Judge clears courtroom in case of beaten priest

June 27, 2012 7:52:06 PM PDT
The district attorney's office has now called seven witnesses and perhaps her final witness in the high-profile priest beating case in San Jose.

Mary Eden is a key prosecution witness. She testified Wednesday that she saw Will Lynch strike Father Jerry Lindner twice at the church's Los Gatos retirement facility on May 10, 2010, but under cross examination, she admitted her story has changed from what she told authorities earlier.

"I don't she think she saw anything. I don't think she told the police the truth when they got there. She was interviewed, she said the only thing she saw was Will walking out, she didn't see the beating," defense attorney Pat Harris said.

The district attorney's office is having to try the assault case without hearing from Father Lindner himself because the judge struck his testimony from the record after the former priest took the fifth as protection against self-incrimination.

ABC7 News legal analyst Dean Johnson says the prosecution will rely heavily on photos taken after the assault. "If a juror wants to convince other jurors to vote guilty, they'll be laying out those pictures and saying, 'Look at this. Look at what happened to this victim,'" he explained.

There was a dramatic break in testimony Wednesday when Judge David Cena abruptly cleared everyone from the courtroom except for the jury and attorneys. "That is something that has not happened at all in this trial yet. That is something that I've actually never seen. So I didn't know what to make of it and I was quite taken aback," court spectator Pat Mullarkey said.

When Cena went back on the record, he stated that jury tampering is a crime and admonished spectators to stay away from jurors and not engage in what might be considered even innocent conversation. Before breaking for the day, the prosecutor replayed the video she presented in her opening statement to illustrate motive for the assault.

Lynch's interview with ABC7 News media partner The San Jose Mercury News includes him emotionally describing in graphic detail how Lindner raped him and his brother as children. One juror was seen wiping away tears.

Lynch is expected to take the stand on Friday.

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