Thursday, July 28, 2005

Court Watch Thursday July 28th (C. Champagne)

Lamiero resumed his cross-examination of Jose Merel today.

Last night, I was talking to my niece Kadie. She lives in San Leandro; she's 20 years old, the same age Gwen would be today. I have talked with her about this case since CUAV first became involved back in 2002. She wanted to come to court with me in support of Gwen's family, so today was the day.

Because Jose Merel initially balked at testifying yesterday as to what Magidson had told him (about strangling Lida/Gwen in the garage), they are no longer in the same pod (jail area) and now must travel seperately to court. This caused a delay this morning. Merel's parents have moved to the left side of the courtroom now, so that he can see them and not have to look at Cazares' and Magidson's family members. This is where Gwen's family and supporters also sit. Jaron Nabors' mother also sat on the left with us when he testified. It seems to be not only a physical shift, but a symbolic one as well.

Merel's testimony seems very honest--sometimes a little too honest. I don't mean to say that he's not being truthful because I think he is. It's just that there's a disconnect there, and it's often disturbing to hear what he has to say.

When Lamiero asked Merel what he felt (during Magidson's beating of Gwen), he replied, "I didn't really feel anything I don't think." Lamiero: "Others were in control?"
Merel: "Yes."

Lamiero asked Merel if he cared that Lida/Gwen was hurt. He alluded to her being hit by a weight, although he also said he didn't see her get hit with any weight. He admitted matter-of-fact that he cared more about cleaning up the blood on the carpet, than about her injuries. When the judge called the morning break, we stood in the hallway. Kadie was alarmed by Merel's candor about his lack of feeling. Since I have been in court too many hours now, it was good to know that this is still truly shocking to someone else, especially a young person--that although we want to hear the truth, it is very unsettling, nonetheless.

I have read what has been written in the newspapers lately--and though I am glad there is renewed interest in the case, it bothers me that the tone some journalists use in their articles regarding Jose Merel's testimony has been sympathetic. So, he was "disgusted" by his involvement with Gwen? So what? So, he "questioned" his sexuality? So what? Is this what a reasonable person does in this situation? I don't think so. And although he has expressed some remorse, Merel stated that while the beating was going on--the testimony from the medical examiner stated that Gwen could have died from blunt force trauma alone--he admits not only did he do nothing to help her, it never even crossed his mind. To me, that is "depraved indifference to human life."

This is the thing--it's not enough to just say "She should never have been killed" for this. That does not let Jose Merel, or Mike Magidson, or Jaron Nabors, or Jason Cazares off the hook. And ultimately, it doesn't let Nicole Brown or Emmanuel Merel or Paul Merel--or anyone else who may have been in that house that night when this crime was being perpetrated-- off the hook either, even though they aren't charged with anything.

It's not enough--period.

Do the reporters understand what "depraved indifference to human life" means? Will the jury?

My 20 year old niece understands. I am beyond grateful for that.

The judge has stated that court will resume for 1 day on Monday, and then be off until Tuesday August 9th. He also told the jury they may be deliberating through September 1st.


Blogger vida said...

I have to agree-depraved indifference sums it up well. I have noticed the same thing, how can anyone feel sympathy for someone who stands by and allows someone to be brutally murdered? Let alone helps try to cover it up? It's infuriating-absoloutly infuriating. Thank you again for this blog-I can't imagine how hard it is to deal with this everyday.

11:23 AM  
Blogger shaun said...

I am so thankful for this blog. It seems that a transgender's true quandry is whether to brave a life that may get you killed or choose a life of denying yourself that's slowly, but just as assuredly, killing you. We have a long way to go in terms of understanding each other as human beings. I hope this trial and blog will educate the ignorant.

2:16 PM  

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