STATEMENT OF FACTS
Defendant-Appellant Jason David Sadowski was convicted, at a jury trial in Marquette County Circuit Court, the Hon. Jennifer A. Mazzuchi presiding, of one count of solicitation of murder, MCL 750.157b(2); two counts of torture, MCL 750.85; two counts of unlawful imprisonment, MCL 750.349b; and two counts of assault by strangulation, MCL 750.84. The trial occurred from February 24 to March 4, 2014. On April 21, 2014, Judge Mazzuchi sentenced Mr. Sadowski to concurrent prison terms of 40 to 80 years (3 counts), 10 to 15 years (2 counts), and 5 to 10 years (2 counts). He now appeals as of right.
Mr. Sadowski was jointly tried, before a single jury, with co-defendant Charles Leroy Cope. Mr. Cope was convicted on all four counts charged against him — the two charges of torture and the two charges of unlawful imprisonment.
The basic allegations in this case came from two women — Angel Paris and Becky Bressette — who claimed that after meeting Mr. Sadowski outside a bar in Ishpeming, Michigan, in the early morning hours of July 2, 2013, he invited them back to his martial arts studio, where he taught classes and also lived, after they expressed an interest in seeing the studio and possibly taking classes from him. The women admitted that while at the studio, and drinking with Mr. Sadowski, they stole money from his wallet while he was out of the room, and later confessed to him that they had committed this larceny. According to the women, he became enraged at this theft, and forced them into the basement of the building, where Mr. Cope was then living, by threatening them with a sword. They asserted that in the basement Mr. Sadowski bound them to support poles with duct tape, struck them repeatedly and burned one with a cigarette, choked both of them, forced Ms. Paris to physically inspect Ms. Bressette’s vagina for some of the
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missing money,(1) and then solicited Ms. Paris to kill Ms. Bressette in exchange for allowing her to leave. They asserted Mr. Cope assisted Mr. Sadowski in binding them to the poles, but also acknowledged that Mr. Cope never himself hit or strangled them, and treated them much less harshly when Mr. Sadowski was periodically out of the basement during the hours this incident allegedly consumed. Eventually the women located a cell phone in the basement, and made a 911 call to the police. When the police arrived, both Mr. Sadowski and Mr. Cope were arrested.
Mr. Sadowski’s defense theory at trial was that the charged offenses did not occur, and that the women lied to the police to insulate themselves from arrest for the larceny. He testified the two women fought between themselves in a dispute over returning the stolen money to him, that he never forced them into the basement or bound them to the poles, that he did not physically assault or choke either woman, and that he not solicit Ms. Paris to kill Ms. Bressette. In addition, the defense argued that had Mr. Sadowski, a highly trained and skilled martial arts fighter and teacher, physically assaulted the two women as they claimed, they would have suffered considerably more serious injuries than their medical examinations revealed.
On the other hand, Mr. Cope’s defense theory at the joint trial was that Mr. Sadowski did in fact bind and assault the two women, and did ask Ms. Paris to kill Ms. Bressette, and that he only went along with the commission of these offenses under duress, as he was afraid for his own safety and life if he either refused to assist Mr. Sadowski or released the two women when Mr. Sadowski was out of the basement.
Prior to the trial, the prosecution moved to join the charges against Mr. Sadowski and Mr. Cope, which were then separated, for a single trial. See Appendix A. Mr. Sadowski’s counsel at that time filed a written objection to the joinder, arguing the two cases should be severed due to
(1) Mr. Sadowski was charged with a count of criminal sexual conduct based on this allegation, but acquitted of that count by the jury.
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the antagonistic and irreconcilable defense theories likely to be presented by the co-defendants. See Appendix B. A hearing on the prosecution’s motion was held before Circuit Judge Thomas Solka, on whose docket the cases were as of that date, on October 2, 2013.
At the hearing, counsel for Mr. Sadowski argued it was clear from Mr. Cope’s trial counsel’s cross-examinations of Ms. Paris and Ms. Bressette at the preliminary examination that he intended to present the duress theory at trial.(2) (10/2/13, 7).(3) Trial counsel for Mr. Cope agreed that the co-defendants were going to take adverse positions to each other during any trial. (10/2/13, 7-8). Mr. Cope’s counsel also argued that if the two cases were to be joined for trial, the court should empanel separate juries for the co-defendants. (10/2/13, 9-10). When asked by Judge Solka, the trial prosecutor acknowledged there were incriminating statements made by Mr. Cope to the police against Ms. Sadowski that were likely to be presented at the trial, but stated he did not believe those statements would be admissible at trial against Mr. Sadowski if Mr. Cope did not testify and subject himself to cross-examination. (10/2/13, 10-11).
In a lengthy ruling on the record, Judge Solka held the respective theories of the co-defendants, while inconsistent, were not sufficiently antagonistic or irreconcilable to require severance of the cases or separate juries. (10/2/13, 12-24). Judge Solka also denied the request for separate juries at a joint trial. (10/2/13, 24). The court later issued an order granting the prosecution’s motion for joinder. Appendix E.
Prior to trial Mr. Sadowski filed a written motion seeking to bar the prosecution from presenting evidence of Mr. Cope’s post-arrest, custodial statement against Mr. Sadowski.(4) At a pre-trial hearing held on February 14, 2014, before Judge Mazzuchi, the trial prosecutor agreed
(2) The entire cross-examinations by Mr. Numinen, Mr. Cope’s trial counsel, of the complainants at the preliminary examination are attached as Appendices C and D.
(3) For the purposes of this brief, the trial transcripts will be referenced by volume and page number, and the pre-trial proceedings by date and page number.
(4) See Appendix G.
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that if presented the statement would not be admissible against Mr. Sadowski unless Mr. Cope elected to testify and subject himself to cross-examination. (MH, 2/14/14, 13-14, 15). Judge Mazzuchi noted that all parties were in agreement that Mr. Cope’s statement, while admissible against him as a statement of a party-opponent under MRE 801(d)(2), would not be admissible against Mr. Sadowski. (MH, 2/14/14, 16-17). She asked that the prosecution, if it intended to present Mr. Cope’s statement against him, provide the court with a redacted version of that statement prior to trial. (MH, 2/14/14, 17-18). Subsequent to the hearing, the court issued an order containing the ruling as to Mr. Cope’s statement. See Appendix H.
At the trial Ms. Paris testified that on the night of July 1, she went with Ms. Bressette, her boyfriend Jeremy Aho, and another woman to two bars, first to Rumerz and then to Hickey’s. (II, 619). She saw Mr. Sadowski, who she did not know, sitting in his truck in the parking lot when she and Ms. Bressette went outside to smoke a cigarette, and asked him if he had a light. Ms. Paris testified Ms. Bressette asked him if he smoked marijuana, and they then began discussing his business of teaching martial arts and that he had a studio nearby. According to the witness, Mr. Sadowski told them they could come see the studio to discuss taking classes from him, and that while there they could smoke marijuana with him. (II, 621).
Ms. Paris admitted that when the three of them got to the studio, they went to an area of the building where Mr. Sadowski lived, and while he was getting some marijuana for them to smoke she and Ms. Bressette found his wallet and removed money from it. (II, 622-623). She asserted they took only four dollar bills from the wallet, with each of them keeping two. Ms. Paris asserted she later felt guilty about stealing from him, told Mr. Sadowski about the theft, and gave him back the $2 she took from his wallet. (II, 624). She stated he then asked Ms. Bressette to also return his money, and when she did he hit her, knocking her from a chair. Ms. Paris
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alleged Mr. Sadowski began hitting her as well, and then forced the two women down some stairs into the basement of the building by threatening them with a sword. (II, 626-627). Ms. Paris stated he wanted to check both women’s pants to see if they had money hidden, but she denied he forced her to put her hand into Ms. Bressette’s vagina looking for money. (II, 628).
According to the witness, once in the basement they went into a room where a second man, who she identified as Mr. Cope, was standing near a cot. (II, 631). Once inside, the two men tied the women to metal support poles in the room using duct tape. (II, 631-632).
Ms. Paris alleged that during this time Mr. Sadowski punched her and banged her head into the pole. She further alleged he choked her several times, and that while she heard Ms. Bressette say that he had burned her with a cigarette, she did not see that happen. (II, 634-635). She asserted Mr. Sadowski told her her boyfriend had been calling repeatedly on her cell phone looking for her, and that if he came to the studio Mr. Sadowski was going to kill him. (II, 636). Ms. Paris estimated that the incident started, at the bar parking lot, around 12:30 am and ended at around 6:30 am, when she found a cell phone in the basement and called 911. (II, 638). She claimed that at some point of the night, she was released from the tape and was told by Mr. Sadowski that if she was willing to kill Ms. Bressette with a knife he would let her go. (II, 645-648 ). She stated that Mr. Sadowski would periodically leave the basement room, but Mr. Cope would normally stay, and that while Mr. Sadowski was out of the room Mr. Cope would give the women cigarettes to smoke and food, and at one point gave them some if his Xanex pills. (II, 642-644, 649). She stated that Mr. Cope acted like he was part of the offenses when Mr. Sadowski was in the room, but that he never hit either woman and was much nicer to them whenever Mr. Sadowski left the basement.
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Ms. Paris indicated she got numerous bruises during the incident from being punched and kicked by Mr. Sadowski, and marks on her arms from the duct tape. (II, 654-665). She denied physically fighting with Ms. Bressette at any time that night. (II, 687). She stated she had been wearing false fingernails that night, and that a number of them had fallen off in the basement during the incident. (II, 688-689). She denied seeing Sarah Pietro (Mr. Sadowski’s ex-wife) at the building that night. (II, 689).
Ms. Paris admitted she had numerous problems in the past with opiate addictions, and related problems with the police and the courts. (II, 687). She had been convicted of giving a false name to a police officer during a traffic stop. (II, 687-688).
On cross-examination Ms. Paris denied that she and Ms. Bressette argued about whether to give the money they stole back to Mr. Sadowski, or that there was any physical confrontation between the two women. (III, 745-747). She denied the reason the three of them had gone into the basement was to get more cigarettes and alcohol from Mr. Cope. (III, 755). She denied stealing any jewelry from Mr. Sadowski that night, and denied stealing some of his marijuana. (III, 757-759). She agreed that during the preliminary examination she testified she and Ms. Bressette had been screaming at each other. (III, 821).
Ms. Paris agreed that Mr. Sadowski cut her free from the pole, and that Ms. Bressette was able to free herself from the tape when the police arrived. (III, 763-764).
The parties put on the record that Ms. Bressette had died, from causes unrelated to the instant case,(5) and the prosecution requested to read her recorded testimony from the preliminary examination to the jury in lieu of live testimony. Over a defense objection, the court permitted the recorded testimony to be read. (IV, 1187-1190).
(5) Ms. Bressette apparently died from a drug overdose in September, 2013.
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At the examination,(6) Ms. Bressette testified concerning her meeting Mr. Sadowski with Ms. Paris in the parking lot behind Hickey’s, and then going to see his martial arts studio. (PE, 32-33). She admitted taking some change from his jacket pocket while at the studio, and that Ms. Paris took some dollar bills from his wallet and gave them to her. (PE, 34). She acknowledged they told Mr. Sadowski they had stolen this money from him. She alleged that even though they returned the stolen money to him, he punched her in the face and knocked her across the room while still in his residential portion of the building. (PE, 35). She further alleged he tore her shorts, and forced Ms. Paris to feel insider her vagina to see if she was hiding any more stolen money there. (PE, 35-38).
Ms. Bressette testified Mr. Sadowski then forced the two women into the basement by threatening them with a sword, and that once downstairs he yelled to Mr. Cope that he had some “thieving, f-ing bitches here that we need to teach a lesson to.” (PE, 40-41). She asserted Mr. Cope assisted in taping her and Ms. Paris to the poles with duct tape. She claimed Mr. Sadowski repeatedly smashed her face into the pole, threatening to kill her. (PE, 42-44). She further alleged he choked her until she became momentarily unconscious, and punched her over 20 times. (PE, 44-45). Ms. Bressette claimed that Mr. Sadowski burned her on the face with a lit cigarette. (PE, 46-47). She stated that at one point Ms. Paris was released from her pole, and left the room with Mr. Sadowski for around 30 minutes. (PE, 49-50). According to the witness, when Ms. Paris returned to the basement room she told Ms. Bressette that Mr. Sadowski wanted Ms. Paris to kill her in exchange for being allowed to survive. (PE. 50). She was aware that Ms. Paris, who had not been retaped to a pole, found a cell phone in the basement and called 911.
(6) The court reporter at the trial did not transcribe the recorded testimony as it was played for the jury, so the references to it in this brief will be to the transcript of the preliminary examination held on July 17, 2013, before 96th District Court Judge Dennis H. Girard.
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Mr. Sadowski’s attorney at the examination cross-examined Ms. Bressette briefly, who denied that Ms. Paris asked him to sell her any marijuana, and denied that she has a license to possess medical marijuana. (PE, 59-60). She denied having any alcohol to drink at the studio, or that any of them smoked marijuana while there. (PE, 61). She denied stealing any more than $4 from Mr. Sadowki’s wallet, or taking his watch or jewelry from his room. She denied being on any medications that night which would have impacted on her memory. (PE, 63). Ms. Bressette agreed she and Ms. Paris argued about who took out his wallet, but denied there was any physical fight between her and Ms. Paris while they were upstairs in Mr. Sadowski’s room. (PE, 66). Ms. Bressette did not go to a hospital in the ambulance that was called, but stated she went on her own to see a doctor after going to the police station to give a statement. (PE, 68).
Ms. Bressette denied that Ms. Paris had tied her up once they got into the basement, or that she was ever able to untie herself from the duct tape. (PE, 71). She again agreed that Ms. Paris was freely walking around the basement room, with neither Mr. Sadowski nor Mr. Cope in the basement, when she found the cell phone and called 911. (PE, 74).
In his separate cross and re-cross-examinations of Ms. Bressette, (PE, 52-59, 74-76).(7), trial counsel for Mr. Cope asked most of his questions about Mr. Cope being much nicer and less threatening to the two women during the times Mr. Sadowski was periodically out of the basement, and having her again testify that Mr. Sadowski alone hit, choked, and kicked the women;
Q [MR. NUMINEN] In this situation–and I think you’ve described it–it sounds like a basement from hell, would you agree?
Q And, ah, it’s a situation where, urn, Mr. Cope, he was probably as scared as you were of Mr. Sadowski, do you think?
A Wouldn’t blame him.
(7) See Appendices C and D.
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Q So, did it appear that way, that he responded to what he was ordered to do?
Q And you wouldn’t blame him for being scared of the guy who beat you, is that right?
A Right; I wouldn’t blame him.
Q Okay. Thank you, very much.
* * *
Q And tried -and, in fact, at one point, ah, you know, he saw that you were tied up and you said he couldn’t untie you, and I think what you said, just – -with Mr. Andriacchi–was he said he couldn’t because then he’ll come after me? –
A He knows MMA, he kept saying.
Q Meaning Mr. Sadowski knows martial arts?
Q And that if Mr. Cope got caught helping you, then he was fearful that Mr. Sadowski was going to beat him up?
Q In fact, didn’t you tell the police he told he told you–Mr. Cope told you that he couldn’t help because Sadowski would then kill them all?
Q Including Mr. Cope, right?
A Yes. (PE, 58-59, 75-76).
The police officers who responded to the 911 call arrived at the building at around 6:30 am on the 2d. (III, 841, 874). When they arrived, Mr. Sadowski was walking out of the building. (III, 940). According to the officers, when they asked him about the report of persons being held captive in the building, he responded that he would not allow them to enter without a search warrant. (III, 878-879, 920-921). The officers told him they were permitted to enter if there was a suspicion of persons being in danger inside, and then took him into the ground floor studio. The officers testified that when they asked Mr. Sadowski if there was a basement to the building, he initially told them no. (III, 879). When they subsequently discovered the stairway down to the basement, he told them that what he meant was that the basement was not his, as
The police officers who responded to the 911 call arrived at the building at around 6:30 am on the 2d. (III, 841, 874). When they arrived, Mr. Sadowski was walking out of the building. (III, 940). According to the officers, when they asked him about the report of persons being held captive in the building, he responded that he would not allow them to enter without a search warrant. (III, 878-879, 920-921). The officers told him they were permitted to enter if there was a suspicion of persons being in danger inside, and then took him into the ground floor studio. The officers testified that when they asked Mr. Sadowski if there was a basement to the building, he initially told them no. (III, 879). When they subsequently discovered the stairway down to the basement, he told them that what he meant was that the basement was not his, as compared to the ground floor, and that there was no one currently in the basement. (III, 880-881, 924-925). The officers then placed Mr. Sadowski in the locked back seat of their squad car, and went down into the basement. When they opened the unlocked door to the room Ms. Paris ran up to them screaming, and they could see Ms. Bressette sitting on the floor, with some duct tape around her and a support pole, and Mr. Cope standing in the room. (III, 882-885, 927, 944-945). While initially all three of them were handcuffed and taken outside, after the police interviewed the women their handcuffs were removed, and Mr. Cope was placed under arrest.
The officers who interviewed Ms. Paris and Ms. Bressette at the scene testified as to their demeanors and as to the statements that they made at that time. During the later testimony concerning Ms. Paris’ out-of-court statements, a portion of a video tape taken by the officer at the scene using his patrol car camera, which included her statements, was played for the jury. (III, 891-897). There was no further defense objection to the playing of this video.
On cross-examination both officers acknowledged that both Ms. Paris and Ms. Bressette refused to be taken to a hospital for evaluation and/or treatment of any wounds they might have sustained. (III, 857, 911-912). One officer stated that Ms. Bressette had some bruising on her arms, and that her face was “reddened.” (III, 851). Ms. Paris resisted being initially handcuffed, and had to be physically taken to the ground by the officers, with her yelling profanities at them during the struggle. (III, 904-905, 946). She initially told the officers she had taken $13 from Mr. Sadowski’s wallet — a ten dollar bill and three singles. (III, 906). She did not mention anything to the officers about being forced into the basement at sword point. (III, 907).
Mr. Sadowski did not struggle with the officers or resist being taken into custody. (III,908). The arresting officer did not see any cuts or bruises on Mr. Sadowski’s hands when he looked at them following the complainants’ allegations he had violently beat them. (III, 951). Ms. Bressette’s hand showed marks that may have been bruises. (III, 952-953).
The prosecution presented the evidence of Mr. Cope’s custodial statement through the testimony of Detective Sgt. Christopher Croley, who questioned Mr. Cope following the arrests. (III, 967). During that testimony, both in direct examination by the prosecutor and during the cross-examination conducted by Mr. Cope’s counsel, it was brought out several times that Mr. Cope mentioned the presence of a second man during the incident, and specifically referred to Mr. Sadowski by name as that second man. ((III, 967-968, 968, 970, 971, 972, 974, 979-980, 981, 983, 985-986). During her final instructions to the jury, Judge Mazzuchi instructed them that the statements attributed to Mr. Cope were not admissible against Mr. Sadowski. (VII, 1952-1953). Mr. Cope did not testify at the trial.
Ishpeming Police Chief Dan Willey testified, during direct examination, that subsequent to the arrests the police obtained a search warrant for the martial arts studio, including Mr. Sadowski’s living quarters. (IV, 1063-1064). Chief Willey’s direct examination did not mention the discovery of any firearms either during the initial investigation or the subsequent search. During the cross-examination of Chief Willey by counsel for Mr. Cope, he was asked about photographs showing a handgun found during the search of Mr. Sadowski’s bed. Over objections by Mr. Sadowski’s trial counsel, the court permitted Mr. Cope’s counsel to bring out that not only was this loaded gun found under a pillow on the bed, but also that Mr. Sadowski was not legally permitted to possess firearms. (IV, 1073-1080; VI, 1718-1721).
Chief Willey acknowledged during his testimony that no swords were seized and placed into evidence, and that fake fingernails that allegedly belonged to Ms. Paris and which she said fell off her during this night were located in the area of Mr. Sadowski’s office on the ground floor, but never tested by the police. (IV, 1118-1121, 1125). The various pieces and rolls of tape found at the scene were not tested for fingerprints or DNA.
Jeremy Aho, Ms. Paris’s boyfriend, confirmed the two women went outside the bar at around 12:30 am, purportedly to smoke a cigarette, and he did not see them again that night. At the time, he had custody of their joint cell phone. (II, 591). A few minutes later he got a call from Ms. Paris, who said something about a martial arts fighter, but quickly hung up. During the rest of the night, he made numerous calls and sent texts to the number which had appeared on his phone when Ms. Paris called him, but was never able to talk to her. (II, 595-596). He admitted he was very angry at her, believing she had left him at the bar to go partying. Mr. Aho testified that one time when he called that phone, a man answered, and that when he asked to speak to Ms. Paris the man responded that the women had left an hour ago, and asked him to stop calling. (II, 598). He did not know either Mr. Sadowski or Mr. Cope.
Mr. Aho knew Ms. Paris was on probation from the county drug court on this date, and that she was in violation of her probation by being at bars, drinking alcohol, and smoking marijuana. (II, 607-608). He did not consider calling the police that night. (II, 615).
During the defense case, Mr. Sadowski presented a very different version of the events of that evening. He testified he began training in the martial arts at age 8, and achieved a first degree black belt at age 12. (VI, 1598). He had been a Civil Air Patrol volunteer search and rescue member, and was trained in CPR techniques.
Mr. Sadowski confirmed that on the night of July 1-2, he went to Hickey’s after closing down the studio for the night, and was in his truck in the rear parking lot, preparing to go home, when he was approached by Ms. Paris and Ms. Bressette, and eventually invited them to go see the studio, which was only a block from the bar. (VI, 1603-1609). He is a licensed medical marijuana provider, with a grow room in the basement of the building. (VI, 1606-1607). Their conversation about marijuana was in connection with Ms. Bressette’s statements that she had a card permitting her to purchase medical marijuana, and wanted to buy some from him.
When they arrived at the studio, he showed them the facilities and then the three of them went to the residential portion of the ground floor. (VI, 1613-1614). He got out some of the marijuana, which he smoked with Ms. Bressette, and then went to buy some Coke to mix with rum to give a drink to Ms. Paris, who said she does not smoke marijuana. All three of them drank some of the alcohol. (VI, 1617). He estimated they sat in his office/bedroom for several hours drinking and smoking.
Later in the evening, Ms. Paris asked to use the bathroom, and when Mr. Sadowski was showing her where it was she admitted to him that she felt guilty in that while he had been very nice to her and Ms. Bressette, they had been stealing things from him whenever he left the room to get more drinks. (VI, 1623-1624). When the two of them went back into the office area, he saw Ms. Bressette looking in his filing cabinets. He accused her of stealing from him, which she initially denied, but then admitted once Ms. Paris told her she had admitted taking money from his wallet. (VI, 1625-1626). While Ms. Paris initially told him they had taken either $4 or $13 from his wallet, she eventually reached into her pants and pulled out around $60 in cash which she returned to him. (VI, 1626). When Ms. Paris told Ms. Bressette to return the money she had on her person, Ms. Bressette denied having any of Mr. Sadowski’s money, stating that Ms. Paris had it all. At this point the two women began arguing among themselves, and ultimately started physically fighting due to this disagreement as to who had the money. (VI, 1626-1629). Mr. Sadowski broke up the fight, and Ms. Bressette then admitted she had some of his money, removing around $20 from her pants. (VI, 1629). Mr. Sadowksi checked his wallet, which had contained around $250 that night, and all of his cash was missing. (VI, 1630). When he asked the two women where the rest of his money was, they again started to argue and fight, each accusing the other of having the rest of the money. Eventually Ms. Bressette brought out more money to give back to Mr. Sadowski, with Ms. Paris trying to steal it back. (VI, 1632).
At around 4:00 am Ms. Paris called her boyfriend to tell him she was at the studio, and Mr. Sadowski took the phone to explain to him where the studio was located. (VI, 1634-1635). Attempting to defuse the situation, Mr. Sadowski suggested they drink some more, but they had run out of the rum in the office. (VI, 1639). He suggested they go to the basement, where Mr. Cope rented living space from him, to see if Mr. Cope had any alcohol and cigarettes they could consume. He denied he forced either woman to go into the basement, nor using a sword to threaten them to go downstairs. (VI, 1641).
Once in the basement he introduced the women to Mr. Cope, and the women began drinking vodka and smoking cigarettes with Cope. (VI, 1644-1645). Mr. Sadowski privately told Mr. Cope about the thefts, and went back upstairs to see if anything else of his was missing, discovering some of his marijuana supply was missing, and found some of his jewelry in a purse which belonged to one of the women (VI, 1646-1651). He acknowledged that he told the women he was going to call the police unless all of his missing money was returned. (VI, 1646-1647). When he returned to the basement and accused Ms. Paris of trying to steal his jewelry, she denied that she took it and put it into the purse.
Mr. Sadowski agreed that Mr. Aho was continually calling to his cell phone during the night, and sending texts. At one point Mr. Sadowski did answer the phone and told Mr. Aho that Ms. Paris was not cheating on him and that she was free to leave at any time. (VI, 1657-1658).
Mr. Sadowski was on the ground floor, getting some tea, when Sarah Pietro came into the studio to see him. (VI, 1664). She went downstairs with him briefly, and looked into the room to see the two women in there with Mr. Cope, but told him she did not know either woman. (VI, 1670). Sarah left after around 15 minutes, and did not speak to either woman while there.
After Ms. Pietro left, and Mr. Sadowski went back to the basement, he saw Ms. Bressette standing by one of the support poles, apparently taped to the pole, with Ms. Paris standing near a second pole. (VI, 1678-1679). Ms. Paris and Mr. Cope were in the process of taping her as well to the second pole. When Mr. Sadowski asked what was going on, there was an indication from Ms. Paris that Ms. Bressette was not going to be able to leave until she returned the rest of his stolen property. (VI, 1680). Mr. Sadowski got a table knife from Mr. Cope’s area, and began to cut the women loose from the poles. (VI, 1681). Ms. Bressette was able to free herself from the tape. The two women were again arguing about who stole the property. (VI, 1696).
Mr. Sadowski denied ever asking Ms. Paris to kill Ms. Bressette. (VI, 1698). He stated Ms. Paris told him she would kill Ms. Bressette with the knife unless she returned the money to him. (VI, 1699). He responded that he did not want her to do anything like that to Ms. Bressette. He wanted the women to leave, but thought they were too intoxicated to drive. He told them he would not drive them home, but would take them back to Hickey’s to get their car once they sobered up. (VI, 1701).
Mr. Sadowski wanted to make coffee for all of them so they would get sober, but was out of coffee so he got his coat and walked outside, intending to go to a nearby store, and was confronted by the police officers. (VI, 1701-1702). According to Mr. Sadowski, the officers asked to search his building, and he told them Mr. Cope and two others were in the basement. (VI, 1703). When the officers told him they did not need a warrant to search the building due to an alleged emergency, he unlocked the front door for them without resistance. (VI, 1704). He believed the officer asked him whether he lived on the ground floor or in the basement, rather than asking if there was a basement. He agreed that when the officers told him they found the stairs to the basement, he told them the basement did not belong to him. (VI, 1705). At this point the officers took him outside and placed him into the rear, locked seat of their squad car.
Mr. Sadowski denied that he hit or kicked either Ms. Paris or Ms. Bressette, that he pushed their heads into the poles, that he asked Ms. Paris to kill Ms. Bressette, that he choked either one or caused them any physical harm, or that he kept their location secret, as he told Mr. Aho where they were during the phone call. (VI, 1714-1715).
During cross-examination by Mr. Cope’s counsel, Mr. Sadowski, over objection from his attorney, was required to testify he was aware of the gun found on his bed, stating it was put there by Ms. Pietro, and that he was not legally authorized to possess firearms. (VI, 1718-1721).
Sarah Pietro, Mr. Sadowski’s ex-wife, testified she has remained friendly with him since their divorce in 1999, and would see him nearly every day. (IV, 1223). She assisted him with running his martial arts studio, and stated he has never been violent towards her. (IV, 1224).
Ms. Pietro was with Mr. Sadowski on July 1, training at the studio, until around 9:30 pm. (IV, 1228). She went home at that time, but returned to the studio at around 4:45 am on the 2d, intending to go to breakfast with him. (IV, 1228-1229). When she arrived, Mr. Sadowski was on the ground floor. She described his demeanor as calm and normal, and did not notice him breathing hard or see any wounds on him. (IV, 1230). When she mentioned leaving for breakfast, he responded there were some people in the basement. At this point, she went down to the basement with Mr. Sadowski, and saw two women sitting on Mr. Cope’s cot apparently drinking vodka. (IV, 1231). Ms. Pietro did not know either woman, and did not speak to them.
She stated the women did not seem agitated, and were not tied to any of the poles in the room. (IV, 1234). She told Mr. Sadowski she was not happy he had invited people into the basement, where his marijuana grow room was located. (IV, 1232).
Ms. Pietro then left, telling Mr. Sadowski she would come back later when these women were gone. Around 6:30 am she received a text from Mr. Sadowski, and when she and a friend went back to the studio the police were there and had closed it off (IV, 1235-1236). While outside she spoke to Chief Willey about Mr. Sadowski. She spoke to a different officer later that day, and refused to give the police consent to search her vehicle, which was parked at the studio. She told this officer she had been at the studio at 4:45 am, but he did not ask her any questions about what she saw at that time. (IV, 1241-1242). When she later was allowed to go inside, she saw the broken false fingernails in Mr. Sadowski’s bedroom, and an empty rum bottle that had been half full the day before. (IV, 1242). She collected the fingernails, and eventually gave them to Mr. Sadowski’s initial trial counsel.
Dr. Lyle Vanderschaff examined Ms. Bressette at a hospital emergency room on July 2. (V, 1375). The medical records show she was 44 years old and complained of facial and shoulder pain and bruising. She told the doctor she had been held captive, struck, and choked. (V, 1380). She denied any sexual assault. (V, 1380). She denied having had any nosebleed, chest pain, or nausea. She had a normal range of motion in her limbs, and was not confused. (V, 1384). In his report, Dr. Vanderschaff characterized Ms. Bressette as having “no acute distress,” and that her vital signs were normal. (V, 1385-1386). Her facial structure was normal, other than areas of bruising. There was no sign of a closed head injury, and no broken nose. (V, 1387-1389). There was no sign of any recent dental injuries. Ms. Bressette had no signs of trauma to her mouth or area of the tonsils, and no irregular breathing. (V, 1391-1392). Her lungs and heart checked out normally. A neurological test scored in the normal range. (V, 1393). X-rays of her shoulder did not show any fractures or other injuries. (V, 1394). A CAT scan of her head came back normal. She had no fractures of her orbital bones, and no facial fractures. (V, 1396). The witness prescribed antibiotics for her, due to a tooth infection, and Tylenol. (V, 1397-1398). He saw no indication of a cigarette burn. (V, 1400).
Ms. Paris was seen at the emergency room on July 2, at around 11:25 am. Her medical records showed she was 30 years old, and complained of a physical and sexual assault. (V, 1404-1405). At the time of the examination, her only reported symptom was a slight headache and facial pain. (V, 1405). The medical evaluation of Ms. Paris resulted in no findings of abnormal readings on the tests, no neck or back pain, no abrasions or cuts, no problems with her vision, no injury to her ears or ear drums, and no nasal or oral injuries. (V, 1407-1411). There was evidence of “scattered” bruising, and marks on her wrists consistent with being tied with duct tape. (V, 1412). A CAT scan showed no head injury. Ms. Paris remained at the hospital for around two hours, and was released with some Tylenol for her pain. (V, 1413).
In Ms. Paris’ medical records there is no indication she complained of having been strangled. (V, 1418). Dr. Vanderschaff found no physical signs of strangulation, including no neck swelling, hand marks on her neck, or signs of petechiae (broken blood vessels) in her eyes or on her face. (V, 1419-1420). He found no evidence of any substantial impairment of bodily function or serious disfigurement. (V, 1422-1423). The records showed that Ms. Bressette reported suffering from depression and anxiety, and Mr. Paris from both those disorders plus from being bipolar. (V, 1424).
The defense also presented evidence from several students of Mr. Sadowski, who testified he was never abusive to them while they trained with him.