The Trial

The Pencil Neck Geek as drawn by our lawyer.

*NOTE*  Before I begin this chapter about my life, I want to be perfectly clear that I admire and support our law enforcement officers and what they are up against daily.  The few that I was in close contact with in the 1980’s and 1990’s are not representative of the vast majority of good and caring law enforcement officers.  Life doesn’t always offer the same temperament and judgement skills to everyone.

After Lynn’s arrest and prior to the subsequent trial the pressure was on with the District Attorney’s office for Lynn to plea bargain.  Lynn was adamant that he would not plead guilty to something that he did not do.  In retrospect, the trial should have never happened if the D.A. had looked thoroughly into the case and circumstances and had done their homework.

August of 1987 was now on the calendar and a court date was set.  Early on a Monday morning we were at the courthouse.  The D.A. kept us busy that morning by sending us from one courtroom to another only to tell us that there were no courtrooms available.  They also tried to apply pressure by telling Lynn to plea bargain because he was going to go to jail regardless.  We stood our ground and that afternoon a courtroom suddenly became available.  Our judge was a black woman, Alice Lytle, a no nonsense, well respected judge.  I was allowed to sit at the defense table with Lynn and our lawyer, Bill, during the jury selection process.  I took notes and paid attention to details.  A short time later the prosecutor discovered that I was also to be a witness and he asked the judge to have me removed from the courtroom out into the hallway.  I was disappointed but little did I know that my hearing and observation skills out in the hall would be a good asset to come.

 We had park residents at the trial including those pro management and those con or against management.  The pro management group had designated people who were to take notes in court and then hand the notes over to our lawyer at the end of each day in court.  The lawyer would review the notes and this was a way of having more eyes and ears in the courtroom.  One of the women in the con management group just could not keep quiet.  While sitting out in the hallway I observed her talking to a group of prospective jurors at the end of the hall.  She proudly told them that her park manager had beat up two cops and she was there to make sure he got what was coming to him.   At the next courtroom break I spoke to our lawyer and told him of the conversation that I overheard.  The next thing I know the courtroom bailiff is coming out of the courtroom and sternly telling all of us to come inside the court the judge wants to see us.  Once inside and seated the judge issued a very strong warning about talking to anyone out in the hall about this case or making any comments about it.  She made it very clear if someone did this again they would be held in contempt of court.  I was now aware of just how useful my sitting out in the hallway had been….score one for my side!  The jury was selected and we began.  Witnesses would be called on both sides.

 When Lynn was arrested and in the patrol car I approached the car window to ask Lynn what he wanted me to do next.  At that time I was threatened with being arrested as well and to get away from the patrol car.  This would come up in court in the testimony.

 As the days and hours counted down it was quite stressful for us.  Our daughter and granddaughter flew home from Germany where our son in-law was stationed in the Army.  We just had to hope and pray that things would turn out okay.

 A few months earlier our boss decided to hire a married couple to assist us and he wanted us to stay out of the one side of the park where the “con management” residents were mostly living. He wanted this couple to handle things on that side of the park.  This turned out to be a huge mistake since they were really prepping for our job and counting on Lynn having to go to jail.  The first red flag was Bob had the words “hate” and “love” tattooed on his knuckles.  I gave Marge a journal telling her to write down any contact they had with residents in that area.  Every week I would ask for the journal to read her writings.  It soon became clear that all she was writing was bad things about Lynn and I.  They also took pictures of one of the perimeter fences with a couple of broken boards and wrote a letter and sent the pictures to our boss to “let him know what is going on around here”.  The boss called when he received the pictures and letter and asked why they were sending this to him and why weren’t they out there fixing these things…….that really backfired on them big time.

Meanwhile back at the courthouse, the two deputies that were involved in the arrest were set to testify.  One of the deputies was Deputy Key (remember him from way back writing false reports). Key was now the bailiff in the courtroom next door to our courtroom.  The other deputy involved was Deputy Kittrell.  It is now time for them to testify but they cannot be inside the courtroom when the other is giving testimony.  There I am sitting out in the hallway with only one empty seat next to me and here comes Kittrell and he sits down next to me.  He doesn’t recognize me but I know who he is.  About this time, Key comes out of his courtroom and sees Kittrell sitting next to me…..yes, Key knows exactly who I am.  Key hurries over to Kittrell and before he can say anything Kittrell says, “I can’t believe this guy is fighting us on this”………Key is instantly in panic mode and gets Kittrell up and away from me before he says anything else.  So next courtroom break, I tell our lawyer of this conversation from Kittrell.

It is Kittrell’s time to testify and our lawyer asks him if this conversation took place between him and Key out in the hall……the “I can’t believe this guy is fighting us on this” and Kittrell says yes it did.  Next person called in to testify was Key.  Our lawyer asked the same question about the conversation between Kittrell and him out in the hall.  Asked if this conversation took place and Key says NO………so much for being truthful.  Next person to testify was Sgt. Dill (remember the nasty officer I asked the name of the deputy who drove Lynn away in the patrol car and he said all my men wear nametags and you are not a lawyer so I don’t have to tell you anything).

Our lawyer asked Sgt. Dill if he had threatened to arrest me also and the Sgt. said yes.  Our lawyer asked him why he had made this statement.   He said he was afraid I would try to kick out the patrol car window to help my husband escape.  At that point, our lawyer asked him, “Have you seen Mrs. Blaylock and just how high do you think she can kick?”  A few chuckles were heard in the courtroom. I finally got my chance to testify as well as our young maintenance man who witnessed the whole incident.

 The prosecutor was no Perry Mason or Ben Matlock.  Our lawyer nicknamed him “The Pencil Neck Geek” and drew a caricature of him which is what you see at the beginning of my story.  After suffering through the 6 day jury trial, Lynn was found NOT GUILTY and we celebrated that evening.

 As for Bob and Marge, when we gave them our good news, they turned in their resignations and that was the icing on the cake.

 Many years later, I received a notice for jury duty and I showed up on time on the appointed day.  As luck would have it, I was in the courtroom where good old Deputy Key was still the bailiff.  I sat there listening to each prospective juror answer questions from both the defense and the prosecution, the one thing that stood out was when they asked…..have you ever had a bad experience with the Sheriff’s Dept. or the prosecutor’s office.  I am thinking to myself……yahoo, I am finally going to get a chance to tell my side about Key.  I should have known he wasn’t going to let that happen.  As the day progressed I was finally called to sit in the jury box.  The judge then tells everyone to come back at 9 a.m. the next morning…EXCEPT MRS. BLAYLOCK.  He then dismisses everyone except for the defense and the prosecution and tells me to remain in my seat in the jury box.  When all the prospective jurors are gone and the doors closed he asks me if I know this California Highway Patrolman who is in the courtroom.  I remember his name as being involved in an incident years earlier in the park but he was older and much heavier and truthfully I did not recognize him.   The next question from the judge is would I be able to sit in that particular courtroom and be fair and impartial regarding everything.  I told the judge NO, I would not be able to do that and he excused me.  It dawned on me later that I had just been discriminated against in that courtroom because Key was afraid I would say negative things about him and he probably cried like a baby to the judge so I would be excused and he would not be embarrassed.   Another day, another dollar.