Jeffrey Scott Trial Blog - Day 6 - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Blog by Aisling Maki

Jeffrey Scott Trial Blog - Day 6

Day 6 of the Jeffrey Scott Trial was January 17, 2008.

9:25 Court is now in session. 

9:29 Defense asks that a doctor be allowed to testify to explain "bizarre behavior" discussed in court previously, and how a cycle of domestic violence  might affect a victim's behavior. 

9:34 Defense is asking that Dr. Zager be allowed to discuss how abuse affects victims in general, so the jury can understand post-traumatic stress disorder.
9:37 Judge describes Ashley Scott as a "troubled, abused woman". He says people understand the nature of abuse, and Zager's testimony is likely not necessary.
9:40 Judge says the ultimate issue is whether or not the defendant committed this crime.
9:41 Defense calls Rachel Songstadt.
9:42 Ashley Scott said her husband called her repeatedly while she was away at her high school reunion, Songstadt says.
9:44 Ashley told her Jeffrey brought a prostitute to the house while she was away. When she returned, she was beaten badly, says Songstadt. 

9:45 Prosecution asks Songstadt if she has seen media coverage of the trial. She says she watches tv, but not coverage of this trial. 

9:46 The jury is not present. 

9:47 I meant the defense asked Songstadt. I apologize. 

9:50 State says Ashley feared for her life. She was upset enough to tell her attorney about the beating that occured after the reunion. This led to her decision to seek leave Jeffrey. 

9:50 Court is quiet. Judge is making notes. 

9:56 The defense is discussing the difference between testimony and hearsay. The courtroom is full.
10:03 Defense has a signed waiver from the executor of Ashley's estate. Attorney-client still remains intact after death, defense says. It's not allowable to breach that agreement. Allowing testimony from Ashley's attorney would be breaking that privilege. 

10:04 State disagrees because  Ashley was a victim. 

10:05 Ballin had the waiver.
10:10 Judge is discussing relationship between Songstadt and Ashley Scott. Songstadt was a lawyer, but they were friends first. 

10:12 He's discussing this in relation to client-attorney privilege and whether or not Songstadt be permitted to testify. 

10:17 Did Ashley confide in her as a friend or an attorney? This is being considered.
10:19 Judge says he will allow Songstadt to testify.
10:27 Attorneys from both sides have approached and are having a private discussion with the judge regarding cell phone evidence. 

10:29 Court is in recess. 

10:39 Just want to clarify from earlier, the State requested Zager and Sonstadt testify, not the defense. I apologize. 

10:40 Court is back in session. 

10:44 Judge says we are running an hour and a half behind schedule. The jury is about to to enter.
10:46 It's very quiet inside the courtroom, except for the occasional cough. 

10:49 Jurors entering. 

10:50 Jury is seated. State has called Rachel Songstadt. 

10:51 She is on the stand.
Songstadt is a divorce lawyer. In August of 2005, Songstadt met Ashley Scott after  Ashely received a DUI. A mutual friend put them in contact. Songstadt referred Ashley to a criminal lawyer. 

10:54 Songstadt began to discuss abuse, defense objected. Attorneys speaking with judge.
10:55 Resuming... 

10:56 Songstadt says Ashley admitted abuse. 

10:57 There was a knot on her head, Ashely said her husband hit her. SOngstadt provided her with options to leave, ways to protect herself. 

10:58 Ashley said Jeffrey would kill her if she left, says Songstadt. 

10:58 She also says Jeffrey gave Ashley a black eye. 

10:59 Ashley used pay phones to contact Songstadt because Jeffrey would look through her cell phone's "calls made."
11:00 Attorneys have approached judge again...quiet in courtroom. 

11:04 Restrictions on Songstadt's testimony due to the fact that she's a lawyer. Jury asked to step out while judge explains.
11:06 She is allowed to discuss what Ashley told her, but not what she THOUGHT. Only facts of conversation are allowed. She's not allowed to say Ashley was scared. Judge says the fear aspect is irrelevant right now. 

11:08 Ballin says Songstadt appears to have an agenda and thinks she heard the private conversation at the bench. 

11:10 It has now been made clear to Songstadt what she can and can't disuss. 

11:11 Jury is coming back in. 

11:13 July of 2006...Ashley Scott called Songstadt from Tan 'N Go phone. Jeffrey had pushed Ashley, she said. She hit her chin on a piece of furniture and was wearing a bandage. 

11:14 Sept of 2006, Ashley returned from reunion. Songstadt met her at Bolton H.S. She had gotten into altercation with Jeffrey because he had a prostitute in their home while she was gone. 

11:15 They got into a physical altercation...she was pushed, put his foot to her chest, she couldn't breathe...she said she couldn't breathe...Jeffrey said he didn't want her to breathe. 

11:16 After he had prostitute in home,  Ashley said maybe she should dress like a whore, and they began to fight physically. 

11:17 Attorneys talking to judge...all is quiet. 

11:23 Ashley's sister and father are the executors of her estate.
11:24 We know nothing more of the text message at the present time. 

11:26 Songstadt is still on the stand waiting. Attorneys from both sides are talking to judge. 

11:27 Judge asks jurt to disregard witnesses last statement. Fear is not relevant at this time in the trial, judge says. 

11:29 Topic of divorce brought up several times, Songstadt says. Ashley called her day before she died and said she had her filing fee and was ready to divorce. Songstadt was planning on filing, told her to "get out of there." 

11:30 Ashley wanted to tell Jeffrey she was leaving, Songstadt advised her not to. 

11:30 Shortly after, Songstadt heard she was dead. 

11:31 The jury is still here. Songstadt has stepped down. Her testimony is finished.

11:32 Jury is now leaving again. Not sure why... 

11:33 Court is in recess. 

11:35 There is no second t in Songstad's name. My mistake. 

11:50 This is Action News 5 Web Producer Aisling Maki filling in for Nick Kenney at today's trial.
11:52 Court is in recess. People are moving around the courtroom...talking.
12:05 Copies of documents are being distributed to attorneys and judge. Not certain what the document pertains to at this time. 

12:08 Court is back in session. Judge has asked to bring the jury back in. 

12:11 Next witness pertains to cell phone records. 

12:12 Jury is entering the court room. 

12:13 State calls Erica Dorris. 

12:14 Dorris is an AT&T employee, handles cellular records. 

12:15 She is studying paperwork, asked if she recognizes it. She says yes. These are phone records. 

12:17 We are looking at Jeffrey Scott's phone records. He is the billing party. Status of the account was suspended in realy October of 2006. 

12:17 early October. 

12:18 We are looking at data of calls made.
12:23 November 22 on cell phone history...calls made to various numbers.
12:24 We are going through technical explanations regarding cell phones and billing.
12:25 November 22 and 23, text messages sent. 

12:27 Multimedia transfer files were sent. AT & T can't tell us exactly what was sent, but only that it was sent successfully. Not sure where this is going...
12:30 AT & T can only determine who a phone belongs to if the phone belongs to one of their customers.
12:32 On November 23, 2006, there were two phone calls made to user's own voicemail. 

12:35 One call made at 10:51 a.m. and the other at 2:01 p.m. These calls were made the day Ashley Scott died...from her phone. 

12:38 Defense is now questioning witness Erica Dorris of AT&T regarding a text message sent at 11:01 a.m. on October 29, 2006  to Michael Lowe. Several messages sent to and received by Lowe from Ashley's phone on the same day. Messages back and forth... 

12:39 Texting back and forth continuously that same day... 

12:40 Attorneys have approached bench to speak with judge. Courtroom seems anxious.
12:42 These texts messages were sent on October 29, when Ashley was still alive. A total of 47 text messages were sent back and forth between Lowe and Ashley Scott. 

12:43 Jeffrey Scott has kept his head down...he has not looked up at the screen showing the cell phone records. 

12:44 On October 30, 2006, 32 text messages were sent between Ahsley Scott and Michael Lowe. On October 31, 23 text messages were sent back and forth between the two.
12:46 All text messages were sent to or from from Michael Lowe, except for two. 

12:47 Dozens of text messages sent between Ashley and Lowe for the consecutive days. 

12:48 The numbers are going quickly...many, many text messages. 

12:50 A constant stream of text messages between the two. 

12:51 Through November, constant texting...
12:54 They are showing an AT&T bill on a screen. We have no idea as to the content of the messages.
12:56 On the entire bill, of all messages sent, only 2 did not go to Michael Lowe. 

12:57 Disregard last entry. 

12:58 These are mostly multimedia messages, meaning there were likely pics attached. 

1:00 Dorris is stepping down.
1:00 AT& T can't determine the content of a text message. 

1:03 Jury has just left. To summarize, what we now know is that between October 29 and the time of Ashley's death, she and Michael Lowe exchanged many, many text and mulitmedia messages. 

1:03 Court is breaking for one hour. 

1:04 Everyone has left for lunch. We will continue just after 2:00 p.m.
2:20 Court is in session. 

2:24 Nothing is happening at the moment. People seem anxious. 

2:26 The jury is entering the room. 

2:27 State is calling Deputy Steve Bierbrodt of Shelby Co. Sheriff's Office.
2:27 He investigates white collar crime and computer forensics. He has over 12 years experience. 

2:28 He is discussing his forensics experience and training. 

2:30 He is discussing his experience with electronic evidence and software. 

2:30 cell phones, internal hard drives, etc. 

2:31 He says he is qualified as an expert. 

2:32 He perfomed an examination of a cell phone. Evidence is being given to the is the phone he examined. 

2:33 State has given him the phone. He has identified it as one on which he performed a forensic examination. 

2:34 The age of the phone made it impossible to perform an examination using software, but he performed the examination manually. 

2:35 Deputy Bierbrodt is holding photographs he took during the examination of the phone... 

2:36 He is explaining the of messaging, multimedia boxes that were stored in the phone. 

2:37 The jury is examining the photos. 

2:39 On the last screen, sent messages were photographed by the deputy.
2:41 A sent message, entered as evidence, is being viewed by the jury.
We can't see the content of the message.  The deputy  does not know the time and date of the multimedia message.
2:45 He knows the number from which it was sent, but we haven't been told the identity of the sender. 

2:46 The jury is examining more evidence. 

2:47 Evidence of multimedia messages...exhibits all entered by the State. 

2:49 It's quiet as jurors examine the evidence. 

2:50 Photographs of several multimedia messages have been entered by the State as evidence now.
2:50 The jury continues to examine the evidence. 

2:53 The State continues to enter more photos of messages as evidence. The deputy took all the photos being presented. These photos are from a cell phone. The jury examines them. 

2:56 The images contained in the multimedia messages have not been disclosed. The jury has seen them, but we have not.
3:00 State is entering more evidence... 

3:01 Bierbrodt identified it as a photo he took of a screen that shows all calls made on the phone. 

3:03 The jury is examining the evidence. The courtroom is very quiet. Jeffrey Scott is leaning forward with his head down, looking at the ground. 

3:06 State enters yet another exhibit...deputy is examining the pages. It's a photograph of a contact list from the cell phone. 

3:08 Jury is viewing the evidence. 

3:11 Deputy prepared a spreadsheet showing missed calls, dialed calls, etc. It is being shown on a screen now. 

3:12 It includes missed calls, dialed calls and received calls.
3:12 A list of all contacts maintained in the phone is being shown. 

3:13 Records from AT&T, previously studied by deputy... 

3:14 Deputy says there were phone calls in the AT&T records that were not on the cell phone. They are being shown. Calls may have been deleted from phone. 

3:17 Defense is now questioning Bierbrodt. 

3:18 Deputy went through phone manually because it was an older model...rather than use software.
3:20 Images on the phone were sent to Michael Lowe.
3:22 Deputy is looking at a photo taken in the Scott's bedroom. There are handcuffs and a sex toy of some sort. The defense has presented this photo. We cannot see it.
3:23 Defense is asking Bierbrodt to look at images in photo he's presenting and ask if they match the images on the phone. 

3:23 The images relate to a sex toy. 

3:29 It sounds like some of the images are sexual in nature. 

3:30 Attorneys from both sides are talking to the judge. The courtroom is quiet. 

3:34 The jury is being escorted out. The attorneys are still speaking with the judge. 

3:34 The jury has left. 

3:36 The State has asked that the court be privy to what's being discussed, now that the jury is gone.   

3:37 It seems the request has been ignored. 

3:39 People in the court room are chatting with one another.

3:40 The judge continues to talk privately with attorneys from both sides. 

3:42 People seem anxious, some look sleepy. Former medical examiner O.C. Smith is in the court room. 

3:47 O.C. Smith is coming forward at the judge's request. 

3:48 Smith has taken the stand. A problem has arisen regarding rules of discovery and testimony. 

3:49 Smith and any notes he has made must be made available to the State.
3:50 Before he is called to testify, Smith must share all notes with the State. It has been agreed upon so as to avoid any delays in this trial. 

3:53 Smith is working on a report that is not yet complete. Smith says the testimony he heard yesterday has affected his opinion. 

3:55 The judge has ordered OC Smith to turn over his notes to the State. 

3:57 The judge wants OC Smith to deliver his notes to the State. He will be interviewed by the  State attorneys  in the Office of Domestic Violence downstairs here in the CJC. 

3:57 Court is in recess.

3:58 Smith must drive to his home in Tiptin County to retrieve the notes. 

4:00 We don't know at this time  whether or not we  will adjourn early so Smith can deliver his notes to the State. 

4:00 Again, court is now in recess. 

4:10 Sitting in court...the room is half empty now. We don't know if we will continue or adjourn for the day. 

4:13 The jury has left for the day.
4:18 Here's a wrap-up of where we are now. The defense  had planned  to call former medical examiner OC Smith as an expert witness, but Smith does not have his report with him. Before he can testify, Smith must share his notes with the State and be interviewed by the State attorneys. Smith must drive to his home in  Tipton County, collect his notes, return Downtown for an interview with the State and allow them to review his notes. Therefore, testimony is finished for the day and the jury has left. 

4:34 Testimony will continue at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. The jury is gone and most of the people in the courtroom have cleared out. 

4:38 The only thing left  for  today will be some arguments over which autopsy photos will and will not be allowed in court tomorrow. When the trial continues on Sunday, the State will call their medical expert, Dr. Funte, and OC Smith is expected to testify about his findings. 

4:40 Court is now back in session with no jury, fewer people. 

4:41 During the recess, Judge Lammey says, they discussed which photos will be shown to the jury tomorrow. Most of the photos are not objectionable, but the judge described two as "extremely provocative." 

4:42 "Excessively gruesome" is how the judge described several photos.

4:44 State is requesting they meet in the morning with Dr. Funte, who is working tonight and not available for interview. They have requested that court start later in the morning to give them a chance to meet with her before she testifies. 

4:46 Court is adjourned until 10:00 tomorrow morning. Action News 5 will bring you latest live from the trial. 

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