2017-10-12 / Front Page

Gamble found guilty in Goodrich Assault

Defense failed to get reduced charge
By Paula K. Schmidt
810-452-2647 • pschmidt@mihomepaper.com
By Paula K. Schmidt

FLINT – The trial of Charles Gamble II, accused of attacking two women in two separate incidents while they were jogging in Genesee County spent only a few hours in jury deliberations before coming back with a verdict of Guilty on Count One: Assault with Intent to do Great Bodily Harm (up to 10 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00) and Count Two: Assault and Battery (up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500).

Prior to that, Judge Archie Hayman listened to arguments by Gamble’s attorney, Robin Wheaton, for consideration of  two counts of Assault and Battery only, which Hayman advised the jury they could consider after the greater charge; which apparently they felt the prosecutor had made a sufficient case to prove.

Testimony on Tuesday, Oct. 10 included Deputy Robert Lipset, who made the Oct. 12, 2016 traffic stop on Gamble’s automobile. Lipset testified he noticed the suspect vehicle southbound on State Road near Green Road at approximately 6:25 p.m.

Lipset said his initial observation was in regard to an obvious window tint violation, as well as it being similar to the suspect vehicle except for the tires being ‘factory stock’ versus the after-market chrome rims described in a lookout advisory.

He then called in the stop including the previously noted personalized plate “WEE5E”, which was also noted by a witness to be carved into a leather belt the suspect wore to work. Gamble provided the legal driving documentation requested by the deputy and was left in his car.

He then communicated with the officer in charge of the case, Detective Sergeant George Lieber, who advised him to secure the suspect as soon as back-up officers arrived. Lieber stated in later testimony that this was due to the nature of the crime the suspect was wanted for.

Several other officers arrived from various jurisdictions, including Detective Mohamed Sanchez who went to Gamble’s home address immediately following the traffic stop to secure it prior to a search warrant being obtained.

Lipset testified he was advised to secure the vehicle which was then transported to the GCSD garage for processing by evidence technicians the following day. He also discussed meeting with the school official who assisted him in obtaining surveillance video evidence from Oct. 7.

Sanchez testified to finding the chrome rims in Gamble’s garage and Lieber to finding the green shorts as described by the Goodrich victim in the upstairs bedroom.

Detective Sergeant William Skellenger also testified with regard to a woman who had seen Gamble on the trail and Davison but had not been assaulted, and the line-up shown to her as well as a city employee also believed to have seen him on Sept. 28 when the initial attack occurred.

Lieber further testified to studying the surveillance video for hour to pick out specific details about Gamble’s vehicle such as the body style and trim package, the On-Star antenna, and the luggage rack position.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At one point in Lieber’s testimony a sidebar was called and the decision made to not allow testimony of his conversation with Gamble in the back of the patrol vehicle as he had not been read his Miranda Rights yet.

The debate was over the legal definition of being in custody versus being free to leave, whereas if not in custody, a suspect can be questioned without the Miranda warnings. However, McLaren had no objection to the ruling, stating Gamble admitted to the same things after being Mirandized, that he did in the vehicle.

Lieber stated Gamble admitted to having changed the wheels of the vehicle on Saturday Oct. 8 but didn't admit to being at the crime scene, despite expert testimony stating his phone was pinged at both locations via cell phone tower technology.

Lieber also described photos he took of the area of the attack the next day where it showed leaf and tree debris scattered in a manner that suggested a scuffle had taken place, as well as a photo showing where he and the victim’s son alleged Gamble to have lain in wait to ambush the woman.

He also detailed how the black hat wasn’t even considered significant evidence, due to not responding to biological pre-testing with luminol, but became significant because the defendant’s son remembered him wearing it when he shoved the child.

On Wednesday, closing arguments were heard from the prosecutor, Janet Lea McLaren, Special Assistant Attorney General who stressed to the jury the difference between the two charges. She also stated she believed the assault in Davison as well as the witness who testified to being frightened by Gamble on the trail the day before; were evidence of Gambles intent and also justified part of the Great Bodily Harm conditions.

In her closing remarks, she added she believed the DNA evidence was “very compelling” and that many items alone may not have been significant but together were strong corroborating evidence.

Wheaton on the other hand repeated what he said in opening, that unless the evidence supports they statement of police and expert witnesses, it is not necessarily true—and this was echoed by Hayman in the jury’s final instructions.

He told the jury he believed it significant that the Goodrich woman at first believed she was hit three times, but later felt it must have been more like 6 times and that he felt it “makes a big difference” in determining the intent of his client.

 Earlier testimony featured two forensic science experts from the Michigan State Police (MSP) lab in Bridgeport, Shane Hill and Valerie Bowman. McLaren introduced multiple items of evidence from the suspect’s vehicle as well as the Goodrich scene.

They described the process of obtaining DNA and other evidence from the vehicle which was processed by Katie Urca, a Michigan State Police (MSP) forensic scientist who testified to processing swabs of items collected in the warrant search.

Her testimony excluded Gamble from a water bottle found near his vehicle, but confirmed his and the Goodrich victims’ DNA in a mixed sample found on the dash of his car as well as a camouflage fleece blanket found in his car.

Testimony about how the DNA of both Gamble and the victim were found in his truck was very intense, with the expert, Joni Johnson, using extremely high numbers of probability and many questions from both attorneys.

Additionally, a Katie Allen testified to working with Gamble during the time of the Goodrich attack and observing not only previously noted details of his vehicle, but also a black hat type piece of clothing, which the Goodrich victim’s son testified to, but also a leather belt with a term similar to his custom license plate and including a conversation they had about the custom rims which were removed following that attack.

In the afternoon session, McLaren questioned Joseph Jensen, a specialist in cellular phone investigation with the Detroit office of the FBI who had been given authority via a warrant to check Gamble’s phone records for the dates and times in question.

Jensen testified that Gamble made one call during the period when each attack had occurred. He explained that cell towers have a sector, similar to a pie chart divided in three or more sections and the tower technology allows the cellular company to narrow down the call to a particular sector for that tower. If more than one tower is in an area, the sectors will possibly overlap.

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