Thursday, March 20, 2008


Wesley Molina Cirino, also known as Flaco has been found guilty by an Oneida County Jury.

Several of the officers went to Officer Lindsey's grave immediately following the verdict.

Deliberations: Jury decides to stay and deliberate further into the night

The judge has given the jury a choice to either go home and come back tomorrow, or resume deliberating.

The jury has chosen to continue deliberating tonight.

Deliberations: 9 o'clock to determine what happens next?

Unconfirmed, but we are hearing amidst whispers in the courtroom that around 9 o'clock, the judge is going to ask the jury what they want to do for tonight.

Deliberations: Friends, family, and fellow officers take seats

Jury was supposed to resume at 8:15 p.m. They have not yet returned to the courtroom.

However, family members, friends, and fellow police officers, have returned to the courtroom, and are taking their seats.

Deliberations: Hour Recess

The court has taken a one hour recess. They continue to deliberate shortly thereafter.

Just earlier, the jurors re-enetered and asked the judge for the definition of "beyond a shadow of a doubt."

Deliberations: Judge tells jurors to order dinner...

The read back of the testimony of Sammy Rivera to the jurors has just finished, and they're continuing to deliberate.

Judge Donalty has offered to get them menus and said they can order dinner around 6 or 6:15 p.m.

Deliberations: Sammy Rivera's testimony is being read back to jurors

Sammy Rivera's testimony. THAT's what jurors have asked to have read back to them.

It's being read back to them now.

Deliberations: Jury asks for readback, but of what?

The jury has asked for a readback of something...but we have not been told what that something is just yet...

Deliberations: Judge releases alternate jurors

The judge has released the alternate jurors.

Deliberations: Judge tells jurors to try and deliberate more

Judge Barry Donalty addressed jurors and told them that if they don't reach a unanimous agreement, a new trial will have to be scheduled with a new jury. He told them it is not uncommon for jurors to believe theat they will never reach a verdict.

The judge also said that he's not asking any juror to violate his own conscious, or to just agree with the conclusion of others. But he did he tell them not to let pride or stubborness get in the way and make them adhere to a conclusion that is no longer correct. He asked them to listen to their fellow jurors, and to deliberate some more.

The disappointment as no decision is reached is visible on the faces of the police officers.

Wesley Molina-Cirino faces the charge of aggravated murder, which could mean life in prison with no parole.

Deliberations: Not over yet, jury split on guilt, Judge to give Allen Charge

Currently, although it is not over yet, the jury in the trial of Wesley Molina-Cirino is currently hung.

A Note just handed that says "X amount of us think he is guilty, X amount that says he isn't guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."

Judge Barry Donalty is bringing the jurors back in and is going to give them an Allen Charge, in which he tells them not to give up their strong convictions, but to try and deliberate more to see if they reach an agreement.

Deliberations: Lunch recess until 2 p.m.

Jurors have broken for lunch, still with no indicatin of a verdict yet. They will resume deliberations at 2 p.m.

Deliberations: Jury wants to see all 5 1/2 hours of videotaped Flaco interview

Jurors have clarified for the judge that they wish to see all 5 - 5 1/2 hours of the videotaped interview of Flaco with police taken on June 6, 2007.

A visible sense of disappointment could be seen among the police officers gathered in the courtroom.

Deliberations: Jury makes several requests

No verdict yet in the Flaco trial.

Just before 9:30 this morning, the jury sent out a series of notes, making several requests. Jurors aren't allowed to talk, so they have to write everything down and have a note sent to the judge.

The first request ... they asked to see all photographs received into evidence. They have been provided with those.

They also wanted Officer Lindsey's "radio dispatch" during the traffic stop of Sammy Rivera. Judge Barry Donalty said he assumed that meant the audio transmissions. If so, that will be provided.

Jurors also wanted a paper or hard copy of the transcript of the June 6 interrogation of Wesley Molina Cirino (AKA Flaco) by police.

The judge is going to ask for them to clarify what portions they want, because those interrogations are 6 hours long.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Closing Arguments: the Prosecution

It's 10:31 and the defendant is back in the courtroom from a 10-minute recess following his attorney's closing arguments. The jury is taking their seats. The judge is back at the bench and has directed prosecutor Laurie Lisi to begin closing arguments. We hear transmissions from a police radio and see a white Utica Police cruiser on the monitor. Now we hear a frantic officer say "we've got an officer down!' More chaotic transmissions as another officer says, "expedite 'em! expedite 'em!" about the Utica Fire Department coming to treat the officer. Now we hear a hysterical woman calling 9-1-1 saying an officer has been shot. Now prosecutor Laurie Lisi is speaking to the jury. She's recounting the night Officer Lindsey was killed. Those two words no officer ever wants to hear, "officer down'. "Nine minutes, nine minutes ladies and gentlemen, and in the blink of an eye th elife of every Utica Police officer was indeed forever changed". Lisi says Tom Lindsey was assasinated; ambushed by a coward in a white hoodie. She tells the jury they're here today to consider one charge only: aggravated murder.

Lisi asks if there is any doubt that the elements of the crime of aggravated murder have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Is there any doubt Officer Lindsey was killed while performing his lawful duties? She says the only real question for the jury to deliberate is "who killed Officer Thomas Lindsey". She points out how the defense spend nearly all her closing remarks talking about Sammy Rivera and acknowledges he is the most important witness. She says defense has spent so much time on him because Rivera is an eyewitness to the brutal slaying of Officer Lindsey. Lisi says he is the most crucial witness, but reminds jurors that case doesn't rise and fall on his testimony alone. She too asks jurors not to consider Rivera's testimony in a vaccuum but in the context with all other evidence. Lisi says if jurors do that, they'll have no problem concluding that the defendant is guilty of the aggravated murder of Officer Lindsey.

Prosecutor Lisi says Rivera's story, with a few exceptions, has remained constant. Lisi reminds jurors that another witness testified that he was in the car with Sammy Rivera, alone, except for baby Luis, at 9pm the night Officer Lindsey was killed. She says there are no lagging time periods as the defense suggests. Lisi says Rivera rolls through the stop sign at Eagle and Neilson Streets because he had car trouble. Now Lisi is getting to where Officer Lindsey pulled over Rivera for running the stop sign at 9:16pm (when the officer called the stop into dispatch).

Now, prosecutor Lisi shows on a monitor an image of Officer Lindsey's computer screen in his police cruiser--the name Ishmael Rivera is on it, verifying that Sammy Rivera at first gave Officer Lindsey his brother's name--something Rivera admitted to in this case. Lisi says all this verifies Sammy was driving the Neon when Officer Lindsey pulled it over--who else would give the name Ishmael Rivera but a family member? Lisi says Rivera's wallet was still in officer's cruiser after he was shot because Officer Lindsey actually was not going to let Rivera drive away, but rather, wait for a licensed driver to come and get Rivera. Lisi says there is no doubt Sammy Rivera was the driver of the red Neon. Lisi asks jurors to consider that "Flaco" was interviewed extensively over several days and never once indicated Sammy Rivera was not the operator of the red Neon.

Prosecutor is talking about how Officer Lindsey had radioed back to dispatch, "code four", meaning everything is ok. She points out that he didn't immediately call in "code four" because at the time, he didn't know who or how many people were in the car--not until he walked up to it and saw. Lisi points out that, to other officers who'd driven by the vehicle stop, Officer Lindsey looked relaxed, so they became relaxed and therefore didn't take note of details--i.e., the driver of the Neon. (Defense pointed out that the officers couldn't identify Sammy Rivera as the driver of the Neon). Lisi points out that Officer Lindsey was waving fellow officers on before they even reached him. Asks jury if they think that the officers don't think of this every night when they go home and put their heads of the pillow, "what if....what if I'd stayed behind". Lisa says identification is a funny thing; that she could parade someone by the jury and ask them all to describe the person and that they'd all have different accounts because different people remember different things.

Prosecutor Lisi suggests it's not that one of the officers doesn't believe that Rivera was the driver of the Neon...but rather, that the officer didn't get a good look at the driver.

Prosecution closing arguments continue. Our cameras are still recording but I'm off to the station for the noon news.....