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Attorneys get visual in Canyon Country murder trial

1 juror excused as Tracey trial continues

Posted: October 27, 2012 3:05 p.m.
Updated: October 27, 2012 3:05 p.m.

SAN FERNANDO — Prosecution witnesses presented video and photographic evidence Friday in the trial of a Canyon Country man charged with shooting his neighbor dead outside his home in September 2011.

Lennie Paul Tracey, 52, appeared at the San Fernando Superior Court in a charcoal gray dress shirt to hear testimony against him on charges that he shot and killed his next-door neighbor, Anthony Davis, 51.

The two had had a long-standing feud.

Defense attorney Loren Mandel argued in her opening statement that Tracey believed Davis was a prowler attempting to break into his home.

Deputy District Attorney Richard Gallegly called on his witnesses Friday to re-create the events of the night of Sept. 24, 2011.

Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Deruyter, who recovered video from Davis’ eight-camera home security system, testified about three video clips depicting a shirtless Davis walking around his yard for several minutes before dismantling a board from Tracey’s 6-foot-tall wooden security fence with a drill, then shining a flashlight into Tracey’s yard.

Deruyter established the correct date and time of the footage played but acknowledged gaps in the motion-activated recordings when cross-examined by defense lawyer Mandel.

The footage showed Davis, a woman and another man walk over to Tracey’s front yard and engage in what appeared to be an argument. It concluded with the other man running back into the Davis house.

Witness Brandt House, a Los Angeles Police Department homicide detective who assisted on the case, helped the jury visualize the crime scene.

House confirmed the evidence list and sketch of the side-by-side residences before Gallegly projected a series of photos from Tracey’s yard and front porch.

Explaining the crime scene photos, House detailed the evidence: blood droplets and splatter, a live shotgun shell, a fired shotgun shell and a Mossberg 12-guage shotgun resting on a white couch at Tracey’s home.

A blood-soaked white T-shirt and Davis’ legs on the pavement concluded the photos.

“It was a very emotional day in the courtroom,” Mandel said.

The trial halted after a juror slipped the courtroom clerk a note on a piece of ripped-out notebook paper during recess.

After presenting the note to the counsel, Superior Court Judge David Gelfound said it contained information about another juror.

“I’m going to conduct an investigation,” Gelfound said.

For nearly an hour, Gelfound and the counsel held a sidebar meeting with each member of the jury individually.
“Juror No. 10 has been excused by a stipulation of the parties,” Gelfound said, and assigned an alternate juror.

“I want to thank you for your attention throughout the trial,” he said to the jury, reminding members not to read any media reports about the trial until a verdict is rendered.

“That’s one of the reasons the juror was excused. It had to do with newspapers,” Mandel said.

The trial will continue Monday with more witness testimony from the prosecution.




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