Remove this ad

ANNE PRESSLY - CURTIS VANCE - TRIAL & CONVICTION

Rss     Subscribe     Share     Tweet    


0 Points

Lead

Nov 2 09 7:56 PM

Tags : :

2009 - 2 November - Monday - Curtis Lavelle Vance has pled Not Guilty to: Burglary, Rape, and Capital Murder in the slaying of Little Rock, Arkansas TV anchorwoman, Anne Pressly.
 
12 jurors and 2 alternates are chosen for the trial. 
 
                                          OPENING ARGUMENTS
 
Prosecution: "DNA evidence will provide all the proof necessary to convince them (the jury) that Vance is guilty and also linked to another brutal rape."
 
Defense:  "Vance was arrested only because police were under pressure to arrest someone in connection with Pressly's death. Vance was tricked into giving up his DNA to police and into giving them three conflicting confessions."


                                        WITNESS TESTIMONY 
 
ANNE PRESSLY'S MOTHER:
Patty Cannady  "I  used to call at 3 A.M. to make sure Anne was awake for work. October 20, 2008, I'd called repeatedly, with no answer. I rushed to Anne's house.
"It was horrific." "I absolutely could not take the scene in. I could not imagine what I was seeing when I found my daughter." 
 
"I found the back door wide open, and inside, Anne was lying in a fetal position on her bed gasping for breath in a pool of blood. "It was Anne, but she was so swollen and her hair was completely matted with blood, she was beaten beyond recognition." "There was blood on the ceiling. That's how horrific her attack was." "I tried to stop her bleeding with towels from the bathroom." 
 
Five days after the attack, Anne's brain stem ruptured and she died.

Patty Cannady "What kind of monster are you that would take the life of an innocent child?" Patti Cannady asked. "What fills you with rage and hatred and no respect for human life? Why did you have to hurt my child and take her life?"

Little Rock Police Department's Crime Scene Search Unit:

Stuart Bartlett (Technician) -  "describes bloody sheets and towels taken from Pressly's home and 
speaks of a "possible tooth" plus hair and a bathrobe. Photographs of the items are shown. Blood spatters were above the bed's headboard and on the ceiling and nightstand."
 
Defense cross examination - Queries Bartlett about the method used in gathering fingerprints at the house. 

Stan Wilhite (Technician) - Wilhite testifies regarding "prints at the Pressly home. He was also  called to MacArthur Park 2 -3 days later to collect a paper bag believed to have bloodstains on it.
The unit processed the black Chevy Monte Carlo driven by Vance at the time, removing the seats, etc., and vacuuming for evidence."

Marianna Arkansas Biology Teacher:
Kristen Edwards - April 21, 2008, Edwards was raped by a stranger in her home.

Kristen Edwards "I had just gotten out of the shower that Monday morning before school and was walking through my living room when a man came up behind me and put his hand over my mouth. "He said 'I have a gun, don't do anything, don't look at me, or I'll kill you."
 
"The man was angry and loud and pushed me onto my couch face down, where he raped me, saying over and over again that he would kill me if I looked at him and "I know your house."
 
"After the rape, he put my purse in front of me and demanded my money. I gave him all the money in the purse -- $3 -- and he asked for my ATM card. I said I was between paydays and didn't know how much was in my account, which made him even louder and angrier."

"The attacker then pushed me out my back door onto an enclosed back porch and locked me there. When I heard my front door slam, I ran to a neighbors home, but no one was there. I returned to my house through the front door to get my keys and saw that my phone and its charger and a DVD were gone. I drove to the home of two fellow teachers and called police. I was transported to a Forrest City hospital, where a rape kit was taken and I was given medication."
 
"My car had been broken into two weeks earlier and a GPS unit that I thought contained a house key had been stolen."

Defense  "Did your attacker ever strike you?
Kristen Edwards "no." 
 Deputy Prosecutor John Johnson "Why do you think that was?"
Kristen Edwards "It was because I am "100 percent compliant." If I hadn't been, I would be dead."

Arkansas State Crime Lab Technicians:
Krista Hall, (Serologist), Mary Simonson (Forensic DNA examiner)- testified regarding "the testing of fluids recovered during a rape examination of Kirsten Edwards. The tests revealed her assailant's DNA profile. That profile eventually made a "high stringency hit" with the DNA profile of the assailant in the Pressly case. Curtis Vance submitted oral swabs to police and during testing the DNA of Curtis Vance was linked to both the rape of Kirsten Edwards, and DNA found at the Pressly scene to a certainty of one in billions."

Lisa Channell (Chief Criminalist for the Crime Lab) testified about "hair evidence, and the efforts to isolate a DNA sample from items found at the crime scene and swabs collected during a rape examination of Anne Pressly."

"Although the swabs tested positive for a semen-specific antigen known as P-30, I was not able to find any sperm cells, and my testing was not able to connect the contents of the rape kit to a suspect. The swabs were later submitted for what is known as Y-STR testing, which detects the presence of only male DNA."

"Hairs and hair fragments were collected from Anne Pressly's bathrobe, pillowcase, and bed linens. When compared to hairs collected from Curtis Vance, some of the hairs recovered at the scene were "microscopically similar" to Vance's hair."

 Defense Cross examination - Lisa Channell "We cannot say this hair came from this person to the exclusion of all others."

Prosecution  - Lisa Channell "If I was allowed to take a sample of hair from everyone in the courtroom and microscopically examine it, I could determine whose head it came from."

Lisa Channell testified regarding the processing of evidence collected from the 1995 Chevrolet Monte Carlo owned by Curtis Vance. "Foam from seat cushions, the results of a floor vaccuuming and fabric swatches from the seats."
Lisa Channell "I was not able to detect blood or semen on any of these items."
 
Defense - "Would blood or semen linger on such items?
Deputy Prosecutor John Johnson responds "The testing of the items taken from Vance's car was done almost two months after the murder."
Prosecution"Would soap and water dilute a forensic sample to the point of it being undetectable?
Lisa Channell "Yes, it could.
Prosecution "Would a car-wash vacuum pick up the same evidence as those used by investigators?"
Lisa Channell "Yes, it it would."

Melissa Myhand (Crime Lab's chief forensic DNA examiner) - testified regarding the results of various "tape lifts" taken at the crime scene which revealed a mixture of DNA profiles.

Melissa Myhand "A single hair found on Pressly's bed -- a hair designated "E-4" in forensic reports -- was a match for the DNA profile of Curtis Vance, to a certainty of 1 in 1.5 quadrillion."


Mary Robinette (Arkansas Crime Lab DNA Expert) testified that "Y-STR DNA samples taken from Pressly's bed sheets and from materials in the rape kit taken by police were consistent with the DNA profile of Curtis Vance.  Y-STR DNA targets male chromosomes in mixed samples."
 
Defense Attorney, Katherine Streett "I thought Robinette's testimony was confusing." 
Streett tries to cast doubt on the Y-STR DNA results.  "Although the Y-STR DNA matched Vance's DNA profile, it did not positively identify Vance. The DNA could have come from any male in Vance's lineage, ranging back for generations."
 
Katherine Streett "Does any of your testing positively identify Curtis Vance?"
Mary Robinette "no." 
Prosecution "But is it consistent with his DNA profile?" 
Mary Robinette  "Yes."

Defense: Queries Simonson about possible cross-contamination of evidence while it is being reviewed at the Crime Lab.

Simonson "In addition to having their results "peer reviewed" -- double-checked by other DNA investigators --  specialists are required to run control samples during testing to assure that there's no contamination."


HOSPITAL STAFF:
 
Carla Jackson, (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner)  "I examined Pressly for signs of rape as doctors worked to stabilize her. Anne Pressly's face and scalp bore signs of "massive trauma." "There was a half-centimeter tear to the skin between Pressly's vagina and anus, which can be indicitive that a forcible rape has occurred."

Defense: Queries Carla Jackson over the fact that she couldn't remember if she'd used one swab or two to collect evidence from Anne Pressly's body.

Theresa McBride (St. Vincent Infirmary ER Doctor, taught emergency medicine at UAMS) "I was  surprised that Anne Pressly even made it to the hospital. When I first saw her, Anne Pressly was "laying in a pool of blood on the gurney... She did not have a recognizable human face."
 
"When I tried to put a tube down Pressly's throat to help her breathe, I found that the bones in her face were so shattered that they moved under the skin. Her hair was matted with blood to the point that I first took her to be a redhead. Her nose was crushed beyond recognition. What I first took to be a laceration to her neck was actually her dislocated jaw, which had collapsed down onto her throat."

Defense:  "Dr. McBride, you are a Doctor of Osteopathy, not an M.D." 
Theresea McBride "The D.O. and the M.D. degrees are recognized by medical licensing bodies as "equivalent degrees."  
 
 

EVIDENCE:

An audio recording of a Little Rock Police interview between detectives and Curtis Vance  (taken in Marianna, Arkansas while detectives were present investigating leads in the Pressly murder) was played to the jurors.

Curtis Vance denies that he was in Little Rock on Oct. 20, 2008, and says "I have never had sex with anyone from Little Rock."


Quote    Reply   
Remove this ad
Remove this ad

#1 [url]

Nov 14 09 2:09 PM

ANNE PRESSLY - CURTIS VANCE TRIAL
 
 
Dr. Stephen Erickson (Medical Examiner) "Anne Pressly died from blunt force trauma to her head. She was the victim of a violent attack that likely included either a pistol-whipping or an attack with a club. One blow knocked a tooth out of Pressly's mouth and that another shoved her jaw backward, cutting off blood flow to her brain."
 
"An examination of Pressly's body after her death revealed that her face shattered "like an egg" during the attack. "I could feel crunchiness" while examining Pressly's face." He presented a photo that showed her nose pushed to one side.

 

"She was hit so hard that a tooth — root intact — flew to her bedroom floor. Another blow crushed bones in the middle of her face. Another shoved her jaw backward, leaving her brain starved for blood.Injuries like Pressly's require a "high degree" of force — and end with a high degree of mortality."  "It was possible that Pressly felt pain even after the attack — even if she couldn't have responded to anyone.

 

" Pressly's left forearm had an abrasion, consistent with being held tightly, and that her left hand was swollen, blue and broken in five places. Pressly had injuries consistent with being raped."

 

Defense (Attorney Katherine Street) "Could those injuries have been caused by a medical examination?

Dr. Erickson "It was possible, but it appeared they were inflicted about the time of the attack."

 

EVIDENCE TAPE:  Curtis Vance "I beat Pressly with a piece of wood that I found in her backyard. "I lose control, she lose control."

 
Detective J.C. White (Little Rock police lead Detective) "Vance not only changed his story with each statement, but also changed his story four different times in his last four-hour  video statement."
 
Defense: "Didn't police steer the interview back to their evidence when Vance's story was inconsistent with their  evidence?"
 
Det. White "We were getting him back on track when he would lie."
          Vance said "My car overheated and she offered me water."
               "There was no evidence of this or a water glass."
          Vance said "There were no dogs."

                    "There were two."
         Vance said "There was nothing but wine in the refrigerator."

                    "There was no wine at all."
 "Of Vance's four statements, the fourth one had some semblance of the truth."
         Vance said "There was a dog gate."
                     "There was a dog gate."
        Vance said "I was hungry and looking for food in her pantry."
                    "Pressly's pantry doors were open." Vance knew that one of the bedrooms in her
                     home had been converted to a walk-in closet."

Defense "Vance didn't know he was being videotaped." "Detectives misled him by starting and stopping the tape recorder.."

Det. White "We had plenty of notes to corroborate his statement regardless of whether or not it was being videotaped." (In Arkansas, legally, only one party has to know they are being videotaped.)

"Vance initially denied being at Pressly's home, but then said he had been there.
"Vance admitted being at Pressly's home the night she was killed but said he went there 
only to steal a laptop computer." "He (Vance) said he saw Pressly sleeping nude in her bed and that he performed a sex act while standing nearby. Vance said that Pressley woke up and started to fight with him and that he thought she might have seen him."

EVIDENCE TAPE: Vance acknowledges going to Pressly's house last year for a burglary but says "I didn't kill that woman."

Detectives ask "how could your DNA could have been found at Pressly's home?

Vance "I had sex with a prostitute earlier that evening in his car and that my dirty laundry was in the back seat. I used a sock as a glove while committing a burglary and surmised that a hair somehow fell onto the sock, then fell off inside Pressly's home."
 
 
                                      THE DEFENSE'S CASE:
 
The Defense Attorneys questioned the police, evidence, and the testing of trace evidence by lab technicians, trying to engender doubt about the handling of the case, and the idea that Vance was confused and pressured by police.
   
In the processing of evidence, the fingerprints had been tagged twice. The defense went over this
incident repeatedly.
 
                            CURTIS VANCE'S MOTHER'S TESTIMONY 
Jacqueline Vance Burnett had previously disrupted court saying hello to the judge and then announcing she was Vance's mother in open court. When she tried to re-enter the courtroom she was prohibited from entering.
 
Burnett testified that she "was a violent parent who had a number of crack-fuelled run-ins with the law, having worked as a prostitute to earn money for drugs. She testified that she had once thrown her son Curtis after a "date" fell through, throwing him into a brick wall several times until he nearly passed out."
 
A psychiatrist testifies that Curtis Vance showed "signs of paranoia and compared the man's brain to a car with bad wiring."
 
                               PROSECUTION REBUTTAL
 

Prosecutor Larry Jegley "Vance's upbringing was "an American tragedy" but his siblings and other family members have led successful lives. Vance's crimes were the result of his own choices."
 
                                                 VERDICT
        The jury declared a verdict of GUILTY on four counts, including capital murder.
 
 Patti Cannady "Praise God, praise God."
 
Cannady stated to the defense attorneys "You protected someone who should have never been protected."
 
 Curtis Vance "It's a corrupted system that's what it is."
 
 
Jacqueline Burnett (Vance's mother)  yelled when she heard her son is now facing the death penalty.

 
David Bazzel  (Family friend) "Today was justice for Anne, and, it's taken a year to get to it and I know nobody is more grateful than the parent and all of us as friends. After the long process I hope the family can finally get some peace. The justice system works and we hope that the remainder will as well, and he gets what he deserves. The hardest part of the trial was having to hear the details of Pressley's last moments. It was sort of surreal and I don't think even the death penalty will be enough."
 
                                       SENTENCING
 
 The jury determined that Curtis Lavelle Vance should be sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole. Vance was also sentenced to life for a separate rape, 20 years for burglary and 10 years for theft.

 Mitigating circumstances" Vance's childhood events influenced the decision.
 Aggravating circumstances "the cruelty in the crime and a previous violent crime(s).


Guy Cannady "There really aren't any winners tonight. Not until he gets carried out of Tucker Max in a coffin." "Nothing that's been done here tonight will bring Anne back."

"We placed our faith and trust in these twelve jurors, and tonight they have come back with a sentence -- a sentence which they believe, and we share with them, was the harshest possible sentence for this gentleman going forward. He will now spend the rest of his natural life in a 6-by-9 cell with nothing to think about but what he has done." 

Reporter "Were you disappointed Vance did not receive the death penalty?"

Guy Cannady "No."

Quote    Reply   
Add Reply

Quick Reply

bbcode help