Roberson jury could deliberate by Nov. 30
November 17, 2009
A judge denied a second motion by defense attorney Monica Lynch to have the case against alleged child killer Ulysses Roberson dismissed on Tuesday.
Roberson is on trial for the alleged murder of his 4-year-old son, Alexander Olive, who disappeared from a Tahoe Keys home in late 1985 or early 1986.
Following the close of prosecution witness testimony on Monday, Lynch argued that the case should be dismissed under California Penal Code Section 1111. The section reads a conviction cannot be based on the uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice.
Raj Roberson, Ulysses Roberson’s first wife, is the only witness to testify she saw Olive dead in an upstairs bathtub prior to his disappearance.
Lynch argued on Tuesday that Raj Roberson acted as an accomplice in the murder of Olive on several fronts including using a blanket to cover a window to the garage where Roberson was beating the boy just prior to his alleged death.
Although Raj Roberson could be implicated in other crimes like child abuse for some of her actions while she was living with Roberson, she did not display behavior that would make her an accomplice to murder, said Suzanne Kingsbury, the El Dorado County Superior Court Judge hearing the case.
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“There is sufficient evidence to have this go to the jury,” Kingsbury said, before denying Lynch’s motion.
Following the conclusion of testimony on Tuesday afternoon, Kingsbury told the jury the trial is progressing ahead of schedule. The jury could begin deliberating as soon as Nov. 30, Kingsbury said.
Lynch began her defense of Roberson on Monday by calling several witnesses to the stand who reported seeing Olive alive since early 1986.
During previous testimony, Olive’s mother, Rosemary Olive, described her son as having red hair and the light skin tone of someone with both African American and Caucasian heritage.
Yakima, Wash. resident Rhinda Clem says she repeatedly saw a boy matching Olive’s description while working at the Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital gift shop in 1993.
The boy was about ten years old and was approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall and looked like he was both African American and Caucasian, Clem said.
The boy’s skin was light colored, but he had brown, “more African-American looking hair,” Clem said.
She says she realized the boy could have been Olive after seeing a segment on the television show “Unsolved Mysteries” about the boy’s disappearance. The segment included a picture of Olive.
“I told my husband this looks just like the boy that comes into the hospital gift shop,” Clem testified.
Clem called the show to report the possible sighting of Olive.
Rancho Cordova, Calif. resident Madeline Lucas testified she saw a boy matching Olive’s description walking in front of her house on two occasions in 1990.
Lucas said she asked the boy – who she described as being about eight years old – how his day was at school. She said the boy just looked straight ahead and kept walking.
“He seemed disturbed,” Lucas testified.
Lucas reported the possible Olive sighting in 1993 after watching the same episode of “Unsolved Mysteries” Clem had seen.
“It looked exactly like the boy I had noticed,” Lucas said, about the picture of Olive displayed on the television show.
Garland, Texas resident Andria Gaither testified she believed she saw Olive accompanied by two women while she was working at a Nine West store in Dallas, Tex. in 2004.
A young man came into the store with the women and immediately sat down and began rocking back and forth, Gaither testified. She said the boy seemed like he had a “mental condition.”
The young man matched Olive’s mother’s description of the boy, Gaither said.
“His appearance was so unique I could not take my eyes off this person,” Gaither said.
She said she would not realize it could have been Olive until watching the segment on the boy’s disappearance on “Unsolved Mysteries.”
“The moment that I saw the picture I instantly was reminded about an incident that happened in my store in Texas,” Gaither said.
One difference between the boy Gaither said she saw in the store and the picture of Olive on “Unsolved Mysteries,” was that the boy in the store had dark freckles while Olive did not, Gaither testified on cross examination.
“Other than the freckles, they looked exactly the same,” Gaither said.
Gaither said she reported the possible sighting of Olive to authorities, but was told that more information about the boy would be needed to pursue the possible lead into Olive’s disappearance.