Dawn Wright was working as a server at a Dairy Queen in Independence on the night of the murder. She testified that Anastasia had waited for a considerable length of time to be picked up by her boyfriend, and that while waiting, Anastasia had borrowed a tampon from her.1 She testified that she had seen three people, two males and one female, arrive to pick Anastasia up, that Anastasia had engaged in an argument with one of the males, and that that male was wearing a black trenchcoat,2 whom she described as looking "goth". Later, Byron Case would identify himself as that individual.3
On cross-examination, Ms. Wright clarified when asked that she did give Anastasia a tampon4 She was further asked about her statement to police that she had seen Anastasia carring what she described as a "long purse" and wearing blue jeans,5 and that while she was animated during her argument with the man in the trench coat, she was not being physically violent.
On redirect, Mr. Lance asked Ms. Wright again about her memory of whether she gave Anastasia a tampon or a feminine napkin; Ms. Wright explained that she did not use the specific word "tampon" because she thought it impolite. Mr. Lance tried to impeach her use of "tampon" based on what she had said two days after the murder.6
On recross, Ms. Crayon asked her why she so specifically remembered the detail of what kind of feminine protection, and Ms. Wright said it was because tampons were the only form she used.7 Mr. Lance did a further redirect8 in which he continued to challenge her memory on the stand.
The significance of the discussion of tampon vs. feminine napkin was that Ms. Wright's testimony of having given Anastasia a tampon was in direct contradiction of the autopsy report explained in the Jackson County Medical Examiner's testimony.9 Mr. Lance attempted to impeach Ms. Wright's memory of the event, and then dismiss the discrepancy as a result of faulty memory. No further conclusions were drawn from Ms. Wright's testimony; however, a theory concerning this testimony in relation to Case's alibi 10 has grown since that time.
THE COURT:Page 815       (Dawn Wright direct testimony)MR. LANCE:Mr. Lance, are you ready to proceed with your evidence?THE COURT:Yes, Sir.MR. LANCE:You may do so.DAWN WRIGHT, having been duly sworn by the court testified:We would call Dawn Wright to the witness stand.
DIRECT EXAMNATION BY MR. LANCE:
Q.A.Good afternoon. For the record, please state your name.Q.Dawn Wright.A.And, Ms. Wright, I'm going to test your memory and ask you to go all the way back to 1997. Okay?Q.Okay.A.In 1997, did you work at the Dairy Queen on 24 Highway out in Independence?Q.Yes.A.And do you still work there?Q.No.A.Where do you work today?Q.O'Reilly Auto Parts.In Independence?
A.Page 816       (Dawn Wright direct testimony)Q.Yeah.A.Back in 1997 when you worked at Dairy Queen, I think you agreed that's on 24 Highway?Q.Uh-huh.A.Yes or no.Q.Yes.A.You're doing fine. And is that the Dairy Queen on 24 Highway that's directly across the entrance to Mount Washington Cemetery?Q.Yes.A.And do you recall the police contacted you and asked you if you had seen any young ladies in the area of Dairy Queen that week, October 22nd, 1997?Q.Yes.A.And can you remember what day of the week the police contacted you?Q.I don't remember the day of the week.A.If I told you Officer Kilgore interviewed you on Friday, the 24th, do you have any disagreement with that?Q.No.All right. Does that make sense? Let me ask it this way: Do recall what night of the week it was you remembered the young lady being in Dairy Queen?
A.Page 817       (Dawn Wright direct testimony)Q.Not really. In the middle of the week.A.All right. Have you had a chance to --Q.I read through the papers there.A.Which is your statement?Q.Yeah. And in the papers it was Wednesday. So Wednesday night that she cxne in.A.All right. You understand we allowed you to read the papers to help refresh your memory?Q.Yeah.A.At least in the paperwork you keep referring to the Wednesday night that the lady, young lady, stopped in?Q.Yeah.A.Do you remember what shift you worked that night?Q.Well, from 4:00 to 10:00, 4:30 to 10:00. I was working two jobs. So.A.Did you work until close?Q.Yeah.A.So on this particular Wednesday night you worked until Dairy Queen closed?Q.Yes.And when the police approached you on Friday, did they ask you if there had been any young teen-age girls in the area of Dairy Queen that previous Wednesday?
A.Page 818       (Dawn Wright direct testimony)Q.He came in and he showed everybody a picture of her in the restaurant. And when he showed me, he asked me if I had seen her. And I said, "Yes, that she was in here a couple of nights.A.So you recognized the picture of the victim?Q.Yes.A.At that time did the officer inform you that this person, this young lady, had been the victim of a homicide?Q.Well, yeah. At first it was that she was, you know -- I thought it was just that she was missing. I guess he really didn't say anything to me about it. But then yeah, he said that she was murdered.Ms. CRAYON:Had been murdered.MR. LANCE:Your Honor, I'm going to --BY MR. LANCE:All right.
Q.A.When he showed you the photo of the victim, are you sure it was the same lady that had been at Dairy Queen Wednesday night?Q.Yes.A.Didn't have any trouble recognizing?No.
Q.Page 819       (Dawn Wright direct testimony)A.Was it a picture of a young girl you had seen around town before?Q.No, just that one night.A.It was a stranger?Q.Yes.A.But you remembered that young lady came into Dairy Queen that Wednesday night?Q.Yes.A.And was there anything significant that happened that Wednesday night that would help you remember talking to her?Well, she had been in there for a little while, and she hasn't bought anything; and she was just sitting there. And I asked her if there was anything that she needed, if I could get her anything, that she needed help with anything. And she asked me if she could use the bathroom, and she went to use the restroom. And she came back out and she asked me if I had a pad or a Tampon, and I didn't have anything there. But I just lived maybe a minute and a half, two minutes away, so I called my ex-husband and I had him bring up a Tampon down for her. And she went in the bathroom, and she came back out, and she said thanks.
Q.Page 820       (Dawn Wright direct testimony)A.You weren't paid for this feminine item?Q.No.A.You just did that out of the kindness --Q.Yeah.A.And did you consider that something significant that helped you remember speaking to this young lady?MS. CRAYON:Yeah, that, and I mean just we had a further conversation into she had asked me if she could --THE COURT:Your Honor, excuse me. I don't mean to interrupt, I'm going to object to any hearsay at this time.Come on up.THE COURT:(Counsel approached the bench and the following proceedings were had:)I'll be glad to rule on the objections. There has been hearsay and leading going on like a house afire in this trial so, if we're going to start playing by the rules, we're going to play by the rules and it's going to go both ways. There is all kinds of theories -- I'll do it, but there is all kinds of theories where it's maybe hearsay, maybe it's not hearsay, and so I'm just --
MS. CRAYON:Page 821       (Dawn Wright direct testimony)THE COURT:If you're going to be making that ruling on your own without an objection, I'll withdraw it.MS. CRAYON:No, no, no. I'll rule. I'll be glad to rule on the objection and I'll be glad to hear what his theory is. I'm just saying that we have been hearing all kinds of stuff from both sides that arguably is hearsay, and there's not been an objection to it. So I don't know if that -- anyway.THE COURT:I just ask it be limited. I don't know how much detail.MS. CRAYON:I'll be glad to rule on the objection, I'm just making a comment, because, if we're going to --MR. LANCE:I just don't know how much he's going to go into.THE COURT:Perhaps if I clarify where I was going, I did want to ask her that this young girl had mentioned some displeasure with her boyfriend. Cover that issue. I can see how the hearsay objection might arise from that comment.Okay. I'm not discouraging you from objecting.
MS. CRAYON:Page 822       (Dawn Wright direct testimony)THE COURT:I understand.MS. CRAYON:Candidly, a lot of the stuff that has come in is arguably hearsay, what have been probably admissible to explain people's conduct and a variety of things. I'm just saying, when you have the actions of these people, you have a case that's -- you know, one of the problems you got is that you got a case that's five years old.
So that dictates a lot of this tesfimony being, you know, kind of bordering on the hearsay issue. So anyway -- but I'm not discouraging anybody objecting. So, if you want to -- do you want to object to that testimony?THE COURT:To the narrative nature of his question, if he wants to narrow it down, I'll see if I'll object.All right. Object if you want to.BY MR. LANCE:(The proceedings returned to open court.)
Q.Page 823       (Dawn Wright direct testimony)A.Ms. Wright, other than providing a sanitary napkin to this young lady, was there anything else significant that happened that night that helped you remember her?Q.She was just sitting there for awhile. I had went out to my car to smoke a cigarette, and she went out to use the pay phone and a few minutes later some people pulled up in a car in front of the building and I was over here.A.All right. Before we get there, do you know how long the young lady had waited around for these people to show up?Q.I am really not sure. It's been a long time.A.But long enough you noticed her hanging out at the Dairy Queen area?Q.Yes, yes.A.Now, you had testified you provided --- you and your husband provided a sanitary napkin for her. Can you be sure whether or not that napkin was even used?Q.Well, I went to the bathroom shortly after to wash my hands, and there was a wrapper in the trash.A.A what?Q.A wrapper in the trash.It appeared to match the product you had provided to her?
A.Page 824       (Dawn Wright direct testimony)Q.Yeah.A.All right. Now, tell us what happened when her ride showed up?Q.Some people got out of the car. They was in the front of the building. Like I said, I was over here on this side. I was parked up against the carpet place, and they was back here in front of the building. And I was watching out of my rearview mirror, and she got up and come out of the Dairy Queen and met some people on the side of the store there. And she seemed like she had been arguing with somebody, and they sat there for a few minutes and then left.A.All right.Q.I didn't see what way they went or --A.That's fine. Now, before her ride showed up, did she buy anything at the Dairy Queen?Q.No.A.Can you recall if whether or not she was carrying a billfold or purse?Q.She had a purse with her.A.you remember what it looked like?It was a big brown purse.
Q.Page 825       (Dawn Wright direct testimony)A.When her ride did finally show up, do you remember how many people were there that picked her up?Q.I'm pretty sure there was three.A.And three people. Do you remember guys, girls?Q.Two guys and a girl. I remember they were all wearing dark clothing. They looked gothic, I guess you could say.A.Do you remember, there were two guys and a girl?Q.Yeah.A.Can you remember about what time it was these people picked up the young lady?Q.It was in the 9 o'clock vicinity. Whether it was 9 p.m. or 9:45 p.m. I'm not sure, but it was in the 9 o'clock vicinity, because we was getting ready to close within an hour, and we start our closing procedures an hour early down there.A.Before her ride showed up, had this young lady expressed any displeasure about her boyfriend?Q.Yes.A.What do you remember her telling you?They had been in an argument, because they had plans that night, and she couldn't get a ride over there to him. So she had gotten out to the Dairy Queen, called him and asked if he could come and pick her up.
Page 826       (Dawn Wright direct testimony)Q.And he said that he had already made plans with his best friend, and she was upset. And she asked me, if I was in that position, what I would do, and I told her.A.All right. This also helped you remember what she looked like, having this conversation with her?Q.Yeah.A.You said, when the two guys and the girl showed up, there may have been some arguing? What did you see?Q.I just seen a lot of hand flailing, and she -- just the look on her face looked like she was upset.A.Could you tell if her displeasure was directed at whole group of three people or one of the individuals in that group of three people?Q.I didn't see her talking to anybody but the one guy, and he was in a long trench coat, and that was the only guy that I actually seen her talking to. I didn't see her really saying anything to anybody else.Don't let me put words in your mouth. Are you saying, from her hands flailing, and the way she was talking, you felt she was arguing with this one guy?
A.Page 827       (Dawn Wright cross-examination)Q.Yeah.A.Did that start just as soon as they showed up to pick her up?Q.Yeah. She walked out the door, and she said a couple of words like -- I mean, I was pretty far back so I'm not -- I don't know what she said. I couldn't hear anything, but I could tell they were arguing. If anybody has ever been in an argument before.A.Fair enough. I'm about ready to wrap up. Before her ride showed up, did she use the pay phone there at Dairy Queen?Q.Yeah. She used the pay phone quite a few times that night.A.That was what I was leading up to. Can you estimate how many times this young lady used the pay phone at Dairy Queen that night?Q.Four or five.MR. LANCE:All right.THE COURT:No further questions.MS. CRAYON:Cross Examination.CROSS EXAMNATION BY MS. CRAYON:Just briefly, Judge.
Q.Ms. Wright, we just met a few minutes ago in the hallway, didn't we?
A.Page 828       (Dawn Wright cross-examination)Q.Yes.A.I just want to clarify something. What did you loan the victim? Was it --Q.It was a Tampon.A.So it was not a feminine napkin?Q.No. It was a Tampon. And I know I told that guy that I just couldn't think of a polite name.A.I just wanted to make sure I understood. The other thing was, at the time you're talking about, it was dark out, wasn't it?Q.Yeah.A.And the view that you had of who picked her up was through a rearview mirror across the parking lot?Q.Yeah. Here is Dairy Oueen right here. Okay? I was parked over here. There was a carpet building. I was parked up against that. They were parked right back here.A.Okay. So it's a parking lot that you're looking through; is that fair?Q.Yes, right, yes.A.And you described I believe the car as a long car, a four-door long car?Yeah. I could see the back of the car is all that I could really see.
Q.Page 829       (Dawn Wright cross-examination)A.And you talked about I think in your statement that there was a Chevy Impala that your boyfriend or your husband at the time had or something?Q.Yeah. The rear-end of the car, that's what it reminded me of.A.Okay. And so it wouldn't have been a compact little two-door car that you remember seeing?Q.I don't know. I'm not really sure. I mean the car -- I don't remember if there was two cars parked back behind there or not. There was only enough space for like two or three cars back there. I might have been looking at the wrong one, but the one I had seen was longer in the back.A.Okay. And, in fact, when Detective Sergeant Kilgore contacted you, he contacted you not only on the 24th, which would have been that Friday, but he also contacted you the next morning a little before 10 in the morning; is that fair?Q.Yes.A.And at that time he asked you for a description of what the girl looked like, what she was wearing, things like that, right?Yes.
Q.Page 830       (Dawn Wright cross-examination)A.And you described this purse as a long brown purse; is that right?Q.Yes.A.And you described her clothing to him as best you could as well; didn't you?Q.Yes.A.And the clothing description that you gave was that she had on a pair of baggy, light colored jeans; is that right?Q.Yes.A.And they drug on the floor?Q.Yeah. They were kind of like almost -- not really a bell-bottom type pants, but they were bigger at the bottom. They weren't tapered.A.And so you remember -- and this was actually two days after you saw her that you gave this description, right?Q.Yes.A.And you described some sandals I believe her wearing; is that right?Q.Yes.A.With socks?Q.Yes.Forgive me since I can't find my report.
Page 831       (Dawn Wright redirect testimony)A.Do you recall anything other than the long brown purse that you talked about and the light blue jeans that kind of drug on the floor, do you recall anything else? I know you were looking at your reports a few minutes ago.Q.She was just wearing a jacket. I mean she had I don't know if it was a heavy coat or just a jacket, but I never seen a T shirt or a sweater or anything like that. I just seen her coat and her jeans and her shoes and her purse.A.Okay. And you finally -- you just described this flailing of the hands or anything. Nobody was hitting anybody or anything like that?Q.No.A.You just got the impression she was upset with whoever was in this long trench coat?Q.Yes. I kind of figured it was her boyfriend.A.Based on information that you were given in there, right?MS. CRAYON:Yes.THE COURT:Okay. I don't have anythmg further. Thank you.MR. LANCE:Mr. Lance.REDIRECT EXAMNATION BY MR. LANCE:Brief redirect.
Q.Page 832       (Dawn Wright redirect testimony)A.Ms. Wright, just a couple more questions. I know you need to get out of here. I know this is a weird topic, but I need to ask you about the tampon, Maxipad thing again. When Detective Kilgore interviewed you in 1997, did you say you gave the young lady a Maxipad?Q.Probably.A.Okay. Well, would it help refresh your memory to look at it?Q.Yeah, I looked at it out there.A.You understand this was tape recorded?Q.Yes.A.So you're on tape saying that. Did you tell Detective Kilgore that what you gave the young lady was, quote, a pad, a maxi pad, feminine napkin?Q.I was trying to think of a decent way -- I mean a Tampon just doesn't -- I was trying to be polite about it. I guess I should have just said a Tampon, but it's a Tampon.A.In 1997, on tape, did you say a pad, a Maxipad, a feminine napkin?Q.Yes.When the police questioned you, was it clear in your mind at least that that's the girl that had been at Dairy Queen two nights earlier?
A.Page 833       (Dawn Wright redirect testimony)MR. LANCE:Yes.THE COURT:Nothing further.RECROSS EXAMINATION MS. CRAYON:Ms. Crayon.
Q.A.Ms. Wright, why is it today that you think it was Tampon? What makes you so certain?Ms. CRAYON:Well, I've hardly ever -- well, when I first started my period when I was 12 I wore a pad, but since I was about 13 or 14, I've never wore nothing but a Tampon. So that's how I know for positive.FURTHER REDIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. LANCE:Okay. Thank you.
Q.A.Real quick. Ms. Wright, would your memory -- I think this is a fair question. Would your memory have been better on October 24th 1997 or today, four years later?Q.Well, I'm sure it would have been better in 1997, and I probably should have clearly specified more I guess, but I mean --A.Would your memory have been better in 1997?Yes.
MR. LANCE:THE COURT:That's all I have.MS. CRAYON:Anything further from Ms. Wright?THE COURT:No, Your Honor. No further questions.Thank you, Ms. Wright. Appreciate your testimony.(The witness was excused.)