But in 2011, Maryland’s highest court threw out the conviction, saying that crucial information had been wrongly withheld from jurors. Smith’s retrial began Aug. 30.
Trial Day 2
Aug. 31, 2012
9:10 a.m.: Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Eric M. Johnson enters the courtroom. A few minutes later, defense attorney Barry Helfand compliments Johnson on a speech he gave Thursday at the swearing-in of a new district court judge.
“You were fabulous yesterday,” Helfand said. “For a guy with no sense of humor, you certainly had one.”
“I write my own stuff,” Johnson said.
9:18 a.m.: The jurors file in, pick up the notebooks they left behind after Day 1 of the trial, and sit in green seats directly in front of Glenda and Otto McQueen, the mother and brother of Michael McQueen, who was found dead of a gunshot wound in September 2006. Gary Smith, who was charged with a form of second-degree murder known as depraved heart murder, sat at a table with his attorneys.
:21 a.m.: Prosecutor Robert Hill calls Rafael Ferrer, a former high school football buddy of Michael McQueen’s.
McQueen and Ferrer formed a “natural bond,” Ferrer said. “He was a wide receiver, and I was quarterback.”
The two had hung out for a couple weeks in August 2006, shortly before McQueen’s death.
Asked by Hill about McQueen’s DUI in Georgia, Ferrer gave these details:
Ferrer, McQueen and a female friend went to Vegas Nights, a night club. After the woman passed out, McQueen helped her to the car and drove Ferrer to Ferrer’s girlfriend’s house. Even though McQueen had been drinking, Ferrer said he felt safe driving with him, and that McQueen didn’t weave on the road.
But McQueen got lost on the way home, and was pulled over and arrested for drunken driving. By the time Ferrer picked him up the next day, he was flirting with a female officer. “He was calling her by her first name,” Ferrer said.
His friend looked “like a guy who had a good night that didn’t end that well,” Ferrer said.
Helfand quizzed Ferrer on the types of drinks the men preferred. They tended more toward mixed drinks than beer, Ferrer said.
10:51 a.m.: Deputy State’s Attorney John Maloney calls Justin Jones, a friend and former Ranger. The jury was shown a picture of them together, in uniform, at a formal Ranger ball.
Maloney asked whether all Rangers drank.
“Yes, sir,” Jones said. “It was very common for Rangers to drink.”
In Afghanistan, Jones worked in counterintelligence and did battlefield interrogations. McQueen was an intelligence analyst, as was Gary Smith, Jones said. McQueen would say he was part of the “PowerPoint Rangers,” which included presenting intelligence to higher-ups, but generally meant “staying in the rear.”