Solicitor complains about sleeping jurors in murder trial

Published: Oct. 9, 2010 at 4:40 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 9, 2010 at 4:44 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Day 5 of the high profile Kate Waring murder case continued on Friday as defense attorneys finished their cross examination of the prosecution's key witness, Heather Kamp.

Kamp was testifying against Ethan Mack who is on trial for Waring's 2009 murder. Prosecutors say Mack tortured Waring with a Taser, knocked her out by hitting her in the head with a wine bottle and then with help from Kamp, put an unconscious Waring in a bathtub to drown.

Day 5's courtroom buzz came just before noon when Solicitor Scarlett Wilson complained to Judge J.C. Nicholson Jr. about a juror who is continually sleeping. The judge ushered out the jury and then he pointed out two jurors that had been sleeping.

"Y'all picked them. I didn't. If you have a reasonable suggestion I'll do it. If you want alternates then I'll do it. The one on the front row was sleeping more than the one on the back row," Judge Nicholson said.

"This is serious stuff," Wilson said.

"I'll be happy to stop and make everybody stand," Judge Nicholson said.

The jury was brought back in and the trial resumed.

Before the sleeping juror incident happened, Dr. Schwartz-Watt, a forensic psychiatrist, was testifying. She reviewed a psychologist's work on Mack and Kamp. She said Kamp was diagnosed as three axis 1 disorders, one axis 2 and several axis 3.

Axis 1- Bipolar, depressed, substance dependence, alcohol substance

Axis 2- borderline personality disorder

Axis 3- ectopic pregnancy, asthma, a couple others

Howard Gatch, Waring's married boyfriend at the time of her disappearance, also testified. he said he first met Waring in may 2009 at West Ashley Fitness. He worked there doing martial arts training.

"You began an affair?" Wilson asked.

"Yes," Gatch said.

"How long did it last?" Wilson asked

"Until she disappeared," Gatch replied.

Wilson asked Gatch if he had ever met Mack and he said no, but that Waring did talk about Mack and Kamp's relationship.

"How did she feel about it?" Wilson asked.

"I dot think she cared," Gatch answered.

Gatch said that Waring had told him that within a week Mack and Kamp were going to get married.

"Did you think that was normal?" Wilson asked.

"We thought it was comical," he said.

Wilson also asked Gatch about Waring's disappearance.

"I remember Sunday morning I woke up at 9 a.m. and I had a hole in my stomach and I knew something was wrong," Gatch said. "We were friends and we talked deeply. The sexual part was over but the friendship wasn't."

Mack's lawyer David Aylor finished his cross examination of Kamp in about 20 minutes Friday morning, before turning it over to a redirect from Solicitor Scarlett Wilson.

Aylor questioned Kamp about her plea agreement and her interviews with police where she allegedly lied to them. She told authorities that another man was involved in the murder, but police later discovered he was not.

"So you told the story about Juan Martinez for a drug deal?" Aylor asked.

"Yes," Kamp said.

"But your story about Ethan's involvement was true?" Aylor asked.

"Yes," Kamp said.

"You just threw in the Juan Martinez story to throw off detectives?" Aylor asked.

"Yes," Kamp said.

Wilson asked Kamp when Waring's last breath was during her redirect and Kamp told her that it was at the Riley Road home.

"What killed her?" Wilson asked.

"The bathtub. I saw the bubbles," Kamp said.

Wilson also asked Kamp if she pleaded guilty before the judge and then lied afterward and she said "yes."

"What happened?" Wilson asked.

"You busted my deal." Kamp said.

"What are you looking at?"

"45 to life," Kamp said.

After Kamp finished her testimony, Isaac Washington, the Riley Road landlord took the stand. Washington said that Mack worked for him for a while and that he lived there in apartment B1. Washington said the apartment was originally rented to Mack's father and it was rented to him on March 1, 2009.

"Was anybody staying there with (Ethan Mack)?" Wilson asked Washington.

"A heavy set white girl," Washington said.

"Was she there all the time?" asked Wilson.

"Yes," Washington said.

"Now when did you see a tall skinny white girl?" Wilson asked.

"It was Friday. Late. I was about to go to bed then I heard a car go behind the house so I got up. I peeked through a window. I saw a white girl walking with her cell phone. She was calling for help or angry or something," Washington said.

Washington said he also saw "A girl named Heather and Ethan was out there" that night.

"Terry Williams was also out there," Washington said.

Williams lived in a different apartment. Washington said he never saw Kate there before or after that night.

The next witness for the prosecution is Shontez Commodore who says he is Mack's best friend. Commodore is a carpet cleaner and was in the Navy. He said he met Mack when he moved back to Johns Island. He was his next door neighbor.

Commodore testified that he knew Waring and that he met her through Mack. he said he assumed they were good friends and didn't have a reason to assume otherwise. He said he met her five to 10 times.

"Did you meet Kamp?" Wilson asked Commodore.

"Yes. I met her at my house I believe. I assumed they were in a relationship together because they were together all the time," Commodore said.

"Was Mack in love with (Kamp)?" Wilson asked.

"I think so," replied Commodore.

Commodore said that Mack told him Waring might have been a snitch. He said he thinks Mack said something about Waring being involved in friends being busted.

The trial resumed at 3:15pm after a lunch break.  A friend of Waring's, Jason Luck, was called to the stand.  He was asked the nature of their relationship and how much Kate had told him about Mack and Kamp.

Luck was asked about a series of texts Waring had sent him on June 9.  He said he transcribed the pertinent ones, and that in one text Waring had mentioned a "smackdown". They exchanged phone calls.  He says she claimed she received threats for breaking up a marriage.

Luck said he did not know if that had anything to do with to Mack and Kamp's relationship.

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