Local News

Jun 11, 2013 10:20 AM by Caroline Flores - cflores@kristv.com

LIVE UPDATES: Laura Day Trial Day 5

CORPUS CHRISTI - The capital murder trial of Laura Day continues Tuesday morning at the Nueces County courthouse. Day is charged with capital murder, child endangerment, and injury to a child for the drowning death of her 6-year-old stepson Taylor Syring last October.

If convicted, she faces a maximum of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Catch up on all the developments in the case here - http://bit.ly/11tbqJQ

Today is day 5 of her trial.

LIVE updates as the trial progresses - from Caroline Flores - cflores@kristv.com

4:09 Defense rests. Both sides close. Judge will work on the charge, and it will be read tomorrow.

4:08 State asks if he would have ever let Taylor go that far out by himself. David says no.

4:06 State asks if he ever spoke to Kelly Syring (Taylor's Mother) about medicals issues with Taylor. David says yes. He knew Taylor got tubes in his ears and needed to have ear plugs and a swim cap on while in the water.

4:05 State asks if she was out on The Island for 15 years. David says to his knowledge that's true.

4:04 State asks who paid for the home he and Day lived in. David says he doesn't know.

4:02 David reads an portion of the letter from Day: "You're going to need to coach your father and make him read the whole file so they know everything.... You need to tell your mother and father our future plans for Taylor."

4:01 State asks what bank him and Laura contacted to set up Taylor's college fund. David says they hadn't yet.

4:00 State asks if Taylor was a strong swimmer. David says pretty well. State asks if he remembers telling detectives Taylor was not a strong swimmer. David says yes.

3:38 Cassidy says there is a privacy issue with the letters. The judge asks the jury to leave.

3:35 State shows letters from Day to David, David reads them and says yes that letter is from Day to him.

3:34 David says if he believed that Day would have done something intentionally to harm his son he would have left the relationship immediately, he says "I wouldn't have stuck around."

3:34 David described Day's and Taylor's relationship as a loving one.

3:33 David says him and Laura Day wanted to start setting aside money for college for Taylor.

3:32 David says Day offered to take and pick up Taylor from Taekwondo.

3:30 David says Day arranged Taylor's birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. David says Day noticed right away that Taylor walked with kind of a duck walk. Talking about Taylor brings Kelly Syring to tears.

3:29 David describes Taylor's room. He says their home was a happy home. He says Taylor and Day got along great.

3:26 David describes his and Day's relationship. David says they started dating toward the end of October. He said Day had met Taylor a couple of times. He says Day got along really great with Taylor. He says she absolutely loved him. He says she would take Taylor to the park.

3:25 Cassidy asks where he met Day. He says about a year and a half ago at work.

3:25 Day's lawyers call David Syring to the stand.

3:07 State asks if our beach is relatively stable as far as beaches go. Cross says no everything is always evolving and changing, but the same elements have always been there.

3:03 Cross says it looks like it's normally 5th to 6th graders who are out in the water far our without life jackets.

3:01 The State brings up the case of the paddle boarder, Cross says he had a heart attack and then drowned. State says ok so his cause of death is a heat attack and not drowning. Cross says yes probably. The State says since he didn't die do you know if he could have been buoyant with lungs full of air because he didn't drown. He says he doesn't know.

3:00 The State says so if water with the rip current is going straight out to the ocean is there where you would go if you were in one. Cross says yes. Cross says the day of Taylor's drowning there was no flag that shows the beach was dangerous that day.

2:56 Cross says a rip current normally carries you out to the sea and not necessarily to the side.

2:54 The state says there were no storms or heavy winds the day of Taylor's drowning. Cross says that's true. So the state says there isn't a good chance there was a rip tide that day. Cross says given those conditions, probably not.

2:48 The state brings out the mannequin, Timmy (he is close to Taylor's height). State asks by looking at Timmy would it surprise him that over 100 feet away at high tide the water would be up to Timmy's chest. Cross says that surprises him.

2:46 Then Cross says the dip between the 2nd and 3rd sand bar the water could be up to a grown person's chest.

2:44 Cross says the dip between the 1st and 2nd sand bar the water will be about up to his mid-thigh.

2:41 Cross says at low tide the 1st sand bar is about 15 feet out. Cross says he looked at the ocean conditions on October 5th before he came to court today. Cross says the first dip the water is about to his mid-calf to knee.

2:39 Cross says he normally warns people, especially families, before they head down South of Bob Hall Pier.

2:38 The state says north of Bob Hall Pier, it cleaner, there are life guard stands, and it's easier to drive on. Cross says yes.

2:36 The state says the area south of Bob Hall Pier are different. Cross says there are not a lot of rules and if there are they aren't enforced.

2:32 State asks Cross to describe The Island. Cross says it's dynamic. Cross says socially that The Island has a lot of tourists, but the people who live there it's an everybody knows everybody kind of community.

2:30 State asks if he has gotten to know The Island very well. Cross says yes.

2:28 Stith brings up a drowning where a paddle boarder drowned and his body was found floating next to his board. Cross says yes, he believes he was found within 30 - 40 minutes.

2:27 Cross says there has been about 8 drownings in the past few years.

2:26 Cross says it's not often that parents have children in life jackets. He says from what he's seen it's not very often.

2:24 Cross says they don't report rip tides, but rather the National Weather Services tells them when conditions are good conditions for rip tides.

2:22 Cross says rip tides on our beaches are prevalent. Cross says they are hard to see and just pull you out.

2:21 Stith asks Cross to tell the jury about sand bars. Cross says there are 3, but like any other natural resource they are constantly changing.

2:19 Cross says anything to do with beach maintenance, safety, or construction he is in charge of.

2:16 David Stith (Day's lawyer) calls Scott Cross to the stand. He is the director of coastal parks in Nueces County. He looks over the park in Bob Hall Pier.

2:00 Prosecution (the state) rests their case.

2:00 Zafares says if Taylor sunk he would not have come back up. Zafares says this was based on what Day told police during her interview.

1:59 State asks if people were able to float in salt water, would there be drownings in the ocean? Zafares says no.

1:57 Zafares says when she gives her opinion to a jury she gives an opinion based on the best scientific data available at that time in her field.

1:56 State asks if her field is mostly based on science. Zafares says yes.

1:55 Zafares says the current definition of drowning is: when the air way has water in it so that the respiration is impaired. She says that doesn't mean death.

1:54 Cassidy says would you agree with me it would be a grave injustice if someone was wrongly convicted. Zafares says yes.

1:53 Cassidy asks for the water clarity was on October 5th. Zafares says it was at the worst visibility according to the tides.

1:51 Court room is getting heated between Cassidy and Zafares and Cassidy says the witness is out of control.

1:48 Cassidy shows a book that says a body in salt water is more likely to float. Zafares says ok that comes from the density, but when all air is out of the body it will sink. Cassidy is saying but the book says otherwise. Zafares says no, but the comment that says if a body is going to float it will happen in salt water. But that is extremely rare.

1:47 Zafares says that if Taylor Syring went down like Day said, he could not have come back up in that time frame.

1:42 Cassidy says is it safe to say that Taylor Syring died as a cause of drowning. Zafares says yes.

1:41 Cassidy says but when salt water is ingested blood can also leak into the lungs. Zafares says yes, that is true.

1:40 Cassidy shows a picture of oxygen going in and CO2 going out of the lungs. Cassidy says when water is ingested it affects the body to cause a system in the lungs to get destroyed.

1:38 Cassidy asks if the mannequin she has in the court room was sold by one of her company. She says her company sell those.

1:35 Cassidy asks if Zafares charged Nueces for anything. Zafares says not yet. She says she may be charging them about 20-25 dollars an hour. 15 hundred dollars for the reconstruction, 300 dollars to ready and study the material and do the report. She says she isn't sure what the total is yet.

11:59 Judge calls a break for lunch until 1:30 p.m.

11:54 Cassidy asks if she looked at photos of Taylor's autopsy. Zafares says yes. Cassidy asks if vomiting can occur during drowning. Zaferes says yes.

11:50 Zaferes says the writing from the article Cassidy has brought up is out of date, considering it was written 14 years ago.

11:45 He shows an excerpt from the article. He shows where it says when a body is found in the water, it's not always an accident. It then goes to show the other possible reasons a person can drown. Cassidy says negligence is the main reason for accidents. Zaferes says for pediatric drownings, yes.

11:43 Cassidy brings up another one of Zafares' articles. Zafares says he is pulling up some really old stuff. She says the article is from 20 some odd years ago. She says it was published 1998. She corrects herself, she says it was 14 years ago.

11:41 Cassidy asks if most drownings are accidental. Zaferes says yes.

11:37 Cassidy asks what Zaferes put as the date and time of the incident. Zafares says the date was October 5, 2012 and the pronouncement time was 18:59. Cassidy asks if the pronouncement time is accurate. Zaferes says yes. Cassidy asks if there is a mistake should that be a red flag, Zaferes says no. Cassidy says so if you made a mistake it doesn't mean you are trying to decieve people does it. Zaferes says no, not at all.

11:28 Cassidy asks if Zaferes knows the exact location Day was the day Taylor drowned. Zaferes says yes. Cassidy says Day went with a detective to show him where she thought she was. He says the detective didn't take notes of exactly where he was.

11:12 Judge orders a short break.

11:11 Zaferes says Day never once said she rushed into the water, Cassidy says but she did say she entered the water.

11:09 Cassidy asks if Day answered questions asked by law enforcement, Zaferes says no. But Cassidy says she gave answers. Cassidy says yes.

11:07 Cassidy says a rambling narrative is common of deception. Zaferes was just rambling and she says no, I'm trying to be specific about this.

11:05 Cassidy shows Zaferes an excerpt from her company's website that talks about what witnesses who see drowning should do.

11:04 Cassidy says when Day pointed right, he says it was possible she was turned around and actually pointing left.

10:53 Cassidy shows an article written by Zaferes to show that she states in order to convict someone you need the most accurate information possible to do so. Zaferes did her investigation recently, so Cassidy says according to her article what she did was not the best investigation. Zaferes says that's not true, she says she had the data from that day so it was an accurate investigation.

10:42 Zaferes says therefore considering all the factors and research in this case, she thinks this case is more consistent with a homicide than an accident.

10:40 Zaferes says the bruise on Taylor's arm is significant because it's consistent with someone holding a child. She says it's very easy to hold a child under water and that bruise coincides with it.

10:39 Zaferes says it is in her opinion that Taylor would have needed to been in within arms distance when Taylor drowned in order for her to find him... considering the conditions of the beach.

10:34 Zaferes says when Day told David Syring that she dragged Taylor out of the water, that means that Taylor's head would have been underwater the whole time.

10:32 Zaferes says by looking at the crime scene pictures from Day's vehicle she says it looks like Taylor got out and in the vehicle by himself, and not carried. She says this made her concerned.

10:31 Zaferes says the lack of wrinkling of Taylor's feet means he wasn't in the water for a very long time.

10:29 Zaferes says there are multiple issues with Day's case and story that don't add up in scientific terms.

10:27 Zaferes says in every training it tells you over and over that it only takes 4-6 minutes for brain cells to start dying and the fact Day was certified in two courses that teach you this is concerning.

10:25 Zaferes says every training, in Day's case CPR and Diving, both tell you if someone drowns you call 911.

10:20 Zaferes says also the fact that she loaded the car, took Taylor's swim cap and ear plugs off, are very organized behaviors and are not things she sees with people who are in panic.

10:19 Zaferes says there was no sign of distress in Day's interview, therefore Zafares says this does not show any signs of panic.

10:18 Zaferes says the first most common reaction when someone loses a child they call out the child's name. Day never says she called out Taylor's name.

10:17 Zaferes says after reviewing Day's police interview and other documents with the case, she says she didn't see any signs of panic or shock.

10:16 Zaferes says she has written and taught about panic. She says she does this because in water rescue, you are normally dealing with people panicking.

9:56 Judge orders a short break.

9:54 Day's lawyer (Les Cassidy) asks if she is here to tell her opinion that this incident is more consistent with a homicide than an accident. Zaferes says yes.

9:47 Day told police that Taylor had gone under before she saw him floating. Zaferes says that is also scientifically not possible. Zaferes says it would have taken hours if not weeks before a body floats to the top after sinking.

9:41 Zaferes brings out a graph of a compass. Zaferes says based on data collected, on the date of the drowning, the wind came from the south east which meant Taylor couldn't have drifted to the right. He would have drifted to the left.

9:39 Zaferes says when Day told police Taylor had drifted to the right of her... this made Zaferes concerned.

9:36 Zaferes says it concerned her that Day said Taylor drifted away when she couldn't find him. Zaferes says this doesn't scientifically make since.

9:35 Zaferes says Taylor was a poor swimmer, a new swimmer. Unlike what Day said. Day told police she thought Taylor was a great swimmer.

9:34 Zaferes says she was concerned that Taylor was over 100 feet away from his caregiver (Day).

9:31 State shows the questions Zaferes asked herself when investigating. 1) Does it make since Taylor was in the water 2) does the location make since of Taylor before and after death.

9:29 Zaferes says when it comes to Day's dive certification, Zaferes says she has taught classes like that and knows what information she would have learned.

9:24 State brings out a water rescue mannequin. This is what was used to do tests in the water. The mannequin was a very similar height to Taylor's height.

9:24 Zaferes says in order for Taylor to have been in water chest deep he would have had to been well over 100 feet out.

9:23 Zaferes says she went at several locations when gathering her data.

9:21 Zaferes says at the time of Taylor's drowning, the tide was getting lower and lower... she says it was a very low current.

9:19 Zaferes says she was able to know what the tides were the day Taylor died because there were sensors out in that area of the beach.

9:17 Zaferes is still on the stand. Before they ended yesterday they were talking about the conditions of Bob Hall Pier.

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