By Joe Klaas
The Polly Klaas kidnapping-murder trial began yesterday in San Jose, California with a simple statement by Sonoma County Prosecutor Greg Jacobs.
This trial is the story of the last few hours in the life of a 12-year-old girl, Jacobs told the jury. Then followed a meticulous minute-by-minute account of the evidence and events that followed the October 1, 1993, 10:20 p.m. kidnapping at knife-point of Polly from a slumber party in her own bedroom. Richard Allen Davis, on parole for a previous conviction, following several others for knife-and-sex crimes against women in a lifetime career of violent crime, also bound, gagged, and tied pillow-cases over the heads of 12-year-old friends, Kate McLean and Gillian Pelham, while Pollys mother and 7-year-old little sister, Eve and Annie Nichol, slept in the next room of their Petaluma home.
Most of the details were recounted by Jacobs from three video-taped admissions by Davis to former Petaluma Detective Sergeant Mike Meese before, during, and after a December 4 trip to Cloverdale, north of Petaluma where the accused showed where he had hidden Pollys body after admittedly strangling her twice, once with a cloth garrote, again with a rope to make sure.
Jacobs read aloud from a transcript of the video-taped admissions that Davis killed Polly to get rid of her to keep himself from being sent back to prison.
Jacobs promised to present four witnesses who saw Davis near Pollys house around the time of the kidnapping. A scalding piece of testimony, the 911 tape of Pollys mother, Eve, and her friend, Kate, trying to tell a skeptical voice at the other end of the line about the kidnapping, once the girls had struggled free of their bindings, obviously startled the jury and agonized her family clinging to one another in the courts front row.
Details of the bodys decomposition and dismemberment wreaked havoc on her father, Marc, his wife Violet, grandmother B.J. Klaas, grandfathers Joe Klaas and Gene Reed, aunt Eva Cheer, and family friends. The incredibly effective opening argument by the prosecution followed final selection of twelve jurors and five alternates before noon.
The big question now is what could possibly be an effective opening argument Wednesday by the defense in what on the first day seems to be a slam-dunk start by the prosecution.
KlaasKids Foundation P.O. Box 925, Sausalito, CA 94966
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