Many of us were able to attend the trial. Here's Theresa's great email report on the first day of the trial.
Although I started the day a little bit nervous and apprehensive…I ended the day in court feeling pretty confident and positive about the final outcome. I’ll share a few quick highlights. And these won’t be exact quotes as I’m just going real quick from memory.
First off…there were over 40 people there to show their support of Dawn, Q, Able, Diamond, Casino and Magic. WAhhhooooooo! Way to go horse lovers! The court room only held 14…so we went in by order in which we showed up…those getting there the earliest got in first. And then they did have an overflow room for us that people could watch it on TV…and we overflowed that too. Our Treasurer, Kim Dornan and Secretary, Sharon Wyche were the very first ones there, but they gave up their seats for others…and they attended to other WS business during the day….delivering T shirts and photo journaling the adoption of DANDY and TRAVELER! Yeaaaaa…it was a good day all around.
The trail did not get started until 11am and the first hour was spent giving the jurors instructions and then the attorneys gave their opening statements. As far as I was concerned, they we’re guilty after hearing just the opening remarks…but I suppose they would squeal that wouldn’t be fair so we’ll be there for two more days.. Attorney Bell did a good job of giving a thumbnail sketch of the whole story in his opening remarks. I watched the juror’s faces and I must say they were all pretty stoic with only an occasional slip of an expression.
And then their attorney gave his opening statements….and it sounds like their whole case is resting on the EXPERT testimony of Dr Dick Richardson. Who, according to their attorney, has said that Able was not emaciated when he was brought in, but fit and thin…and a thin horse is far healthier than a fat horse. And Able should be likened to a Model…we like our women skinny and that’s the shape Able was in….Model thin. I can’t be positive…but I’m pretty sure I saw disgust on Judge Bailey’s face.
It’s worth mentioning that every objection their attorney made was overruled. Every one…the whole day.
Dawn was the first witness and did a fantastic job of keeping it together and painting a picture that the jurors could vividly see in their minds eye. And when Attorney Bell asked Dawn “Would you compare Able’s condition to a Model?” Did he look like a Model horse to you when you first saw him…She said “No…he looked like a dead horse.” Dawn was probably on the witness stand longer than anyone else as she had to give the overview of the whole story.
We learned that the Heydons called Able…Bay Baby. Personally I like “Able” better.
Then Q was up after lunch. She did very well also! She said she was nervous, but you would never know it from watching and listening to her. He story was in perfect harmony with Dawns…so the jurors got to hear the same story twice.
Then Mike S. took his turn on the stand. Mike has a pretty impressive resume with horses and ranching and he combined just the right amount of emotion with some powerful statements….Like “I’ve never seen a horse in that poor a condition.” “I sent Dawn on ahead to get more help, because I thought I was going to have to put him down and I didn’t want her to have to see it.” He made very sure that the jury knew that they had given Able butte 4 times…more than any other horse in his history…to get him off the mountain and BEFORE he went to Blue Mountain vet clinic. So what Dr DICK saw the first time was a horse on a lot of butte with his pain masked and managed. He was great and gave powerful testimony!
Then we heard from a Brand Inspector who informed us that the Heydons did not have the proper travel papers. They did have coggins tests on the horses…but not health certificates and they were cited for that. Not looking good for them.
Then we heard Deputy Pease (?sp) I honestly can’t remember any particular point he made…but he helped Dawn and Q relax in the Witness room…so he’s worth his weight in gold!
Then we had Deputy McGoldrick…(again ? on sp) God Bless Him…he was the Deputy who confronted the Heydons at the storage units where they had the make shift paddocks set up…and he taped his and Deputy Moles whole 25 minute conversation with the Heydons….and we got to listen to the whole thing in court today and it was admissible as evidence. We got to hear Old Man Heydon say on the recording …”There is nothing wrong with those horses!” “I’ll get a horseman with some authority to tell you there isn’t anything wrong with those horses.” “That horse is not going to stay at a vet’s office, needlessly for $50. a day! No sir …I won’t stand for it!” “Let me tell you something about that horse…He’s stubborn and lazy! He went down on us 5 times during this trip!” And Deputy McGoldrick did the right thing in calling Deputy Moles to the scene as Deputy Moles owns horses and he, upon his arrival to the scene… SET THEM STRAIGHT! And it was all on tape! We probably all need to write a thank you letter to him…because you all would have been proud of him! He said “I have horses that I pack into the back country for 6moths at a time and I’ve never had a horse look like this!” And he said “I’m impounding the horses because it is OBVIOUS that you do not have the necessary knowledge to provide adequate care for the horses.” There was lots more…but you get the gist.
He’ll be first on the witness stand tomorrow. I can’t wait to shake his hand and say “thank you.”
Keep sending up prayers….and I’ll keep you posted on the progress…but it’s looking good so far!