The prosecution rested its case in People v. Michiel Oakes, and the defense presented its opening statement.
Hon. Judge Mike Rickert denied the defense's two motions to dismiss, which asserted that there was inadequate evidence to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that either a homicide had been committed or that Mr. Oakes had acted with premeditation. According to the Court, the prosecution had presented enough evidence to permit a jury to at least deliberate on those questions.
Defense attorney Corbin Volluz told the jury in his opening statement that Mr. Oakes was a highly intelligent 42-year old who had written patents and started his own business. He was an expert in security and had written articles about guns, some of which were published in gun magazines. In addition, Mr. Oakes had experience and training in hand-to-hand combat.
After the end of his first marriage, Mr. Oakes obtained sole custody of all four of his children, and was as busy as any single mom. All four of the children were in the courtroom. Moreover, Mr. Oakes formed close bonds with two step-sons from a subsequent marriage.
According to Mr. Volluz, Michiel Oakes never in his life pointed a firearm at another human being, until the morning of October 28, 2009, and then only in self-defense.
Mr. Volluz told the jury that his story would unfold in three acts. Act 1 would be how Michiel met Linda Opdycke. Act 2 would be how Linda met Mark Stover. Act 3 would be how Michiel met Mark.
Mr. Volluz explained that the testimony would show that Linda Opdyke met Michiel Oakes around the sale of a dog, and that she consulted Mr. Oakes, as a security expert, on how to deal with the stalking behavior of her former husband.
During "Act 2," Mr. Volluz reviewed extensive evidence, including handwritten notes, surveillance video, and answering machine messages detailing Mark Stover's stalking behavior. According to Mr. Volluz, Mr. Stover entered Ms. Opdyke's home, stole her garbage, tapped or attempted to tap her telephone, watched Ms. Opdycke and her boyfriend through a bedroom window, read her diaries, violated the terms of the domestic violence protection order, stole and/or destroyed a lifetime of her photographs, and made numerous threatening statements.
According to Mr. Volluz, Ms. Opdycke feared for her life, and the Skagit County Sheriff did not do enough to make sure that Mr. Stover surrendered all his firearms, as was required by the Domestic Violence Protection Order.
Palpable tension filled the courtroom as the defense and prosecution teams sparred throughout the day. Judge Rickert accused the legal teams of "not playing nice," after Mr. Weyrich resisted the defense team's request to use the prosecution's LCD projector, and Ms. Kaholokula seemed distracted or agitated during the Mr. Volluz' opening statement.
"Act 3" of Mr. Volluz' opening statement begins Tuesday, October 12, at 9am PDT.