Great Dane Trial: Defense's Failed Tactics Lead To Absurd Actions Against Straight Twist
Following Failed Attack On Christina Fay's Neighbor, Defense Council Oddly Turned To Straight Twist With Indirect Gag Attempt.
Attending the Superior Court trial was like a nightmarish experience of Deja Vu. Listening again to the evidence of cruelty endured by the Wolfeboro Great Danes was grueling and disheartening, and it was almost identical to that of the District Court trial.
Testifying for the second time were Fay's employee's who reported the cruelty to the police, Annie-Rose Newell and Marilyn Kelly, as well as Officer Strauch of the Wolfeboro PD. They each reiterated their original statements regarding the horrendous conditions they witnessed at the Wolfeboro mansion.
A repeat witness for the Defense was veterinarian Samantha Moffitt, whose nonsensical testimony, similarly to the last trial, was rebutted by the State's factual and articulate witness, forensic veterinarian Jerilee Zezula. And of course, Christina Fay retook the stand and gave testimony that was just as illogical and factless as last year.
New to this trial was the Defendant's neighbor, Roberta Boudman, whose testimony was controversial before even taking the stand.
During the District and Superior Court trials, the Defense attempted to divert attention off the facts of the case and onto their groundless conspiracy theory that the Wolfeboro PD concerted with the HSUS to maliciously and unjustifiably set up Christina Fay. And now they had their sights on Boudman.
On the morning of March 5th, prosecutor Steven Briden expressed the State's objection to Boudman testifying, as they believed the Defense baselessly intended to pin her into their alleged conspiracy theory.
Although Boudman made a dog barking complaint against Fay in 2015, the cruelty investigation arose from the information the police received from Annie Newall and Marilyn Kelly. Officer Strauch did make observations of the Wolfeboro mansion while serving that complaint, but Boudman did not accompany him, nor was there anything else linking her to the evidence used in the trial.
Sure enough, however, Defense Counsel Kent Barker claimed he had Facebook posts created by Boudman proving she had it out for Fay and contributed to her arrest. "She waged this campaign through the Police Dept. and the town of Wolfeboro to get Mrs. Fay removed from the property," he said.
Although Barker admitted he had not even interviewed Boudman, he stated he planned to treat her as a hostile witness. Briden objected saying the Defense must first establish she is indeed hostile before treating her that way, to which presiding Judge Amy Ignatius agreed.
About Barker's claims of Boudman's involvement in the asserted surreptitious scheme by the WPD, Judge Ignatius stated, “….I really do wanna give you a fair chance to argue, but so far it’s sounding not very credible.” However, she allowed the Defense to call Boudman and make their case nonetheless.
While on the stand, Boudman confirmed before Fay moved into the Wolfeboro mansion, she researched Fay's breeding business, but not Fay personally. She explained her initial concerns were because their neighborhood brook is the main tributary to lake Wentworth, which is also the main waterway to Lake Winnipesaukee. When she learned 50 dogs would be bordering on their tributary, she felt it was a genuine threat to the ecosystem, so she took information about Fay's business to the town to notify them.
Boudman later pointed out her worries about the watershed were validated. Trial evidence revealed the Great Danes suffered from Giardia, a parasitic zoonotic disease, transferable from dogs to humans, and according to Boudman, Wolfeboro would be testing the water for contamination this spring.
Once hearing the dogs constant barking, which lasted up to 22 hours per day in cold temperatures, and often sounded like they were in distress, Boudman said her concerns then shifted to the dogs themselves, prompting the barking complaint.
Barker continued to press her, asking if she was pleased when she learned the seizure took place in June 2017. To which she responded, “No, I was sick to my stomach.” ... "the barking alone was killing me, it was hurting my heart to listen to dogs suffering, begging people to take dogs inside, it-it was pretty emotional for me to find out what was happening inside when I’m hollering, asking them to take dogs inside.”
Barker asked multiple times if what she experienced leading to the seizure made her angry. When she wouldn't confirm that anger, he tried to force it into testimony himself saying, "So you were angry-" Before he had the chance to finish his question, Boudman quickly refuted stating, "I didn't say I was angry." To which Barker responded, “Okay, fair enough. I don’t want to put words into your mouth” ... "That's the last thing I'd do." Which undoubtedly was untruthful, as that's precisely what he repeatedly attempted to do.
Boudman revealed that she had screenshots of Fay advertising her dog's litters online. The ads showed that Fay's dogs had two litters in one month, for multiple months, with at least one month showing three new litters. That led to Barker even stating himself, "So, it would’ve been at least 24 litters a year.”
She clarified that she didn't have a screenshot for every month. Regardless, her testimony clearly did not bode well for the Defense. Yet, Barker arrogantly refused to relent. He continued his ill-considered line of questioning despite the fact that each answer was more and more damaging to his Defendant.
And that so-called Facebook post proving her involvement in the investigation? It lied in a single sentence that Barker read out loud, "In no way, anyone can argue that I contributed to Ms. Fay being arrested." However, Boudman pointed out that sentence was completely taken out of context.
She explained that sentence was part of a large post stating, “So, the first sentence says, ‘There’s no defense in the fact that the dogs were taken inside and abused because a neighbor was annoyed.’ She further explained the reason she wrote that was because, "The Police Dept. actually accused me of the reason the dogs were inside, was because I was calling them. So if you want to put this in context, that sentence is in context with the fact that, even my Police Dept. was saying the dogs may have been inside because I complained that dogs barked."
Not only does this explain Boudman's Facebook post was somewhat in self-defense after a relatively traumatic experience, but also that the police were attempting to understand Fay's perspective. Despite that, however, it additionally clarifies the fact that her barking complaints do not justify the acts of cruelty committed against the Great Danes.
Perhaps it was due to their failed attempt to attack Roberta Boudman and prove their so-called conspiracy theory, or maybe it was because those failed efforts resulted in her testimony further proving the Prosecution's case. Whatever the reason, the Defense felt the need to target Straight Twist.
On the morning of March 7th, Barker advised the judge in open court that Straight Twist was live-blogging from the courtroom.
"Her name is Gina Scofrano, I believe" ... "she has apparently been doing live feeds every day from the courtroom." He expressed he intended to ensure the court was aware of it and that the jury wasn't reading it. However, as prosecutor Briden pointed out, "...reporters report from the courtroom, they publish articles every day, and they live tweet things that are going on in the courtroom." Straight Twist would not be any different. Perhaps the Defense simply didn't take a liking to the articles I posted, which included detailed facts pointing to holes in their case.
Not only did Attorney Barker mispronounce and misspell my name, but I have yet to 'live-blog' since the founding of Straight Twist years ago, or ever in my life for that matter.
Of course, Judge Ignatius later confirmed that I submitted a media request to the courthouse clerk for permission to audio record, which was all that was required.
Unfortunately, I was not present when those discussions took place; I was at the State House supporting animal welfare legislation.(1)
However, when I received word of what occurred, it wasn't surprising considering the approach the Defense had taken with the case up to that point. Their allegations were 100% false, and they reeked of diversion, desperation, and were utterly baseless, which quite frankly was indicative of the methods they took in defending their client.
A word of wisdom to Attorney Barker, before making random assertions in the courtroom, you may want to have some actual evidence.
But there lied the Defense's problem; they didn't have any evidence supporting them, and I'm not just referring to their silly indirect attempt to silence Straight Twist.
The fact is, the Defense didn't have a case at all.
It is true that the NH's animal cruelty laws are weak, which is why supporting legislation improving the efficiency of pet vendor regulations and enhanced penalties for cruelty are essential for preventing situations such as in Wolfeboro. However, at the very least, current law requires adequate care, shelter, and sustenance for animals, and the evidence in this case strongly proves that the Defendant was not providing that for those Great Danes.
Christina Fay was first found guilty by the District Court on December 21, 2017, and again by a Superior Court jury on March 12, 2018. The Superior Court's sentencing is scheduled for this Friday. Because current law only allows for misdemeanor charges in this case, despite the deaths and injuries the Great Danes suffered while in the Defendant's care, whether or not the punishment will be fitting for the crime will remain an uncertainty until then. However, one thing that is currently certain is that Straight Twist will be there taking detailed notes, so that the facts may be reported to you.
(1) Details of what occurred during Straight Twist's absence were obtained from courtroom audio provided by the Carroll County Courthouse, via request.