Thursday, September 24, 2009

Case Closed

The State Attorney General's Office has concluded that it would "fruitless" to reopen the case to investigate other leads following Samson's acquittal, according to this morning's Sun Journal story. Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson stated
There was no information developed during the investigation that would suggest that anyone other than Agostino Samson killed Scott Libby, and my office and the state police still strongly believe that he's guilty of murder.

He also said, regarding the acquittal,
Obviously, I was not present in the jury room during the jury deliberations, and I'm not going to second-guess their decision. Their view of the evidence was simply different from that of the state.

The family is grateful to the Maine State Attorney General's Office, the Maine State Police, and everyone involved in the investigation for their fine work, and again, all friends and family who have been supportive throughout this process. At this point, we are simply attempting to move on.

On an administrative note, I intend to leave this site up indefinitely for future reference, but this will likely be my last posting. Take care, everyone.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jury Finds Not Guilty

At approximately 4 PM, the jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty of Murder as well as Not Guilty of Manslaughter. (In Maine, a murder charge includes the lesser manslaughter charge as well, so if a verdict of Not Guilty of Murder is returned, the jury still may find either way on Manslaughter.)

The family wishes to thank everyone who has expressed their support during this time.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Trial, Day 5

The jury has begun deliberations! The defense rested early in the day, closing arguments were made by both attorneys, and the final instructions given to the jury, who promptly took a lunch break, it being close to 1:00 by then. Towards the end of the day, the jury passed a note requesting to review the testimony of one of the fingerprint witnesses. Given the lateness of the hour, the judge promised that for first thing tomorrow morning, and dismissed the jury for the evening.

The evidential review will probably take about an hour tomorrow morning, and they will obviously want to discuss it afterwards, so there will almost certainly not be a decision before mid-morning at the very earliest. Of course, no one knows how long it will really go tomorrow or even beyond.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Trial, Day 4

If you hadn't noticed, I've been trying to keep these entries very matter-of-fact and free of a lot of detail, to keep them respectful of peoples' feelings and neutral of bias. More details can usually be found in the news stories I've linked to. However, today I need to make a bit of exception, due to (1) the important nature of some of the evidence that is now coming out, and (2) a major event that happened at the end of the day.

To start with, several more detectives were called to the stand, as well as a DNA analyst, who talked more about blood stain patterns and what blood and DNA evidence was found where. A fingerprint expert was also called to talk about what was found in that regard, which was little inside the car, but a key piece of fingerprint evidence was brought forward from the hostel: Samson's fingerprint with Scott's blood found on a door. (To be completely fair, it should be stated that when experts identify blood and DNA evidence, it is always with a certain probability, which is almost always less than 100%.)

At this point, the prosecution rested its case.

The defense then called a number of witnesses relating to Samson's residence and work life: The manager of the hostel, and several people from the restaurant where Samson worked: the owner, Samson's manager, and a waitress. The manager confirmed that AJ had had a disagreement with some of the other employees that night, and on his way outside to cool off for a while, punched a refrigerator. This substantiates Samson's claim for the origin of some bruises that were found on his hands.

One of the key missing pieces of evidence that has been referred to throughout the case is a blue jacket belonging to Samson, a jacket which he reportedly wore everywhere, and which has not been seen since the night in question. The prosecution theorizes that the jacket had to be disposed of, but the defense contends that without the jacket in hand, nothing can be proven about it.

The last witness today was Samson's grandmother, with whom Samson lived after he ceased residence at the hostel, shortly after Scott's death, until his arrest. She testified to helping him gather his belongings at the hostel, and pick up his last paycheck at the restaurant where he worked. At the end of her testimony, a member of the public, from the side of the courtroom where Samson's family was sitting, came forward with something in a bag. It was handed over, and revealed to be the missing blue jacket. Completely clean.

The seemingly astonished prosecution had no more questions for the witness, the jury was dismissed for the weekend with the usual instructions not to discuss the case, and court declared in recess until Monday, after which the judge requested an immediate conference with both lawyers in his chambers. We will presumably find out on Monday what all this means. We will not speculate here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trial, Day 3

The day started with Detective Leighton finishing his testimony, followed by that of two other detectives, a state trooper, and someone from the state crime lab, all of which involved much discussion of the evidence and how it was collected and analyzed. A nearby resident was called to testify that she and her dog awoke in the night and may have heard something.

Also taking the stand was Samson's mother.

Testimony continues tomorrow morning.

Note: Link to Day 3 Sun Journal story has been updated since it was first posted.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Trial, Day 2

Scott's mother Nancy was the first person to testify this morning, relating her brief interaction with Scott during the day and evening of Thursday, February 19. Her testimony was followed by that of a friend with whom Scott chatted by cell phone for about 45 minutes on his way to Bethel that night. Much was made throughout the day of cell phone records, correlating Scott's location with times throughout the late night and early morning.

Much of the rest of the day was taken up by lengthy testimony from the senior detective in the case, Herbert Leighton. Testimony was also heard from a resident of the area who found some of Scott's items, and one of Samson's fellow employees at a bar where he was employed as a cook.

Testimony continues tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trial, Day 1

Today opening statements were heard first from Assistant State District Attorney Andrew Benson, followed by Defense Attorney Maurice Porter. Benson painted a detailed picture for the jury of what they will show happened in the early morning hours of Friday Feburary 20, while Porter assured them that the State does not have sufficient evidence to prove his client guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt".

Testimony was first heard from the engineer and conductor of the train which slammed into Scott's car, who were obviously first on the scene, followed by the emergency medical technician, and a lengthy testimony with multiple cross examinations from the deputy state medical examiner, who performed the autopsy and answered questions about her findings.

The day concluded with testimony from Scott's friend and employer at the club in Cambridge where he worked part time, and finally from a women who happened to be driving down the road and stopping for gas at the time of the train's collision with the car.

Testimony is to resume tomorrow morning.