The prosecutor told jurors that the 12-year-old murder victim was found with a cord wrapped around her neck.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Stanley Adams is not intelligent and he is a substance abuser, but he is innocent of killing a mother and daughter, a defense attorney says.
Ted Macejko Jr., representing Adams, said Wednesday that he believes jurors at the conclusion of the trial will not be "firmly convinced" that Adams is guilty.
Adams faces charges of aggravated murder in the deaths of Esther Cook, 43, and her 12-year-old daughter Ashley. Their bodies were found Oct. 11, 1999, in their Dickey Avenue home.
The charges carry specifications that the killings occurred in conjunction with other crimes. Adams also is charged with three counts of rape and one count each of kidnapping and aggravated burglary.
If convicted of all the charges, he could face the death penalty.
What his lawyer said: "Stanley went through three hours of questioning with detectives Jeff Hoolihan and Manny Nites, and during that time he kept repeating that he is innocent," Macejko said.
He noted that Adams was living with Ashley's older sister, and thought of Ashley as a "little sister."
Relatives of the victims have said that Adams was one of Ashley's pallbearers.
Macejko also told the jurors that in the evening hours of Oct. 11, 1999, Adams had purchased $40 worth of crack cocaine, smoked it and then went to Esther Cook's home and found her dead.
Macejko said Adams walked up the stairs and from the hall saw Ashley lying on the floor.
According to police records, Adams said he did not contact police about the murders because he feared he would be blamed.
State's evidence: Prosecutor Dennis Watkins, however, said several statements Adams gave to police turned out false. He also noted that officials have DNA evidence that links Adams to the scene.
Watkins said semen found on Ashley's body and on her bedsheet matches Adams' DNA profile.
"This defendant told police that he did not go into Ashley's room but saw her from the hall," Watkins said. "The coroner and the police will tell you they could not see the dead child from outside of the room because the bed was blocking the view."
Watkins added that the girl's body appeared to have been posed. He added that the 95-pound, 12-year-old had a cord wrapped around her neck and was holding part of the cord in her hand. He said jewelry had been placed on her private parts.
"Her face was black with bruises and it appears the bruises caused brain swelling," Watkins said. He said that smears of Esther Cook's blood were on the bottom of Ashley's feet.
He added that Esther Cook had been choked and beaten with "some type of tool."
"Some of her injuries were caused with a broken broom and some with a tool that we don't have," Watkins said.
One juror asked to be excused during Watkins' presentation, saying she was ill. She was allowed to leave and an alternate juror replaced her.
The prosecutor also noted that Adams told police he burned the clothes he was wearing that evening.
Traffic stop: Warren Sgt. Robert Massucci testified Wednesday that he stopped Adams' car for a traffic violation that evening and noticed that Adams had a substantial amount of blood on him.
"I asked him why he had this blood on him and he said it was because he cut his hands," Massucci said. He noted that Esther and Ashley's bodies had not yet been found, so he had no reason to be suspicious of Adams.
"I used my flashlights to look at his hands but the light wasn't good and his hands were so dirty that it was hard to tell if he had several cuts on them," Massucci said.
Massucci said when he learned the next day of the murders, he immediately told detectives about the traffic stop.
Adams was convicted in October of the murder and rape of Roslyn Taylor, 40, of Poland Township on Aug. 6, 1999. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Authorities have described Adams as a self-employed auto mechanic who lived with the Cooks for a short time.