Day 4: Triple Homicide Trial of Curtis Clinton

Attorneys take care of legal issues while jury is on break
Jessica Cuffman
Nov 1, 2013

Attorneys and Erie County Common Pleas Judge Tygh Tone spent about two hours Friday morning, taking care of some housekeeping issues in the triple homicide trial.

With the jury sent home for the weekend Thursday, they discussed final jury verdict forms for the multiple counts of aggravated murder filed against Curtis Clinton, 42, for the killings of Heather Jackson, 23, and her children, Celina, 3, and Wayne Jr., 20 months.

Page-by-page, attorneys also debated the more than 20 pages of jury instructions to be read by Tone before the 12 people to decide Clinton's fate are sent to deliberate.

Prosecutors also submitted about 160 pieces of evidence for the jury to consider, including: Rape kits, medical records, DNA samples, forensic reports, police reports, autopsy photos, crime scene photos, a map, ATM and Kroger receipts, a video of a detective's interview with Clinton, 911 calls made to police, hospital surveillance video footage, and a recording of a phone call Clinton made to his mother from the county jail.

Defense attorneys objected to only two sets of evidence — records related to the 1997 killing of 18-year-old Misty Keckler in Fostoria.

Clinton was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in her death and spent 13 years in prison.

His attorneys also objected to evidence related to Clinton's alleged rape of a 17-year-old Clyde girl, six days before Jackson and her children were killed.

His attorneys say that case should have been tried separately from the aggravated murder charges.

Clinton appeared briefly in court, and his attorneys asked Tone to dismiss the case for lack of evidence presented by the state during three previous days of testimony.

But Tone denied the request.

If the defense calls any witnesses, they'll take the stand Monday morning when the jurors return from the weekend break.

Prosecutors finished presenting their case Thursday.

Attorney David Doughten said for now, Clinton doesn't plan to take the stand in his own defense.

"We have spoken to Mr. Clinton ad nauseam about his right to testy," he said.

After that discussion and the recommendations from his other two attorneys, Robert Dixon and Kimberly Kendall, who also advised him not to take the stand, Clinton agreed Friday morning.

"We think that's a wise decision," Doughten said.

But Clinton still has the right to change his mind.

If Clinton is found guilty of the aggravated murder charges filed against him, he could face the death penalty.

The same jury who decides whether he's guilty will be charged with hearing the second phase of the trial, the death penalty phase.

Be sure to visit sanduskyregister.com, when our staff returns with live coverage from the courtroom Monday morning at 8 a.m.

To see complete coverage from the first day of the trial, click HERE

To see complete coverage from the second day of the trial, click HERE

To see complete coverage from the third day of trial, click HERE

 

Comments

lmalley77

Defense attorneys asked to dismiss the case based on insufficient evidence!?!?!?!....Are they coo-coo just like him, or have they themselves not been listening to all of the evidence that points straight to CLINTON!?!?!?!.....Defense attorneys like these people make me sick to my stomach....as does reading through the court recaps each day!....I'm just an average Joe schmoe, and I can guarantee you that Clinton's disgusting self will end up in prison, and then one day the death chamber, because that scum is guilty as HE$$!!!!!!!

Sarrak

Excuse me but the motion to dismiss is a required motion. It allows the Court to rule on whether or not a sufficient case has been presented and assuming that the Court rules that it has preserves the issue for the Court of Appeals. Failure to make this motion could lead to the Court of Appeals overturning this case based on ineffective assistance of Counsel. The Defense Attorneys are doing their jobs here, correctly I might add. You might wish to review Rule 29 of the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure if you have further questions about this motion.

Sal Dali

I think when a defense attorney gets a case like this there are certain motions they have to go through to show they are providing adequate counsel even for the guiltiest of the guilty. However, they cannot change the facts, which are evident. A win for them would be a life sentence and not the death penalty. They must have thought the judge slept through the expert testimony explaining the insurmountable evidence leading directly to this guy. This time he is going to be held fully accountable for his sick and depraved actions.

lmalley77

I agree Sal!!!!!

Random_Commenter

Reading the above comment makes me question how reasonable and prudent the ordinary person in the United States actually is. It's horrid to me that a person can be disgusted by a defense attorney acting diligently. Specifically, by the actions which are solely designed to defend a person and the process by which that person may be, ultimately, executed. God willing, lmalley77 will never commit and be charged with a crime, but I can assure you that, in the event he or she is, and especially if he or she is wrongfully charged, lmalley77 would welcome such a motion.

The defense counsels in this case are acting diligently, fairly, and honorably. The law has two sides, defense and prosecution, both of which are necessary. I respect these defense counsels who, despite their necessity, are vilified by the (very) common man.

gene44870

I have not been following this as much as I would have liked to , But from what I have heard I can not see how the jury can convict on what was brought up in court in the last two days Keven had called witnesses , I know just from what I have heard I would have to find him not guilty , But then I only got to hear what was told on on the registers web site . I just hope that is he did this , he is found guilty and if he did not , he should walk
I also know that based on the testimony that I have heard ,and I was Clintons lawyer I would rest and not call a witness

lmalley77

Well Gene, I would politely have to disagree with you!...Everything I have read points straight to Clinton!...Did you not see where his vehicle was the last one seen going to Heather's residence...the first time for over an hour, and then returning for a brief period after he left the residence sometime after 4am??....Or how about the fact that there was a DNA match that linked him to DNA found not only on Heather's body and all of the ligatures he used, but also a sperm cell in Celinas underwear!?!?.....Maybe you should take the time to go back and read all of the recaps or even watch the videos that have been provided by the register as well!...All evidence is linked to Clinton and Clinton only, including his actions leading up to and after he killed Heather and her babies!.... I'm sure that the young lady that he raped just a week before the murders is thanking God every single day that she didn't end up dead as well!

gene44870

All I seen was a white car , I really could not say it was him or another motorist driving by , and like I said , I tried to follow it the best I could , but I could not hear all of what was being said on the witness stand , as a matter of fact I did hear a couple people ask for them to speak up and there was a lot of noise along with the testamony .
And further if you read what I said , I said I based it on what I could hear and that was not much , Sandusky register could have tried to get tied into the mics on the witness stand and insisted that everyone taken the stand speak loud enough for people to hear them clearly .I am sure that it was different in the court room , But not where I sat ,which is 550 miles away ..lol

Stop It

Keep your nose in Alabama where it belongs, Gene. You have never lived in Sandtown. Go out and help your wife with the yard-work and quit taking pictures of her doing it.

princedenny

Please edit your post about the sperm in Celina's underwear. I assume Celina was one of the children killed by this monster, but the image that came to my mind (after reading that) was very disturbing...and possibly disrespectful to the victims. It may be a factual statement, but it is an image I wish I would have never had.

lmalley77

Well princedenny, while I may agree with you that evidence such as that is hard to swallow, the fact that it is true shows the absolute disgust that accompanies the name curtice Clinton!!!...If you think what I said is bad, then please, by all means, do NOT watch the videos of the trial that are posted on the register site, because honestly, I just phrased it like the SR writer wrote it, the ACTUAL testimony about the subject mentioned made me absolutely sick to my stomach!!!!.....I am praying with the family daily, and I have not said anything here that they have not heard in the court room...People NEED to KNOW what a filthy disgusting, atrocious piece of sewer waste Clinton is!!!...So no, I will not change what I said, because as I previously stated, I was saying exactly what I read in one of the articles written by SR staff, if you had read the articles, you would have read that as well!....I mean NO disrespect to the family and friends of the victims, Heather, Celina, Wayne, and Misty, as well as the rape victim, I just can't wrap my head around the fact that the "thing" stealing our air was let through the system to do this again!!!!!....If you want G rated, check the Disney channel, because you will find nothing but filth as we deal with this trial, and trust me, I will be watching until the very end and I will celebrate and cry and clap when they say this scum will die in prison!!!!!...He will NEVER be able to hurt another person again, and He// is waiting on him!!! To the families, God is with you, he has his arms wrapped around you and he will carry you through this...please be strong for the rest of your family members, and know that there are people such as myself, who wish that Heather's family could take justice into their own hands!...RIP to Heather, Celina, Wayne Jr., and Misty...justice WILL prevail! <3

deertracker

I have heard nothing that suggests he did not do it but the defense still has to present it's case. The DNA evidence was not all that convincing but the CCTV evidence was very convincing. I really believe he is guilty but trying to make sense of killing anyone is just an exercise in futility in this case. His interrogation by police spoke volumes too.

Sarrak

Excuse me again but this fellow still is presumed innocent until or unless the Jury finds him guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. The government only presents the evidence that tends to show guilt and none that might suggest otherwise. That is what their job is to present evidence to convince the Jury to overcome the presumption of innocence.

deertracker

You are excused but maybe you should reread the first line of my post! You and I both know that in reality one is assumed guilty. Innocence also has to be proven. I understand the role of each side but at some point logic has to enter the equation like it or not. Jurors typically are not well versed on the law.

lmalley77

Well, apparently, the defense has no case, as well as no witnesses to call to the stand, since closing arguments are set to start first thing Monday morning at 8am sharp!....Cuz , I mean really, what rebuttal evidence COULD they have, when the prosecution has already given all of the evidence needed to convict this scum!....There is no way around DNA evidence sir, and they have plenty of that DNA evidence to convict him on that alone!...Never mind the fact that strangulation is Clinton's M.O..... 1)The girl who was killed by him the first time, Misty, was bound and strangled. 2)The rape victim who reported the rape and strangulation FROM Clinton just a week before the murders of Heather, Celina, and wayne. And 3) The brutal strangulation of Heather, Celina and Wayne, as well as the RAPE of Heather and Celina.....It's ALL CLINTON'S M.O.!!!!....Or are we just supposed to believe it just happened to be a coincidence like Clinton told his mother (rolls my eyes)...There's coincidences, but there are not THAT MANY coincidences that this piece of crap could even possibly have the EXACT SAME crime I.e. rape and strangulation, happen to him twice in his lifetime (3 times if you include the rape and strangulation of the lucky 17 year old rape victim who was able to remain alive)....that is, UNLESS HE DID IT!!!!!!....And he did!!!! I am pulling all of my faith into praying the jury sees abd hears the same things I'm seeing and hearing, and throws away the key!!!!

deertracker

Tell Nicole and Ron there is no way around DNA evidence! I don't think anyone expects this guy to walk but if I was a juror the DNA in this case would not be the deciding factor to convict.

lmalley77

And apparently Sarrak is either a friend/family member of the accused, or a big time know it all....because ALL of the evidence shown and heard points straight to Clinton!!!

Sarrak

Don't know or want to know the accused. Of course the evidence shown and presented by the government points to the accused that is what their job is to do. If the evidence presented overcomes the presumption of innocence then a conviction occurs; if the evidence presented does not overcome the presumption of innocence then an acquittal occurs - See historically Lizzie Borden and OJ Simpson. I always try to be totally factual in my posts.

red white and blue

Sarrak^^^ u must be related to the accused if I was the judge I wouldn't even waste any more time or tax payers money bring on the lynch mob!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

looking around

I don't think Sarrak is trying to defend Clinton or take sides. What Sarrak is doing is trying to educate those here that have no clue as to how a trial works. Many comments have been made here by seemingly unaware persons who don't understand the importance of the legal maneuvering of both the defense and prosecution. You note they have no animosity towards one another, they do their job and present their case as best they can within the bounds and rules of law. It is up to the Jury to decide innocence or guilt. It is up to the Judge to determine all is in order before instructing the jury. Sarrak has been factually correct in the points made and shows an understanding of the law beyond the emotional posts made here by some.

deertracker

I agree. It is wrong to accuse Sarrak of coming to this guy's defense when she is simply stating facts about the law. It is equally wrong to assume others are posting out of emotion or don't know anything. IMO, if you are truly innocent it is best to allow a judge to decide your fate.

looking around

IMO some comments were made out of emotion and some further displayed their lack of knowledge of the finer points of law and trial.

Gardenman

All the money that has been spent on this trail and the lead ups like keeping this guy in Erie County jail etc. That is our money,,,,,our had earned tax dollars. I bet this Clinton has never worked a long and certainly worked enough to pay for what this trial has cost. My guess,,,,,mom and dae were on on welfare, he is probably on welface, he probably used conntless dollars in Sandusky Schools to tutor him and special ed etc all for what? so he go out and kill three people.

Humans like him are such a waste,,,,,I mean what has he ever done in his life to make the world a better place? Makes you wonder why he was put on earth in the first place.