Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Murder on the Klamath

Wednesday's proceedings featured a poignantly sad tape from 26 year old Sylvia Jenkins, on the telephone with her Grandmother, Sylvina Olson. Jenkins started by telling Grandma that her baby was in the hospital, was only 4 1/2 pounds, and had been born after only six months inside her. She doesn't have custody of either of her daughters. She went on to apologize for her role in burning down Grandma's home in Hoopa. Her story varied during different parts of the tape but seemed to be that the defendant, Greg Nelson, had been threatening her, but her role in the burning was to fall asleep with a candle in the church next door, starting a fire there which was then carried to her Grandma's house by two other men with gasoline. If it didn't provide positive proof of Nelson's guilt, it did show a damning example of the corrosive effects of meth, the use of which appears to be widespread on the reservation and up the river. She said, "Hoopa is slowly burning itself out."
Public Defender Kayfetz attempted to show that the officer presenting the tape had led her and coached her to implicate Nelson.

Monday's testimony, which I am drawing from Dave Smith's article in the Daily News, featured the testimony of Dr. Karl Fischer, the clinical psychologist for the Hoopa Tribe. Fischer said that Steve Marshall, the main witness for the prosecution, suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. He is capable of remembering what he sees, and knows truth from illusion, but might have a tendency to fantasize. It appeared that he was saying that Marshall is believable unless he knowingly chose to lie. Marshall had testified that he witnessed both the kidnapping and the murder when he was 10 years old.

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