MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (WXYZ) - It took only about one hour for jurors to hand down a not guilty verdict in the trial of Ronald F. Jabalee Jr., the man who was accused of murdering his own parents. Friday afternoon, he walked away a free man.
He was found not guilty on both counts of murder for the deaths of his parents Ronald and Christine Jabalee.
Family members were elated and cried tears of relief after the verdict was read in the Macomb County courtroom.
After the not guilty verdict was read, Ronald Jabalee Jr. showed the first signs of emotion. He did not speak on his way out of court. His attorney, Stephen Rabaut, did speak with Action News.
“The bottom line is there’s no evidence whatsoever to establish guilt of any crime,” said Rabaut.
A juror also told Action News that there was not enough evidence to convict Ron Jabalee Jr. - "We all made a decision and we made the right one," said one of the jurors.
The prosecution alleged Jabalee killed his parents, Ronald and Christine Jabalee, back in October of 2006, after a feud over money and a drug addiction. Their bodies were discovered in a gruesome crime scene in the garage of their New Baltimore home. Jabalee Jr. said he might have done it during a sleepwalk episode, but the jury didn't believe that was enough to convict him of the murders. One juror told Action News “People say a lot of things when they are stressed and when they don't know why.”
The prosecution did not want to go on camera after the verdict was read. However, the Assistant Prosecutor says he is disappointed, but said he respected the jury's verdict. He said he thought that there was sufficient evidence to send Ron Jabalee Jr. to prison for the rest of his life.
During the course of the trial on Friday, it was a bumpy final afternoon of arguments with the defense asking several times for a mistrial. Each time they made the request to Judge Richard Caretti the request was denied.
In closing arguments, the prosecution said Ron Jr.'s behavior the day his parents were found dead point to his guilt. The fact that Ron did not go home from work until six hours after getting the news of Ronald and Christine Jabalee's deaths show that he killed them, according to assistant prosecutor Steven Kaplan.
Kaplan also argued that Ron Jr. admitted he was the murderer on several occassions during interviews with police and the FBI where he said he might have killed his parents during a sleepwalking episode.
The defense argued that Ron Jr. was innocent because the prosecution could not provide a shred of physical evidence linking Ron Jr. to the crime scene. Stephen Rabaut, Ron Jabalee Jr.'s attorney, questioned why the prosecution could not provide any DNA evidence connecting Ron Jr. to the scene.
Rabaut also argued that if Ron Jr. was the killer he would have had some kind of defensive injuries sustained during the attack. An exam by police showed he had no injuries.
In their rebuttal, closing argument the prosecution argued there was no physical evidence because no evidence was left at the scene. As for injuries, the prosecution said Ron Jr. attacked suddenly, not giving Ron Sr. or Christine a chance to fight back.
Adding to the intrigue of the case, part of a message written in blood was found at the crime scene. It's never been determined what that message said, though police believe Christine may have written it to identify her killer.
READ TOM WAIT'S FULL BLOG BELOW:
3:27 - NOT GUILTY VERDICT HANDED DOWN
2:10 - JURY GETTING FINAL INSTRUCTIONS
1:50 - Jabalee Family member lets out slightly audible sound when prosecutor says Jabelee was kicked out of his house when he was a teenager.
1:50 - Prosecutor says Jabalee is a liar. Lied about Vicodin. Lied about where he went the day the bodies were discovered
1:45 - Prosecution talks about physical evidence - lab tests. Says the reason why there was no physical evidence: because there was no evidence left at the scene.
1:40 - Prosecution reiterating arguments from earlier: Ron Jr.'s bizarre behavior after the murders, threats he made to an uncle after uncle testified to grand jury, admissions Ron Jr. was concerned he committed the murders while sleepwalking.
1:35 - Prosecution says the reason why Jabalee had no defensive wounds after the murders is that he disabled his parents with a doorstop so they had no chance of injuring him.
1:30 - Once again defense questions why Ron Jr. did not go home right after work to check on his wife and kids. He waited six hours after heairng that his parent's bodies were found brutally murdered in their garage.
1:25 - Once again the defense asks for a mistrial. Jury leaves courtroom. Once again the judge denies. This is the 4th request for a mistrial. Defense attorney says he can't remember in his 30 years of being an attorney having to interrupt a prosecutor's closing argument.
1:20 - Court back in session. Judge has ruled against defesne - no mistrial.
12:15 - Jury leaves court room because
of defense objection. Objection is about shift of burden proof. Defense asks for a mistrial because prosecution raised issue of why prosecution asked jury to consider why defense did not explain the swastika.
12:10 - Prosecutor says Ron Jr. did get up in the middle of the night and he admitted it to police
DEFENSE CLOSING ARGUMENTS:
12:05 - Defense case is over. Final arguments finished.
12:05 - Defense says there is no real evidence in this case. Asks the jury to consider the life of 42 year-old Ron Jabalee. Asks jury to understand the jury has no burden of proof in the case. Asks the jury to come back with a not guilty verdict.
12:00 - Defense says there's no way that Ron left the house in the middle of the night because they had an alarm that would have chirped and woken up his wife and kids - the kids were having a slumber party that night and the defense alleges someone would have noticed him leave.
11:55 - Defense says that Ron and his dad had a good relationship - that the prosecution is misrepresenting their relationship. Defense says they got along, that Ron Jr. was the favored son.
11:53 - Defense talks about Roger Jabaelee, Ron Sr.'s brother, who the defense says did not get along with Ron Sr. Defense says Roger should have been investigated.
11:50 - Defense says more evidence should have been taken from the scene by police - asks why the doorknobs in the house were not checked for fingerprints. Criticizes police for assuming killer used keypad to get inside the house.
11:45 - Defense says it is likely that more than one person committed the murders.
11:40 - No DNA evidence at the crime scene. The defense asks with all the blood found at the crime scene why was none of it identified as Ron Jabalee Jr.'s blood.
11:30 - Ron Jabalee is soft spoken according to his attorney - that's why he doesn't show emotion the same away others might when his parents were found dead... Also, defense says the reason why Ron says he may have committed the murder while sleepwalking is that he takes on the stress of the family,. Defense says it doesn't matter because Ron says repeatedly to law enforcement that even though he wondered about a violent sleepwalking episode it never happened.
11:25 - Defense is in closing arguments now. Defense says there is no physical evidence, no way to find Ron Jr. guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Also says there was no injury to Ron Jr. after murders. Police checked him. Defense asks - how could such a dastardly crime be committed and the attacker have no injuries.
10:45 - recess now.
PROSECUTOR'S FINAL ARGUMENTS:
10:35 - Prosecutor just finished his closing arguments by saying Ron Jabalee is not a bad guy but what he did was bad.
10:35 - Prosecutor talks about how Ron Jr. threatened his uncle after he testified before the grand jury
10:30 - Prosecutor very demonstrative - walks over to defendant several times - points at him. Mocks defendant for saying "maybe I did it in my sleep." Says the sleepwalking is Ron Jr.'s way of setting up an excuse.
10:20 Prosecutor showing the swastika picture again - it's a photo of Ron Sr. with a swastika on his forehead. It was found on a computer taken from Ron Jr.'s home. Prosecutor says Ron Jr. hated his dad. Prosecutor says Ron jr. moved out when he was 17 because he didn't like his dad.
10:15 - Ron Jr.'s wife just left the courtroom coughing. Not clear if she was upset. But it was during a time when the prosecutor was talking about Ron Jr.'s bizarre behavior... wife is now back in courtroom
10:15 - Prosecutor says Ron Jr. stopped at one of his other properties on the way home from work on the day his parents were found dead to hide evidence.
10:10 - Ron Jr. didn't leave the store until 3:30 the day the bodies are discovered... more bizarre behavior according to the prosecutor... Says Jabalee Jr. waited for 6 hours after he was officially told about the death of his parents to leave work and then go home. Also Ron Jr. takes a slower route when he leaves work
10:10 - Prosecutor says Ron Jr. did not call his wife after the murders. Wife called him later that morning and he doesn't tell her right away that parents are dead. Prosecutor says why wouldn't you tell your own wife that your parents have been murdered.
10:05 - Prosecutor says Ron Jr. should have showed concern that his dad didn't show up to work the Saturday the bodies were discovered. Ron Sr. was man of habit - organized and extremely punctual - never late. Ron Jr. didn't check on his dad - according to phone records - until about 20-30 mins after he was supposed to be at work.
10:00 - Prosecutor keeps walking over to Ron Jr. and pointing at him as he describes the crime. It's kind of uncomfortable. The family doesn't really react... but they have looked upset a few times when the prosecutor talks about the family.
9:55 - Prosecutor says Jabalee returned to the scene to mop up the scene. Had to be him he says because the killer knew the home. Killer even returned mop to its spot
suggesting killer had a habit of returning mop to its place.
9:50 - Christine sent home an employee - prosecution argues that Ron Jr. was mad that she took control of the door that day. Prosecutor says Ron went to house after work, got into a fight with his parents and then attacked his father - his mother came to see what was going on and he killed her too. As prosecutor was exlpaining this to jury the Jabalee family members let out audible shrugs... they seemed annoyed and upset about prosecutor's explanation.
9:45 - Ron Sr. called the bank to say he was worried about how his son was spending money.
9:40 - Prosecutor arguing that Ron Jr. was fighting with his dad before the murder about his Vicodin use. Thinks Ron Sr. was mad about Ron Jr.'s Vicodin use. Maybe Ron Sr. was mad enough to threaten to take control of the family meat business.
9:35 - Prosecutor says all evidence suggests killer knew his victims. That the doorstop, which was allegedly used, was allegedly known to the killer. Something only he would know about. Also Christine Jabalee clearly knew her killer because she came into the garage (where her body was later found) eating a cookie and wearing slippers. If she did not know her killer prosecutor says she wouldn't be holding a cookie... she seems relaxed when she enters garage.... Prosecutor mocks some of the family relationships as they were described on witness stand "leave it to beaver" family he says.
9:30 - Prosecutor explaining the difference between circumstantial evidence vs. direct evidence. Says that circumstantial evidence can be more powerful than direct evidence.
Ron Jabalee's wife Deborah took the stand in his defense Thursday afternoon to testify that Ron was home the night the murders were committed. Deborah Jabalee said Ron was in bed with her when the killings occurred.
Deborah did concede that Ron has a habit of getting up in the middle of the night for snacks and she wasn't sure if he woke up the night Christine and Ron Sr. were stabbed to death.
Meanwhile, the judge in the Ron Jabalee murder trial has refused a request by the defense to toss out the case.
The defense asked judge Richard Caretti for a directed verdict after the prosecution's final witness completed his testimony Thursday afternoon. If Judge Caretti sided with the defense on a directed verdict it could have meant that the trial would have been over.
The defense argued that since the prosecution has no physical evidence tying Jabalee to the murders the judge should render Jabalee not guilty.
The judge refused the request based on the prosecution showing a range of circumstantial evidence, including the fact that Ron Jabalee told law enforcement several times that he might have killed his parents while sleepwalking.
On Wednesday the defense asked for a mistrial after a special agent with the FBI testified that Ron Jabalee asked for a lawyer during an interrogation. The judge said that while that testimony was inappropriate it was not enough to declare a mistrial.
Also in court Thursday we learned Ron Jabalee agreed and then refused to take a polygraph in connection with the murder of his parents. The prosecution made the revelation after the defense cross-examined the prosecution's final witness, New Baltimore Detective Kenneth Stevens, the lead investigator on the case.
During cross the defense asked Stevens whether Ron Jabalee was completely compliant with law enforcement. The prosecution says he was not, citing his refusal to submit to a polygraph and several instances where Jabalee walked out of law enforcement interviews.
Judge Richard Caretti says the polygraph, or mention of the test, cannot be used in court.
Thursday's session began with the prosecution saying they wanted to remove the Jabalee brothers from their witness list. The judge granted that request.
The prosecutor said Ryan Jabalee, Ron Jabalee Jr.'s brother, was no longer a reliable witness because he had professed his brother's innocence on a radio show last week. He is also now telling detectives he remembers "nothing" about the incident.
Roger, the brother of Roger Jabalee Sr., was also deemed unreliable by the prosecution.
The prosecution rested its case at 2:40. Next witnesses will be for the defense.
ON THE STAND NOW THURSDAY AFTERNOON: Sgt. John Willer, officer with New Baltimore Police Department, 21 years
3:30 p.m.: more testimony about phone records. Defense is trying to establish a timeline. This is my last entry for today -- off to get ready for Action News at 5 and 6. Watch for a full recap and more on wxyz.com
3:05 p.m.: Defense is now calling its witnesses. Defense is asking about phone records - who Ron Sr. spoke with in the days leading up to his murder
Earlier today: New Baltimore Detective Kenneth Stevens- officer in charge of the case. This is the prosecution's final witness. Defense cross-examined him. Now the prosecution is re-directing. Redirect ends - now re-cross begins. Re-cross endsTestimony
2:50 p.m.: Judges DENIES request to toss out the case.
2:45 p.m.: Jury has left courtroom - defense is asking judge to throw out of the case.
2:35 p.m.: re-direct ends and now re-cross
2:30 p.m.: lead detective says that just because Jabalee showed up to interviews with police doesn't mean he was cooperating. Specifically he walked out of meetings with police and FBI.
2:25 p.m.: On re-direct the detective says Ron Jabalee says missing knives from kitchen "had nothing to do with the crime." Which raises the question - how would Ron know that unless he had something to do with the crime?
2:20p.m. Detective says they do not have any physical evidence that the murders were committed by someone known to the Jabalees.
2:15 p.m.: Lead detective says he believes Jabalee left the home after killing his parents and then returned, but has no physical evidence to back that up.
2 p.m.: Jury is back in courtroom. Defense asks detective about a physical examination soon after the murders. Detective says he did not conduct the investigation but that there were no obvious injuries to Ron Jr. after the murders.,, question about the reward money - defense is trying to establish that Ron put hundreds of thousands of dollars into reward fund to be paid to anyone who could help find killer or killers.
1:45 p.m.: Recess is over. Jury not in courtroom yet. Prosecutor just said that Ron Jabalee refused to take a polygraph after originally agreeing to do so. Questions about the actual polygraph are not allowed in court.
11:55 a.m.: Detective concedes there is no physical evidence that Ron Jabalee was ever at the scene of the crime. Also that latent fingerprints were not checked.
11:50 a.m.: Under cross the the detective says he had interviews with Ron Jabalee where Jabalee did not say he did not commit the murder - only that he was worried that he committed the murders while sleepwalking...
11:40 a.m.: Defense is showing phone records of calls from Ron Jabalee from their Detroit meat business.
11:20 a.m.: A reconstruction of a doorstop being showed to detective. This is one of the weapons supposedly used to kill the Jabalees.
11:15 a.m.: Detective is asked about the runner in garage - the carpet on the floor. Detective says part of the runner was sent to lab. There was blood on these runners.
11:10 a.m.: Bloody footprint. Detective is asked if the bloody footprint was tested. Detective says the footprint was too common. That it could not be tested by FBI. Detective says elder Jabalee was not wearing a pair of shoes that matched the impression. The killer may have been wearing the shoes that left the impression in blood.
11:05 a.m.: We are looking at message scrawled in blood on the garage floor (no one has been able to determine what the message said - the writing was partially mopped up, police say, by the killer). Detective says he has had many conversations about what the message said, but he doesn't divulge those opinions... There's a photo of blood on a Jeep in the garage. Once again defense is asking if the blood was tested. Detective says he doesn't know - that defense should check the report.
11 a.m.: Blood drippings on the brick pavement outside the home. Detective says he can't recall if certain blood drippings were sent for testing. Defense wants to know why some of the blood wasn't sent for testing.
10:50 a.m.: Lead detective on stand agrees with defense attorney that there was a severe "altercation" that took place, ending in the murders... More examination of crime scene photos... very gruesome. First time I've seen these pics up close... Ron and Christine Jabalee's bodies on the ground in the garage. Evidence markers everywhere. Blood smeared all over the driveway.
10:45 a.m.: Defense is asking about lead detective's job, his work history - where he's worked etc. -- also what his job description is at New Baltimore Police.... Defense has put up the crime scene pictures on a flat screen tv - the tv is visible for the jury. Defense is asking about blood spatter and analysis. Asking about hte blood on hands.
10:40 a.m.: Court is back in session. Defense has begun cross-examining detective.
10:20 a.m.: lots of talk from detective about lab tests of blood an evidence at crime scene but so far prosecution has not divulged the results of those tests. Detective says they found bloody footprint, fingerprint, piece of gum, message written in blood; gum in the bloody mop bucket was also found. But none of those lab results have been shared yet.
10:15 a.m.: Detective says partial shoe prints found at the crime scene. We still don't know if there was a match to Ron Jabalee's shoes - or anyone elses shoes...
10 a.m.: Court is back in session.
9:50 a.m.: Detective talks about door stop from the garage - may have been one of the weapons used... Detective says a portion of the garage floor was mopped up... Prosecution showing pictures of the bloody mop bucket.
9:45 a.m.: Detective says no neighbors
heard screaming on the night of the murders... Christine Jabalee's purse was not ransacked. House was in perfect condition. Nothing stolen. Detective does not believe this case involved a robbery.
9:40 a.m.: Detective says knives from the kitchen could have been used in the murders. There were two knives missing from the kitchen knife block... Detective says it appears murders took place shortly after the couple ate dinner based on the pizza box found on the stove.
9:35 a.m.: Detective testifies that Ron Jabalee threatened his uncle if he testified about the case. Detective says that Ron Jabalee made threatening statements if police tried to arrest him. Also says that uncle wanted police assistance to protect him from Ron Jabalee
9:30 a.m.: Detective says Jabalee said multiple times that he may have killed his parents while sleepwalking.
Testimony from a Special Agent with the FBI sent the Jabalee trial into a momentary tailspin on Wednesday. While on the stand the agent said that Ron Jabalee asked for an attorney at the end of one of his interviews.
Judge Richard Caretti agreed with the defense that the agent should never have made the statement in front of the jury. The defense asked for a mistrial but Judge Caretti denied the request.
The judge did give special instructions to the jury to disregard that part of the agent's testimony.
Also today in court more of the 2008 interrogation video was played where Ron Jabalee wondered aloud to another family member whether his brother Ryan may have had something to do with murder of his parents. But he also said in the video he did not want to point fingers.
On cross examination of a Michigan State Police detective the defense asked whether investigators found any incriminating evidence in Ron's home or in his vehicle. Detectives found nothing. They also did not find any visible injuries to Ron after the murders.
There was also no evidence of a robbery at the crime scene, although one of Ron G. Jabalee's pockets was pulled inside out. The elder Ronald was known to carry hundreds of dollars in cash.
Full Blog from Wednesday's proceedings is below:
Proceedings are still underway - Wednesday live blog is below:
Testified today: Richard Osborne, Special Agent FBI; Charlene Warner, Michigan State Police, Forensic Examiner; FBI Special Agent Mark Robel, who investigated the murders; Howard Silverman, a longtime friend of Ronald G. Jabalee (one of the two victims). Earlier today: VIDEO OF 2008 RON JABALEE VIDEO INTERROGATION CONDUCTED BY MSP DETECTIVE SGT. PATRICK YOUNG WRAPS UP - DETECTIVE WAS ON THE STAND AND BEING CROSS-EXAMINED BY THE DEFENSE
3:30 p.m. This will be my last entry Wednesday - getting ready for a full recap on Action News at 5!
3:30 p.m.: Judge gives special instructions to the jury to disregard statement by FBI agent that Jabalee asked for an attorney. Judge tells jury "this is a sacred constitutional right."
3:27 p.m.: Judge denies request for mistrial
3:25 p.m.: Defense asks for mistrial
3:25 p.m.: Jury leaves court room after defense raises objection of special agent testimony. Defense upset the FBI agent testified that Jabalee wanted to end an interview to ask for a lawyer. Defense is angry that the jury heard this testimony, arguing that it's a defendant's constitutional right to ask for an attorney and that the jury should not hear that.
3:20 p.m.: Special agent testifies that Jabalee says it was possible he killed his parents while sleepwalking,
3:15 p.m.: Another special agent with the FBI takes the stand. Agent says Jabalee showed up to an interview having taken at least 5 Vicodin prior to the interview. Agent says Jabalee says his father was unhappy with his Vicodin addiction. Says he was taking 6 to 8 pills a day.
3:10 p.m.: Defense grills MSP computer expert. Expert says she can't determine who altered the photo of Jabalee Sr. or when the swastika was drawn on his forehead.
2:55 p.m.: MSP computer forensic expert testifies that pics taken from a computer contained pics of Ronald Jabalee Sr. - one of the pics has a shot of the elder Jabalee with a swastika on his forehead.
2:50 p.m. FBI agent ends testimony.
2:45 p.m.: FBI agent asked if Ron killed his parents in a fit of rage and FBI agent says Ron then asked for the interview to end and said he wanted to talk to his wife.
2:40 p.m. FBI agent takes the stand says that Ron told him he was worried he had committed the murders while sleepwalking.
2:40 p.m.: Mr. Silverman's testimony ends.
2:35 p.m.: Mr. Silverman testifies that Ron F. Jabalee did not show very much emotion after his parents were found murdered. Defense crosses saying Mr. Silverman had no context about what Ron had been through earlier in the day.
2:25 p.m.: we're back in session with Mr. Silverman, a friend of Ron Jabalee
2:25 p.m.: Court was back in session for a few minutes - but the jury is out of the courtroom while lawyers feud over the testimony of a friend of the victim
Ron G. Jabalee. The prosecution called the friend of the victim to the stand
12:45 p.m.: Jury has left courtroom for lunch break. Proceedings to resume at 2:15 p.m.
12:35 p.m.: Cross examination ends. Re-direct of the sgt. begins.
12:15 p.m.: Once again we are looking at photos of the crime scene. Defense is trying to poke holes in the prosecution theory of how the killer left the house where the murders took place. Sgt. says under cross-exam that he doesn't know how "the bad guy" left the home. There are 7 entrance/exit points to the home.
11:50 a.m.: Defense asks sgt. about examination of Ron Jabalee after the murders - an exam for injuries was done -- nothing was found. No injuries to Ron Jabalee.
11:50 a.m.: Sgt. says on stand that Ron Jabalee's vehicle and his home were searched for evidence back in 2006 - the family business was also searched -- there was no criminal evidence seized at any of those locations.
11:35 a.m.: Defense is grilling sgt. about what kind of vehicle Ron F. Jabalee's wife drove at the time of the murders. Defense asks sgt. to clarify some of his statements - among them a quote from Ron Jabalee when he said: I want this case to go away. Sgt. admits he omitted part of that statement on the stand - where Ron Jabalee said he wanted the case to go away because he was worried about his kids.
11:25 a.m.: Jury is back in the courtroom, cross examination of detective begins. The defense attorney is essentially asking Sgt. to explain his job to the jury
11:25 a.m.: Live truck technical problems - no report at noon. We'll have something on the air at 5!
10:40 a.m.: Prosecution ends their questioning of MSP police sgt. No bombshells here
10:30 a.m.: Detective talks about the writing in blood on the garage floor at the crime scene. Sgt. says a slab of the garage floor was sent to crime lab in Lansing. Prosecution would not let him talk about results yet.
10:25 a.m.: Prosecution is showing maps to the jury
10:15 a.m.: Jury is back in the courtroom
10:10 a.m.: We’ve just learned recordings were made at the funeral of the victims. The attorney’s are fighting over whether they can be used. Lawyers are fighting over whether the recordings should be used and whether the sgt. should be able to assess how Ron behaved at the funeral.
10:10 a.m.: Jury has left the courtroom. Defense is lodging many objections during Sgt.’s testimony… they’re now speaking privately with the judge.
Sgt. says Ron says at some point around June 2009 Ron asked whether his brother Ryan may have had something to do with the murders.
10:05 a.m.: In at least three separate interviews MSP sgt. claims Jabalee said he might have killed his parents.
10 a.m.: Video interrogation wraps up. MSP sgt. who conducted interview is on the stand. Says evidence at crime scene shows the murderer knew the home because the garage door was shut when the murderer left.
9:45 a.m.: Ron tells sgt. that police intimidate him... Uncle who is in the room with Ron and sgt. pleads with Ron to “lift the cloud” and “come clean” if he can. If there’s nothing then he needs to make it clear to MSP.
MSP says he’s not their to judge Ron. Goes on to tell Ron “I’m not here to judge.” MSP sgt. “it will come out, it always does. There are fears, but it’s got to be dealt with.”
9:40 a.m.: Sgt. says I’m not understanding this – says he can tell Ron is under pressure. Presses Ron on whether he had to much Vicodin the night of the murders. Just keeps repeating the same questions. It would appear the sgt. is trying to pry new info from Ron, but so far there’s it’s not working.
9:35 a.m.: Sgt. keeps going - “The truth is the truth.” Keeps pressing on the idea that he killed his parents during a blackout.
Ron maintains that he just went home after work the night of the murders and fell asleep.
Sgt. tells Ron he needs to deal with his Vicodin addiction – that it’s going to mess up his internal organs.
9:30 a.m.: Sgt. comes back in the room and raises the intensity. Sgt. says he thinks Ron has “a monkey on his back” and that “we need to get to the truth.” Sgt. presses Ron about sleepwalking and why he searched the internet about killing while sleepwalking. Tone from the sgt. is much harsher… not as friendly as he was at the beginning of the interview.
Sgt. says he thinks something is affecting Ron – in his daily life. Sgt.: It’s coming from somewhere. I don’t understand it. Sgt. keeps repeating himself. Ron just says “I don’t know what to tell you.”
Asks Ron did you dream this? And Ron says no.
9:25 a.m.: More tape of the Ron Jabalee interrogation with MSP: Sgt. leaves the interrogation room and the camera is still rolling as Ronald is in the interrogation room with his uncle. It would appear Ron and his uncle don’t know they’re still being recorded. While in the room the uncle asks Ron about whether his brother Ryan could be involved in the killings – Ron says he can’t point fingers.
They go on to discuss other family problems and then discuss Ron’s Vicodin
addiction. Ron says he needs Vicodin because it gives him a happy feeling. Uncle says he has to quit.
Uncle says Ron needs to quit changing his story, that it’s suspicious.
9:15 a.m.: Jury is seated. Defense is complaining about the way the prosecution refers to the murders -- saying prosecutor says things like "massacre" and that it's offensive to the family in the courtroom. Prosecutor agrees to tone-down language.
9:10 a.m.: - we haven't started yet. I'll post the minute the jury is seated...
Day three of the Jabalee murder trial wrapped up Tuesday afternoon with the prosecution dropping one of the most powerful pieces of evidence in the case so far.
Watch Tom Wait's report with excerpts of the recorded interrogation in the video player on the left
Prosecutors played a recording of a 2008 interrogation where Ronald F. Jabalee admits he told relatives he questioned whether it was possible that he killed his parents during a blackout. Jabalee also tells police on the tape that he had a Vicodin addiction.
Jabalee goes on to say on the tape that even though he made those comments, there's no way he could have committed the brutal murders.
Ronald G. Jabalee and his wife Christine, 58, were found brutally murdered in their New Baltimore home back in October 2006. Several years after the killing their son, Ronald F. Jabalee was arrested.
In the case so far the prosecution has called several witnesses, including a neighbor and an employee of the Jabalee's family business. A tape of the crime scene was also shown to the jury -- in the video jurors saw the gruesome crime scene and a message scrawled in blood by one of the victims.
Below is a blog from Tuesday's proceedings:
1:05 - Court is adjourned for the day. Jury getting instructions.
Video of an MSP sgt. who questioned Ron Jabalee in 2008:
1 p.m.: Ron on his Vicodin use: I stop taking around 5 or 6 in the evening. Gives me a happy feeling. Gets me through a 12 hour day. My uncle gave me one and it grew from there. Gave me 2, 3 or 4. Me asking and him (uncle) offering. Initially got it from the doctor for pain with my shoulder.
Sgt. asks about why the blackout scenario is possible: Ron says he’s read about cases where men have killed their wives and didn’t remember – that they blacked out.
12:50 p.m.: Ron says he didn't go directly to the police station after getting the news of the murders because he needed to drop off his Vicodin. He was scared to bring the Vicodin to the police station.
12:50 p.m.: When questioned about why he wasn’t worried about his dad not being at work the day his parent’s bodies were later discovered, Ron says: Maybe dad was playing hooky – maybe that’s why he didn’t show up. I didn’t think anything was wrong when dad didn’t show up (for work). Called the house. Ryan (Jabalee) started making phone calls.
12:40 p.m.: Jabalee: "This is me driving myself crazy. There's no way I did it."
12:35 p.m.: In police video questioning Ron admits years of Vicodin use and admits telling wife and other family members that he raised the possibility that he blacked out and went "berserk" and killed his parents. Ron says that even though he raised this as a possibility at one point - he now knows that "I didn't do it." Ron also says he said to his brother: "Is it possible I could have done this?" Ron says he thought about the idea that he might have committed the murders after someone suggested the killings appeared to be a crime of passion.
12:30 p.m.: In the video the sgt. asks about drug use initially and then questions Ron about statements he made to family members to the affect of "what if I did it." But in response Ron says "I know I could never have done it." Sgt. asks about problems with Ron and his father -- asks about whether they almost got into a fight. Ron says there was a confrontation but no one was hurt and for the most part they got along.
12:20 p.m.: Sgt. Young – Det. Sgt. Michigan State Police just took the stand: Was with MSP when the murders took place. Talking about how he questioned Ron Jabalee after the murders. Playing that video of the questioning now.
10:55 a.m.: still in recess. Stay tuned to Action News at noon for the latest
10:40 a.m.: Still in recess
10:25 a.m.: still in recess... jurors told they have another 10 minutes.
10:05 a.m.: 15 minute recess
10 a.m.: Neighbor testifies that he wasn't interviewed by police until a couple of months after the Jabalee murders.
9:50 a.m.: On cross examination neighbor tells defense attorney that he saw other vehicles near the highway close to the Jabalee home the same night he saw the truck in the Jabalee's driveway.
9:45 a.m: A former neighbor of the Jabalee's has taken the stand. Neighbor testifies that he noticed a vehicle coming out of driveway with lights off. Then turned it’s lights off after it pulled out of the driveway. This happened at 1:30 a.m. October 7th - the days the bodies were discovered. Neighbor says it was a truck that pulled
out but couldn't tell who was inside.
9:40 a.m.: It would appear the prosecution is trying to establish a time of death with their grilling of Szyller... trying to determine when the murder occurred.
9:30 a.m.: Prosecution grilling Szyller over whether Ron invited him inside his home on the day of the murders. Apparently the two made a stop at the Jabalee home on the day of the bodies were discovered. Ron did not invite Szyller inside the house and they made a long stop at the house.
9:20 a,m.: Szyller describes Ron's demeanor the day of the muders, saying he seemed shocked. Szyller says he was in the car with him. Prosecution grilling him over how Ron was behaving the day the bodies were discovered. Szyller says Ron never asked him to establish where he was. Szyller says Ron was in shock when he got the news his parents were dead.
9:10 a.m.: Richard Szyller, an employee of the Jabalee family meat business, is on the stand. He's about to testify about phone calls between he and Ron the day of the murders and in the months after.
9:05 a.m.: Judge just entered court. Jury is also seated.
9 a.m.: Still waiting. The Jabalee family is seated quietly behind Ronald. So far they've supported him.
8:45 a.m.: Still waiting for court to start. The defendant, Ronald F. Jabalee, is seated at the defendant's table.
8:30 a.m.: The courtroom is filling up as we await today's proceedings. We're expecting testimony from Ron Jabalee Jr.'s brother, Ryan, who will be testifying for the prosecution. Ryan said last week in a radio interview that he believes his brother is innocent. It will be interesting to see how the prosecution handles his testimony -- whether they will ask the judge to consider Ryan a hostile witness.
We’re also expecting testimony today from Richard Szyller, who works for the Jabalee family business, RJ Meats. The Jabalee’s neighbor, David Klatt, may also take the stand.
Court will be back in session Tuesday in the murder trial of a man accused if killing his parents.
Today's hearing comes after Friday's session where loved ones of murder victims, Ronald and Christine Jabalee, wiped away tears as jurors were shown the gruesome crime scene video taken at the Jabalee's New Baltimore home.
The video showed both inside and outside the Jabalee home, including inside the garage where the victims were murdered. The video showed their lifeless bodies surrounded by pools of blood. It also showed the mysterious message scrawled in blood.
42-year-old Ronald Jabalee is accused of the gruesome murders of his parents Ronald and Christine Jabalee on October 6, 2006.
Jurors heard from the Macomb County medical examiner who testified that both victims had been stabbed multiple times and both had defensive wounds.
On Thursday, Rosie Krol testified about finding the bodies. Krol, was living with Ronald Jabalee's younger brother Ryan at the time.
On the day of the murder, Ryan called her to check on his parents, because his father had failed to show up to work at the family's store in Eastern Market.
Krol fought back tears as she answered the prosecutor's questions. She described finding Ronald and Christine Jabalee on the floor of their garage in New Baltimore. She said there was also blood in their driveway.
In opening statements, Prosecutor Steven Kaplan said that Ronald Jabalee showed no concern that morning when his father was late because he knew that he was already dead.
Ronald Jabalee's attorney Gail Pamukov says the evidence will show that Jabalee did not commit the crime.