would just shoot Joe over this…just gun him down like that.

      Defense re-cross: The truth is you never saw a gun as you reported to the police, isn’t it?

      Pidel: No, sir. I did see a gun.

      Defense: But you want the jury to believe you never mentioned that essential fact to your friend, right?

      Pidel: That’s the truth. I can’t remember ever mentioning it to Joe.

      Defense: And you were walking up to a man with a gun, right?

      Pidel: Yes, sir. I was walking with Joe.

      Defense: What, you are not afraid of people with guns?

      Pidel: Depends. I know a lot of people with guns. They don’t kill people over nothing. I wasn’t thinking about a gunfight.

      Defense: But, again, you never mentioned the gun, knowing that might have changed what happened that day, if it was true, isn’t that correct?

      Pidel: Yes.

      Defense: And you can’t offer any reason for your failure, can you?

      Pidel: No, sir.

      Defense: I suggest you didn’t fail to tell your friend about any gun because you never saw a gun, isn’t that the real truth?

      Pidel: No, sir. I saw a gun, and I wish to God I’d warned Joe. But I just didn’t. I don’t know why not. I don’t think I’ll ever know. And now Joe is dead.

      Prosector: I have no further questions, Your Honor.
      ________________________________________

      Now, anybody can play along…

      Go for it, as Rocky Balboa said.

        bildung in reply to Ragspierre. | March 15, 2014 at 5:17 pm

        Knowing that the whole case can be won right then and there, I doubt defense counsel will press so gently as you script here.

        Knowing that Rachel Pidel is ripe to be picked, the defense will treat him to the forensic equivalent of a full court trap.

        Questions will be worded and sequenced in such ways as to suggest the notions of ‘absurd’ and ‘preposterous’ to the jury, leading to the inescapable characterization of Pidel’s testimony: lie.

        But even if it were so gentle as you present here, the result will be largely the same. Pidel’s deflections will not be credible to a sensible cross section of jurors.

        There is simply no way Rachel doesn’t come off looking like a liar.

        I don’t see how the state can use him. He’s going to have to recant the whole saw the gun business in an updated statement, so the state wont have to deal with Harvey as the sort of depraved fool who would assail an armed man.

        Because no one is going to believe Pidel didn’t tell him about the gun.

          Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 5:23 pm

          “Questions will be worded and sequenced in such ways as to suggest the notions of ‘absurd’ and ‘preposterous’ to the jury, leading to the inescapable characterization of Pidel’s testimony: lie.”

          Show us, big boy. Write the interrogation, don’t just keep chanting your bs about it being apparent he’s lying.

          Show us.

          MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 5:26 pm

          If Walker actually did keep his gun in an ankle holster, then there is no way he drew it to brandish during the road rage part.
          Not with three kids in the car.

          Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 5:28 pm

          Really? And you would just know that was true…how?

          bildung in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 5:44 pm

          I’ve already laid out several times in at least two threads how Pidel’s account of the gun business is not credible and will leave the state’s entire case wide open to a defense check mate, since Pidel is their only real witness.

          Apparently even you see the danger as well, since you’ve gone into something of a panic mode with the script writing thing.

          So I’ll just let you keep trying until you get it right.

          ThomasD in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 5:54 pm

          The only way Pidel saves Walker is if he says Harvey was shouting death threats and/or says Walker shouted verbal warnings prior to firing. Otherwise Pidel is a nothingburger.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 16, 2014 at 2:48 am

          “Rachel Pidel”

          Sorry just house keeping for me, isn’t his name “Adam Pidel”? I keep seeing this “Rachel” and I have no clue where it came from.

        Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | March 15, 2014 at 5:50 pm

        Ah, the unmistakeable cry of the wailing chickenspit.

        I always LOVE that sound.

          bildung in reply to Ragspierre. | March 15, 2014 at 6:13 pm

          I am in no way obliged to write silly ‘scripts’ because you demand it.

          I should like to avoid doing things you do, like claiming to be a lawyer and then pinning the burden of proof on Walker.

Humphrey's Executor | March 15, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Human recall can be spot on accurate or wildly unreliable. How frustrating.

Egads! There doesn’t appear to be one consistent narrative in this mess.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to gxm17. | March 15, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    That is because this is all stuff that is attached to a motion to dismiss from the defense. It is going to be one sided and slanted in Walkers favor, otherwise his lawyers aren’t doing their jobs very well.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to gxm17. | March 15, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    When people remember an incident, they remember the parts they remember. The parts they don’t remember they fill in from news source and what other wtinesses tell them, and then they think they remember it that way. That is why you interview witnesses ASAP and don’t interview them together.

Gotta go for now.

When does this trial start, btw?

Any thoughts on how the Matthew Pinkerton self defense case, also being tried in Anne Arundel County Maryland, could be affected by this trial?
http://statelymcdanielmanor.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/the-pinkerton-case-ii-another-backward-case/

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Old_Soldier. | March 16, 2014 at 3:03 am

    If I am not mistaken Andrew has already done at least one post on the Pinkerton case. It seems pretty cut and dry to me and if he isn’t just acquitted it will be a hung jury and then we will see if the state has the umph to retry the case.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Old_Soldier. | March 17, 2014 at 3:03 am

    Pinkerton is white, Green was black. Politics will no doubt up the zealousness of a prosecution against Pinkerton, who shot an intruder he had locked out of his own house at 2am as opposed to that for Walker, a black who shot a white, even though Walker was not at home, lied, had plenty of time to call 9-1-1 and had other potential avenues of retreat, a defense that appears to have been abandoned anyway except for a possible claim of fear for his family. Walker shot a man next to his own vehicle he could have driven off in; Pinkerton shot somebody breaking down his door at 2am..

    I can’t wait for the racial hubris if Pinkerton gets an apparently deserved walk and Walker is convicted.

    Anne Arundel Co. will be doing more than jailing and levying a $7500 fine against an elderly woman living in poverty for the terrible crime of accidentally letting her dogs get loose: http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2014/03/14/81-year-old-great-grandmother-jailed-for-2-days-for-pet-violation/

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