Photo: Buffalo News/ Derek Gee
BUFFALO, NY - The prosecution rested on Day six of the Mo Hassan trial. Court resumes again today with Mo Hassan calling witnesses for the defense.
After the prosecution finished on Wednesday, Hassan told the court, "we did not know they were finishing that quickly...we do not have our witnesses here for the afternoon."
Hassan says if they (the defense) doesn't have witnesses ready to testify on Thursday that he will take the stand.
Hassan informed the court that he will not need to call his children back to the witness stand if two pieces of handwritten paper are submitted into evidence. Prosecutors say they don't want the notes in and they don't want the children called back to court.
Erie County Court Judge Thomas Franczyk asked Hassan what he plans to ask his children if they are called back to the stand. Hassan says he would ask about a few more bad acts. Prosecutors are getting frustrated. Assistant District Attorney Colleen Curtin Gable said "just because this defendant is now representing himself doesn't mean that he can recall every witness. This is going to go on forever."
Hassan told the Judge that he beat his wife from December 2007 to March 2008 and that he wants to submit medical reports to show that fact.
The day started with the defendant continuing to cross-examine Orchard Park Police Lieutenant Joe Wehrfritz. Hassan started his question by asking the lieutenant to identify a hotel receipt from the Clarion. Hassan was staying at the hotel before the murder. Minutes later Hassan asked the Lt. Wehrfritz if there was any evidence collected indicating a sexual affair. "No," said the lieutenant. Hassan then asked if the lieutenant was ever made aware that Aasiya Hassan had accused him of having an extramarital affairs. Once again, the answer was "no."
The defendant then shifted his focus to domestic violence. Hassan started referring to a time when the lieutenant came to his Orchard Park home. "Did you find an email detailing Aasiya's death threat toward me?" "Not that I recall," said Lt. Wehrfritz.
Hassan asked Wehrfritz if he thinks a woman is more likely to be a victim of domestic abuse. The lieutenant said "no." Hassan then asked if he would be surprised if 95-percent of the abusers in his reports are men. The lieutenant says he can't say if that figure is accurate.
Judge Thomas Franczyk warned the defendant he appears to be trying to use the lieutenant as an expert witness on domestic violence when this witness is testifying about evidence collection.
Hassan then asked the lieutenant, "in 25 years on the job, how many cases have you had that a murderer come in to turn himself in?" Lt. Wehrfritz said"one case." Hassan asked "and that case was?" Wehrfritz said point blank, "your case."
The second prosecution witness on the stand this morning Jeff Strohm. He works for Sprint/Nextel as the custodian of records in Kansas. The prosecution asked for Hassan's text and cell phone records.
In a February 6, 2009 text from Mo Hassan to Aasiyah...
Mo: "Please kindly clean my car, no eating or drinking in my car, thank you."
Aasiya: "Done, I apologize for forgetting it in the first place."
In a February 10, 2009 text at 10:57 p.m.
Mo: "I have been supportive of you all day, I fell into the wrong in fixing you, let me know now so I can change my wrong way. I am aware of my shortcoming now and I will immediately stop, there is nothing wrong with you, it was my job to fix others....begging, please don't isolate me, call me back. I have been alone in this room all evening. Aasiya, please give me just two minutes, I never refuse you I need it."
Aasiya's text to Mo: "Mo, I am sorry but I could be in trouble doing this. o, I would be in trouble if I do not stop talking to you."
Mo: "No, Aasiya, God is with us, third parties don't know us. I don't want to fix you, plus these are work phones. I was really good today in giving you space and support. Aasiya, please give me two minutes so I can go to sleep in peace, so otherwise I will be tossing and turning all night. Aasiya, please don't do this to me, I will remain worried an get no sleep all night. Aasiya, not talking increases negativity..."
Aasiya to Mo: "Mo, I know, but it is time that both of us let go, please don't make it more difficult for both of us."
Mo: "Aasiya, please just give me two minutes so I can sleep. I am begging you please, I always take your call, I never keep you waiting. Aasiyah, please, have some heart, two minutes."
On February 12, 2009, the day of the murder, this was part of the final text between the Hassans.
Aasiya: "Shall I drop your stuff at your office? I will be working at home starting tomorrow."
Mo:"Okay, when can I pick it up from office?"
Aasiya: "I can drop it around 6:15"
Mo: "Thank you for lunch...I'm really sorry."
Aasiya: "Can you please leave my car key in desk..."
Aasiya: "Sorry for lunch!"
Mo: "Sorry for hurting you."
Aasiya: "I'm sorry too."
Mo: "I have returned in all sincerity, honesty and humility. I cannot carry on without you and family."
Aasiya: "I have not done anything to hurt you since Sunday since I saw my mistake."
Mo: "You are important to me and worth changing for. I am a good man Aasiya, a good humble man, who has made some mistakes, please don't punish me so hard, God likes forgiveness."
That was the last text message sent on the day Aasiya was killed.
James Murphy, confidential criminal investigator with the Erie County District Attorney's office was the last person to testify before the court took a lunch break. He collected a DNA sample from Mo Hassan at the Erie County Holding Center a few days after the murder.
WEB EXTRA: Day Six Reporter's Notebook
After lunch a forensics DNA Tech and a forensics serologist from Erie County Central Police Services testified on more scientific matters involving retrieving DNA from the victim.
Two knives that were examined by Sarah Murrin, forensics serologist, in March of 2009 contained blood and hair. The knife blade was five and three-quarters of an inch long.
Blood-stained clothes that Mo Hassan wore the evening of the murder were identified in court by Murrin who tested the items.
Yesterday was the second day Hassan acted as his own attorney. On Monday Judge Thomas Franczyk reversed his original decision, allowing Hassan to be his own counsel while former defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz serves as his legal advisor.
Hassan presented a list of potential witnesses, which included Judge Franczyk, District Attorney Frank Sedita, and Colleen Curtin Gable who is prosecuting the case.
On day five of testimony, Hassan accused Aasiya of killing her brother, and asked the judge if he learned that during his investigation. During his cross-examination of Orchard Park Police Detective Patrick McMaster, Hassan asked him if he was aware that Aasiya suffered from child abuse and had a "dominant and forceful personality." The prosecution objected to both questions.
On Tuesday morning jurors viewed surveillance video taken from inside the Bridges TV station. A series of grainy, black and white images appeared to capture the murder.
An Orchard Park detective testified it was only 37 seconds between the time Aasiya walked into the building and the time she was killed.
Other graphic evidence included Aasiya's blood-stained clothing.