Zumot's attorney rips into expert's cell data

Geragos grills cell expert who said Zumot's and Schipsi's phones were traveling together on the day of her death

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About three hours before Jennifer Schipsi's body was found in a burned cottage on Addison Avenue in Palo Alto, her cell phone appeared to be traveling with her boyfriend Bulos Zumot's phone, a cell-phone expert testified Friday.

Jim Cook, who used reports from AT&T to analyze call data on both iPhones, testified Friday that the phones appeared to be using the same cell tower on at least three occasions on the afternoon of Oct. 15. He cited specific cell towers that he said both phones had used that day, including ones in San Jose, near Sunnyvale and in Palo Alto.

Cook, a former AT&T field representative who now trains law-enforcement officials on analyzing wireless devices, presented the jury in Zumot's murder-arson trial Friday with detailed spreadsheets listing all calls and text messages made and received by Zumot and Schipsi, including ones they exchanged between themselves.

He also produced a series of maps illustrating the coverage areas of the towers the two cell phones used between the evening of Oct. 14 and the evening of Oct. 15.

Cook's testimony was instantly disputed by Zumot's attorney Mark Geragos, who produced his own AT&T records and argued that the data Cook relied on doesn't actually exist. Geragos showed the jury the AT&T report listing the call data from the two phones. For the three phone calls in which the two phones appeared to be traveling together, the fields that normally display data for cell towers were blank.

Geragos blasted Cook's findings and told him to produce the AT&T report on which he based his conclusions. When Cook couldn't produce that report, Geragos pointed out repeatedly that the numbers Cook was showing the jurors was an Excel spreadsheet that Cook himself had put together -- not raw data from the company.

"There isn't a single record from AT&T that has this cell-tower data," Geragos said during his cross-examination.

Cook said that while the data was missing in this report, he requested more information from AT&T later. He said all the data he used in his analysis came from AT&T. He also said that he had not read any police reports relating to this case.

Cell-phone data is one of the key components of the prosecution's case against Zumot, a Palo Alto resident who was arrested on Oct. 19 and charged with killing Schipsi and then burning down their shared cottage to cover up the crime. During his opening argument last week, prosecutor Charles Gillingham showed the jury maps illustrating cell-tower locations as part of his argument that Zumot had Schipsi's phone in his possession after killing her.

Earlier in the week, the jury heard from Jaber Al Suwaidi, a friend of both Zumot and Schipsi, who said he received a text message from Schipsi's phone on the afternoon of Oct. 15. He said he believed, based on the writing, that the message was actually written by Zumot.

Cook began his testimony on Thursday with a detailed account of calls and messages sent by Zumot's phone on Oct, 14, 2009, and Oct. 15, 2009. He did the same thing Friday for Schipsi's phone.

Gillingham went over the list of calls and messages with Cook, who identified the cell towers and the sectors on the towers that were used for these calls and messages. At one point, just as the jury was preparing for its morning recess, Zumot's brother, David, who was sitting in the audience, made a remark. When Gillingham began to approach him to ask him about what he said, David Zumot said he was talking to himself.

Once outside the courtroom, David Zumot said he said to himself, "Things aren't working out," in reference to the prosecution's case.

Geragos will continue his cross-examination of Cook when the trial resumes on Jan. 24.

Related stories:

Zumot's attorney blasts withholding of texts

Friend doubted Schipsi wrote him a message

Witness says Zumot sped by her as fire started

Zumot's friend recalls night before fatal fire

Police handling of Schipsi murder challenged

Zumot-trial attorneys clash over arson evidence

Cell phone takes center stage at Zumot trial

Boyfriend arrested in Palo Alto death of Jennifer Marie Schipsi

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Like this comment
Posted by getitstraight
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2011 at 11:10 pm

getitstraight is a registered user.

Whoever wrote this piece clearly wasn't paying attention in court today. I had a completely different perception of the events that unfolded in the courtroom this morning and afternoon, and I find it insulting that this writer consistently uses words such as "blasts" and "rips" when discussing what the defense is doing to the prosecution. I don't think I have seen such bad reporting in my entire life.

That said, today mainly consisted of District Attorney Gillingham laying out an extremely strong case against the defendant, Bulos Zumot. Gillingham and AT&T expert witness Jim Cook spent several hours reviewing each of Zumot and Schipsi's cell phone communications the night before and the day of the murder. The records showed that Zumot was at the Addison Cottage at 6:49pm on Oct. 15th- roughly 10 minutes before the fire broke out in a blaze. Cook explained a ping from cell phone tower 07044 placed Zumot at the scene of the crime, at the time the fire was set.

Furthermore, he also showed that Schipsi's texts to Zumot abruptly stopped, after they had been in communication for several hours.

Zumot's attorney Mark Geragos accused AT&T communications Cook of forging spreadsheets that prove where Zumot was at three different times of the day, on the day of the murder. The three times Geragos accused the prosecutors of 'making up' don't even conflict with the time that Mr. Zumot is placed at the scene of the crime. This is hardly a blow considering Gillingham had pinned pointed several other hundred points of Zumot's whereabouts the day of the murder. Geragos did not rip in to anything.

Please Mr. Writer- try to have some respect for Jennifer's family. Using such harsh language doesn't make it any easier, and also what you said just isn't true. Also, if you are going to sit in the courtroom all day, you might as well walk away knowing what actually happened.

Like this comment
Posted by Domanica
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jan 14, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Domanica is a registered user.

You must not of been paying attention to the truth that was said today in court. Well, you did but you dont care for the truth. Mr. Cook was caught in a lie ! Point blank, that's the truth. He was asked, " did you make up these spreadsheets" and his answer was YES. Yes , with the look of shame and embarrassment because he was caught.

You did not like the out come of today's BLOW to the da's fabricated case so now you want to take it out on the reporter, for simply doing his job, reporting what happen.

Remember, the truth will always prevail !

Like this comment
Posted by getitstraight
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2011 at 12:09 am

getitstraight is a registered user.

I sure hope the truth prevails, Domanica. I feel just as bad for Bulo's family as I do for Jennifer's. Life would be much better if Jennifer were still here, and everyone in the court room today could have been somewhere else doing something more pleasant. I'm sure Mr. Zumot's family would much rather be saving their money or spending it on something better then legal fees and I'm sure Jennifer's family wants her alive. There are no winners here.

Nobody deserves this. It's extremely sad, for everyone involved.

Like this comment
Posted by Watcher
a resident of Los Altos
on Jan 15, 2011 at 9:41 am

Watcher is a registered user.

Why is it that the supporters for the defendant feel the need to bully people on these message boards who don't see things the way they do? It was even reported the brother of the defendant was making snide remarks towards the DA during the trial yesterday.

Like this comment
Posted by Domanica
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jan 15, 2011 at 11:00 am

Domanica is a registered user.

Anytime anyone says anything about this case that you don't like you always attack the person with insults and wrong accusation's. That's ok, you don't know any better.

I agree with you that everyone wishes thing were different and yes I'm positive both sides are in pain. The truth always prevails and I promise you that when the truth does come out, you will see a whole new outlook on this story.

God Bless

Like this comment
Posted by Watcher
a resident of Los Altos
on Jan 15, 2011 at 11:47 am

Watcher is a registered user.

In my opinion (which I am entitled to) the truth in this case has been clear from the start. It doesn't need to "come out" from anywhere.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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