Friday, November 6, 2009

Vickers murder trial continues

The evidence against the defendant continues to mount up.

Vickers might have known victim


Prosecutors introduced evidence today implying Janice Vickers knew Shirley Lindenbaum prior to running over and killing her, contradicting statements she made to police the night Lindenbaum died.

Testimony by a long-time friend of Vickers and the presentation of a log of phone calls made from Vickers’ cell phone Nov. 3, 2006 cast doubt on previous statements that she did not know Lindenbaum.

Mary Farley, who characterized herself as a “close friend” of Vickers, testified she received a phone call from Vickers the day after the accident. She said Vickers told her “she had run over someone and killed her.”

“(Vickers) said she went to visit a woman (because) she needed help,” Farley said. “She said they left and were going to (Vickers’) house. She said the woman got upset and was confused about where she was going. She said the woman opened the door and jumped out.”

Farley then said, “(Vickers) told me that she ran over her once and when she backed up, she ran over her again.”

Vickers told police during a voluntary interview the night of Lindenbaum’s death that she had “never seen (Lindenbaum) in my life.”

During cross-examination, Farley told defense attorney Mark Clark that Vickers’ speech was slurred during their phone conversation and she was hard to understand. Vickers told her she had taken some Vicodin before the phone call.

Farley said she did not think Vickers was making any sense and it was obvious she was emotional and upset. Farley also admitted to suffering numerous “memory blocks” because of anti-anxiety medications she was on during that time.

Both the prosecution and the defense had difficulty nailing down Farley’s impression of what happened the night of Lindenbaum’s death based on her phone conversation with Vickers.

“Do you think (Vickers) did anything that night to (purposefully) cause Lindenbaum to die?” Clark asked.

“No,” Farley said.

Prosecutor Wesley Mau countered by asking if she thought Vickers had simply run over Lindenbaum as she was walking along the road.

“No,” Farley said.

Law enforcement takes the stand

Lt. Chance Collins of the Texas Rangers, who was a sergeant at the time of Lindenbaum’s death, testified Thursday about his assistance in 2006 in processing evidence at Lindenbaum’s house, located three-tenths of a mile from where her body was found.

Except for a chair out of place and a phone cord that had been ripped from the wall, no signs of a struggle, blood or theft were found at the scene.

“Were my client’s fingerprints found anywhere on that chair?” Clark asked.

“No,” Collins said.

Collins testified that an analysis of Vickers’ cell phone log on Nov. 3 showed that a call lasting two minutes had been placed at 6:22 p.m. from her phone to Lindenbaum’s house. Vickers’ 9-1-1 call from the same cell phone was logged at 9:25 that night.

Lindenbaum’s medical records

The defense entered its first exhibit Thursday. Clark presented the court with Lindenbaum’s medical records for 2006, including three specific appointments she had with her doctor. The last, on Oct. 31, just days before her death, Lindenbaum reported saying she “was ready to give up, (and) feels like she is on a downward slide … feels very alone, down at times, hard to concentrate at times,” according to the doctor’s notes.

Lindenbaum’s husband, Arthur, died the previous year. According to the medical records, she had been on anti-depression medication but had stopped taking it because it made her feel sleepy.

Mark Lindenbaum, her stepson and a doctor, testified Thursday that he thought his stepmother was coming out of her depression and had exhibited no signs of dementia. He also testified that he would be “very surprised” and would find it inconsistent with what he knew about her if she had been walking down the road the night she was killed.

“She never (even) walked down the driveway,” he said.

The prosecution will continue today at 9 a.m.