Another long and emotional day in West Chester. A bunch of us sat in support with Mary Bock and later Mary and Bill Bock (they both had to be released by the court as they had both testified the previous day).
Of course while we were sitting in court, lovely people were leaving messages like this on the Justice For Argus & Fiona Facebook page:
We have been receiving messages like this since the whole Justice for Argus & Fiona thing began. Some of them have been quite vile. We have chosen not to make a big deal out of it. But this message was just one too many today. Mr. Pilotti testified in court today to angry phone calls he received, and we did not condone that behavior any more than this behavior exhibited above.
Today Mr. Pilotti testified. He wore a very 1970’s looking light tan colored suit and a mauve-tinged shirt and a very loud tie.
Also today we heard from West Vincent Police Chief Swininger. The Chief and the ADA presented into evidence the entirety of Gabe Pilotti’s interview at the West Vincent Police Department in February (February 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm I believe was when this took place.) The jury and all in the courtroom listened to this 55 minute interview.
Interesting things today occurred with reference to the shooting including wasn’t Mr. Pilotti afraid he might hit his sheep with buckshot spray? And later in the afternoon the Judge asked Mr. Pilotti why he chose buck shot over bird shot?
There was much discussion about a prior incident when Mr. Pilotti shot a pit bull (maybe two, I am not certain.) In that 2012 incident (May, I believe) the dogs had taken down his neighbor’s animals. Mr. Pilotti did not lose any animals in that incident although I think it was said one of his animals had puncture wounds. I believe they said his neighbor suffered a loss of a few animals and a few injured in that 2012 incident. Mr. Pilotti also seemed to admit under oath that Argus & Fiona had not harmed any of his animals. There was much discussion about the dogs, how they were shot, where he was standing, so on and so forth.
Mr. Pilotti held up o.k. under questioning by his own attorney, but a good lawyer always preps their client. They went through his personal history after a fashion and discussed that he had kept sheep since the 1970s and he considered himself a shepherd to his flock.
The shepherd thing came up a lot. Like a theme or something. I like sheep and goats. Cows and chickens too. But I know it takes a lot to be a farmer. Some people aren’t farmers, they are more hobbyists. It is obvious he loves his animals. But the Bock family loved theirs too, right?
Mr. Pilotti did not seem to hold up as well under cross by the Assistant District Attorney. At times, he almost seemed argumentative or maybe just defensive, I couldn’t tell.
A couple of times during his time on the stand there were admonishments from the judge to Mr. Pilotti and to his attorney. But fair is fair and those of us in the peanut gallery were told to pipe down at the end of the day too.
One witness that was called by the defense was that guy who had walked Bill Bock over to Mr. Pilotti’s the day of the shooting – Dallas Definbaugh. He is Mr. Pilotti’s across the street neighbor I guess.
Several other character witnesses were called before the defense rested – A Linda Reichert (neighbor of a neighbor), Steve Hobbs the Pastor of the Vincent Baptist Church, a Bill Malenke (neighbor), the husband of a niece (?), a very pleasant gentleman on a cane, and two church members Shirley and Quenton Craft. It was nice to hear them say nice things, but it doesn’t in my mind negate what happened. What happened was wrong in my opinion, and I am allowed to have that opinion.
Then the defense rested.
The jury was interesting to watch during the day. They paid close attention and even asked for an audio recording to be played back so they did not miss anything.
This is a case that I am not certain what will happen in the end. We can only hope for the right thing, and that no matter how nice a guy is to go to church with or live across the street from, shooting puppies is not right. But no matter what, the case was heard before a judge and jury and to me that is a victory.
One thing I kept hoping for today was that when Mr. Pilotti was on the stand part of me hoped he would have apologized to the Bocks for shooting the dogs, but I guess that is just wishful thinking and only something that would have happened on TV? (this would make an interesting episode of Law & Order, though)
Tomorrow everyone closes and then the jury is charged with their most important task: to decide guilt or innocence.
Closing arguments will resume at 9:30 in courtroom 8 on the 7th floor in West Chester.
And while we were in court more came out about the current state of affairs at the Chester County SPCA. So it is a double dog posting day. Stay tuned.