August 16, 1979
P. E. Beasley
Scans of original transcript
F U R T H E R P R O C E E D I N G S 1:00 p.m.
(The following proceedings were held in the presence of the jury and alternates.)
THE COURT: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Where is Murtagh?
MR. BLACKBURN: He left the legal document in the restaurant and had to go back and retrieve it.
THE COURT: Gentlemen, I will entertain a report from you on the status of your interrogation of a witness who was not available to either side until this morning at 9:00 o'clock and the question of which witness now apparently by one side or the other or both seems to be in and about its third hour. Are you ready to proceed in this case?
MR. SMITH: Your Honor, let me express the thanks of the defense for the Court's indulgence and the jury's indulgence this morning as we have had an opportunity to talk with this witness who has, indeed, been unavailable to either side for a long period of time.
We have almost concluded our discussions with the witness and will be in a position very shortly to turn the witness over to the Government if the Government desires to talk with the witness. We will leave any remarks to Mr. Blackburn about that.
THE COURT: Will it take any particular degree in education in the guess that you would want to talk to her?
MR. BLACKBURN: No, sir; I don't think it would.
THE COURT: Members of the jury, counsel have conferred with the Court since you were released this morning, and because of the situation which they have stated here just briefly, it appears that this witness who was just the first time in Raleigh this morning around 9:00 o'clock as I understand it and considered by both sides to be a very important witness in the case -- I know nothing about the witness -- but I have acceded to the request of counsel for both sides that they be entitled to continue and complete their interrogation of this particular witness before any other evidence, which I understand was, in fact, dependent upon the foundation to be established by this particular witness. Is that so, Mr. Smith?
MR. SMITH: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: I know you were not paying attention, but is that so?
MR. SMITH: Whatever you say, Your Honor.
THE COURT: So, with a considerable amount of reluctance and also with the Court's most sincere apologies to you, I have concluded to recess the Court since we had to recess early this afternoon because of another matter involving another trip to the crime scene -- so, I am going to recess the Court until tomorrow morning at 9:00 o'clock. You will get the afternoon off.
I say again that I am somewhat taken aback by this development. I am sorry that we have to do it, but having spent this much time in the case, of course, I did not feel in all fairness that we should put counsel immediately to the production of testimony from this particular witness.
It is also sort of a unique experience. You may be aware that we keep to our schedule pretty closely. We start on time and try to stop on time. That has been a policy of this Court -- a procedure adopted right from the first time of its coming here to hold Court because the Court is very solicitous of the comfort, convenience, and welfare of jurors. I say again as I so frequently say, there is no more important, hiqher, nobler duty and responsibility of citizenship than that of service on our juries. And I will commend you again for the very fine way in which you have accepted this awesome responsibility in this particular case.
I feel that I detect that you have maintained attitudes of cheerfulness and I know it has been not without considerable inconvenience to some of you, but you are discharging the duty in the finest traditions of jury service and in the administration of justice. If there is nothing further then to come before us this afternoon, the Court will be recessed until tomorrow morning at 9:00 o'clock.
MR. SEGAL: After the jury is excused, I have a brief administrative matter, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Oh, yeah, the Court never stops work, but I don't want to keep these jurors here any longer, so we will let you retire until tomorrow morning at 9:00 o'clock. We will go back on our regular Friday schedule -- witness or no.
(Jury exits at 1:08 p.m.)
THE COURT: You gentlemen have something scheduled to entertain the big audience we have this afternoon for a while?
MR. SEGAL: No, Your Honor.
THE COURT: I feel like they have been cheated, too.
MR. SEGAL: I can tell Your Honor and then you can decide how we should proceed. The witness whose problems have caused our delay today was taken into custody pursuant to a material witness warrant that was issued upon my request. We have interviewed the witness. The Government intends to interview her.
She and a man who identifies himself as her fiance are concerned about the necessity for her continued confinement pending the disposition of her appearance here. They have made a request to me and I have had occasion to speak to a witness who I think may be somewhat helpful and who knows Ms. Stoeckley well. That is former Fayetteville Police Detective Mr. P. E. Beasley. Mr. Beasley is here.
What Ms. Stoeckley has asked and Mr. Davis, her fiance, have asked is that we consider asking the Court on her behalf to lift the warrant. We will serve her with a subpoena and that she will, if brought into Court or otherwise, she and her fiance have both promised that they would appear.
Mr. Beasley, former Detective Beasley, knows Ms. Stoeckley for something like 20 years -- ten years, Your Honor. Perhaps his view on the matter would be worthwhile. He has said, if I can represent, that he believes that having given her word both to Mr. Beasley, herself, and to the Court, if necessary, that a subpoena would assure her appearance hereafter. I don't mean to release her prior to being interrogated by the Government. I am of the opinion myself --
THE COURT: (Interposing) Let me just say in that connection that I will not release her until both sides have had a full and fair opportunity. That is why we are taking this day off that started out as a 30-minute request. I extended it to 45 and then an hour and 15 and now it is all day. But surely, we are not going to let this witness go until both sides have had ample opportunity to talk with her.
MR. SEGAL: The request is whether she needs to continue to be lodged in prison pending her testimony or her final release by anybody in the case. I must say, Your Honor, that I have talked with her fiance, and I would suggest to the Court that perhaps the best way to decide the request -- and certainly we would be happy to hear it -- would be perhaps to hear from former Detective Beasley as to whether he thinks the representations made that she will appear are worth anything and whether the Court should consider that.
THE COURT: Well, let's inquire of him if he would be willing to have this witness paroled into his custody for 24 hours.
MR. BLACKBURN: Judge, I would like to be heard on this.
THE COURT: I am going to hear you.
MR. SEGAL: Shall we swear the witness, Your Honor?
THE COURT: No.
(Whereupon, P. E. BEASLEY was called as a witness, was examined, and testified as follows:)
D I R E C T E X A M I N A T I O N
BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Will you state your name, please, in a loud clear voice?
A P. E. Beasley, Fayetteville Police Department, formerly.
Q How do you spell your last name?
Q How long were you with the Fayetteville Police Department?
A Twenty years.
Q Did you serve in the Narcotics Division the main part of that time?
A Yes, I did.
Q How long was that?
A About five years.
Q Did you know Helena Stoeckley, the witness who we are referring to, during the time that you were a police officer?
A Yes, I did.
Q Without going into details, did you have frequent contacts with her and have frequent knowledge of her?
A Yes, I did.
Q You were present, were you not, this afternoon in the conference room when she and Mr. Davis made the request for her release; were you not?
A Yes, sir.
Q At that time, you asked her whether she would assure you personally that she would appear?
A I asked her.
Q What is your opinion of such a promise that she would appear based upon your experience with her?
A I think if she said she will, she will. She has always given me true information. I never had any reason to doubt her.
MR. SEGAL: I think without going into detail, it is fair to say that Detective Beasley's knowledge of her was quite extensive. He had many contacts with her over the period of years that he knew her.
BY MR. SEGAL:
Q You have talked with her since 1970; have you not?
A Yes, I have, on numerous occasions.
MR. SEGAL: Is there any information that the Court or the U. S. Attorney would like to ask of Mr. Beasley in that regard?
THE COURT: Are you willing to accept responsibility that if I let this girl out that she will be here tomorrow morning at 9:00 o'clock?
THE COURT: You have answered that question. Now, I will hear from the Government. Thank you, Mr. Beasley.
MR. BLACKBURN: Judge, I think I could represent to the Court based upon what I was told that when the FBI located this witness and arrested her and took her to jail, it was not necessarily done willingly and that there was an attempt, I should suggest, that she did not want to come here -- including, I might say, hiding out in the physical structure in which she was supposed to be residing. Taking that into account with the fact that Mr. Beasley -- of course, whom I have never met before and don't mean to imply anything by this -- is, as I understand it, a potential witness for the Defendant. Based on what this witness might or might not say or have said in the past, that at the very least, we would appreciate a deferral of your ruling until after we have talked with the witness. I think the Government is concerned that so much trouble was spent in locating her and bringing her in the first place. We are very skeptical of releasing her at this time.
THE COURT: I will not release her at this time.
MR. BLACKBURN: Thank you.
THE COURT: I will let you question the witness, and it may be that it will be resolved by releasing her from a subpoena. It could be -- I don't know anything about it -- but conceivably, she might not even be a witness in the case, but I am not going to release her until both sides have had a chance to talk to her and then you may let me know not later than 4:15 this afternoon.
MR. BLACKBURN: I might ask counsel, I know you have said that I could see her shortly, but can you be more specific as to when "shortly" might come?
MR. SEGAL: I need to define a couple of matters, Mr. Blackburn, but I would say by 2:00 o'clock. I just want to add for the record, Your Honor, the request in regard to whether Ms. Stoeckley should be released or not was the request that I conveyed at her instance. It is not necessarily my request, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right, I didn't identify you with the request. You were just communicating a request by the witness and her boyfriend.
MR. SEGAL: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Take a recess until tomorrow morning at 9:00 o'clock.
(The proceeding was adjourned at 1:17 p.m., to reconvene at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, August 17, 1979.)