Friday, November 20, 2009

Ray Jennings, Innocent (Michael Blake, DA, guilty)

[From the Eastside trenches]

The murder of Ms. O’Keefe (in a Palmdale CA park and ride, 2/2000) obviously counts as a tragedy, yet no conclusive evidence exists which would convict Sergeant Ray Jennings of the murder. Jennings now is involved in his THIRD re-trial in Palmdale for 187; two LA juries failed to reach a guilty verdict. The vigilante attitude shown towards Jennings in the Valley Press and Daily News (and LA Times, at least initially) has hardly been equitable or indeed Constitutional; he was found Guilty by Journalists as soon as he appeared in the papers (probably because Ms O'Keefe's daddy, an aerospace engineer has plenty of pull with the locals, including Mayor Rex "Puerco" Parris). Jennings may have made some inconsistent statements or even failed a polygraph--most likely under duress--yet that does not prove anything, whatsoever.

No murder weapon was ever located, and NO gunshot residue was detected on Jennings' hands or clothing, and no DNA or fingerprints found which would link Jennings to the crime, as they say in Cop-show land. Any real detective or ballistic guy will tell you they ALWAYS get GSR on a perp's hands, or clothes after heavy shooting. Jennings was questioned probably within an hour of the shooting (9mm, 5 shots---that be gangsta-work, says Contingencies). He had no time to clean up with alcohol, or shower (which also would have been detected). Furthermore, it was Jennings' SECOND DAY AT WORK as a security guard, and he was shuttling cars to get to the park and ride. He's a family man, his second day at work, bonded, forbidden by law to carry a firearm,and his supervisor told him he was subject to inspection at all times (that included his vehicle).

“A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.” (Frost)

No one saw him with a gun and he insists he did not have one. It's nearly IMPOSSIBLE that he had a gun to start with, yet the DA Blake continues to make the ludicrous claim Jennings had a gun. It is a near certainty, that JENNINGS DID NOT HAVE A FIREARM. That also explains why a gun was not found, since he called in the shooting within 20 minutes or so (he did supposedly pass by Ms O'Keefe minutes after she was shot, as he should have. He may have dawdled. That does not show 187 at all.) Jennings did not have time to dispose of a gun; it's nearly certain the gun disappeared in the car with the person who killed Ms O'Keefe (and Ms O'Keefe also was dropped off by a friend. Did they search her car, or polygraph her??)

The lack of evidence which would establish that Jennings had a firearm provides sufficient reasons for acquittal, though Blake has managed to bring in Jennings' military record. Sgt. Jennings served in Iraq with distinction, and his CO and fellow soldiers say he was innocent, and very concerned with possible charges. Yet Blake the Crimefighter now wants to use Jennings' own marksmanship skills as evidence--nothin' but BS, like all of Blake's pseudo-arguments. Michael Blake's the one who should be on trial, facing obstruction of justice charges for insisting that Jennings did have a gun, when there is no evidence to establish that claim.

Though LA County residents have reason to be concerned about violent crime, crimefighters should never overlook the importance of the presumption of innocence clause. Obviously, that a person has been arrested does not imply that he has been found guilty of any charges, though reporters, including those of the Daily News, LA Times, and AV Press, often seem a bit unclear on this concept. Raymond Jennings’ arrest demonstrates this type of justice, media-style, which often verges on a violation of Due Process rights that all citizens—even those charged with serious felonies—are entitled to according to the 14th Amendment.

Readers of newspapers are not provided with the same evidence that the police and courts are provided with, and any information that makes it into the paper is second hand. Reporters also often omit details that may be quite relevant—such as whether the person or persons who dropped Ms. O’Keefe off at the park and ride were ever considered suspects in the case. The papers also neglected to mention (at least until like the second trial) the results of the ballistics tests, or that it was Jennings' second day at work, or the car shuttling. We should not mistake an article in the paper for the cop report, or authentic evidence (and the cop's report itself is not necessarily the "truth").

(And the rich defense attorneys in Northern LA County (and KERN as well) who read about this case and did nothing while Jennings' rights to a fair trial were mocked by the press and pigs are themselves guilty, not to say spineless pieces of mierda. )



Steven Fama said...

J, you might find your view is considered more persuasive if you more carefully present your facts.

Contrary to your statement, Mr. Jennings has not been twice "acquitted" (your word) of the charges. If he had been, re-trial would in fact be barred, period and end of story, by the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy.

As has been widely reported, Jennings' two trials ended not with acquittals, but with deadlocked juries; first, 11-1 in favor of a conviction, and last year, a different jury deadlocked 9-3, also for conviction. Neither result is an acquittal, nor is either even a verdict, and these results, singly or taken together, do not bar re-trial.

Re-trial after a deadlocked "hung") jury is common with serious charges where the juror tallies, as they have been here, are heavily skewed toward conviction. A third re-trial, after two hung juries, is rare but not unheard of, and is not a violation of any constitutionally guaranteed rights.

You may be right about the evidence, or lack of it. The jury will decide, or it won't. Either way, the judge has said it'll be the last criminal trial.

J said...

Well, he was not found guilty, was he? I don't pretend to be an attorney, but my understanding is that a hung jury is a mistrial, and acquittal, in most cases. They can choose to re-try--but a third trial?? Fairly unheard of.

I am working with the facts of the case, not the legalese. And it's ALL about evidence, and the lack thereof: De Re, not De Dicto. IN terms of De Re, Jennings should not have been charged. They have no circumstantial evidence, like a murder weapon, prints, residue, DNA, hairs

And peruse the LA Times article--the body was moved after the shooting, and they found no hairs, fabric, DNA on Jennings. They have no witnesses, nada. Now, Jennings does appear to be a dimwit to some degree. Let's grant that. He blabbed away, when he should have plead the fifth. But that's not convincing evidence.

It's a railroading.

J said...

Alright I got you: a mistrial is a not a verdict. But he's not guilty, so he's technically innocent of the charges (at least until they re-try and find him guilty). Yet it seems strange to me the DA's office can more or less stop time, and keep re-trying him: the statute of limitations has passed (7 years, isn't it).

I think it's a violation of 4th Amendment rights as well. Thomas Jefferson would set him free.

Steven Fama said...

Yes, a third trial gives pause, but it's not inconsistent with constitutional protections.

As a practical matter, I'd think it would be difficult for the prosecutor here not to ask to try the case again. Somebody's dead. After two trials, trials in which a vigorous defense presumably was presented, and in which a rigorous standard of proof ("beyond a reasonable doubt") was used, 20 of 24 jurors said Jennings did it.

A hallmark of our criminal law is the unanimous verdict requirement, and it's an important protection (without it, Jennings would have been convicted after either trial). But it means that cases with deadlocked (non-unanimous) juries can be re-tried.

J said...

Yes, Blake will probably say the same thing: 20 out of 24 jurors have already found Jennings guilty, etc. That might fly with the gullible, and I won't be surprised if they find him guilty.

Blake most likely stacked the present jury with some "sweeties" as well (for lack of a better term). And the judge, a Miss Chung, has a reputation as harsh.

Jennings doesn't have a high-powered defense attorney either, but Houchin, a public defender (public pretender as the perps say). And he has most people in AV area at least opposed to him (candlelight vigils, etc.).

That said I am quite convinced he's innocent, and that if found guilty, that will be due to great manipulation if not outright lies on the part of Blake, and DA's office. Really, one could assign numerical probabilities to the case, and I would ballpark it (right now) at least 90% the case for Jennings did NOT kill Ms O'Keefe. In the 10% chance he did it, the LASD botched the case (like not holding him for observation).

Also recall he knows nothing about O'Keefe, no motive, no possibility of pre-med--so really NOT 187, but at best like 2nd degree (crime of passion,etc). Why does a reasonable person, even a hick, bring a gun to work on his second day on the job, when he could be fired from his job, lose his "bonded" status, and found guilty of a crime? He was subject to inspection as well.

Remember, Jennings called the cops as well. Why doesn't he run, if he's sane (as the cops say)? And O'keefe was not raped either, so a bit odd, given that ....he could have been real sinister (excuse some ugly realism here), raped, killed her, and made a run for it?? But he doesn't. And no gun's found either.

CharleyCarp said...

Yes, it does sound pretty weak.

J said...

The writing's a bit raw. Lo siento. I don't have time to produce immaculately-crafted Curtis Faville-like prose.

Regardless, no circumstantial evidence connects Jennings to the crime, and no apparent motive. (I have no stake in the case, and again find Jennings to be sort of a dolt--but many humans don't realize what sort of injustice a wrongful conviction is)

Jennings' supposed guilt does not seem "beyond a reasonable doubt." More like it's beyond a reasonable doubt that he's innocent, that Blake the DA is manipulating the evidence, making outrageous claims with no -factual basis, and in effect denying the defendant Due Process.

The Jennings case also shows what a farce a jury-trial can become. I mean, how can a prosecutor just baldly claim Jennings had a gun, when that has not been proven, whatsoever??? They haven't bothered to address the issue at length, if the newspaper's reports are accurate. I suspect the public defender has objected to Blake's continued insistence that Jennings had a gun, and has been overruled.

CharleyCarp said...

And? Where does it stand right now?

J said...

Hello Mr. Carp--

Closing arguments are going down today, right now, but I cannot attend-- work, etc. Blake made some long grandstanding speech yesterday.

Get this--another person's DNA was found on O'Keefe's body. Nothing from Jennings (and nothing ON Jennings, even tho' the coroner says the body was moved AFTER she was shot). Blake gave a long line of BS, but that in itself looks like exoneration (then I don't think Jennings had a gun at all--and it can't be proven)

Sgt. Jennings does have a small group of supporters, however (some things have been said on craig's list, thankfully). So Jury starts deliberations manana I suspect.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if Jennings is guilty or not, but I can't understand how a jury could find him guilty from the evidence....there is no evidence proving his guilty whatsoever.

I do know this, Mayor R Rex Parris put a whole lot of pressure on the DA to prosecute Jennings because he represents the Michelle O'Keefe's family in a wrongful death suit against the security company and the City of Palmdale. Should Jennings be found guilty it will mean a big pay day for the R. Rex Parris law firm. It took five or six years for the DA to decide they had enoung evidence to bring this case to trial. The DA had the very same evidence six months after the murder yet it took five years for the DA to muster up the courage to file murder charges. Mr. Jewell is getting railroaded due to the pressure being brought to bare by the R Rex Parris law firm and the AV Press

This case has many similarities as the case against security guard in the Atlanta Olympic bombing case Richard Jewell. The media had Jewell convicted him in the press, but later it was proven the Jewell had nothing to do the the bombings.

Jewell, like Jennings were security guards at the seen, both seemed to be overly helpful in the initial investigations, both gave conflicting statement to the authorities, and both had no real evidence linking them to the crimes.

If you have ever been on a jury it is scary how most juror's can be so easily manipulated by as fast talking lawyer....anyone remember the OJ trial?

The judge in the case was going along which this ruse. After two trials outside the AV now with every perspective juror that reads a newspaper has be tainted after reading about Jennings trials for years, the this judge came to the idiotic conclusion that Jennings could get a fair trial in the AV. Just more Parris pressure and influence.

J said...

Yes. Parris and his cronies are behind this, and it's a travesty of justice. The deliberations now have headed into what fourth day? That may be a good sign for Jennings.

The murder of Miss O'Keefe was horrible, and I can understand the O'Keefe's anger but that doesn't mean they can just scapegoat the security guard (and they haven't at all proven Jennings had a gun. He has no reason to carry a gun his first day of work. And a gun was never found, as you are probably are aware of, and no GSR, no prints)

Anonymous said...

Let's see... jurors in this case had transcripts for 6 days, that they weren't supposed to have? Why not???

If it was said, it should've been left in, no matter what side benefited from it!

Why weren't all of the investigators interviews with Jennings presented?

Why this "hiding out" of evidence to the jury? This smacks of absolute injustice!

No wonder so many have lost faith in this corrupt system!

J said...

Did they return a guilty verdict?


The case was a joke, and probably stacked jury as well, not to say evidence tampering/staging. The AV Press has played its part as well, not publishing the entire report, slanting the reporting against Jennings.

Like out of Stalinist Russia.

Anonymous said...

I agree 1000%!

Haven't heard of any verdict yet, and can't find anything.. anywhere about this today.

Anonymous said...

Judge Denies Defense Motion For a Mistrial

By Chris McGuinness
Lancaster—The Judge in the Raymond Lee Jennings murder trial of Michelle O’Keefe, denied a defense motion Monday for a mistrial. The defense had hoped to gain a mistrial after it found that certain paperwork and a DVD from a previous trial was accidentally delivered to the Jury room.

The defense stated that the evidence had tainted the jury since it had been in the jury room for a long period of time. However jurors told the Judge that the evidence had not been opened or looked at by any jurors. Following the denial of the defense motion, the judge stopped the deliberations for the remainder of the day due to a juror being ill. The deliberations are due to begin again tomorrow, Tuesday.

Sounds par for the course...Pffft!

J said...

Parris and Co probably paid off Miss Judge Ito.

Hopefully there's at least one or two reasonable people on that jury who will see through the BS.

Anonymous said...

Still waiting..but remember there's always Karma!

I can't mention exactly who, but we all know who has it coming to him...

I'm praying to God that this particular Karma happens this week!

Anonymous said...

I have been following this case since the events unfolded.My sympathy goes out to the entire family; victim included.

I have, however, never thought that RLJ was guilty of this crime. In addition to the facts already presented, my thoughts have been as such:

I am a female, and as females, we do not "leave one another behind." What kind of "friend" drops their "friend" off to fend for herself at night within a parking lot? Why didn't the victim's "friend" wait with her until they were both able to leave together?

Furthermore, what type of "friend" has no problem with the knolwedge that "her friend" is driving to a secluded part of a dark parking lot at night to change clothes? If changing clothes was really a priority, why wasn't it done prior to the drive home and within a safe place?

Am I the only one that finds it odd that the victim was said to have been changing clothes because she was going to the college to pick up some work that was missed that day? I have been a resident of the community where the crime transpired for almost 20 years. First, the location of the park and ride is about 15-20 minutes from the community college, and for the most part, the college is empty after 9:30 p.m. She would have never made it in time and as a resident, she would have known that.Generally speaking, when you miss a class, you either miss a lecture, an oral assignment, or a test. I'm curious as to what she was going to supposidly "pick up" at that time of night, on a campus that was probably empty due to the time.

As I recall, the victim was shot at point blank range.......I thought in the face. My uneducated opinion is that such an action is done out of hatrid, or a fit of rage........and to hate someone or be filled with rage against someone (in my opinion) usually means that there is some type of "relationship" or familiarity already formed. (Does not have to be sexual) The night that the victim was murdered was RLJ's second day of work.....How could he be so mad as to shoot someone in the face? Why? Because she wouldn't sleep with him? He tried to force sex, but there was no DNA, to struggle, no scraches, to marks to indicate that he touched her / beat her within the process in anyway? No weapon? No indication that he had shot a gun?

So, his story changed a bit? He had her blood on the bottom of his shoes? Hmmmmmm..........Well, the next time that anyone is shocked at the alarming sound of a gunshot, runs to see what happened, and discovers a victim, please make sure that within your state of horrific shock, that should you try to help the victim, that you do not get close enough to step in any blood that may be at the crime scene. Furthermore, best make sure to STAY CALM and not freak out for should you be one of the rare individuals that is still sensitive to human life and may possibly become distraught should you unexpectedly find yourself witnessing someone's last breath, your inability to give a rational description of the horror that was just witnessed may be viewed as guilt.

Someone needed to "pay" for this crime......and in my opinion, a handful of people saw to it that someone did.

Was it the right person? I don't think so and I am sorry for both of the lives lost that night...victim and RLJ.

Nothing will ever bring this victim back and as a mother, my heart breaks for the family because no parent should ever outlive their child, especially under these circumstances. In my opinion, however, this victim still deserves justice, for the person "found guilty" of this hoffific crime is only guilty of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Females, know your friends.

Female friends don't leave female friends alone at night in a park and ride, and they certainly aren't cool with allowing them to change in that very parking lot....alone..... and in the dark.

J said...

Thanks for your comment.

I agree it's a tragedy for the O'Keefes. And you are correct that her "friend" who dropped her off should have taken more care (I also wonder whether the friend was polygraphed, interviewed,etc).

However, I am convinced Ray Jennings, while no great human being, did not kill Miss O'Keefe, and that he was scapegoated more or less mainly because he did not have the thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) necessary to hire a high-powered defense attorney.

I also hold the jurors to blame. They believed every word of the DA and local vigilantes.

Sad, all the way around. RLJ might have a shot with an appeal, but again he's a poor boy, and the black robe posse don't care for the public pretenders.

HarveyWinkelmaster123 said...

i just watched the 2 hr show on MSNBC and i'm appalled at the lack of evidence that the prosecution provided. i have to agree that this certainly seems like a mob lynching.

also there was just something about the way he professed his innocence at the end that makes me think they just murdered an innocent man. by murder i mean send him to the CA prison system.

this reminds me of the the time i was at the county fair and a whole mass of farmers thought i was a PETA member and they trumped up some charges against me. it was a truly horrifying experience.

J said...

Thanks for comment MikeRalph. As my initial post and comments indicate, I am quite convinced that Sergeant Jennings was innocent of 187 (like 95% sure...and in the very small probability that RJ did it, he would be insane, and the cops botched the case years ago).

The trial--the
3rd trial, that is--was a sad joke, motivated purely by vigilante rage. Good to see MSNBC on it. The LA Times did a decent job, actually (and are well hated up in the Palmdale area). Anyone who has an interest in the case should also be aware that Daddy O'Keefe, aerospace engineer, has a great deal of influence with the locals in LA County as well, and Parris's cronies. RJ was railroaded more or less, even though they barely had any evidence to convict him (like prints, GSR, firearm, etc).

I received an email a few months ago from one of RJ's supporters, and RJ has filed an appeal--though buena suerte with that--approx. 90% appeals are denied. I don't know RJ, but most who know him say he's just a Joe Sixpack sort, a father, and a soldier--not a genius, but not a murderer or rapist.

Whether you care for RJ or not, an innocent man --and veteran--now rots in some CDC hell (Chino I believe) with the scum of CA for a crime he did not commit. Of course the good xtians of the AV didn't say a word--nor did "liberals" supposedly concerned with Due process, justice, etc. Thomas Jefferson would free him.

Anonymous said...

I just watched the toilsome second by second,duplicative presentation on MSNBC. What a mess! The prosecution pulled together a line-up of events out of thin air. More and more, police, prosecutors and the vitim's family go after anyone to solve their case, win the trial, or bring "closure" when the murderer is probably still at large. No wonder no one wants to get involved or witness any criminal acts. This is such a travesty for Mr. Jennings - and certainly nowhere near reaching a verdict beyond a resonable doubt!

J said...

Thanks for comment.

Jennings is in the belly of the CDC now, and I haven't been following the appeal/case. Do you have any new information?

Wrongful conviction is a real tragedy which most Americans know little or nothing about--not like featured on the Oprah show. Many people falsely accused of crimes can't afford real attorneys, and they're in the hands of public defenders--which translates as "raw meat" to the judge and DA (and jurypeoples as well--what the perp doesn't even have a street attorney? put his cheap a** away...etc).

J said...

a petition has been created: Free Ray Jennings

pghwindmill said...

The O'Keefe family and their cronies are the criminals in this case. They weren't looking for justice, they were looking for revenge and had the nerve to quote Jesus. There are too many unanswered questions of their daughter and her friend's behavior that night were overlooked. Why wasn't the daughter's friend who "dropped" her off that night at the lot ever been given a polygragh or investigated. In a high crime area like Los Angeles how many 18 year old girls "drop" their friends off without making sure they leave in their car safely. With all the crime, gang bangers, drug cartels and illegal aliens able to run free in LA the DA couldn't find one other suspect makes me suspect.

Unknown said...

Her family is wrong for puttin an inocent man in prison he ain't do it they had no evidence no gun no motive they gave him 40 years for that bullshit no the police see why ppl don't speak up to the police cuz this happens the family wanted sumbody to take blame for the girl murder but nobody did so they got to attacking Jennings and I think that the family weak as hell for that go and find the real killer and let that man out of jail he got a family to and he served for our country look who he got treated like Shit

Unknown said...

Jennings should have had his own profiler/psychologist to explain how memory works and how police wannabees add facts to impress authorities. And where did the gun come from and where did it go? And the story about changing clothes doesn't make sense. All she had to do was put a top over the tube top.

Idķ said...

you sure have wasted a considerable amount of time and a ridiculous amount of postings regarding this issue to claim not to have a vested interest in it.
statue of limitations on a murder do not exist, so your 7 year theory is laughable. you think people can go around killing anybody and then just get away with it after 7 years has passed and they werent brought to trial? sounds as though you are the dolt. And as for the circumstantial evidence you say they do not have, that is exactly what they have, that is what their whole case was based upon. It is physical evidence they lack.

Idķ said...

how can someone agree more than 100% if 100% is with absolute entirety?

Idķ said...

how can you speak of karma as if it is something to be administered within your time frames. karma would most likely be swift towards the other person if you were not wishing it upon them. karma is more likely to strike you first for wishing ill will on someone else

Idķ said...

how can you speak of karma as if it is something to be administered within your time frames. karma would most likely be swift towards the other person if you were not wishing it upon them. karma is more likely to strike you first for wishing ill will on someone else

Idķ said...

how can someone agree more than 100% if 100% is with absolute entirety?

Idķ said...

you sure have wasted a considerable amount of time and a ridiculous amount of postings regarding this issue to claim not to have a vested interest in it.
statue of limitations on a murder do not exist, so your 7 year theory is laughable. you think people can go around killing anybody and then just get away with it after 7 years has passed and they werent brought to trial? sounds as though you are the dolt. And as for the circumstantial evidence you say they do not have, that is exactly what they have, that is what their whole case was based upon. It is physical evidence they lack.

Unknown said...

I must say in advance that I have not read all the comments here. But one thing for sure - it is unfair for prosecution to keeping pressing the same charges on hung-jury cases. By going through many juries, eventually prosecution will find one who convicts. So where is justice for the accused???

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