Jury de­lib­er­ates mur­der trial ver­dict

Maryland Independent - - News - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @An­drew_IndyNews

With lim­ited phys­i­cal and bi­o­log­i­cal ev­i­dence, the ver- dict in the case of Ray­mond Daniel Posey III, ac­cused of mur­der­ing a woman in Nan­je­moy in 2011, will likely be de­ter­mined by how much cred­i­bil­ity the jury lends the state’s key wit­nesses, in­clud­ing friends of Posey and two in­mates housed with Posey, who said he con­fessed to the killing, and whether or not Posey’s many com­mu­ni­ca­tions with wit­nesses from jail shows a con­scious­ness of guilt.

The jury was still de­liber- at­ing, as of press time Tues- day af­ter­noon.

Prose­cu­tors say Posey, 24, and Dar­rayl John Wil­son, 25, both of Nan­je­moy, killed Crys­tal Key­one An­der­son, 29, and dumped her body down a ravine near Purse State Park in what they be- lieve was a drug-re­lated rob- bery, hours af­ter they were seen leav­ing a party to­geth- er. Wil­son’s trial is sched- uled to be­gin Mon­day.

For months, An­der­son’s dis­ap­pear­ance was treated as a miss­ing per­son’s case. Aside from her mother who said An­der­son stopped by her Lan­dover home briefly that night, wit­nesses said they last saw An­der­son leav­ing a Nan­je­moy house party with Posey and Wil- son on July 26, 2011.

When an un­sus­pect­ing hiker stum­bled upon a boot with her leg bone pro­trud- ing on Jan. 2, 2012 near Purse State Park, it be­came a homi­cide, and Det. John El­liot and the Charles County Sher­iff’s Of­fice as­sumed the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. In the fol­low­ing days, spe­cial­ized K-9s combed the marshy area and re­cov­ered more bones, a lit­tle more than half of An­der­son’s skele­tal re­mains, though large por­tions re­mained miss­ing.

Af­ter nearly four years of in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Posey was ar­rested at his fam­ily’s Nan­je­moy home, in­dicted by a grand jury in March 2015, and Wil­son was in­dicted in July 2015. The de­fen­dants claimed to have dropped An­der­son off in Forestville that night, but Wil­son later changed his story, though his state­ment was never heard by the jury.

As the state saw it, the de- fen­dants drove An­der­son from the party to Prince Ge­orge’s County, where she picked up PCP from her sup­plier, a drug she reg­u­larly sold and used, be- fore they robbed her, shot her to death, and threw her body over a guardrail, down a steep hill. Posey, they be- lieve, was in part mo­ti­vated by a $2,000 drug debt owed to An­der­son by Posey’s brother, and her at­tempts to seek him out.

With Judge James West pre­sid­ing, Posey’s de­fense team, headed by Kevin Collins and Chase John­son, con­tested the al­le­ga­tions brought by as­sis­tant state’s at­tor­neys Fran­cis Grana­dos and Jonathan Beat­tie.

The de­fense ar­gued that the state be­came in­tent on build­ing a case against Posey, rather than con­duct- ing an ob­jec­tive in­ves­tiga- tion, and, be­cause of her high-risk life­style as a PCP dealer, that there were sev- eral other sus­pects who would have had a mo­tive to kill An­der­son. The de­fense also noted the pos­si­bil­ity of a drug over­dose, as her cause of death could not be de­ter­mined through au­top- sy.

Of the skele­tal re­mains re- cov­ered by po­lice, no signs of in­juries were found by med­i­cal ex­am­in­ers, court pro­ceed­ings showed. No mur­der weapon or any shell cas­ings were ever found.

Rather, the state’s case is largely hinged upon wit- ness state­ments, in­clud­ing that of two men, friends of Posey’s, who said Posey told them he had killed some­one, shortly af­ter Posey tried to com­mit sui- cide by at­tempt­ing to hang him­self in a neigh­bor’s yard. What’s more, two in­mates who be­friended Posey in jail at dif­fer­ent times, years apart, tes­ti­fied that Posey told them in­ti­mate de­tails of how, and why, he killed An­der­son.

The de­fense ar­gued that the in­mate who was housed with Posey in late 2015, ear- ly 2016 could have got­ten in­for­ma­tion from Posey’s dis­cov­ery pa­per­work. The other in­mate, how­ever, was housed with Posey in late 2012, early 2013, well be­fore he had been in­dicted for the al­leged mur­der; Posey had been ar­rested for an unre- lated armed rob­bery, and de­tec­tives were press­ing him for in­for­ma­tion about An­der­son’s death while he was in cus­tody, the first time they had been able to find him af­ter she had been re­ported miss­ing.

To help prove the al­lega- tions, the state also of­fered cor­rob­o­rat­ing ev­i­dence, such as phone records, in­clud­ing a map de­pict­ing An­der­son’s and Wil­son’s cell phone ac­tiv­ity around the time An­der­son is be­lieved to have died. Phone records for Posey were unattain­able, ac­cord­ing to po­lice tes­ti­mony.

The phone records, pros- ecu­tors said, would also help ver­ify the re­canted state­ments of Wil­son’s long­time girl­friend, who he just re­cently mar­ried in Fe­bru­ary 2017 while still in cus­tody await­ing his trial. She told a de­tec­tive in 2014 that Wil­son was in an area with hills the day af­ter the al- leged mur­der, and seemed to be look­ing for some- thing, pick­ing stuff up, with Posey while she was on the phone with him. Dur­ing the trial, she claimed her previ- ous state­ment was a lie, and that she had been mad at Wil­son. How­ever, the state said she cor­rob­o­rated one of the in­mate’s tes­ti­mony, that Posey re­turned to the scene the next day to pick up shell cas­ings.

In ad­di­tion to tes­ti­mony con­sis­tent with the al­lega- tions, the jury also heard Posey’s nu­mer­ous jail­house calls to wit­nesses in the case, in­clud­ing his co-de­fen- dant, his calls to third-par- ties di­rect­ing them to con- tact wit­nesses, and let­ters sent in­di­rectly to wit­nesses. Posey was also cap­tured on jail sur­veil­lance video pass­ing a note in­tended for Wil­son that was re­cov­ered by po­lice. In the com­muni- cations, Posey seemed to offer wit­nesses thou­sands of dol­lars to not tes­tify in his trial, and told Wil­son to “stick to the code.”

Posey elected not to testi- fy in the trial.

“The best wit­ness against Ray­mond Posey in this case is Ray­mond Posey him­self,” Beat­tie said dur­ing clos­ing ar­gu­ments. “Are those the ac­tions of an in­no­cent man … of some­one with noth­ing to hide, or some­one who com­mit­ted mur­der and is try­ing to get away with it?”

John­son, for the de­fense, told the jury that the state had not met its bur­den to prove Posey guilty, that “all you’ve heard in this case is tes­ti­mony from in­car­cer­ated wit­nesses” with mo­tiva- tion to lie.

He pointed out that one in- mate ini­tially told de­tec­tives An­der­son had been shot in the head with a .380 cal­iber hand­gun, and later said Posey shot her five times in the chest and stom­ach with a .32 cal­iber hand­gun. The in­mate “changes [his story] to be con­sis­tent with the state’s the­ory,” John­son said, adding that 12 ribs of 24 were re­cov­ered with no sign of in­jury.

“There’s a cer­tain cyni- cism about the state’s case,” John­son con­tin­ued, as he ar­gued that the state had ze­roed in on Posey as their main sus­pect from the be­gin­ning, and used ev­ery in­fer­ence they could to fit their the­ory. “How cyn­i­cal is that mo­tive, that the­ory,” John­son said, that Posey was will­ing to kill An­der­son to set­tle his half-brother’s drug debt, some­one he was not very close with?

“Why isn’t it equally be- liev­able that ‘fol­low the code’ means tell the truth?” John­son asked.

“Call me cyn­i­cal, but sell­ing some­one’s clothes be- fore they’re even re­ported miss­ing is a pretty big red flag to me,” Grana­dos re­sponded, adding that “fol- low­ing the code means you don’t talk to po­lice.”

Grana­dos also em­pha­sized that Wil­son’s third state­ment to po­lice “doesn’t have them drop­ping her off in Forestville,” men­tion­ing Posey’s mes­sage to Wil­son that he had “stuck with the story.”

“He [Wil­son] doesn’t stick to the story in the third ver­sion,” Grana­dos added.

Grana­dos pointed to the map­ping of An­deron’s cell phone ac­tiv­ity. “Her phone’s never in Forestville,” he said. “[Posey’s] story is clearly con­tra­dicted by the ev­i­dence.”

The pros­e­cu­tor re­ferred to a wit­ness’ tes­ti­mony that Wil­son and Posey re­turned her car around 3 or 4 a.m. on July 27, 2011, with­out An­der­son, sev­eral hours af­ter they were told to be back. “They were down there in Purse State Park, do­ing the deed and clean­ing up af­ter,” he said.

Grana­dos also said that the phone records show that Wil­son was us­ing a cell phone tower near Purse State Park later that af­ter­noon, when the state be­lieves they re­turned to the scene to pick up shell cas­ings.

“The truth doesn’t stay hid­den for­ever,” Grana­dos told the jury. “Don’t al­low it to re­main hid­den any longer: find him guilty.”

De­lib­er­a­tions re­sumed Tues­day morn­ing af­ter a ver­dict could not be reached Fri­day evening.

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