If the lack of evidence from the prosecution wasn’t enough to convince the jurors of Kit Martin’s innocence, there was Kit’s security camera footage which not only proved he could not have committed the crime but led to the prosecution manipulating the footage to make it appear as though there were gaps where Kit was mysteriously absent (see the post a detective’s sleight of hand). There was a point in the trial, however, that should have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Kit was innocent.
It happened on the first day of testimony for the defense. Jonathan Reeves was a cell phone network expert. He was also the author of the report that showed that Detective Scott Smith gave false testimony to the grand jury regarding location data from both Pam Phillips’ phone and Kit’s phone.
After detailing the different types of cell phone reports and the differences between call data, SMS messaging, and instant messaging, Reeves answered questions related to a cellebrite extraction report. Unlike some of the other cell phone reports, which rely on a network provider, the cellebrite extraction is data taken directly from the phone.
Much of Tom Griffiths’ direct examination focused on Kit’s phone activity for November 19, 2015, the day after the murders. By this time, jurors had already sat through thirty minutes of mind-numbing testimony regarding the different types of cell phone reports as well as a long list of instant messages made by Kit on the 19th. At first, it seemed like a pointless exercise since a timeline of Kit’s activity that day had already been established through other means: security camera footage, computer login data, emails and text messages, and witness testimony. The reason why he was focused on that day became apparent when he began questioning Reeves about location data for both Kit’s phone as well as Pam Phillips’ phone.
Starting with Kit’s phone, the location data showed that Kit’s phone was in the Pembroke area from 12:00 am until 10:00 am before heading south towards Ft. Campbell (Kit actually left his house closer to 9:00 am). He leaves Ft. Campbell and heads back home at approximately 2:35 pm. From there the location data followed him throughout the day as he drove to Hopkinsville to drop off a check for Katherine Hicks-Demps, take Emma to her horseback riding lessons, and then return home. It was important information that would eventually payoff when he got to the location data for Pam Phillips’ phone, but the way it was presented to the jury as a monologue of timestamps taken from a report dampened the impact. Tom Griffiths’ aversion to using computer graphics or charts forced jurors to put together the pieces of the puzzle on their own.
After detailing Kit’s phone usage and location data for November 19, 2015, Reeves went through the location data for Pam’s phone for the 19th. The data for Pam’s phone began in Pembroke at 8:06 am. From there the location data showed Pam’s phone connecting to cell towers in Elkton, Kentucky to the east of Pembroke. Elkton, Kentucky was where Joan Harmon was living at the time.
Tom Griffiths in his opening statement said that there was a piece of evidence that jurors could hold in their hands that would prove Kit’s innocence. Reeves’s testimony about the movement of Pam’s phone did just that. Not only did the location data show that the two phones were in different locations at the same time, but the phones were moving in different directions at the same time. Only someone who had recovered Pam’s phone from the crime scene could have been responsible for that movement.
It’s not clear how many of the jurors understood the significance of Reeves’s testimony. It was one example where a simple graphic, chart, or animation would have painted a picture for the jurors of evidence that proved Kit’s innocence.