The most striking change has been in the defendant, Nick McGuffin. Gone are the relaxed and easy smiles and confident demeanor he exhibited when first the trial began. In the last few days he seems noticeably more agitated, he swallows frequently, his breathing is marked by deep breaths and audible exhalations and I am not surprised by word that he will not testify on his own behalf,
Residents of Coquille who have been subjected to the unprofessional behavior of the former police chief, Mike Reaves, will appreciate some of the testimony today from Denise Bertrand, Leah’s older sister. Bertrand reported that the families attempt to report Leah as missing went “horribly” with Reaves dismissing the disappearance as a runaway and essentially not bothering to look for Leah until after the discovery of a bloody shoe days later.
The jury plus two alternates is composed of ten women and four men. Opening arguments will be detailed later today but it was revealed that the exact cause of Leah’s death was never determined, however, there was evidence of a puncture wound through a shirt and sports bra. Cory Courtright has completed her testimony.
Whether the district attorney can prove McGuffin guilty beyond a reasonable doubt or not, this trial is a triumph of a mother’s will to see justice for her daughter. For the citizens who rose up to bring badly needed changes it is proof that working together, even against the inertia of an aging and disdainful city council and an unfeeling city manager, can make a difference.
The defense team representing Nick McGuffin moved to have the trial, originally scheduled to begin next week, postponed until July 5, 2011. The defense cited an unexpected health issue for the lead counsel as the reason for the delay.
For those who missed it like I did, here is a link to the 20-20 piece regarding the Leah Freeman murder investigation and arrest of Nicholas McGuffin. Pictured former chief Mike Reaves refusing to speak to interviewer.
The World has two good pieces up, the first reveals more specifics about the process of bringing charges against Nicholas McGuffin and moving forward.
The Guard has some more reaction from both the Freeman and McGuffin family and mentions the odd verbal ‘assault’ issued by Kathleen McGuffin, Nick McGuffin’s mother. Shackled, McGuffin was already crying as sheriff’s deputies led him into Coos County Circuit Judge Michael Gillespie’s courtroom for arraignment. He asked for help as he sat down and […]
Coquille is spinning with the news of the arrest, ten years later, of Nicholas McGuffin for the murder of fifteen year old Leah Freeman. Emotions ran high today as McGuffin plead not guilty and requested a hearing to reduce the $2M bail and possibly be let out on his own recognizance.
The Freeman family and the McGuffin family took up residence outside the courtroom in separate sections of the hallway in advance of the 1PM arraignment.