|Defense Witness: Dana Parker-Kist|
|Written by Mike Mayleben|
|Friday, 06 May 2011 18:26|
Direct Exam: Lindsey Gutierrez
She lives in Alexandria, Ky., and is now a registered nurse. Prior to that position, she was employed as a receptionist for Dr. Becker in Ft. Thomas, Ky. and helped Sarah get the job with Dr. Becker through a mutual friend. She met Ryan through her husband Chris Kist, who met Ryan in college and roomed with him.
"She was one of the best people this world has ever known," Dana said of Sarah. "She was more than what I can say as far as a friend," she added, as she began to cry. "She was very spunky and fun; she never really met a stranger, she was an open book." She leaned her head down to cry, talking about her friend. The Judge asked if she needed a moment, she raised her head and apologized.
She went on to say that she and her husband introduced Sarah and Ryan. They double-dated and got along very well. Ryan and Sarah made plans for a second date the day of their first date. She said Sarah pulled out her black book to pencil him in, and they later discovered she didn't have anything else written in the book. They double-dated a lot with Ryan and Sarah and they seemed very happy, "they complimented each other." She said she never saw Ryan and Sarah get mad at each other--she only remembered a disagreement about the color of paint in their house. "Ryan and my husband picked out a paint color without Sarah's and my input-- not a good idea," she said with a laugh.
She was a bridesmaid in Sarah and Ryan's wedding and she helped organize a bridal shower at the dentist's office.
After she left Dr. Becker's practice she said they still met for lunch and talked on the phone at least once a week. "We shared a lot with each other" she said. Sarah told her about her health concerns, like headaches, and seeing blurry spots with the headache. She was teased a lot about her falling sleeping habit. She offered Tylenol and encouraged her to see a doctor. She knew of a doctor appointment Sarah had but didn't know when. She didn't know if Sarah saw a doctor on a regular basis.
Sarah never complained about any financial or marital issues to her, she said. The last time she talked to Sarah was late July or early August of 2008. She [Dana] took a trip in early August and was supposed to meet with Sarah when she returned, but she never did... her voice trembled.
When she worked with Sarah, she would find her sleeping in the car before work, and she would knock on the window to wake her up. Sarah also slept during her lunch hour sometimes, and when Sarah came to her house to hang out, she would end up staying overnight because she was too sleepy to drive home or had fallen asleep while they were watching a movie.
Gutierrez showed Dana a photo from her baby shower. It showed Dana seated to the left with a box of Huggies diapers. Sarah was on the right, writing gifts in a notebook. Her name tag said "sleeper." They played a game and everyone had name tags that were baby items, she explained. "It was kind of a play on words because of Sarah’s sleeping habits that we joked about", she said.
She was interviewed by officers at Dr. Becker's office. She didn't work there anymore; she just happened to be there. She didn't recall investigators asking about Sarah's sleeping habits or her medical issues. They were asking about Ryan, mostly. When police questioned her about Ryan, she told them that Ryan never had any anger issues or drinking issues.
She said she remembered a couple times when Sarah had to sit in a dark room because of a bad headache. Nothing further.
Cross Exam: Travis Vieux
She met Ryan in 2002, while they were in college. He was her husband's roommate and they've been friends for about 9 years. After knowing Sarah for about 2 months, they set her up with Ryan. She had known Ryan for about 5 years at that time. She said she testified at the two previous trials.
She and Sarah would eat lunch together often, but they only worked together two days a week. She said Sarah never fell asleep during their lunches. After she left Dr. Becker's office, they saw each other less but talked on the phone regularly. That's when she had her first baby.
She could only remember Sarah sitting in the dark room twice, and it never affected her work or caused her to reschedule a patient.
She hasn’t had any special training in cardiology or neurology, but as a registered nurse, she knew that headaches were a common complaint. It didn't make her any less concerned as a friend. She knew Sarah had sinus trouble but didn't know if she took medicine for it.
Asked if Sarah had two physicals while they knew each other, she could only recall one. She recommended Sarah see a doctor before her April 2008 wedding and found out at the other two trials that she had an appointment in June 2008 when the doctor didn't find anything wrong.
She worked with Sarah when her father was sick and passed away, and saw the stress it put on her. He was sick for a long time. She said Sarah would still talk about her dad occasionally after his death and she took on additional responsibilities in her family, caring for her mother after her father died.
She said Sarah was "very organized" when planning the wedding. She acknowledged Sarah was stressed, but it was a "good stress." "I think she enjoyed it," she said. She was not in the Widmer home the night Sarah died. Nothing further.