Gateway murder trial

Posts Tagged ‘Walter Ryan

Jury out of the room, defense continues

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Walter Ryan confirms a CD is the phone conversation between Fred and Kellie on December 27th, 2005 when Kellie asks Fred to come to the sheriff’s office to give her an alibi.

The defense has filed several motions about this particular phone call. (ie. motion to supress – yet now they’re playing it)

The phone call:

Kellie: I need you to come down here

Fred: Why

Kellie: I need an alibi for last night

Fred: I’m on my way

Fred: Love you, bye

(This is not a complete transcript of the phone call, just a few bits and pieces)

Digital recording of Ryan’s conversation with Lynne Craven – from January 27, 2006.

(Defense has tried to get Craven’s ID of Cooper supressed)

Listening to the recording of the conversation between Ryan and Craven

Lynne Craven said Cooper came to her office in Gateway Dec 23, 2005 asking for the gate code to Cypress Pointe.

She told him his roommate would have to give him the code, she couldn’t give it out.

She says he was in there about five minutes, didn’t give the name of who he was renting from.

Says he left on a motorcycle. (you can hear a dog yelping in the background of the recording)

She says he had a goatee or a beard, didn’t make a big impression. He had very short hair.

Ryan just showed Craven a photo array and is asking her to identify the person who came to the office that day.

“They all look so much alike,” Craven said.

“Number three” (Cooper was number three in the photo array)

Craven: I couldn’t swear

Ryan: But you think it’s three

“That’s the one that caught my eye at first glance,” said Craven.

Detective asked her to write that she thought it was him but that she wasn’t 100 percent certain. She says it looks more like three than any others in the lineup.


Written by Melissa Hudson

October 13, 2008 at 9:45 am

Posted in Day 8

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Defense calls Walter Ryan

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The defense asked about the phone call Kellie Ballew made to Fred on December 27th asking him to come to the sheriff’s office. The defense asked if Ryan brought a recording of that call (a recording was made but was not entered into evidence or played for the jury).

Prosecution objected and now there’s a conference at the bench.

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 13, 2008 at 9:27 am

Posted in Day 8

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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

Posted in Day 6

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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

Posted in Day 6

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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

Posted in Day 6

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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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Walter Ryan cont’d **Strong content**

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As a member of the Major Crimes Unit, he was called to the scene the  morning of December 27, 2005.

He arrived between 8:20 and 8:30 a.m. He says there were a lot of deputies on scene.

As the lead detective, he was in charge of the investigation. He was also in charge of meeting with the next of kin and giving them the news.

At the scene, he met with Maj Jeff Taylor and Jim Jones, Ron Curtis and another supervisor and was briefed about the incident. Next, he was shown the crime scene and walked around the home.

He entered the home through the front door. He walked through the home, didn’t notice anything missing. TV was still in place, guitars were on the wall, items of value were on the dining room table. He says nothing on the ground floor seemed out of place.

He didn’t see any broken windows or signs of a forced entry.

He went up the staircase for an initial walk through. he didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary or signs of a struggle in the baby’s room or in the office. (There were three bedrooms and two bathrooms on that floor).

The master bedroom had signs of a struggle. He is describing how Michelle was positioned on the carpet, the bedsheets showed signs of a struggle, dresser drawers were open.

There was blood spatter on the dresser and on the wall and the ground by Steven’s body.

The initial walk-through took less than an hour.

He walked around the home in a counter-clockwise manner, looking for signs of forced entry or signs someone had disturbed the bushes.

He found one of the screen doors to the lanai was unlocked.

The sliding glass doors were unlocked and not completely closed.

Ryan confirms a deputy was stationed at the back of the Andrews property to prevent entry from the rear of the home to the crime scene.

Ryan says Michelle’s mother arrived to the scene. He left the scene and drove Mrs. Kokora to the sheriff’s office on Six Mile Cypress.

He confirms the neighborhood canvas took several days.

For the investigation, Ryan says “At 5 pm every afternoon we all came in and had a briefing, basically a round-table and everyone explained what they had done that day. Any investigative information they passed it on.”

Ryan and another deputy took Mrs. Kokora to the sheriff’s office on Six Mile. The Andrews were already there and Dan Kokora had also arrived.

That’s when Ryan told the family what happened at the Andrews home.

Ryan says it was obvious it was a homicide from the beginning. There were no signs of forced entry so he knew they hadn’t interrupted a burglar.

“It seemed they were targeted.”

After telling the parents what happened, they began taking statements from the family members. He “wanted to get a background on the victims to see if there was anything that pointed to what happened in the home.”

The statements were taken at headquarters in his supervisor’s office.

He didn’t return to Gateway on the 27th. From the parents, had he generated any suspects. He says the person they wanted to talk to ended up calling the station to talk to them – and that was Kellie Ballew.

He says he met with Kellie around 5pm on the 27th and interviewed her. Her interview was in an interview room.

After meeting with Ballew, Ryan says he wanted to meet with her “cohabitant boyfriend Fred Cooper.”

He wanted to speak to Cooper because Kellie had confided to having an affair with Steven. Neighbors had seen an unknown white male the night before wearing a camoflouge jacket. Kellie had confirmed Cooper owned one.

Kellie called Cooper and asked him to go to the sheriff’s office to make a statement. He says he asked Kellie to call him. He instructed Kellie to say she needed an alibi – if Cooper didn’t want to go or asked why.

He asked about Kellie’s wherabouts on the night of the murder.

Ryan met with Cooper sometime after 6 p.m. on the 27th. He drove his mother’s Saturn. Detectives followed him home.

Cooper was taken to the major crimes area and interviewed in an interview room. The room is 8′ by 8′ with a table and chairs. There are no windows.

Bill Kalstrom was also present during the questioning. Both Kalstrom and Ryan were wearing shirts and ties.

Cooper was not under arrest or handcuffed when Ryan and Kalstrom spoke to him. He didn’t force him to speak to them.

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 8, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Posted in Day 6

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