After four days of deliberation, the jury in People v. Oakes found Michiel Oakes guilty of murdering dog trainer T. Mark Stover. Mr. Oakes claimed that he had killed Mr. Stover in self-defense.
A sentencing date has not been set.
October 22nd, 2010 | Published in People v. Oakes
October 15th, 2010 | Published in People v. Oakes
Both sides rested their cases Friday afternoon, in People v. Oakes, and the jury was sent home.
The prosecution and defense spent the afternoon working with the court to finalize the jury instructions, in anticipation of closing arguments likely beginning Monday morning at 9am.
Watch closing arguments webcast live, and the entire trial on-demand, with CVN’s gavel-to-gavel People v. Michiel Oakes webcast.
October 14th, 2010 | Published in People v. Oakes
The Mark Stover murder trial continued today with the testimony and cross-examination of Mr. Stover’s ex-wife, and Oakes’ current girlfriend, Linda Opdycke.
Ms. Opdycke described for the jury a telephone call in which she told Mr. Stover to stop stalking her, harassing her, and frightening her; directed him to leave the area; and then called 911.
Ms. Opdycke also described how and why she began to document her communications with Mr. Stover, and read to the jury several messages from Mr. Stover, including his statements, “I can hurt you, too, and I know how to do it…this is war,” and “I’m going to see you big time. I will never forget this, and you know I’m a guy who can hold a grudge until I’m dead.”
Ms. Opdycke also described a letter she received from a boyfriend withdrawing from their relationship after speaking to Mr. Stover due to perceived safety risks to himself, his family, and his children, and encouraging her to look after her own safety as well.
On cross-examination, Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rosemary Kaholokula asked Ms. Opdycke to acknowledge that Mr. Oakes’ killing Mr. Stover had helped her by eliminating her problem with Mr. Stover, and asked whether Mr. Oakes’ successfully pleading self-defense would also help her by removing her potential liability.
October 12th, 2010 | Published in People v. Oakes
The defense completed its opening statement in People v. Michiel Oakes.
Corbin Volluz told the jury about Mark Stover’s repeated threats against Michiel Oakes as well as against Michiel Oakes’ children, how Michiel Oakes came to be in Mark Stover’s house the morning of October 28th, why Mr. Oakes was armed and wearing a bullet-proof “Kevlar” vest, why Mr. Oakes felt compelled to act in self-defense, how and why Mr. Oakes removed Mark Stover’s body from the house, where Mr. Oakes disposed of the body, and why Mr. Oakes belatedly attempted to dispose of his hand gun.
After Mr. Volluz’s opening statement, Michael Oakes took the stand.
CVN is webcasting the Mark Stover trial live. Watch the entire trial live, and view prior sessions at your convenience on-demand, for $50.
October 11th, 2010 | Published in People v. Oakes
The prosecution rested its case in People v. Michiel Oakes, and the defense presented its opening statement.
Hon. Judge Mike Rickert denied the defense’s two motions to dismiss, which asserted that there was inadequate evidence to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that either a homicide had been committed or that Mr. Oakes had acted with premeditation. According to the Court, the prosecution had presented enough evidence to permit a jury to at least deliberate on those questions.
Defense attorney Corbin Volluz told the jury in his opening statement that Mr. Oakes was a highly intelligent 42-year old who had written patents and started his own business. He was an expert in security and had written articles about guns, some of which were published in gun magazines. In addition, Mr. Oakes had experience and training in hand-to-hand combat.
After the end of his first marriage, Mr. Oakes obtained sole custody of all four of his children, and was as busy as any single mom. All four of the children were in the courtroom. Moreover, Mr. Oakes formed close bonds with two step-sons from a subsequent marriage.
According to Mr. Volluz, Michiel Oakes never in his life pointed a firearm at another human being, until the morning of October 28, 2009, and then only in self-defense.
Mr. Volluz told the jury that his story would unfold in three acts. Act 1 would be how Michiel met Linda Opdycke. Act 2 would be how Linda met Mark Stover. Act 3 would be how Michiel met Mark.
Mr. Volluz explained that the testimony would show that Linda Opdyke met Michiel Oakes around the sale of a dog, and that she consulted Mr. Oakes, as a security expert, on how to deal with the stalking behavior of her former husband.
During “Act 2,” Mr. Volluz reviewed extensive evidence, including handwritten notes, surveillance video, and answering machine messages detailing Mark Stover’s stalking behavior. According to Mr. Volluz, Mr. Stover entered Ms. Opdyke’s home, stole her garbage, tapped or attempted to tap her telephone, watched Ms. Opdycke and her boyfriend through a bedroom window, read her diaries, violated the terms of the domestic violence protection order, stole and/or destroyed a lifetime of her photographs, and made numerous threatening statements.
According to Mr. Volluz, Ms. Opdycke feared for her life, and the Skagit County Sheriff did not do enough to make sure that Mr. Stover surrendered all his firearms, as was required by the Domestic Violence Protection Order.
Palpable tension filled the courtroom as the defense and prosecution teams sparred throughout the day. Judge Rickert accused the legal teams of “not playing nice,” after Mr. Weyrich resisted the defense team’s request to use the prosecution’s LCD projector, and Ms. Kaholokula seemed distracted or agitated during the Mr. Volluz’ opening statement.
“Act 3″ of Mr. Volluz’ opening statement begins Tuesday, October 12, at 9am PDT.
October 6th, 2010 | Published in People v. Oakes
Prosecution witness Sheriff Detective Ben Hagglund showed to the jury on Tuesday a .22 calibre handgun allegedly belonging to Michael Oakes. Detective Hagglund did not observe threading on the pistol that would allow it to accept a silencer.
Detective Hagglund also narrated the showing of ferry terminal surveillance video that purported to showed a dark-colored car similar to Michael Oakes’ Suzuki and a couple walking nearby. Although Detective Hagglund had also reviewed surveillance video from a Starbucks, he was unable to identify either Michiel Oakes or Jennifer Thompson in the video.
The jury also heard from the general manager and the store manager of a Winthrop hardware store that allegedly sold a gun to Mr. Oakes. The store manager testified that shortly before Mr. Oakes was arrested he had asked the manager to keep two of his guns for him.
October 1st, 2010 | Published in People v. Oakes
On Day 3 of CVN’s live webcast of the People v. Oakes Mark Stover murder trial, Skagit County Sheriff’s Detective Tobin Meyer showed the jury surveillance video from the security system at Linda Opdycke’s residence, appearing to show defendant Michiel Oakes coming and going late at night around the time of Mark Stover’s disappearance.
September 30th, 2010 | Published in People v. Oakes
Veterinarian Dr. Lee Anderson, DVM, was sworn in Thursday morning in People v. Oakes. Dr. Anderson described the discovery and removal of three bullets from Mark Stover’s guard dog, Dingo, who was brought to him October 29, 2009, by Beth Coleman.
According to Dr. Anderson, Ding was a Malamar, who was euthanized in February, 2010, as a result of bone cancer.
Sheriff Detective Theresa Luvera was sworn in next. She described how she was brought into the case, and the crime scene photographs she took, including apparent blood stains.
Day 2 testimony continues with additional photographic exhibits.
September 29th, 2010 | Published in People v. Oakes
The prosecution in People v. Oakes called Mark Stover’s next-door neighbor, Stephanie Poor, to testify. Ms. Poor also worked for Mark Stover, and she saw Stover’s vehicle, which she had assumed was driven by Mr. Stover, leave the driveway like a “bat-out-of-hell,” which would have been very unusual for Mr. Stover.
According to Ms. Poor, Mark Stover’s dog Dingo had been a Royal Dutch Police Dog, with 3,000 hours of training to attack and to protect, which was the gold standard in training for police dogs.
Ms. Poor also described how she found Ding, apparently injured, and the blood in Mr. Stover’s house, which she had originally assumed was Ding’s blood. She also described the “overwhelming” smell of chlorine bleach, which Mark Stover never used, because it would have been bad for the septic system.
September 29th, 2010 | Published in People v. Oakes
The first witness in People v. Oakes was Mark Stover’s fiancee, Teresa Vaux-Michel.
Ms. Vaux-Michel recounted her first meeting with Mark Stover, and the days prior to and after Mark Stover’s death.
According to Ms. Vaux-Michel, Mark Stover’s beloved dog “Dingo,” was a highly trained guard dog, most frequently referred to as “Ding.”
Ms. Vaux-Michel explained that prior to his death, Mark Stover feared for his life, and would call her from pay telephones and use cash to keep his location from being traced.
On cross-examination, Ms. Vaux-Michel
testified that she would be surprised if she learned that Mark Stover had been in Montana twice when Linda Opdycke was there with Linda’s boyfriend Michiel Oakes, and that she did not believe that Mark Stover had asked a female employee to accompany Stover on his trip to Montana “to carry his gun.”