Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

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Friday, October 12, 2007
Martin Anderson's father tossed out of court
The latest outrage in the sorry saga of Martin Lee Anderson's brief life and tragic death involves rumors, innuendo, and a quick tempered judge...
PANAMA CITY -- The judge kicked the victim's father out of the courtroom. The mother ran out, too upset to listen to testimony. And one defendant had to be hospitalized for stress.

Much of the drama that unfolded Wednesday in the boot camp case happened outside Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet's courtroom.

By the end of the day, neither of Martin Lee Anderson's parents was in court, and neither was defendant Joseph Walsh II.

The dead teen's mother, Gina Jones, broke down during testimony by one of the accused guards. Jones usually leaves the courtroom whenever the grainy boot camp videotape is aired. Wednesday morning she remained in her seat.

But as accused guard Charles Enfinger described physically restraining the boy -- with the boot camp video playing for jurors -- Jones ran from the room. She cried: "I can't do this!"

About two hours later, just before lunch, the judge removed the teen's father from court after accusing Robert Anderson of "making noises."

Just before lunch, defense attorney Waylon Graham complained to the judge that Anderson and several others sitting in the second row behind the prosecutors were using profanity and commenting on the evidence. It has been a pattern since the accused guards began to testify Tuesday, he said.

"We have complained and complained about it," Graham said.

This time, an investigator for the prosecutors heard it, backing up the defense attorneys' complaints, Graham said.

With the jury outside the courtroom, the judge ordered several people to stand and leave. He told them not to return to court.
Whether Mr. Anderson was talking or not is a matter of dispute:
Reporters sitting in the back of the courtroom didn't hear anything, and neither did Bettye Rouse, a courtroom spectator who was sitting right behind Anderson. She said the family had been quiet.

"I was sitting in the row behind them," she said. "I did not hear a thing."

Crump said he heard that a text message had been sent from someone in the courtroom to Graham, a message accusing Anderson of misbehaving. That's when Graham interrupted the proceedings, Crump said. ...
And Mr. Graham has an interesting take on Anderson's future:
He said the father might be able to get back into the courtroom to hear closing arguments and the verdict if he would "beg forgiveness."

"If they were in federal court, they would all be in a holding cell right now," Graham said.
And then, there's the high drama surrounding one of the defendants:
All seemed quiet until the afternoon break, when two ambulances rolled up to the back of the courthouse. Emergency crews then slipped into the courtroom and carried out Walsh on a stretcher. He wasn't moving. His eyes were closed.

His parents, who have attended much of the trial, were at his side.

Walsh, 37, was taken to Bay Medical Center, the same local hospital where Martin Lee Anderson went after he left the boot camp yard.

Walsh's father, also named Joseph Walsh, said his son was under tremendous pressure.

"Stress does this to him," said Walsh, 62, adding that his son suffers from Gulf War syndrome.

By the end of the day, there were no updates on Walsh's condition. He did not return.
...and last but not least, the obligatory O.J. connection:
All things lead to O.J. Simpson, including the boot camp trial. Absent in the glare of Court TV cameras is the wife of Bay County Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet. She made the cover of Playboy magazine in October 1994. Call her a model. Call her an actress. Simpson called her an alibi after the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Overstreet's wife? Paula Barbieri, Simpson's ex-girlfriend.
Stay tuned...

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