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S31.E14: The Evidence Room (Colleen McKernan)

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A wife is accused of murdering her husband on New Year's Eve 2014, but she maintains she shot him in self-defense. To prepare for her trial, cutting-edge animation is used to create a visual representation of her story as it occurred that tragic night.

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I think there's clearly enough reasonable doubt that I couldn't convict, but I'm curious what the breakdown of the hung juries were. Was it close to conviction? Acquittal? Half and half. I wonder if it was close that second time, and it spooked her into the plea deal. Even if I was innocent, it would be really hard staring a life sentence in the face knowing the DA has it out for you. Plus it seems like in many cases, the third time's the charm to be convicted for these defendants that get tried over and over again. Also wonder if the husband's extensive history of abuse of women was allowed in.

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I was intrigued by the story, but I was disappointed in how 48 Hours presented it.  The focus on The Evidence Room was too drawn out and felt more like an infomercial for their services than the true crime story we all want to watch.  I'm left with so many questions.  Maybe Dateline will do the story and fill in all the missing details.

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11 hours ago, SterlingSilver36 said:

I was intrigued by the story, but I was disappointed in how 48 Hours presented it.  The focus on The Evidence Room was too drawn out and felt more like an infomercial for their services than the true crime story we all want to watch.  I'm left with so many questions.  Maybe Dateline will do the story and fill in all the missing details.

Maybe it was just me but I am assuming that the Evidence Room is impartial until all the research is completed. 

While the team members were behaving impartially and asking all the right questions - he person who was in charge appeared to be an advocate for whomever was cutting the check. 

Then again, it could have been the editing. 

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I agree with your take.  My sense was that the Evidence Room staff try to help their clients tell a story that is supported by the evidence.  If their tests hadn't supported her version of events, then the defense attorneys would have used different evidence (his violent past, for example) to support their theory of the case.

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I felt sorry for the guy who worked so hard with his team not to have his evidence shown as well.  This is a good show and I am sure this case will be covered again on another ID or Justice channel. That husband of hers was worthless and I believe her story, (normally I never do) and he just made the fatal mistake of marrying a woman who really knew how to use HER GUN. Snort.  

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I was intrigued by this case because I'm from Central Ohio.  Marysville is a little more than an hour from me.  It's known for either the prison or the Honda plant that employs many Central Ohioans.  Massillon is probably a couple hours away from me. It is known for high school football and Chris Spielman (star linebacker at Ohio State years ago).  Both Massillon and Marysville are sometimes mentioned in my local news coverage.  Yet, this case didn't get much coverage, so I was surprised to turn on 48 Hours and see Massillon.

I would have acquitted Colleen, and I'm frankly surprised that the state went forward with a second trial.  Rob had an established history of abuse with women besides Colleen, and I didn't care for Rob's mother's tone.  She seemed very combative to me, and it would not have been a stretch to theorize that her son shared that trait.  Plus, the evidence lined up, and I couldn't figure out the point that the prosecutor was trying to make when she cross-examined Scott.  Seems like she did a poor job.

One question that I do have for Colleen: Why would you hire attorneys who have never tried a case in court?

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9 minutes ago, Ohmo said:

I was intrigued by this case because I'm from Central Ohio.  Marysville is a little more than an hour from me.  It's known for either the prison or the Honda plant that employs many Central Ohioans.  Massillon is probably a couple hours away from me. It is known for high school football and Chris Spielman (star linebacker at Ohio State years ago).  Both Massillon and Marysville are sometimes mentioned in my local news coverage.  Yet, this case didn't get much coverage, so I was surprised to turn on 48 Hours and see Massillon.

I would have acquitted Colleen, and I'm frankly surprised that the state went forward with a second trial.  Rob had an established history of abuse with women besides Colleen, and I didn't care for Rob's mother's tone.  She seemed very combative to me, and it would not have been a stretch to theorize that her son shared that trait.  Plus, the evidence lined up, and I couldn't figure out the point that the prosecutor was trying to make when she cross-examined Scott.  Seems like she did a poor job.

One question that I do have for Colleen: Why would you hire attorneys who have never tried a case in court?

I could not believe she hired two attorneys with no experience.

 

I wonder if she ran out of money?  Trial attorney's are super expensive.  

 

I'm betting the first trial ate up the insurance money!

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36 minutes ago, Jeanne222 said:

I'm betting the first trial ate up the insurance money!

Which is why you should never murder your spouse for the insurance money! More often than not your going to need a great lawyer.

Edited by biakbiak
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7 hours ago, Ohmo said:

I would have acquitted Colleen, and I'm frankly surprised that the state went forward with a second trial.  Rob had an established history of abuse with women besides Colleen, and I didn't care for Rob's mother's tone.  She seemed very combative to me, and it would not have been a stretch to theorize that her son shared that trait.  Plus, the evidence lined up, and I couldn't figure out the point that the prosecutor was trying to make when she cross-examined Scott.  Seems like she did a poor job.

One question that I do have for Colleen: Why would you hire attorneys who have never tried a case in court?

I would have acquitted her, too.  I am a trained and licensed handgun owner.  Her explanation for why she shot him so many times (in the service she was trained to do that) rang true.

I don't think her attorneys had never tried a case in court . . . I think they had never tried a murder case.  But it still surprised me that she would hire them . . . just because of that.

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7 hours ago, biakbiak said:

Which is why you should never murder your spouse for the insurance money! More often than not your going to need a great lawyer.

Not to mention that if you are charged with your spouse's murder, the insurance company may try to deny the claim or delay the payout.

I found all that crime scene analysis stuff fascinating.  It must be frustrating to know you have witnesses or evidence that will sway the jury, yet it is not allowed to be presented due to all the legal wrangling and games both sides play, or due to the personal whims of the judge.

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Dissecting second trial of Colleen McKernan as defense continues making its case

Detailed article from our local paper that includes this tidbit.
 

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THE JURY

Trial 1: 10 men, 2 women (split 7-5 in favor of conviction).

Trial 2: eight women, four men.

This article was written during the second trial, so it doesn't include the split of the second jury.  Nothing that I've read in the article changes my opinion of the case.  I would have acquitted Colleen.

Edited by Ohmo
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On 12/24/2017 at 7:33 PM, SterlingSilver36 said:

The focus on The Evidence Room was too drawn out and felt more like an infomercial for their services than the true crime story we all want to watch.

Yeah, this was my take as well.  This was an interesting episode, but having that big "EVIDENCE ROOM" logo hanging in the shot for all of those interviews really made it feel like an advertisement.

I also thought it was disingenuous for that main guy to say "well, we're just after the verified truth here" when it seemed like their process was to go talk to Colleen and then see if they could come up with some recreation that exactly matched her recollection of events.  First of all, her memory (or lack thereof since she couldn't remember the shooting until later when she totally could and oh what a coincidence it matched the animation exactly) wouldn't necessarily be a reliable account of what happened in this stressful situation while she's hammered.  The first thing she tells the 911 operator is how drunk she is.  Second of all, when somebody says to you when playing Clue "I can't disprove that accusation" or whatever, it doesn't mean you've solved the case; it means you might have one plausible explanation.   It must have been so frustrating for the scientists in the case to tell the jury that there was no way to tell what the sequence of the shots was to have these "re-creationists" with, from what we know, no scientific background try to show a video of one way it could have happened.  I applaud the judge from the first trial who severely limited the scope of what they could show.  

There are things to me in this story that gave me pause, like her turning off the hysterics to look at that paper in the interview room, or the fact that she was the aggressor at the friend's party.  But I think the evidence just isn't there to say one way or the other what happened that night.  I think the fact that neither jury was able to come to a unanimous decision is indicative of that.

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