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In the court with Littlejohn

Rita Cosby blogs, "It was very somber and intense in the courtroom last week as I had a front row seat, witnessing Darryl Littlejohn’s indictment on first and second degree murder charges in the brutal slaying of 24-year-old graduate student Imette St. Guillen.  He arrived in the courtroom in a grey sweatsuit and didn’t even look once at the crowd or Imette's family. "

In the court with Littlejohn (Rita Cosby)

spacerIt was very somber and intense in the courtroom last week as I had a front row seat, witnessing Darryl Littlejohn’s indictment on first and second degree murder charges in the brutal slaying of 24-year-old graduate student Imette St. Guillen.

He arrived in the courtroom in a grey sweatsuit…and didn’t even look once at the crowd or Imette's family during his short court appearance. His face remained steadfast and looking forward only at the judge as the evidence against him was laid out…his DNA found on the ties that bound Imette’s hands, mink and rabbit fur from his coat collars matched fibers found on Imette’s body, carpet fibers from Littlejohn’s house match fibers on the packaging tape wrapped around Imette’s head. And on top of that forensic evidence, a witness saw a silver van, like the one the cops say he sometimes uses, make a U-turn in the desolate area where Imette’s body was found... only about an hour before her body was discovered. Cell phone records also place Littlejohn near that same dumping ground one minute later, and Littlejohn’s alibi, that he visited his mom that Saturday in a nursing home, now can’t be confirmed by police.

The whole court experience was clearly so tough for Imette's family, they were so courageous to even be there and stare straight at the man now charged with their loved one's brutal slaying. My heart goes out to them, and I surely hope for the family’s sake that they can find justice for Imette through the legal system.

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Will there finally be justice for Imette? (Rita Cosby)

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Now that Darryl Littlejohn has been indicted on charges of murdering 24-year-old graduate student Imette St. Guillen, it will be interesting to finally see the case against the ex-con bouncer. Shortly after Imette's body was found bound in a blanket in Brooklyn, New York on February 25th, police focused the investigation on Littlejohn, who worked as a bouncer at The Falls, the bar where Imette was last seen alive.

We now know that Littlejohn's DNA was found on the ties that bound Imette’s hands, that carpet fibers found on the packing tape wrapped across her face match fibers in Littlejohn’s Queens, New York home, and that witnesses say they saw a dark van similar to Littlejohn’s at the bar that night.

But last week on our show, Littlejohn’s attorney Kevin O’Donnell, said that Littlejohn’s dark blue van had been sitting in his driveway, inoperable for months. He also dropped an even bigger surprise on our show Wednesday night, when he said Littlejohn told him he took the subway home that late night, using a metro card that expired that evening. If there is surveillance video in that subway station, that could prove if he indeed did take the train in the wee hours of the morning, right after he left work, as he claimed.

In just a matter of hours, we will find out exactly what evidence authorities have against him and how strong their case may be. I'll be at the courthouse today and will let you know what the scene outside and inside is like, and what my impressions are when I get a chance to see Littlejohn in person for the first time.


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Courtroom stunner: Lafave avoids jail time (Rita Cosby)

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I've received so many comments and emails from people who are outraged at the stunning decision on Tuesday to drop charges against Debra Lafave, the Florida teacher who slept with her 14-year-old student. Lafave’s woe-is-me attitude during her press conference angered so many of you.

Here is a woman who blatantly abused her position of power, and instead of accepting full responsibility, she blamed the media and her newly-publicized bipolar disorder.  While she didbriefly voice regret for her actions, she blamed the press for most of the distress in this case. Lafave said the victim “is suffering even more so by the media’s actions.”

What message does this send to other victims and perpetrators of sex crimes? Prosecutors drop charges against a woman accused of a sexual crime…and then the woman addresses the nation, spreading blame for the situation that she herself created. Does this reflect a double-standard in our country for sex crimes?

Debra Lafave says no, but the anger of so many viewers suggests otherwise. While I certainly feel sorry for the victim, the boy who was 14 years old at the time, I hope other victims of crimes like this come forward in court, regardless of the press or perpetrator.

Prosecutors said they believed in this case that would've been the only way justice could've been served. When he and his family decided he wouldn't testify, the prosecutors felt they had no case.

I hope our system can do a better job of protecting the victim, and also give them the courage to speak out, despite the difficult odds against them. Debra LaFave described her experience as "a bump in the road." It's far from that for the victim and his family.


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