Discussion in 'Trials' started by mojook, Oct 15, 2019.
10/24/19 Defendant's Ex-Boyfriend Says He 'Never Stopped Loving Her' - Court TV
10/24/19 WI v. McCandless: Jury Hears Police Interview - Court TV
MENOMONIE, Wis. — Jason Mengel was visibly nervous as he approached the witness stand, mistakenly raising his left hand when asked to raise his right to give an oath to tell the truth.
The 35-year-old then spent all afternoon answering questions about his past relationship with the 22-year-old defendant, and what he knew about her sex life with two other men in their friend group, including the man McCandless is charged with killing, Alex Woodworth.
Salacious testimony in WI murder trial as ex-boyfriend takes the stand
Ezra McCandless trial latest
This has information for Day 1 thru Day 6.
DUNN COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU)-- Cross- examination continues in the case of WI vs McCandless.
McCandless’ ex-boyfriend, Jason Mengla, Alex Woodworth’s roommate, Matthew Schreiner and girlfriend of Mengel’s roommate, Jenna Vandezande were among the people who took the stand today for cross- examination.
Court TV says McCandless is expected to take the stand on Monday.
WATCH LIVE: Trial underway for Ezra McCandless in Dunn County
TY MT. If it's not too late, you need to edit you post and add the link from CourtTV where you got the photo.
Sorry, I’m obviously new, I don’t know which link exactly I got it from, I just screen-grabbed it during a live stream. Sorry
Looks like you figured it out! Thank you for the screenshot. That is a very strange crime scene indeed.
Link to Jason's testimony. 10/23/19 WI v. McCandless: Defendant's Ex-Boyfriend Testifies About Sex, Abortion and Assault - Court TV
I found this incredibly interesting.
Details from Jason's testimony -
Racy's is where everything connects. Alex was the nighttime barista, Jason and John were 'very close' friends and hung out there and EM was a regular. EM was 'away from her family' and met Jason at Racy's and became 'inducted into it' as he put it, with 'it' being the close-knit family of Racy's (which sounds essentially like any uni group of young philosophers) EM and Jason dated for about a year between 2017 and 2018. He didn't know the age gap was that large 'when i started...' (what?) - he later described her home life as tough. EM moved in with Jason and his roommate about a month after they met/began dating in summer of 2017. For a time, the roommate's gf also lived with them. EM essentially sponged off them the entire time and never 'kicked in' to help costs despite having a job but bought them gifts. She would communicate via FB and instagram. Here are the instagram links:
Ezra McCandless (@dirt_fiend) • Instagram photos and videos
A strange look is exchanged between them when he says 'she was very into photogtaphy.' This is one of the only times they lock eyes. Shortly afterwards a collection of photos of them is introduced (we don't get to see them) and he blushes and grins when looking at them.
Eventually, EM gets pregnant and Jason was assuming by him (but now doesn't know if it was his or not - it was aborted and she never asked him what he wanted to do and when they got to the abortion clinic in Minnesota she told him to go away.) After the abortion, things changed in their relationship and there was minimal intimacy. Jason was sleeping on the couch.
Sometime afterwards, he leaves to go on a week long trip to CA with a male friend he had become 'exceptionally close' with during the same time period he knew EM. This friend attended Dungeons&Dragons meets on Mondays with Jason.
At one point during their relationship, Jason observed John (JH) through a window putting a choke hold on EM in their apartment. Jason described it as nothing unusual as JH has a military background and was probably just trying to show her something. JH's reaction to Jason coming home was odd though, as he left immediately.
In Feb 2018 Jason left on military training for a few weeks during which EM messaged him to say she had to move out. She was gone when he returned, and his roommates weren't ok with her coming back. This tells me something happened while Jason was gone which I expect to learn more about during roommate testimony.
Next they cover texts Jason saw on EMs phone between her and JH. He would twist his mouth like he tasted something bad while speaking of JH and especially reading some of the texts. We don't know what some of those are because the audio was cut while he read those lines. Here is what they showed in the video:
Jason screenshotted these texts for leverage as he had been suspecting an affair.*
After Jason had confronted EM about these texts, they were on a drive and she claimed JH assaulted her while he was gone. Earlier they established that John returned on the 14th, so looking at these messages there is an obvious discrepancy. Jason put together a timeline to figure out when he thinks these occurred and called JH to confront him. JH denied it at first, then changed his story as Jason presented the evidence. Feb 4, Jason believes or was told by EM that JH, EM and JH's roommate were drinking and essentially got EM plastered, and she was taken advantage of while drunk. (So note how EM says she was blacked out, yet calls it an 'assault'). The next morning, JH drove EM back to Jason's apartment, came in to use the bathroom and reportedly assaulted her again.
The pros bring up a painting of EMs that had been hanging over the bed - Jason later gave it back to her and she gave it away the day she killed Alex. I believe the point is to establish that this was a sentimental item (or should have been) so giving it away that day rightfully troubled Jason.
Finally, testimony ends with pros establishing that Jason knew EM was sleeping with or having a relationship with Alex. He had figured it out through his own observations and things mutual friends were alluding to.
*Jason used the word 'levity' but I believe he misspoke so this is my interpretation.
I liked Jason. I thought he was (maybe too) honest and a lot nervous. I am sorry for him that he got involved with a woman like Ezra, but am not surprised considering what can be learned about him through his testimony - intf type, care-taking, 'held back' from life because of military (which is why I think a 20 year old was in league for him, however intelligent she is). I do not get a controlling vibe from him at all, only potentially enabling. In fact, it was EM keeping him from DnD or not wanting to interact with his friend group (typical borderline behavior) to the point of threatening self harm to keep him home. He mentioned multiple times that he has 'repressed a lot of this stuff' which I find interesting.
The rambling testimony was brilliant actually, and I see why the judge allowed it. It gave lots of background and detail but importantly demonstrated his ability to recall certain things in detail but not others (like that their catchphrase was 'you are loved and you are valued') and established all the dependencies she had on him (which can be motive).
I'll summarize the defense cross next and then on to the roommate testimony.
Just a guess, but looking at what few crime scene photos I've seen, it appears Alex could have been murdered outside the car. Was it her plan to kill him there and just leave the body and drive away. But, the car got stuck in the mud and she had to put him in the car, take a walk and make up a story.
Do we know if either Ezra or Alex's family are in the courtroom?
Defense cross: 10/24/19 Defendant's Ex-Boyfriend Says He 'Never Stopped Loving Her' - Court TV
Let's take a moment to appreciate the sausage necklace:
They start off with the night of the murder, Jason is turned away from seeing EM at the hospital. The next morning when he could see her, he testifies that she did not seem to be confused about her identity (ie responding to 'Ezra')
On March 14-16 Jason and EM were at a hotel together where they had sex. Afterwards there are exchanges of loving text messages and EM even expresses a desire to have children with Jason.
After this is when EM sent the journals (or two different writings) to Jason. It is unclear if these are written diaries or just blog posts. Jason states EM was going through therapy at the time. In the journals EM writes about the relationship and the abortion and the fallout and her deep love for Jason. EM was sharing these with another friend JP who was a fellow student at the uni (where, to clarify, EM was also attending originally). EM expressed that she wanted to show them to JH and AW. She 'wanted to get her voice back'. This is a convo taking place on instagram. Jason advised against her doing it in person, calling it 'reckless'.
*We didn't get to see the prosecution ask him about this part.
On March 22 Jason is doing laundry next door to Racy's and hanging out smoking out front. EM shows up, says hi and walks right past him, then came out a few minutes later. There was some tension between EM and the two female baristas according to Jason, because EM 'wore out her welcome' in the cafe and had a bit of an unpaid tab. He believes her paying for the coffee that morning was a response to that. Jason observes EM talking to another friend and giving the painting to him. She leaves. Jason talks to that friend about EM acting odd, then calls EMs dad, then goes looking for her. It is not explained how he knew she was with Alex (this defense attorney is hard to follow as she doesn't take the witness along a coherent timeline, just asks leading questions) but at any rate Jason wanted to be there to mediate any potential blowout between AW and EM.
This next part was really disjointed as I believe the Def was purposely taking him in circles. Making sense of it, we learn that:
Jason sees EM's car at AW's and waits outside but says the convo seemed to take an unusually long time. His phone rang and EM knows his ring tone (it seems Jason believes EM heard the phone so knew he was there) Jason describes the atmosphere as escalating so he goes inside the house without knocking or ringing, hears EM say "let him help you." When Jason enters the room, he asks if they're ok and that is when he is told everything is ok. Jason tells them he will be outside waiting if they need anything. When Jason exits, the police have arrived. (The Def drops a factoid here that Jason had had the cops called on him twice in a month, but isn't allowed to elaborate on the first incident). LE tells Jason someone called something in and asked him if he thought Alex was violent and Jason said he didn't know. Much later he finds out EM is missing and his first thought was Alex did something to her.
Here the Def refers to testimony Jason gave the day before regarding EM telling him Alex asked her to do sexual things she didn't like such as choking and boarding (in general, not specifically that day), that things went too fast (in the relationship). When she refused, Alex would tell her it wasn't fair.
Backing up a bit, Jason confirms EM was working two jobs at the time, one at the school and another new one she was starting soon as a hospice worker. She was living with her dad at this time.
On March 21, Jason took a photo of the bathroom wall at Racy's and sent it to EM. We only get the tiniest glimpse of this:
It looks like it may be her phone number. She calls him and they talk, including a discussion about a really positive talk EM had with her dad. Afterwards, she sends a cryptic instagram message saying 'life starts now.'
At this point there is a heated conflict in the courtroom when the Def tries to quote EM's last words from her journal to Jason as preface for a question. The state objects as Jason's opinion isn't relevant and the text speaks for itself. Def says, "if it's in evidence, I'll just put it up on [the projector]"
The last lines EM says, "I don't accept the past's actions but recognise them, and only want to work towards finding who I truly am. I cannot hurt myself anymore. I cannot hurt the ones I love. I can become Ezra McCandless again. I am worth it."
The pros bring Jason back to previous testimony about sometime in December of 2017 when Jason attended to a cut on Alex's wrist. According to Jason, sometime later EM offered the explanation that Alex said he would kill himself unless she broke up with Jason. By this time Jason had already begun to suspect EM was involved with Alex.
Next Jason clarifies what went down with JH. He spoke to JH about the texts he found (screenshotted in my prev summary and presented during direct) and was given a story, then he spoke to EM and got a version, etc and each time stories would change. He and EM went on the drive he previously testified to where it is established she gave a different story than her original (ie she has a pattern of lying).
Oh boy, this interview. She's doomed.
I know her dad has been in the courtroom in the past. Today, she glanced back behind her when, during the interview, she was asked about her dad and the knife.
@Vail TY for the recaps and I'm LMAO at the sausage necklace
Watching court tv and they showed another photo of Alex laying on the floor of the car. His muddy shoes were off(blood on the sole) laying on the floorboard of the backseat with his coat on top of them and then him laying on top of it all in his socks. His was partway out of the car and there was a scarf around his neck. Here is a snip taken from court tv.
Court tv reporter at the trial said Ezra's mother broke down in tears during the police interview video and had to be comforted by another woman. Alex's mother was crying and left when the cross exam of the detective began.
TY. They also said his socks were pristine. I'm having a hard time walking thru scenarios in my mind. I mean, clearly she's lying big time. If she slit his throat while he was on top of her like she said, she would be drenched in blood but had very little blood on her.
Could she be telling the truth about him laying outside the car when she left? Then he got in the car, took off his shoes and died after she left. But how could he do that after she slit his throat?
10/22/19 WI v. McCandless: Inside the Evidence Room - Court TV
In this segment, they go through police photos from the crime scene.
The evidence definitely supports that, and the expert in the video agrees. Here are some screengrabs:
Ezra McCandless Evidence Photos
And, if he crawled back into the car, his head would not be laying outside the car. And who put the scarf around his neck. This crime scene is a real puzzle.