Tag Archives: Steve Andrews

Reset: All jurors dismissed in Gateway murder case II

Back to square one in the trial of Fred Cooper.

In a major setback for the day, Judge Thomas Reese dismissed the remaining jury panel after Cooper and a potential juror came face to face while the defendant was wearing handcuffs.

Defense attorneys brought the issue before Reese after a 20-minute recess. Sight of the handcuffs could have prejudiced a juror.

“I don’t know if anybody even saw (the handcuffs),” a Pinellas County deputy told the judge.

The interaction occurred after either the juror or Cooper was on an elevator that stopped on the wrong floor. When the doors opened, Cooper was standing handcuffed, across from the juror.

“I’m going to discharge this panel,” he said. “Get a new panel and start all over again.”

The dismissal of the remaining 41 potential jurors unravels the progress of the day.

Jury selection will move to a Clearwater courtroom on Wednesday, where a new jury pool will be convened.

Court will be back in session at 9:00 a.m. at the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center in Clearwater.

On Thursday, the trial will return to the St. Petersburg Judicial Building, the site of today’s proceedings. If a full fourteen jurors haven’t been seated by that point, another jury panel will be available at the Judicial Building.

Jurors in the first trial talk about their deliberations. I love it when you can get the thinking that went into the verdict, or lack thereof, as in this case.

See Naples News.

Posted: 02.17.09

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Jury selection begins in Gateway murder trial II

How did I forget about the jury selection.  This could take a few days or longer since it is a death penalty case.  The trial is beginning in Saint Petersburg, but of course this part won’t be televised.  I am not even sure Trutv will televise the testimony, but I am hoping they will.

But in addition to the death penalty issue in the selection of the jury, gender will probably play a major role as well.

The Naples News reported yesterday that during the deliberations in the first trial, it was four women who were the hold-outs for a not guilty verdict. (BUT there were four women who voted to convict as well, so was it really gender or just a difference of opinion.)

Juror Lynne Johnson reported that early in the deliberations, she and three other women were at odds with the other eight.

Cooper is charged with two counts of capital murder in the killings of Steven and Michelle Andrews, who were found dead in the bedroom of their Gateway home on the morning of December 27, 2005. Prosecutors say Cooper killed the pair in a fit of jealousy after his longtime girlfriend, Kelly Ballew,  entered a relationship with Steven Andrews.

Early in the deliberations of Fred Cooper’s first murder trial, juror Lynne Johnson snapped at a male colleague she thought was being disrespectful, she recalled.

The first trial, held in October, ended in a hung jury. The final jury split ended the way it began, with four women voting against conviction.

No smoking gun exists to show Cooper’s involvement in the killings of the Andrewses. Jurors in the first trial said they dismissed DNA evidence that showed Cooper as a possible contributor.

With no direct evidence, Cooper’s believability became an issue in the trial when he told jurors he and Andrews had sex in her driveway the night before she was killed. In the account, first offered by Cooper after he was told investigators had DNA evidence against him, Cooper and Andrews had grown close consoling one about their spouses’ affair.

Some jurors dismissed the account as made up. Others, like Johnson, called it believable.

In an interview, the juror claimed that “none of the women” liked Cooper’s former girlfriend, Kellie Ballew, who had the relationship with Steven Andrews.

“I can’t say I feel sorry for him,” she said. “Do I feel he’s getting railroaded? Yeah, quite possibly.”

coopersecondtrial

I tend to agree with her.  I would make one heck of a defense juror.  I believe in the death penalty in certain cases, but I would hold the state to their burden and make them prove it to me, especially if the death penalty was on the table.

Jurors can be eliminated for cause if they state they could not under any circumstances render a verdict for the death penalty.  Of course, race or gender cannot be used as a reason to eliminate, but each side has a certain number of challenges for which they do not have to give a reason.

Posted:  02.17.09

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Crime Scene Photos in the Gateway Case

Crime scene images taken hours after Steven and Michelle Andrews were found murdered in their Gateway home. These are photos of the interior and exterior of the house and of the couple’s son, two year old Lucusz, who was found unharmed in the home.  No bodies are shown but don’t click if you are squeamish.

http://www.naplesnews.com/photos/galleries/2006/feb/23/gateway_killings_crime_scene_photos/

Video below run on a Minnesota station, where the Andrews lived before moving to Florida:

http://wcco.com/topstories/Fred.D.Cooper.2.355643.html

Posted:  11.29.08   Updated:  12.01.08

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Lee County Gateway Murders – The Other Woman

A little digging has provided some depth into the personality of the only person in this tragedy who is left standing.

“Kellie Ballew, a former Bonita Springs resident, grieves in her own way. There’s a page devoted to her on myspace.com.

Several emails released show Steven was making plans to divorce his wife to be with his mistress. The two exchanged emails in a similar fashion to instant messaging. The night of the murder Ballew wrote, “I can’t wait till we can be in our own home and not have to sneak out to be with each other.”  At 10:28 p.m. Steven wrote back one final time, “I keep thinking about you. Talk soon.”

But, the person who created the Kellie page — if it is indeed Ballew — admits she’s not looking for a man.  She’s found one.  But, she is looking for friends.

A search of “Kellie Ballew” on myspace.com produces the page and a disturbing title: “Luv to get dirty.”  Quite amazing, considering Ballew held the key to a love triangle that shocked Southwest Florida.

Ballew admitted to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office that she was romantically involved with Andrews, a married co-worker at Outdoor Productions in Bonita Springs.  Ballew even admitted that she had sex with Andrews in the office the night he was killed in his home.  Ballew broke off her relationship with Cooper because of Andrews.

The Sheriff’s Office’s theory is that Cooper went into a jealous rage, shooting Andrews in the head and then beating his wife.

Since the deaths and arrest, Ballew has moved to the Orlando area.

The picture on the Web page is definitely of Ballew (a former friend with an emphasis on former has confirmed it). Two e-mails to Kellie from the Daily News via the Web page have been read but there have been no replies.

But the page with the photo of Kellie, sporting a fresh bleached blond hairdo, sends a message calling out for new friends on myspace.com.

The personal blurb on the page reads: “I am a 26-year-old female, born and raised in Central Florida.  I enjoy hanging with friends, family and most of all my 5 year old pride and joy!  I have been working in Management and Accounting for 7 years and when I‘m not crunching numbers or spending time with the fam you can usually find me party hopping somewhere around Orlando with my friends. My motto – “Live life to the fullest, party hard and don‘t be afraid to get a little dirty along the way.“‘

Click on the Kellie Web site and the intentions are plainly heard. The Gretchen Wilson song, “Here for the Party” starts playing and the lyric, “Gonna get a little crazy just because I can,” rings loud.

There also are some interesting pictures on the Kellie site. There’s one of Kellie in a black bikini in front of the stove with the title, “How my honey likes me to make dinner….humm.”

And just who is her new beau?

He’s a hunky fireman.  How appropriate.  No, she’s not too hot to handle.  But she certainly needs someone to extinguish the still smoldering flames from her previous relationships.

Kellie apparently is burning a new trail and making new friends along the way.”

On April 11, 2006, Hanson reported that the My Space website for Kellie had disappeared about a day after the above was in the paper.

The website with Ballew’s picture on it was created on February 27, 2006, exactly two months after Steven and Michelle Andrews were murdered.

On October 18, 2008, the following from an Orlando paper:

“One of the most high-profile murder cases in history just ended in a hung jury, which will be retried, over the guilt of the accused, former Orlando resident Fred Cooper. Current Orlando resident Kellie Ballew is a major player as she was having an affair with Steven Andrews and fighting with Michelle Andrews, a married couple who were murdered in their home during the early hours of December 27th 2005.

“It was Kellie Ballew who pointed the Lee County Sheriff’s Office toward her live-in lover Fred Cooper, who is the father of their child Carly.

“Ms. Ballew and her fiance Joey Crisp, a used cars salesman, now live in Orlando and are planning on getting married on January 3, 2009 in Orlando.”

Don’t know what happened to the fireman mentioned in April, 2006.

This one is just waiting to be made into a Lifetime movie.

fredcooper1

Here’s Fred Cooper in court during his trial.

New trial is set for February 17, 2009, in a new venue — Pinellas County.

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Double Murder in Lee County – Truth is Really Stranger Than Fiction

Gateway Murders…..

Nancy Grace has been on the Anthony missing child case now for what seems like months.  They have had riots in the streets, a strange bounty hunter or bondsman from Texas making an appearance, and Equa Search using the time and good-heartedness of hundreds of volunteers to look for Kaylee.  I don’t know how much longer she can produce an hour show each and every night on this story.  The child’s mother has done nothing but lie, and now I am beginning to believe there is something suspicious about the grandparents as well.

I’m not sure how they choose which story they will feature, but here’s one not too far in distance from the Anthony case, near Fort Myers at Bonita Springs, that is beyond wow in mystery and circumstances.  I would suggest Nancy Grace and Greta, too, get on this one.  But I am sure the authorities and the court are glad they are not featured on tv every night.

I saw a portion of this trial on Trutv this week.  I don’t know if they had aired it previously or not, but the trial actually took place during the first part of October, 2008.

michellesteve Michelle and Steve, victims

In a nut shell, a couple named Steve and Michelle were murdered in their home in an up-scale neighborhood the night after Christmas of 2005, a home still decked out for Christmas with a Christmas tree and three stockings still hung.  The couple had a small child who survived and it seems he somehow called 911 — or was it him or the killer because nobody spoke during the call.  He was about two years old at the time.

Steve had been killed by one shot in the head, and Michelle was beaten, strangled, and posed half-naked on the bedroom floor.

Second couple, Fred Cooper and Kellie Ballew, long-time boyfriend/girlfriend, who had a child between them, were having trouble in their relationship and Kellie was breaking up with Fred.  Why?  Because she was having an affair with Steve.  Well, here’s where it gets interesting.

Michelle had called Fred and they had met previously and Michelle had told him that she was sure that her husband, Steve, and Fred’s girlfriend were having an affair.  This all happened not too long before Christmas, the two couples had ended up sitting at the same table at a work Christmas party a little before Christmas.  Steve and Kellie worked at the same place.

On the 26th of December, with Steve’s parents in town from Minnesota at a motel, Steve met Kellie sometime that night at work, and they had sex.

Fred’s story is that he and Michelle had been talking about their problems and they, too, had met on the night of December 26th and had sex.  I think he said in the driveway of Steve and Michelle’s house, which sounds incredible, but maybe this was during the time Steve was with Kellie at their work place.

Fred is arrested for the murder.   Murder weapon was never found.  There’s some DNA evidence.

The October trial ended in a Mis-Trial.

Taking into consideration the facts of this case, my first thought was Steve killed Michelle and then shot himself in the head.  Apparently they ruled that scenario out, probably because there was no weapon found at the scene.  Still it seems that Michelle was the one who was the target instead of Steve.

Did Fred do it?  Will the case be retried?

See more of the story and some pictures @ http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2008/sep/27/gateway-double-murder-case-set-trial-accused-faces/

Update: Second trial moved to Pinellas County set for February 17, 2009.  http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2008/nov/25/cooper-re-trial-date-moved-february/

Kellie Bellew – the other woman  https://bellalu0.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/kellie-ballew-the-other-woman-testifies/

Posted:  11.27.08

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