A preliminary hearing was held, and relying only on police reports and un-analyzed physical evidence, and what turned out to be unreliable witness accounts from the personnel employed at night club where the incident took place, a determination of probable cause was established and the case was handed up to District Court for trial.
On Feb. 6, 2014 Mr. John Daily of Jackson Hole Investigations Inc. was engaged by the State to investigate the evidence and file a report. Mr. Daily, a recognized forensic expert routinely deals with the science of physical evidence, had been used by the State as an investigator and expert witness many times in the past. The State asked Daily to answer two questions; 1) Why Knospler did not simply drive away from the confrontation, and 2) Did Knospler shoot through a closed window, or was it already broken. In July 2014 Daily's report became available to the defense.
The report filed by Daily of his investigation cast some question as to the propriety of the establishment of "probable cause" at the preliminary hearing. But this came 8 to 9 months after the case had been handed up to District Court.
The defense prepared a letter asking for dismissal, on the grounds that the State's own expert's report was sufficient to remove probable cause, was filed with the District Court which, then Assistant District Attorney Stensaas, who was handling the case, seems to have supported. The request was denied by the District Court, claiming it had no authority to dismiss a case for lack of probable cause, once probable cause had been established.
An appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court upheld the District Court's position, partly on the grounds that a rule allowing a District Court to remove probable cause after it had been established in a lower Court, would create a means whereby any newly discovered evidence, no matter how insignificant, would likely result in a motion to dismiss, and would clog the wheels of justice and the court system, but also noted that if "no probable cause was present", WS rule 3.8 (a) is in effect, and the defendant must freed.
The district court had no authority to remove probable cause and since the case had been handed up, the circuit court had no jurisdiction. The defendant was denied the motion.
This response side-stepped the issue by stating the obvious regarding a lack of probable cause, and failed to answer the question, "Should not the District Court be free, in light of new or seemingly exculpatory evidence, to remove "probable cause" and effect dismissal, even though it was established at a preliminary hearing in a lower court, at a time when expert forensic opinion was not yet available, and in light of the fact that the District Court has Original Jurisdiction and is charged with establishing and maintaining the status of probable cause consistent with the value of the evidence as it undergoes analysis?
Is it in the interest of justice for the State's Expert's report to be considered of such little importance, that it should be regarded as a nuisance and omitted even if it contains exculpatory evidence, not available at the preliminary hearing?
During the foregoing, District Attorney Blonigen learned of Assistant District Attorney Stensaas' apparent inclination to dismiss the case, and promptly removed Stensaas from the case all together, taking over the case himself, and placed Mr. Stensaas on a 90 day leave, presumably to prevent him from testifying against the State while an employee of the State. Mr. Stensaas seems to have disappeared and perhaps was forced to resign. We understand now from our sources that Mr. Stensaas has now left Casper and has taken a position in the District Attorney's Office in Buffalo, Wyoming.
At the very least, "Should the district court not be free to hand the case back down to the lower court for reconsideration or remediation, thereby not clogging the wheels of justice with appeals to the Supreme Court? We find it incredible that probable cause is a one-way-street. We would fully expect that a suspect could be released for lack of probable cause at a preliminary hearing and then be re-arrested and charged when evidence supporting probable cause became available.We realize that an argument of Criminal Procedure is a matter for the legislature to resolve.
Mr. Daily, the State's expert witness, testified against the State, unequivocally stating that "the window was punched out [sic]; Baldwin was partially in the car". His opinion and testimony are that the dispersion of glass within the car is consistent with a window punched in from the outside, and lacerations on the victim's right hand and upper arm were consistent with the kind of lacerations made by the corners of irregular cubic dice-like chunks of glass, typically produced when tempered side window automobile glass is shattered. With no other way out of the car, "...Knospler tried to drive away from the confrontation with Baldwin, but was not able to do so because he lost traction on the snowy surface...” thereby, he purposely sought an alternate end to the incident. Knospler's attempt to escape the attack and leave the parking lot indicates that he held no Malice. In an attempt to escape the Baldwin attack, he moved the car forward 7.2 feet, by Daily's account, but could go no further. Then and only then, using the only option he had left, that could secure his safety and his life from Baldwin's threat and attack, he resorted to the pistol on the seat beside him.
A bullet does not break a tempered glass window in the same way that a fist does. A bullet punches a small hole and carries a shower of fine glass particles forward at a high velocity. At close range the shower of glass particles will likely embed in clothing and skin, causing a stippling (more) of the skin in the vicinity of the entrance wound. There was no evidence of stippling or glass particles found embedded in the clothing or skin in the vicinity of the entrance wound, nor in the wound track of the victim. From this we can conclude that the bullet did not pass through a glass window before it struck the victim, as is the State's Theory.
How could the right hand and arm, positioned laterally away from the center of the body, have been cut by glass fragments, while the face, neck, torso and clothing, directly in the line of fire and in close proximity to the entrance wound, escape all exposure from glass shards and particles? Daily's testimony answered that question. Baldwin punched in the window with a closed fist, strewing glass fragments across the dash board, front seats and across the interior of the car; some fragments flying so far as to land in the map pouch of the passenger side door. He then tried to clear remaining glass from the window opening in an effort to gain entry to the vehicle, and may have been hampered by the car moving forward at the same time. It is reasonable to conclude that his arm was in the car nearly up to the shoulder since he had lacerations on the upper arm near the shoulder.
Insoluble shards of glass would not have been washed out and glass would be imbedded in the fabric and around the T-shirt defect. Remember the shards of glass were noted in the wounds of the right hand and on the surface of the right arm as viewed in the autopsy photos, but never mentioned in John Carvers report. Evidence of glass is absent in the close up the photograph of Baldwin's entrance defect and in the immediate area of the T-Shirt's neck line and defect. The prosecution failed to produce evidence of glass shards and/or stippling from glass particles that would be present on the victim's skin, nor evidence of glass embedded in the clothing , that would result from a gun shot through a glass window at close range.
Carvers report also stated "focal sparse black particulate is in the subcutaneous tissue." This material in the subcutaneous tissue was not tested for residual gunpowder; much like the "refractile material" was not tested for silicon dioxide. Was this done purposely to allow the prosecution to manipulate the findings to fit a predetermined outcome? Was the defense team negligent by not hiring an independent contractor to investigate this evidence?
Did John Carver and the prosecution purposely misrepresent evidence and mislead the court to believe that the abrasion collar and the soot ring were one and the same? Whereas the soot ring surrounds the abrasion collar and the two are separate entities. An example of the "abrasion collar" is depicted in Picture 1 and the soot ring is depicted in Pictures 3 and 4. Did the State intentionally obscure, ignore and omit the details reported by their own investigator?
Rain, sleet, snow and EMT responder's, attempting resuscitation with chest compressions, would have driven any glass particles even deeper into Baldwin's body and clothing, and would have been present, in spite of the fact that the body was left in the parking lot overnight, covered with a tarp. There was no evidence at all supporting the State's Theory that the victim was shot through a closed window.
As the defense stated, "The government has unlimited resources ...” why did they fail to use them? If District Attorney Blonigen was in search of the truth instead of satisfying his ego, and maintaining his position at the public trough, he would have ordered all the tests needed to arrive at the truth. Was he concerned that a through examination of the evidence and an investigation that went too far might reveal information damaging to the State's case?
The defense queried, why did the State, with its unlimited resources, not peruse another Professional Investigation to analyze the evidence and ascertain the truth? Is it because the State expected the same results that the Daily Report produced; exculpatory evidence, the loss of probable cause and dismissal? It surely is not in the State's best interest to lock-up defendants that are not guilty of the charges. However it is important for the prosecutor to demonstrate that he is keeping the citizens safe from criminal activity and above all justify his professional position.
Conclusions about glass:
From the photographs, it is clear that a considerable amount of glass was scattered and dispersed throughout the interior of Knospler's vehicle; from the dashboard, to the floor behind the front seat, and from the driver's side door to the passenger's side door, and even into the map pouch of the passenger's side door panel. Literally, the entire front passenger compartment was strewn with glass particles, with the heaviest concentration in the immediate vicinity of the driver’s seat.
Particles or shards of glass were never found in Baldwin’s face, neck, torso or clothing, or along the wound channel. Because microscopic examination was never conducted for glass powder and fine glass particles that may have been present had he been shot through a closed glass window? To search for and “not find" such evidence would have been exculpatory, and would have destroyed the theory that Baldwin was shot through a closed window.
There are literally hundreds of slow motion films available on the Internet showing a shower of fine glass fragments and particles the size of rice, sand and dust carried forward by a bullet passing through glass. At close range the victim's face, neck, upper torso and clothing would likely have been exposed to a shower of fine glass particles had the bullet passed through a glass window before striking the victim.
Lies and Deception:
"Misleading Lies" are generally defined as an intentional attempt to mis-lead or deceive or to cause another person to reach a conclusion contrary to the truth.
A reference to "Lies of Omission" is found in the oath, a witness takes in court ...to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."
A prosecutor is not only an advocate for the State, but also a minister of justice. Would not a prosecutor who's remarks, include words and statements not founded in fact, but in hyperbole, supposition and innuendo then constitute a lie and an attempt to trick a jury into finding a verdict contrary to reality, and further would not the prosecutor's action qualify as prosecutorial misconduct?
Our government... teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. - Justice Brandeis
Blonigen, throughout the trial, maintained that Knospler shot through the car window, while Baldwin was, "standing outside, tapping on the window", innocently wanting to get into his car.
Blonigen's euphemisms were contradicted by Dr. Judy Melinek when she testified, regarding the entrance and exit wounds of the bullet, “He was clearly leaning over”; and if he was "Standing", Knospler would have to have been standing on the roof of the car when he shot; and John Daily's statement, "he was in the car after punching out the window".
Blonigen said Baldwin was "drunk but happy guy" while celebrating his birthday, but described Knospler dancing in the rain shirtless outside the strip club early in the evening, arguing with patrons and trying to buy cocaine from the staff at Rack's. Eyewitness accounts at the trial recall Blonigen, on numerous occasions, referring to Baldwin as just a "Happy Drunk", as if being intoxicated is rather cute, and makes one automatically innocent and harmless.
Blonigen also suggested that Knospler did not have to sleep in the parking lot but, as he had cash in his pocket, he could have gone to a motel to sleep. So what? Was Knospler not free to sleep in his own car in a parking lot, if that was his choice? What the players in this story "could" had done, has nothing to do with what was done.
Piles of Glass:
During the trial, the prosecutor referred to the amount of glass that was found on the ground, outside the vehicle, as "piles of glass". The State placed the glass collected from the parking lot into evidence, and an investigator from the police department, on the witness stand, was asked to quantify the amount of glass recovered from the parking lot. He poured the glass from a paper bag into a plastic container and testified that it was about 1/2 of a coffee cup full. This evidence was not passed around to the jury for their inspection. Never was the glass from inside Knospler's vehicle, collected and presented to the court for equal scrutiny and evaluation.
One might ask the prosecutor, "How much glass is in a "pile", and how many "piles" was he talking about? The use of the word "piles" is mis-leading, deceptive, ambiguous, hyperbolic, has no relationship to the facts and is clearly intended to leave a jury with the impression that there was a great deal more glass outside of the car on the ground, than anywhere else, thus implying or inferring at the same time, that this condition could only result from a gun shot fired through a closed window.
Was the word "piles" and its implications said purposely and with intent, or did it somehow accidentally emit from the prosecutor's mouth without his knowledge?
There appears to be more glass on the driver's seat alone, than the "piles of glass" that would fill a coffee cup half way.
In order to evaluate this evidence quantitatively, would not an unbiased investigator collect all the glass found on the ground and all the glass found inside the car and express each as a percentage of the total amount of glass recovered? It is understandable that the prosecutor’s investigators would not be inclined to pursue a rigorous study of the glass evidence, as that could only damage the prosecutor’s case by proving that the force applied from outside the car, when the window was punched in by the victim, forced more glass into the car, (in the direction of the applied force) than subsequently fell outside the car when the victims arm and hand were withdrawn. Additionally such a study would deprive the prosecutor of the word "piles", and the ambiguity he relied on. The jurors only heard about "piles" of glass found outside the car.
One might make the case that the defense can still make a through quantitative evaluation of glass evidence, and if the total glass recovered does not reasonably equal the weight of a replacement window, then the missing glass would have been inside the vehicle to begin with, and lost on the road such as when Knospler was stopped by the police and arrested, or during the transportation and impoundment and inspection of the car.
Daily testified that several lacerations on the victims right arm, extending nearly to the shoulder, were of size, shape and characteristic of lacerations known to be made by the square edges and corners of small cube shaped (dice-like) chunks of glass that are normally created when tempered automobile side window glass is broken.
The prosecution produced the County Coroner as a witness, who when asked if the lacerations on the victims arm "could" have been made when the victim fell to the ground, where diced glass may have landed during the break-in, or, as Daily had testified. The Coroner said it could have happened "either way", thus admitting that he could not tell how it happened. In effect he neutralized his own testimony and credibility on this point, and certainly failed to support the State's Theory.
It should be fairly obvious that someone collapsing to the snow covered ground, on which 1/2 cup of diced glass was spread over several square feet, would have suffered more of a puncture-like wound, if wounded at all, than to receive the gash-like wounds found on Baldwin's right hand and arm. If the glass cubes were spread out on top of the snow, then the force of a collapsing body would press the glass cubes deeper into the snow which would act as a cushion and thereby reduce the impulse of force between the glass and the skin of the person collapsing.
Gashing wounds would be created from thrashing about while the arm is thrust into a window and withdrawn from a broken window before all the glass is cleared from channels that support the window glass. This type wound would be typical of someone fighting to overpower the occupant or unlock the door from the inside, in an attempt to gain entrance and commandeer a car. All of this is consistent with Knospler's account of what happened.
The Coroner's testimony that these injuries "could" be sustained by falling to the snow covered ground, where a small amount of diced glass cubes had fallen is pure poppy-cock.
During the trial, the coroner, police, and detectives, testifying for the State, were evasive, and resorted to the often used, "I don't recall" or "it could be possible"; phrases typically heard in the trials and interrogations of mobsters. But, there was little trouble recalling opinion and supposition when making statements regarding issues not in evidence; opinions not supported with evidence or hard facts.
Some of the State's witnesses appeared to be coached and signaled by their handlers, District Attorney Blonigen and his staff. During cross examination, and after answering, several witness attempted to make eye contact with the State's attorneys, appearing to look for a nod of acceptance from the District Attorney or his team for giving the "right answer".
Nearly all night club personnel who gave statements at the scene, turned out not to have witnessed anything, and under cross examination most of their testimonies impugned their statements. A bouncer at the night club, who may have seen the most, said he saw the victim leaning into the car through what he thought was a driver’s side open window, He may well have seen enough to be able to say that Baldwin was leaning into the car through the missing drivers side window that he had just punched in, as testified to by Mr. Daily. The bouncer's testimony is consistent with Knospler's account of what happened. When the victim fell to the ground, the bouncer after going out to see what was going on said he thought Baldwin had been stabbed.
Gun Shot Residue (GSR):
Laboratory GSR tests were conducted at distances of 3", 6", 9" and out to 24" all under controlled laboratory conditions. The results could hardly be expected to match tests of evidence samples taken at the scene, where water soluable GSR evidence would be affected by bleeding, the wiping effect of towels applied to the wound by employees of Rack's and the washing out and diluting effects of rain and melting ice and snow, by the EMT's attempts to revive Baldwin and being left out all night covered by a tarp in the parking lot.
The conclusion drawn from the tests was that the defendant was more than 24" from Baldwin, or there was "a barrier present, such as window glass, that protected the victim from exposure to GSR. Trace amounts of GSR were found but the State's Theory cannot stand in the light of that pesky fact and it was dismissed as being "too little" to be considered.
An unidentified substance resembling a collar surrounded the entrance wound, and was claimed by the prosecution to be "refractile" residue. Tests were never performed on this substance to establish the presence of silicon dioxide, the major component of glass.
The explanation that the prosecutor planted in the jury's mind: A glass residue was deposited on the bullet as it passed through the glass window; then as the bullet penetrated the victim's skin, the glass residue was wiped from the bullet, and deposited on the skin, thus seemingly proving the window was closed when the shot occurred. The "refractile" substance could later be explained by the jury Forman as "glass" from a closed window.
Daily testified that it appeared to him as a "Contact Wound", contradicting the Prosecutions position that Knospler shot through the car window.
Medium or Indeterminate range gunshot entrance wounds are characterized by gunpowder stippling, but no soot ring surrounding the abrasion collar. These typically occur when the weapon is greater than 12 in. but less than about 3 ft from the skin. Once the weapon is more than about 3 ft from the skin or clothing surface, gunpowder particles do not typically have enough energy to produce stipple injuries. Gunshot entrance wounds without an associated soot ring or gunpowder stippling are referred to as ‘distant’ wounds, meaning the shot was taken from more than about 3 ft away. The preferred term used by many forensic pathologists is indeterminate, since closer range shots where the soot and gunpowder is totally blocked by clothing or some other interposed barrier may produce identical appearing wounds.
Gun shot range could not be determined from the amount of GSR found on Baldwin's shirt. The top of the inside door panel of the driver's side door tested negative for GSR. Had the window been closed, as the prosecutor claims, and with nothing to block GSR from reaching and clinging to the inside door panel, the test for GSR would have been positive. But being partially in the car, Baldwin's body blocked the GSR from reaching the inside door panel.
Shooting a pistol from the driver's seat of a modern car is not as easy as you might expect. The shooter is trapped between the door and the console; there is not much room. For an average size right handed man to shoot with the arms extended and elbows locked for example, would require that the driver's side window be open because, with arms extended the pistol will be outside of the car, even when leaning back over the console. The photograph shows a guy leaning back and pointing the pistol at approx. 45 deg angle, and the muzzle is already beyond the window line. The distance perpendicular to the window is approx. 70% of the the distance from any point along the hypotenuse you care to measure from. In the case before us, the pistol was approx. perpendicular to the window, judging by the allignment of the entrance and exit wounds on the victim. We can conclude that Knospler's arm(s) were not outstreched but bent at the elbow(s), and the pistol had to be held close to his chest. The pistol was found by the police to be in a stovepiped condition, meaning there was not enough inertial backup, for the recoil to react against, and clear the spent cartridge. This analysis supports Daily's conclusion that the wound was a contact wound.
The jury of Knospler's peers consisted of 10 women and 2 men, one of the men a lawyer; not exactly peers. The lawyer found a way to become the jury's spokesman. According to eyewitnesses at the trial, there were times that some of the jury seemed to be nodding off. Yes, appearing to have fallen asleep.
When the jury returned with the verdict after only two hours of deliberations, the women were visibly shaken, most showing signs of either crying or of having been crying recently. Every woman that wept on that jury when the verdict was read and the jury polled, wept with remorse. Who among us has seen jurists, or for that matter anyone, cry when they know in their heart they have done the right thing or made the right decision? No, they were visibly upset because they did not want to make that decision but were in some way threatened, coerced or convinced by someone with an agenda who took control of their rationality, their common sense, and convinced them that what they heard and saw of the physical facts in evidence, and the State's own expert witnesse's testimony against the State's Theory, during the trial, was not the reality.
That an opinion or claim, formed from a noumenon, an unknowable, intangible, mystic concept, such as the frame of mind of a person who is intoxicated and sleeping, epistemologically trumps or outranks the factual, observable phenomenon in the real world, is an insult to the idea that man is a Rational being, capable of Reasoning by the use of Logic.
There was someone on that jury who through the whole process acted like this was his big chance to make a difference of some kind. Someone who knows the ins and outs of the legal system and knows where the weaknesses of men and women lie.
Those of us who have personally sat on a jury, know the resolve and the mind set of honest people when they convict some one who is clearly guilty, and deep their heart they know they made the correct decision. These women did not feel that way......conviction was lacking.
Something transpired iduring deliberations and any of the jurists involved need to come forward and speak about it. If you choose to hide this act of misconduct, the Blonigen syndicate will continue to intimidate and coerce Jurists by proxy. The next time you or your family get stuck out in a snow storm and have to shelter in place, think about a mad delusional drunk smashing in your car window and threatening to kill you or your family.
For a conviction of 2nd degree murder, the State must prove Malice; with the defendant in a state of mind (mens rea) of hatred, ill will or hostility. The lesser charge of Manslaughter would require the State to prove "heat of passion"; and Involuntary Manslaughter would require the State prove "recklessness"; all beyond a reasonable doubt. None of the requirements for conviction of any of the possible homocide charges were met!
Statements made at Rack's:
Several statements, about Knospler's experiences regarding people killed in foreign lands, were reported in the Hatcher and Ellis reports. Andujar, a bouncer at Rack's, came over to where Knospler and Carroll were talking and said something to Knospler about getting feisty, and he, Andujar, does not like to fight. According to Carroll Abaunza, she overheard Knospler say to Andujar something about, "... killing someone..."; Knospler started laughing and then said "just kidding". This remark was made to Andujar, after Andujar had approached Knospler and implied that he, Andujar, was prepared to fight with Knospler even though he, Andujar, "... does not like to fight". There was no indication that Knospler was getting unruly, so what motivated Andujar to make that remark?
Andujar reported to Det. Ellis that he, Andujar, had received complaints that Knospler had been speaking about having killed numerous people, and journeys to third world countries where he, Knospler, had killed people. For some reason, Andujar failed to mention to Ellis that Knospler had made a similar remark directly to Andujar; the remark that Carroll overheard. The number of complaints and the complainer's names are unknown; not identified by Andujar, and may well be the result of some exaggeration by Andujar, as at least one of the number of complaints he referrs to is the one he heard directly from Knospler.
Knospler was in the Marine Corps for 8 years, and did two tours of duty during the Iraq War, and afterward was involved in the instruction and training of military units and freedom fighters in Africa. Some missions involved locating and targeting insurgent convoys and terrorist groups from Iran into Iraq, that were then struck by any number of means from ground forces, artillery and air strikes. It is not necessary to shoot people in order to kill people. A lot of people were killed, and every man taking part in a war is a part of the destruction and the killing.
Let's not forget that since 1941 America has been in a virtual state of perpetual war, with untold millions of military personnel having been trained to bust stuff and "kill people". And when these men come back to civilian life they often talk about their experiences, called "war stories", and some even embellish and exaggerate on those stories; kind of like saying, "... so I'm not somebody you want to mess around with." Some "war stories" are even a little more than simple embellishments.
For example, you may recall Attorney General Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut, who at a ceremony honoring Veterans, made reference to the days when he served in Vietnam. When that fact was checked, it was discovered from the records, that he obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to Vietnam at all.
But for those honorable among us, we often relate to our times in the military, both the good and the bad, and especially, according to some therapists, for those Veterans with PTSD, telling about their wartime experiences in the military can be therapeutic.
The defense stipulated that the state had not met its burden to prove second-degree murder and that the court acquit Knospler of the charges. They cited that the State did not prove Malice or acting out of heat of passion. Judge Sullins stated that "...the court did not see an "insufficiency of evidence" and that he would deny the motion to acquit".
At that juncture, we agree with Judge Sullins; there was not an "insufficiency of evidence", there was overwhelming evidence to support aquittal, on the basis that the evidence of fact the State presented to support its theory of absence of "legal justification" had been completely discredited. Without proof of, “hatred, ill will, or hostility", or absence, of "legal justification" only "legal justification" remains. We presume the Judge was referring to factual, real world evidence, not the illusionary construct Blonigen was about to introduce.
Now comes Blonigen stating that "... they had proved Malice as it was inferred by Knospler’s alleged statements of killing people and shooting people while speaking with patrons at Rack Gentlemen’s Club."
Blonigen's remark bears scrutiny on two important points.
There is only one reference to the phrase "shooting people" in the entire case, and that was made by Blonigen himself, as cited above. We find no reference to that phrase in any of Knospler's statements or the statements from Rack's employees. Blonigen added that phrase, to do a little embellishment of his own, and make a stronger, and subliminal association between Knospler and the "shooting" of Baldwin in the mind of the jury.
At the beginning of this trial, the State's Theory was that Baldwin was shot through a closed car window, constituting Malice, and therefore this was not a case of "legal justification", (Self Defense). For several days, the analysis of the physical evidence and the expert testimony clearly proved the State's Theory lacked all credibility. In addition, the physical evidence that would have had to exist, if the State's Theory was correct, was absent. The State failed to prove the absence of "legal justification". The defense disproved the State's Theory thereby effectively proving it was a case of Self Defense, something the defense is not required to do.
On the day the prosecution rested we learned that the State abandoned its theory that the defendant acted without "legal justification", and announced it had "... proved Malice as it was inferred by Knospler’s alleged statements of killing people and shooting people ...".
Malice is satisfied where the state proves either that the defendant acted without "legal justification or excuse", or that the defendant acted with “hatred, ill will, or hostility". The State had already failed to prove that the defendant acted without "legal justification", and further there was no evidence offered supporting that the defendant acted with” hatred, ill will, or hostility", thereby the state satisfied neither of the requirements for Malice.
DA Blonigen failed to mention in his announcement that he was referring to "Implied Malice", that was "inferred" by alledged statements, as there did not exist any evidence of hatred, ill will, or hostility toward the victim; i.e. Expressed Malice.
What evidence supports the proposition that Knospler could have held "Implied Malice" against Baldwin? If the State's answer to that question, is because Knospler used a few untoward words, in conversation with persons other than the victim, several hours before the incident occurred, and never having had contact or conversatiion with the victim, then we might be able to also say, with the same degree of absurdity, that Knospler could be charged and convicted of any similar homicide that might have occurred anywhere in Natrona County that night, regardless of which parking lot Knospler was sleeping in.
All the evidence, from the statements of Rack's employees and patrons, to the video from the surveillance cameras, reveals that Knospler had no interaction of any kind with Baldwin that night. Malice of any category must have an object and a motive.
Knospler left the club approximately 2 hours before Baldwin did; Baldwin went to Knospler's car; Baldwin tried to enter Knospler's car; Knospler was sleeping inside his locked car; Baldwin punched in the window of Knospler's car; Knospler awoke with Baldwin on top of him; Baldwin tried to overpower and take Knospler's car. And Blonigen says, with no factual evidence to support the State's New Theory, that Knospler acted out of Malice.
In this case, physical evidence such as that provided by a forensic investigator, a forensic pathologist and the Coroner, is casually discarded or ignored, by the prosecutor and is replaced with inference, allegation, opinion, hearsay, supposition and, what shall we call it, "a theory", contrary to that developed by forensics, and all that rises to a level of "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt"?
The case and the conviction are reduced to a finding of "Implied Malice", as alleged by District Attorney Blonigen. Perhaps a new crime category, "Malice Committed While Sleeping", has been created by Blonigen and may someday be found in the Wyoming Criminal Code
"Implied Malice while sleeping":
It can be found in a man, in this case a War Veteran, who after telling some "war stories" in a bar two hours before, and having had too much to drink, leaves the bar peacefully and decides not to endanger himself or others by driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, but instead decides to sleep it off in his own locked car in a parking lot. Along comes a "Happy Drunk" who stumbles onto a car with the headlights on and the motor running. Needing a ride himself, he tries the door, unaware that there is a sleeping man inside who is by now awakened by the noise of the attempted entry and tries to drive away, but gets stuck in the snow. The intruder punches in the window, then reaching into the car to either open the door or overpower the man inside, says he's taking the car and is going to kill the man. The man then, and only then, shoots the intruder who is still partially in car.
This is a simple case of Self Defense with no physical evidence to the contrary.
Now that we have had the opportunity to review Baldwin's rather impressive criminal record, including at least 6 instances of being involved or being a person of interest in Vehicular Burglary, it is understandable how Baldwin, with his experience and acquired skill set, had little trouble figuring out how to get home that night; and this is the motive for the crimes he committed and was about to commit. Knospler's statement about Baldwin "taking the car", is consistent with Baldwin's police record.
Baldwin's criminal record was ruled inadmissible in a pre-trial hearing, despite the fact that a clear pattern of behavior concerning vehicles that do not belong to him is established in that record. His actions that night in the parking lot are consistent with his criminal record, and if that record were disclosed to the jury during the trial, would it have weighed against a verdict of "guilty beyond reasonable doubt", and supported Knospler's claim of acting in Self Defense?
A motion for Re-Trial was entered, and heard Jan. 29, 2015; Judge Sullins denied the motion, remarking that a retrial "... would not be in the interest of Justice."
During the hearing, an even a more surprising revelation of Baldwin's life was disclosed, but we will not stain this presentation with smut. We will respectfully let the Casper StarTribune do the honors.
DA Blonigen, true to form, argued in effect, that there was no way to prove that Baldwin had knowledge of, or had reviewed the content on Baldwin's own cell phone. Does it not appear that Blonigen lives in an unknowable, mystic, supernatural world without absolutes; a world where something exists because he wishes it, and denies that which does not fulfill the object of his wish at any particular moment?
Should we remind him that by that standard, it cannot be proved that Knospler pulled the trigger on his own gun, or that Knospler was even in his own car when the trigger was pulled? And what is the primary object of Blonigen's wish? Is it not that he continuously needs to demonstrate to the voters of Natrona County that he keeps the streets safe for them, and being effective in that effort, he deserves to be re-elected over and over? And does it matter that justice is served, or not, so long as he endures, at any price?
Is it fair to ask how many people in Natrona County were charged with crimes, were unable to afford a competent defense, were looking at a substantial sentence, and pleaded down to a lesser crime that they did not commit, or were just plain rail-roaded into prison by the kind of evidence any Astrologist can concoct? Just asking!
1. (Philosophy) a thing as it is in itself, not perceived or interpreted, incapable of being known, but only inferred from the nature of experience. Compare phenomenon
2. (Philosophy) the object of a purely intellectual intuition
The Castle Doctrine - next