Craig, Jeff, Fran discussed on CounterClock
To my office tonight and package it so they can view it. And bomb says, okay. Now, here without any doubt, I'm not making this up is what the jury saw. They saw no coins. It was packaged. So that the anise grocery store bag is turned inside out. You can't take it out of the exterior bag and turn it over and see the actual coin. The jury never knew because of the way in which it was packaged, and the way in which it was distributed during this, that it was an Anna's grocery store bag. I have alleged it to Brady violation that they knew or should have known. They were presenting in it in such a way that it was false evidence. France subpoenaed half a dozen former law enforcement investigators, including former saint Joseph county prosecutor's office cold case detective Craig whitfield. Last week when Craig took the stand, Fran asked him to explain how he came to the conclusion that Jeff's blue jeans were washed. And why despite no police report ever saying an officer physically pulled them from the washing machine, Craig determined Jeff's blue jeans were what he wore to kill his family. In 2006, neither the defense nor the lead prosecutor ever called Craig to testify as a witness at trial. Fran alleges that Craig was never asked to take the stand because the prosecutor knew Craig's logic about the blue jeans being washed was flawed. But hoped jurors wouldn't be paying close enough attention. And Alan baum, well, he never called Craig as a witness either because the blue Jean facts just went over his head entirely. Before Craig took the stand in the evidentiary hearing, the prosecution pulled a move, no one anticipated. The lead attorney attempted to argue the entire FBI file from 1989, the one that contained the forensic test results, proving Jeff's blue jeans were soiled and not washed, should be thrown out. The head prosecutor argued the file contained hearsay, meaning he wasn't sure if what was in it was legitimate evidence. He claimed that in order to authenticate what was in the file, he needed the opportunity to question all of the FBI lab techs from 30 years ago who produced the report. After a lot of back and forth, the judge ultimately ruled against the state. For two important reasons. One. She said the FBI file had to be allowed because it was extremely relevant to the defense's case. And it was a document the state provided to the defense under a former prosecutor. So because the state gave it to the defense as a true and accurate document of the discovery, it was obviously authentic and credible. After that lengthy conversation about the FBI file came to an end, Craig whitfield's testimony got underway. While being questioned, he admitted that prior to ever investigating the peli murders for the cold case unit at the saint Joseph county prosecutor's office, he had many conversations with the former lead detective on the case, John bodic. You'll recognize John's name, I interviewed him for counter clock season three. Craig said that he and John talked extensively about the crime and evidence, including Jeff's blue jeans, shirt, socks, and the washing machine, well before Craig took on the case in 2002. He insisted, though, that those discussions did not affect his independent investigation that resulted in Jeff being charged with the crime. When asked why he stated in his probable cause affidavit that Jeff's blue jeans were taken from the washing machine with coins and a receipt in the pocket. Craig replied, that's what the officers back in 1989 wrote in their reports. So, he believed it. Despite being shown that not a single police or investigative report states blue jeans were taken from the peli's washing machine, Craig doubled down on his previous statement. He said that he read an FBI report that said when the feds went to originally test the blue jeans, their texts found the stuff in the pockets. But when Fran questioned Craig about where that FBI report existed, he said, he didn't know. All he knew was that he remembered reading it. Fran told the court that if that alleged report Craig was referring to wasn't in the full FBI report, then she doesn't have it. It's not in the original discovery, so that would mean perhaps another Brady violation occurred. She kind of said this ingest, though, because she doesn't believe Craig at all. While he was on the stand, a bailiff actually brought in the blue jeans, coins, the anise grocery store bag, and the receipt. But something strange occurred, Fran explained to the judge that since the last time she was allowed to view those items, someone at the prosecutor's office had clearly repackaged them. The judge stopped the proceedings and was puzzled by this. The prosecutor couldn't explain what had happened either, but the preceding had to go on. Craig wrapped up his testimony, emphasizing that he thought the ink on the receipt was smudged, indicating it was washed with the jeans. His response to Fran asking him how it would be possible for 34 coins and a paper receipt to stay in the pocket of a pair of washed pants was, quote, it didn't make any sense to me at that time, and it still doesn't. End quote. Former detective John bodic and police officer John Cooney testified too. As expected, they also doubled down that they believed Jeff's blue jeans were what he wore to kill his family, and then he washed them to destroy evidence. Bowditch denied ever seizing clothing from Jeff's trunk when Jeff was picked up at great America the day after the crime. According to him, there was no way the blue jeans came from Jeff's trunk. Officer Cooney swore under oath that he looked into the washing machine while processing the crime scene, and he saw blue jeans with a few other articles of clothing in the basin. However, Cooney said he never took the clothes out, and he could not remember who his supervisor was that he told about them. All he knows is that he did see the blue jeans, and he believes another officer took them as evidence. It should be noted, though, that officer Cooney never said he saw blue jeans in the washing machine when he was called to testify at just 2006 trial. He said it specifically for the first time during the evidentiary hearing. The third argument Fran and her team made is that Jeff's constitutional right to a speedy trial was violated. Basically, delays prompted by former prosecutors caused years to pass by between 2002 and 2006. And during that time, Jeff never got any closer to his day in court. Under federal law, a person has the right to have a trial by jury within a set amount of time after their arrest. Back in 2008, an Indiana appeals court actually agreed that Jeff's right to a speedy trial was violated, and it overturned his conviction, but when the case made it to the Indiana Supreme Court in 2009, justices there reaffirmed the conviction. The last major claim Fran argued in the hearing was that the defense had newly discovered evidence related to bob Pelé's background in Florida that they believed contributed to the murders. Of the four post conviction arguments, Fran told me that this last one is the most important, but also the hardest to prove. This is where the recently unearthed physical evidence from prosecutors, as well as a prior police interview with Tony bealer, a former church directory photographer who had an odd conversation with bob pelley before the murders came into play. For the past 33 years, the only documented proof that Tony bealer existed and gave a statement to the authorities was a short one page interview transcript of a conversation she had with a prosecutor's office investigator in 2003. This was shortly after Jeff was arrested. The transcript was generated by that investigator named Timothy decker. He wrote it up after his conversation with Tony ended. So it's very basic. The full videotaped interview was said to be stored in evidence. A few weeks after season three released, saint Joseph county prosecutors found that interview tape after years of telling Fran, they couldn't find it. Once Fran got a hold of it, she said it opened up the door to introduce in court a lot of information about bob Kelly's past and his relationships he had with people in Florida. Essentially the interview opened up the door to the alternate theory that it was not Jeff who killed his family, but perhaps other people who wanted bob gone. On the second day of the hearing, Tony's 2003 videotaped interview was played in court. But a few minutes into the tape rolling, large chunks of it went black. Words were missing, and the audio quality was garbled. Fran told the judge that the copy she was given by the prosecutor's office in June of 2021, not long after they agreed to turn it over, was much better quality and had no redactions. When the judge asked the prosecutor why the tape that was played in the evidentiary hearing was not the same as the one given to the defense last year, he said he didn't know, but agreed that a better version should be admitted for the judge to view later. After that sketchy moment, Tony took the stand in person. She remembered being interviewed by investigator Timothy decker in 2003, and explained that bob Pelé told her shortly before his death that he was not an ordained minister. He had a prior life where he moved money for bad guys and wanted out. Tony explained that bob told her quote. They're sending people and I don't know when, but they're going to kill me and my family. They're going to kill each member of my family and make me watch, and then they're going to kill me. Tony said she tried to alert police to what she knew back in 1989, and she tried several more times leading up to 2003. But nobody reached back out to her, and she never heard from any attorneys before the 2006 trial. Fran argued that the prosecutor's office either mistakenly or intentionally withheld Tony's videotaped interview from Allen baum, which violates the rules of discovery. The reason Tony's testimony would have been so important at Jeff's trial is because her claim points away from Jeff being the guilty offender. It indicates bob was fearful of something or someone tied to his former job and relationships in Florida. Most important of all, what Tony said points to someone else having strong motive to kill bob and members of his family. An additional witness at the evidentiary hearing who supported this idea was Kathy hawley. You probably recognize her last name. Kathy is the ex-wife of one of the Holly sons from Florida that was convicted of financial crimes against Fort Myers land developer Eric Dawson. At the time of the peli murders, Kathy was not Kathy hawley yet. She was still in a previous marriage and had a different last name. She didn't marry a Holly until the 1990s. Kathy testified that she and bob worked together at landmark banks data center in Fort Myers in the mid to late 80s. She was a document clerk in bob was a lead programmer. He was responsible for writing code and instructions for the computers and machines that processed all banking transactions for landmarks branches. Kathy and bob interacted on a daily basis. She said they ate lunch together nearly every day, and when they weren't at work, their families attended the same church and hung out together. She said that shortly before bob and Don and the kids moved to Indiana, he told her that he'd discovered something illegal going on at the data center and the bank. He said he'd copied and incriminating information related to what he'd found onto several floppy disks and then hidden them at his home in his TV stand under some magazines. According to Kathy, what bob said he found was so big, he was worried if he told anyone about it. He'd not only lose his job, but his family would be in danger. Now, this is where my mind went wild. In the case file, there are several statements from Jackie and Jeff from back in 1989 during their interviews with police. They said their dad banned them or anyone from using the computer in his office in the parsonages basement. And when I say banned, I mean band. Jackie said in one of her interviews that no one was allowed to use the home computer except bob. In addition to that, there is a police report written by former investigator Mark center, in which he's interviewing Ed Hayes, dawn's father. That report states that Ed told police in 1989 that when family members got back into the parsonage after police released the crime scene, they found a computer in bob's office in the basement with the power cord cut, like with a pair of scissors. Now, if you know anything about computers back in the 80s, you know that if the power cord was cut, it couldn't power on, which was exactly the case with the peli's computer. Ed said he was told the cord was cut by police investigators when they processed the scene, but nowhere in the investigator's reports does its state a police officer cut that cord. On top of that, Ed also told police that the first thing Jeff went for when the kids were allowed back into the house, or three computer disks, one labeled church, one labeled parsonage, and one that Ed didn't see the label for. Eventually Jeff was asked to give these discs to investigators, but to this day, no one knows what was on them, or if Indiana police ever reviewed their contents. Now, if this story is true and Jeff did take those disks that might indicate he knew something important was on them, but why hasn't he come forward with that? To me, if he thought there was something on there or his dad told them about them and to take them if something ever happened to him, that means that Jeff has something that points to someone else wanting to kill the family. Jeff has never interviewed with me for this podcast, so I can't ask him for myself. Just the fact that these statements exist, though, in the 1989 interview transcripts from the case file makes me wonder if the reason that computer cord was cut, and the reason bob was so serious about him only using the computer and why Jeff took those three random disks if they're related at all was because there was something stored on those disks or on that computer that was related to what bob told Kathy Holly about. It all just seems so sketchy. After Kathy's testimony ended, the defense called an expert witness who testified that police's bias in only initially looking at Jeff caused them to exclude bob's Florida connections as a possible avenue of investigation. Tom cantino, the former lead detective in charge of investigating Eric Dawson's murder in Lee county, Florida, a few months prior to the peli murders, also took the witness stand. Tom's purpose was to detail the link between Eric Dawson and the hollies, the details of Eric's unsolved murder, and how if police back in 1989 in Indiana, had known he was investigating Phil Holly in his sons for criminal activity in Florida that may have impacted Indiana authorities avenues of investigation into bob peli and his family's murders. Bob's employment at landmark bank and everything Kathy Holly and Tom cantino testified to has never been associated with the peli case in any legal proceeding prior to the evidentiary hearing. So, the fact that it now exists in the Indiana courts official record is huge. But testimony from the one person who likely knew the most about bob's ties to Florida, the bank, and members of the Holly family, was noticeably absent. Whether you wear eyeglasses to see or use them for blue light, I have to tell you guys about warby Parker. I love my warby Parker glasses. In fact, I'm wearing them right now while I'm reading this ad. 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Losing pastor Ross has a witness potentially hurt Fran in court, but in the end, some of the things he may have known about what she calls the Florida facts could have been dismissed as hearsay anyway, or at least that's what she believes prosecutors were planning to argue. It's impossible to know if pastor Ross testimony would have packed as much of a punch as the defense had hoped it would. Two other people, though, who knew the pallies well and have seen the inside of saint Joseph county superior court once before, are Sheila and Irish Saunders. They were the peli's next door neighbors on Osbourne road. Sheila and Irish still live in the same house that they did back in 89. They look out their kitchen window every day and see the olive branch united brethren parsonage in church. Hello. Hi, is this Irish? Yes, it is. Hey, this is Delia dember. How are you, man? I'm doing good. How are you? I'm doing well. Sheila back yet? I spoke with the couple not long before the evidentiary hearing, I wanted to catch up and get their thoughts about the podcast and everything that's.