LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Robert Dunn was found guilty of first degree murder, and the jury is recommending life in prison. WINK News is live blogging from inside the courtroom as the penalty phase takes place.
10:20 a.m. - Judge Margaret Steinbeck has just called the jury back into the courtroom. Closing Statements are expected to begin in a few moments. One of the jurors has indicated she may have heard something about the case, Outside, of the courtroom. The juror says she got a call from a friend who said, "are you on that trial where the man killed his wife? If it is he should get the death penalty because he knew what he was doing." Currently, defense attorney David Brener is questioning the juror to determine if the juror can remain on the case.
10:30 a.m. - Juror will remain on the jury after revealing she received a call from a friend who made reference to whether or not Robert Dunn should get the death penalty. The juror was questioned by defense attorney David Brener and cleared to continue. The prosecution has just started to deliver closing arguments.
1:21 p.m. - Closing arguments continue in the penalty phase of the Robert Dunn capital murder case. The prosecution has rested and now the defense is offering the jury its closing argument to spare Dunn's life and come back with a recommendation of Life in Prison without the possibility of parole. The jury should get the case around 3:30 p.m. this afternoon.
2:22 p.m. - Defense attorney David Brener is going through a long list of mitigating circumstances that he says should be considered in this life or death phase of the trial. The jury could begin deliberating in the next couple of hours. They will then decide whether to recommend the death penalty or life in prison.
3:02 p.m. -The defense has rested in the penalty phase of the Robert Dunn capital murder case. Judge Margaret Steinbeck has sent the jury out on a 15 minute break. When they return they will be given instructions for deliberating. The judge at that time will also dismiss and thank the alternate jurors who have sat through the guilt/innocence phase of the trial and now the penalty phase. Their services were not needed.
5:15 p.m. - Dunn has been brought back into the courtroom and the jury has recommended life in prison.
5:30 p.m. - The judge will make her sentence final after a pre-sentencing hearing in January.
10:00 a.m. - Dunn's attorneys are once again trying to influence jurors to spare Dunn's life by showing he suffers from mental illness. Psychologist, Dr. Hyman Eisenstein, is on the stand. Dr. Eisenstein says Dunn scored high on an intelligence test, but scored very low on a memory test. The doctor says Dunn may not be able to remember traumatic events correctly and may invent memories.
10:15 a.m. - Dr. Eisenstein testified that Dunn spray painted crosses and biblical sayings on the walls of his home. He also testified that Mr. Dunn told him it was degrading that people, including his attorney, believe he's mentally ill.
10:20 a.m. - Jury is in recess for 20 minutes while the judge talks with attorneys about how the defense is questioning psychologist Dr. Hyman Eisenstein.
10:50 a.m. - Court is in a 10 minute recess.
11:00 a.m. - Court is back in session. Jury is back in the courtroom.
11:46 p.m. - The prosecution is working to poke holes in Dr Hyman Eisenstein's testimony inferring that the work the doctor performs for defense attorneys is based more on advocacy than accuracy. Dr. Eisenstein is a psychologist, hired by the defense, to evaluate Robert Dunn. Prosecutor, Bob Lee is questioning the doctor, asking, "aren't you, (Dr Eisenstein), an advocate for the defendant?" To which the doctor replied no. Then Lee asked, "Don't you travel across the state and beyond at the request of defense attorneys?" Dr Eisenstein replied, "Yes." Lee continued, "Isn't this your primary form of income?" Dr Eisenstein replied, "Yes."
12:00 p.m. - The jury has been released to go to lunch. Dr Hyman Eisenstein will return to the stand at the conclusion of the break.
1:21 p.m. - Back on the record in the penalty phase of the Robert Dunn capital murder trial. Dr. Hyman Eisenstein, a psychologist, hired by the defense, is on the stand.
1:40 p.m. - Dr. Hyman Eisenstein remains on the stand. Prosecutor Bob Lee continues questioning the psychologist regarding his findings on the mental state of Robert Dunn during the time the murder was being committed. Dr. Eisenstein DID NOT treat Dunn. He only reviewed his case after being hired by the defense. Dr. Eisenstein says Robert Dunn was experiencing a severe psychotic process at the time of the killing. But prosecutor Lee is inquiring how the doctor would know that since he has already testified that Dunn told him, (Eisenstein) he remembers nothing after he walked into the daycare.
2:50 p.m. - The defense has called Dr. Frederick Schaerf, an adult general and forensic psychiatrist. Schaerf first evaluated Robert Dunn about a month after the deadly shooting in January 2008 with their most recent interview being in August of this year. Dr. Schaerf says Dunn suffers from alcoholism and bipolar disorder and had severe psychiatric tendencies around the time he fatally shot his wife Christie.
3:12 p.m. - Court is in recess until 3:25 when testimony will continue with forensic psychiatrist.
3:33 p.m. - Court resumes with Dr. Frederick Schaerf, forensic psychiatrist on the stand.
6:30 p.m. - A jury will decide tomorrow whether to recommend execution for a convicted killer. Testimony wrapped up just moments ago. The gunman didn't take the stand to try to spare his life.
6:45 p.m. - The jury has gone home for the night. Closing arguments will begin tomorrow morning. After that a jury will decide whether to recommend life in prison or the death penalty. Judge Margaret Steinbeck will have the final say.
12:15 p.m. - The Robert Dunn penalty phase began with fireworks this morning after defense attorney David Brener introduced new evidence regarding Dunn's treatments for depression. Brener says the man who is designated as the custodian of those records, told him of new information during a smoke break. The prosecution says they had no opportunity to go over the new information. Judge Margaret Steinbeck had to call a short recess to allow for the exchange of information.
1:30 p.m. - Jury is back after break and Dr. David Shapiro has returned to the stand. He says Robert Dunn was in a severely depressed state when he shot his wife Christie back in January of 2008.
2:05 p.m. - Forensic psychologist Dr. David Shapiro remains on the stand. Dr. Shapiro says Robert Dunn was not faking his mental illness. He says Dunn was suffering from extreme emotional and mental stress at the time of the shooting. "He mentioned the driving and seeing angels and demons swirling around and had the sensation he was being held down by the demons," Shapiro said.
2:30 p.m. - Dr. Shapiro is being cross-examined by prosecutor Bob Lee who is trying to poke holes in his testimony. He is trying to show jurors that Shapiro's asessment is based primarily on interviews with Robert Dunn and his family. Shapiro was unaware of two half-empty bottles of alcohol found in Dunn's home during a search the day after the shooting. It seems prosecutors are trying to prove Dunn was lazy and irresponsible and went on hiatus to hide from the responsibilities of life, not because he was mentally ill.
9:30 a.m. - The jury in the Robert Dunn penalty phase entered the courtroom at 9 this morning. Defense attorney David Brener offered the jury a "Baker Act" report allegedly regarding Robert Dunn. Each juror is reading the form which has several pages. Brener stated yesterday in open court that Dunn suffered from a "sick and diseased mind."
10:07 a.m. -Defense calls to the stand, Sol Maria Lopez an employee at the Lee County Jail who was a part of the team that gathered information from Robert Dunn after he was arrested and booked into the jail. Lopez asked Dunn a number of questions upon his intake, including, "Do you suffer from major depression?" and Dunn responded, "Yes." He also admitted to attempting to commit suicide in the past.
10:48 a.m. - Robert Dunn's aunt, Shirley Staubach, takes the stand and testifies that Robert, "acted strange" as a child, spending a great deal of time in his bedroom. She says he did not have many friends. She testified that Dunn tried to live up to his father's expectations but never did.
1:05 p.m. - Court has resumed after a lunch break. Jurors are being lead back into the courtroom. The defense is about to call its next witness to the stand.
1:09 p.m. - Robert Dunn's sister, Lori Bardel, is on the stand testifying that as a child Dunn would stay in his room for hours and hours listening to records. Bardel says at times Robert would call her into his bedroom to listen to the music and say to her, "Do you hear it? Do you hear it? Can you hear the voices in there? They are telling us something."
1:19 p.m. - Robert Dunn's sister, Lori Bardel, remains on the stand. She testified that several years ago, Robert was living at his parents house when neighbors noticed him acting erratic. Neighbors called 911 when they witnesses Dunn diving behind bushes in the front yard as if he were "running for cover." When Bardel was summoned to the hospital to try and calm her brother he told her, "Ayatollah Khomeini and his army was coming to get him."
1:36 p.m. - Robert Dunn's sister Lori remains on the stand. She is identifying photographs of she and Robert as children and with other family members. She has been brought to tears on several occasions. The questioning continues.
2:01 p.m. - Robert Dunn's sister Lori Bardel has been on the stand for almost an hour. The jury has seen photos of the inside of Dunn's home where he spray painted religious symbols and messages on his walls. His sister broke down on the stand when defense attorneys showed pictures of Dunn and his daughter Allyson smiling and playing together. "He loved his daughter and they were so happy," Bardel said.
2:30 p.m. - Robert Dunn's sister, Lori Bardel, has been on the stand for almost an hour and half now. Bardel described how Dunn came off during a phone conversation 2 days before the deadly shooting in January 2008. "He was very paranoid, very somber, just something didn't sound right in his voice, that he just didn't have the will to live any more," she said. Bardel said Dunn wouldn't allow her to come over to talk with him in person and at no point mentioned the purchase of a gun. When asked by attorney if she regretted not going over, she replied "absolutely."
2:35 p.m. - The jury is on a short recess. The judge has to rule on whether certain testimony is allowed. Defense attorneys want to ask Lori Bardel, who is Robert Dunn's next of kin the effect her brother's execution would have on the family. The state doesn't want the jury to hear that.
2:45 p.m. - The Judge has brought the jury back in. Judge Margaret Steinbeck ruled defense attorneys can not ask Dunn's sister about the death penalty. Judge Steinbeck says the question is irrelevent and does not show any evidence of Dunn's state of mind. She said it would open the door for prosectuors to present in rebuttal opinions of others who could testify whether they think the death penalty would be appropriate.
2:50 p.m. - The defense has rested. Prosecutors will now cross-examine Robert Dunn's sister, Lori Bardel.
4:19 p.m. - Dunn's sister was on the stand for almost 3 hours. During cross-examination, prosecutor Bob Lee tried to prove Robert Dunn hid from the responsibilities of life. He showed a different side of Dunn. He asked Bardel why Dunn didn't attend his daughter Allyson's 2nd birthday party days before the shooting. He said he had to work, but when Bardel went to his home after the party, she testified he was home but would not come to the door. The defense has now called a mental health counselor Dunn saw while he was trying to get custody of his daughter.
5:00 p.m. - Jury sent home for the night. Testimony resumes Wednesday morning. The jury is instructed to be back at 8:30 a.m.
9:30 a.m. - Opening statements under way. Prosecutors tell jurors Robert Dunn committed the murder of his wife in a cold calculated manner where he put other lives in danger including his daughter. Defense attorney, David Brener, is currently explaining to the jurors that Dunn suffers from mental illness and should not face the death penalty.
10:18 a.m. - Defense attorney David Brener continues with his opening statement in the death penalty phase of Robert Dunn's capital murder case. Brener says Dunn was a tortured man who has a diseased mind and implored the jury to, "let mercy flow from you like the gentle rain from heaven."
12:45 p.m. - Court is in recess til 1:30.
1:10 p.m. - Attorneys are back in court. The jury is still out. Attorneys are discussing what will be allowed to be presented, in the way of testimony, in penalty phase. Defense attorney David Brener says things like the amount of people who attended Christine Dunn's funeral should not be considered in victim's impact statements. Also, Brener says any religious remarks be removed from impact statements.
1:25 p.m. - Jury is scheduled to return at 1:30...Court is in recess.
1:35 p.m. - Cape Coral police detective Kurt Grau takes the stand and testifies to Robert Dunn making a confession to the murder of Christine Dunn. Grau says Dunn confessed despite having his Miranda Rights, (you have the right to remain silent...), read to him. Grau says Dunn told him he snapped after Christine took his daughter away from him. Grau says Dunn was also upset because he had just received an income deduction order for child support. Grau says Dunn also said he went to the daycare to, "hurt that b***h for what she had done to him."
2:00 p.m. - Impact statements are about to begin. The jury will hear from Thomas Lozier, Christine Dunn's father. They jury just heard testimony form Cape Coral Detective Kurt Grau and how Robert Dunn confessed after the murder.
2:16 p.m. - The father of murder victim Christine Dunn, tells jurors his daughter was an "amazing" person that brightened the lives of those she interacted with. Thomas Lozier said his daughter was a person who loved children. Lozier then showed photos of Christine Dunn and his granddaughter, Allison. While the photos are being presented to the jury, Robert Dunn stares at the floor.
2:30 p.m. - Christine Dunn's father testified about the impact his daughter's death has had on their family. Thomas Lozier and Christine's mother have guardianship of her daughter Allyson who was 2 when she witnessed her mother's death. For the first time the jury has seen photos of Christie and Allyson. Mr. Lozier testified, "Allyson has brought meaning into our shattered lives. She is a blessing and the silver lining in a very dark storm cloud."
5:39 p.m. - In afternoon testimony, defense attorneys called two of Dunn's cousins who changed their names to disassociate from the "dysfunctional" family. They told jurors about a dark family history of mental illness including depression, paranoia, and even suicide. They described Robert Dunn's father as absent and only interested in his son's athletic achievements. "He was always quiet, always in the background," Dunn's cousin Christopher Sean said.