She was also referring to the fact that in addition to the 73 witnesses in the Tree case, the case has gone on for three and a half months; some witnesses, mostly defense were presented out of order.
"This is a huge case," said Ms. Firpo. "Which witness is defense, which is for the prosecution. We had to locate civilians, some people wanted to talk, some did not." She brought up the fact that some people like Steve Upton did not want to testify, even with contempt of court, that they wanted "nothing to do with this case." She did this because even under subpoena, some witnesses who testified said they did not recall certain things they had previously testified to in court or to law enforcement or to investigators.
She said this morning she would talk about the Eureka case, then the Arcata case, how the two cases tie together, the credibility of witnesses and physical evidence and then stop so that the courtroom can be set up to talk about the expert witnesses and the inmate testimony. Her closing would continue tomorrow morning.
"I hope to put this big puzzle together."
Ms. Firpo went day by day, sequence by sequence, using testimony and witnesses and building her case to show that it is Bodhi Tree who committed these crimes. "We hear consistently from several people that Bodhi Tree is being inappropriate with Taraya. Not just inappropriate, we have specifics."
"Bodhi is an outsider and this is a rough crowd, they were already irritated with Bodhi for being inappropriate. She went on to say "Bodhi is supposed to leave", but he came back three times after being beaten and told to leave. After the last fight at J Street, he yells to Tyrel Brannon that "I got something for you, I will be back."
Charlie Crow and Sean Butler-Smith placed Tree at the Eureka scene. Ms. Firpo pointed out that the minutia mentioned in their testimony added to their credibility. Both people mentioned getting out of the car, a rosebush, Sean picking a rose. Addressing the defense theory that Sean may be an accomplice or knew what Bodhi Tree was upto, she said, "Is a person going to a gunfight going to pick a rose?"
Both of them mentioned stopping at a gas station and both were not familiar with Eureka and gave slightly different answers to where they stopped before going to J street. She said if they had collaborated their stories would have matched exactly. Both said Bodhi gave directions.
Crow heard shots and turned around to see muzzle flashes. Crow and Sean testified that after hearing shots, Bodhi ran back to the car. Crow's testimony is that Bodhi got in the car and said, "Drive motherfucker, drive. I dropped that mother fucker, I dropped him for sure."
Ms. Firpo said that the Eureka crowd was a rougher crowd, Arcata house a more peaceful house where travelers and people "crashed for the night." But there was a pattern of behavior by Bodhi Tree. He was sexually aggressive with Taraya in Eureka. In Arcata, there was also testimony that he was sexually aggressive with women, particularly Emma and several people testified that Tree was vulgar and sexually agressive with Christina, particularly the day leading to the night she was murdered.
"We don't have Christina, she was killed."
Ms. Firpo used the example of Damian Bradley, a witness who had only met Tree once to highlight that Bodhi Tree looked different in court today then when the incident happened. At that time he had black eyes, longer hair and dressed differently.
Ms. Firpo was very effective because she would bring up examples showing patterns of behavior by Tree and interspersing them with possible credibility of witnesses defense may bring up.
The personal statements talking about Rhett, Christina and Sunshine and going back and forth to other witnesses was also very effective.
The night Sunshine and Christina were murdered, Ms. Firpo reminded the jury that "Bodhi was begging people for $5 for cigarettes." He could not get any money so how did he end up going to the gas station later and buying two beers and Juicy Fruit gum. Ms. Firpo also used the video from the gas station and the receipt matching the items found on Bodhi Tree and at the Eye Street house and the testimony of witneses to connect Bodhi Tree.
"We don't know what exactly happened because Ms. Schwarz and Mr. Marcet were killed," said Ms. Firpo. She said the People's position is that Sunshine, a generous man, probably gave Bodhi the money nd asked him to bring back the change. That possibly Sunshine wanted Tree to leave him and Christina alone.
"So Bodhi has been hitting on Christina all day long, he is not getting anywhere, he sees the woman he has been trying to get with snuggled up to her man. Women have been bossing him around in the house, now he has to be an errand boy" to the man who is with the woman Tree wants to be with and he got beat up two days ago.
The reference to women bossing him around was Ms. Firpo reminding the jury how Bodhi Tree was pissed when Emma Lorenc asked him to remove his stuff from her room. A room she paid rent for in a house that Tree was not a guest but a crasher who just ended up staying a few nights.
Then she told the jury how Tree behaves when he is pissed. Using both the Eureka and Arcata incidents, she said, The way to piss off Bodhi Tree is to have a white woman say no to him, he sneaks up in the dark" and shoots people.
She brought up the fact that Sean had not seen Tree for 2 days, so how did he know about the beers and size of the beers unless Tree told me. She brought up the fact that Tree brags after he shoots people. In addition to the statement Crow made, Ms. Firpo reminded the jury of Sean's statements where he claims Tree told him, "I got two more" and put the gun on the table."
Ms. Firpo then brought up the description of the gun that people testified seeing and seeing Tree with and the fact that the hat Tree was wearing, one very similar ends up in the neighbor's backyard where Tree is supposed to have fled when the police arrived at the Marilyn Street house. The extensive search among shrubbery, streams and difficulty in locating the firearm used in the case.
"Why did Bodhi run and bolt out the door?".
Ms. Firpo brought up the risk people took testifying against Tree. Sean Butler Smith said he was beat up in jail after testifying in this case at the preliminary hearing. Jason Losey and Quention Williams both have families. Even though people in this case have criminal history, Ms. Firpo said they risked being labelled "snitches" so that Tree would not be out on the street. She brought up that Tyrel Brannon gained nothing by testifying. Sean, Jason and Quentin have addiction issues. They risk their safety if they go back to jail which they would if they violated their probation.
"Mr. Tree's is most dangerous of all murders. He is willful, deliberate, he chooses his victims arbitarily," said Ms. Firpo. "While we are hearing testimony in this case, he is bragging how he is going to beat this case."
Ms. Firpo said that the cross examination of the prosecution witnesses was "all about attacking their character, not so much to counter the testimony provided."
She said, "I tried to give you all their criminal history." In direct, she did bring up their background.
"A couple of police officers did a bad job, some witnesses did not contribute anything. I brought you everything I want this to be a fair case.," said Ms. Firpo. "Two people who did nothing to Mr. Tree got murdered."