There were estimated to be over 130 people in attendance today. The marshals made the exception to allow seating on the front bench in the court area. They opened some conference rooms on the second floor to accommodate the crowds. They wanted to be sure that everyone could hear even if they could not see. We were amazed and overwhelmed with the support all of the churches gave today.
The court opened a bit late this morning at 9:12. The judge asked the usual questions as to whether the jury spoke to anyone, or were spoken to, or whether they heard anything about the case. All said they did not.
The defense had one more witness to put on the stand, Bro. Ivan Swarey from Stuarts Draft, VA, Pilgrim Fellowship. The questions had to do with Bro. Ken's integrity and credibility. Ivan has known Ken since childhood, and also on a church level. He gave a good report.
The judge prepared for the closing comments. The defense addressed terminology used in Ken's charge, specifically about "willfully" and "aiding and abetting".
The prosecution (Paul Vandegraaf) prepared charts and various documents to be used in their closing comments to the jury. They stressed the issue of "intent", and reviewed the materials they covered last week. Among other issues, they talked about the fact that Lisa kidnapped her daughter; they discussed the issue of venue (place of trial) with the argument that it is right that the trial is held in Vermont; they discussed the matter of clandestine acts.
The defense (Joshua Autry) made another presentation, and discussed the matter of reasonable doubt. The government had Timo Miller's deposition as their key witness, and he insisted consistently that he did not think he was doing anything illegal. He stressed that Lisa had the right and privilege to travel freely in Nicaragua. Three things he stressed was 1) make sure you are not breaking the law; 2) make sure your neighbor is not breaking the law; and 3) consider how you interpret the law. There is the presumption of innocence unless and until the government gives proof beyond a reasonable doubt. There were a number of related points given in regard to intent and reasonable doubt. The defense also discussed a number of points on how to conduct a deliberation.
The prosecution (Eugenia Cowles) made the final comments. She also talked about reasonable doubt, but from a different perspective than the defense. She discussed many points of these co-conspirators breaking the law by intent and by clandestine acts. The jury's responsibility, she said, is to bring a verdict that Ken is guilty of intent.
That concluded the closing comments. The jury was dismissed, and the judge had comments with the attorneys. The jury came back in, and the judge gave the charge to the jury.
The jury took a lunch break, and went to the jury room to begin deliberations. While the jury was in deliberation everyone needed to move out of the courtroom. Many people moved up the street to the church house we were using, and spent the time in fasting and singing and prayer. That was a refreshing time for everyone. We had the understanding that we would be given sufficient time to get back to the courtroom when the jury finished. Some time later we were called in, as the jury had a question about a part of Timo's deposition, and the judge needed to give direction to that.
After the jury was dismissed the judge spoke to the audience, complimenting everyone for their cooperation and attentiveness. He commented about the excellent behavior of the children, and expressed great appreciation for the respect that was shown by everyone. We also want to express appreciation to everyone who attended for their exemplary conduct.
The jury returned at 3:54, approximately three hours after they were dismissed. This time also included their lunch break. The jury had been given two charges, 1) to determine whether Ken was guilty of aiding and abetting the removal of a child from the United States with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights; and 2) to determine whether the venue was appropriate. On count 1, the jury ruled "guilty". On count 2, the jury ruled venue in Vermont was appropriate.
The judge made closing comments, expressing appreciation to the jurors for their work. He understands it was a difficult case. The judge and the attorneys agreed that Ken is on bail, and has 30 days, beginning at the date of the trial, to turn himself in to the court. At that time the judge will pronounce sentence.
We ask that you continue to pray for Bro. Ken and his family, as we are sure you will. We all have sadness about this ruling. Yet, we are reminded again and again that God is in control, and that He will somehow receive glory from this. We are also very grateful to have been able to leave a Christian witness in Burlington, VT. The marshals on duty were very respectful, as were the defense and prosecuting attorneys. We have no complaints on that part.
After court dismissal, many gathered on the sidewalk opposite the courthouse and sang for nearly an hour. Bro. Owen Yoder, Aroda, VA led the singing. Some saw the marshals and the prosecutor and defense staff at open windows in the court house. This also served as a time of refreshment and encouragement for all of us.
As some of you may know, Janet Jenkins is filing a lawsuit against Ken and a number of our people, as well as other businesses. Pray for her, and also for the ones that are being attacked in this proposed lawsuit.
We will try to make updates as the time of Ken's sentencing approaches.
The verdict came back guilty after about 2 1/2 hours of deliberation. Please keep Ken and the family in prayer. More details coming later.
We supporters of Ken are suggesting another day of prayer and fasting for this case--Monday, August 13 and/or Tuesday, August 14--whichever suits you better. Of course, you would be welcome to choose both days.
We thank you so much for your support. God has been present this week.
The court opened this morning at 9:00 with approximately 70 people in attendance.
The judge discussed several issues with the attorneys before the jury came in. They involved the idea that
Vermont law and Virginia law are consistent with each other on this issue of parental rights. This ruling was made in a previous court session held in Virginia Supreme Court. The court discussed at length as to whether quality of character can be brought into the defense. The court discussed the type of evidence that could be obtained from Janet Jenkins. The judge called the attorneys back to the fact that this case is not about a custody battle, but about aiding and abetting.
Jury entered at 9:30. The jury was cleared to continue with the case.
The prosecution called more witnesses to the stand. They included the following: the conclusion to Timo Miller's statements; testimony regarding Stellar One Bank and checks that were processed through that bank; Andrew Yoder, CAM field director 2007- 2011; email correspondence between Milmont Greenhouses and Philip Zodhiates regarding hydrangea purchases for a wedding; a written statement by Duane Weaver; John Curtis, US Marshall; Janet Jenkins; a lady who helped design and maintain the website protectisabella.com; Doug Wright, pastor from Berryville, VA; Phil Koonz, BB&T Bank; Elaine Cooper; and finally, a US Postal inspector.
The judge made a statement that circumstances indicate knowledge that there may or may not have been illegal activity. He also discussed the issue of venue (where the trial should be held). A large part of the alleged criminal activity took pace outside the US, so the trial should be held in the state in which the arrest was made. This concluded the prosecution's presentation of evidence.
The defense called two witnesses to discuss Bro. Ken's credibility and trustworthiness issues. They were Linda Rose Miller, and Ivan Beachy, Free Union, VA. They both gave good testimony to his integrity.
In yesterday's post we asked that Sister Linda Rose would not be questioned in regard to the case. That restriction is lifted, as she has finished her testimony. Thanks again so much for praying and supporting Bro. Ken to this point. Of course, we do not know how long the trial will continue, but Ken's attorney expects it to be finished by next Tuesday or Wednesday. Once again, we ask for you continued prayer support.
We failed to give an update on our evening activities on Wednesday and Thursday evening. On Wednesday evening we had an informal meeting at a nearby park overlooking Lake Champlain. We had a very refreshing time of singing, testimonies, and prayer. On Thursday we met a friend who used to be a part of a local Mennonite church. He asked us to sing in front of the town hall. He helped us to obtain the necessary permits. The group had a good evening of singing, passing out CAM CDs, and witnessing. A rain set in just as we were wrapping up the evening. This evening most of the folks headed for home.
There were approximately sixty people present for the trial today. The security invited us to sit on either side of the court room, as there was not enough room on our side.
The court opened at 9:00 AM. The judge inquired as to whether any jury member had heard of or spoken to anyone of the case. One juror had something to tell the judge. The judge called for a brief recess with the lawyers and jurors. Yesterday one juror was disqualified, leaving one juror as a backup. The juror this morning was also disqualified, leaving no reserve. The judge admonished the jurors of their responsibility in maintaining absolute reserve regarding the case.
The prosecution continued with witnesses by Google and nTelos regarding phone calls made enroute to Niagara, NY; a statement prepared by Rebecca Zodhiatis; Terry Miller, Lisa's father; Mary Jones of Bee Line Transport in regard to the towing of Lisa's car in Virginia; Linda Rose Miller, Golden Rule Travel, in regard to the sale of airline tickets; a statement prepared by Marvin Mast, Golden Rule Travel, regarding some late-night phone calls; Gary Hubbard, of Google, involving record keeping practices for e-mails; Patrick (?) , a linguistic expert in Pennsylvania German to describe translation of certain e-mails; and finished with a video deposition by Timo Miller. This was not finished this evening, and will be finished tomorrow.
We want to especially give recognition to Linda Rose Miller for her part on the witness stand. It was not easy for her. She most certainly credits the grace of God on her behalf, and the prayers of all of her brothers and sisters in Christ. It may be that she will be called to the stand again tomorrow. We ask that you do not try to contact her with any questions or information about the case until she is released from her testimony duties. Keep her in your prayers, especially considering that her father just came through a cancer surgery, and she cannot be there with him.
Many of our readers would have found the Pennsylvania German (Dutch) linguistic expert quite interesting. He is a gentleman associated with a Pennsylvania German Historical society in Pennsylvania. He described his work of translating old Pennsylvania German letters into English, and spoke of the various nuances he encounters in his work. In the course of his cross-examination Patrick made reference to grund-saugh dauk (Groundhog's Day). Has anyone ever seen a high profile federal court in stitches of laughter? The Vermonters knew nothing of the origins of Groundhog Day, Feb. 2. Especially when Patrick related of the eight foot tall groundhog mascot for a males only groundhog society. The court went into hysterics. I thought the one juror lady would be struck out from laughing so hard. Ms. Cawley, the cross-examining prosecutor was over come with laughing. The judge couldn't contain himself, as well as the other lawyers. Ken's Vermont lawyer was wiping tears and wiping his nose. The judge suggested they may need a recess to get this thing straightened out. They finally got their act together and dismissed the Pennsylvania German groundhog society member.
God has been answering prayers, some quite specifically. Pray especially for Bro. Ken and his family; Sister Linda Rose; several others of our brothers who may be called upon to testify; pray for the prosecution and the defense lawyers as the Spirit of God lays it on your hearts.