Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Today's conclusion of Paul Devoe's pretrial hearing: part 1

Prosecutors called six witnesses today, all of whom testified to phone conversations they'd had with Paul Devoe. The continuing theme of defense attorney Tom Weber's cross examinations of all the witnesses was that Devoe never actually stated he'd killed any of the four Jonestown victims, never specifically mentioning their names or location.

Around 4:15, local Fox (KTBC) television reporter Crystal Cotti was ordered by Judge Kennedy to appear as a witness. Cotti's attorney unsuccessfully argued to quash the subpoena, saying that Cotti's affidavit verifying the authenticity of her October 2007 17-minute phone interview with Devoe was sufficient and that Cotti shouldn't have to appear personally.

The defense did not agree and said they wanted her to appear to authenticate the tape--she'd been subpoenaed. Her attorney countered that Cotti is currently in "the middle of sweeps and is trying to get news on the air right now." Judge Kennedy dryly replied, "I hate to inconvenience her...but she needs to be here." A 10-minute recess was called so Cotti could get there.

The first witness was Sharon Wilson, a woman who met Devoe in March or April of 2007 and allowed him to stay at her house. However, when she encountered him in her yard and he showed her a handgun pulled from his back waistband, she told him guns were not allowed in her house. He allegedly told her the gun was for killing snakes. She told him that "you don't use handguns on snakes" and ordered him out of her house. She allowed him to stay in his trailer parked on her property.

In late August 2007, while Texas Rangers and representatives of the Travis and Llano County's sheriff's department were in her home searching for evidence, Wilson received a phone call from Devoe from jail. When Wilson indicated that the caller was Devoe, Texas Ranger Sgt. Garth Davis provided her with a recording device held between her ear and the phone. The recording of the call was played in court, but Devoe's voice was mostly inaudible and/or unintelligible.

Wilson testified that law enforcement only suggested one question for her to ask Devoe: was he involved in the murders of the children? During the conversation, Devoe says he loved Wilson. Wilson replies, "How could you say you loved me and still do what you did?" Devoe answers, "I snapped." Wilson asks why he did what he did, to which he responds, "I never meant to...he grabbed the gun. I didn't mean to shoot him."

Wilson then asks him, "What about Jonestown? Who are those people?" Devoe answers, "another ex-girlfriend." Wilson asks him how many ex-girlfriends he has, sounding somewhat shocked. Devoe says that he's been there "almost four years" and has lots of exes. Wilson asks Devoe if he killed the woman in Pennsylvania, "Did you?" Devoe replies, "Stop asking questions." She asks him how he expects her not to ask questions when he's scared her and is reported to have killed people. Devoe answers, "I didn't mean to." Wilson asks him how he can sleep at night. "I don't," he replies. Wilson presses on, asking him how many people he's killed. He answers, "I can't tell you."

Devoe says he'd been drinking all day (the day of the murders). Then Wilson tells him that the mothers of the girls have been calling and leaving messages and she needs to know what to tell them. He seems to avoid answering at that point and asks Wilson, "Did they go through my trailer?" She tells him, "yeah, and your car." Devoe says, "They took my trailer AND my car? Oh shit. They've got everything of mine."

Wilson tries again, asking him what she should tell "this girl's mother?" Devoe answers, "Tell her? Tell her I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do what I did. I snapped." He continues, "You kicked it off from the get go", at which point she argues, "Oh, so it's all MY fault?" He tells her no. Wilson asks him if he's going to send someone to hurt her. He tells her no. He asks her if she's okay and tells her he loves her.

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