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I have solved my camera technical problem (I found my cord to connect my camera to my computer) and thus have posted several pictures today. The pictures were all taken at a happier time — when we all still had some hope that Sarah Lunde (search) would return home alive and well. I am posting them simply to give you the "behind the scenes" on the search and how we cover these searches. To view my photo essay, click on the link in the photo box above.
The searches are exhausting — either you wait for information or you are out pounding on doors asking questions and searching fields and woods. As you might imagine, the searchers, whether law enforcement or civilian, do these searches on little sleep and much emotional fatigue.
There are several posted pics of the inside the sheriff's mobile command center. You will see how the sheriff was extremely organized: There are grid search maps posted on the walls to make sure no area went unsearched. They could monitor and receive tips inside the command center.
The sheriff and his team poured their hearts and souls into the search.
Here are your e-mails:
E-mail No. 1
Thank you so much for coming to Ruskin. I would loved to have seen you while you were here. I watched you on TV. Your reporting was superb. I was over to the side of town that Sarah lived for the first time the day before you came. The area is bad. We are all grieving the loss of Sarah. I didn't know Sarah. It made me sick when I saw on TV the man who killed Sarah.
Greta, David went to my church, which is a small congregation, 20 or 30 people at the most. So you know everybody. We all knew his second wife. A very sweet girl, who never missed church, She and her daughter came three times a week to church. About two years ago she started dating David, so he came to church with her. Months later, they married. They seem real happy until the law took her daughter from her. Her ex-husband gave shelter to his daughter, David's wife didn't get to see her daughter for months. She told me that it was because David had been in Jail, I had no idea that he was a sex offender. She never said and I didn't ask. She and David attended church, then later she came by herself as she is devout. David came now and then. She had him to leave in Oct. or Nov. She then came to church with her daughter and seemed much happier. I haven't said her name as she is innocent and needs privacy.
The reporters have been kind and not bothered her. I hope. I am telling you this as a friend. We are all sad for Sarah's family. It is hard to trust people now,
E-mail No. 2
I'm sure the police have done this but you can check the car by having someone of similar build sit in the car and see if the seat is adjusted for a man and that all three mirrors can be seen out of properly. Also if he was a smoker if the cigs were still in the car. Check near the river bank for cig. butts. He would probably smoke to calm his nerves.
Just idle thoughts,
John Ferrell Hull
ANSWER: I never thought of this. Great idea to check this.
E-mail No. 3
It was once reported that Jessica's father was spending the night with his girlfriend the night she was abducted... like Sarah Lunde's mother. If true, once again, where are the parents?
Love "On the Record,"
E-mail No. 4
I could not believe my eyes, when I saw that man on your program Tuesday night. I hope and pray that justice is served, on that poor mans behalf, for his family and others to see how he was beaten. By God, there is no way, that he received a face like that by falling out of a three-story building! I think this is horrible! Whom ever it was that did that to that poor man, I pray that justice is served.
ANSWER: Yes, of course a civilized nation should not "beat" an accused. We put people on trial — even when our emotions want to beat someone for a terrible, terrible, terrible crime. I don't know if that man sustained injuries from a fall or from a beating. One thing you should know: This man was suspected of stabbing an 84-year-old woman and he fatally shot — in cold blood — a police detective. I have no sympathy for this man, but I do want us to dispense justice in a courtroom (even though my emotions are running high on this one.)
E-mail No. 5 — from Jim Hammer at the Michael Jackson (search) trial:
Trial Note: April 19, 2005
When the D.A. announced to the judge today that he would rest his case next week, I felt a pit in my stomach. For prosecutors, getting ready to rest your case is a real guy check moment. How is the case going? Have I proved all the elements? What does the defense have in store for me? These are all thoughts that go through a D.A.’s mind and that went through my mind every time I got ready to wrap up one my cases. As I watch this case get ready to close, I am wondering if the D.A. ever could have been prepared for the accuser’s mother’s performance.
The assistant D.A. who did her examination, Ron Zonen, did an amazing job with what he had. He was patient, light but firm, even funny at times, but in the end she was uncontrollable and there’s no telling what the jury will do with her testimony. Will they see her as a lying delusional mother who coached her kids to lie about Jackson to get money from him? Or does she fit the pattern of the mothers of the other boys Jackson is accused to have picked put for his special attention and prosecutors argue sexual molestation? Almost all were single or disadvantaged moms, all of them allowed their young boys to sleep in Jackson’s bedroom with Jackson. On some level they were all taken in by Jackson’s fame or wealth or persuasion that they should trust him. They all regret it now.
The defense has set up a series of showdowns to come: Jay Leno, Macauley Caulken, the witnesses from the JC Penny’s case, maybe even Elizabeth Taylor will start to parade through this courtroom in less than two weeks when the defense starts to put on its case. This is going to be one to watch. Stay tuned….
Santa Maria Courthouse
E-mail No. 6 — Laura Ingle's note:
The accuser's grandmother, a Spanish speaking witness, has engaged this jury, and given an excitable tale of what life was like when her grandkids were hanging out with the "King of Pop."
For the last five days, jurors have been hearing from the accuser's mother, who told them about being held captive by Jackson and his people. Part of her story involved being followed to her mother's home and how her children and mother were harassed there. The grandmother, who needed an interpreter to sit with her in the jury box told jurors in Spanish all about that. She waived her arms and said “Oh! Si!” when asked if reporters were camped out at her house when the “Living with Michael Jackson” documentary aired in 2003. She said that lights were shining soooooo bright outside her house, it looked like a soccer field. When she asked if she was ill at the time, she said no. Then she said yes. She said she does have arthritis, high blood pressure, a thyroid condition. Said she could make the prosecutor a list if he really wanted. Jurors roared with laughter, smiling with her, they looked like they really liked her. When the judge said “over ruled” about an objection by the defense to a question, she looked at the prosecutor and said, “Why is he saying that?” Prosecutor Zonen: “Because he can.” One juror cocked her head back she laughed so hard, courtroom erupted in laughter.
She testified that once her grandkids came back from Neverland Ranch, they “weren't the same kids” anymore. They used to laugh and be happy and share everything with her. When they came back, they didn't talk to her the same way. She said when they came back to her house, the phone would ring and ring. She said she had a red phone (she exclaimed "rojo!" rolling her “r” with her tongue) that it had a caller I.D. box on it. Calls weren't just coming in from reporters who wanted reaction after the documentary. Many calls were coming from Neverland from Jackson's people wanting to talk to the kids. Prosecutors say they were trying to intimidate them into coming back to film the rebuttal video.
The Spanish-speaking grandma also told jurors about someone throwing rocks at her house. She said she was just sitting there one day watching her soap opera (jurors smiling at her) and she heard a “brrr” noise out front. (Interpreter does it a second time as she translates...) She went outside with her granddaughter to see a man standing near a dark car — when they turned to go back inside, she said a rock was coming their way and she yelled, “Call the police!” This, in an excitable Spanish accent with arms going again....
Jackson's defense attorney had no questions for her.
The accuser's mom finished her testimony up before this. She was hammered by Mesereau about hiring a lawyer in the JC Penney lawsuit a year after the alleged false imprisonment and beating took place. His theme was that, she didn't sue right away in that case, but did later. She told jurors at this trial she doesn't intend to sue Jackson in a civil case after this is over. Mesereau's point: She's held off before and she could again.
Michael Jackson sat quietly and still throughout the testimony today. His hair looks a little flat these days. Not sure if its “bed head” or if he needs a shampoo.
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