THE COURT: Court will be in session. Call your next witness.
MR. PRICE: We call John Mark Byers to the stand.
(WITNESS DOES NOT APPEAR)
MR. FOGLEMAN: Did he know you were going to call him today?
MR. PRICE: Not specifically today. He’s under subpoena.
MR. FOGLEMAN: Your Honor, Mr. Byers said something to me yesterday about a closing on a house or something. I was going to talk to Mr. Davis and I forgot all about it and I don't know whether that has (2963) anything to do with -- he's been here just about every day.
MR. DAVIDSON: We can call him on Monday, your Honor.
THE COURT: All right. Call your other witness.
MR. DAVIDSON: Your Honor, our other witness is a witness that's been delayed in Atlanta.
THE COURT: Do you have any others?
MR. DAVIDSON: We have another one on the way from Forrest City.
MR. FOGLEMAN: Your Honor, we do have something that we probably need to take up outside the presence of the jury.
THE COURT: All right, ladies and gentlemen, I need you to step back into the jury room with the usual admonition not to discuss the case.
(JURY LEAVING THE COURTROOM AT THIS TIME)
THE COURT: Let the record reflect this is a hearing out of the presence of the jury.
MR. PRICE: This is a proffer outside of the presence of the jury. We are requesting to ask the following types of questions to the next witness, John Mark Byers.
One topic that we wanted to cover was asking him if it was true that when he was 18 or 19 years old if (2964) he was ever sexually abused and tied up and left on the wayside. It is my understanding that Mr. Byers would answer that question yes, he was, that it‘s true.
And then I would attempt to impeach him over the statement he gave the West Memphis Police Department on May 19th in which he was asked one question, has anybody in his family ever been sexually abused and he said no, and on another occasion he was specifically asked if he was ever sexually abused and he said no.
This would be an attempt to impeach him based on the prior inconsistent statement plus the fact that we contend it is relevant because it's the same manner in which the State‘s alleging these victims were sexually abused and tied up.
MR. FOGLEMAN: Your Honor, the only thing I would add is that it's our understanding that the story that Mr. Byers told indicated that a number of strangers had beaten him up and tied him up, not that he was tied in the same fashion or anything of that nature, and it was by a number of strangers, and we would submit that that is not relevant to any issue in this case.
MR. PRICE: Furthermore, in support of that, Judge, we would attempt to ask Mr. Byers if he has had (2965) flashbacks because of that particular incident. It is my understanding that he would be saying yes, that in the past and on different occasions he has had flashbacks to that particular occasion which could be -- it is part of our theory that he might be a possible suspect in this case.
THE COURT: I‘m going to allow you to ask him, did he do it.
MR. PRICE: The next group of questions that I would want to ask Mr. Byers is concerning, number one, if he was ever arrested in Memphis, Tennessee, on either state court or federal court drug charges.
Furthermore, I would attempt to ask him if he was asked on May 19th by the West Memphis Police Department questions to the effect that he thought who might have done this and at that time he told the officers about several individuals that he specifically set up as a confidential informant. He made statements, (READING) I worked with the city on here. I felt like maybe -- let me back up.
(READING) The other thing about Lee Griffin. I had a situation with him. He might be vindictive. I don't know if he has any or not.
They also asked him, (READING) Is there anybody else like Lee that you dealt with in that same manner. (2966) He also said he made one attempt or something.
He also said, (READING) I helped them on a methane lab out in Marion but I never got directly involved in that. Is there anything from Memphis perhaps people you talked to at the OCU -- I would attempt to ask him -- that is the Organized Crime Unit of the Memphis Police Department -- (READING) Yes, there sure is, but I think he‘s in jail right now. Do you know his name? It doesn‘t matter. His name is Scotty Reddin. His wife's sister lives on McAuley, drives a little maroon Chevrolet pickup truck. They were just mad. Scotty's sister, sister-in-law, if they'd see me or Melissa, they'd flip us off, cuss us. You son-of-a-bitch. We‘re going to get you. We know you busted Scotty, you know, things like that.
Sudbury asked (READING) Would they have any type of grudge, whatever, against you. If they knew for sure if I did it. Okay.
Mark said, (READING) Of course they had. Lee definitely had suspicions. Hell, he left my house and went down on Broadway -- just one of those things.
That concludes the basic topic which --
THE COURT: -- All right --
MR. FOGLEMAN: -- Your Honor, in response to that we submit that any actions that Mr. Byers took as an (2967) informant for any law enforcement agency is an extremely sensitive and private nature which is irrelevant to these proceedings and the defense should not be allowed to go into that.
There‘s no direct proof -- or no proof at all -- that would link any of the people that Mr. Byers was involved with to this crime in any way.
Furthermore, any reference to his being charged with any drug offense would be irrelevant unless he was convicted of that offense.
THE COURT: I'm going to sustain the motion in limine and this can stand as an offer of proof.
MR. PRICE: Judge, I'd also want to ask Mr. Byers if he was taking Dilantin. (READING) I tried to take it. Caused me to bleed. It's real bad for your teeth so I couldn't take it. I took Tegretol which is what he prescribed for me.
THE COURT: You can ask him about taking prescribed medication. Tegretol is, I thought, for ulcers.
MR. FOGLEMAN: Dilantin, of course, is for seizures.
MR. PRICE: Also as I referred to earlier, (READING) I have got a brain tumor. That is what they are trying to do. I've been having blackouts. Even (2968) though it's cool, at times I would break out in a sweat. When I would break out in a sweat, I would get migraine headaches, start getting tunnel vision.
We should be able to bring out the fact that Mr. Byers has blackouts.
THE COURT: Go ahead.
MR. FOGLEMAN: I can see that.
MR. PRICE: And the other question, Judge. The police asked him on page 28. (READING) Do you believe in the occult or devil worshippers and he said yes.
THE COURT: Go ahead. All right, bring the jury in.