Tape Played Two Ways in Denny Case Video Put Defendants at Scene but Failed to Show Key-Intent

By Ashley Dunn 1993, Los Angeles Times | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), October 2, 1993 | Go to article overview

Tape Played Two Ways in Denny Case Video Put Defendants at Scene but Failed to Show Key-Intent


Ashley Dunn 1993, Los Angeles Times, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


IN THE END, the powerful videotape of the violence at a flash point of the 1992 Los Angeles riots - the most compelling evidence of the case against two men charged in the Reginald Denny beating - was a sword that cut both ways.

The often-intimate account of the chaos and brutality gave the jury a multifaceted view of the attack that established the identities of defendants Henry Keith Watson and Damian Monroe Williams.

But the tape was far less compelling in addressing a critical issue about the most serious charges against the defendants - their state of mind as they participated in the attack on Denny and other attacks. Denny was beaten on the first day of the riots that erupted April 29, 1992, after the acquittals in the first Rodney King beating trial.

Williams was charged with 10 counts involving Denny and six other victims. Watson was charged with five counts involving Denny and two others.

Did the defendants premeditate to murder trucker Denny? Did Williams intend to leave Denny permanently disfigured? Did Watson plan to help others rob another trucker, Larry Tarvin?

Although the jury continues deliberations on two charges, including attempted murder, the pattern of its decisions was made clear in the 13 verdicts released Monday.

In charge after charge, the jury either came back with an acquittal or was unable to resolve a count that required a glimpse into the thoughts of the perpetrators and their specific intent.

"The prosecution lost heavily on intent," said Robert Pugsley, a professor at Southwestern University Law School. "Either the jury didn't grasp the theory, or they did not see enough there."

From the beginning of the trial, one of the cornerstones of the prosecution's case was showing that even if the defendants were not directly involved in committing a crime, they were still liable as "aiders and abettors" to those who did.

The charges related to aiding and abetting, which included assault with deadly weapon and robbery, also required showing that Watson and Williams had specific awareness of the intent of the actual perpetrators.

Again, the jury was either unable or unwilling to convict the defendants, even though the defendants were present during some of the attacks.

"I think this is a substantial defeat for the prosecution and a substantial victory for the defense," said Erwin Chemerinsky, a University of Southern California law professor.

The conviction of Watson and Williams on lesser charges bolstered arguments by the defense that their clients had been overcharged from the beginning as part of an effort by prosecutors to make Watson and Williams scapegoats for the riots, which became the costliest in U.S. history.

One of the most controversial charges - the attempted murder of Denny - seems more plausible given the jury's deadlock on the issue, says Laurie L. Levenson, a law professor at Loyola University. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Tape Played Two Ways in Denny Case Video Put Defendants at Scene but Failed to Show Key-Intent
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.