LaFayette, Ala., Nov. 20, 2006 -- The jury has found former Lanett city councilman Barry Waites guilty of the murder of his then wife, Charlotte, in 1998.
Rod Spraggins, who ran against Waites in a 2000 city council election and told people publicly Waites had murdered his wife, told wsfa.com by phone shortly after the verdict, "Justice has been served. Justice has cried out from the grave and it has been done by 12 jurors in Chambers County Alabama today and thank God."
Spraggins says District Attorney E. Paul Jones "did an excellent job" in closing arguments on Monday and Spraggins says he was very confident of a guilty verdict at the end of Monday's events. The verdict was read around 2 p.m. Spraggins says he would prefer to be a private, not a public person. "This thing wasn't about me. This was about Charlotte. I just spoke what I believed...It's over and done with. If they overturn it in the appellate court at least we can say justice was done in Chambers County."
The jury started deliberations about 9 a.m., broke for lunch at 11:45 a.m. and came back at 1 p.m. to resume deliberations. Shortly before 1:30, people were told the verdict was in. The verdict was read around 2 p.m.
The judge revoked Waites' bond and put him in the Chambers County jail. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 14, 2006. He faces from 10 years to life in prison.
Defense attorney Jim Parkman told me by phone that he has not had a chance to discuss with his client what comes next. "We had arranged to get Barry and the family out the back door...We took him to a back area and of course he was very upset, and his wife was very upset." Parkman confirmed Waites' bond had been revoked and he was now in custody and says he hopes to be able to speak with his client more next week as they decide what the next steps in Waites' defense will be.
The prolific Alabama attorney says, "It's quite a blow," to lose the case. He says he hasn't lost in a while and now remembers why he hates losing so much. But gracious as ever Parkman had "no excuses...Of course I am very disappointed. You go into it to win. I have no excuses for losing the case...I just didn't do enough...I didn't do as good a job as the prosecution. Anybody that can beat me, I will shake their hand in open court, like I did today. I believe in our jury system and they did a good job and are to be commended. No excuses. I lost the case and that's all there is to it."
Parkman says prosecutors, District Attorney E. Paul Jones and Chief Deputy Damon Lewis, "deserve a pat on the back...they did a good job communicating their case to the jury." Parkman says his team did a good job getting him prepared, but he didn't do his job. "I just wasn't able to communicate with the jury effectively."
The aforementioned district attorney told me late Tuesday, "I'm very pleased, grateful to the jury. I'm grateful they had the ability to put together all the circumstantial evidence and the family specifically wanted me to thank the jury for doing what's right under the circumstances."
"Whether the verdict had been guilty or not guilty, I believe it was terribly important that this case be brought to a conclusion. The girls needed closure. They had to deal with the death of their mother, their father being under suspicion, and then finding out their father actually did it. It's important so they can go on living their lives."
Regarding Parkman accepting defeat, Jones says, "I've adopted a different attitude. I don't take it that he got beat. I think the jury concluded that with the evidence it was their duty to find him (Waites) guilty. It's not as much winning and losing as did the jury get to hear all the evidence."
He says,"Provided a jury has a fair opportunity to hear all the evidence, that's all an attorney can ask. Jones says he does believe juries are smarter than many people give them credit for and that he believes it's vitally important that you believe in the case your presenting to the jury. "Jurors are smart enough to know if the lawyer believes in his case, you can't fake it. That's what makes the difference. Jurors pick up a person's belief in the case. They want lawyers to believe in their case."
He said he had told Charlotte's family all along he could not guarantee they would win the case. "I told them all along it was an uphill battle. It was an old case. They told me,'Let's get the truth out. Whatever they (the jury) decides we'll live with it.'"
What follows below is a rough sketch of events as they took place on Monday. This is NOT an official transcript, but is a rough overview of what took place as best could be recorded and transcribed by a layman.
Defense attorney Jim Parkman took the floor and presented an oral Motion for Acquittal. This was a presentation to the judge done outside the presence of the jury, which is in an adjacent room.
During his argument Parkman said the state had "failed to make a prima facie" case, failed to present sufficient evidence and failed to establish the defendant committed murder with intent to kill his wife."
He then took prosecutors to task using there own analogy of a single rabbit leaving tracks in the snow pointing to the rabbit. In this case, Parkman says, "They have totally failed to connect the defendant with the case whatsoever...nothing to indicate malicious intent or action...nor was he in any position to kill his wife."
"They can't prove a time of death or that he would have been present..they have a time they can't prove." Parkman says some decisions in life are not popular and not what the judge or the public likes.
"How could they find him guilty?" Parkman says it happens when things like last week's testimony involving one of Mr. Waites' former romantic interests is misquoted in the press. "Sometimes people don't know what the evidence is...there was an article that said Barry Waites admitted killing his wife...we know that's wrong...rumors like that spread...that's why we have judgements of acquittal."
"They couldn't have even put him at the scene if he hadn't told them where he was..."
"They've presented no evidence of any kind of possible domestic violence. Is there any reason at all you can point to?"
At around this time, Mr. Jones from the government becomes exorcised about Mr. Parkman's booming voice. He says he wants to be able to be heard by the jury the way Mr. Parkman is being heard. Mr. Jones obviously feels that Mr. Parkman is making every effort to be heard by the jury in the other room. Whether he was or not only Mr. Parkman knows for sure, but the level of Parkman's voice was one at which he is often heard in the courtroom.
Parkman says the medical examiner said this was a very volatile crime..."he admitted whoever did it had to wrap the cord around his hands...there's no evidence of marks on him whatsoever, nothing, no bruises. I submit what we have here,..is not one piece of evidence, no evidence to identify him as the person who did it at any point... No evidence in this case to tie the defendant to the case..."
"A lot of the state's case is based on half-truths...officers got on the stand and said he didn't show any emotion...then we got statements ...that show he was in grave danger."
"The door was ajar...circumstantial evidence someone else committed the crime...the police went to their aider and abettor and asked for an alibi and when he said he had one they said have a nice day....no motive established -- no proof..
Then the DA took the floor, "I hate to have to repeat this. First, he's told everybody he was there, evidence he gave to Adams that when he got to the armory the door was locked...he went into great detail about how he had to unlock the door...except when it came to the house....he didn't mention if the door was open or closed...he told how he locked and unlocked the door at the armory using an allen wrench...doesn't mention if he locks or unlocks it at home. ..The key that we know the timeframe is the ladies at the school called the house between 12:30-1:00 Eastern Time. The lady would have answered the phone had she been allowed to do so.
The medical examiner says it takes great physical strength...he says the ligature marks show someone tried it didn't succeed and tried it a third time...reflects intent."
"Let's say it was an intruder...the front door is right beside the body...whoever did it couldn't go out the front door...not one item was taken..the people they're accusing are in a drug group in this county...Three prescription drug bottles...not one of them taken..."
Jones tells how Waites put $20 in his wife's wallet so "if they find his fingerprints he's got a reason."
"Everybody who first got there said the purse was closed. They left the calling cards in the purse..they may not have taken a Pizitz card but they'll take calling cards...what burglar would have a motive to drag the body to the foot of the stairs...the only person who would have a motive is the defendant..the body had been moved by dragging her feet."
Jones moved on to the bloody towel. Yes, they may have used it as a gag...What burglar goes to the opposite end of the house and puts that dirty towel in the clothes hamper?"
Jones talks about how the Waites' checking account was "severely overdrawn...he'd taken his mother's $30,000, mortgaged his mother's home, was late with payments...the evidence is clear they'd had a meeting on a Sunday afternoon to authorize Charlotte to go to the legal office and take $50,000 out of the Ben Brown estate to help him...he took a $10,000 CD from her mother and cashed it."
According to Jones, Waites told his pastor, "They have enough evidence to indict me, but they don't have enough to convict me...Would an innocent man tell his pastor that? Would an innocent man say well my daughters could have done it? Does an innocent man just stare at his girlfriend when she says did you do it?"
He turns to Gene Brown in the hospital and says, "I'm sorry...I'm so sorry." "Why does he send his 17-year-old daughter to an empty house where a murder has occurred unless he knows it's safe...he's the murderer."
Parkman comes back at Jones. "These are the half-truths I am talking about...they didn't tell you the rest of what he said at the hospital...after that ‘I just wish I had been there...maybe this wouldn't have happened.' As to Waites sending his daughter back to the house, Parkman says, "The police were everywhere." In dealing with this I asked the doctor when the adrenalin gets going does it create more strength, he said yes."
"I tell you right now the person never got to the purse, one maybe two people with her...Going out the garage where on the way out they deposited the towel...the sides of the garage block the view so they can see if anyone's watching. If you go out the front door you're exposed..."
"The towels were dropped right on top...whoever left...left in a hurry. They started off with the idea about the body being moved...the doctor says, "Maybe a foot at most.." The key is all the other stuff there isn't any blood...she fell down the stairs and fell into the table...as far as dragging her anywhere, I don't think it happened. Every bit of it is guess work, no evidence to tie this up."
The judge at 9:40 a.m. took a brief recess and after coming back told the attorneys, "I have looked at this... I appreciate the arguments by both counsel. Based on what has been produced at this point, I'm going to deny your motion for judgement of acquittal at this time."
At 10 a.m. the jury is brought back in to hear the government rest and then to go back to the jury room for about an hour."
Mr. Parkman told me later the hour break was because the state was trying to find Mr. Steven Sanders. Parkman says the testimony of Mr. Arrington (which came just before lunch) about what Mr. Sanders told him was a "very important part of the case." Parkman says, "They couldn't find Sanders anywhere...they finally said, oh well." Arrington had testified that Sanders told him that Sanders and Kenny Boyd robbed the Waites house and killed Mrs. Waites but didn't mean to. A source earlier had said the state would have one rebuttal witness to the defense's witnesses. It's just an assumption, but the guess is that witness was Mr. Sanders, who could not be located.
When court resumes, Julie Potts an employee with the local bank is brought in by the defense to authenticate bank records for an exhibit. Then Mr. James Green, Jr., who worked at the armory with Mr. Waites.
Green says he knows Barry Waites,"We worked together for a number of years at the National Guard armory." Green remembers Aug. 4, 1998 as being the day Waites' wife was killed. He says he saw Waites that morning around 8 a.m. and spoke with him. Green says he was at the armory full time, five days a week and "we worked right next to one another." Asked by attorney Martin Adams how Waites appeared, Green replied, "Normal." Green says he left about 9 a.m. and came back around lunch. He says he saw Waites again around 1:00 or 1:30 and his demeanor was the same. Green told Adams that he did not see any marks or scars on Mr. Waites and that Waites did not appear disheveled.
Mr. Green says he believes Mr. Waites took the call about his wife. "To my knowledge Barry took the call." He says after the call. "Barry came to my office and said he had to go home; said his daughter had called and said his wife had fallen."
Asked by Mr. Adams how he appeared and Mr. Green says Mr. Waites "appeared anxious to get home." He says he remembers having a conversation with the ABI about the day's events. He says in the statement he said when Waites came into the office "Barry was shaken visibly, according to the statement I think I said he was breathing heavy."
Mr. Jones wishes to cross examine Mr. Green and asks him about getting ready for annual training. Mr. Green says he thinks it was the week before annual training. Green says, "Yes," when asked if he sometimes took phone calls for Waites. Mr. Jones asks if anyone called from InterCell. "According to my statement I did." Mr. Jones says Mr. Green didn't give that note to Mr. Waites until he got back.
The district attorney asks Mr. Green if it was a busy time and Green says it was and agrees that it was difficult for him to be gone from the armory. Green agrees the same applied to Mr. Waites. Mr. Jones says Mr. Green and Waites were friends even though Jones understands "you don't hang out (together)." Jones asks Green if Waites said anything to him about a ribbon cutting and Mr. Green says, "I don't remember that."
Green is asked again about what Waites said his daughter had said. "His daughter said she had fell to the best of my recollection." Green is asked his rank and he says, "Sergeant First Class." Green says he believes he went to the hospital the following day to see Waites. He is asked about a statement he made to investigators on December 30, 1998, "He was laughing a little and not acting like he lost his wife."
Asked who the supervisor was, Green says,"We worked together."
Next Mr. Adams comes back to question Mr. Green for the second time. He shows Green a statement Green apparently made. Mr. Green says, "It says a little differently. He fell down and that his wife was laying on the floor.." Mr. Adams says to Green, "Nothing is here about fell, just she was lying on the floor."
Did you get interviewed at a later date? "I met with somebody at their office." Green agrees it was about four months after the murder. Do you recall making a statement to agent Wright about when Mr. Waites was leaving that morning? "I don't remember." Adams shows Green the statement. Green says, "Yes, around 11-11:15."
Mr. Jones comes back for the state. "He told you his wife was at home? He said they were going to have lunch together?" Mr. Green says, "I'm not sure. I understood he was going to have lunch with his wife."
"Were you there when he left? Can you not remember?"
"I don't recall," responds Green. "I went to Opelika that morning." Mr. Jones knows when and where Mr. Green filled up his vehicle. "You were there at 11 O'Clock weren't you. Could you have been in the National Guard armory at the same time?" "No," answers Green. "You don't know when he left do you?" asks the D.A. "No," says Green.
The next witness is George Melton of LaFayette. Melton says he went to the National Guard Armory on Aug. 4, 1998 but he didn't know anything about the murder until "that evening or the following morning." Melton says he was part of the National Guard, but he didn't go every day. "It varied..I'd drop by and check in." He says he did see Mr. Waites that day and that he has known Waites for over 20 years. He says he saw Waites sometime after 9 a.m. and "I believe we did talk." Melton says Waites was acting the same as every other time he'd seen him. Melton says he was there around 1-1.5 hours and that Waites outranked him. "I hung around, spoke to him, talked to him about different things and then left and went to the bank. Asks if he wanted to look sharp for the annual training he agrees that he was doing all the things a good soldier would do. Melton works for the Chambers County Sheriff's Office.
Mr. Lewis then cross-examined Mr. Melton for the state. Melton says he has been in law enforcement 29 years and has known Mr. Lewis for 3-4 years. Melton says in actuality he talked to Waites maybe 15-20-30 minutes. He agrees he was an investigator and that he was never asked by Waites to help investigate the murder. He agrees Lanett was in his jurisdiction.
Mr. Adams come back and asks Melton if he knows which law enforcement agencies were investigating the murder and Melton says he didn't know. He agreed the Lanett Police Department was not incompetent. He says he didn't know that the police had asked the FBI for a profile fitting a person that may have committed the murder. Adams says the Chambers County Sheriff's Department was not involved and Melton agrees.
The next witness is Reba Sanders. she has been brought in to bring medical records. She does not testify as to what is in the records.
Following Ms. Sanders, Bobby Arrington is brought in. He is 28 years old and he admits to Mr. Adams that he is scared. He says he knows on Aug. 4, 1998 that Mrs. Waites was murdered.
"Do you know Steven(sp) Sanders?" "Yes sir...he's been a friend of the family for years." Arrington says he went to a party on a weekend, but he doesn't remember the exact date but thinks it was sometime in 2000. He says Sanders was sitting outside on a swing. "He was sitting there, we were talking...he was sitting in the swing and he had tears in his eyes." Arrington says Sanders told him, "Me and Kenny was in the Waites house robbing it." Arrington says Sanders told him "Kenny wrapped the cord around his knuckles..." and he saw Kenny beating Mrs. Waites... He says Sanders told him, "I told him just to let her go and get out of there...we didn't mean to kill her."
On cross examination, the state tried to get Arrington to admit there was drinking and pot smoking going on at the party. "Steve Sanders, he wasn't drunk?" Arrington replies, "I don't know I didn't see any alcohol in his hand. He was sitting in a swing. I was standing on the porch." Arrington says no one else heard the comments Sanders made. Arrington says Lt. Carter left a card for him and he gave Carter a statement over the phone. Asked if Carter ever followed up, Arrington says, "No sir he didn't. He said he'd get back to me but he had 4-5 other people to talk to ."
Arrington says he didn't call Carter again. Arrington says he was not aware Crimestoppers was offering a reward and he reiterated that Carter never contacted him back.
At this point in the proceedings the judge broke everyone out to lunch.
Jury came back in at 1:32. Judge Young tells everyone he hopes they had a good lunch. Bobby Anderson is called to the stand by the defense.
He lives in Lanett. He says he knows Waites and as of 1998 knew him over 20 years. He says he went by the armory in the afternoon where he saw Waites running out of the armory.
Lana Wiggins is the next witness. She works at East Ala. Medical Center, in 1998 she was at the local hospital. She says Waites came in to the emergency room for treatment where she worked. Adams shows her medical records to refresh her memory.
What time was Mr. Waites presented to the hospital for treatment? I don't see it in the ER record was just admissions...I'm not sure sometime in the afternoon..."
What'd you do when you saw him? "The problem was cardiac related...Dr. Reddy (saw him)..He was in atrial fib, rapid rate, abnormal beat of the heart causing blood not to flow through the veins as it should. He was sweaty and pale. We gave him medicine to convert him to a normal rhythm. Verced for anxiety."
The next day they shocked his heart into a normal rhythm under general anesthesia. She says it can cause death and is dangerous.
She says he was dressed, but she put a gown on him. She says she did not notice any injuries or marks on Waites.
The government came back with the witness and got her to agree Waites could have had atrial fib for a while. Lewis asks her if the body compensates for some things? Yes. You can hyperventilate yourself? Yes sir.
Blood pressure was within normal ranges isn't it true? Yes sir
She agrees this is different than when she puts people to sleep for regular surgery.
Lt. Richard Carter will be the next witness.
Do you remember Hope Adams or Allen testifying. You interviewed her? Yes sir, There were other people there?Yes sir.
Carter is shown a document? Do you remember Mrs. Adams making a statement to you that Charlotte was a scary person? Yes.
Carter is asked about a problem with the garage door? "I believe she said it could be bumped open."
The government then questioned Mr. Carter.
Did you learn Mr. Waites had taken that door knob off and done something with it? Yes, sir.
Did you take a statement from Steven Sanders? Yes What did he tell you? He said he never said the things Mr. Arrington said he had said. And that's directly from Sanders himself? Yes sir.
Martin Adams comes back once again for the defense, When did you speak to Mr. Sanders? "I don't remember the date." Did you just interview him that one time? Yes. What else did you do to corroborate? Arrington said Kenny was with Mr. Sanders that person told me Mr. Boyd was with him also....looking at what Mr. Arrington said Mr. Waites would have found Mrs. Waites' body..."
Next Adams asks about a conversation with Ca pt. Weldon? State objects as hearsay. Did Capt. Weldon call you regarding a statement about investigating Mr. Sanders further? State objects, claiming backdoor hearsay. After Capt. Weldon called you what if anything did you do? That's when I located Mr. Arrington. Did you say you'd get back with him? Yes sir Did you? No sir.
Jones - She came in the house and caught them. Your statement. Yes sir.
Defense rests at this time. 2:55 p.m.
The judge talks to the jury. He's explaining closing arguments. "What they say is not evidence," the judge reminds the juror.
Deputy Chief District Attorney Damon Lewis does the first part of closing for the State of Alabama.
"Aug. 4, 1998 Charlotte Waites was killed. Barry Waites was there. She was at the resource center, she had to respond to the phone. The defendant called her then. She was so unhappy she made a comment, "These men will drive you crazy." Because the Ben Brown estate...meeting Sunday to take a significant amount of money out of the estate...there are records in evidence...I submit those records will show the defendant wrote 30 checks, a car payment was delinquent...this was money the defendant was counting on....there was to be a meeting that night...she's going to sign the paperwork, make the offer...defense says defendant going home to have lunch but he is too busy to go to a ribbon cutting...the only people in that house were Charlotte and Barry...two bloody towels in the laundry room on the other side of the house...the argument that a burglar broke in, killed Mrs. Waites, picked up the towels and cleaned the house back up...no marks on the defendant...Mrs. Waites was choked more than once, probably more than twice...you heard there was a gag put in her mouth...how can you stand behind this lady and choke her with no gag...use your common sense... parodying the defense Lewis says we don't believe the blouse was used to choke her...I submit it was used once.
Disturbance in which Mrs. Waites was hit, struck, slapped...look at these pictures...Mrs. Waites didn't have on makeup...remember her hairdresser...all she had to do was dry her hair...she's still got on her pantsuit, her dress is still on her bed and her wrist is broke..I suggest there was an attempt to choke that lady to death...he grabbed her; he was choking her she was thrown against the wall and broke her wrist...that limited to her to the point she couldn't fight back...laying on her back...he flips her over...marks on her feet and drags her to the steps...moves her to the steps...wedding rings on her hand, prescriptions...she's dead...both sides talk about marks..very important facts...morbidity...those injuries fit...remember when Martin got choked by Mr. Parkman blood rushed up...blood settled and went down...they appear darker because all the surrounding tissue was getting lighter....nobody puts him back at the armory until well after 12 Eastern time..he gets back to the armory and you get to read this detailed timeframe that this defendant made...well I don't like Hope Allen...what happens when things start going wrong with her she gets roses and a baseball bat...Mr. Parkman was very dramatic...
(Mr. Waites) comes back up the steps and starts hyperventilating...witness after witness.
He's upset because he's been caught...it dawned on him at that point what he had done...at the heart rate his heart rate's fast....he could have been that way a long time...he's in the hospital with his daughters (when he tells them) go to my house and get me some clothes...why would he send them there? Because the threat is in the hospital...he told Mrs. LaFollette, "I'll be better off when this is all behind us."
Gene arranges for him to stay in the hospital longer....He was sorry because he killed her
Well it took too long for this case to come to trial?...Does what the police do make the defendant less guilty...Charlotte's dead, Barry was there...Barry writes."I fixed myself a peanut butter sandwich and a Coke..Mr. Waites is at the house, he pops her; he cleans up; there's another discussion...he put spending money in her purse.."
If a burglar had broken into the house they would have exited out the front door, couldn't get out the front door
This is a broad daylight killing in Lanett Ala. All I got to prove to you is he did it. ..some people may feel Martians came down and did this...Charlotte Waites is dead, there are her daughters, one got some money $7,500 or $5,000. You heard $110,000 apiece...Barry's name would not have been on any of that if Charlotte was alive
...Charlotte Waites is dead and Barry Waites was there.
Mr. Parkman is up.
"What you've just heard him say is probably what a lot of people in this community would say...we've got to find someone guilty...don't look at the evidence...just go on and convict him...we've got to get somebody. He's guilty...Barry Waites is here go on and convict him..he went out and got a lawyer from out of town..who cares about Jim Parkman..just find him guilty and get it over with...The key is I know 13 people that are not like that...I know 13 people who don't care what a community says...I sat in this case...I can make a decision based on the law and the facts....I know 13 people who don't care about anything but doing their job and their duty...You were not going to take into account sympathy, prejudice...You're going to reach a decision...You know how I know that, because when I selected you as jurors I didn't do it based on what you told us...I looked into your eyes; The eyes are the gateway to the soul...do it proud, honestly...not let anyone pressure them...I just read what it was in the press...See, there's a difference..You were here every day...."
"Why do we want to talk about reasonable doubt?...It's been the law for over 200 years, never been changed...It says Jim Parkman doesn't have to prove a thing to you...They have the burden ...It isn't by surmise; it isn't by conjecture...He was there. He said so. He must have done it...I could have come here with my little bathing suit on...it would have been cold but I could have...brought the beach umbrella, sat here and drank and I didn't have to do one thing...the burden's on them -- not us...(You might say) I've seen every edition of Law and Order, L.A. Law, Perry Mason...TV shows don't tie you down to principle, you may not have heard it...Jim I really don't know what to believe, then you have a reasonable doubt...you could be saying Barry you may be guilty, that requires an acquittal...it's not enough to convict a man in a criminal case..."
Parkman reminds the jury "direct evidence is Barry Waites standing over body and somebody walks in...he didn't do that he said we're going to give you circumstantial evidence...the rabbit...circumstantial evidence tells me the rabbit made tracks...There's a problem. They didn't follow the tracks. The tracks they looked at didn't lead them to Barry Waites. You know where it led them? Nowhere...that's what's this country's about not having 12 people say we're going to do it, the tracks don't lead to Barry Waites...they tell you half of the truth because it doesn't tell you what happened."
"Let's flip the pancake over...Let's show you how ridiculous...He says the first thing he does is pop her in the mouth..If I hit you in the mouth there's going to be evidence...guess what we don't have none of that...the only thing they had was some cuts on the inside of the lips...the rabbit tracks don't lead to that conclusion...he just got through saying he threw her against the wall ...where did this come from...if you know please send me a note...if he threw her against the wall there's going to be a big mark on the wall."
He goes to work..mommy goes...Mrs. Stodshill said when I asked her how was she, she said "She never changed," That phone call didn't say what they say it said.
Parkman says if women talking about how bad men are was enough to put men in prison, "I would have been convicted of murder last year because my wife said it to people 46 times last year."
"We put on the people of work, nothing out of order...They want you to think he's so mad...Then he changes the story and says he got mad when he got home...So he comes in; they call; can you go and do a ribbon cutting? And he says to them, I can't go because I've got some personnel things to work out...guess what the first thing is...go get your hair cut...get your uniform done it's the way of business....they want you to believe this ribbon cutting thing was at lunch...then they change it...then Damon says he didn't intend to kill her until he went home...I just got through telling you I went home, doesn't add up...he's told them where he went and what he did.
Watch this trick...Sgt Green you were filling up with gas at a certain place...They know everything...They couldn't prove that he(Waites) lied about what he did...the day before the funeral...They know...If they know the exact time Green got gas...They know they went by the barber shop and they know it was full...They've got to have a conviction at all costs...After the struggle he goes back to the armory and someone sees him...on two statements they're identical...His wife was found. She was blue and you need to get home...you know who else saw him...the witness got on the stand and said he saw Barry Waites running...he gets to the house...they want you to believe he didn't have any emotion...the Lt. said both of them were upset.."I had to go inside because both of them were torn up and I couldn't take watching them."
Their version in the beginning is...they said he walked by and just kept walking...Now, I'm going to admit something...I pulled a trick on the Lt. I showed him a statement written the day after it happened...did you approve it -- yes, it said when he walked by his wife his knees buckled...first he said they didn't..."
Parkman buckles his knees..."Mr. Parkman they didn't buckle as much as you just did it, meaning they buckled... I knew in my heart...He admitted they buckled....He went downstairs for not more than 30 seconds and he collapsed...You can't cause 190 beats per minute of your heart and your blood pressure remain the same....You certainly don't want to go to the hospital and have them shock you....You could die...Hospital record page 47...They gave him drugs the next day...different kinds ....It makes you forget...It makes you not know things...They didn't do it once....They did it twice..They had to let it naturally take its course.
A lot has been made out of the hospital...preacher says Mr. Waites says they had enough to indict but not enough to convict...Gene Brown: Waites says I'm sorry, I'm sorry. They don't want the rest of the story...do you remember what Gene Brown said as he read the report..."If only I'd been at the house then maybe she wouldn't have been dead...It takes all the glory out of it...You remember Ms. LaFollette...What did Barry say to you?...We need to put this behind us...The rest was I want to put it behind us because I don't want to think about the murder, I want to think about her memories."
"How was he before and after? He was very withdrawn...Their theory at this point in the case is Barry wants money...By the way, he would get the money because Charlotte would get it...He'd been married to her for years...They want you to believe this was done because he wanted money...They want you to look at the checking account...I want you check it...no those 30 checks were on her account not his...she wrote all those checks. They weren't late...Look and see who wrote them...Let me show you about money...When you get into estates and dividing money up...it creates friction..."
"They want you to believe he's a money grubbing murderer...he killed her to keep her from settling her estate...some years later Gene Brown wanted to open a seed and feed store; he needed $400,000. Gene Brown goes to the bank; They go we need collateral...I got half an interest in an estate...short $200,0000. His version is he got Barry to sign it at the bank and he didn't know he did it...this money grubbing murderer didn't know he signed over $200,000 of his inheritance? But what happens he goes and signs it over so Gene has the $400,000...at what point in time did he say something to Gene...about going bankrupt...he didn't do that (Parkman says he would want his money now)...He lost it because he did something for a relative...If he had not signed that note there would have been warrants out...he'd been helping to pay bills for his mother...momma's still alive...one time. Did momma complain one time...have you heard one complaint where she called the police and said Barry's stealing money?"
We want to make someone the scapegoat for everything...could it be for all these family problems, Barry is the scapegoat...Not once on the stand did Gene Brown say I'm sorry for going bankrupt....You want to talk about money...Let's go to something interesting. Hope Allen...I got one here...I don't like anything about her...sometimes you don't see what other people see in your friends...You don't see it...He goes and has a lady call him six months later....Barry I'm so concerned it tore me up...And the same time she's telling the police Charlotte is scary...the whole time she's telling Barry I want to be friends., I want to be more than friends...You confide in them and you trust them and all along he's being played against a fiance...Oh, he was in Mobile when I was seeing Barry...Oh no he ain't my boyfriend. She wanted more...he just wanted someone to talk to ...It hit her...He's not talking about dating me so she makes up stories... He's the one that had to kill her...and the cow jumped over the moon...That woman was nuts and now she's mad...She wanted to see which one was the best pick...Why else would you see two at the same time..Why would she tell the police Charlotte was a scary person...Charlotte was no scary person...the audacity...we've got the police knowing where he went, who he saw, what he saw...Damon stood up and told you the murder had to happen when he was at home...unt uh."
The key to forensics. Doctor. tell me what connects Barry Waites to this crime? "Not a thing...Not a thing" He says to you we don't want to do time of death. How about doing an approximation an approximation puts him back at the armory. I asked him doctor couldn't we approximate it? Why didn't we do it because the approximation would put him outside at the armory....Morbidity, as soon as the heart stops...puts it later than when Barry said he was home eating...Let's take a look at how murder was done...We have right fingernails and a broken right hand blood matched Charlotte Waites...He couldn't tell you how many minutes...The doctor said it looked like a cord...Could the cord have slipped, yes...the key to it is in the marks themselves there wasn't enough blood...How did the towels come in?..."
"When you're strangling someone, what's the first thing you do when someone comes up from behind...What's the first response?...To grab it, try to get it off and try to loosen it...You got your hand wrapped...You've got to hold it tight enough...She's fighting...You start grabbing the person to start getting them off of you...They did check the left hand, what was under the fingernails? It's going to leave marks, the nurse said nothing on there. Doctor, where's the hair from slamming head on the ground from hitting the hard surface...the blouse wasn't stretched...take that little rope thing you couldn't choke someone with that little string...people do remarkable things because adrenalin does things because it runs through the blood."
"Let's take a look at the towels, pictures knocked down..They say it was a set up scene it was planned...I will tell you this I think the stairs played a role...I think she was surprised...It wasn't a belt...it was a cord that was pulled until she choked...At one point she came down the stairs involuntarily...They may have moved her maybe a foot like the doctor said...the purse...There's a logical explanation...how about what Bubba Arrington told you...I was at a party and they tried to trick him ...Sanders got to crying...this is critical...We got up at the staircase, we put a cord around her neck...We didn't mean to do that...If it didn't happen the way he said it happened how does he know...How does he know the stairs and staircase...How did Sanders know...Got the man's wife...and choked her...They go over and talk to some other suspects...They never even bothered to check it out and the statement was identical to what Arrington says...He wasn't in it for the money...He told the police way back when...And they called him and they told him...We'll get back with you...you've now been involved in a real murder case..."
"The best case they got is against Steve Sanders their buddy...He tells them and it's exactly like the murder happened...Where did they go?...They got a great case against these two guys and they ought to look at it...What do they really have?...Nothing...Sure she is dead...Sure he was there...Remember, look at his conduct that is un contradicted..He left that morning everything was fine...Doesn't sound like a murderer to me...He ironed his wife's dress...There's a murder for you...When he comes in Charlotte was upstairs...He's been married to her for some 20 something years....First thing he says got your hair fixed and it looks good...Here's the key to it Someone coming home to kill his wife doesn't even say boy you look good...He wasn't there to kill her...You haven't heard of him screeching tires...No marks on the body...How about this?...If he killed his wife, why did he stay in Lanett all these years? Because a murderer doesn't stay...You don't keep going to church; Oh no you leave...They knew where he was at the whole time..."
"The Lanett police, ABI, FBI for eight years they never brought a charge until this year...what is new in 2006 that ties him to the crime...What have you heard nothing...so why are we really here...You know why? Because it's like I told you when I started it's now time to find someone to be accountable for this murder so we can get it over with and get it off our books. She's going to change purses out because she was changing dresses...He knows where she is...The party's supposed to last until 4-4:30 not even a reason to suppose Barry Waites committed this crime...He's proved to you beyond a reasonable doubt that Charlotte was killed...He's going to talk to you for the last time...When I first got out of law school I thought that was unfair...but you know what I've learned? I don't need to get back up because I believe in the jury system, 13 people...you are going to be the ones to stand up for Jim Parkman...that's not what I heard...I ask each and every one of you to stand up for us and I know you will...I'm not from LaFayett or Lanett...You people ought to be very proud of the people who work in this courthouse..The judge, one of the best I've ever been in front of...The clerk, one of the best...This has been fun for me...I hope I can come back..I may not be from here...I may be involved in a firm that has the Cochran name. They want you to believe I should be ashamed of myself. They want you to hate me -- some silver tongued whippy doo lawyer. All I did was ask questions like you would have asked I'm not going to apologize with what I've done with my life...And yet, people will stand up here and tell you what a sham...I'm proud to be in LaFayette and proud to represent Barry Waites...You're smarter then I am..a true verdict the only verdict of not guilty."
MR. Jones finishes for the State of Alabama
You have heard one of the finest lawyers in the South...he's done an excellent job..and I apologize I may not be as eloquent...not to many stories...Listen to the evidence and I'm going to disagree with Mr. Parkman....He talked about the jury he selected...Mr. Lewis and I participated...six lawyers agree you are a good jury to hear this case...Use your life experiences. There are three things, the evidence you heard, whatever the judge tells you the law is and your common sense...what I want to disagree with is you have to get a conviction at all cost...My job is to see that justice is done...My paycheck continues, if you find Barry Waites guilty or not guilty..."
If you heard it more correctly than I did, then ignore it...What Mr. Parkman says and what I say is neither evidence or things you can take into the jury room to decide if this man is guilty or not...We are allowed to tell you what we think the evidence to be...If I've been over aggressive, questioned a witness to insensitive, don't hold that against Charlotte Waites and her family...You can tell me later I think you were to loud...Now Mr. Parkman wants to talk about circumstantial evidence...Mr. Parkman came back and told you about the lawn sprinkler systems...some of you may have grown up where you didn't have lawn sprinkling system and you may remember some hot summer afternoon...when there's been no rain for weeks...and you look out there and the blades on the cornstalks have turned yellow...you wake up the next morning the birds are singing, the sun shining, the dust washed off the leaves, you look at the corn field and there's water and the corn leaves unfurl...You didn't see it rain, but you know..."
"A pool of facts beyond a reasonable doubt that this man on Aug 4, 1998 killed his wife...Yes we have the burden of proof...That does not mean beyond all doubt...Beyond a doubt you can assign a reason...Mr. Parkman talked for 80% of the time he was up here about how the defendant has acted since the death of his wife...If I kill my wife and think I've gotten by with it...If they've got the audacity to take a life they've got the audacity to cover up that crime and keep their brother, their children their families from believing they've done that... I'm going to get some of the evidence out...I'm going to talk about Hope Allen...brought here for one reason to put into evidence that relates to the paperwork prepared by the defendant Barry Waites...read that statement about his timeline...he got up that morning and went to the National Guard armory...has to prop door open with allen wrench...goes into great detail...going to get a haircut...everywhere he stops he says I locked the door when I got back in the van I locked the door...see if he says anything about locking or unlocking the door at his house...."
"You heard Richard Carter's testimony he (Waites) took the door knob off and no one's seen that door knob since ...look what he says every day about locking unlocking doors, I think that's very significant....I didn't like the way she seemed to want to be a drama queen...she told you Barry Waites told her he thought his daughters might have done it, might have killed their mother...whether you like or dislike Hope Adams, this ain't CSI we don't get to write the script and the locations those are chosen by the defendant...He was asked point blank and he never said a word...never responded...I'm going to tell her something...I would not let someone if I'm an innocent man without responding in some manner...What about this little issue...what did he tell them...Your 'e suspects. Don't talk to the police...If my wife's murdered I want them telling everything they know...The quickest way not to get someone to talk to the police is tell them they're a suspect."
"Apparently me and Mr. Parkman were in different courtrooms and heard different testimony about the Ben Brown estate. You've heard his brother say $100,000 of his mother's money that he dwindled down to $300...You also heard his brother Darryl testify he'd taken out a mortgage on his mother's house and at the time of Charlotte's death he quit making payments...The house had to be sold to pay off mortgage...You heard the daughter's testify...undisputed..Unless you want to believe these girls lied they got about 220,000 of their money that he talked them into signing over to him but he wouldn't pay for his wife's tombstone and he let his momma's house get sold...A man who would let his momma's house get sold like that would do anything for money...You heard the evidence in the Ben Brown estate...Before Charlotte's death there had been a partial disbursement that resulted in him and his wife getting $13,0000."
"Gene Brown says $55-58,000 could have been distributed to the heirs of the estate, that would have meant that they got $12,000 had Charlotte and them not agreed to pay it out $12-15,000 out of the Ben Brown estate... He signed off Cumine Brown's CD for $10,000. They're finding out the money's not there, he needs money...He doesn't want Charlotte paying out money to someone who filed a contest on the will...They decide to pay them the cash...that money once it is paid out is gone, certainly not available to him...They had a meeting on Sunday on Tuesday...She got a phone call at the school...She went in and talked to whoever it was and I believe the lady said she came out angry...When she said these men will drive you crazy...He didn't want her to go sign the papers...He needed that money...I don't contend for a moment that he left that armory thinking he was going to keep her from doing it...I contend he thought he could convince her...They had an argument...she could have slapped him, I don't know...Whatever it was it led to a physical confrontation and it resulted in her getting injured to the point she had blood on her...Mr. Parkman would have you believe the towel that got the blood on it...someone used it as a gag...Look at the medical report,,,Certainly, there's not a lot of blood. She quit bleeding when she died...Now then I challenge anybody to tell me how blood could have gotten in those places with the towel being used in as a gag."
"All this other talk of other suspects is smoke and mirrors...I think it's very critical we talk about some of these things. That towel is so critical I want you to look where she was lying at the foot of the stairs. That towel was found as far at the opposite end of the house as possible...What burglar will go into a house, attack a women, allow her to clean herself up or clean her up? Is it common sense...What burglar would be so considerate he would walk to the other end of the house and put it in the laundry basket...Is that common sense?...The person who killed Charlotte Waites and allowed her to clean herself up...Some get heated in passion and regret it a moment later...He realized it. Cleaned the blood off of her...who else would have taken that towel to the laundry room?"
"You've heard Bubba's story that she came in and surprised him...If that's what happened Barry Waites would have found her not Heather...She came to the house before he did...Not his daughter...A little bit vague but Heather was not supposed to be there...Why was he rushing home...He wasn't expecting her to be home...He was expecting to claim he found her...We're talking a burglar who kills a woman right in front of the front door doesn't take anything, any money, prescription drugs...because they don't ever know what they're going to get...That little purse, closed and latched...What a considerate burglar...closed and latched...startled...That's the front door. There's a rug against the front door. Ain't nobody could have gone out...went out garage door because he can hide himself better...No both face the street..Use common sense when you talk about this thing."
"You've heard the testimony of Dr. Lorensen(sp)... Mr. Parkman wants to talk about time of death because he wants you to put other testimony out of your mind...You tell me her hair is not flowing upward from her head...Tell me how a burglar could get out that door and wipe it down...Towels at the opposite end, another photo of Charlotte with pants pulling up...Dr. Lorensen told you undisputed someone dragged the body after she's dead...Why would a burglar that doesn't have the time to steal anything take the time to drag her body anywhere...This defendant drug her body over close to the stairs so everyone would believe she had broken her neck...Mr. Green testified something about the stairs...this is their witness...He said he saw them in the hospital the next day and he was laughing, not like he had lost his wife..."
Jones wants the ladies to look at the shoes...They are on her feet...you've seen the multiple injuries. Her whole head, fracture on the inside of her skull it was so bad... You fight that long and keep those slip-on shoes on....Who would have a motive for putting the shoes back on her feet?..."
"Talk about how she was strangled...ya'll have seen it... But I want you to look at it again...look at that cord...look at the wrinkles in the clothes..There's your message...There's your message from Charlotte Waites (wrinkle still in eight years later)...everyone's got their own theories about time of death...The ladies of the school called 12:30-1. I suggest she was dead at that time.... Now Mr. Parkman says are these acts of a guilty man?...Let me give you more...You've heard all the money...Tell me why you're going to tell your preacher....Do you tell your daughters to not to go to the police?...Do you tell your girlfriend you think your daughters may have done it? ...Do you tell your brother-in-law...I'm so sorry, immediate reaction...If a member of my family got killed in a house..I wouldn't and I don't think you would let your daughter go back to the crime scene...If you know a murder has just been committed in that house, unless you know they're safe, you know where the murderer is...He's in the hospital...I think I'm about finished...I want you to forget about what the community wants...Base your decision on the evidence from the witness stand...And when you do I believe you will do justice for Charlotte Waites ...
Let me tell you what else, the medical examiner told you it takes several minutes to kill someone by strangulation...The intent to commit murder can take place that quickly. In that time you've formed the intent to kill them or you quit. I ask for justice for Charlotte Waites.
After this the judge charged the jury and the jury will start deliberations at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning in Chambers County.
Reported by: Helen Hammons