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Prosecution closing argument

Fla. vs. Barber: Delivered by assistant state's attorney Matthew Foxman.

During opening—arguments you heard from the State of Florida that what would be presented to you during this trial would convince you that that man, Justin Barber, seated right over there, murdered his wife.  That those hands you see resting on the table, took a .22 caliber pistol, pointed it right at his wife’s face, and pulled the trigger.  And the evidence has proven that to be true.

But this crime was planned so thoroughly by the defendant, that he thought he was gonna outsmart the police, the prosecutors, everybody.  For that reason, your common sense needs to be your constant guide as you wade through, sort, and review the evidence that’s been presented to you.

At this point in the trial, you have heard all the evidence, all the testimony.  When the lawyers are done talkin’ to you, Judge Hedstrom’s gonna instruct you on the law.  I don’t want to spend a lot of time talkin’ about this.  But very briefly, if it will help in your review of the evidence, Judge Hedstrom will give you what are called the elements of First Degree Murder.

Quite simply, it is the list that the State of Florida must prove to you beyond a reasonable doubt for you to return a—a conviction of First Degree Murder.

That list contains three elements.  The three elements are that April Stacy Barber is dead, two, that the death was caused by the criminal act of Justin Barber, and three, there was a premeditated killing of April Stacy Barber.  I mention this to you, because it is to the elements, and those alone that the term, “Beyond a reasonable doubt”, applies.

It doesn’t apply to every fact under the sun, submitted as evidence here, only to the elements.  An important thing for your deliberations, if you look at elements number one, that Miss Barber is dead, and that her killing was a res—a result of a premeditated killing, elements one and three; there’s no real debate on the evidence.  The only debate before you, is element two; that the death was caused by the criminal act of Justin Barber.  I mention that to you because—it’s narrowed the focus, and the facts that you find that tend to prove or disprove that fact, is where you should spend your time and energy.

This case for—for you, as juror members—has been a—a crash course in forensics and in crime scenes. If I could, the first thing I’d like to discuss with you is blood flow.  What do we know about blood flow?  What did you hear from the experts?  It follows gravity.

It’s the same reason, that looking at this photograph, that you know when you look at it this way, it’s upside-down. What else do we know about blood flow?  That if it’s—in the same direction as it relates to this picture, then the head stayed in the same position.  Let’s review that, if we will, compared to the defendant’s version of events from that evening.  Amongst the ways that he describes carrying April Barber up that beach, and bear in mind, under his version of events, she’s already shot at this point.

He picks her up out of the water, manages to go just a very short distance, then he attempts a cradle carry, with the arm under the neck, and the other under the crook of the knees. April Barber is if not, under his scenario, dead, she’s on her way to death.  It’s a limp body.
Imagine the ways that that head would be moving and bleeding from that gunshot.  Under his version of events, he did not have much success with the cradle carry.  Next, he attempted what’s called a firemen’s carry, (NOISE) which is an over the shoulder.  Again, her lifeless body, with that head, imagine being thrown over the body, Justin’s shoulder, how that head would move.  Yet again, he did not have much success carrying April this way.

What did he try next?  That he got behind her, with her back to him, his hands under her underarms.  Then he went a little bit of a way in that position, but again, not that successful.  Then, ultimately, how did he gain his greatest measure of success? With April’s back to him, his hand around the front of her waist and him walking backwards.

Imagine her head, her lifeless head in all the positions, and where all that blood would be going, if that were true.  That scenario, and the manner in which he—he carried her; if you remember his deposition, the videotape.  That included at least two times that he dropped her, and he said that he repeated each of the ways that I’ve described for you, one more time.  Imagine how many times April Barber’s head would have moved and that blood would’ve flowed. And please look at that picture.  And as to the testimony, you heard from Dr. Steiner, the medical examiner, who had no explanation for that picture, compared to the—nine different ways that the defendant said that he carried Barber’s body.

Except to say, “Looking at the blood flow in that photograph, she was shot where she was found, at the boardwalk, not the waterline.”  His quote, “There’d be a lot of blood somewhere, if she were moved that way.”  You heard from Jerry Findley, the State’s—crime scene expert.
And in looking at the photographs and the evidence, he said, “That the flow is all consistent, straight down the face.”  If she was carried nine different ways, the head would change position many, many times, as would the blow—blood flow.  Quite simply, he said, “She was shot where she was found, at the boardwalk, not the waterline.”  The—next area to talk to you about in your crash course in forensics is blood transfer.

Blood transfer.  What that means is, someone’s bleeding and it transfers some of that blood to somebody else.  In the case before you, you have the defendant’s blood on April Barber, and some of April Barber’s blood on the defendant.  All that proves is that he was present when she died.  The key is, the blood is not where it’s supposed to be if the defendant’s story were true.
Specifically, it is not on April Barber’s waistline, and the top of the pants.  First of all, to explain—why some of April Barber’s blood might be on the defendant’s clothes.  You heard about the abrasions, the cuts on April Barber’s arm. Dr. Steiner told you that those abrasions occurred while she was alive, because there’s a vital reaction, blood oozing.  She was alive. He said the most likely scenario is that she got those abrasions in the water, and they result from pressure and movement.

Pressure from the defendant holding her down, movement as April Barber struggled for her life, against the rough coquina on the shores of Guana Beach.  Heard Jerry Findley as well, comment that any transfer from April Barber to the defendant could’ve easily been the result of these abrasions, as she was carried from the waterline, up to the boardwalk.

As to the—defendant’s blood on the victim April Barber, there’s testimony before you that his blood appears on her right wrist and her upper left arm. Perhaps that was him checking her pulse, perhaps that was him trying to pick her up and get her into the car.  I’m gonna talk to you quite a bit about that in a little while.  But what’s important is to measure, again, where there isn’t blood transfer against the defendant’s story.  You think about all the ways he said that he carried April Barber, but he really only had success with one way, and that was pulling her by the waistband.

If you heard the testimony in that civil deposition, he didn’t just grab the waistband, he tucked his thumbs in.  And bear in mind, under the defendant’s scenario, he’s shot in the hand.  And although it’s one bullet injury, it’s two injuries, it—an entrance wound, and an exit, and both would bleed.

Yet, there is absolutely no transfer of his blood to April Barber’s waistline.  Now, you heard that from Mr. Gilmore, the DNA expert, who examined the pants and found only April Barber’s DNA.  But—members of the jury, with a bloody hand from a gunshot, with someone’s hand right there, for 100 yards?  Forget laboratories, and scientists; if that were true, you’d see it with the naked eye, and it isn’t there. Again, something you’ll be hearing about in a little while from me—but an interesting note on blood transfer.

And that is, there’s not transfer in the defendant’s SUV, where he says he looked for his wife’s purse which contained the cell phone, specifically in the back seat.  There’s no blood there.  Yet, where the defendant sat as he drove, there’s blood in the driver’s cockpit, on the steering wheel and the driver’s door.  But again, more on that in—in a short while.

I’d like to talk to you a little bit about the testimony regarding Justin Barber’s wounds.  You heard from Dr. Tepas, board certified trauma surgeon, who treated—the defendant that evening.  He said that the defendant was stable hemodynamically, physiologically, and neurologically.  Neurologically, significantly means no diminished consciousness.  “The defendant was not at all confused,” was the testimony.  There was no derangement of underlining organs, or impediment to organ function.

That means no surgery.  That means these wounds were minor.  That means they were treated with antibacterial ointment and band aids.  Contrast that for me for a moment.  Four gunshot wounds to the defendant; salve and band aids, against one gunshot to April Barber right in the face, killin’ her.

Again, subject we will discuss in a little bit, but an important thing to start thinking about is, the defendant’s four injuries, and the sequence with which they happened.  The defendant says he passed out after one shot.  If that’s the case, how can you possibly explain where the other bullets landed on him?  We’ll talk more about that in a little bit.  But please remember about the wounds—all were—within a range of all the testimony you heard, that is consistent with being self-inflicted.  Heard Detective Cole, who went and saw the defendant in the hospital that evening.

Based on his training and experience, they looked funny to him, particularly the one on the side.  Dr. Tepas described that wound on the right chest as, “tangential”.  Tangential, off to the side.  Members of the jury, use your common sense; gun shot wound here, gun shot wound here, here, and over here.  Compared to, the vital area, (NOISE) all those wounds are out and away, (NOISE) out and away.

Some testimony that I think bears some comment—from yesterday’s—the expert hired by the defense—Mr. Jason, who testified about how the holes—bullet holes in the defendant’s shirt did not appear to him to align up with where the actual gunshot injury was.  Well, let’s—let’s assume for a moment that that’s actually true, and—and if it is, based on what was observed yesterday in the court room, and you can see from the image of that, that shirt was big on the defendant.

He was practically swimming in it.  And bear in mind, he had just drowned his wife, and dragged her 100 yards up the beach.  Might that explain a little displacement in the shirt?  Then also, I’m not sure the evidence tells you how the defendant might have shot himself, or pulled this shirt when he did it.  Not sure how that would happen.  But to say that’s indicative of a struggle is quite a leap.

Another thing that was absolutely fascinating is that Mr. Jason says that there was no blood spatter on the defendant’s shirt by the chest wound.  First of all, this is the exhibit that he permanently altered, the State’s exhibit, by marking it with a red mark.  This is a man who told you how precision and accuracy is critical to his analysis.  And what does he do while examining a shirt, he permanently alters it with a red marker, right by—of the things that’s of evidentiary value; there’s no blood tissue there.

That’s an important point, yet, red marker is there, for the man who need to be accurate and precise. However, when the testimony from Mr. Warniment, the FDLE firearms expert, and from Jerry Findley, the crime scene expert, said that they saw, if this injury that went through the hand is also the same gunshot that (NOISE) struck the chest; they said that there should be some blood spatter, tissue, spray of blood.

Mr. Jason takes the stand and says, “No, that wouldn’t happen if the hand were up against the shirt and the bullet went through.”  Does that make any sense at all? There may not be blood spatter, but there’s gonna be blood and tissue on the other side of that hand, and there’s none, just red marker.  And bear in mind, this is the same shot that Dr. Sturner couldn’t even get in position to do on the stand.

To turn this hand around, and say that this is the same shot.  Does that make any sense?  And I argue to you it doesn’t?  But you know why you heard that testimony?  These witnesses are testifying for the defendant, and you heard Dr. Sturner, he started out with the defendant’s story, and believed it to be true, and came up with his findings accordingly.

Importantly about that, they’re married to the defendant’s statement that he heard one shot and passed out.  How else could you possibly explain a contact wound to the hand for somebody who was passed out?  Did the phantom, once Justin Barber was passed out, supposedly pick up his hand and shoot his hand?  No.  Based on the defendant’s story of hearing one shot and passing out; had to come up with something that would explain that wound to the hand, and I argue to you, does not make common sense.  What makes perhaps more sense, is if you remember Mr. Warniment, the firearms expert testifying about his examination of the defendant’s shirt.

One of the things he said, is that there’s an area, over in this area, that had gunshot residue but no corresponding hole.  Isn’t it more likely that Justin Barber, when the time came, and needed to put that gunshot through his hand, went like this, and pulled the trigger, creating gunshot residue and no corresponding hole?

Another important point that Mr. Warniment made in his examination of the shirt, and that was he—as he examined the residue that deposited in various—areas of the shirt, he said that the—the—“Some of the material looked clumpy, it looked odd.”  Amongst the possible explanations for that, is that the ammunition got wet. Perhaps wet when the defendant was drowning his wife.  One of things that opposing council—made issue with—with—sw—switching gears on you—with some of the witnesses in this trial is—is whether or not some of the first responders to that Guana scene actually saw the blood on April Barber’s face.

So, let me review with you the testimony that you heard.  First of all, the first person on the scene was Lieutenant Ben Tanner.  What did Ben Tanner tell you?  That despite how dark it was, he saw foam, and he saw red fluid around it.

The next two people who had interaction with April Bar—Barber’s body are paramedic Erb, and Mr. Pryor.  Neither of them testified that they did in fact see any blood.  (UNINTEL PHRASE) very critical point to that, for your understanding, is that neither of them said they saw the wound either.  And everybody knows the wound was there at that point.  They didn’t see the wound, logic would dictate, they wouldn’t see the blood.

But also, if you saw the photographs and the testimony, the bloody side of April Barber’s face was facing away from where they were standing.  It was on the other side of them. Dark as can be out there on that—that part of the beach.  I mean, the photographs you have that illuminate this, have the benefit of huge portable lights, and flash photography.

The other thing about those two witnesses saying they didn’t see the blood; that’s proof that they didn’t move her head, which preserved our blood flow evidence, and also is consistent with their training.  Preserve the scene.  That’s good work.  Interest point as well, heard testimony about how April Barber had blood on her wrist.  Paramedic Erb and Mr. Pryor didn’t see that either.  That was closer to ‘em than April Barber’s face.  A very sad, sad truth in this case to share with you is that, given that April Barber was murdered, it is fortunate for law enforcement and the prosecution that she was murdered by a bullet that, sad as it is, actually caused paralysis, immediately.

The reason for that is that had she been shot in a way that didn’t cause paralysis, it’s possible she could’ve moved, which would have jeopardized the blood flow evidence.  But that paralysis is an important point as we go through the evidence.

I want to talk to you about the phone that’s present.  It’s a very critical piece of information, and you heard quite a bit of testimony about it from Dr. Steiner.  This bullet, as we discussed, caused instant paralysis.  If you have instant paralysis, there’s no breathing.  No breathing, no foam.  Which flies in the face of the defense theory that April Barber was shot before she was in the water.

But because the defendant held April Barber down in the water before she was shot, she was still breathing.  Remember, that’s when he’s holding her down, causing those abrasions.  But he held her down until she was unconscious and limp, which allowed that foam to form.  Another important thing I’ll get to in a moment, but Dr. Steiner told you, when that foam forms, and the body expresses it, it’s gone.

What’s important about this is, is that you know when it was expressed.  She’s up by that boardwalk, ‘cuz you can see it in the photographs.  It’s an important point I’ll get back to in a moment.  But the defense theory on this case is further defeated by other evidence.  The victim bleeds—this is the theory in a nutshell, as told by Dr. Sturner.  The victim bleeds out in the water after being shot.  The water miraculously washes away the blood, all of it, mind you.

The victim doesn’t bleed in the nine ways she’s carried and dropped for 100 yards up the beach.  Then somehow, when she comes—when the—she’s laid—on to the sand there at the boardwalk, somehow blood comes out.  Well, members of the jury, this body does not bleed at the convenience of the defendant.

Physics did not cease to exist on August 17th, 2002, in North Saint John’s County. You know that the victim did not bleed out in the water.  As Dr. Steiner testified that from the photographs, her color looked normal.  Even though she was deceased, the color looked normal.  Meaning, she had not suffered massive blood loss.  Again, another fact to remind you why she didn’t bleed out in the water is that, again, a sad fact; Miss Barber did bleed out in the body bag. Also—if I understand the—the defense theory from the testimony, the defendant wants—to explain that the railway at the boardwalk caused the series of abrasions that you’ve seen.

That simply doesn’t work.  I mean, just look at the photographs.  Look at the nature of those abrasions.  That’s not a slide down a railing.  As—Dr. Steiner told you, “From a railing, you get splinters, you don’t get abrasions like that.”  Also, some of those abrasions are described, behind the ear, on the victim as punctate abrasions.  Something’s pokin’ in there.

As Dr. Steiner told you, given the scenario, it’s most likely coquina shells being pushed into her as she’s being held down.  The other thing is, that the railway doesn’t actually make sense is that, under the defendant’s own theory if Miss Barber’s body slid down that railway, she was already dead.  Yet, what did the doctor tell you?  Dr. Steiner told you, “Those abrasions had an acute reaction.  She was alive.”

I like to talk a little bit about the search for the phantom, in this case, the alleged robber.  On the evening of August 17th, 2002, as law enforcement became involved in this, they had a very vague description of a car, and the defendant’s description of the phantom, which included nothing more than a clothing description.

He said, “He could see his face ‘cuz it was too dark out there.”  Given that vague information, law enforcement still did multiple searches of the Guana Beach area with canines, with metal detectors, with the helicopters, including the Fleer infrared technology.  Bear in mind as well, at this—particular area of the beach, A1A (PH) is the only way in and out.  And the units responded were look—that were responding, looking for anything suspicious, didn’t find anything.  Talk to you a little bit about the—testimony of the Pryors, the couple from Tennessee who came in and—and testified that they’d seen a car—somewhere near where Justin Barber’s SUV was.

Please, with your common sense review the Pryor’s testimony that was presented in this court room. First of all, neither one of them are from this area, or are remotely familiar with that stretch of road.  Miss Pryor describes this vehicle as, “light colored”.  Mr. Pryor, “dark colored”.

She described it as a “square sedan”. Mr. Pryor describe it as, “What we call a K-Car, probably a Dodge.”  That’s just not very specific, and I’ll tell you why.  Even including their testimony in this courtroom, they’re still referring to Justin Barber’s car as a Blazer.  A Blazer is made by Chevrolet.  He was driving a Toyota 4-Runner. Both of them referred to, what is essentially a 10 mile drive as a “four to five mile drive”.

I mean, right off the bat, they’re wrong by 50 percent.  Mrs. Pryor in a—in a—in a telling moment about her ability to see events, remember them, and testify about them; remember she spent a little bit of time with the defendant as he was—in his SUV awaiting medical attention.  She saw the gunshot to his hand, and testified under oath, “It was on his right hand.”  When it’s—not even in controversy that it—it’s on his left hand.

She’s got a 50-50 chance of gettin’ this one right, folks, and she still gets it wrong.  Perhaps the truth in the Pryor’s testimony came out in the statement like this from Mr. Pryor, “It sure seemed like a lot longer driving back to that beach approach, than it did drivin’ north.” Let’s just even assume they were in the Guana area.  How do we even know they were at the—right walkover?  You just can’t rely on these people for accurate information based on their testimony.

If these people even saw a car, it was nowhere near the defendant’s Toyota 4-Runner.  As to the investigation as it relates—to the phantom.  Detective Cole summed it up best when he was being questioned by defense council.  He just followed the evidence.  Absolutely critical point for your analysis.

Crime scene technician, John Holmquist, from the FDLE, found absolutely no physical evidence of a third party being on the beach that evening.  Further, Mr. Holmquist, and DNA analysts Mr. Gilmore and Miss Lee, “There is no physical evidence on either the defendant or Miss Barber of a third party.”  I mean, think about that, the defendant’s engaged in this struggle for his life, yet no hair, skin, or DNA is found of a third party.  Members of the jury, there is no phantom.

I’d like to discuss with you the defendant’s drive from Guana Beach to Ponder Vedra Lakes Boulevard.  Just look at the position that he left his wife in. He didn’t straighten her legs out, didn’t put anything under her head, he just drove away.  I consider that slightly iron—ironic, given the scenario.  He drags his wife 100 yards up the beach in the soft sand.  Then he finally gets to a point where he has some traction, and he leaves her.

The defendant says that as he left the boardwalk area, he tried to flag down three different cars on A1A.  At least one of them had to swerve to avoid hitting him. Yet, Detective Cole testified there is not one single 9-1-1 call to the sheriff’s office about somebody who was shot in the middle of A1A, flagging down cars.  And even if someone didn’t have a cell phone, I argue to you that one of those motorists would have stopped at one of the gas stations the defendant didn’t stop at and call police.

But that didn’t happen.  The defendant said that, as he got to his car, he was looking for the cell phone.  Well, he must’ve looked everywhere but where it was.  He should be desperate to find it.  I child could’ve found that in 10 seconds.  He didn’t want to find it.  Then, what does the defendant do next?  Does he just pull up into A1A and block both lanes of traffic, which would certainly someone—summons someone to the area.

No, he drives 10 miles away, passed countless houses, guard houses, and businesses.  Doesn’t stop at any of ‘em.  Then he doesn’t even stop other motorists.  He passed the Pryors, if you believe they’re testimony.  He didn’t try and flag ‘em down.  His wife’s lying on the beach, and why doesn’t he stop?  “’Cuz some lights were out, and he didn’t want to get an old man out of bed.”  When asked how to describe that, Detective Cole probably said it best, “That is inconceivable.”  Why did he really drive away?

What does the evidence tell you?  He wanted to put time and distance between himself and the crime scene.  Let that tide come up and erase some evidence.  And remember, driving away was always his plan, ‘cuz he had to get rid of the gun. In the four to six weeks prior to Miss Barber’s murder, the defendant began a sexual relationship with Shannon Kennedy.

This continued right up until the murder, just a couple of days before.  The defendant says that this was a casual relationship, and certainly Miss Kennedy thought so.  But does the evidence tell you that the defendant believed that?  The defendant asked Shannon Kennedy to go away with him to California and to Georgia within one week of the murder.  Not one place, but two.  Now, Miss Kennedy said, “I thought maybe he was kind of joking,” or—or something like that.  That’s two different trips he’s asking.

And I argue to you, members of the jury, in the politics of men and women, the truth is often said in jest. Then when released from the hospital with his salve and band aids, where does the defendant go?  He goes to stay at the Omni Hotel, the very place Shannon Kennedy works.  Coincidence?  I argue to you it’s not, and I’ll tell you why.

He insisted on seeing her.  The manager of that Enterprise Rent-a-Car, David Esposito, said that he told Justin, “Don’t go in and see her.  You can use my cell phone and call her.”  But he went in anyway.  The testimony from David Esposito, he had to all but kick the defendant out of the Enterprise office.  Then, when the defendant is being—talking to Detective Cole and others at Saint John’s County Sheriff’s office, he finds out that Shannon Kennedy is there.  What’s he do?  He asks if she’ll give him a ride home.

Then, couple weeks after the murder, he calls her again.  Couple months after the murder, he comes by with a gift, the maple syrup.  Does that sound like somebody who just wants a casual relationship?  And if Shannon Kennedy was actually a relationship that was casual in nature to the defendant, would he have lied about it to Detective Cole?

Remember, he only admitted this when he was told that Shannon Kennedy was in another interview—room at the Sheriff’s office. Starting at—January 1st of-- 2001, the defendant carried approximately $9,000 in credit card debt.  If you fast forward a little more than a year and a half to August, September of 2002, the time of the murder, that figure has risen to $58,000 in credit card debt alone.  Not student loans, not mortgages, car payments, credit card debt, $58,000.  That went up approximately $50,000 in just a year and a half.

What explains this rapid expansion?  The defendant was getting credit card cash advances to pay for his massive e-trade losses.  I mention that to you, not just ‘cuz $58,000 in credit card debt is just such a big number.  This is somebody who affirmatively needed the $2 million in insurance money.  If I understood defense council, they will be arguing to you that the insurance was a good idea, because April Barber—Barber’s family history had some health problems, and they could get this policy for a relatively cheap amount.

Is that true?  Well, what’s the defendant say after the murder?  Eleven months after they bought the policy, oh, he thought they decided to let it lapse.  Let it lapse, it was a good idea 11 months ago?  Nothing’s changed in their lives substantially, yet now they’re deciding to let it lapse?  Is that true?  It’s for you to decide.

But an important point that you must know from the evidence that was testified too, from that witness stand, is that it was the defendant who got the notices on premium payments on April Barber’s policy.  You heard that that was actually usual from the represent of First Colony (PH) .  That someone other than the insurer would receive notices. It went to his address in Jacksonville, while April Barber was residing in Thomasville, was nothing more than a weekend visitor.

That’s significant because what happened here based on the evidence presented to you.  Logic dictates that Justin Barber told his wife to pay the last premium payment so that when he was questioned by police, and he knew how suspicious $2 million would look, he could say, “I thought we let it lapse.  I had no idea my wife paid that.”  Put nothing passed this man.  This crime is that diabolical.  Remember please, as well, as it relates to the insurance; the defendant walked into the insurance agent’s office and told them, “This is what I want.”

That agent never met April Barber.  And again, it was the defendant who received the premium notices and correspondence on that policy.  And of course, he was always the beneficiary. He stood to profit by his wife’s death by $2 million.  The old adage is true, even if it’s corny, the defendant has two million reasons to commit this crime.

As you heard during the course of the investigation, the Saint John’s County Sheriff’s office took the defendant’s two computers, his work computer and his home computer into evidence.  They were subsequently transmitted to the—Tallahassee Crime Lab of Computer Science for the FDLE. Of interest and of note are a few things, and—and the first I want to share with you is the—the February 14th, 2002 search about six months before the murder; “trauma cases gun shot right chest”.

So, on February 14th, Valentine’s Day of 2002, the defendant types in this search query, “trauma cases gun shot right chest”.  That’s pretty specific. I’m gonna fast forward you to February 20th, a few days later, also in 2002. Hopefully everyone can see that. But the search term, although similar, is slightly different, “medical trauma gun shot chest”.

Also on the 20th, “medical trauma gun shot chest”.  The different between these two, if you recall the testimony, is that we have search results here of 31 through 40, and down here, 41 through 50. What that tells you, the first board you saw in those two is, this is no accident or mistake.  This is careful progress of internet research.  The defendant is preparing himself for what happened on August 17th, 2002, six months in advance.

Now, I ask you, rhetorically, what are the odds of somebody researching, “gunshot wound to the right chest”, getting a gunshot wound to the right chest six months later?  Those odds just don’t exist. The next search to show you actually occurred on July 19th, of 2002, one month before the murder.  Importantly about this are the query terms, “Florida divorce”.  Also interesting about the testimony about this particular search, it’s partially deleted.

I mean, law enforcement was lucky to recover.  You don’t even have the heading in this search. We’ll talk more about that in a little bit.  These searches that I’ve just shown you all took place on the defendant’s work computer, his laptop.  Switching to his home computer.  Right to the day of the murder, August 17th, 2002, in the evening, matter of hours before April Barber was murdered, and very shortly before the two of them went out to dinner that evening.

The defendant’s downloading songs and they icue—include, “Used to Love Her”, by Guns ‘n Roses, “Movin’ On”, by Rascal Flats, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Guns ‘n Roses.  I mean, imagine the visual on this as April Barber is getting ready for dinner, and the defendant’s having his own little concert, psyching himself up for what he’s about to do.

“I Used to Love Her”, by Guns ‘n Roses, that song was deleted on September 3rd, 2002.  Why is that date significant?  Well, first of all, it’s the only song of the songs that were downloaded on that occasion that the analysts can definitively say was deleted.  But it was deleted on September 3rd, 2002, one day before the computer was surrendered to law enforcement. Seven, 19, ‘02, July 19th, less than one month before the murder a search on the defendant’s computer, “Florida divorce”.

Mid August, Shannon Kennedy is with the defendant in the Jacksonville condo.  She testified that she saw him putting up pictures of his wife and family. She said before she could even ask him about it, he said, “We’ve got some relatives coming into town, and I need to keep up appearances.”  What’s going on there?

Members of the jury, I get to come back and talk to you in a moment. When I do, I’ll be asking you to return a verdict of guilty as charged for First Degree Murder.  Thank you. (