Friday, March 24, 2006

Littlejohn Arraignment

I've fallen a little behind and don't really have any comments to make regarding this story, but I thought I'd put the latest links and information together in a new entry so it doesn't get lost in the comment section.

The NY Daily News has a thorough article on the arraignment, including this list of evidence from the recently unsealed indictment:
  • Manager at The Falls bar in SoHo says Littlejohn escorted Imette St. Guillen out at 4 a.m. closing time the day she was killed. He recalls hearing the two arguing before they disappeared through a side door.
  • Two witnesses see Littlejohn putting St. Guillen into his minivan outside The Falls.
  • Another witness sees Littlejohn's van make a U-turn at 7:30 p.m. near spot in East New York, Brooklyn, where St. Guillen's body was found.
  • Cell phone records place Littlejohn near the spot where the body was dumped, only an hour before it was discovered.
  • DNA links the defendant to blood found on ties used to bind St. Guillen.
  • Rabbit hair and mink hair fibers discovered on tape wrapped around victim's head are consistent with those from rug and two fur-collared jackets from defendant's apartment.
  • Forensic evidence determines that red carpet fibers found in his apartment are consistent with fibers found in his van and the blanket that wrapped the victim's naked body.
  • Cops say there are no witnesses or other evidence to support Littlejohn's claim that he was visiting his mother on the day of the killing.
Prosecutors say the murder was committed during a sexual assault. Littlejohn faces life in prison without parole if convicted of first degree murder.

Michael Daly provides a vivid account of what went on in the courtroom.
At 2:12 p.m., the door swung soundlessly open. A short, muscular figure wearing a gray sweatsuit scuffled in, hands cuffed, feet shackled. He did not so much as glance at the corner where the St. Guillens sat, but it could be counted as a blessing the mother did not have to meet his bottomless gaze.

"This is No. 14 on the Part 19 calendar, Indictment 1905 of 2006," the clerk called out. "Darryl Littlejohn."

Alejandra seemed to be looking only because she could not look anywhere else. Her hand went to her mouth and her face constricted in pain as if she were feeling some of what her sister must have suffered. Her head dropped and tipped toward her mother.

But at the touch of her brow to her mother's cheek, Alejandra seemed to catch herself. She straightened and raised her head rather than add to the burden of this woman who sat so determinedly stoic beside her.

The mother's mouth tightened and the furrows deepened in her forehead, small signals of absolute anguish. Alejandra rubbed her welling eyes as Littlejohn sat at the defense table.

"How does the defendant plead?" the judge inquired.

"Not guilty," the defense attorney said.

Littlejohn's eyes flickered like cold fire, but he was otherwise motionless. He had the air of a man who was coming to where his whole life had led, who could see all that was to come.

In 15 minutes, the proceedings were concluded and Littlejohn was scuffling back out the side door. The murdered woman's family stepped from the courtroom to face a media mob.
Boston's CBS 4 has video links to Alejandra St. Guillen's statement after the arraignment and their coverage, as well as Darryl Littlejohn's recent interview.

The New York Post gives their take:
Later, when Alejandra spoke, she refused to give him the dignity of a
comment - or even a name.

"Since we know very little about the individual charged with Imette's murder, we have no specific comment on him," she said.

She thanked cops, prosecutors and New Yorkers for their support, as her mother - her lips quivering as if in prayer - stood by her side.

The suffering was palpable.

"Imette was a good person, a kind person," Alejandra said.

"Her heart was full of love, a love she willingly shared with her friends and family. She had a passion for life.

"With Imette's death, the world lost someone very special too soon."

And Boston's channel 7 NBC affiliate, WHDH-Boston, provides the full text of Alejandra's statement.