severance in that the testimony of the witness that we anticipate being called, Michael Carson, would be prejudicial to our client. And it is our opinion the instruction of the Court to disregard it as against Mr. Echols would not be sufficient to -- in order to take care of any taint -- and again would renew our motion for severance.
THE COURT: Denied.
(RETURN TO OPEN COURT)
THE COURT: Ladies and gentlemen, you've already been told that the evidence in this case should be taken -- let me start over. That the evidence against both defendants should be taken by you in and separated as it relates to each defendant.
This witness' testimony will relate only to Mr. Baldwin and you should give no consideration whatsoever of this testimony to Mr. Echols. (TR 1945)
DIRECT EXAMINATION OF MICHAEL CARSON BY MR. BRENT DAVIS
My name is Michael Carson. I am sixteen years old and attend the alternative school. I am in the ninth grade. I live in the Jonesboro area. Back in August of last year, I was in the Craighead County Juvenile Detention Facility for burglary. While I was there, Jason Baldwin was in the Juvenile Detention Facility at the same time. I see him the courtroom, sitting right there. (TR 1946)
MR. DAVIS: Your Honor, if the record would reflect that the witness has identified Jason Baldwin?
THE COURT: It may so reflect.
While in the detention facility with Mr. Baldwin, I got to know him. When I was placed in the detention facility, Mr. Baldwin was already there. I was not allowed to have any direct contact with him for the first few days I were there, because when you first get to the jail, you have 48 hour lock down. When I say "lock down", I mean you cannot leave your cell for any reason. I remember some of the other people that were in the detention facility with me at the same time. There was another guy named Jason and he had burns all up and down his arm, and a guy named Beddle - his nickname - and a couple of black people, Leonard, Xavier and some other little kid. I don't know his name. I was in the detention facility for about a week. (TR 1947)
The first two days I was in lock down. After the first two days, I was allowed to leave my cell and associate with the other people in there. During that time, I had occasion to associate with Jason Baldwin. I would usually watch TV but one evening they needed somebody to play spades with, and I told them I didn't know how to play, and they said they would teach me. Me and Jason, Beddle and another Jason were involved in that. (TR 1948)
While I was playing cards or in contact with this Jason Baldwin, he mentioned his involvement in the murders of the three eight-year-olds. The first time I asked him if he did it, he denied it in front of Jason and Beddle. We were
sitting there playing spades. I wanted to get to know everybody else in there. I just wanted to get to know them, and I just straight out asked him if he did it, and he denied it the first time. The other fellows were around at that time when I asked him. I had an occasion again while I was in the detention facility to ask him was he involved in the murders of the three eight-year-olds. This occurred when me and Jason Baldwin were scraping up the cards to go into our cells for lunch because they make us go into our cells for lunch. We was scraping up the cards. I said, just between me and you, did you do it. I won't say a word. He said yes and he went into detail about it. (TR 1949) It was just me and Jason. He told me how he dismembered the kids, or I don't know exactly how many kids. He just said he dismembered them. He sucked the blood from the penis and scrotum and put the balls in his mouth. He acted pretty serious about it. I put my hands on the table and I just pushed back and I left him there with the cards and I went to my cell.
Jason was interested a lot in playing Nintendo. That was pretty much what he talked about, was playing Nintendo. He gave the code to Street Fighter Two and you punch that code in and it sets up where you use three or four more different guys. And he gave me that code and I have still got the code. (TR 1950)
I testified under oath that Jason Baldwin told me this while I was in the detention facility. I believe I came
forward with this information. I'm not really sure, but I believe it was a couple months later. I was walking from my room into the living room - I was in my room listening to the radio - I was walking into the living room. My dad was watching something on the case on TV. They showed Jason's face and I told him that was who I was in there with, and I told him about it, about the stuff I knew. He goes, you need to tell somebody.
MR. FORD: Your Honor, I object to the father's words.
THE COURT: Sustained. What your dad told you would be hearsay. You can tell what you did.
I told my father what I had heard while I was in the detention facility. I did not communicate that to anybody besides my father. (TR 1951)
At that point, I didn't tell anybody when I first got out of the detention facility or when I first saw him on TV and recognized and recalled what happened. Because I didn't want to get involved with it. I mean, I had just got out of jail. I didn't want no more to do with the court system. At the beginning of the previous trial that I first made contact with law enforcement officers. The first night of the last trial I called you. I came forward because I saw the family on TV and saw how broken hearted they were about their children being missing. And I have got a soft heart. I couldn't take it. (TR 1952) After I came forward and talked with you, I then talked with and gave a statement to officer Charlie
Beall I was not offered anything as far as a reward or anything of that nature, and if I was, I would deny it. I never requested or asked for special treatment in order for me to give this statement.
CROSS EXAMINATION OF MICHAEL CARSON BY MR. PAUL FORD
I do you know who you are or your name. I just met that man out in the hall, but I forgot his name. The man who was just asking me questions, his name is Mr. Davis. I'm nervous, but I think his first name is Bill. I have visited with him at least twice at his home.
MR. DAVIS: Your Honor, this is for clarification purposes. My office is a renovated house and I wanted to be certain that was clarified.
When I visited with this man, he told me his name. I remember his last name. He told me both his names probably about ten minutes ago. When I visited with this other gentleman he told me his name. (TR 1954) He told me both his names, first and last names. I'm really nervous. His name is Bill Davis.
It happened in August of 1993 and I was in jail for breaking and entering. It was burglary. The house that I burglarized, I don't remember his name. I broke in the house to steal guns. I was in jail, I believe up to a week. (TR 1955)
I was in jail five days. The jury can believe me when I say I was in jail five days. I'm not sure about no more or no
less than five days.
Q Can you remember how many days you were in jail? Think carefully. How many days were you in jail? I would remember that.
MR. DAVIS: Your Honor, we object to - whether Mr. Ford would remember it or not -
THE COURT: Sustained as to the personal reference.
I'm not sure what day of the week I got there. I'm not sure on the day of the week I left. (TR 1956)
The first two days I was locked in my cell and I couldn't visit. On day number three I met Jason and played cards. I'd never seen him before. The night I got in there -- the second day I was in there I saw him. When I got to the jail, seems like everybody comes up to the front door to see who the new guy is. I did see his face then. The first night I was in there I knew who he was because of the person I was in jail with. For 48 hours you are locked down and you have no conversations, besides with Jason. Then the third day I am there, I ask him and he tells me no. The fourth day I am there I ask him and he says yes. He told me all these other details the same time when I asked him the second time on the fourth day. (TR 1957)
I had known him for about 24 hours and he told me this.
I am certain that the day he told me he did it was when he gave me the details. I know who Charlie Beall is. I can read. Down at the last Mr. Beall asked me on the very last
line, "Okay, are you saying he didn't get into any gory details or did he" -- and flip the page and read my answer was, "He did.” Yeah this is the next day. No, this is wrong.
MR. DAVIS: Your Honor -- (TR 1958)
MR. FORD: Wait a minute --
MR. DAVIS: I can make an objection.
MR. FORD: Okay, if you're going to make an objection.
MR. DAVIS: Thank you. He didn't complete the question when he read it. I think if he's going to be reading from the statement, he needs to read it in its entirety.
MR. FORD: I did, your Honor.
Q "Okay, are you saying he didn't get into any gory details or did he," and your answer was?
A "He did."
Q "Okay, and this is the next day," and your answer is --
A "Yeah." This is what I was thinking --
Q Wait a minute. Mr. Carson --
MR. DAVIS: Your Honor, he has an opportunity to explain his answer.
MR. FORD: I haven't asked a question, Brent.
MR. DAVIS: You did, too. Your Honor, the witness --
THE COURT: -- I'm going to allow him to explain his answer.
MR. FORD: Okay. (TR 1959)
I am telling you this statement is not written down wrong. It's written down correctly. You are probably reading
it the way it was typed but when he asked me the question, he asked me the next day, I thought at that time he was asking the next day after the first time he denied it. The next day after he denied it was the day he told me that he did it and the day he admitted everything. I most likely misunderstood his question that day.
MR. FOGLEMAN: Your Honor, I've got to enter an objection. If the entire statement is taken into context -- and we would be glad for the jury to have the entire statement -- but, your Honor, the questions he's asking -- what the witness said in his statement is exactly what he testified to here today when the entire statement is taken into context.
THE COURT: I will allow you to redirect. You can go back and redirect. Since he brought it up, you can bring out anything or all of it. (TR 1960)
MR. FOGLEMAN: Thank you, your Honor.
The alternative school is a school for kids who have problems keeping up or trouble makers. I am not a trouble maker. Where I go to school, I'm not the best kid. I'm just average. I have been convicted of some crimes. I am sixteen The time I was in jail, I was in jail for burglary. I don't remember whose home it was that I burglarized. I can tell you where it is at but, I do not remember the name. I was to steal guns. (TR 1961)
I have burglarized someone else's home.
Q Whose home was that?
MR. FOGLEMAN: Your Honor, that's not the proper question.
THE COURT: Sustained. I have been convicted of burglary at another residence.
Q Do you know whose --
MR. FOGLEMAN: Your Honor, I object --
MR. FORD: I can't ask him that?
MR. FOGLEMAN: -- to the form of the question. He's asked him if he's been convicted. Actually, he's been adjudicated a delinquent and it is not the same thing.
THE COURT: I'm going to allow you to ask him if he's been convicted in Juvenile Court of crimes. The circumstances are not appropriate.
MR. FORD: I can't ask him whose home he burglarized?
THE COURT: No, sir. You can ask him if he's guilty o burglarizing the home of John Doe or whatever, or been adjudicated guilty. (TR 1962) In that sense I guess you can ask him about the home if you want to preface your question, were you guilty burglarizing the home of whoever, but the circumstances I'm not going to allow you to go into.
Q Did you break into the lake cabin on Lake Charles of
Kenneth and Juanita Chrisman?
A Yes, I did.
Q Who are Kenneth and Juanita Chrisman?
MR. DAVIS: Your Honor, the whole reason and so
doesn't –- the objection is that this can be brought up for impeachment purposes only or to attack credibility. The details have absolutely nothing to do with it.
THE COURT: I just told you you can't ask the details about it. You can ask if he was adjudicated guilty of committing a crime for which an adult would have been guilty of.
MR. FORD: I thought you said I could ask who they were.
THE COURT: No, that's not what I said. I said you can ask if he's guilty of burglarizing the home of- Jones. (TR 1963)
I am guilty of burglarizing the home of Kenneth and Juanita Chrisman. I am guilty of destroying their property inside the house located in Lawrence County. I am also guilty of burglary in Craighead County. The Craighead County burglary was the reason why I was in jail in August. The Craighead County burglaries are the reason I was in jail in August for five days.
October is when I told my daddy. I don't remember the day that I first met with Mr. Davis and gave a statement. (TR 1964) I went from October to February of 1994 without telling anyone other than my father. And then in February my soft heart got to me. I have had one conversation about this matter with Danny Williams. I have had a conversation with Danny Williams about what I know about this after I talked to Brent Davis. I'm not sure if I talked to Danny Williams about
this in February. (TR 1965)
I did not have a conversation with Danny Williams about this before I told Mr. Davis.
Q And if he were to testify different -
MR. DAVIS: Your Honor, that's an inappropriate question. We would object and ask that the jury be admonished to disregard -
THE COURT: -- Sustained. The jury will be admonished to disregard the question and answer if one was given.
When I went to jail in August of 1993, I did not know anything about this matter. All I knew is that they were supposed to have killed these three boys. That was it. The first time I saw him in jail I know that's why he was there. (TR 1966)
He was there because he supposedly killed them three boys.
Q I'm going to show you ask you to read that paragraph, please?
A "Actually it wasn't until two or three days later that Baldwin told me the gory details about the balls and the penis. Baldwin told me I'm going to walk straight out of here. They don't have the evidence on me. My parents are going to throw a party for me. Baldwin sounded like they only cut one dick off."
Q There, Michael, there it says two or three days later that you made - that he gave you the details.
MR. DAVIS: Your Honor, for clarification purposes --
well, I guess I'm going to make an objection.
THE COURT: That's the proper way to start.
MR. DAVIS: Objection, your Honor. He is cross-examining on a report generated by Officer Beall, Officer Beall took. And he has a transcript of the recorded statement given by Michael and he also has a paraphrased report and that report is not proper cross examination of this witness. He can cross-examine him based on the statement, the transcript of the statement --
THE COURT: Was the paragraph just read a part of Mr. Beall's report? (TR 1967)
MR. FORD: Yes, sir. I can ask him if Mr. Beall was mistaken when he wrote that down. Did you tell him that. Because that -- I'm asking him if that statement of Mr. Beall is correct.
THE COURT: Mr. Beall is not the witness. You can ask a witness -- you can cross-examine him and impeach him from his prior statements.
MR. FORD: This is his statement, your Honor.
THE COURT: If you are using his statement, then that's a different matter. But if the question you were reading was question and answer from a paraphrased report by the officer, that's not appropriate to impeach him by.
It was two or three days later before I got to talk to Charlie Beall when I gave him the details. The day he told me he did it is the day he told me the details, at that exact
moment. (TR 1968)
When I was cleaning up the cards ready to go in for lunch. The conversation, I'm not certain, probably was about two or three minutes. I remained silent from August to February because I did not want to get involved.
REDIRECT EXAMINATION OF MICHAEL CARSON BY MR. BRENT DAVIS
This appears to be a copy of the question and answers that were asked by Officer Beall when he took a statement from me regarding my knowledge of this incident.
MR. DAVIS: And, your Honor, at this time we would ask that that be marked as a State's Exhibit and we would offer the entire transcript as an exhibit and ask to exhibit it to the jury.
MR. FORD: I'm entitled to cross-examine him about it, but that is a statement that is hearsay because it is out of court. It is not a sworn statement. It was not given under oath. I think it is hearsay. (TR 1969)
THE COURT: Sustained. You can ask specifics from it, but I'm not going to receive the report itself.
Q Michael, I'm going to in referring to this -- what I would like to do is ask you the questions that Officer Beall asked you and if you would, read the response so the jury can understand it in its entirety exactly what was asked and answered in regard to this statement.
MR. FORD: If he's just going to read the statement one line at a time, that's just like introducing the statement.
He can ask him specific questions about the statement. That's not proper rehabilitation to just read it into the record.
THE COURT: I'm going to allow him to -- particularly in those areas where you cross-examined him from -- to go back and reread that area in order to make his responses concise. If that's what he wants to do, I'm going to let him do it. Go ahead.
BY MR. DAVIS:
Q I'm going to start on page two and it is the third
Question that Officer Beall asks.
His question: "Okay, you stayed in your cell for what a couple of days before you were allowed to come out and mix with the other inmates, is that right?"
My response was, "Yeah. When you first get there, you have a 48 hour lock in."
Q Officer Beall asked you, "Okay, so about 48 hours later you get out of your cell and you go down to where? Where do you go to when you get out of your cell?"
A "It's like a little break room or day room or something like that."
Q "Okay, you go down there and what are you doing down there at the break room?"
A "We sit there and play Monopoly or spades or watch TV."
Q "Was Jason Baldwin already down there or did he come in the room after you were down there a while?"
A "He was already in the room."
Q "Tell me what happened next."
A "Well, I was sitting there watching TV and Jason" – I don't know how that got in there. I was so confused --
Just read your statement.
MR. FORD: Your Honor, if he's -- is he -- are we reading the statement or is he asking him about certain things?
MR. FOGLEMAN: He's putting into context what Mr. Ford asked earlier trying to suggest that somehow he said it was the next day when it was some other time. (TR 1971)
MR. DAVIS: Judge, I don't know how to put it in context without going over it.
THE COURT: I don't want you reading the whole thing. If you're going to -- go ahead.
Q Officer Beall said, "Okay. Tell me happened next." Just read that paragraph.
A "Well, I was sitting there watching TV and, uh, Jason, and I forget, a couple of black people, they started to play spades, and I was sitting there watching TV, and they needed another partner cause nobody else wanted to play, and I told them that I didn't know how so they said they would teach" --
Officer Beall: "Okay, so you started, you sat down at the table with them?"
Q And then Officer Beall asked: "Okay, at the table,
yourself and the other Jason that you don't his last name and
Jason Baldwin and some guy you know by the name of Beddle, is that right?"
A "Beddle or Beetle."
Q Officer Beall asked you: "Beetle. Okay, tell me what
A "Well, we was all sitting there. They was teaching me
how. (TR 1972)
I was getting confused and stuff so we was all laughing last night and I sat there -- we sat there and talked and they was talking about Jason and his trial and everybody's talking about the time they were gonna get out, when they were going to get to go to court. I turned to Jason and said, 'Did you really do it?' Straight out just like that in front of Jason and Beddle and he denied it the very first time I asked him."
Q Then Beall asked, "Okay, so he denied it the first time."
A "The first time."
Q Then Beall asked you, “All right, okay. When did you -- how long was it before you had another conversation with Jason Baldwin after that first day that y'all played spades together?"
A "The next day."
Q Beall said, "The next day. Tell me what happened."
A "Well, we was sitting there, we just fixing, we's after"
Beall says, "That's okay."
A “Well, we was just sitting there playing spades and then
the officer comes over the intercom and tells us to get in our cells because she's fixing to bring lunch in and so me and Jason was sitting there scraping up some cards and I turned to him and said, 'Between me and you did you really do it?' And he said, 'Yes, I did do it, I and he started giving me the gory details."
Q And then Officer Beall asked you, "Okay, are you saying he didn't get into any gory details or he did?"
A "He did."
Q And Officer Beall's question was, "Okay, and this was the next day?" (TR 1973)
I was asked you, "Okay, and this is the next day."
A I thought he was talking about the next day after I asked him the very first time when he denied it. Jason Baldwin did mention something about Jessie Misskelley. He said he was going to kick his ass because he messed everything up. (TR 1974)
Q As I understand it, Michael, you said that Jason made the statement that Jessie Misskelley messed everything up.
A Yes, sir.
Jason did not tell me how Jessie Misskelley messed everything up. He said he was going to kick his ass. Jason Baldwin said he was going to walk scot-free. Nothing was going to happen to him. I am telling you the truth.
RECROSS EXAMINATION OF MICHAEL CARSON BY MR. PAUL FORD
The truth is that I believe I met Jason Baldwin for the first time on Wednesday. (TR 1975)
I had a conversation with him while playing spades. After I played spades and Jason told me, no, I didn't have a conversation at all until the next day. The second conversation that I had ever had with this young man in his entire life he tells me all this stuff. I talked plenty of times before I asked him that first time. Every time we'd sit down at the table we was talking about something. I read this question where I said, the next time I had a conversation with him it was the next day. That is what I said. In the second conversation we have ever had, he tells you this, and then I am silent from August until February. (TR 1976)
The conversation between me and Jason where he relates all these things to me.
MR. DAVIS: I object. That's been asked and answered.
MR. FORD: I don't remember his answer, your Honor.
THE COURT: It's been asked and answered. So avoid repetition. I'm going to allow him to answer one more time.
It lasted pretty close to five minutes. This conversation happened after the jailer announces over the intercom, go to your cells. It's time for lunch. I am not saying, for a period of five minutes after I was directed to go to my cell for lunch, me and Jason Baldwin sit at a table and have this conversation. (TR 1977)
Q Turn to page three. We've already read this just once.
You said, "Well, we were sitting there playing cards and then the officer comes over the intercom and tells us to get in our cells because she's fixing to bring lunch in so me and Jessie was just sitting there scraping up the cards, and I turned to him and said, 'Just between you and me did you really do it?' And he said, 'Yes, I did,' and he started giving me the gory details." (TR 1978)
The five minute conversation that took place after the jailer says, go to our cells was pretty close to five minutes. When they tell you to go to your cell, do you have to go to your cell. In that period when you're supposed to go to your cells you sit there for another five minutes and have this conversation. That is what I want these people to believe.