JEFFREY SCOTT TRIAL BLOG
DAILY COVERAGE OF THE JEFFERY SCOTT TRIAL:
7:30PM - Court adjourned for the day. They will be back at 9 am Saturday for more trial.
7:25PM - State discussing calling an expert witness on PTSD and battered women's syndrome. She testified in the Mary Winkler case for teh defense. Leslie Ballin knows her. She would testify in general in regard to battered women and the cyclof violence.
7:20PM - Judge dismisses jury for the day. Indicates that court will be in session awhile longer without them. Prosecutors say they have four more witnesses. One lay witness. Keeper of records for ATT, medical examiner's office doctor. One other. state says it should be done by Saturday at lunch. Defense says it won't be ready until after lunch.
7:15 PM - State calls Megan Tate. A student of Ashley's and her teacher's assistant as a junior. She had Ashley's cell phone. Tate texted Ashley Happy Thanksgiving on Nov 22 06. She sent a mass text. 2 rounds. One at midnight on Nov 22 at midnight and one at 6 am on the 23rd.. State passes witness.
Cross. Ballin asks tate to write down her cell number on a piece of paper and sign it. That was the same cell phone number in 06. that she sent the mass texts out to. She got texts back, but not from Ashley. Defense is done with witness.
Re-direct. Tate says she first learned of Ashley's death that night between nine and ten pm. A fellow student called her. Defense objects based on relevance. Judge asks both sides to approach. Bench conference. Tate says she tried to call Ashley and left a voice mail. She said tehre have been rumors about her being murdered. Defense objects. tate says she called her twice, but only left a voice mail once. Tate released from the witness stand.
7:07PM - Lowe says some text messages back and forth were about sex. he does not recall if there were any such texts on November 22 06. Does not recall any picture texts from Ashley that showed parts of her body on Nov 22 06. Lowe says he does not recall if he had few or many text conversations with Ashley during November 06. 10? 20? 100? Ballin asks. Lowe does not recall. State objects says Lowe has answered the question. Judge agrees. Lowe does not recall. Defense finished. State crosses.
Lowe says he would remember if Ashley sent a picture of her body part to him. And he does not remember that, he says. Lowe says they had sex 4 times and only 4 times. After Jeffrey showe dup at Blair's, tehy stopped their intimate relationship. Lowe says it was a weird situation and he got out. November of 05 was the last time they had sex. Lowe says he doesn't remember when the meeting at Blair's was, but it was months after they had met. lowe released fromt eh stand.
7:00PM - Lowe says he and Ashley had sex at Blair's house once. Her husband showed up. Lowe says Jeffrey walked into the house. at that point he and Ashley walked out of the bedroom. he saw Ashley. Jeffrey left Blair's first. Lowe says he and Ashley had sex at Blair's, at her house, at his friend's house. Just once. Once at a motel. Lowe says he does not recall Ashley texting photos of herself to him. Lowe says the text messages were sometimes sexual between he and Ashley. Ballin asks if they indicated what he had done to her or wanted to do to her. lowe says he doesn;t know how graphic they got. State objects. bench conference.
6:55PM - Ballin asks Lowe to write down his cell phone number on a piece of paper. He does. Same number he's got now and had back in November 2006. Ballin introduces it as evidence. State ask that it be signed by Lowe, but that his cell phone number not be published to the entire world. Judge asks to speak to the attorneys at the bench. Bench conference. Lowe signs the paper with his number written on it. Exhibit for ID purposes only.
November 23 06. Does not recall if he got a text message from Ashley. Does not recall any picture messages from Ashley on November 22 06 or any text from her ont eh 22nd. Does not rememebr how many texts he sent or received from Ashley. At this time no sexual relationship with Ashley. Met Ashley at Fox and Hound in COrdova. With one of his friends. He says they were sitting watching football. Had two shots sent to us from tehm went over to them started talking to them. Ashley and Blair sent two shots to Micahel and Nick. they downed em at their table then went and talked to them. Lowe says he and Ashley were together for 6 or 8 hours from that point during which they had sexual relations at her house. Lowe says he never had sexual relations with Blair. Asked about sexual activity. State objects. Was Ashley involved.? Sate objects. Sustained. No answer. Lowe says he may hav told her to look for text messages at times. Lowe says the next time he had sexual relations with Ashley was within a couple months. From November 05 to possibly the summer of 06. To the best of Lowe's recollection.
6:46PM - State calls Michael Lowe. Admits he's nervous. He met Ashley out one night. They had a relationship. Met her the weekend of Talladega (NASCAR) in the fall 05. Stopped intimate relationship in 06. Friends at the time of her death, but not an intimate relationship. It ended about 8 months earlier. Broke off spring or summer of 06, he says. Lowe says he and Ashley communicated mostly through text meassages. Lowe says he does not remember if he texted her on Nov 22 06 or on Thanksgiving Day. He says he does not recall if she texted him on Nov 22, 06. State passes witness, reserves right to recall him.
Defense cross. Is not recalling the same or diffrent answer than just saying know? He says he doesn't remember. Lowe says he doesn't remember. he may have talked to her by text message. MAybe Happy Thanksgiving from her, but he does not recall. Ballin asks if they talked. State asks to appraoch. Bench conference,
6:40PM - Lori says Jeffrey was calling the whole time Ashley visited. Last time Lori talked to Ashley was November 2006. Ashley called Lori's cell phone on Nov 22 2006, but she missed the call becaseu the phone was in the car. Between 9 am and 11 am she returned the phone call to Ashlye's cell phone. No answer. left a message. State passes. Cross. Ballin up. Jeffrey calling was unusual. He was calling expressing concern. Lori was Ashley's best friend to discuss Ashley's alcoholism. He suggested he tak eher to counseling. Got to the point where she was not comfortable getting advice. He called after the counselor to say he wasn't going to call her again. Defense again. He also called to tell her about the affair she was having and that he deserved better than Ashley. He didn't want her to turn into her mother. There was no food int eh house. She didn't cook or clean. Machen released form the stand.
6:35PM - Clarification on Lori's name. Her last nme is "Machen:" Correct spelling.
6:30PM - State calls Lori Machom. Ashley's best friend for 18 years. She was Ashley's maid of honor. Ashley visited Lori in Bossier City. With Jeffrey. Twice. For weddings. On of which was Lori's. Lori usually spoke to Ashley on the phone. Jeffrey never called. There was a time when Lori started to get phone calls from Jeffery in Nov 2005. He was callin saying he was concerned for Asley saying she drank too much, falling down, forgetting, hanging out with Blair who was a bad influence. He told her he wanted to have children but didn't want Ashley to eb the mother. Jeffrey told her Ashley was having an affair. lori couldn't get in contact with Ashley. Jeffrey never told her about his affair. Never told her about his drinking problem. Once told her he was responsible for introducing Ashley to alcohol. Lori says Jeffrey called for a month and a half to two months. Once a weel. Once every two weeks. Enoug that he knew the number when it popped up on caller ID. He stopped called after she told him to seek professional help, she would always side with Ashley. he called Lori to tell her he was not going to call anymore. She saw Ashley September 2006. Lori had talked to Ashley abotu her DWI. told her she was concerned. Ashley visited Lori in Bossier City in Septembr 2006 for 10 year high school reunion. Ashley stayed with her the first night. Asked Ashley how things were going in her marriage. Ashley told her she was having a good time and didn;t want to talk about it.
6:13PM - O.C. Smith has left the courtroom to go prepare his report. Blair Brown back on the stand. Jury back in the courtroom. Blair says Ashley was at her house the night the dog got hurt. Blair says she had sex with Jeffrey at his house. Many times. Ashley would sometimes leave stuff at her house. Defense asks to approach. Bench conference.
6:02PM - Voices raise. State upset it did not get to talk to O.C. Smith before trial. Judge asks him to prepare a report for the state so they know how he will testify. Jury still not here.
5:58PM - Judge asks to see the addendum to the autopsy, to see if anybody has a copy that he can make a copy of.
5:53PM - Judge says he'd allow the state to talk with O.C. Smith at length before he testifies. State argues that would simply delay proceedings even further. State says it will be done with it's case-in-chief after four lay witnesses, a doctor fromt eh mediacal examiners office and the cell phone issue to get through. They want County medical examiner here for O.C. Smith's testimony as a re-buttal witness. Judge asks O.C. Smith to come to the microphone. Judge plans to break at 7 pm. Judge asks O.C. Smith to prepare a report by tomorrow afternoon/evening so that prosecutors would have something to review. Judge asks O.C. SMith to prepare a report. O.C. Smith says he intends to comply but he just got a fax from medical examiner's office.
He says the medical examiner reversed it's earlier opinion. He says he must take the new condition of the body and see how it affects his opinion. He says it will take some time to see how the new information changes his opinion. he says the new information is very serious and could change his opinion. it should be taken seriously. State wonders how he will be ready to testify.
Judge and state say they had no clue about the addendum. Totally caught off guard.
5:45PM - State says they did not have enough of a chance to have discussions with O.C. SMith before trial becasue he was not available to them before trial. defense disagrees, arguing that case law only applies on this issue only applies to pre-trial motios. Judge trying to make a determination and doing some reading of some case law.
Meanwhile, the current Shleby County Medical Examiner just produced an addendum to the Ashley Scott's autopsy report TODAY. No one has gotten a good chance to review that addendum yet.
5:35PM - The defense plans to call Dr. O.C. Smith to testfy. he has been sitting in court the entire case. State says case law requires them to proveide a written report about his testimony prior to his testimony.
5:33PM - Court back in session. Jury not yet back in the courtroom. State asks for written report on what Dr. O.C. Smith will testify about, especially regarding his opinion on a casue of death. State provides him some case law to review. he reviews.
5:23PM - Still in recess. The courtroom's still packed, though.
5:20PM - Sorry for the delay between 4:06 and 4:40. There was another post that didn't make it. The computer kicked me off the the air card before it got posted. The gist of that post was the defense's cross examination of Elizabeth Scism. Basically, Scism acknowledged upon Balliln's line of questioning that she was concerned that Ashley was drinking too much. She acknowledged that Ashley left the house to check into the hotel becasue she was scared but also told Scism that she checked into the motel for bad purposes. Scism says Ashley also told her that she didn't go through with it. there was plenty more on the post and to the cross examination, but it didn't make it. Sorry.
5:14PM - Ballin asks when the Rob Thomas concert was. Blair says Fall 05. Ballin done. Judge takes recess. Court in recess.
5:12PM - Blair says she's aware Jeffrey and Ashley were going to a counselor. Blair says all three drank a lot at the time. Blair and Ashley went downtown to the Rob Thomas concert. he's the lead singer of Matchbox 20. She says Ashley drank a lot and she fell down and hit her head. Blair says she remembers a knot being caused as a result.
After the Bottom Line at Kirby and Poplar, Blair drive straight over to Ashley's house. 7 to 10 minutes. Doesn't rememeber herself or Ashley using the phone. Doesn't remember Ashley using the phone at home. Winston is a dog, the dog Jeffrey and Ashley had. Blair was with Ashley when she went to the vets office to meet Jeffrey. It was at night. It was late. Blair desn't remember if Ashley had been drinking. Blair says she doesn't know how the dog got hurt. Ashley was upset and excited. She was crying about Winston getting hurt. Blair says he heard Jeffrey tell Ashley that he decided to come over to Blair house to try to get him to come home. Brought dog with him in the Jeep. Called to say Winston got hurt meet me at the vet. Jeffrey and Ashley got into a fight at the vets office. Blair says it was scary. Blair does not know exactly how the dog got hurt. Either jumped out or fell out the car but wasn't thrown out of the car.
5:02 PM - Blair says she called Jeffrey becasue she was tired of getting stuck in the middle and was frustrated with Ashley becasue she didn't know Micahel was coiming over for a rendevous. When Jeffrey got to Blair's houe she let him in, pointed him to the bedroom, he went in and Ashley and Michael were there. Another man that Blair called Jeffrey about. They had gone to meet friends at anotehr Mulligan's. She ended up meeting a guy while she was there. Blair wanted to leave. Ashley wouldn't leave. Blair left when Ashley wouldn't. She felt used and was worried so she called Jeffrey. Told Jeffrey they had been at a bar and now Ashley was with anotehr guy. Blair had relations with Nick, but not Michael. November 22, 2006. With Ashley wt the Botton Line...restaurant bar. Ashlye had been at the doctor's office to discuss attempt to get pregnant. At the Bottom Line, she had some wine. Ashley had 3 or 4 glasses of wine, Blair says. Left Bottom Line at 4:30 pm. had gotten there around 2 pm. Blair says she can't remember if eitehr of them used the bathroom but she spoke to Jeffrey on teh phone. Ashley was excited about the concept of moving into the new house with Jeffrey and about having a baby. She was in a good mood, blair acknowledges. blair says she'd seen Ashley in a rage before. toward Blair. Verbal. On more than one occassion. Things were thrown. Blair acknowledges that Ashley had a temper when Ballin asks.
4:55PM - Blair says Ashley discussed leaving Jeffrey. Ballin objects. Blair says she talked about leaving for good in 05. But that Jeffrey never talked about leaving Ashley. State passes.
Leslie Ballin cross-exmination. Blair says her relationship with Jeff ended in 05. Either spring or summer of 05. had sexual relations with him over about a year and a half. Summer 05 they called it off. Ashley found out because Jeffrey told her. Blair was with Ashley at Fox and Hound when she met Michael Lowe. Then went to Mulligan's then to Ashley's house. Girls night out at Fox and Hound. Blair says she spotted a guy named Nick acrsoss the bar becasue she thought he was cute. Blair went over to Nick and Michael when Ashley went to the bathroom. Ballin asks about garage door at Ashley's house. If inside, push a button on the wall, gargae door opens and you can get out. Blair says she was not aware that Michael and Nicj had sexual relations for the first time that night. they were in a room by themselves. Ashley and Nick were alone in teh living room. Ashley and Micahle rendevous at Blair house. Blair called Jeffrey. This was at the end of 05, Blair says. This was after talladega 05 because that's when they met, but it was before year's end. Blair says Ashley and Michael are in teh bedroom at her house. Blair called Jeffrey and told him that Ashley was at her house with a man and they were having an affair.
4:46PM - Blair says she would describe Jeffrey and Ashley's relationship as unhealthy. Defense asks to approach. Bench conference.
4:43PM - Blair can't remember if she saw Jeffrey punch Ashley before or after he found out about Michael Lowe. She saw Ashley the day before she died. they were at the Scott's but when Jeffrey arrived, Blair left. Blair says Ashley loved her job. She says all three did a lot of drinking. Bench conference.
4:40PM - State calls Blair Brown. She met Jeffry Scott in March of 2000 when she started working at Jeffrey's father's computer company. Started as a secretary. moved up. ealry twenties got wild and out of hand. hanging out, making poor decisions. Brown had a sexual relationship with Jeffrey Scott back then. Off and on. teh first time was Dec 2002. Again Jan 2003. Nothing happened again for anotehr year. Early to middle 2004 it started up and continued for anotehr year thorugh early to middle 2005. Met Ashley at company functions times when they;d all be hanging out. Closer to Ashley before became friends with Ashley. Wasn;t untila fter met Ashley that had sex with Jeffrey. Eventually he told Ashley and it ended. She and Ashley were good friends. That;s how Blair considered it. She was with Ashley Wed Nov 22, 2006. Blair picked her up after Ashley got back from doctor. Went and looked at Ashley's new house. hung otu and talked.
Thanksgiving 2005, Ashley came over to stay at Blair's house... Blair says Thanksgiving was never a good time but Nov 05. Ashley was staying with Blair. Ashley laying on her belly on Blair bed. Jeffrey came over, found her and punched her in the back. Blair says Jeffrey had been drinking and was in a rage. SHe never saw him like that. She punched her in back 3 times. She got him away. Didn;t call police because Ashley told her not to. Blair also knew Ashley had an affair too...with Michael Lowe. She knew it lasted acouple months. Jeffrey found out about Michael becaseu Ashley came to stay at her house that night. Ashley called. Then Jeffrey called. jeffrey found out becasue Ashley had passe dout ont he couch. he picked up her cell phone and found text messages between Ashley and Michael.
4:06PM - Scism says last time she saw Ashley was Fall break 06. Had many conversations in which Ashley talked about verbal abuse. He called her bitch, whore, you're not a good teacher, you're gonna end up just like your mother. Scism says Ashley was depressed hurt frustrated sometimes just came out of blue. Passes witness.
Blake Ballin up. Long detailed quote Scism had sent to Ashley about drinking. Scism acknowledges she was worries baout how much Ashley was drinking and did not want her to get anotehr DUI. Scism wanted her to get help and solve the problem. Perhaps Ashley should switch from hard liquor to beer. Instead of three shots maybe she should take two. State objects. Bench conference.
3:59PM- State calls Elizabeth Scism. She knows Ashley. Teaches at Collierville High. Ashley was her student teacher. it;s part of getting your teacher license. You learn under another teacher. that was in 2003. Scism and Ashley became friends. She met Jeffrey Scott as a result of being friends with Ashley. She identifies Jeffrey in corut. blue shrt, blue tie. Ashley taught under her for 9 weeks but they stayed friends.
November 2005, still friends, kept in touch, e-mails, instnat message, met in person. Lots of instant messaging. Talked on phone when Ashley was a student teacher. But after that they weren't really phone people. Novemebr 2005, she got a phone call from Ashley right after Thanksgiving. Ashley called. Seemed unusual to Scism. Abnormal that she called. She says Ashley was talking really fast. Scism says she herself did not sit down. Ashley called from Blair's house. told Scism she just had to get away from the house. She refused to go to Thanksgiving dinner at the Scott's. He had tried to strangle her. they weren;t geting along. Jeffrey was into porn. Jeffrey wouldn't kiss her. Scism could only say "oh My God, Ashley" how long as this been going on. Since about a year after the wedding.
january 06...Ashley called and said I need you to cover for me. Ashley wasa talking fast. Only did that when she was nervous or student teaching. She says Ashley was nervous. She had gone to a hotel. Scism offered to let Ashley stay at her house. Asked if Jeffrey called to tell him she was over there. Scism wanted her to come over, Ashley would not. Scism says she was afraid of Jeffrey. State asks to appraoch the bench.
3:50PM - Conference over. Dooley continues. State says we have to work within guidleines of the law. Ashley called to say she wasn;t going to make it to school. She was upset, nervous. She said I'm not going to be able to make it to school things are bad at home, she and her husband had been fighting. Dooley asked if he had hit her. Defens objects. 3:15 AM late July 2006. Anotehr phone call to Dooley. She called to apologize for not calling him back on antehr matter. Indicated they had been fighting and indicated that things had been really bad at home. She told him that Jeffrey had been strangling her. Dooley told her she needed to get out and to leave. Defense objects claims this testimony is out of bounds. State syas this is exaclty what they had een discussing. Bench conference. Over now. Dooley says Ashley told him he had hit her. he told her to get out. She told him he had been strangling her. Dooley offered help. No it's okay everything will be fine. I'm okay. Dooley told her he didn;t thinkwshe would be okay. offered help at anytime and to call at anytime. He first learned she'd died Thanksgiving evening at 8:30 PM. Had several missed calls he was at his cousins house. State passes witness. Defense has no questions. Dooley steps down.
3:45 - Scism went downstairs for a moment so the state calls Paul Dooley instead. He's and English teacher at bolton high. 19 years. He knows Ashley Scott. Knows Jeffrey Scott. Identifies Jefrey Scott. Blue Shirt. Blue tie, blue suit. Knew Ashley since she started at Bolton in Jan 04. She taught honors english, creative writing. Wonferful teacher, her says. He taught right across the hall from her department chair, mentor, friend. They talked to each other often. She discussed marital problems with him. Aug 05 right after DUI she started to complain of problems at home. Got moody, irritable went on through out semester. 6 AM one morning in mid-Nov 05 Ashley called to tell him she wasnt going to make it to school. Previous to that, Dooley noticed a black eye and a knot on her head. Defense objects. Bench conference.
3:40PM - Jury back! State calls Elizabeth Scism.
3:38PM - Court back in session. Ashley Scott's family handed judge a note. It was hard for them to hear. The former students are asked to move back a row so that her family may move into the second row. All is gladly done. Judge says they will hear SOngstad again later. Asks for jury.
3:35PM - Even when court is in recess, the courtroom remains full. It's a tiny little courtroom. The gallery is shoulder to shoulder, elbow to elbow. Bailiffs have to turn some away at the door for a lack of room. There's four rows to sit on. the rows are split by an aisle in the middle. Jeffrey Scott's family and friends sit on the right side of the courtroom. Ashley's friends and family sit on the left side. Each row on each side fits about ten to twelve people on average. But it sure is a squeeze to get everybody in.
3:30PM - The jury still has not entered the courtroom today. They're in the courthouse, just not in the courtroom. Lunch was catered out, too. Apparently the bailiffs ordered Central BBQ for the jury. It was easy to tell when we came back from lunch becasue the whole 6th floor hallway smelld incredible. Some might argue their lunch put my Arby's to shame.
Once again, court is in recess. When it returns, Rachel SOngstad will take the stand again as a proffer witness. No jury. Not yet.
3:27PM - Judge cannot decide on some parts. He will apparently consider and wait to make a decision until later before Songstad testifies. She is one of the prosecution's last witnesses. he will rule later butmost of her testimony will be admissible.
Leslie Ballin objects to Rachel Songstad's advice to Ashley Scott. Judge considers.
Then asks if we're actually ready to hear a witness. The answer is yes...but it's going to be rachel Songstad again. Branham says she forgot to ask her a couple questions as a proffer witness and needs to ask her those questions.
Court takes a short recess.
3:22PM - The fingerprints in the shoulders covnersation is not admissible. Conversation in Oct 05 when Ashley called and said Jeffrey had stated he would kill her refers to fear he says. State argues it also goes to premeditation. Judge says state of mind of defendant also. Defense argues that it's two levels of hearsay. Defendant says something to his wife then his wife says something to someone else. Judge trying to work through the legal logic that applies.
3:18PM - Judge and attorneys now in discussions. Judge talking about Kevin Yates testimony. They're disagreeing over whether his testimony shows Ashley's "state of mind." Judge says it doesn't. He also says that what Ashley told him does not qualify as an "excited utterance." Both are exceptions to hearsay rules and thus would've allowed the hearsay into court. Judge says "he hit me" cannot be offered as evidence that he is guilty of murder. Yates' testimony is not admissible.
Songstad testimony being discussed.
Her intent to file for divorce is certainly admissible. The chin busted crying in the car conversation with Ashley will be allowed into testimony in front of the jury.
3:11PM - Both sides done with the witness. Songstad steps down.
3:10PM - State passes witness. Ballin cross. He's asking about the call from Ashley on Wednesday Nov 22, 2006. The phone call came right before 5 pm because Songstad was not yet at dinner in Nashville where she was visiting her in-laws. On that call, Ashley told her about the filing fee. Songstad knew about the pregnancy attempt and the new house. Both were Jeffrey's idea. Ashley told her he wanted to get out of the house bbecasue there were bad memories there. Ashley tod er that Jeffrey had slept with her friend int hat house and had had prostitutes over to the house as well. She says sometimes Ashley was excited about a baby and new house and sometimes she wasn't. Ballin asking about whether or not her talks with Ashley were really all part of attorney-client conversations. Songstad acknowledges she would have used Ashley's testimony in a divorce case. But her testimony would have required other corroborating witnesses like the friends he was sleeping with. Also gathering information for an order of protection including a petition for divorce, a petition to exclude Jeffrey from the Scott home.
Judge asking questions. Songstad says on Nov 22, 2006, Ashley told her "I'm finally ready to do it. I'm ready. I've got my filling fee money." Songstad is a divorce attorney. Songstad says Ashley was nervous and shaking wanted to make sure the privilege thing still applied. Songstad says she met Ashley in a tan-n-go parking lot when Ashley's chin was cut up. She says Ashley was crying. Another time, Ashley was crying after a time when Jeffrey dragged him around the house. She says Ashley was happy she had stood up to him when they got kicked out of the vets office. She says Ashley didn't like talking about the abuse whenever she would tell Songstad about it. Songstad says she thinks Ashley was embarrassed that she kept letting it happen. Ashley told her she had had enough and was just done. Songstad told her she didn't owe him anything though Ashley felt like she owed he and his family an explanation.
3:00PM - Ashley admitted to Songstad she had had an affair in 05. Apparently, Jeffrey would sometimes wake up just re-living the fac thtat she had an affair and would fling her around. One time, Ashley was running out of gas on the way home from school. Had to put five dolalrs in her car to get home. But Jeffrey had timed out how look it took to get home from work. She only put five dolalrs in. He didn;t believe she stopped to put gas in teh caer and felw off the lid at her. Songstad ried to get her to leave. But Ashley wouldn't Songstad tried to talk her out of havign a child with him. But Jeffrey wanted a boy to carry out his name. Ashley thought that would fix everything. One morning she went to OB GYN. Same afternoon she called Songstad to tell her she wanted to leave. Songstad told her it made no sense. Don't procreate with a man who beats you. Ashley told her she already had the doctors appointment and had to go.
2:55PM - Songstad. Attorney. She met Ashley in 05. Songstad is a Bolton High grad. She met Ashley in Aug 2005. September 05 ran into Ashley again. Ashley found out Songstad passed the bar and was going to practice family and divorce. Ashley told Songstad she had a friend she wanted to ask her about. her friend's husbnad hits her and she wanted to know if the courts would care. Songstad said yeah contact an attorney. That was it. She met Ashley again. saw a knot again. Ashley asked about her friend again. Songstad said don't kid a kidder. Tell me, is your husband hitting you. ashlye dropped her head. Songstad said don't worry just hire me and tell me and we have attorney-client privilege. Ashley said i can't afford you. She said yes attorney are expensive but give me a dollar and I'm hired. She pulled four quarters out gave it to her and said I won't drink a diet coke for the next two days. Ashley told her Jeffrey was beating her but she was afraid to leave because Jeffrey said he's kill her. How long had it been going on. Sinc college. Ashley was shaking and trembling making her promise not to tell anyone. Songstad explained she couldn't. That was about it. Songstad told her never to call from her cell phone. Songstad said she got calls from Ashley from Bolton, from pay phones, tanning salon phones. Desn't think Jeffrey knew about her. Still in 2005. Songstad knew something was goin on becuase Ashley was so scared. Last week of Oct 05. Songstad noticed a black left eye.. She asked if Jeffrey did it she said. Ashley told her sometimes Jeffrey just goes off but she doesn;t know why. Ashley would always ask if the attorney-client privilege still applied. She said yeah, the dollar still applies. Songstad asked if people ask. Ashley said she always came up with an excuse. Songstad says Ashley looked scared.
Songstad talked to her the Wednesday before she died. Ashley called her Wed afternoon. She says she has never forgiven herself after this. Ashley called and said, "I'm finally ready to do it. I'm done." Songstad says she was giddy and excited and Ashley had saved enough for her divorce filing fee. 301.50...at that time 271.50. Ashley wanted it done then, but Songstad couldn;t because she was in Nashville. Songstad told her to just leave now, but Ashley wouldn't because she thought she owed Jeffrey an explanation. Songstad told her to seek shelter and they would file it first thing MOnday morning. that was the last time Songstad talked to her.
Songstad says Ashley told her Jeffrey threw the dog out the window. they got thrown out of the vets clinic becaus ethey were fighting.
Songstad says Ashley always wore long sleeves even when hot outside. Songstad noticed finger marks on her shoulder. Thumb print and fingers. Ashley told her Jeffrey had done it two nights before. Summer 06. Ashley called in panic in July 06. Called Songstad's house phone.
2:45PM - I am now working on a differnet computer with a different air card. Not as good as what I was working. Bear with me please.
The state and defense are currently arguing a motion. Jury not in the room. State discussing argues that there is case law regarding Dr. O.C. Smith, the fact that he is sitting court and the defense will call him to testify. Apparently he's supposed to file paperwork indicating what he intends to testify about. The judge says he'll consider.
State calls Rachel Sonstadt.
2:35PM - Court back in session.
1:27PM - Court in recess for lunch. Back at 2:30pm. The courtroom is relieved. back in an hour. Another proffer witness will testify then.
1:25PM - Judge calls Elizabeth Scism back onto the stand. Still trying to determine what parts of her testimony are admissible and what parts aren't. Judge asks her about an instant message from Ashley indicating that Jeffrey had hit her and he tried to choke her. Then, she spoke to Ashley on the phone and Ashley told her effrey tried to choke her. Scism doesn't know if it was the same chokin gor not. but she says Ashley was very nervous on the phone like the flood gates were opening. Same phone call in which she told Scism about Jeffrey liking porn, he wouldn't kiss her during sex. Scism just kept saying, "Oh my God, Ashley." That was part of the phone call from Blair. Judge says it's admissible. Scism says she was on edge during the conversation. Judge will allow her to testify to it.
1:20PM - Was Ashley fearful of Jeffrey Scott? And what does her fear have to do with whether or not he killed her? Judge trying to decide. Ashley told Scism, "I don't think I'm going to live much longer." "He hit me, tried to choke me." Judge says it's relevant, but wants to know what is the hearsay exception. Judge says parts of Scism's testimony will be allowed. COnversation from Blair's house. Thanksgiving 05. Ashley told Scism things were bad.
1:13PM - Elizabeth Scism's testimony. State argues she had lots of direct conversations and contact with Ashley. Scism testified that Ashley told her Jeffrey was calling a bitch, a whore, can't doing anything right. Ashley told her Jeffrey liked to watch porn and would not kiss Ashley during sex. Judge says Scism's testimony is admissible. Clear and convincing that Ashley was in an excited state during the call from Blair's house. Another phone call from Ashley saying she was checking into a motel and that she was afraid of Jeffrey hurting her. Was that Ashley statement or was that Scism's understanding of hte conversation? Judge says it shows the relationship prior to her death. Observed chin injury.
1:05PM - Discussing Michael Lowe's testimony. Judge says he's not convinced about something. Lowe testified that Ashley told him she couldn't go to school because she had two black eyes. Judge doesn't think Lowe ever indicated that Jeffrey Scott had hit her to casue the black eyes. He says she may have done it from falling down at a concert. Was there anything else indicating it was the defendant who did it? Judge says he didn't hear anything indicating her state of mind or that it was an excited utterance. Lowe's testimony is inadmissible although state thinks he may get called by the defense.
DeeDee Dillard's testimony is being discussed. Judge says Dillard's testimony is not relevant. She testified about her observations. The long sleeves. Lots of make-up, Crying over goldfish and dog. Fight at animal hospital. Dillard's testimony is not admissible, judge says.
1:00PM - State says Yates testimony shows clearly Ashley's mental state of mind. Defense says Ashley never said she was embarrassed, but rather embarrassment is the witnesses evaluation of the situation. Judge trying to decide whether it's hearsay or not, has not decided on Yates on testimony. Will reserve judgement on Yates testimony until later.
Now discussing Lori Machom. Judge says most of her testimony regards what the defendant told her. Her testimony is admissible. Also shows relation between victim and defendant. Judge says her testimony is relevant, including the phone conversation in the car on teh way to the reunion.
Blair Brown's testimony. Thanksgiving 05. She says she saw Jeffrey Scott punch Ashley in the back. Judge sasy she saw what she saw, heard what she heard. Her testimony is admissible. Hearsay exception to allow in the fact that Ashley told her she was intending to leave for good. Brown's testimony is in.
12:50PM - Discussing Kevin Yates' testimony. Ashley blurted out to him that Jeffrey hit her. State says she wasn't asked, she just blurted it out. Judge wants to know if she was in an excited state. He says he doesn't know because he did not hear enough testimony from Yates. Judge wants Kevin Yates to come back to the stand. Defense says the excited state must be a result of events.
Yates back on the stand. fall 05. Working at Bolton High School. Judge asks question now. Wants Yates to describe Ashley's demeanor. Fidgety, embarrassed to tell. She didn't cry. He didn't ask. She was reserved, but she still said it. Almost nervous tension, almost shaking, Facial gestures. She told him that she had been hit. Judge releases Yates from the stand.
12:45PM - Discussing Garry Shriver's testimony. Yesterday. State says he saw Ashley's black eye in Nov 06. Saw cut on her chin on Aug 06. Judge asks about DUI in summer 05. Scott's at T.J. Mulligan's got embarrassed. Left. Judge says the state must prove that Ashley had a bruise and it was Jeffrey Scott who casued it by means of a prior bad act. The mere fact that she had a bruise on any given day and time is totally irrelevant, judge says. State says the consistency of witnesses who observed the bruises and injuries at the same time. State says it shows a pattern. Judge says the witnesses are not in teh same ballpark about times and dates on what they saw. Shriver testimony not admissible.
12:40PM - Discussing Sharon Berkes' testimony. Dooley, Stephens, and Berkes testified yesterday. State says these witnesses can testify to the injuries and the cover-up. Judge says the injuries and the cover-up are not clear and convincing that they're linked to the defendant. One could assume the conenction, but that's in therules of evidence. Berkes noticed injuries on Scott's arm, was upset. She inquired, but Ashley told her nothing. She ran out of the room crying. She didn't say anything. Judge says it's relevant that she was upset that day, but not about what. How is it tied to the defendant? Judge says Berkes testimony is not admissible. not relevant.
12:35PM - Now discussing Principal David Stephens' testimony. Judge says his testimony is double hearsay. Judge will not allow Stephens testimony. However, state says it wants to put Stephens on to ask him about changes in Ashley Scott's attendance. Judge is apparently a hard sell. He says showing that she's not coming to work and blaming the defendant is a stretch unless there's other proof. He doesn't know why her attendance is relevant to whether Jeffrey Scott killed Ashley or not. Stephens not allowed.
12:30PM - State must limit questions and testimony to specific situations and conversations when it comes to Dooley's testimony. Jeffrey Scott listening intently. Rubs hands over head, leans back, rests elbow on railing, head on hand. State trying to make sense of what parts of testimony will be admissible and which won't be admissible. Judge raises his voice slightly. He says everyone in this courtroom probably has a bruise on him or her but that doesn't prove the defendant did it. State says some witnesses corroborate others, that some saw bruises after otehrs say she told them he'd hit her. Judge says state must prove the witnesses saw the same bruise. Judge says Dooley can testify about 3 things.
12:25PM - Ashley called Dooley at 3:15 in the morning. Judge says he believes she was in an excited state. Upset, they'd been fighting. "Did he hit you?" "Yes." Also that he'd strangled her. Admissible to show purpose of harm. Dooley apparently made general statements that the judge will not allow, including some injuries he noticed on Ashley but could not specify in regards to time frame and conversations. Anything just "in general" he will allow though it may become relevant later on he acknowledges.
12:20PM - Judge Lammey is still going through Paul Dooley's testimony. He's determining what will be admissible and what won't one statement at a time. He says some of it is hearsay and can't be used. But some of it is hearsay and there is an exception that applies so he will allow it in. Another phone concersation between Ashley and Dooley, fall 05. "I'm not ready to give up on him. I love him. I'll be okay." Also in conversation: "He popped me." and "I went to see my dad." Judge says it's unclear whether she went to see her dad in Florida because he hit her or not. If she went to see her father in Florida because he hit her then it would be admissible. Statement about Ashley having fallen and getting a cut on the chin becasue she hit the coffee table is inadmissible. Judge Lammey is talking through each statement and verbally explaining his thoughts on why he's making wach decision. There are apparently very serious and real legal lines that fly way over the head of the average observer. Some of this stuff would require law school to understand. Some statements are admissible. Some aren't. "He popped me." is admissible.
12:15PM - Judge says there are some witnesses who offer testimony about her state of mind. Some witnesses actually saw interaction between Ashley and Jeffrey. He's talking through the case law he used to make his decisions on each. Were injuries from Jeffrey Scott or was it because she fell over drunk. Making the jump from having a bruise on your arm to Jeffrey Scott causing the bruise is a big jump, he says. Judge will take each witness one by one.
Paul Dooley. Will testify. Public will hear, he says. Judge says some things he says are definitely admissible. 6 AM phone call from Ashley Scott saying they had been fighting. Relevant and admissible judge says. Question by Dooley: "Did he it you?" Answer: "Not this time." Judge says under 404B it is not clear and convincing that there was a prior bad act by defendant.
12:07PM - Judge back in the courtroom. Back on the bench. Court back in session. Judge says he'd prefer to go through proffered witness one at a time.
11:52AM - Lunch has been at 12:30 everyday. Supposed to be at 12:30 again today. We might not see any other testimony or even the jury before lunch. We'll see.
11:42AM - Clarification on the last name of the last witness. Her name is Elizabeth Scism. She was a friend of Ashley Scott. Former teacher of Ashley's. Ashley was also her student teacher at Collierville in 2003. Afterward, they stayed great friends. Judge is trying to determine which parts of her testimony the jury will hear and which parts the jury will not hear. There are several witnesses just like her who testified without the jury in the courtroom. The legal term: They are "proffer" witnesses.
Meanwhile, the gallery is discussing synonyms for the judge and his current thought process. Is he ruminating?
11:35AM - Hello to Bolton High School. Some former students are sitting behind me and telling me that Bolton High is keeping up on the blog. So hello.
There still isn't much to say right now. Court is in recess. The judge is apparently hard at work. we have not seen the jury at all today. Everyone else in the courtroom seems ready.
11:25AM - Judge walked back into courtroom. Briefly. He grabbed some paperwork then walked right back out. Brief hope, dashed.
11:15AM - Court still in recess. Courtroom just trying to pass the time until court goes back in session. Blake Ballin speaking with Jeffrey Scott. Helldorfer off to the side reading newspaper coverage of the trial. Ashley's students in the gallery just discussing. Passing the time...
11:05AM - Court still in recess. The gallery has returned. Conversation vary. Lawyers in discussion. No judge, no jury. We'll see what it gets to hear and what it doesn't.
10:47AM - Both sides offer some more case law. The judge has much to consider. Court now in recess so he can do so.
10:43AM - Back to the panic attack. Elizabeth says Ashley changed her story about the black eye and said she fell and hit her glasses and that caused the black eye. Elizabeth told AShley that Ashley told her previously that Jeffrey gave her the black eye. Then the panic attack started. Ashley starts with how embarrassing it was to have Bolton High think she was having marital problems. Faye Werner had called her into the office at school to talk about it. Judge wants to know why it was embarrassing...because it wasn't true or because it was...Witness finished. Steps down.
10:37AM - Elizabeth says Ashley called her and asked her to cover her because she needed to leave the house. She'd checked into a hotel. Ashley said if Jeffrey called tell him she was there because that's where she told him she was going. She offered to let Ashley stay over, she refused saying she'd already checked into the hotel. She was concerend Jeffrey would show up at Elizabeth's house and was sorry for putting her in the middle.
Elizabeth says she told her to get a divorce, separate, get out. She sasy she went and bout a bedroom suite so Ashley could move in with her if need be. She says the Scott's were having really bad problems. She could never please Jeffrey and was tired of him. She says Ashley felt like their marriage therapist knew every flaw Ashley had from the time she could walk.
She said she noticed Ashley had a puffy face and tons of make-up. They got into an argument about Ashley wanting to get pregnant becasue Elizabeth did not think Ashley was in a stable marriage.
Elizabeth says the couple was having problems Thanksgiving 04. She says Ashley told her Jeffrey wanted a divorce back then. State passes.
Ballin re-direct. Elizabeth acknowledges Ashley told her she had fallen down drunk. She was concerend about how much Ashley was drinking and that she might pick up another DWI. She never actually saw black eye. Re-direct, Elizabeth says Ashley told her Ashley would leave the house because she was afarid. Elizabeth says is certain that Ashley was afraid she would get hurt if she stayed and that she might not live. During the pregnancy argument, Ashley told her she might not live that long anyway. And Elizabeth slapped the table and told her not to bring a child into such an unstable relationship. October 28, 05 Ashley instnat messaged her and said he hit me and tried to choke me. Calls a few days after Thanksgiving and said he gave me a black eye.
10:27AM - But first another witness. State calls Elizabeth Cism (sp?) Ashley was her student assisstant in 2003 at Collierville. Continued to have a relationship with Ashley all teh way up to her death. First day Elizabthe met Ashley she had a scab on her knee. Another day at the pool, they were laying out, she had a knot on her head, bruising and scabs all up her leg. Last time she saw Ashley her entire face was puffy. LAst time she saw Ashley was the fall break of 06. Elizabeth fighting emotions on the stand. She says Ashley had stitches the last time he saw her. Elizabeth says Ashley sent her e-mails and instnat messages saying Jeffrey would hit her. After Thanksgiving 05, she says Ashley called her and told her she was having major, major, major problems in he rmarriage. things were going bad in her marriage, Jeffrey was into watching porn. ((2005).Jeffrey would not kiss her, She'd ask Jeffrey to kiss her during sex and he would not. She'd call from Blair's house. She call hysterical saying Jeffrey was being mad calling her a bitch, a whore, and she didn't know how to teach or to take care of a house.
By the pool injuries were summer of 2004.
january 2006. Counseling started. At some point Ashley told her about a black eye. Later in January, AShley told her it was embarrassing to have people at Bolton thinking she had a black eye. Ashley chsnged her story about the black eye saying she fell and hit her glasses. Elizabeth said you told me Jeffrey did it. She says Ashley started having a panic attack.
10:20AM - Judge plans to consider each of these witnesses individually on his own during a recess.
10:18AM - Judge now considering the testimony of Michael Lowe, especially considering the comment about going to Florida because cannot teach with two black eye. State argues if it doesn't call Michael Lowe, then it suspects the defense will call Michael Lowe. No response from defense. State says Lowe's testimony alos explains one of the situations in which Ashley was missing from school.
10:15AM - More arguments over a other parts of Blair Brown's testimony. Some of the stuff regarding conversations between Blair and Ashley might also be admissible in front of the jury even though it could be considered hearsay. Judge says the total testimony of Blair Brown is admissible under 404B (legal speak).
10:10AM - Apparently, these arguments are by no means easy to sort through. State says Blair Brown's testimony is extremely relevant because she saw Jeffrey hit her. Defense argues that Jeffrey had no clue Ashley was intending to leave her, that precious proff showed the couple was buying a house and trying to have a baby. State says the clothes in the trunk of her car show Ashley was intending to leave Jeffrey. Defense argues it might be proof that Jeffrey "kicked her out of the house because she was having an affair," Blake Ballin says.
Judge allows the testimony of Blair Brown.
10:06AM - Now the judge is asking why the testimony from teachers and students is relevant at this time. He says there is a lot of hearsay and does not know why it should come in front of the jury. State argues it's an exception to the hearsay rules becasue it shows a pattern of abuse and there were people who noticed it. He says it might be relevant, but to what. Lots of legal speak and legal arguing going on at this moment.The judge is sorting through which parts of all that testimony are legally allowed ont he stand. 'Excited utterance' questions. 'extemporaneous' questions. Black eye where victim says she ran into a cabinet. State perspective is that it was not from the cabinet it was from Mr. Scott. State argues many people testified to the black eye. Defense argues it proves she had a black eye, not where it came from. State says they have witnesses who say she told them Jeffrey Scott hit her.
9:59AM - Clarification. DeeDee Dillard was her student as a sophomore and apparently her teachers assistant the next school year. She noticed the black eye while she was a student in 05 and 06.
9:57AM - State calls DeeDee Dillard. Student at Lipscomb University. She went to high school at Bolton High. Knew Ashley. Ashley taught her sophomore honors english as a senior DeeDee was her teachers assisstant. She saw Ashley with a nlack eye. Ashley told her she bumped into a cabinet. Dillard says she sometimes talked to her about things that happened in their relationship. Ashley lost a watch and didn't want Jeffrey to find out. Another situation. About a bank. The Scott's had separate bank accounts. Was considering trying to merge nak accounts because she wanted to get pregnant. But wasn't exactly sure about merging bank accounts. Fall of 2006 is when she was Ashley's teaching assisstant. Ashley had a dog. Through tears and emotions now, Dillard says Ashley came in upset one day. Apparently Jeffrey was taking the dog somewhere and had the window rolled down and took a turn real hard and the dog flew out the window. Ashley met Jeffrey at the animal hospital and the couple got into a huge fight over the incident with the dog and the dog being hurt. Dillard says Ashley was a great teacher, maybe the best she ever had. Dillard says Ashley was also her good friend. Dillard says Ashley always wore long sleeves and a jacket. Always hot in Ashley's classroom. The students made fun of her wearing clothing that didn't necessaruly match. Dillard says Ashley wore a ton of make up that would pur down her face when she would get uposet and cry. Anything that had to do with animals being hurt or dying would make Ashley upset. Of Mice and Men, the book made her cry. Dillard says Ashley always wore pants, a skirt only once, she remembers becasue Ashley had a tattoo of an ankle bracelet. Ashley was always tan. Dillard says Ashley referred to her husband as socially retarded. Dillard met Jeffrey once at prom at asked if he was socially retarded. Ashley was standing there and the three played it off as a joke. With the dog, the Scott's got into a fight at the hospital in front of everyone. Ashley was embarrassed.
9:47AM - Lowe met Ashley October 05. He says she told him about two black eyes on the phone on her way down to Florida between four and six months after they met. Sometime in 06. During school. February or March. School in session. that's when she told him about physical abuse. Verbal abuse he learned about the first night he met her. They kept in verbal contact off and on. He says they were close up until six to eight months before Ashley's death. Then he got into a relationship. Lowe finished and released from stand.
9:42AM - State calls Michael Lowe. Sworn in. Never saw injuries to Ashley. Never spoke to Jeffrey about Ashley. Lowe says when he first met Ashley she told him about verbal abuse. One time she told him she was going to FLorida. He asked why, she said she can't very well teach with two black eyes. That's how he knew it was bad. Ashley told him that Jeffrey cheated on her and with strippers, etc. He says he met Ashley 4 years ago in 2005 around the time of the fall NASCAR race at Talladega. Lowe says she told him about a handful of verbal abuse instances, maybe a couple of physical abuse intances. He never saw any injuries to Ashley.
Ballin asks to appoach. bench conference.
9:37AM - Brown says she did not see Ashley fall. Ballin done. State re-direct. Blair says she never saw injuries. But on her birthday Nov 5, 05, she says Ashley told her that Jeffrey called her a whore and punched her in the eye and she had a black eye. When Blair saw her make-up covered the black eye. Brown says she heard Jeffrey call her derogatory names. She says she heard Jeffrey say she was crazy just lik eher mother, whore, slut. Playing scrabble one night and he told Ashley It's you turn whore. Brown says she was there for that and several other times in 05. Brown says she can count on one hand how many times she saw Ashley in 06. Early in the year, then not again until summer. She says Ashley took her to see the house they were buying. And Ashley told her they were trying to get pregnant. Last saw Ashley November 22, 2006. Spent part of the day with Ashley. Left 5 minutes after jeffrey got home from work.
Going back to Thanksgiving Day 2005. Brown says Ashley stayed over the night before becasue she didn't want to go home. Brown says Ashley was considering leaving for good. trying to figure out if she had the money to get her own apartment. Brown says she heard phone conversations where Jeffrey was adament that she came home saying this is stupid, we need counseling.
Brown says at least two other times before Thanksgiving that she came over to stay. She wanted to get out hte house, she wasn't happy. Brown says she usually had been drinking when she'd come stay. Frazzled, upset, but would leave the next day. Brown says she'd show up in the middle of the night like it was the end of the world, but wanted to hurry hom ethe next day and get back and make sure everything was in order by the time Jeffrey got home. Witness finished
9:28AM - Blair Brown on the stand. Ashley stayed at Blair's house the night before Thanksgiving 2005. She'd stayed at Blair's house a few times. Jeffrey came over one time. Ashley laying ont eh bed on her stomach. Jeffrey punched Ashley in the back. Blair pulled him off and made him leave. Blair asked what she should do, call police, etc. Ashley said no it'll be okay, he's just drunk, it'll bebetter in the morning. Blair says Jeffrey punched Ashley three itmes in the back. State passes.
Ballin cross. Asks Brown about about a Matchbox 20 concert where Ashley got drunk, fell and hit her head, knot on her head. Ballin asks if she had a black eye. Brown says she doesn't remember that. Brown acknowledges Ashley fell because she was drunk. Matchbox 20 in the fall of 05.
9:21AM - State calls Blair Brown. No jury still. Continues a series of witnesses with testimony before the judge so that he can determine what is admissible in front of the jury and what isn't. These witnesses will return to testify again in front of the jury.
9:20AM - Court back in session. Jury not here. About to hear from three more witnesses without the jury in the room. There is one more, but she's unavailable. She's an attorney and she's busy. Besides those three witnesse, the state plans to call a student who sent Ashley a tesxt message on Thanksgiving Day, and teh emdical examiner.
9:15AM - Court is not yet back in session. Should start momentarily. In the meantime, the judge released that mysterious e-mail late last night. It's on our website and you can read it. Basically Ashley Scott sent her father an e-mail regarding some of Ashley's financial issues. One observation, though...the e-mail was sent September 7, 2005. There's a date stamp on the bottom of the page that looks like it was put there by the electronic printer on the day it was printed...October 7, 2005. CSI found that printed e-mail on the computer desk in teh Scott's office at the their house after her death on Novemebr 23, 2006. So it was sent 14 months prior and printed 13 months prior. There has been no testimony regarding that e-mail. We'll see if there is any testimony eventually.
8:30AM - Trial will continue this morning. Standby for updates from the courtroom...
Selected archived coverage of Ashley Scott's murder:
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