Attorneys haggle over evidence in Isom triple-homicide case
By Christin Nance Lazerus email@example.com January 23, 2013 11:22PM
Kevin Isom. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 25, 2013 1:01PM
CROWN POINT — Lake County deputy prosecutor Michelle Jatkiewicz introduced bag after bag of evidence into the record of the Kevin Isom capital murder case on Wednesday, with the defense objecting to almost every item.
Lake County Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. ruled a handful of items were inadmissible because a detective had neglected to put his identification number and signature on some boxes containing bullet shells, but most of the evidence was accepted. Jatkiewicz confirmed the evidence with Lake County Police Lt. Henry Hatch, who is a firearms and tool marks examiner with the Lake County Crime Laboratory.
Isom faces charges of killing his wife, Cassandra Isom, 40, and her two children, Michael Moore, 16, and Ci’Andria Cole, 13, on Aug. 7, 2007, in their apartment in Gary’s Miller section, as well as three counts of attempted murder for shooting at Gary police officers.
The numerous objections led one alternate juror Wednesday to send a question to the judge, asking if this was normal procedure. Stefaniak discussed with the lawyers how to phrase an appropriate response before sending it to the jury room.
“It’s the court’s job to determine whether evidence is admissible or inadmissible,” Stefaniak said. “In order for the court to do that, the parties must state their positions and the court must rule.”
Stefaniak and the lawyers also hashed out the details of the jury’s planned Thursday morning trip to the Miller apartment complex where the shootings occurred. The jurors will tour the apartment at 5708 Hemlock Ave., as well as other pertinent areas in the complex that figured into the standoff with police. Isom’s former apartment is now occupied. Stefaniak read jurors a list of what they cannot do — speak, ask questions, gesture or point, stray from the group, or use their existing juror notebooks.
“The best way to look at this is like old silent movies ... except they had hand gestures and body language,” Stefaniak said. “You can’t even do that.”
Stefaniak, Jatkiewicz, defense attorney Herbert Shaps and a court reporter will be on the scene, but they will not speak to the jury who will be guided through the complex by a representative agreed to by both sides and a videographer. Once the tour is complete, the jury will head back to the courtroom, where they will hear from people who were present at the original crime scene.