|Prosecution Witness: Police Officer Mark Bedwell|
|Written by Mike Mayleben|
|Friday, 06 May 2011 18:41|
Direct Exam - John Arnold
Bedwell has been with the Hamilton Twp PD, since Oct. 2006 and prior to that, in the 1970's and 1980's he was with the Warren Co. Sheriff's Dept. He also worked on the scuba team. He left law enforcement for a time because he wasn't earning enough money, but he went back to the police academy in 2006 and was the oldest member in the academy.
He is currently a road patrol officer and on Aug. 11, 2008 he was dispatched about 10:49 or 10:50 to Crested Owl Court for a possible drowning and was told the victim was pulled from the bathtub. It took him about 7 or 8 minutes to arrive and he and officers Elliott and Short arrived about the same time going straight upstairs to the bedroom. Elliott and Short went into the room but he stayed in the doorway trying to determine if he was needed but everything was under control. Deputy Bishop was performing chest compressions on Sarah.
He saw Ryan crouched down in the doorway watching the scene and Bedwell noticed that Ryan was wearing boxers. He asked Ryan to move down the hall to the sitting area, which contained 2 chairs, an end table and a small flat screen TV, where they could talk and Ryan would still be able to hear what was going on. He asked Ryan what happened and Ryan told him that he was watching a Bengals game downstairs but grew concerned that Sarah might fall asleep in the bathtub as she has done before. When he came upstairs and found her, she was floating face down at the faucet end of the tub. Bedwell then asked Ryan his wife's name, age and any medication she might be on. He didn't notice anything on Ryan being wet and didn't see any blood on Ryan.
He left Ryan sitting there and went back to the bedroom to look around. He didn't see any blood in the bedroom at that time and it appeared there was nothing wet or water droplets in the bathtub.
He noticed that Sarah wasn't wet and he saw no pruning evident on her body. When they were ready to take her to the ambulance, he helped move her to the back board and she wasn't wet. He didn't see Ryan offer help to the medics or express concern about his wife. Bedwell helped move her outside, and load her into the ambulance, then went back inside and noticed that Ryan had gotten dressed. Ryan wanted to accompany his wife to the hospital so Bedwell escorted him to the ambulance and asked Ryan to put his seatbelt on. He moved a patrol car so the ambulance could leave and then went back in the house.
He went back upstairs and noticed the carpet didn't appear to be wet so he knelt down where the body had been and touched the carpet to see if it was wet. Arnold asked why he did that and Bedwell replied, "Probably curiosity, since she was a drowning victim". He was not wearing gloves but said he touched the carpet between the blood spots, not directly on the spots.
He walked back into the bathroom, but saw nothing lying on the floor or in the bathtub that appeared wet. A photo was shown of some magazines and towels lying on the bathroom floor. There were bottles sitting on the edge of the tub and some in the bathtub. He said they didn't appear to be wet but he didn't touch or move any of the items. From what he observed from standing above them, nothing was wet. The flooring was ceramic tile or linoleum and appeared to be dry. It wasn't slippery. The tub, from a standing viewpoint, didn't appear to have any substantial amount of water in it recently, but he didn't feel it.
He went outside and spoke to Elliott and Short and all three of them went back inside to look for ways a person might have broken into the home, but they found no evidence of a break-in. Bedwell then went downstairs with Sgt. Elliott and Officer Short and wrapped the residence in crime scene tape.
He then left the scene to obtain brown paper evidence bags at Kroger. He's not sure what time he left but he didn't log out from the scene, since he was returning.
Cross Exam: Jay Clark
Clark began by asking Bedwell, who sent him to get evidence bags and Bedwell replied Detective Braley. Clark then asked if there was a dog present at the house and he replied "yes", but when Clark asked him to identify the dog in a photo of Ryan, Sarah and their dog, he couldn't recall if that was the dog. He said the dog was running around downstairs when they were at the house.
Clark put a photo on the screen of the bedroom showing the hall doorway and asked the officer where he and Ryan were when Ryan was crouching in the doorway. Bedwell pointed out where Ryan was crouching and he was standing and they were 2-3 feet away from each other. He said he didn't see any marks or scratches on Ryan's arms, face or upper body nor did he see any injuries on his legs or feet during the time he interacted with Ryan.
A photo of the sitting area was shown and Bedwell said there were people coming and going in and out of the bedroom, so he asked Ryan to move to the sitting area. He walked behind Ryan and didn't see any scratches, bruises or blood on his back or legs. They had no conversation other than him asking Ryan what happened and his wife's name, age and if she was on any medication. During the conversation, he noticed no injuries on him.
When he first arrived at the house and went upstairs, Sarah was nude, but they placed a sheet on her body to take her downstairs and transport her to the hospital. He didn't help carry her out, but followed the backboard down the stairs.
A photo was shown of the area at the bottom of the stairway, which is mostly enclosed, with a landing halfway up. The dog is in the photo, and Bedwell said he now recognized the dog as the one in the earlier photo. The officer said Ryan was upstairs talking on his cell phone when he asked if he would like to go to the hospital with Sarah. Ryan said yes, as he continued talking on his cell phone. Officer Lisa Elliott was not inside during their conversation. She met them outside and assisted the officer with taking Ryan to the ambulance. Clark asked if Bedwell buckled Ryan's seatbelt and he said he asked Ryan to buckle it and he believed Ryan did while he was still talking on his cell phone.
Bedwell then went back inside and upstairs to the bathroom where he found the contents of a trash can dumped out, near the toilet. A photo is shown of the overturned trash can in the corner of the bathroom. The contents on the floor are visible on the screen and include a Suave deodorant container, Always wrapper, tissue and toilet paper.
A photo of the tub is placed on the screen, and the officer said he didn't see any wetness when he looked at it. A close-up photo of the bathtub stopper and drain is placed on the screen and the officer said it did appear there were water droplets around the drain.
Clark asked him to estimate how much time had passed since Sarah was removed from the home. He said it was about 5-8 minutes after she left that he checked the bathroom.
Clark said the close-up photo was taken after his "walk-through" he testified to earlier, when he said he saw no wetness in the bathroom or the tub.
Once Det. Braley arrived, the officer was assigned to retrieve evidence bags and another officer was assigned to photograph the scene.
Bedwell agreed that officer safety was important and dispatch performs occasional officer safety checks so the whereabouts of all officers is known. He admitted he did not inform the dispatcher that he'd gone to Kroger to get evidence bags but going to Kroger didn't present any officer safety issues.
Clark asked if there were parts of the job that were time consuming, such as paperwork, which needs to be done accurately and thoroughly and Bedwell replied "Yes sir". He agreed that reports are meant to detail what he saw and did, etc. and it's important to include all the facts. Asked if he did that in this case, Bedwell replied he didn't put in everything but he wrote a supplement to the case file on Braley's orders. Clark handed him a copy of his narrative supplement that he wrote and asked him to read the report to himself, and raise his hand when he's finished. The officer read to himself, as the courtroom waited in silence.
When he finished reading, Bedwell said the report didn't note that he left to go to Kroger, and he also didn't write in his report that he touched the carpet to check for wetness. He didn't know what time he went to Kroger.
Clark reminded him that when he touched the carpet he said "I thought to myself, someone pulled out of a tub full of water should be wet" and then asked Bedwell if it occurred to him that Sarah was not in a tub "full of water" but rather in a tub with some water in it that was draining out? Bedwell said he would still expect to find things wet if the water had been drained and then Sarah had been pulled out, but admitted he didn't consider it. He admitted he didn't have any experience with carpet in regards to how it reacts to wet/dry issues. In regards to pruning, Clark asked if he had a science background, what water temperature causes pruning, or how long, scientifically speaking do you have to be in water to prune? Arnold objects.
He didn't know if the A/C was on and didn't know the temperature/humidity in the house. He did check for open windows.
He participated in a general walk through of the house. Looking around the kitchen he didn't find wet towels or any sign that anything had been cleaned up or dried. He didn't search the laundry room or the basement. He didn't ask other officers what they had found and didn't recall if he and other officers gathered that night to listen to the 911 call.
As the medical efforts were ongoing, that's when he noticed blood discharging from her vagina. That is not in his supplement report either he said.
He expected to see items knocked from the edge of the tub if someone was pulled from it. Clark showed a photo and the officer ID'd three things laying in the bathtub.
He didn't observe any bruising, scratches or signs of trauma on Sarah. He was in the master bedroom and bathroom, foot of the steps, living room and some other areas but didn't see any signs of a struggle or anything that was disturbed.
Re-Direct: John Arnold
Bedwell remembered testifying in 2009 and being asked if anything was unusual in the bedroom area. He said it's hard to remember everything he's testified about in each trial so Arnold turned to a page in his testimony and read from the transcript.
Arnold asked him about his past testimony in both trials regarding what he did at the scene, touching the carpet, and what he did when he went to Kroger.
He had testified in 2009 that he found it odd that nothing was wet despite having a drowning victim. There were no signs of water anywhere and Sarah's body was dry.
In his testimony from 2010, he said "The thing I found strange is that nothing appeared to be wet." He didn't consider that Sarah was pulled out of an empty tub during cross examination, but now said Ryan told him he pulled Sarah from a "tub full of water."
Re-Cross: Jay Clark
Clark asked if Ryan told him that he pulled his wife from a full tub. Bedwell said Ryan told him he'd pulled his wife from the tub. Clark then asked if Bedwell assumed the tub was full of water. "I didn't assume, he told me," Bedwell said.