1

1 IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIFTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
OF FLORIDA, IN AND FOR MARION COUNTY
2
CASE NO. 2011-CF-3085-A-X
3

4 STATE OF FLORIDA,

5 Plaintiff,
vs.
6
JAMES EDWARD BANNISTER,
7
Defendant.
8 _______________________/

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10 *** EXCERPTED TRANSCRIPT ***

11 Closing Arguments by State of Florida and Defense
PAGES 1 - 98
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HELD BEFORE: THE HONORABLE WILLARD POPE
14 DATE TAKEN: November 7, 2017
TIME: 8:35 a.m. - 4:52 p.m.
15 PLACE: Marion County Courthouse
110 NW 1st Avenue
16 Ocala, Florida 34475

17

18 This cause came on to be heard at the time and place

19 aforesaid, when and where the following proceedings were

20 reported by:

21 Karla Layfield, RMR
Kerr & Associates
22 614 North Sinclair Avenue
Tavares, Florida 32778
23 (352) 742-3144

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1 A P P E A R A N C E S:

2
ROBIN ARNOLD, ESQUIRE
3 REBECCA FLETCHER, ESQUIRE
OF: Office of the State Attorney
4 110 NW First Avenue, Suite 5000
Ocala, Florida 34470
5 Attorneys for State of Florida

6
TERENCE M. LENAMON, ESQUIRE
7 245 SE 1st St., Suite 404
Miami, Florida 33131
8 terry@lenamonlaw.com
Attorney for Defendant
9

10 TANIA Z. ALAVI, ESQUIRE
Alavi, Bird & Pozzuto, PA
11 108 N. Magnolia Ave., Suite 600
Ocala, Florida 34475
12 talavi@abplegal.com
Attorney for Defendant
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1 I N D E X

2 CLOSING ARGUMENTS:

3 By the State of Florida 6

4 By Defense 33

5 Rebuttal by the State of Florida 85

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7 Certificate of Reporter 98

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1 ****

2 THE COURT: Good morning.

3 MS. ARNOLD: Morning.

4 THE COURT: State of Florida versus

5 Bannister, 2011-CF-3850. Mr. Bannister is present

6 with counsel. State is present.

7 Do you have a fresh set of jury

8 instructions, Ms. Arnold?

9 MS. ARNOLD: I do, Your Honor. If I may

10 approach?

11 THE COURT: Our missing juror has

12 arrived. Is the State ready to proceed?

13 MS. ARNOLD: State is ready.

14 THE COURT: Is the Defense ready,

15 Mr. Lenamon?

16 MR. LENAMON: Yes, sir.

17 THE COURT: All right.

18 Regarding the jury instructions, before

19 we bring them out and start, have you had a chance

20 to make sure, Mr. Lenamon, to your satisfaction,

21 the corrections that we talked about yesterday

22 have been made?

23 MS. ALAVI: I'm just reviewing those

24 right now, Your Honor.

25 THE COURT: All right. We'll take a
5

1 moment.

2 MS. ALAVI: I will be done shortly.

3 Thank you.

4 (Pause.)

5 MS. ALAVI: They are correct, Your Honor.

6 THE COURT: The verdict forms?

7 MS. ALAVI: I looked at those as well.

8 THE COURT: All right. Bring the jury

9 out, please.

10 (Jury entered the courtroom and the

11 following proceedings were had before the Court

12 and in the presence of the jury.)

13 THE COURT: I would ask, if you're in

14 the gallery, and if you have a cellphone, please

15 turn it off. If you think it's off, please turn

16 it off anyway.

17 The jury is in, and they are seated.

18 Ladies and gentlemen, before we begin, has anyone

19 seen or heard anything about the case in any of

20 the forums of the media since we were here

21 yesterday?

22 (Jurors indicate no.)

23 THE COURT: All right. Ladies and

24 gentlemen, both the State and the Defendant have

25 now rested their case. The attorneys now will
6

1 present their final arguments. Please remember

2 that what the attorneys say is not evidence or

3 your instruction on the law; however, do listen

4 closely to their arguments. They are intended to

5 aid you in understanding the case.

6 Each side will have equal time, but the

7 State is entitled to divide this time between an

8 opening argument and a rebuttal argument after the

9 Defense has given its closing argument.

10 Ms. Arnold.

11 MS. ARNOLD: Thank you, Your Honor.

12 Counsel.

13 CLOSING ARGUMENT BY THE STATE OF FLORIDA

14 MS. ARNOLD: On August 4th, 2011, into

15 the first hour of August 5th, 2011, eight-year-old

16 Cordarrian Hill lie in bed, his head on this

17 pillow; a protective arm around his six-year-old

18 sister, Cordarica, as the defendant, James

19 Bannister walked from one side of the house to the

20 other, raised a revolver and shot them both in the

21 head one time ending their lives. He wouldn't

22 leave witnesses behind.

23 On the morning of August 4th of 2011,

24 Jocalyn Gray got up, put on her red Kid's Academy

25 T-shirt and headed for work where she was a
7

1 teacher at the Kid's Academy. Jocalyn was upset

2 that day. She tried to contact her boss and

3 mentor, Melissa Scout, to talk with her about life

4 issues.

5 She often confided in Melissa Scott about

6 things that were going on in her life but,

7 unfortunately, Melissa Scott wasn't available to

8 talk to her.

9 Jocalyn worked that day. Got off work

10 and had plans to have her hair done at Brandie

11 Lane's house. Now, Brandie Lane's child was

12 having a birthday party so Jocalyn picked up the

13 kids -- or actually, she had the little kids.

14 Picked up Renadia at her dad's house and went to

15 Brandie Lane's house to have her hair done.

16 Now, she is there for a while. There's a

17 party going on. She gets extensions and eyelashes

18 on Thursday night. She leaves the party -- left

19 the party sometime before 10:00 o'clock. Before

20 she gets there, she called Brandie Lane for

21 directions. So we know she called Brandie Lane.

22 Went to the party, got her hair done. Was there

23 for sometime.

24 Then somewhere around 10:00 o'clock, she

25 leaves the party. Maybe a little before. Because
8

1 she called Brandie Lane a couple of times at 10:00

2 o'clock and then at some minutes after 10:00

3 o'clock. When Jocalyn left Brandie Lane's house,

4 she didn't go immediately home. She went by to

5 see her sister, LaShawna Gray. She needed to pick

6 up a breathing machine for one of the boys. And

7 she wanted to show off her hairdo and her

8 eyelashes to her sister, LaShawna.

9 There were phone calls between LaShawna

10 and Jocalyn at 9:42, 9:50 arranging that visit.

11 Jocalyn goes to LaShawna's house, gets the

12 breathing machine, is there for a few minutes, and

13 then goes where the defendant is there at their

14 home briefly, but then leaves.

15 Jocalyn is there at the house, puts the

16 boys to bed. Renadia falls asleep, half asleep on

17 the couch. At some point Renadia is aware that

18 her mother gets a phone call. That phone call is

19 at 11:34 p.m. That phone call is from the

20 defendant, James Bannister.

21 Renadia knows that after the phone call,

22 her mom packs her and the boys up, gets them in

23 the Jeep and heads to Grandma Bridget's house.

24 Now, that phone call at 11:34 -- the defendant

25 calls and asked Jocalyn, "Have you talked to your
9

1 mom?" She says, "No." He tells her about the

2 text that he got from Bridget -- the text that he

3 tells her he got from Bridget.

4 Jocalyn is not one to go out at night.

5 It's going to take a lot to get her out of the

6 house that time of night. She starts to

7 investigate this phone call, this story that

8 Bridget needed to go to the hospital. The

9 defendant tells her, "Leave the kids, I will be

10 there," but he dragged his feet he says. So she

11 loads up the kids and takes them out to Bridget's

12 house.

13 Now, on the way out to Bridget's house,

14 there are phone calls between Jocalyn and

15 LaShawna, missed calls between Jocalyn and the

16 defendant, James Bannister. She is trying to find

17 out what is going on. She heads out to Bridget's

18 house.

19 There's another phone call. We know the

20 time of this because there's -- the defendant

21 texts Jocalyn at 11:58, 11:59 p.m. and says, "I'm

22 home. She alright?" Immediately after that

23 there's a call between the defendant and Jocalyn

24 Gray where Jocalyn tells him she has not made it

25 out to her mom's house yet. She is on 40 by the
10

1 Mexican stores. That's 11:59 p.m.

2 Jocalyn arrives at Bridget's house. She

3 is calling. And she goes up and knocks on the

4 door. No answer. She gets back in the car.

5 There's calls. There's calls at 12:04, 12:11 a.m.

6 on August 5th. She leaves, drives around, comes

7 back to the house.

8 There are two calls between Jocalyn and

9 LaShawna Gray. One is three minutes and one is

10 some shorter than that. Jocalyn asks Renadia to

11 hold her brother, who started to cry, in the

12 backseat. A little after 12:20 a.m., Jocalyn

13 walked up to the house, pushed open the door, and

14 was met at the door by the defendant who shot her

15 once right between the eyes.

16 Her body fell to the ground and was

17 dragged inside. The defendant went into the

18 bedroom where Bridget Gray was already dead, lit

19 the fire, walked across the house, shot the kids,

20 went out the back window to a car waiting in an

21 empty lot behind Bridget Gray's house -- as the

22 house burned, surrounding the four bodies that

23 were left there by the defendant, James Bannister.

24 Now, from the beginning of jury selection

25 we talked about the elements that the State has to
11

1 prove in order for you to find the defendant

2 guilty of first-degree murder. Those elements

3 have to be proven beyond and to the exclusion of

4 every reasonable doubt. Now, we're going to talk

5 about those elements.

6 But one of the things that you will not

7 see, that's absent from the elements, that the

8 State has to prove is motive. The State doesn't

9 have to prove why the defendant killed Jocalyn,

10 her mother and the two kids. We can present

11 evidence, testimony, crime scene evidence, phone

12 records about what happened. But rarely can you

13 get inside someone's mind to find the motivating,

14 driving force behind the decision to kill.

15 That doesn't mean it's not premeditated.

16 But we may not know why. These are the elements

17 that the State has to prove beyond and to the

18 exclusion of every reasonable doubt before you can

19 find the defendant guilty: Four counts of

20 first-degree murder.

21 The judge is going to read you

22 instructions -- this instruction is going to be

23 read four times; once for each victim. And the

24 names of the victims are inserted. He will repeat

25 that four times in argument. The State has to
12

1 prove the three elements. Each of the victims is

2 dead. There's no question. But that Cordarrian

3 Hill, Cordarica Hill, Jocalyn Gray and Bridget

4 Gray are dead.

5 The cause of their deaths, all, a single

6 gunshot wound to the head. Manner of death was

7 homicide. Element two is that the death was

8 caused by the criminal act of James Bannister.

9 Element three is, there's a premeditated killing

10 of the victims. Those are the three elements the

11 State has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

12 So let's talk about element number two

13 and element number three. How do you know that

14 the defendant's criminal act caused the death?

15 We're going to look at three things: The

16 defendant's first statement to Randall Neumann,

17 the unrecorded statement, the defendant's

18 statement on the wire, and the defendant's phone

19 records.

20 Let's talk about defendant's first

21 statement to Randall Neumann. Now, these are the

22 statements that Randall Neumann testified to that

23 are not on tape. Law enforcement didn't know

24 about it at the time, but Randall Neumann came in

25 the very day, August 10th, that the defendant made
13

1 these statements to him.

2 The defendant admitted to Randall Neumann

3 that he killed the victims. He admitted that to

4 Randall Neumann. The defendant wanted Randall

5 Neumann to provide him with an alibi. You heard

6 Randall Neumann say, He wanted me to say he was at

7 my house, my house, that's by I-75 by Gander

8 Mountain by State Road 40. That's what the

9 defendant wanted ran Randall Neumann to say.

10 The defendant wanted Randall to get him a

11 38 to replace the one that he used in the murders.

12 It was a replacement 38. The defendant admitted

13 to Randall that he sent the text message to

14 Jocalyn to set up his alibi. That text message

15 about, "I'm home. She alright?" He says was sent

16 from his house but the phone records show

17 different.

18 Now, you think about Randall's testimony.

19 Why should you believe it? You had the

20 opportunity to hear how he testified, to see what

21 was going on. Why would the defendant be

22 concerned about the text messages and the phone

23 records? Remember, this is August 10th that he's

24 talking to Randall Neumann.

25 The defendant knows that has already said
14

1 things about the phone records and about text

2 messages. From the very beginning he told

3 Detective Diaz about the phone calls and texts.

4 And we know from the ending time of that statement

5 that that is around, between 1:55 and 2:15 a.m. on

6 August 5th, less than two hours after the murders.

7 On August 5th, around 5:00 p.m., the

8 defendant goes to the station, to the Marion

9 County Sheriff's Office and provides his phone to

10 be downloaded. He asks Detective Bos, Will

11 deleted information show up on the phone

12 extraction? Detective Bos tells him, No, but

13 calls and records can't be deleted from your phone

14 company, they have those records.

15 That's when he starts to be concerned

16 about records of Metro PCS. The defendant made

17 statements to Randall Neumann on the 10th. He

18 asked Randall for help. Now, you know from the

19 conversation, they are already talking about Metro

20 PCS. They are talking about the fact that is the

21 phone provider for the defendant.

22 The defendant's concern is what his Metro

23 PCS phone records would show. He talks about the

24 police searching that day and he says, They didn't

25 find nothin', but they did. They found drug
15

1 paraphernalia, and they found a 22 bullet. But

2 they didn't find nothing to link him to the

3 murders.

4 And then he says, "If I get out of this

5 Man -- "

6 (CD played.)

7 "MR. NEUMANN: That tower thing, I looked

8 it up. It could but it didn't really say much

9 about Metro PCS. So I wasn't -- that's what I was

10 more worried about. Like, all those cellphone

11 companies, they are like AT&T, and them bigger

12 name brands, they can trace 'em all, but I don't

13 know about the Metro.

14 MR. BANNISTER: Why you couldn't look up

15 the Metro?

16 MR. NEUMANN: I looked it up but I

17 couldn't find out, you know, what it was --

18 MR. BANNISTER: Why -- you looked it up

19 on the computer?

20 MR. NEUMANN: Yeah.

21 MR. BANNISTER: Why didn't you go out

22 there (indiscernible) --

23 MR. NEUMANN: I didn't know what to tell

24 my girl, Man. I ain't want to tell her nothin'.

25 She'd be like why you want to stop in? I couldn't
16

1 come up with nothin' fast enough.

2 MR. BANNISTER: Just say you checking

3 somethin' out.

4 MR. NEUMANN: I couldn't think at the

5 time, Man. My girl's like a detective, Man.

6 She's like, why, what -- you know, how females

7 are, Man? Why you got to stop there? We can't

8 afford one of them phones. Because we get a phone

9 from my mom, you know. Man, you got me worried

10 about this shit. I done smoked a whole pack of

11 cigs.

12 MR. BANNISTER: One of them detectives

13 (indiscernible) came here, and they searched the

14 house and shit. They didn't find nothin'. But

15 they found a 22 bullet.

16 MR. NEUMANN: Not the 38 bullet. That's

17 good, like, you didn't keep none of them around.

18 You safe, Man. You just worried. (Indiscernible)

19 all day, Man.

20 MR. BANNISTER: I told myself, Man, if I

21 get out of this, Man, anybody around me not to

22 worry about a damn thing as long as I'm around.

23 That's my word, Pint.

24 Like, if there's a motherfucker in need,

25 Man, it's just my duty from here on out, Man, is
17

1 kinda like help people along, Man."

2 (CD paused.)

3 MS. ARNOLD: He also says, "Where can I

4 get a nice little bundle of money at? Just go and

5 get the best lawyer that I can get, you know."

6 (CD played.)

7 "MR. NEUMANN: (Indiscernible) say

8 something to somebody, right? I mean, like me, it

9 been eatin' me up all day, Man.

10 (Indiscernible.)

11 MR. BANNISTER: All I kept thinking, Man,

12 is where I can get a nice, little bundle of money

13 at where I can, you know, just put away in an

14 account. I mean, keep it there just in case they

15 try me and (indiscernible). Go and get the best

16 lawyer that I can get, you know.

17 MR. NEUMANN: Um-hmmm.

18 MR. BANNISTER: I got to fight it, but at

19 the same time --"

20 (CD paused.)

21 MS. ARNOLD: "I just took my world, Man."

22 Not, "They took my world." "I took my world."

23 (CD played.)

24 "MR. NEUMANN: You got to stay away from

25 that shit, Man.
18

1 MR. BANNISTER: I'm staying away from

2 everything, Pint. Everything. I owe that to my

3 baby, Man. I owe it to her to try to give back as

4 much as I can, Man. Once I'm standing again, Man,

5 if you ever need a motherfuckin' thing, Man, if

6 you ever --

7 MR. NEUMANN: Just take care of yourself,

8 Man. (Indiscernible.)

9 MR. BANNISTER: If you ever need -- if

10 I'm ever able to stand again, Man, you will never

11 struggle again, Man. I'll struggle before I let

12 somebody else struggle, Man.

13 It's my duty now to do that, Man. I owe

14 this to my baby, Man. I owe this to her, Man. I

15 owe her my life, Man. I owe everybody, Man. I

16 owe the world, Man. Fuck that, Pint. I owe the

17 world, Man. Because I just took my world, Man.

18 Gone off of fuckin' drugs, Man."

19 (CD paused.)

20 MS. ARNOLD: He says, "If I can get out

21 of this -- try to find out about the Metro for

22 me." Acknowledges that no one saw nothin'. "No

23 one, you know." He says, "Yeah."

24 He's still worried that they can place

25 him there because he was out there when he called
19

1 Joc back. If they came, I need to be ready to

2 kinda like react. And he's pressing. He goes,

3 "You need to do this right away."

4 (CD played.)

5 "MR. BANNISTER: If I can get out of this

6 (indiscernible) -- try to find out about Metro,

7 Man, for me, Man. Drove to like one of the Metro

8 stores, Man, and ask them -- (indiscernible).

9 MR. NEUMANN: Like you said, Man, know

10 one saw nothin'. No one --

11 MR. BANNISTER: But I'm still -- I'm

12 still kinda like worried about if they can place

13 me there, you know what I'm saying, when those

14 calls was being placed.

15 And I felt when Joc called me, and I

16 tried to answer the phone but the phone hung up,

17 so I ended up calling her back, I was there. You

18 know, what I'm saying?

19 So I just want to know if -- you know,

20 when they do that, can they -- can they locate or

21 point me out --

22 MR. NEUMANN: (Indiscernible.)

23 MR. BANNISTER: Hell, no.

24 MR. NEUMANN: You be all right, Man.

25 MR. BANNISTER: Find out, Man.
20

1 MR. NEUMANN: I will. You'll be all

2 right, though.

3 MR. BANNISTER: Find out right away

4 because, you know, if they came then I need to be

5 ready to kinda like react."

6 (CD paused.)

7 MS. ARNOLD: Defendant's statements to

8 Randall Neumann, defendant's statements on the

9 wire and the phone records. The calls themselves

10 establish a timeline of what happened that night.

11 We looked at the location of the phone

12 during the calls, the area of Bridget's house,

13 towers 705 and 723, and the fact that the

14 defendant wasn't truthful about where he was.

15 Let's talk about what phone numbers are

16 in evidence. James Bannister's phone records and

17 his phone extraction are in evidence, 229-6063;

18 Jocalyn Gray's number; two numbers for Bridget

19 Gray; LaShawna Gray -- her phone records are in

20 evidence.

21 There is, from Jocalyn's phone book

22 another phone number for DeShaun Shelton who

23 LaShawna testified is her son. But that's a

24 government phone she had that she shared.

25 Marilyn Williams testified about phone
21

1 calls. Marketi Bannister, that's the defendant's

2 sister. His number is in the phone book of

3 Jocalyn, and the defendant, and Brandie Lane.

4 What is the time line? Let's look at the time

5 line of the calls and some of that tower

6 information.

7 Because there are volumes of phone

8 records. And you heard some summary of the

9 evidence but there's a lot of information in those

10 phone records.

11 At 9:51 p.m., the defendant calls the

12 phone that is either LaShawna or Derek. That is

13 the last call from the tower near his house. At

14 10:00 p.m., Jocalyn calls Brandie Lane. And at

15 10:19, there's another call.

16 So you know by then Jocalyn has left the

17 party because she's not going to be calling

18 Brandie Lane if she is still at the party.

19 Between 10:59 and 11:03, there are calls

20 to and from Marketi Bannister. Those are the

21 first calls from tower 705 on the defendant's

22 phone. The defendant's phone is on towers

23 consistent with making and receiving calls at

24 Bridget's house from 10:59 until 12:44 a.m.

25 At 11:19, there's a text from Bridget's
22

1 phone to the defendant's phone saying, "Hey, can

2 you watch the kids while Joc takes me to the

3 emergency room."

4 From 11:23 to 11:35, there are ten calls

5 back and forth between Jocalyn Gray and the

6 defendant. At least one of those calls at 11:35,

7 there was an actual conversation, the call Renadia

8 hears at the house just before Jocalyn puts them

9 all in the car. And in the defendant's statement

10 to Detective Buie -- he says, I asked her, Did

11 your momma call you, and she was, like, No, and he

12 proceeded to tell her about the text.

13 At 11:37, Jocalyn tries to call Bridget

14 right after this conversation with the defendant,

15 and the call is routed.

16 There are calls between 11:37 and 11:38

17 between Jocalyn, LaShawna trying to figure out

18 what's going on at Bridget's house. LaShawna

19 talks to Bridget at 11:41 on her 497. And

20 LaShawna testified that that is the conversation

21 where Bridget Gray said that somebody is here who

22 wants to see you, come out. Somebody wants to

23 talk to you.

24 At 11:46, the defendant talks to Jocalyn

25 Gray. At 11:58, the defendant texts Jocalyn, "I'm
23

1 home now. She alright?" He's not at home. The

2 call surrounding that text is from tower 705.

3 At 11:59, the defendant talks to Jocalyn.

4 That is the call where the defendant tells -- or

5 she says that she is passing the Mexican store.

6 That is the statement to Detective Buie.

7 12:18 is the last call between Jocalyn

8 and LaShawna. Jocalyn is in Bridget's driveway.

9 Takes a minute to tell Nadia to hold the baby.

10 She walks to the front door.

11 Sometime at 12:21, or shortly thereafter,

12 the defendant starts the fire, kills the children.

13 And then there's these repeated calls from

14 12:34 a.m. to the 12:44 a.m. Call, call, call,

15 call. And remember, the tower information. They

16 start on 705, go to the tower in midtown, then

17 back over to 702 where the defendant's house is.

18 At 12:45 a.m., the defendant calls

19 Jocalyn's phone. Those are the 705, 704, 715,

20 704, 702. Why is he calling her if he already

21 knows she is dead? He's setting up an alibi.

22 Because he tried to get an alibi with Merilyn

23 Williams and that didn't pan out. So now if I

24 keep calling her, my phone records maybe will show

25 that I don't think she's dead, or I don't know
24

1 she's already dead.

2 1:24 -- 1:03 to 1:12 a.m., those calls

3 are from tower 702. 1:24 a.m., it's back out 715,

4 704. 1:37 to 4:02, all the calls incoming and

5 outgoing are on towers 723 and 705. This is the

6 time when the defendant is back at the scene being

7 interviewed by Detective Diaz.

8 We talked about the phone towers, the

9 locations of them.

10 Now, Detective Dice testified that this

11 is not a GPS. It's not a GPS that says the

12 defendant was standing in the living room of

13 Bridget Gray's house. But we do know where he was

14 around 2:00 a.m. on August 5th of 2011. He was

15 standing here talking to Detective Diaz. He gets

16 a call on his phone, tower 705.

17 The defendant is the one who killed

18 Bridget Gray, Jocalyn Gray, Cordarrian and

19 Cordarica Hill.

20 The third element is, was it

21 premeditated? The judge is going to read you the

22 definition. Killing with premeditation is killing

23 after consciously deciding to do so. The decision

24 must be present in the mind at the time of the

25 killing.
25

1 The law does not fix the exact period of

2 time that must pass between the formation of the

3 premeditated intent to kill and the killing. The

4 period of time must be long enough to allow

5 reflection by the defendant. The premeditated

6 intent to kill must be formed before the killing.

7 What evidence do you have of

8 premeditation? The defendant took a firearm to

9 Bridget's house. He attempted to create an alibi,

10 ahead, of him with Marilyn Williams. The text

11 message that sets up, he tells Jocalyn, "I'm home,

12 she alright?" His phone says different.

13 There is an execution-style killing of

14 all four victims. They are shot once in the head

15 causing their deaths. It's clear that the

16 decision to kill Jocalyn had already been made

17 because he immediately shot her when she opened

18 the door. Immediately shot her when she opened

19 the door. No discussion. No getting angry. The

20 decision was made before she opened the door.

21 Let's talk about Randall Neumann. His

22 testimony is supported by the defendant's phone

23 records. If you look at the phone records -- you

24 heard his nickname is "Pint." Pint is listed in

25 the defendant's phone book with this phone number.
26

1 Now, in his cross-examination,

2 Mr. Lenamon tried to point out some evil motive on

3 behalf of Randall Neumann that he was

4 manipulating, that he was suggesting to the

5 defendant what may have happened because the

6 defendant couldn't remember.

7 But if you look at the phone records,

8 there's not a flurry of calls from Neumann to the

9 defendant after the murders. There are a few

10 calls the early morning hours of August 5th of

11 2011. When Randall Neumann said he found out

12 about it, he contacted James Bannister to see if

13 he was all right.

14 And then the calls on the 6th; that's the

15 day Randall Neumann and his girlfriend took

16 chicken and dumplings to the defendant. And there

17 are no other calls. There's no other, "Hey, I'm

18 going to come, you know, try to influence you into

19 thinking you did this." Those are the phone

20 calls.

21 Now, we talked a little bit about DNA and

22 that kind of evidence. And are there

23 fingerprints -- is there DNA that says James

24 Bannister was at that house on August 4th and

25 August 5th of 2011? There's not. There's not.
27

1 But the absence of DNA, or latents, is not --

2 doesn't provide reasonable doubt. Think about the

3 situation.

4 The crime scene techs were there. They

5 spent days looking for evidence at the scene. You

6 heard testimony that heat and fire is the enemy of

7 DNA. And those necessary suppression efforts; all

8 the water that was put in that house is also the

9 enemy of DNA and latents.

10 The DNA evidence that we do have confirms

11 Renadia's statement. The blood on the front

12 doorstep is Jocalyn Gray's blood where she fell as

13 she was shot at the front door. The DNA on this

14 bullet that was removed from that flowered pillow

15 is Cordarrian Hill's DNA. Again, consistent with

16 him sleeping on that pillow, being shot in the

17 head.

18 Those are the elements of first-degree

19 murder. The victim is dead. The death was caused

20 by the defendant, and there was a premeditated

21 killing of the victim.

22 The fifth count is arson of a dwelling.

23 And the judge will tell you that to prove the

24 crime of arson, the State has to prove the

25 following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
28

1 James Bannister willfully and unlawfully caused a

2 fire in a dwelling, whether occupied or not -- was

3 damaged by the fire.

4 The evidence that he is the one who

5 started the fire is the same as the evidence that

6 he is the one who killed the victims. You heard

7 the testimony from Mike Lofton, the fire

8 investigator, that they were able to eliminate all

9 accidental causes of the fire, and that the fire

10 was the result of an intentionally-set open flame

11 to the bed clothes and bed in the center of the

12 room; that huge fire load that caused the fire to

13 go directly through the roof in the master

14 bedroom.

15 Now, you will get four verdict forms --

16 excuse me. Five verdict forms. This is one of

17 the murder verdict forms. The verdict form as to

18 arson says guilty of arson or not guilty. You

19 pick what you believe the evidence has proven

20 beyond a reasonable doubt.

21 I want to talk a little bit about the

22 verdict form for the murders. Because you will

23 see there are more choices. Defendant is guilty

24 of murder in the first degree, premeditated.

25 That's the charge in the indictment.
29

1 The judge will instruct you about

2 lesser-included offenses. The judge will give you

3 an instruction about those verdict forms that says

4 that you are to find the defendant guilty of the

5 highest crime that the State has proven beyond a

6 reasonable doubt. So how do you work through

7 these verdict forms is to start at the top and

8 work down.

9 If the State -- if you find that the

10 State has not proven premeditation beyond a

11 reasonable doubt -- I submit to you that the

12 evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that

13 there was a premeditated killing of each one of

14 the victims.

15 But if you find that it's not the case,

16 then you can consider is the defendant guilty of

17 second-degree murder. The judge will give you an

18 instruction about the second-degree murder. The

19 victims are dead. It's a mental element of

20 second-degree murder -- it's different. The judge

21 will instruct you on that. The judge will

22 instruct you on manslaughter. Those are the

23 lesser-included offenses.

24 Now, there's questions that go along with

25 those that deal with was a firearm used. And
30

1 there are different questions for second-degree

2 murder and the manslaughter. So if you find

3 beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant

4 committed second-degree murder, then you answer

5 these questions. Did he actually possess a

6 firearm? You answer all three.

7 Did he discharge a firearm during the

8 commission of it? Did the discharge cause death

9 or great bodily harm? You circle each one of --

10 an answer to each one of those questions. Then

11 there's only one question with regard to

12 manslaughter. I want to make sure that you saw

13 that.

14 But you only get to the lesser-included

15 offenses if you find the State has not proven

16 beyond a reasonable doubt that it was a

17 premeditated killing of the victims. The judge

18 will also tell you that there are no other laws

19 that apply to this case.

20 On the wire, you heard Randall Neumann

21 ask the defendant have you thought about insanity.

22 The judge is not going to instruct you on

23 insanity; insanity doesn't apply to this case.

24 It's not a defense that was raised.

25 Now, Randall Neumann talked about the
31

1 defendant -- had a discussion with the defendant

2 about the drugs that he was taking the night of

3 the incident. We'll talk about that in a minute.

4 If you find the defendant did use drugs, or was

5 even under the influence, it's not a defense to

6 murder that the defendant took drugs before he

7 committed the murder.

8 That's not a legal defense. You are not

9 going to hear that in any of the instructions.

10 Let's talk about the drug use. Because there was

11 a lot of discussion between Randall Neumann and

12 the defendant about the drug use.

13 Think about the other evidence in the

14 case. Why is the defendant talking to Randall

15 Neumann about the drugs? I mean, he needs Randall

16 Neumann's help, right?

17 The statement to Diaz. That's taken, or

18 given, less than two hours after the offense. Use

19 your common sense. Does he sound like someone who

20 is so high on drugs that he doesn't remember what

21 happened two hours ago? No. He recalls detailed

22 events of the evening.

23 He's already formulated, and is sharing

24 with Detective Diaz, theories of who may have done

25 this. The fact that he's so drugged up that he
32

1 can't form a premeditated intent is belied by the

2 length to which he went to get Jocalyn to the

3 house.

4 When you consider all the evidence, the

5 testimony of the witnesses, consider what the

6 defendant himself said, he's guilty of four counts

7 of first-degree murder, for the deaths of Bridget

8 Gray, Jocalyn Gray, Cordarrian Hill and Cordarica

9 Hill. And he's guilty of arson.

10 Thank you.

11 THE COURT: Mr. Lenamon.

12 MR. LENAMON: Thank you, Judge. Could I

13 have a moment to set up?

14 THE COURT: Ladies and gentlemen, he

15 needs to set some things up, so I'm going to go

16 ahead and give you a comfort break. You can leave

17 your notepads in your chair. We'll excuse you to

18 the deliberation room for a few moments.

19 (Jury exited courtroom.)

20 (Break taken.)

21 THE COURT: Defense and defendant is

22 present. State is present. Bring the jury out.

23 (Jury entered the courtroom and the

24 following proceedings were had before the Court

25 and in the presence of the jury.)
33

1 THE COURT: All right. The jury is in

2 and they are seated.

3 MR. LENAMON: Thank you, Judge.

4 CLOSING ARGUMENT BY DEFENSE

5 MR. LENAMON: James stand up. This is

6 James Bannister. He's been here all week. This

7 is what this trial is about. Thank you, James.

8 He's the one that you heard on the wire talking

9 with Randall Neumann.

10 He is the one you heard being interviewed

11 by Detective Buie. I saw him earlier. He is the

12 one you kinda heard being interviewed by Sergeant

13 Bevan. But if you remember, they didn't use the

14 speakers on that one because that's kinda what

15 this case is all about, picking and choosing what

16 evidence they want to show you and tell you about,

17 and putting aside everything else.

18 Within the last two weeks, we talked in

19 jury selection and you promised me you would put

20 aside your fear, your anger and your hate. That's

21 why Ms. Arnold, at the very beginning of her

22 closing, brought that pillow over to you.

23 And that's why in jury selection we spent

24 a lot of time talking about those feelings, those

25 emotions that would draw into us when we talked
34

1 about the death of these two innocent, very

2 innocent children. And it's my belief that they

3 hope that those emotions, these emotions, and

4 others, will draw you away from the journey that

5 I'm going to ask you to take.

6 They hope that the anger and hate and

7 fear that was in existence at the time of these

8 horrible killings, and clouded the investigation

9 that was conducted by the Marion County Sheriff's

10 Office, and clouded the emotional intent of

11 Randall Neumann who believed, as he told you from

12 the beginning, Mr. Bannister was guilty -- but

13 they hope that you jump on that train and that you

14 ride on that train and ignore what I'm going to

15 talk about over the next hour and a half, hour and

16 forty-five minutes.

17 I have much more confidence in you than

18 that. James has much more confidence in you than

19 that. But most importantly the system that we

20 live in today, the system that's in existence

21 today, the protection of our innocence and our

22 liberties from tyrants and unjust police activity

23 from half a case, from half of an investigation --

24 the things that protect all of us in this

25 courtroom, the families of the victims, James'
35

1 family, the people who are here from the police

2 department, the deputies, the judge -- all of this

3 is going to be looking to you to rely on when we

4 look at how you take this journey today.

5 Because if you allow this and that to

6 influence your decision and you ignore and don't

7 take a sharp look at all of the things that are

8 going on in this case, then you are failing and we

9 all lose, every single one of us.

10 I told you a week ago in my opening

11 statement, "Father, I have sinned. I don't know

12 how." I was honest with you from the very

13 beginning that this was going to be a tough case

14 for you to decide; and, frankly, I understand

15 because I have been on this jury for six years,

16 and there are so many unanswered questions in this

17 courtroom today.

18 A reminder, and the Judge -- the

19 Honorable Judge Pope who has presided over this

20 trial, he is the one that will tell you about the

21 law. He will read it to you. But he has clearly

22 made it absolutely clear, at the beginning of

23 these closing arguments, that what the attorneys

24 say is not evidence.

25 And when Ms. Arnold got up here and
36

1 reconstructed the events from August 5th about

2 James standing in the door, and James going out

3 the window, and James doing this, and James doing

4 that, and he was at the house, he was there --

5 none of that has been proven. Not one single

6 point of that has been proven to you.

7 Am I getting up here and saying he didn't

8 do this? I never said that to you. Because

9 that's not what this journey is about. What this

10 journey is about is we have to look at the

11 evidence and decide what was shown, what we can

12 trust, what we can't trust, what was said, what

13 wasn't said, what was done, what wasn't done.

14 These are the things that we're going to talk

15 about over the next hour and a half.

16 And the judge will instruct you on a

17 concept that exists within our law called,

18 "reasonable doubt." "Reasonable doubt." The

19 State's burden is to prove their case beyond a

20 reasonable doubt. Now, beyond a reasonable doubt

21 and all doubt, there clearly is a space. I see

22 you, you have a gun. You fire the gun. I say, I

23 saw you fire a gun. That may be something that

24 you could consider all doubt.

25 I see you. You had something in your
37

1 hand. I hear a gunshot. There's a shot fired.

2 You come running out. Someone chases you. Maybe

3 there's a gun found near your person. They test,

4 or don't test. They compare, or not to compare.

5 That's when you get into this issue of reasonable

6 doubt. Has the evidence been proven beyond a

7 reasonable doubt? It's a concept in law.

8 Your responsibility, your responsibility

9 is to take this journey with the facts and the law

10 and apply it. Now, the reason we talked about

11 those emotions from the very beginning is there's

12 some other things that play in to existence in

13 this process.

14 They are human dynamics. And that is our

15 own things that follow us around, our own

16 prejudices, maybe, our own assumptions, our own

17 belief systems that don't have anything to do with

18 the evidence but they believe in ourself. Do you

19 believe that?

20 I will give you an example. From the

21 beginning, there was a determination made by that

22 side of the room we were not going to hold back.

23 Because it was important for you to know

24 everything. But in that concept we talked about

25 in jury selection things like -- clearly about the
38

1 children's death. But also about things that had

2 to do with Mr. Bannister.

3 He's a convicted felon. He went to

4 prison. He had a harsh childhood. He was in

5 juvenile. He was a juvenile delinquent. Those

6 are things that draw on us that we get to decide

7 as we're looking at all the evidence how we're

8 going to allow that to play in. And, frankly, I

9 believe that there's two ways you can allow it to

10 play in.

11 The unintended way that I presented to

12 you, for you to draw in, is to say if there's

13 smoke, there's fire. He shot a gun before; he

14 shot at somebody. Well that makes -- he's capable

15 of killing because he shot at somebody in the

16 circumstance that had to do with him being robbed

17 of drugs by some people, and going back and, you

18 know, vengeance against those people or anger or

19 whatever it was. He went to prison so he's a bad

20 person.

21 Those are the unintended things that you

22 could use. But you can also go deep because

23 you're allowed to use your common sense, your own

24 experience. Okay. And I'm going to suggest as we

25 begin this process today, at this moment, that
39

1 this is James Bannister on the night of these

2 events.

3 So where does it go from there? Let's

4 assume he was using large amounts of drugs like he

5 told Randall. Let's assume that his memory was

6 impaired. Are you comfortable with an assumption?

7 Are you comfortable with that assumption? Well,

8 let me tell you why you should be you comfortable

9 with that assumption. It has nothing to do with

10 James Bannister. It has to do with Tarkyshia

11 Wade.

12 This is a woman, in my opinion, who is

13 beyond approach. This is a loving niece, a loving

14 cousin, a loving family member who came in here

15 and testified to you that she had a memory of an

16 event that occurred after this incident happened,

17 and before James Bannister was arrested, where

18 they are sitting in a room, and she is watching an

19 episode that she remembers specifically, Jessie

20 Dalton, and that there was a conversation -- he

21 made these comments to her.

22 That was her memory that you heard.

23 Putting it aside and what I'm going to talk

24 about -- the desperation of the State to put a

25 witness on like that and not checking -- that the
40

1 defense has to go and send a subpoena to A&E,

2 which you all got to see, and I know you

3 scrutinized.

4 Listen, I live in a world where the

5 defense is not respected. Where we're hired guns.

6 Where we are people who are just trying to get the

7 guilty off. I live in that world. I understand

8 that. So I can imagine when you saw that you said

9 to yourself, hmmm, what's going on? This doesn't

10 make sense. Ms. Wade, I really believed her. I

11 believed what she said.

12 Now they are saying that on August 11th

13 at 9:00 p.m. was -- the only premier during

14 August 7th and August 11th that occurred. That

15 doesn't make sense. And more importantly,

16 Detective Buie -- he's sitting in the second to

17 the last row -- read the Miranda to James

18 Bannister on the 11th, the morning of the 11th at

19 1:21 a.m. 1:21 a.m., 9:00 p.m. It's impossible.

20 It didn't happen. It didn't happen.

21 That should be a firm piece of evidence

22 that tells you what this case is about. When they

23 sell you half a truth, through this poor woman,

24 who didn't even convey this information to them.

25 She was overheard describing this information.
41

1 Was she mistaken? Was her memory impaired? Was

2 the trauma from this event, and from the events

3 that she dealt with because she said she

4 indirectly knew someone from that Jessie Dalton --

5 was that so traumatic that it tainted her memory

6 that caused her to be mistaken in memory, to make

7 this up? I don't know the answer to that. Only

8 you can determine, in your mind through your own

9 experience, what you believe happened.

10 So when we're talking about memory, and

11 we're talking about what's said and done, I would

12 suggest that you look to their side, to Ms. Wade

13 and the evidence --

14 Do you have that evidence, ma'am? Sorry.

15 I didn't ask you. The A&E.

16 This is the evidence that we introduced.

17 We had to call the custodian from New York. We

18 subpoenaed her. On November 1st, she sent this to

19 us, 2017. That was six-plus years after this

20 happened. And we know why it was six-plus years

21 because it was after August 30th, a motion to

22 suppress, where Ms. Wade, who told you -- she came

23 in here and she was honest with you -- what she

24 remembered happening and how it happened.

25 She was looking at Mr. Bannister. There
42

1 was issues of salvation and forgiveness that was

2 generated within her mind as she looked towards

3 Mr. Bannister. And she told you what she felt

4 that Mr. Bannister said, I don't know what to tell

5 you. That's what she felt.

6 Then she drew to this memory, that she

7 talked about outside, with her mother that was

8 overheard by them. But we know it didn't happen,

9 not the way she says it happened. Is she lying?

10 I don't think she is lying.

11 I just think things happen to people. I

12 mean, we're human beings. Things happen to people

13 for a reason. And some of that has to do with the

14 things that are surrounding us: The trauma, the

15 anger, the guilt. The guilt.

16 There are clearly some troubling things

17 that are said in that phone conversation with

18 Randall Neumann.

19 But I suggest that you need to take the

20 journey to understand what was really going on and

21 how we got to that place and what evidence that

22 can be relied on. And as you take that journey,

23 that we're going to talk about, that you never

24 lose track of us, of us.

25 Randall told you from the very beginning
43

1 I thought he had done this. Ms. Arnold referenced

2 him bringing food over to James. So that's -- she

3 is talking about bringing food after he has

4 already decided that James was involved in -- with

5 his girlfriend. What is going on with this

6 Mr. Neumann?

7 We know for a fact that there's a moment

8 in time that he claims to have conversations that

9 are unrecorded with James. And he talked about

10 that. I brought it out. They didn't even bring

11 it out on cross. I brought it out. He said he

12 had this memory that it was like a computer. That

13 it was a video game. He had no control. I think

14 there's a list of ten things that I went through

15 on my cross-examination with him.

16 All these things he told the police,

17 including Detective Buie, in this recorded

18 conversation at the police department. Now, why

19 is that important that it's recorded at the police

20 department? That's one of the things I think that

21 we have to show some respect to the Marion County

22 Sheriff's Office for doing -- recording

23 conversations -- or deference, or applause.

24 Because without recorded conversations, we

25 wouldn't really know what was going on here.
44

1 But they recorded his conversation. And

2 so everything that he told them he was stuck with.

3 He couldn't change. Whatever story he told them,

4 that occurred here, becomes part of the record.

5 I had it. I impeached him with it a

6 couple of times. Didn't you tell him this? Did

7 Detective Buie tell you this? He wanted you to go

8 find -- he went back and forth. You saw the

9 judge, pursuant to the rules, require me to show

10 it to him. Take it back, ask him. That's why the

11 recorded conversation is important on that level.

12 Because, most importantly, all things he

13 told them that he claimed happened here, he never

14 asked here. There's no detail. The prosecutor

15 got up here and gave you the story about what

16 happened. There's no detail at all in that

17 conversation.

18 Now, let me suggest this. You have a

19 great responsibility. Perhaps, the second to most

20 greatest responsibility in this case because

21 there's only one more level after this.

22 If you guys find him guilty, there's only

23 one more level after this. That would be your

24 greatest responsibility. But you have the second

25 to greatest responsibility here. I fear, because
45

1 I know -- that's why I spent time crossing him,

2 and I'm going to review the last nine or ten pages

3 of Buie's conversation with James so you hear it

4 for yourself again.

5 Now, when I'm going through it, there is

6 something -- some unique things that happened here

7 that you need to think about. Okay. I don't have

8 any burden. They have the burden. The law is,

9 they have the burden to prove the case beyond a

10 reasonable doubt.

11 So there were three statements here that

12 we presented to you that were recorded. The first

13 one with Bevan. I would suggest you go back and

14 review that in detail. This is a journey I'm

15 asking you to take as you look at the evidence.

16 This is a lot of responsibility.

17 It's a lot of time to do this the right

18 way. We have been here in trial for, you know, a

19 week -- in the trial.

20 But the actual -- you know, with the jury

21 selection, we're talking two weeks. So now you

22 get to go back there. Before you make a decision,

23 I want you to look at everything closely and

24 listen. See, in the Neumann statement; you had

25 the transcript. You didn't have that in the Buie
46

1 statement. You didn't have that in Bevan

2 statement. You only had a tape.

3 I suggest they don't want you to read it

4 because when you read it, and I read it to you,

5 and you recall, you will see that there are some

6 significant issues at play here, and they all go

7 back to this, the blank slate, starting with the

8 blank slate.

9 Now, in Neumann, I spent an enormous

10 amount of time. I think about two hours

11 cross-examining him. And I put up 17 slides, and

12 I went through every one of those slides. I

13 confronted him with every one of those slide

14 issues.

15 I would suggest that you need to think

16 about what are the alternatives to him being

17 involved in this that has been presented to you

18 that is out there for you to look at.

19 Marilyn Williams, I think that is her

20 name. Ms. Williams claims -- I mean, she talked

21 about him trying to set up some kind of alibi.

22 All I heard from her was that he wanted her. He

23 wanted to pay her. He wanted to have sex with

24 her. He wanted nude pictures of her. He offered

25 $1,000 to a woman with five children and on food
47

1 stamps who claims she wasn't with him that night.

2 Was she with him? I mean, think about it. Was

3 she with him?

4 Let's say he's so messed up -- and, you

5 know, this is disingenuous for her to say -- first

6 of all, Detective Diaz and Detective Smith said he

7 wasn't high. He was under the influence. I had

8 to cross-examine him -- she didn't bring it up. I

9 had to cross-examine him.

10 Shaking the car. Acting out at the

11 scene. You saw his pictures. There's five

12 pictures in there. Look at him. Look at his

13 eyes. Diaz, again, he wasn't under the influence.

14 I crossed him. His behavior. He was out of

15 control. Out of control. You heard what she said

16 about him.

17 That's disingenuous. But for her to say

18 that someone, who is under the influence, can't

19 speak, can't go on automatic pilot. How many

20 people in this courtroom have ever blacked out?

21 No one. No one has ever blacked out?

22 MS. ARNOLD: Objection, Your Honor.

23 THE COURT: Sustained.

24 MR. LENAMON: I have blacked out.

25 MS. ARNOLD: Objection.
48

1 THE COURT: Sustained. Mr. Lenamon,

2 confine your argument to the facts and the law,

3 please, sir.

4 CLOSING ARGUMENT BY DEFENSE (cont'd)

5 MR. LENAMON: James, his testimony is he

6 blacked out. Read between the lines. He doesn't

7 remember. He doesn't know. How many times does

8 he have to tell Buie, I don't remember. I don't

9 know. So where do you go from there on a four

10 count first-degree murder? She is right. This

11 is not insanity. I can't raise insanity unless I

12 have a client who remembers. I can't raise that.

13 This is an issue of can you trust the

14 evidence that was presented to you, the half a

15 case? The situation where you have Randall

16 Neumann saying things like, Yeah, there's no 38,

17 38, 38. James doesn't say 38. Listen to it. But

18 we know why that's a lie. They tried to avoid it.

19 We know why that's a lie. Because

20 Randall tells you he used the same gun for that

21 revenge shooting that he did. He used that same

22 gun. And he came to me, and he was trying to get

23 a new gun to replace that. He's locked into that

24 statement. He's locked in.

25 Because the detectives don't tell him all
49

1 about what is going on in this investigation. The

2 detectives don't tell him, well, you know,

3 Randall, a little bit of a problem here. James

4 told us on August 6th that he was involved in that

5 shooting, and he got rid of the gun.

6 And, yeah, you know, we actually sent

7 some people to search a bunch of lakes because we

8 knew he had gotten rid of a gun. It was a

9 revolver. So we wanted to find that gun.

10 As a matter of fact, Randall -- we took

11 the evidence that we collected from him shooting

12 at these guys, and we sent it all the way to

13 Jacksonville, Tallahassee -- I don't know where

14 they are at now -- Florida Department of Law

15 Enforcement for comparison. So what you're

16 saying, Randall, is that's a bit of a problem.

17 Because that's not what he said to Randall.

18 You can't trust what he said to Randall.

19 Anything that he said to Randall here in this

20 unrecorded conversation that they claim occurred,

21 you can't trust because he never asked him about

22 this. But he asked him about a phone. Okay. He

23 was in that area.

24 Now, that cell tower is not sitting on

25 top of this address. This is what we're talking
50

1 about here: 705, 723, 709, 708, 704, 715, 702.

2 He lives over here. This is where the house is,

3 the homicide. This is where 705 is. That's the

4 tower that he's bouncing off of at the time from,

5 like, 11:00, 11:15, 11:30 -- look at the phone

6 records -- through 12:30, or so. So he's bouncing

7 off this. But we know that there's a ratio,

8 depending on the location of where those three

9 antennas are.

10 You're looking three to five miles in any

11 area. She got up there and said, oh, he's there.

12 He's there. That's not what the evidence shows.

13 The evidence shows that he was around there. And

14 it shows if you look and study, and I want you

15 to -- because they didn't bring this up. Maybe

16 she will in rebuttal.

17 But this is a one-hundred-twenty page

18 download, 120 pages. That was created through a

19 program from Detective Bos where our client gave

20 up his phone. He gave up his DNA. He allowed

21 them to search his vehicle that he was driving

22 that night. He allowed them to search his house

23 where they swabbed the washing machine for DNA.

24 They gathered that green piece of

25 clothing that he was wearing. There's no evidence
51

1 at all, physical evidence, out of the 65 exhibits

2 that were entered, and they tested a bunch of

3 them. And they compared a bunch of them to James'

4 DNA. But there's nothing that places him at the

5 scene. There's no blood evidence from anybody in

6 his car.

7 There's no blood evidence from anybody at

8 his house. There's no physical evidence here. If

9 you convict, you have to rely on two things:

10 Randall Neumann, both recorded conversations and

11 the unrecorded conversation and Detective Buie.

12 I'm going to talk about him in a little bit.

13 But I would suggest, as you go through

14 this, what you will see is that there are texts

15 that occurred between him and women. There are

16 texts that -- this is leading up to 8:00, 9:00,

17 9:30, 10:00 o'clock. The last text is around

18 10:00 o'clock that's in this document.

19 Then the text doesn't start up until

20 sometime I think around midnight, or so. There's

21 a period of time there's no text. But we know

22 there's another phone. We know there's another

23 phone, and that Detective Buie knew about that

24 other phone when he talked to Ms. Williams. But

25 they didn't try to find that other phone.
52

1 After Neumann, they closed this case

2 down. They stopped the investigation. It was

3 done after Neumann. So I would strongly suggest

4 that you look at the conversations. There's a lot

5 of texts between him and Joc in this. Some of it

6 is like, oh, you don't say you love me anymore.

7 It's normal stuff.

8 There's nothing in these texts, or in

9 these phone documents, that show anything, any

10 motive for him to do this. And that she says she

11 doesn't have to prove motive. Is that good enough

12 for you?

13 Are you going to just rely on the vapor

14 of a bunch of conversations that seem to -- seem

15 to indicate he may be guilty? You know, he may.

16 Why would he say that? Why would he be worried

17 about his phone records and his location? What

18 was he doing?

19 He was a drug dealer. He's a womanizer.

20 What was his state of mind? Was he so messed up

21 that when he got that text from Bridget, that he

22 went into a paranoid world thinking, you know, Joc

23 is going to find out what I'm doing. I mean, I

24 don't know the answers to this.

25 This is the journey that you have to take
53

1 while you look at the evidence. Look at the

2 problems. Look at the strongest pieces of

3 evidence that exist against Mr. Bannister. I

4 would suggest the strongest piece of evidence that

5 exists is in this Neumann recorded conversation.

6 He said, Man, I can't wait -- you know,

7 if I could get some money, get a good lawyer. The

8 guy went to prison. He's a drug dealer. He spent

9 his life being at odds, maybe feeling like he had

10 been victimized. I don't know. So is it so

11 unusual?

12 I mean, they want you to put a guilty

13 flare and twist on the things he said. And I

14 suggest that your responsibility is to go to great

15 lengths to go to the opposite end of that and look

16 at the things that he said. He said he was out

17 there. He never said he was at the house. He

18 never says anything about Bridget or the children

19 or anybody.

20 He says that he took his world. He took

21 his world. Well, let's talk about that for a

22 second. I spent a lot of time talking to

23 Detective Buie about this guilt that was in play;

24 that he tells Buie that he should have protected

25 her. And he tells Ms. Williams they killed her.
54

1 Should have protected her. They killed her.

2 That's what he tells Ms. Williams.

3 What does that mean? What's going on?

4 Why is he saying those things? You have to look

5 at those things as you start to develop an

6 understanding of what could have motivated him to

7 say some of these things and be fearful, be

8 fearful.

9 Because if we have a blank slate, and

10 then you start having some help by Randall

11 Neumann, reconstructing your memory because --

12 listen, go back and listen again to the tape.

13 Listen to some of the things he says. Man, you

14 don't have anything to worry about. I think

15 you're going to be okay. I think you're going to

16 be fine. Yeah, that's Randall talking.

17 Those are recorded conversations. What

18 wasn't recorded? And was going on? Is Randall

19 helping him reconstruct his memory? He said on

20 cross-examination, he denied this at first but I

21 challenged him on this because I had that

22 record -- the recorded conversation at the police

23 department.

24 He says that he is the one who put fear

25 into James' mind about the phone records. I
55

1 impeached him on that issue. I read it because he

2 said, No, it wasn't me, Man. I didn't bring that

3 up. I impeached him. So if he's creating this

4 fear about the phone records, he thinks he did it,

5 and now he's trying to be -- not trying to talk

6 down to Randall Neumann -- a hero.

7 He met with Detective Spivey the night

8 this happened. Asked for his card. He called

9 Detective Spivey on the 10th. He reached out to

10 him. He reached out to Detective Spivey who was

11 in Atlanta, or somewhere in Georgia, with his kids

12 and family at some kind of fair.

13 And, Hey, this is Randall, I got to talk

14 to you about what my cousin told me. That's when

15 they bring him in.

16 So what is motivating and driving Randall

17 Neumann? This is his first cousin who he claims

18 he loved, and they were great friends growing up,

19 and all this other stuff. His momma used to call

20 him jokingly "James Jigaboo." What kind of family

21 dysfunction is going on here that we don't know

22 about?

23 We know Randall is a pillhead. He is an

24 addict, and admits at that time he's an addict.

25 He may have cleaned himself up for this, but he
56

1 was an addict there using pills. And if you

2 listen to some of the phone conversations that are

3 going on, he's trying to score some pills through

4 his brother. Whether that is true or not, whether

5 it was a farce, or not -- but that's what is going

6 on in the tape.

7 So this is the guy who is driving this

8 bus for you guys. Randall Neumann is the bus

9 driver here. And so you got to be really

10 comfortable, feel safe with Randall, as you start

11 to develop your thoughts on this.

12 And I will be honest. There are things

13 that are said that if you listen to them, you go

14 why would he say that if he didn't do this? Why

15 would he say that if he didn't do this? And I

16 suggest that there are other alternatives, and you

17 need to explore those alternatives.

18 I mean, he talks about -- again, he says,

19 you know, I lost my baby, Man. I owe, I owe the

20 world. All these things that I would suggest are

21 guilt-driven. He's doing drugs. He's selling

22 drugs. His wife/girlfriend, Joc, she's working

23 her butt off. She's working, and he's on the

24 streets.

25 I mean, that's -- when we talk about the
57

1 fear, anger, and hate that we talked about --

2 because it's really easy to go, Man, you know,

3 what kind of piece of work is James for doing

4 this? He's sitting at home selling drugs, not

5 working because he had lost his job.

6 Remember, he told Buie he lost his job in

7 December. So he had this long period of time

8 where he wasn't working and back on the streets

9 doing his thing. So he talks about Joc. Think

10 about what he said about her. Nobody hates her.

11 Nobody would want to do this to her. She is the

12 greatest. She works so hard. She takes care of

13 the children.

14 You know, what happens when a man wakes

15 up and realizes what did I miss? What did I do?

16 What did I do to cause this?

17 THE COURT: Your time notice, Mr.

18 Lenamon.

19 CLOSING ARGUMENT BY DEFENSE (cont'd)

20 MR. LENAMON: "What happens to a man who

21 says that?"

22 I want to go through Buie's statement.

23 Now, you need to listen to this, and I highly

24 recommend that you do. What I'm reading to you is

25 not in evidence. It's a transcript. But I went
58

1 through it with Detective Buie. And it starts out

2 with a question by Detective Buie.

3 "What do you think about a person that

4 would do something like this?"

5 BANNISTER: You serious, like somebody

6 who would do this? Do you know what I'm saying?

7 It's crazy. She was my life, Man.

8 BUIE: Bridget -- I mean, sorry, Jocalyn

9 --

10 BANNISTER: Joc, my world. I can't even

11 function, Man, without her, Man.

12 BUIE: What would you say to Joc right

13 now if you had the opportunity to say something to

14 her?

15 BANNISTER: I text her phone every

16 night.

17 BUIE: What do you say? I mean, I know

18 you text her phone. Is there anything specific

19 you say to her or --

20 BANNISTER: Just tell her I miss her,

21 and I wish I could have her protected her, you

22 know. I love her. Because we kinda like, you

23 know, got into it before about me not saying I

24 love you.

25 BUIE: Right.
59

1 BANNISTER: A lot of shit so I just

2 text her, you know.

3 Every time I text her I kinda like

4 make sure I say I love you and shit because we

5 just kinda like went through this, you know. She

6 texted me not too long ago and was like why you

7 don't tell me you love me no more. I said why

8 the fuck you don't, you know.

9 BUIE: Did you love her?

10 BANNISTER: Man, with everything I had

11 in me, Man. Everything. I never really even --

12 you know what I'm saying? Even -- I'm 31, but I

13 can't really count many girlfriends, like real

14 relationships like this, like the only -- like,

15 real one I had ever.

16 BUIE: You love your child?

17 BANNISTER: That's not part of just

18 me, you know. Even without him, it's like -- do

19 you know what I'm saying? This was it right here

20 for me. Even though -- and I feel so bad that all

21 this shit happened, and shit, and I kinda like

22 didn't really treat her as well as I should have

23 because I was messing around.

24 I'm, like, have this thing about girls

25 and shit, Man. When I'm just -- you know what I
60

1 mean? I'm just always out -- do you know what I

2 mean -- flirting and shit.

3 As soon as somebody shoots me a

4 compliment, I'm -- do you know what I mean? I'm

5 kinda like -- I'm feeding into it so badly and

6 shit, you know. But she's a fuckin' -- she's a

7 good, fuckin' girl, Man.

8 BUIE: Yeah.

9 BANNISTER: She was a good fuckin'

10 girl.

11 BUIE: What do you think happened?

12 BANNISTER: Me personally? I just, I

13 didn't want to kinda like, you know, keep saying

14 it, but I just think, you know, maybe somebody

15 kinda -- like, just the first thing I thought was

16 maybe -- you know what I'm saying? You know,

17 somebody owed money, you know.

18 BUIE: No, I'm talking about what do

19 you think happened at the house?

20 BANNISTER: What do you mean what do I

21 think happened? They were shot. The house was

22 set on fire. Is that what happened? Is it?

23 BUIE: You were there. I didn't come

24 there that night.

25 BANNISTER: Yeah.
61

1 BUIE: I wasn't there.

2 BANNISTER: Well, they didn't say

3 nothin' that night, you know. It came out later

4 but it's crazy.

5 MR. LENAMON (cont'd) So Buie is saying

6 you were there, and he's saying -- he's talking

7 about something completely different, being at the

8 scene after this happened.

9 Well, they didn't say nothin' that

10 night. You know, it came out later, but it's

11 crazy.

12 When you listen to Buie, and I asked him:

13 Did you lie to him? I didn't mean to offend this

14 homicide detective. His job is to try to get

15 Mr. Bannister to confess. He's using every

16 technique in the book to try to do that.

17 At the end of the day, at the end of this

18 statement, he has what he has. So he's going to

19 sit up there and tell you, well, you know, he

20 didn't answer the questions, he didn't do this, he

21 didn't do that. He didn't say no.

22 You got to look and listen to what he

23 actually says. Because it's not what he

24 interprets it to be. Because he is the one in the

25 Marion County Sheriff's Office -- and no
62

1 disrespect to Detective Buie or Detective Diaz or

2 Detective Smith or Sergeant, now Captain Spivey --

3 but they are the ones who decided that, after

4 Randall Neumann's statement, that was going to be

5 the best evidence they had, and they didn't need

6 anymore; even though on multiple occasions they

7 sent out people and re-record.

8 They listened to that statement. He

9 talked to James Bannister, and not once did he ask

10 him about the conversation he had with Randall

11 Neumann in that statement. Not once. Not once

12 did he say to you, you know, I probably should

13 have -- it was probably premature. But we

14 probably should have recorded another

15 conversation.

16 We probably should have spent some time

17 with Randall Neumann and told him exactly what we

18 wanted him to ask so we know for sure. Because

19 there are so many questions that are unanswered,

20 so many things that aren't said, so many things

21 that are inconsistent with what he told us and

22 what he's asking and talking about, and now he's

23 ignoring it. We probably should have done that.

24 But they didn't.

25 That's one of the things that you have to
63

1 think about when you're looking at this case.

2 You're going to have to look about is this the

3 kind of investigation that you're satisfied that's

4 going to protect all of us? This is not just

5 James Bannister -- we're letting Mr. Bannister off

6 for some technicality because the cops didn't do

7 their job all the way. There are so many

8 unanswered questions.

9 This is not about James. This is about

10 us. When we look at this evidence, this is about

11 us. And we may feel really uncomfortable about

12 it. But at the end of the day, in 2017, in the

13 society we live in, in the society we live in

14 right now, think about it, what's going on?

15 What's going on today in Marion County, State of

16 Florida, the United States. What's going on?

17 Do we want to lose all the rights that we

18 cherish?

19 So Bannister says, well, they didn't say

20 nothin' that night. You know, it came out later,

21 but it's crazy.

22 Buie says, what's on your mind right now?

23 BANNISTER: I miss her, Man. My son,

24 Man. I think about my son. Them damn boys, Man.

25 Kubuka asked about his mom the other day. He
64

1 said, I want mommy and Nadia, you know.

2 BUIE: Let me ask you something, James.

3 You and I have been talking for a little bit,

4 right? You and I seem like we got a pretty good

5 relationship. You understand? I understand,

6 right?

7 BANNISTER: Yeah.

8 BUIE: There's a lot going on right now.

9 Do you agree with that?

10 BANNISTER. Yeah.

11 MR. LENAMON (cont'd) What does he mean

12 by that? What does he mean when he's saying

13 there's a lot going on? There's a lot going on

14 because he lost his wife, his mother-in-law or --

15 what is he saying?

16 He is trying to shape and model this

17 conversation so that what he said becomes

18 consciousness of guilt when it's really not.

19 Because James doesn't really understand a lot of

20 the things he's saying to him as you will see as

21 we go along here.

22 Look at me. Do you agree with that?

23 BANNISTER: Yeah.

24 BUIE: Anything you want to tell me,

25 that you want to get off your chest?
65

1 BANNISTER: What do you mean? Like,

2 what?

3 MR. LENAMON (cont'd) That was his response:

4 What do you mean? Like, what?

5 BUIE: There are some things that we need

6 to address, okay, for one is the cellphone.

7 BANNISTER: Yeah.

8 BUIE: Okay. You indicated to me that

9 you were home this whole entire time.

10 BANNISTER: Yeah.

11 BUIE: Okay.

12 BANNISTER: Yeah.

13 BUIE: The only problem that I have is I

14 have your cellphone showing you somewhere else.

15 BANNISTER: Yeah.

16 MR. LENAMON (cont'd) He knows it's a

17 "yeah" because he's dealt with with Mr. Neumann.

18 He's being honest with him. But Buie doesn't ask

19 him the right questions. He doesn't ask him the

20 questions that need to be asked.

21 Okay. Do you feel me?

22 BANNISTER: Yeah.

23 BUIE: Look at me for a second. Come

24 here. Put this card in here. Take a breather a

25 little bit. All right. You're a good guy. I'm
66

1 going to go through this with you, okay?

2 BANNISTER: Yeah.

3 I know it's a lot on your mind. I know

4 there's a lot of things you want to tell me,

5 right?

6 Yeah.

7 The thing is we, passed what happened.

8 BANNISTER: Yeah.

9 BUIE: Okay.

10 I think you and I are crystal clear

11 about what happened. I just want to know why.

12 BANNISTER: I don't know why.

13 BUIE: The only thing who can tell me,

14 that's you.

15 BANNISTER: I don't know.

16 BUIE: How do you feel about that?

17 BANNISTER: I feel terrible, Man.

18 BUIE: Would you allow me to go through

19 this with you again?

20 BANNISTER: Say that again.

21 BUIE: Would you allow me to go through

22 this with you?

23 BANNISTER: Go through what with me?

24 MR. LENAMON (cont'd) He's saying stuff

25 -- he's over here; Bannister is over here. They
67

1 are not even on the same page. He completely

2 thinks Bannister is guilty, as did Neumann, as did

3 the sheriff's department, and that's why they

4 short cut this investigation, and they shut it

5 down before they had enough evidence to fill the

6 gap past reasonable doubt that you will have to

7 deal with.

8 Go through what with me? Question mark.

9 BUIE: Are you talking to me, okay? Are

10 you good with that? We know your phone was

11 there.

12 BANNISTER: Yeah.

13 You know your phone was there, right?

14 BANNISTER: I don't know, Man -- (shaking

15 his head." That's what it says.

16 I don't know, Man.

17 MR. LENAMON (cont'd) So he said, "You

18 know your phone was there?"

19 BANNISTER: Yeah.

20 MR. LENAMON (cont'd) He says, "You know

21 your phone was there, right?" Because he's trying

22 to get him to say, yeah, it was there. Yeah, I was

23 there. I was there.

24 He said, "I don't know, Man."

25 BUIE: Well, I'm telling you your phone
68

1 was there, okay? There's no other way for me to

2 put it. No other way for me to beat around the

3 bush with you. I'm trying to give you the

4 opportunity so I can stand here with you, and we

5 can go through this together.

6 It's heavy --

7 BANNISTER: Heavy.

8 BUIE: It's real heavy. Talk to me. Get

9 it off you. It's okay.

10 BANNISTER: What?

11 Why? Just tell me why?

12 BANNISTER: Joc.

13 BUIE: Tell me what happened.

14 BANNISTER: Joc.

15 BUIE: You owe it to Joc, okay? Can I

16 hold my hand out. Here, listen to me, all right?

17 BANNISTER: Joc.

18 MR. LENAMON (cont'd) So he's having this

19 conversation with him, and he's talking to a man

20 who doesn't remember, who doesn't know, who really

21 doesn't understand what has happened -- this

22 blackout man he's talking to.

23 And everything he's saying to Detective

24 Buie is consistent with that in this conversation.

25 Then he said -- Buie says, Talk to me. What
69

1 happened when you got to the house?

2 BANNISTER: I don't know.

3 BUIE: Yes, you do.

4 BANNISTER: I don't know.

5 MR. LENAMON (cont'd) Now, Buie -- now

6 this is all Buie talking.

7 We heard, I don't know. I don't know.

8 How do you feel about what happened? If you can

9 take it back, would you do it again? Would you do

10 it all over again?

11 Would you do something different? Do you

12 want to apologize to Joc? Talk to me, Man. It's

13 just you and me, okay? Listen to me. Are you all

14 right?

15 That's all that, Man, right there.

16 Are you all right, and Bannister says,

17 No.

18 BUIE: Hold up your head and talk to me.

19 It's okay. Come on, tell me what's on your mind.

20 BANNISTER: I don't know how it could

21 have happened. I don't know how it could have

22 happened.

23 MR. LENAMON (cont'd) That's what he said. "I

24 don't know how it could have happened."

25 BUIE: Tell me what happened. Tell me
70

1 what you remember. Tell me what you remember.

2 Come on, come on. I need you to talk to me.

3 What happened when you got over there?

4 BANNISTER: I don't know.

5 BUIE: You called Bridget first, and you

6 went over there. Take me from there. Where did

7 you stay -- what did you say when you called

8 Bridget, huh? Come on. Don't shut me out, Man.

9 Talk to me. James. James, are you there? I know

10 there's a lot on your mind. Come on, talk to me.

11 I don't know.

12 Let's take this step by step. Ain't no

13 need to rush with this.

14 I don't know.

15 Do you feel sorry for what happened?

16 I wish it never happened. No way -- she

17 was --

18 You wish it never happened?

19 No way. She was my world. This thing

20 never happened to me.

21 BUIE: And I'm here to find out why did

22 it happen. What was the reason behind it?

23 BANNISTER: No.

24 BUIE: Come on, talk to me. You owe that

25 to her. Get this off your chest. What happened
71

1 after you called over to the house? What happened

2 after you called over to the house? What happened

3 after you called over to the house?

4 BANNISTER: I don't know.

5 MR. LENAMON (cont'd) The State entered

6 an exhibit with the phone records. So you know

7 the phone records, they provided you with a

8 summary. They showed it to you. It's all the

9 calls that are important to them leading up to

10 this situation.

11 There's actual a multitude of phone

12 records, every phone call that James Bannister

13 made in the months leading up to this, all the

14 phone calls Joc made. All of that's in evidence

15 for you if you choose to look at this.

16 But what is important in this summary is

17 that at 11:59 p.m., Jocalyn calls James and has a

18 forty-one second conversation with him. Forty-one

19 seconds.

20 At the time -- this is at 11:59 -- he's

21 in this area. He's in this area, a five-mile

22 radius, of tower 705. You saw where the tower was

23 located off of 75. He's in that area when it's

24 happening. Okay.

25 At some point he goes home and he sends a
72

1 text from his house to her. Because there are

2 phone calls showing he's home. "I'm home." He's

3 on the way to get home. He's not actually home

4 yet. He's on the way to get home.

5 This happens after this phone call.

6 What's going on with James Bannister? What's

7 going on with him? He said he doesn't know what

8 happened after that call. That was about fifty

9 minutes -- forty-five minutes before the 911 call

10 went out. There are multiple hangups, and

11 multiple missed calls where James is trying to

12 call Jocalyn after that call. What is going on

13 here?

14 He says, "You know your phone was there,

15 right?"

16 BANNISTER: I don't know, Man.

17 BUIE: Well, I'm telling you --

18 MR. LENAMON (cont'd) We went through

19 that, I'm sorry. Just one second, please.

20 Buie says to him, what happened when you

21 got over there?

22 He says, I don't know.

23 Buie says, you called Bridget first, and

24 you went over there. Take me there. What did you

25 say when you called Bridget? Come on. Don't shut
73

1 me out. Talk to me. James. James, are you

2 there? I know there's a lot on your mind. Come

3 on, talk to me.

4 Bannister says, I don't know.

5 Buie says, let's take this step by step.

6 Ain't no need to rush with this.

7 BANNISTER: I don't know.

8 BUIE: Do you feel sorry for what

9 happened?

10 BANNISTER: I wish it never happened.

11 You wish it never happened?

12 No way. She was my world. This thing

13 never happened to me.

14 I'm here to find out why it did happen.

15 What was the reason behind it?

16 MR. LENAMON (cont'd) Bannister says, no.

17 Buie says, come on, talk to me. You owe

18 her that. What happened after you called her over

19 the house -- called over to the house? That's

20 where I left off, I'm sorry.

21 Bannister says, I don't know.

22 Buie's response, yes, you do. You drove

23 over there from Dear Run, okay? What happened

24 when you got there? After you called Bridget,

25 what happened?
74

1 Home, James. You got to release it. If

2 not, I'm going to -- it's going to eat you up.

3 It's going to eat you up.

4 BANNISTER: I don't think -- I didn't

5 call Bridget.

6 BUIE: When you went over there, what

7 happened? What happened when you went over to the

8 house?

9 BANNISTER: I don't know.

10 BUIE: She let you in. I don't --

11 MR. LENAMON (cont'd) Then he cuts him

12 off.

13 Come on, come on. Come on, James. Talk

14 to me. Over here, Man. I can't talk to you

15 through your hands.

16 I don't know.

17 Tell me tell me something -- tell me

18 something you know.

19 BANNISTER: It's bullshit is what it was.

20 BUIE: Tell me about that.

21 BANNISTER: I don't know what to tell.

22 BUIE: Tell me whatever you remember.

23 Tell me anything that you remember. And let's go

24 through it from there. But you got to tell me

25 something so we have a starting point.
75

1 It's playing through your mind like a

2 movie. It's just playing through your mind over

3 and over and over, and it's going to continue to

4 do so until you release it and get the pressure

5 off you.

6 You got to release it. Allow me to be

7 here with you. Can you do that for me, huh? I

8 need to -- I need you to talk to me.

9 MR. LENAMON (cont'd) Now, up to this

10 point all he keeps saying is, I don't know. I

11 don't know. I don't know. I don't remember. I

12 don't know.

13 Bannister's response here was, I don't

14 know what to tell you, Man. I don't know what to

15 tell you.

16 BUIE: Tell me what happened at the

17 house.

18 BANNISTER: I don't know, Man.

19 BUIE: You know exactly what happened.

20 BANNISTER: I don't.

21 BUIE: How about if I ask you questions

22 and you answer that. Can you do that? Let's

23 start with that, okay?

24 BANNISTER: I don't know what to tell you

25 about it, Man.
76

1 BUIE: Tell me what happened when you got

2 to the house.

3 BANNISTER: I don't know.

4 BUIE: You already admitted to knowing

5 that you went to the house.

6 MR. LENAMON (cont'd) Never in this

7 statement does he say that. He's making that up

8 for who? Who is he making it up for? To try to

9 get him -- to trick him? Maybe. He knows he's

10 being watched, and it's being recorded on camera.

11 But that was never said by Mr. Bannister.

12 He never admitted to being over at the

13 house. Even in that statement that was recorded,

14 he never said he went over to the house. He talks

15 about being there in an area. If you listen

16 carefully, and you go through, you can see that

17 that's what he's talking about.

18 But he clearly doesn't say that up to

19 this point.

20 He says, you admitted that your phone was

21 there. That's all -- I mean, we passed that.

22 Bannister says, I didn't admit to

23 anything. I'm just saying, I don't know what to

24 say.

25 That was Detective Buie's statement with
77

1 him. That statement in conjunction with Neumann's

2 recording is the best evidence that you have in

3 this case.

4 As a matter of fact, if you look at some

5 of the evidence that was presented to you, there's

6 evidence that clearly shows that he wasn't

7 involved in this case.

8 It was presented through our own witness,

9 the firearm's expert, who testified that the four

10 bullets that were shot out of that -- the one gun

11 didn't match the bullet that was recovered that

12 was taken, through Mr. Bannister's own statement

13 to Detective Diaz, that he had shot a revolver in

14 the month before this had happened.

15 Now, their expert didn't even want to

16 compare it a second time. Because if you remember

17 the way it happened, their expert, who is an FDLE

18 person, looked at the bullets and never compared

19 them to each other; just said that they were all

20 similar. That he wasn't asked to determine, and

21 he didn't do it on his own, whether they were

22 fired out of the same gun.

23 Then he compared it to the one bullet.

24 And even though he didn't look for striations,

25 which our expert did -- that's how our expert
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1 eliminated them. There were striations on the

2 four bullets that were clear. The one bullet

3 didn't have that, and he eliminated it and said it

4 wasn't a match.

5 Their expert never looked for striations

6 until later when he got a memo from quality

7 assurance, who said several years later, you

8 didn't do your job. Then when he got that memo,

9 he looked at the striations. Even at that time,

10 he wasn't a hundred percent competent it was fired

11 out of the same weapon. He said it was probably,

12 but he wasn't a hundred percent.

13 Then I asked him, Well, once you figured

14 out you had the striations, did you compare it to

15 the other bullet? No, the other bullet was

16 damaged, and I couldn't compare it. My expert

17 said that's not correct. It was a little bit

18 damaged but he was clearly able to compare the

19 two.

20 That phone call, that forty-one second

21 phone call is important, because in his statement

22 the worse thing he says in his statement -- it's

23 about halfway through the recorded statement if

24 you look at the document when he talks about: I

25 was there. Joc was calling me. I hung up --
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1 that's factually not correct.

2 There's no hang up call from Joc.

3 There's that forty-one second conversation that he

4 had with her. He had a forty-one second

5 conversation. So he doesn't remember correctly

6 what he's talking about. If you look at the phone

7 records, the phone records clearly support what

8 I'm saying.

9 There's a forty-one second phone call.

10 And that forty-one second phone call clearly shows

11 that he had a conversation with her and it wasn't

12 a hang up. And that it was a long enough phone

13 conversation that it was recorded without

14 question; then there were multiple times he tried

15 to call her back.

16 There were two cellphones that were

17 recovered on the scene. They didn't test them.

18 The Marion County Sheriff's Office didn't test

19 them. Okay. Why is that important? I mean, we

20 want to know -- I mean, there's no physical

21 evidence that ties Mr. Bannister to this.

22 But let's search and see if there's

23 physical evidence that could tie somebody else to

24 this. You have two phones, one of which was badly

25 damaged. But you heard me cross-examine about
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1 being able to pull the chip and track it down.

2 The other one had a serial number; they just

3 couldn't find the match to it. They stopped.

4 They didn't do anything.

5 They could have sent it to the Florida

6 Department of Law Enforcement to do -- to do the

7 testing on that, to look at that. But they didn't

8 do that. Why? Because they were done. They had

9 a predisposition. Randall had a predisposition.

10 The Marion County Sheriff's Office -- you don't

11 think they were under pressure to solve this case.

12 They created a task force. There were four people

13 killed.

14 There are people who are afraid in our

15 community when you hear things like this going on,

16 two of them being children. You don't think they

17 were under a great deal of pressure to deal with

18 this issue? That's not a truthful statement for

19 them to say, oh, no, we weren't under pressure.

20 We were just doing the investigation the right

21 way.

22 They don't do it the right way in this

23 case. There was -- there's a jug of milk outside

24 the screen that they didn't process or collect.

25 What's that about? I don't know the answer to any
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1 of this. I mean, you don't -- could more than one

2 person come and go? Could it have been more than

3 one person? How did the milk get there?

4 What is -- why didn't we look at that as

5 a piece of evidence? The tire tracks that Buie

6 talked about that he went -- he got there because

7 he wanted to get the feel of the perpetrator.

8 That causes concern. You know, this is TV. This

9 is what we do? This is how we -- is this how we

10 act?

11 He spent time walking around the scene

12 but he couldn't spend time getting Randall Neumann

13 wired up again or sending Randall Neumann back in

14 again with another recording device, this time

15 with some training, and some questions that would

16 clearly paint a picture for us about this.

17 Even then, with the phone conversation --

18 the phone records, they didn't bother to look at

19 the sectors. There were sector directors on those

20 phone towers that they said were on the records.

21 If you look at the phone records, which

22 are in evidence, they could use to try to direct

23 which direction the phone call is coming from.

24 They don't do that. We know there was K2 that was

25 taken from the apartment of James Bannister.
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1 It was that K2 that was mixed with the

2 cocaine that James told Buie he was using. Large

3 amounts of that. So now the State is going to get

4 an opportunity to get up here and make the final

5 rebuttal argument, so this is the last time I get

6 to talk to you.

7 I would ask that you listen to them and

8 that you consider how I would respond to them --

9 -- to whatever arguments they will be making.

10 You know, from the very beginning, going back to

11 jury selection, we spent a lot of time talking

12 about your responsibility as jurors and your

13 individual responsibilities as a group.

14 In the penalty phase, which involves

15 moral decision-making, this is really a group

16 decision based on an individual-fact

17 determination. Each one of you can decide what

18 facts are important to you. There's no question

19 of what the law is. What the judge gives you is

20 the law. It's crystal clear.

21 You have to come to a decision altogether

22 based on your interpretation of the facts in

23 relation to the burden of proof.

24 So what we're talking about here, there's

25 an instruction that talks about what reasonable
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1 doubt is. And as you listen to it -- I'm not

2 going to belittle it. But as you listen to it, it

3 would become clear to you that this is a personal

4 responsibility of looking at the facts and trying

5 to open up yourself to someone who is open minded

6 and look at the different various possibilities in

7 this case.

8 I told you from the very beginning there

9 were troubling things that you have to deal with;

10 that was going to be a journey that was difficult,

11 a difficult journey.

12 I would suggest that in this particular

13 case, because of what is at risk here in the

14 system and the way things that are done in our

15 system, that you need to keep in mind that it's

16 the responsibility of the State and the Marion

17 County Sheriff's Office to do things the right

18 way, to present you with evidence that you can go

19 home and put your head down on a pillow and sleep

20 comfortably without turning and tossing and being

21 really caught up and not feeling comfortable with

22 the evidence.

23 I would suggest that they failed to do

24 the investigation; that they should have continued

25 on with the investigation. They should have
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1 gathered more evidence. That maybe if they looked

2 clearly at all the evidence down the road -- the

3 phones, the other bullet, the other forensic

4 evidence that was collected and not collected,

5 Randall Neumann and send him back in to talk --

6 that maybe we wouldn't be here today.

7 If we were here, maybe there would be

8 some evidence that you could rely on and trust

9 that doesn't exist in this case. It's not an easy

10 task that you have. I tried to be honest and

11 frank with you as much as possible and show you

12 what the evidence is.

13 I went to great pains to show you the 17

14 clips because that's what you deserve to have.

15 You deserve to have a look at all the evidence,

16 freshly and clearly, so you can make a decision

17 that is the right decision to make.

18 I think that at the end of this, at the

19 end of all of this, when you look at the

20 evidence -- it's going to be a struggle. It's not

21 going to be an easy thing, but that you're going

22 to -- there's going to be great concern in your

23 mind.

24 And that the reasonable doubt instruction

25 is going to guide you on what -- you know, what
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1 has to happen in this case. I would suggest as

2 you get a foreperson appointed that you go to task

3 with your responsibility. I trust that you will.

4 Thank you.

5 THE COURT: Ms. Arnold, do you need some

6 time to set up?

7 MS. ARNOLD: Yes, sir.

8 THE COURT: Ladies and gentlemen, if you

9 will leave your notepads in your chair, I'll

10 excuse you to the deliberation room for a few

11 minutes while we rearrange things here.

12 (Pause.)

13 THE COURT: State is present. Defense is

14 present.

15 Are you ready, Ms. Arnold?

16 MS. ARNOLD: Yes, sir.

17 THE COURT: Bring the jury in.

18 (Jury entered the courtroom and the

19 following proceeding was held before the Court and

20 in the presence of the jury.)

21 THE COURT: All right. Jury is in and

22 they are seated. Ms. Arnold.

23 REBUTTAL ARGUMENT BY THE STATE OF FLORIDA

24 MS. ARNOLD: Mr. Lenamon spent a lot of

25 time talking about the defendant's statement to
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1 Detective Buie. Went through what was said and

2 what -- consider what was said and what wasn't.

3 Let's talk about what wasn't said.

4 The defendant had every opportunity when

5 Detective Buie was confronting him with being at

6 the house, going to the door. Never did he say,

7 "I wasn't there." Never did he say, "I was at a

8 girl's house."

9 Consider what a person -- what the

10 defendant, what his reactions were. Compare that

11 to the reaction of a person who had nothing to do

12 with the murders of Bridget Gray, Jocalyn Gray,

13 Cordarrian and Cordarica Hill.

14 What is that person going to say? "I

15 wasn't there. I didn't do it. I was at a girl's

16 house." Mr. Lenamon wants you to believe that the

17 defendant didn't understand what Detective Buie

18 was saying. That is belied by some of his

19 reactions. He denied calling Bridget.

20 He said, What happened after you called

21 her?

22 I didn't call Bridget.

23 It's not that he doesn't understand.

24 Think back to the earlier conversation that he had

25 with Randall Neumann. He's got to be prepared to
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1 react.

2 I'm going to be prepared to react when

3 they come for me.

4 His reaction, "I don't know. I don't

5 know". Not, "I didn't do it." That statement

6 speaks volumes in what the defendant didn't say

7 when he was confronted with the events that

8 happened on August 5th.

9 Let's talk about Randall Neumann.

10 Because not only did you hear statements from

11 Randall Neumann that were recorded by the

12 sheriff's office but he testified about statements

13 that the defendant made to him prior to that

14 recording. There was a lot of questions about why

15 didn't you ask this? Why didn't you ask that?

16 Randall Neumann told you he didn't want

17 to do this. He was torn between his cousin and

18 doing the right thing. He was nervous about, Hey,

19 if I ask -- he's already told me about that. We

20 already talked about that. What is he going to

21 think? Think about the explanation he gave for

22 why he didn't ask questions.

23 He's not a trained law enforcement

24 officer to know how to follow up on questions and

25 that sort of thing. We're looking back six years
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1 ago, in hindsight, picking a part the conversation

2 that was difficult for Mr. Neumann. But there are

3 some things that are discussed. Details that are

4 discussed that demonstrate that Randall Neumann is

5 telling the truth about what the defendant told

6 him, that he did kill Bridget, and Jocalyn, and

7 Cordarrian and Cordarica.

8 That he was at Bridget's house, not just

9 in the area. He made those admissions to Randall

10 Neumann. There are details that indicate that you

11 can rely on his testimony. Let's talk about a few

12 of those.

13 Randall Neumann told you that the

14 defendant wanted him to get him a replacement 38.

15 There was some discussion of this phantom bullet

16 that's not in evidence; that, there's no direct

17 evidence of -- that that's even the bullet that

18 the defendant fired.

19 He said that the shooting was in North

20 Roads. You heard that North Roads is a high-crime

21 area. You heard testimony that it was collected

22 afterwards. That Detective Diaz, after the

23 statement, went and contacted OPD.

24 Randall Neumann -- you rely on your own

25 testimony about -- of the recollection of the
89

1 testimony. He never said that that was the same

2 gun. What he said, the defendant wanted to get

3 him a replacement 38. Now, think about this. Why

4 would the defendant need a replacement 38 for the

5 shooting that he already told the police about?

6 He needed a replacement 38 because he has

7 told them that he shot a revolver. He never said

8 it was a 38. He said it was revolver. So the

9 police may come looking for a revolver that he

10 admitted that he had. The revolver that he can't

11 be found with, the 38, is the one that's used in

12 the murders. Now think about that. A 38 caliber

13 revolver.

14 Captain Spivey told you that details of

15 crimes are kept from the public. He did tell you

16 that in this case the fact that the victims were

17 shot was out there; the number of the victims who

18 were shot was out there. There's no evidence that

19 anyone knew that a 38 revolver was the weapon that

20 was used to kill these victims.

21 Think about the timeline. The victims

22 are shot and killed on August 5th. An autopsy is

23 performed, projectiles are recovered from victims

24 and from the scene. Those are sent to the Florida

25 Department of Law Enforcement to be tested to
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1 determine the caliber.

2 Peter Lardizabal's first report is dated

3 August 9th, of 2011. How does Randall Neumann

4 know it's a 38? Because the defendant told him he

5 used a 38. He needed a replacement 38 for the 38

6 caliber revolver used in the murders.

7 These are the projectiles in evidence:

8 The two removed from the victims at autopsy, the

9 one recovered from the black armrest pillow, and

10 the one recovered from the flowered pillow. That

11 detail that a 38 revolver was used came from the

12 defendant to Randall Neumann. The conversation

13 that he had was on August 10th. That detail

14 wasn't known to the public. It wasn't known to

15 anyone but the defendant and law enforcement as of

16 August 9th.

17 You can rely on Randall Neumann's

18 testimony because it agrees with the other

19 evidence in the case. There's a lot of phone

20 records in evidence, and you can look at these.

21 The summary is just that: A summary.

22 It doesn't contain all the evidence. But

23 if you look at the defendant's phone records, he's

24 not in this area hardly ever. Two weeks prior to

25 the murders, look at that, there are no calls on
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1 the defendant's phone made to or from that area,

2 705 or 723. The two weeks leading up to the

3 murders, no calls from that area.

4 If he's seeing girls, it's in Deer Run

5 and North Roads. Those are in the northeast part

6 of the town as the testimony came forth. No calls

7 in that area. He's not out there selling drugs or

8 seeing women.

9 What about the relationship between

10 Randall Neumann and the defendant? If you look at

11 the phone records, just in the four days from

12 August 1st to August 4th, there's 19 phone calls.

13 There are 12 phone calls between Randall Neumann

14 and the defendant, both ways. They talked a lot.

15 It wasn't that Randall Neumann all of a

16 sudden appeared and put a frame job on the

17 defendant. They were close. They talked. The

18 defendant revealed stuff to Randall Neumann

19 because he was close to him. He knew he needed

20 help with the phone records. He needed an alibi.

21 He needed a replacement 38 -- who did he go to?

22 His cousin, Randall Neumann.

23 Let's talk about the phones and the phone

24 records. LaShawna Gray's phone records were

25 gotten from the phone company by use of her phone
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1 number. Those are in evidence. There are four

2 phones in evidence.

3 James Bannister's phone was taken from

4 him by Miriam Diaz when he was arrested on

5 August 11, 2011. His phone records are here.

6 They were obtained prior to that date by Marion

7 County Sheriff's Office. There's also in evidence

8 the phone dump, the phone extraction from James

9 Bannister's phone.

10 You can look -- you can look at those

11 texts between Jocalyn Gray and the defendant.

12 What you will see is that she knew about this

13 lifestyle the defendant was living. The defendant

14 even told Detective Buie that she knew about it.

15 They had agreed together that he wasn't going to F

16 around anymore. That was out there.

17 Jocalyn Gray's phone, serial number

18 matches the phone records in evidence. And the

19 phone dump extraction that's also in evidence.

20 Her phone was located in the house just inside the

21 door near where the key -- these keys were located

22 there as well.

23 This is the couch just inside the door.

24 There's her phone. Now, Exhibit 53, that

25 Mr. Lenamon pointed out, no extraction was done on
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1 this. This phone was found, according to the

2 testimony, in the cabinet in the living room. Not

3 matched to any of the records in this case.

4 Then we have this phone found in Bridget

5 Gray's bedroom, damaged by the fire, like

6 everything else in that room. Sheriff's office

7 sifted through evidence, sifted through evidence

8 for days. Found the phone in the bedroom damaged.

9 The only problem is Bridget had two phones, two

10 phones. Bridget's other cellphone is not in the

11 house. The gun is not at the house.

12 That text from Bridget's phone was sent

13 at 11:19. At 11:19, and prior to that, the

14 defendant's calls on his phone are registering at

15 tower 705, way across town from where he said he

16 was. I submit to you, ladies and gentlemen, that

17 a reasonable inference from the evidence is that

18 it wasn't Bridget Gray that sent that text to

19 Jocalyn at all. It was the defendant, James

20 Bannister.

21 Because if you look at Bridget's phone

22 calls, after the one from the text, there are no

23 conversations on that phone. They are for 12

24 seconds, 20 seconds. Hang ups. The defendant is

25 continuing to use that phone to lure Jocalyn out
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1 to the house.

2 Now, how do we that is the case? Because

3 think about what did Bridget tell LaShawna? If

4 Bridget had told Jocalyn, or texted the defendant,

5 "I need you to watch the kids so Joc can take me

6 to the hospital," when she talks to her oldest

7 daughter on the phone don't you think Bridget is

8 going to tell her she needs to go to the hospital.

9 That didn't happen.

10 LaShawna told you that what her mom said

11 was, there's somebody out here who wants to see

12 you. Because now LaShawna is getting in on

13 knowing about what's going on out there. So we

14 got to get -- the defendant has to get her out to

15 the house as well. He doesn't say anything to her

16 about the hospital. Why the hospital to Joc?

17 He told Detective Buie: She goes home,

18 she stays home. It's got to be something drastic

19 to get Jocalyn out of the house. That text didn't

20 come from Bridget Gray. It came from the

21 defendant using Bridget Gray's phone to lure

22 Jocalyn out there to her death.

23 Now, Mr. Lenamon started off from the

24 very beginning, "Father forgive me for the sins I

25 have committed -- I have done." I don't know. He
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1 wants you to believe that the defendant was

2 guilt-ridden because of his lifestyle because of

3 his drug dealing, because of his womanizing,

4 because of his shooting -- involvement in the

5 shooting. But think about how he relays that

6 information to the detectives.

7 It's not a gut-wrenching confession about

8 his womanizing. He talks about it rather

9 nonchalantly. It's not a gut-wrenching revelation

10 of the fact that he was a drug dealer. He talked

11 about serving. Where do you get the gut-wrenching

12 guilty reaction of the defendant is when Detective

13 Buie starts asking him about what happened at the

14 house where the murders are committed. That's

15 when he starts to cry and look guilt-ridden.

16 That's what he's guilty about. That's

17 what he's guilty of. Mr. Lenamon also talked

18 yesterday about -- to Detective Buie about

19 minimalization. I am willing to admit I stole a

20 small piece of candy because I don't want to admit

21 that I stole a big one. That's exactly what the

22 defendant did.

23 Maybe if I tell them that I'm a

24 womanizer, maybe if I tell them I'm a convicted

25 felon, maybe if I tell them I'm a drug dealer,
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1 they will believe me when I say I didn't commit

2 the murders. But, wait, he didn't say that did

3 he?

4 It's not a big misunderstanding on the

5 part of the defendant. His reaction speaks

6 volumes. That he is, in fact, the one that

7 committed these murders of Bridget Gray, Jocalyn

8 Gray, Cordarrian and Cordarica Hill. He's guilty

9 of first-degree murder, and he's guilty of arson.

10 Despite what Mr. Lenamon argues, we're

11 not asking you to rely on fear or anger or hate.

12 We're asking you to take a look at the evidence

13 that's before you, the statements that the

14 defendant made himself, not just what he said, but

15 what he didn't say.

16 When you look at the evidence, you look

17 at the elements that have to be proven beyond a

18 reasonable doubt, consider that, weigh the

19 testimony. You can rely on Randall Neumann's

20 testimony because the facts of the case support

21 it.

22 A 38 caliber revolver is a detail that's

23 vitally important that the victim -- the defendant

24 gave to Randall, and then Randall Neumann told the

25 sheriff's office as well. It was a 38. He needed
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1 a replacement 38.

2 Thank you.

3

4 (End of excerpt.)

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1 C E R T I F I C A T E

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3 STATE OF FLORIDA )

4 COUNTY OF MARION )

5 I do hereby certify that I was authorized to and did

6 stenographically report the foregoing excerpt proceeding,

7 pages numbered 1 through 98, and that the transcript is a

8 true and correct record of my stenographic notes.

9 Dated this 10th day of November, 2017.

10

11 ______/s/_____________________
Karla Layfield
12 Registered Professional Reporter
Florida Professional Reporter
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