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M.O.M.S (Mothers of Murdered Sons/Daughters)
Below is an article for Timmy's Trial...Bette is exhausted but hanging in there. Tomorrow will be closing arguments. Please every one keep Bette and her family in your thoughts and prayers so that justice will be served....Laura/AV
Allegations of racial violence and witness intimidation, recanted witness statements, testimony from numerous after-the-fact witne...sses with close ties to the defendants, witnesses with lengthy histories of drug abuse and criminal activity:
The jury trial of two men accused in the 2007 execution-style murders of Tacony teenager Timothy Clark and his adult friend Damien Holloway has featured all of that.
Gerald Drummond, 26, and Robert McDowell, 28, could each face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder. They are accused of ambushing Clark, then 15, and Holloway, then 27, on the 6900 block of Vandike St. at about 2:20 a.m. on July 13, 2007, and shooting both victims fatally in the head.
The case remained unsolved for 14 months before police arrested and charged the defendants with the slayings.
The murder weapon hasn't been found, but a prosecution ballistics expert thinks that it likely was a .38-caliber revolver.
Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega claims that a prior dispute between Drummond, who is white, and Holloway, who was black, prompted the attack.
Holloway, who lived with Clark's family on the 6800 block of Vandike St. and employed Clark in his lawn service, had fathered a child with Drummond's sister before parting ways with her in the months prior to the shooting.
The defendants killed Clark, who was white, because he happened to be with Holloway at the time, Vega said in his opening statement on Dec. 8.
The court-appointed defense attorneys - Michael E. Wallace for Drummond and Gary Sanford Server for McDowell, who is white - noted in their openings that no physical evidence exists linking their clients to the killings. The defendants claim that they were elsewhere when the attack occurred.
The prosecution was expected to rest its case on Tuesday afternoon, the fifth day of testimony.
Earlier that day, Common Pleas Court Judge RenŽe Cardwell Hughes had spectators ushered from the courtroom for the second time during the trial because of fears by prosecution witnesses of retaliation by supporters of the defendants.
Nicole Penrose, 29, an admitted heroin addict and dealer who once called Drummond "like a brother" to her, wore an orange prison jumpsuit in the courtroom Tuesday morning. She is scheduled for a Jan. 11 hearing on unrelated drug charges.
During a preliminary hearing for Drummond and McDowell in December 2008, Penrose testified that she had heard Drummond, of the 6800 block of Tulip St., admit on three occasions to firing the fatal shots. Drummond also said that McDowell, of the 6400 block of Edmund St., was with him at the time, but couldn't bring himself to fire the gun, Penrose said.
Hughes had evacuated the trial gallery on Dec. 9 when Amy Rudnitskas, 28, testified for the prosecution. An admitted longtime heroin addict and mother of two children with Drummond's older brother David, Rudnitskas testified that Gerald Drummond had boasted to her and others about the killings several months after the fact.
Drummond told how he and McDowell forced the victims to their knees with their hands behind their heads and shot them both, according to Rudnitskas. Repeating her own testimony from the 2008 preliminary hearing, Rudnitskas told the court that Drummond had said of Holloway, "The ****** got what he deserved," before referring to Clark as "a casualty of war."
Rudnitskas also testified that McDowell also admitted to her that he had taken part in the killings, but that he had not fired the fatal shots.
Other prosecution witnesses have testified about hearing Drummond and McDowell implicate themselves in the killings after the fact, including convicted burglar Thomas Zehnder.
Erica Marrero, the ex-girlfriend of McDowell and mother of his child, recanted a signed statement implicating McDowell and Drummond that she had given to homicide detectives on Sept. 6, 2008, the day that authorities arrested the defendants.
Like she did at the 2008 preliminary hearing, Marrero, the 24-year-old daughter of a retired police officer, claimed that she implicated Drummond and McDowell under duress. Detectives threatened to arrest her as an accomplice and said that she could lose custody of her child, Marrero testified.
Susan Coulter, 33, an admitted recovering drug abuser, corroborated the statement that Marrero initially gave to homicide detectives. Coulter - who called herself the onetime "best friend" of Marrero - testified that Marrero told her about McDowell having taken part in the murders with Drummond. Marrero further said that she had helped McDowell dispose of the murder weapon when she dismantled it and "threw it into the river," according to Coulter.
Defense attorneys noted in cross-examination that Coulter didn't report her conversation with Marrero to police until early this month on the eve of the trial.
Several prosecution witnesses claimed to have been victims of intimidation.
Rudnitskas said she found a bullet and threatening note in her mailbox. Danielle Tisdale, a neighbor who testified that she saw Gerald Drummond running from the crime scene after the shooting, said that she learned of a flier that had been circulated in city prisons with her picture on it and the word "snitches."
Zehnder said he was "beaten up by half the cell block" while in a city prison after he had testified against Drummond and McDowell at the preliminary hearing.
Amanda Brannan, 23, said she was approached and threatened by Drummond's younger brother, Michael, in a Criminal Justice Center hallway last week when she showed up to testify at the trial.
Michael Drummond, 24, was arrested on Saturday and charged with witness intimidation and retaliation against a witness.
He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 29. He has numerous prior adult arrests for charges including robbery, burglary, theft, assault, drug possession and driving while under the influence.
He has been convicted of theft, trespassing, drug possession and DUI.
Thank you Laura, I'm so sorry I haven't been around to let you all know what's going on but the articles are the best description I'm so tired and exhausted each day we've been thru almost 2 weeks worth of hell!!! Tomorrow should start deliberations, today was closing arguments, the DA was great, awsome!!! Please pray for justice for Timmy and this ends tomorrow!!!!
Love you all so very much.
Thinkin of you, I sure hope the jury comes back today with a big GUILTY verdict! I am so sorry you have been going through all of crap these people are putting you through.
Thats right Shirley we are hoping the jurors will see them for the evil coward thugs they really are. One of the murder's brother was arrested during the trial for trying to intimidate the witness right there in the courthouse. But I bet the jury isn't allowed to know that cuz murderers have rights. In this case I hope they have the right to go straight to you know where!!! We are here for you Bette as the jurors deliberate...Laura/AV
I read the article and it sounds like not much has changed since the pret-trial hearings as far as the disrespect these family members are showing the court.They really are TRASH! I hope that your friend and family were able to stay the course with you.It's almost over Bette so continue to hang in there and please let us kow asap about a verdict which I know will be guilty as charged.Love and God Bless
Pray tomorrow will be the end of this nightmare and God brings justice to Timmy. Two weeks of torture,pure torture. Thank you all for being here for me, in spirti I feel you all, knowing that my mom's are with me, my friends, family, all the support means so very much to me.
I hope tomorrow brings an end to this, I think waiting on the jury is one of the hardest parts because you just never know what can happen. I believe with all my heart there will be Justice for Timmy.