Cops & Crime
Tue October 23, 2012
Video Evidence Is Seen As A Key In Kansas City Federal Arson Trial
As prosecutors work to bolster their case to a Kansas City federal court jury, it's apparent the State is on a path leading events directly to the fiery 2008 arsonists' explosion at Hereford House Restaurant.
As part of courtroom tactics and diversions, there are side trips into photo technology.
Hard evidence that's important to the prosecutors has been gathered and analyzed by the ATF and the FBI. Right now a lot of this takes form of screen captures from surveillance video.
Hardly ten minutes pass in court without Judge Greg Kays beckoning lawyers to his bench over some dispute. There are nearly a dozen lawyers in court and their jobs are to either send to prison three men, or keep them from it.
There are former restaurant operator Rodney Anderson, accused of using Vincent Pisciotta and Mark Sorrentino to burn the building. Insurance fraud is alleged against Anderson.
Veteran ATF Special Agent Randy Roberts holds the video evidence. Defenders try to grill him about picture quality: pixels, bubble lenses over cameras and fuzzy quality of images and Roberts concedes he is not a techno expert.
What matters is what the jury sees in figures moving around inside the restaurant before the fire.
Prosecution witness Shane Holt describes himself as having run with defendant Pisciotta. When he saw the pictures made public after the arrest, Holt testifies he said to others, "It looks like Vinnie, a lot."
Trial is still in early stages.
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