Weisenberg’s fate in jury’s hands
August 4, 2011
By JOSH FRIEDMAN
The prosecution and defense made their closing arguments Wednesday in the controversial second-degree murder trial of Kaylee Weisenberg in a San Luis Obispo Superior courtroom.
Now Weisenberg’s fate is up to the jury.
In their closing remarks Deputy District Attorney Lee Cunningham and Co-prosecutor Steve Wagner attempted to prove Weisenberg displayed reckless disregard for human life when she crashed into and killed California Highway Patrol Officer Bret Oswald outside of Paso Robles on June 27, 2010.
Cuing off of Cunningham’s opening argument, Wagner repeatedly referred to Weisenberg as “a ticking time bomb.” He placed a string with car keys attached at one end in front of the jury to further the analogy of Weisenberg being a fuse that exploded the day of the accident.
Wagner also recalled an analogy he made in jury selection, in which he speculated the possibility of a Kaylee Weisenberg trading card.
“If they made trading cards for crash car derby or reckless, dangerous drivers, what would the back of the defendant’s card say?” Wagner sarcastically asked.
Seconds later, Wagner used yet another analogy, comparing Weisenberg’s driving along South River Road, the street on which the accident occurred, to her alleged methamphetamine usage.
“She used South River Road. She abused South River Road,” Wagner said.
Wagner concluded his argument in tears as he said at the time of the accident Oswald was wearing his pin recognizing 10 years of service.
“[Oswald] wasn’t here to receive his 20-year pin,” Wagner said.
In response to this comment, defense attorney Tom McCormick said to the jury that Wagner was playing on their emotions.
McCormick repeatedly said that Oswald was not taking necessary precautions while standing beside his patrol car on the side of South River Road.
In similar fashion to Wagner, McCormick devoted much of his argument to attacking an opposing expert witness. After Wagner disputed the credibility of accident reconstructionist and former LAPD officer, Mallie Donahoe, who testified for the defense, McCormick called Pennsylvania toxicologist and prosecution expert witness, Barry Logan, “a hired gun.”
McCormick also accused the prosecution of overcharging and the CHP of excessively investigating because the case involved the death of a law enforcement officer.
“They spent thousands of man hours on this case,” McCormick said. “If you or I were struck by Kaylee Weisenberg, in the same fashion, they wouldn’t have spent thousands of dollars.”
In the closing rebuttal, Cunningham acknowledged the amount of effort put into the case by law enforcement, but refuted the notion that the case was overcharged.
“This case was exhaustingly and very well investigated,” Cunningham said. “I make no apologies for that.”
Cunningham said the case warranted a second-degree murder charge because the facts revealed implied malice on the part of Weisenberg.
In concluding his case that Weisenberg acted with malice and gross negligence, Cunningham reminded the jury of Weisenberg’s Myspace page “mood setting” the day of the accident: “IDGF” — an acronym for “I don’t give a fuck.”
The case is now in the hands of the jury, which must decide whether Weisenberg is guilty or not guilty of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
If the jury does not convict Weisenberg of the latter charge, it has the option to convict her of one of five lesser charges: gross vehicular manslaughter without intoxication, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence causing injury, driving under the influence, and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.