Gateway murder trial

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Walter Ryan cont’d

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After the interview, Fred was allowed to leave. He had arrived on his bike, but it was seized. He had to get his mother to pick him up.

Detectives served a search warrant on the Village Walk home.

Helmet bags – some have strings like a backpack and some just have a drawstring. Ryan doesn’t recall seeing the helmet bag at the Village Walk home.

This search was a much more thorough search of everything in the home.

At this point, open surveillance of Fred Cooper began – December 31st or January 1st. They weren’t trying to conceal their presence. Prior to that Cooper was not followed.

Surveillance continued to Casselberry Florida, where they openly watched Cooper.

cooper was arrested in Casselberry on January 11, 2006.

Ryan made a special request and asked the crime scene unit to go back to the Andrews home and process Michelle’s vehicle. No additional evidence was retrieved.

Around this time, Ryan met with Lynne Cravin.

Firearms were recovered during the investigation, Florida DOT workers found a gun by the Bonita Beach Road exit on I-75 and contacted the sheriff’s office. Chris Stroka and crime scene techs picked up the gun.

It was tested, but it was not the firearm in this case.

Other firearms were also recovered. A second firearm was found in a dried up lake in Gateway. It was not the gun used in this case.

A third gun was found – it was used in a murder and the detective working that case, it was checked against the bullet in this case. It was not connected – ie not the murder weapon.

No murder weapon has been found.

Ryan did “mileage checks” in this case. He measured the distance and time from Sunsports to the WCI realty/Gateway office. 8.9 miles and it was 13 minutes there, 15 going back.

He also did a mileage check from the front gate of Village Walk to the gate of Cypress Pointe subdivision where Steven and Michelle lived. 23.2 miles and 36 minutes. (Going five over the speed limit in normal traffic). He drove Bonita to I75 to Daniels.

Ryan followed up at Sunsports to see if they had any video on December 23rd 2005 which showed him leaving work. The video was no longer on the hard drive, it had been too long and recorded over.

State has finished.

Defense is cross examining.

January 27, 2006 the photo lineup was shown to Lynn Cravin (the woman who said Cooper asked for the code to Cypress Pointe – the Andrews’ subdivision)

Background and evidence here:

Defense is asking about the photo lineup and did Christopher Stroka create it. (yes, he did)

Ryan says Kellie was alternating between crying and composing herself during her statement and just after.

She had regained her composure when she was asked to call Fred to come to the sheriff’s office.

Again, the defense is asking yes and no questions. Very few open ended questions.

Ryan recorded the call kellie made to Fred in which she told him she needed him to give her an alibi.

Defense is asking about the media interest in the case. They were on scene within an hour of the discovery.  Ryan confirms it received wide attention from the media.

When the deffense asked about the leaks (of the audio statements to the news press) the prosecution asked to approach the bench.

Now Ryan is being asked about the scratches on Fred’s arm. Photos were taken of his scratches on December 27th.

The defense is asking about the search and whether or not Fred interfered (he did not) or cut it short (he did not). (Again I believe the defense is trying to say that Fred allowed the searches because he had nothing to hide).

During the first search, Ryan was not present at the search of Fred’s home.

[There are some discrepancies of what was taken from Fred’s house and when – and when the photos were taken of Fred’s home and his hands. I could be remembering incorrectly – so I’ll have to review some testimony and discovery documents]

They did receive surveillance video from December 27th and 29th from Sunsports.

He seized the home computer, searched the desk, bedroom closet, searched the garage and other detectives searched the house.

Ryan confirms Kellie was never a suspect and was never read her miranda rights.

Ryan is asking about the blood in the Andrews bedroom. Defense asks if any of the AA – SS evidence contained Cooper’s DNA.

They took the motorcycle on the 29th to check for DNA from the victims. They did that for the helmet, gloves and key of the bike as well.

Three pairs of Fred’s shoes were taken from his residence.

There were prints recovered from the sliding glass doors at the Andrews home. They were not Fred’s prints.

Those prints were Steven, Michelle and Lukasz.

Some of the prints on the sliders were not matched to anyone ( not the Kokora’s, Andrews, Michelle or Steven or Fred)

State redirect

There were things connecting Cooper to the scene – items from Michelle’s body.

Sheriff’s office has made changes because of the leak in this case.

Defense redirect

Nothing in the home itself linked Cooper…(his DNA was on Michelle’s fingernails and nightgown).

Regarding the open surveillance – was it 24/7 – yes it was. Says Cooper was aware of that.

Cooper would tell those following him where he was going every time he left.

When Cooper and Ballew left for Orlando, they called the sheriff’s office first to let them know. The open surveillance continued in Orlando. He continued to tell detectives where he was going before leaving the residence.

Ryan says there was an investigation into the leaks. It was never determined how it happened.

State – no redirect

We’re going to adjourn for the day.  Court is closed Thursday, so we will not return to cover the case until Friday morning at 9 am.


Written by Melissa Hudson

October 8, 2008 at 5:17 pm

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Cooper’s statement Dec 29th

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We are listening to a recording of Fred Cooper’s statement from December 29th, 2005 at 6:04 p.m.

This is after Cooper gave detectives his camo jacket.

Detectives are going over Cooper’s relationship with Kellie – and the fact they’ve been together six years and have a five year old daughter.

They’ve lived in Bonita Springs for a few months.

He tells detectives he and Kellie were separating and he was going to move out, but his mother was going to stay in the home.

It was Kellie’s idea to separate. He wasn’t treating her the way she deserved. He says “I get agitated pretty quick.”

He says he didn’t know she was seeing someone until he went to the sheriff’s office on the 27th.

Fred says Kellie told him they she had only been seeing Steven for a few weeks and only after they separated. (this was on the way home from their first trip to the sheriff’s office on the 27th)

Fred says he didn’t know exactly where the Andrews lived, just that it was in Gateway.

Detective says Fred hasn’t been totally truthful. One of the things detectives say he lied about was that he hadn’t been to Gateway recently.

Detective says “it’s not a matter of did you do this? It’s a matter of why.”

“It’s only a question of why you did it”

Detective says he has a picture of Fred near the Andrews house. Says he knows Fred isn’t a “villain”

Detectives show Fred photos of the 7-11 surveillance video showing a yellow motorcycle. Fred says it’s not him.

“You tell me how that’s me?”

“That shows a yellow bike with somebody on it. That does not show me”

Now detectives are asking Fred about the bar code for the gate at Village Walk where Fred lives.

Security log shows Fred pulled in at 3:01 a.m. He says that isn’t true.

Detectives are saying Michelle had defensive wounds and are talking about DNA.

Detective: “there’s no doubt in my mind you did this” “don’t dig a hole here”

Statement is complete.

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 8, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Walter Ryan cont’d

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Ryan watched the interview through a monitor. There was only one person in the interview room during the second half of the interview.

Following the interview, Cooper was free to leave.

Neighborhood canvas continued for a couple of days.

Ryan attended the autopsies.

Evidence #88  – Michelle’s wedding ring –  just the gold band

Evidence #89 – The band with clear stones from Michelle (probably engagement ring)

Around the time he was attending the autopsy, he find out about the 7-11 surveillance video.

Around 3 or 3:30 p.m. Ryan went to Sunsports to see Fred. He asked about the sticker for the gate code and Ryan asked to see it.

Cooper had it in his wallet. He showed Ryan how it was affixed to the tank to allow him entry to the gate at his complex (it’s magnetic). Ryan took a photo of it on the motorcycle.

Exhibit 73- photo of bar code on the motorcycle.

Ryan then collected the bar card that Fred had affixed to his motorcycle.

Exhibit 74 – the bar code card (which is magnetic) 10880 is the number on the bar code.

Ryan asked Cooper for his camoflouge jacket. cooper said it was okay for Ryan to go to Bonita Springs to Fred’s home to retrieve the camo jacket.

Ryan says the jacket was not at the home.

Ryan says while at the Bonita Springs home he got information that led him back to Sunsports.

Detective told Cooper the jacket wasn’t at the house. Cooper then said, sorry. I didn’t realize the jacket was in my work truck. He handed over the jacket to Ryan.

Ryan looked at the camoflouge jacket and confirms it’s the same one he took from Cooper.

State’s exhibit 67 into evidence (the camo jacket)

Ryan says the jacket had a strong odor of a petroleum product, like a brake cleaner.

Before leaving Sunsports, Ryan asked Cooper to return to the sheriff’s office to make another statement, after his work day ended.

Finally – we get to see the camoflouge jacket! Ryan held it up for the jury.

Cooper showed up at the sheriff’s office earlier than expected. He says Cooper showed up to the sheriff’s office before Ryan returned to the station.

Det. Shawn Ramsey assisted in the interview with Cooper.

Exhibit 78 – It is the miranda form Fred Cooper signed on Dec 29th.

Ryan says Cooper agreed to make a statement after being read his Miranda rights.

Exhibit 81 – audio recording of Fred Cooper’s interview with detectives taken on the 29th.

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 8, 2008 at 4:10 pm

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Cooper’s statement cont’d (new details added 10/15)

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The prosecution is still playing the recording of Fred’s first statement to deputies.

They were off tape for a few minutes.

Interview with Fred on December 27th continues…

You see how this looks, do you have any idea how something like this happened? – detective asks

“I don’t see her doing something like this” – Fred says about Kellie.

You see how this looks for you? – detective

Do they know what time this happened? asked Fred.

Detectives say the murder happened sometime around midnight.

Fred says he has never been to Steve and Michelle’s house. He says they won’t find his DNA because he wasn’t there. “I wasn’t there. I did not do this.”

Detectives asked about his scratches again. Says he got them working, happens everyday.

Says he wasn’t there at the Gateway house.

Detective says that’s hard to believe, he was distraught about his relationship with Kellie ending.

Do you treat her that badly. He says he’s a little disrespectful sometimes, but never touches her.

“How do you explain all this? This looks bad” – detective

Says his mom saw him go back in the house that night.  She was getting a glass of water.

“You still don’t have an alibi” “all the motive in the world” – detectives.

Says he worked on the carbeurator and lights.

They asked Fred if anyone saw him that night. He says his neighbor might have – who lives on the right hand side. Not sure what time says he had been out there for a while.

“Looks pretty bad for you” – detective.

“You never followed her to see where she was going.” “I never suspected she was seeing somebody. ”

Kellie told him he wasn’t treating her right when they broke up.  He says he didn’t like it but there was nothing he could do about it.

What did Kellie say when you talked to her about this? Fred says not much. She started crying and she wanted to verify it.

Says he heard it from one of the TV stations and verified it from the News Press website. Says it was right on the home page.

Interview complete around 9:30 p.m.

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 8, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Recording of Cooper’s interrogation (more details added 10/15)

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We’re listening to a recording of the interrogation of Fred Cooper on December 27, 2005. Detectives Walter Ryan and Bill Kalstrom did the interview at 8 pm.

“Right now we’re in the process of separating” – been happening two or three weeks. Says Kellie wanted the breakup, not him.

Fred says he met Steven at Kellie’s work and at a Christmas party.

He says he went to her work pretty often.

Says Kellie said she wasn’t seeing anyone right now but if she started seeing someone he would need to respect that.

Says for the last few weeks, Kellie leaves the room or goes outside when she gets phone calls.

He says they’re sleeping in separate rooms.

Says they are trying to establish Kellie’s whereabouts because she was Steven’s co-worker.

On the 26th he says he and Kellie went to the mall, then worked on his daughter’s room for a little while (around 2 pm). (they had moved in recently)

Worked in the room two or three hours (until about 7).

He lives in Jeneva way with his daughter, kellie, and his mother.

He went onto the computer, she got a call from Claudia and left to go to Claudia’s house. (she left around 8:30 p.m.)

She came home around 10 and he was still on the computer. He went downstairs when she got home (and got off the computer because she wanted to go to bed).

She drives a Nissan xterra (graphite in color) and is brand new

He says he was downstairs for a little while. Says he messed with his bike in the garage for an hour to an hour and half and left to test the bike. (4 or five times for fifteen minutes at a time)

Went back in the house 11:30 to 12 a.m. He was in the house the rest of the night.

“I never left the complex”

He says it’s a gated community.

Says he left that morning at 7 to go to work. He saw Kellie around 6:30 a.m. when he went into her room to leave her a note. (that’s the next time he saw her)

They talk about his motorcycle for a while. One of the detectives said “he’d kill himself” on one of those (meaning motorcycles)

Ryan tells Cooper they’re talking to him because Kellie is Steven’s coworker and he can vouch for her whereabouts. Detectives say they start with the family and work their way out. Kellie was Steven’s friend so they need to see what Kellie was doing.

He saw the news about the murders on tv and knew she worked with Steven Andrews.

He says he called and told Kellie he thought someone in her office died.

She didn’t believe him.

He says he looked it up online. He told her to come home but she didn’t.

Kellie was with Claudia all day that day. Says he saw her when he got home and Claudia was with her (that was the night of the 27th)

“Has she ever been violent” – detective asked about Kellie.

He says he never touched Kellie. If they get into a fight he walks away.

“We’re concerned about this with Steven Andrews” – detectives.

Did you ever suspect her of seeing someone? “yes and no but I’ve never seen heard or had reason to believe. For the past few weeks…”

They decided to separate but there was no emotion out of her.

“We have our problems, every couple does” – Fred said.

Detectives say Steven was having trouble with his marriage.

“Did Kellie ever tell you about Steven’s wife confronting her?” Yes, two days ago she says she received a call from steve’s wife asking why Kellie went over the spending limit for the secret santa gift. She says she only went over it by $5 or something like that.

Says he has no reason to believe Kellie was seeing anyone.

Detectives concerned that Kellie was away the night of the murders “Do you think she’s capable of doing this?”

“I do not think she’d be capable of this” – Fred said.

He says he got a gun about four years ago and got rid of it about three weeks ago. He had a hard time of dealing with separation and he found himself looking at it a little bit too much. Says he didn’t want to lose his daughter.

Detectives asked if Kellie had access to the gun. She never shot that gun, but she had gone shooting twice with him.

Says his mom went to bed when he went to the garage.

Fred says no one saw him working on his bike that night. He says most neighbors kept to themselves.

What you’ve told us is similar to what Kellie said, some of it is different but it’s not off by much – detective said.

Detective says it’s merely a formality – not accusing him of anything – but want to read him his Miranda rights. In “real life” it’s just a formality.

Now they’re questioning him more specifically. Says they will ask what he did yesterday, questions about his daughter. says they’re not accusing him.

Kellie says he’s her alibi. But they want to go over details that were different from what Kellie said.

Fred said the gun was a .25-caliber. He kept it in the closet. He got it four years ago. Says Kellie didn’t have a problem with the gun in the closet. Says she may have asked him to get rid of it, but doesn’t completely remember.

Says he told Kellie he didn’t know how he could go on without her. She did ask him to get rid of it and he says he did three weeks ago.

He says he threw the gun in Wiggans Pass. Threw it as far as he could “chuck” it.

Wears several different jackets when riding his motorcycle – a Joe Rocket riding jacket, yellow fox pullover, camoflouge jacket and flannel jacket.

He says he didn’t think Kellie would be interested in someone like Steven – because they were different people personality-wise.

He says he didn’t think Kellie was seeing anyone. He says it crossed his mind, but he didn’t think so.

Even when Steve’s wife called, he says he didn’t suspect. Says he didn’t know about the call until yesterday.

Detectives say it looks bad that both he and Kellie left for a short time the night of the murders.

“How do you explain that?”

“it looks bad” – detective

We’re not accusing you, we want to rule things out. We’re looking to rule people out.

Also mentions that Michelle thinks there’s something going on between Steve and Kellie. Says the jealousy factor can come into play in situations like this.

Detectives tell Fred they found three people who saw a motorcycle leaving Gateway that night, quickly.

He says his motorcycle sounds more like a Harley.

And more than one person described a white male wearing a camoflouge jacket. They’re trying to “rule out” Fred Cooper.

Ryan says Kellie was seeing Steven, a man on a motorcycle and a man with a camo jacket in the neighborhood. You and Kellie were on the outs, Steve and Michelle were on the outs.

If you were found dead, we’d have the same discussion with them (Michelle and Steven)

“I have no idea where Steven and Michelle live, I knew they lived in Gateway.” – Fred

“I didn’t know she was seeing steven until just now.” – Fred

Says he wasn’t driving in Gateway yesterday.

Did you get hurt or recently cut at work? Fred says no.

Ryan asks about the scratches on his arms. Cooper says he has scratches all the time – it comes from the job. He says he bangs his hands all the time. His right hand is also swollen. Says he bangs his knuckles all the time.

“I don’t consider that hurt, that kind of stuff happens every day” – Fred

Fred says he had nothing to do with the murders.

Fred denies knowing of the relationship with Kellie and Steven.

They asked Cooper for a cheek swab and fingerprints and Fred says “I have no problem with that.”

They stop the tape – 8:48 pm.

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 8, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Walter Ryan cont’d

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Ryan asked Cooper to provide a DNA sample and he complied.

State’s exhibit 68 – buccal swab from Cooper (taken from him on the 27th)

Ryan is now opening the bag containing the buccal swab. (This is basically a large cotton swab detectives used to swab Cooper’s mouth. It is used as a DNA standard for Cooper)

Cooper was allowed to leave. Ryan asked him if detectives could search his home. Cooper agreed. They all drove in separate cars to Cooper’s home in Village Walk in Bonita Springs.

When they arrived, Cooper’s mother, daughter and neice were there.

Kalstrom took photos of Cooper’s arms. Ryan looked around the home. He was looking for clothing or shoes with blood stains. Ryan says they opened closets, but it wasn’t a “thorough” search. They didn’t open drawers and cabinets, etc.

Ryan is looking at exhibit 45 – the contact list for Outside productions employees. It was found in the Andrews home. It was on the refrigerator at Andrews. At Cooper’s condo the sheet was on the computer desk in the bedroom.

We’re going to listen to Cooper’s statements to detectives.

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 8, 2008 at 2:24 pm

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Walter Ryan cont’d

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The questions were initially about Kellie and their breakup – and her whereabouts the night before. Also where he was the night before.

Asked if he owned a camo jacket and a motorcycle. Cooper confirmed he did.

Cooper was read his rights before the questioning became more accusatory and that was done on tape.

After reading his rights, he agreed to continue talking to him.

Ryan noticed Cooper’s “forearms had apparent scratch marks and his right hand appeared to be swollen, especially right around the knuckle.”

They had forgotten to take pictures of Cooper’s arms at the station so they did that at Cooper’s home.

Ryan asked if he had been in a fight, they appeared recent.

Exhibits 79 and 80 – Compact disks of Cooper’s statement to detectives.

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 8, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Posted in Day 6

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