By Patsy R. Brumfield / Daily Journal
7:30 P.M. – OXFORD – Municipal Judge Larry Little ruled attorney Thomas Freeland IV guilty of the misdemeanor assault of Susan White March 25 and of trespass.
Freeland’s attorney, Rick Davis, said he will appeal the conviction to circuit court.
(BELOW – a rolling account of today’s hearing. It starts with the most recent part of the hearing and works through to the earliest.)
(For a more organized overview, read Thursday’s Daily Journal)
• • •
OXFORD – Testimony continues in the Oxford Municipal Court case brought by Susan White against local attorney Tom Freeland IV. She accuses him of attacking her at her home last March.
(Please excuse the typos and other glitches likely as I type this as fast as I can.)
Rick Davis is Freeland’s attorney. Jay Chain is city prosecutor. Bill Dukes represents Ralph and Susan White. Larry Little is city judge.
• • •
4:50 – All sides returning to courtroom. Joyce Freeland, Tom’s wife, takes the stand.
Defense puts on its case.
JOYCE – Married to Tom Freeland, defendant. Married eight years. Also a lawyer, about 20 years. Practiced in Atlanta, now here. With Freeland & Freeland. Talks about background, legal work.
DAVIS – Remember events of March 22. Joyce – yes. Davis – Tell me what invovement you hd with Susan White on March 22. Joyce – Hadn’t seen Susan in a couple of years, other than to exchange pleasantryies. She came looking for people she knew on the Square. Heard her say hello from the street. She asked if I was there. She came up and joined us.
DAvis – Earlier association with Ralph? Joyce – Day after Katrina, they evacuated from there. Ralph grew up here. Brought his son up here to start high school. Ralph knew Tommy and his father. Before, he asked to use our library. We helped him salvage a very lucrative oil and gas firm while his New Orleans firm took a month or so. Later, startedhis own firm here. Davis – Relationship with his firm? Joyce – About two years, Ended about four years ago.
Davis – Since then, what have you had to do as a couple with Susan White. Joyce – We were cordial. Spoke when met. No social engagements. Davis – How did 22nd meeting occur? Joyce – She said thought gallery was opening. An excuse she gave was not true, there was no gallery opening. Either she was confused… she came upstairs and joined us. She came and started telling us that her marriage was unravelling, her stepson was trying to destroy marriage, he was hearing voices, that Ralph was sort of not there with excuses to be away from Oxford. CHAIN – OBJECT. Relevency. Little -You’ve lost me. Davis – Susan said previous occasion they had gotten together, said it was 27th. Perhaps it was 22nd.
CHAIN – A lot of side issues. Don’t see how 22nd affects 25th. Joyce – Can I explain? Davis – No, hard for a lawyer to sit there and not answer. Joyce – yes. Davis – What relevance does the 22nd of March have to this? Joyce – It explains why we acted the way we did on the 25th. We were worried about getting her safely into the house, about (NAME). LITTLE – I heard it. THAT’S HER PERCEPTION.
DAVIS – Go on. What was it? Joyce – She told us that (NAME) was hearing voices, she said this odd story about a bag of coffee that he had written … CHAIN – OBJECT. heresay. Davis – Says State of mind. Little – I understand what she said. Don’t need to hear the details. I get it.
DAVIS – May hve more? What Susan told her. CHAIN – That’s the objection. Davis – Susan says she has no problems with (NAME), he’s out of town. Little looks over his notes. Says she admitted text message about difficulties with stepson. Thnk she agreed she communicated something to Joyce and Tommy, not sure she communicated fear to them. Here’s the issue: I’m not sure you can impeach her with Joyce. But not sure one is different from the other. They say it’s heresay, but they’ve all said the same things. So, why do you need more? Davis – says he wants more info she conveyed to Joyce.
Davis – Asked Susan, if she was pushed into a plate glass window. Chain – It was not. Little – I didn’t write down anything about a plate glass window. but if there’s question you’re dying to ask, I’ll let you. DUKES – May we approach? (Conference at bench with Little. Sounds like judge doesn’t see why he needs more specifics.)
DAVIS – Let’s talk about March 26. How did your second meeting happen to occur? Joyce – I thought we had reason to celebrate because of text message by setting up a meeting with Dr. Kelly. I asked if she wanted to meet us for drinks, not dinner. I invited her by text. She said OK, I’m casual. I said casual was fine. She looked very put together. Davis – Did she come? Joyce – She came, it was very busy. First night of Book Conference. Only one palce to save a seat for Susan, neat stairway, near bar. We had friends at normal table. She came in and ended up telling me four different times that Dr. Kelly had told her …. LITTLE: Wait, don’t want specifics about Kelly. I don’t want to hear that.
DAVIS – let’s move on. Conversation happy or sad or what? Joyce – She seemed perfectly content, resigned that she might be geting divorce, that Ralph had agreed to counseling, that he finally believed her, talking about if staying in Oxford, might finish master’s in social work. I listened to her talk repeatedly, told stories introduced her to people Felt like having a good time. We sat about 3 1/2 hours, Tom was going back and forth. Bouncer near. Lawyer as witness nearby. She seemed perfectly fine. She drank very slowly, at most 3 glasses of wine. Suddenly about 9:00, she got sort of sentimental and reached out, Tom there. She grabbed my hand and Tom’shand and asked if we would be her divorce attorneys We said no, we’ll make sure you ahve a good attorney. wE didn’t want to poke a finger in Ralph’s eye. Firs time she seemed a little emotional. She was Ok with that answer. Then 10 minutes later, her demeanor radically changed. Suddenly she started looking down at me, teary and said I can’t believe 13 years are gone. About that time, Tom plops down in chair between us. He says Susan what hope to accomplish at counseling with Ralph. I tried to poke him. I pulled him over. I said something has changed. She is about to lose it. She’s distraught. Please don’t ask that question again. I don’t think she should drive, that she needs to go home. It was an intense discussion. It wasn’t an argument. I gave him an order – I said don’t. We were getting ready to go to war on a case in Jackson. Point to him was don’t mess this up, get her home, don’t ask her about that. Getting her home. I didn’t think she should drive.
JOYCE – I compared it with one time I met with my first husband, I was emotional. I misjudged Susan, make sure she gets home OK, I told Tom. I left. Davis – When is next time you heard from Tom? Joyce – I wasn’t even home yet. WE lie on 6th Street. He called to say that he had gone and gotten her keys and drove her to the office, which is what he does from Square. He said she had driven off. He asked, what do I do? He asked me to text her cell phone number.
CHAIN – OBJECT, all kind of hearsay. DAVIS – This is Joyce telling what Tom said to her. Little – Well, let him testify to that. That’s your decision, whether he testifies. Joyce – What I did, when I got home, I texted it to him and then re-sent it to him. Within 10 minutes of my leaving, they were leaving. Davis – Did you have any communications with her after the 25th? Joyce – Yes, in that week I had been checking o her with Text about once a day.
Davis – Texted Tom her number. Then, after he got home, time? Joyce – I heard from him again when he saw her drive down Hwy 6. Within a reasonable time after, he was home. Estimate? Don’t remember. Perhaps only … I left City Grocery about 9”30. Davis – Best estimate he got home? Joyce – I don’t know. I got regular reports from him. I don’t know.
Davis – Think you said in regular communication with him trying to find Susan? Joyce – yes, regular. From office phone, then cell phone. Involved with that. I wasn’t with him or with Susan. Davis – His idea to take her home? Joyce – Absolutely not, it was my idea. Davis – Did you have any communications with her subseuqent to about 10:30 p.m.? Joyce – I don’t think so. Davis – ABout how she was going on 26th? Joyce – Yes, earlier than usual, sent her text said how are you doing, sorry things didn’t end too well last night – hadn’t send goodbye to her, she was getting upset when we left. She sent a very chipper text back, talking about Ralph came by and what had happened. Thanked me for advice. It was normal. On Sunday, sent message about how doing and I went to work. Realized I hadn’t heard from her, after a while at work. Davis – You didn’t delete any of those messages? Joyce – No I didn’t. (Davis picks up text log document.)
CHAIN – We’re going back to the 23rd. Davis – Let me just take the ones from the 25th.
5:24 – CHain – I know we’re getting beyond the event. Object to relevancy. Little looks at document. Little – let me see what you’ve got. Davis – Just going to ask her about them.
DAVIS – Messages. Joyce – Ok, the messages to her Satrday morning. I’m sorry, hope you’re morning is more positive. She answers soon after, thanks, Ralph coming by for coffee and get mail. Says he still loves me, going to counsel with her. I responded to encourage her to go to counseling. CHAIN – Object – We’ve talked about everything in these people’s lives. Little – I know.
Davis – Rewind a little to communicaton during hour or so before he got home. Did you know if he was at her house? Joyce – I assumed so that was the point of getting her home, to make sure (NAME) wasn’t there.
Davis – Let’s move on. Why all this concern over making sure she got home? Joyce – I felt concerned because of guns in the house – I’ve sorry about that. Little – No mention I’ve heard about guns. What is the relevance here? CHAIN – Susan wasn’t threatened by any guns. Little – I understand.
DAVIS – (confers with Tom) – Did you get a call from your husband about a danger to Susan? OBJECTION – LITTLE says asked and answered.
DAVIS – Ever seen any sign of flirtation between your husband and this lady? Joyce – Never seen any signs of flirtation between them. (Confers with Tom about any other questions.) TENDER THE WITNESS. 5:31
CHAIN – You didn’t go to follow her home? Joyce – No, I did not. I was not there.
5:32 – Next, the City Grocery bouncer, Brian Foster.
DAVIS – On March 25, see Freelands at City Grocery? Foster- Yes, I work for Cobra Security. Know Freelands on sight, say hi. That night, sitting right in front of me at top of stairs, where I check IDs. I sit on bar stool, above table height. Davis – See them visiting with another lady? Foster – Yes, don’t know her. (Explained where they were sitting at table.) Davis – physical contact? Foster – I saw none between Mr. Freeland or lady. No.
Davis – Did you see Tom Freeland in any way do something untoward this other lady? Foster -No sir,in a position to see. Situated there from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m. with exception to a few times to use the restroom. Davis – Remember if you recall after Joyce left, how long after that did Tom and lady sit there together? Foster – 2-5 minutes max. Not very long. (Davis confers with Tom). Davis – Tell me, whether you recall if they left together or apart? Foster – They left together.
CHAIN – Say you couldn’t recognize her? Foster -No didn’t say that? She’s sitting right there. Tom and wife come in frequently and sit at same table. This night, they sat directly in front of me. It was an oddity, why I remember. Called me … of gosh, don’t remember when they called for me to testify. Weeks ago. Chain- Where did they sit on Aug. 12? Foster – If there, probably at their usual table. Chain – Why remember March 25? FoTser – because they were sitting in front of me? Chain – (asked series of questions about his memory on various days?) Davis – he’s tryig to ruin his credibility. Little – he’s allowed ot ask followup questions he wants to ask.
Chain – you don’t remember that day, do you? Foster – yes, I do. Was I asked about it? Of course I was. Possibly within two weeks of its happening. Chain – What were you doing two weeks ago? Foster – (Gave him answer).
CALL BILL WHEELER – 5:40 (Davis and Freeland confer before Wheeler is brought in.)
Davis – ASKS WHEELER INFO. Wheeler – attorney At City Grocery on March 25. Met a friend of mind who taught Spanish at Ole Miss and leaving. Met him for drinks. Why I was there. Knew conference going on but had nothing to do with that. Saw Tom, Joyce and unknown lady sitting with them. (saysprobably wouldn’t recognize her again). We were there about an hour or two there. Theywere sitting across from us. We were sitting at high table across from entrance. We could see other people come in. Tom and Joyce and lady sitting there. Tom spent time talking with us that evening. After, I walked home.
Davis – Table higher or lower than Freelands. Wheeler – Higher, had a clear view across. They were immediately by the stairs coming up. Wasn’ta gainst the wall, it was against the railing. Tom and Joyce are friends. We see them up there quite often and talk. Davis – Did you see whether Tom made any untoward reachings or touchings of this woman who wasn’t his wife. Wheeler – Absolutely not. Tom spent a considerable time standing at our table, talking, then go back to Joyce and this lady. If I had seen it, I would remember. His wife friends with my wife. Take note of, embarrassing. Saw nothing inappropriate.
CHAIN – Remember what time left? Wheeler – As I recall stayed a couple of hours. Arrived 6:30-7, left before 9 o’clock. Chain – to and party still there? Wheeler – Can’t be sure. Theyw ere still there but breaking up, like they were leaving. As evening goes on, it gets pretty crowded. Thought they were leaving about same time we were. Chain – Did they all leave at same time? Wheeler – They were standing up. Still physically in City Grocery. Chain – Were two standing and not third? Wheeler – Possible, Two standing would be Tom and Joyce. As we were leaving, we said something to them because we had to walk right by them. Chain – Any untoward action? Definition? Wheeler – Well, uhm, I’ve heard …. I would think if a married friend made some type of action overt toward another female, that would be untoward and unclassy. I didn’t see anything like that. Saw none of that at all. Chain – From stranger lady towrd them or otherwise? Wheeler – no.
5:50 – Wheeler excused.
CALL FORREST JENKINS (WOMAN)
Davis – who are you? Jenkins – employed by Freeland law firm. On March 28, contacted Susan White. Joyce told me OBJECTION – Hearsay. Jenkins – made contact. I did.
Davis – Tell me, what did she say happened? Did she mention during course of her convesation with you how much alcohol she drank on March 25? Jenkins – Yes, at home. Said somewhere in vicinity to better part of a bottle of wine. Davis – Did she say antying about getting into house? Jenkins – Yes, that upon walking to door, that Tom forced his way inside and pushed his way in. Davis- Breaking anything? Jenkins – Hard enough that she thought the door would break.
Davis – Did she say anything about what happened at City Grocery? Jenkins 0 That while there, she felt uncomfortable speaking to joyce because Tom had been squeezing her hand and leg under the table.
CHAIN – Dod you know White before made this call? Jenkins – No. Chain – Why call her? Jenkins – I was asked to call her. Chaiin – Ever met her before? She opened up like that? Jenkins – She did. Wasn’t sure she was being honest, was so distressed, said she didn’ tkinow if she would file police report, was going to meet with a counselor. Didn’t know what to believe. Inflection in her voice/
Chain – You a lawyer? Jenkins – I am. Didn’t think she was hd=edging but perhaps exaggerating. Again, I wasn’t there, don’t know what did happen. It didn’t seem like the sort of thing that would occur after seeral years of knowing Tom Freeland. Chain – Did she say she took pictures about injuries? Jenkins – She said she did. Didn’t know if she had or not. Never seen those photos. Chain – What did she say would cause injuries? Jenkins – that Tom had put his hand down her pants and squeezed he low back. Said she didn’t want the contact that was going on , not that he was pushing her.
Chain – (Shows her photos) Were you investigating, what was your role? Jenkins – My role, I knew nothing about what had gone on. Asked to call because Joyce was having trouble getting in touch with her. Joyce asked me to call. Chain – Why wouldn’t Mrs. Freeland call? Jenkins – She just asked, seemed genuinely concerned. Called her on my cell phone. Don’t know if any calls were made from Freeland office. Chain – maybe she wasn’t accepting Joyce’s calls? Jenkins – Maybe. Joyce said had hard time, would I call? Chain- Find thatodd? Jenkins – Didn’t think anything of it. Went ahead and called.
Chain – Atfer heard White’s story? Jenkins – I thought it made sense, why she wouldn’t take Joyce’s call.
5:59 – CALL TOM FREELAND
Davis – Married to Joyce practice law with your Dad? Attention to March 22 and Susan White. Tom – With wife at City grocery, saw Susan White down on the sidewalk. She saw me first and shouted at me. I spoke back. She said she was out on Square. And maybe said she was by herself. I said come have drink with us. She came up and had drink with us. While… she started out being sort of surfacy cheerful but then started talking about real serious way problems she was having.
Davis – Was Joyce present? Tom – conversation more between Joyce and Susan than me. Involved, started saying her marriage was disintegrating. Talked about that, problems and ears she had relating to her stepson who she claimed had mental problems she found threatening. Davis – How logn spend together there on 22nd? Tom – It was a while. Sure it was 45 minutes before we went down to eat, then ate together. She kept talking about these problems. Alternating between not specific complaints about Ralph but that she thought he was going to divorce her, feeling threatened by that. OBJECT – CHAIN – …. LITTLE – I get the general idea without specifics.
FREELAND – She was more specific and more focused on her worries about and fears about stepson and that Ralph didn’t take them seriously. CHAIN – OBJECT. LITTLE – Understood that to be her fear. So, I’m good. Move on.
DAVIS – Let’s move. Conversation between Joyce and her. DUKES OBJECTS – Marital confidentiality. Should not be divulged. LITTLE – … DAVIS …. DUKES – During that time, when Susan asked them to represent her, think it’s a violation of this witnesses oath to divulge anything of a civil nature. LITTLE – I think I’ve got it. I do think she asked them to represent her, whether they accepted it of not there are some confidentiality rules that go right to everything everybody’s trying to say. I can take the testimony about stepson as if I had heard all the particulars. I now it would make you feel better to say it, not fair to air it for the Whites. I’m taking as if I heard more than I heard you say. Trying to accomodate everybody’s objections. Davis – trying to keep it as generic as I could.
6:08 – Davis – Was she referred to counsel? Tom – During that night, we suggested counselor. Nothing said about being her lawyer. Said later but immeidatley rejected. Davis – Move to 25th.
DAVIS – When arrive? Tom – 6:30-45. Susan arrived not a whole lot later. Joyce texted her about coming up and she came up. Joyce and Susan sat together at table by stairs. I sat with them, other times visited with friends. Davis- Most conversation between Susan and Joyce, not you? Tom – When I was at the table, I got included in conversation. She would talk to me about a situation. Biggest focus was between Joyce and Susan, withSusan about personal problems.
DAVIS – Did you do anything untoward to Susan at that table? Tom – No, at one point. Susan reached out and grabbed my hand and Joyce’s hand and said something about needing help. I didn’t have any other context with her. WhyI was so shocked at the story she told Forrest in our office. Davis – When did joyce find out something had happened? Tom – When Susan talked to Forrest. Davis – When? Tom – March 28.
Davis – Tell how you came to leave City Grocery? Tom – Susan was getting more upset. I thought she’d been drinking a bit, not drunk but not driving a car. Didn’t have anything to drink before City Grocery. She was getting more upset and about her marriage. Upset about situation with Ralph, expressing upset. They were talking about the situation with stepson. I wasn’t involved so much. I was away for table. Came back and they were talking about – she said something to effect that marriage over. Soon after, they were talking about going to counselor. I said, because of wha she said, I asked her what she hoped to do with counselor. Joyce said she wanted to talk to me separately. Joyce told me to stop asking that question. That everybody needed to go home. She was goign to go home and that I was to see that Susan got home.
Davis – your response? Tom – I didn’t argue with her. Joyce left relatively abruptly. Susan and I then left together – long enough to pay the table, maybe a minute longer. Not very long. We went down the steps, I started walking to her to car so see she gets home. We walked to her car. Parked almost front of Presbyterian Church. As we got clsoe to her ar, she was getting her keys out. I told her I should drive her home and gently tookthe keys. I started the car. She started talking about playing her Dylan music. Davis – Where did you go, car was facing south?
Tom – I was hoping to beat Joyce back to the office. I wanted to talk to her. (Describes route he drove to behind office.) Saw Joyce’s car was gone. Went in to call her and see office was locked. Went to door, when got to the back, Susan hd drive off in her car. Davis – What then? Tom – I called Joyce, told her what happened. Joyce said, well you better see that she gets home. So I did. Drove down to exit on Jefferson, down West Jackson to Country Club to go to their house. When got there, it was lit up,huge, a white Jeep in driveway. Didn’t think it was Ralph’s car. I was surprised at how lit up it was. Actally, I left out – when Joyce said to find Susan, I asked her for Susan’s telephone number but it was the wrong number. Then went to the house, calling Joyce to get right number. Joyce was almost home. Got to house, car I didn’t expect to see it there. Joyce told me about Susan’s fears about her stepson, afraid of him for whatever reason. CHAIN – OBJECT / LITTLE -SUSTAIN.
TOM – And, Joyce told me to find Susan. Didn’t question Joyce. Then I drove… didn’t now what to do. So, I drove down West Jackson to Square, thinking she might pass me, see she got home. I came up West Jackson and relly startled to see her heading in front of me almost to Episcopal Church. Followed her, flashed my lights, she knew I had tried to get her home. She went out Hwy 6, she was going very fast and I tried to call her again. I had hernumber this time. Didn’t get her, and she went into the Colonel’s Quarters. First place I spoke to her since she left office. She rolled down the window, asked me why I was there. I said, not shouting, I was trying to see she got home. She said I’m looking for Ralph. Said she had been or later at her house that she’d looked for hi at Alumni House. At house, she said she looked at Colonel’s Quarters because he’d done legal work for them andmight stay there.
I never went by Alumni House. She said she’d gone there. I said I’m going to seeyou get home. She rode back to town with me righ tbehind her. She pulled into drive way and I pulled inright behind her. It’s a moderate sized yard, not long drive. All visible from street.
Davis – Tell me when going to Quarters, did you try to alert her that you were behind. Tom – I flashed my lights at her. Went beside her and waved but she didn’t see me. She knew I was behind her on the way back. I told he I would see she got home. I was right behind her, no question. Davis – She seemed surprised that you were t the house. Tom – She started talking to me, at the house. She was talking to find Ralph, about being worried. No anger at all. She was sort of talking a lot to me and – sort of while walking through carport to back. When we got to the back, her dog ran up. Dog is a sibling of Joyce andmy dog. We stood at the back of the house. Right ack there, Missy ame running up, the dog. Both of us patted Missy while we talked. Davis – Where situated. Tom – In front of cars, sidewalk in back yard. She pulle dinto carport. Somewhere at this point, I asked her about the Jeep in the driveway. Joyce and I concluded it might be (NAME) coMing home. OBJECTION – LITTLE – go ahead. Tom – Jeep was Ralph’s for hunting trips. Civil conversation, it was brief from time to walk depth of carport and for dog to come up. At some point in all this, some hugging – it was mutual. This is something I’m embarrassed about, regretful about but not something I did anything illegal.
Davis – Embrace, how long? Tom – Not very long, don’t know if we kept talking … all at the back area. Antoher embrae but at somepoint at back door before going inside, I kissed her. I was surprised how she kissed me back. It was not .. I was surprised. Davis one thing led to another? Tom – exactly.
Tom – She either right then or shortly thereafter, she said she always thought I was cute… she said that, another hug. I’m sure in the few minutes, I hugged her and she hugged me and I can’t keep track of which is which. Davis – she said I was infatuated with her. Tom – Not true, I don’t know how she could have said that. Nothing in my behavior would give her any basis to say that.
Davis – Did she tell you to leave? Tom – She said, oh, maybe you should go. After that, we both went inside together but didn’t go passed… they have a hallway into back door. We never got past the end of that hallway. At some point we went all the way toward the end of the hallway. Radio on shelf, music playing on clock radio. She turns it up and starts trying to dance there in the hallway. That lasted a few seconds. Right after that, I decided to go. She took my hand and she was dancing in front of me.
Davis – Tell me if any violent acts by you to gain entry into the house? Tom – No. Davis – Did you pullher hair groped her and putyour hand sin her pants. Tom – I did not forcefully grabbed her. Saw photos and bruises, not fresh. Davis – Did you cause them? Tom – No. (Looks at photos of her bruises) No, (did not touch her any of those place) These are not things I caused. (Tom denies saying she wanted it as much as he did.O
Davis – Hands text messages to him. Look at times. Tom – Texts some I’m trying to get her. I tried to call her on phone at least three times. No more than once on wrong number. Texted her about whether she was hoe and if she was OK. Later, after I got home, texted her, which I don’t think I would hve done if I hadn’t been ddrinking. She said she was OK and to call her tomorrow. Davis – Any texts from her before she got to the house? Tom – I think message at 10:12, I was out wondering where she was and texted her. Messages to Ralph. Davis – Any way did you harm her that night? Tom- No, I did not push my way into her house, didn’t do anything she told me not to do, I did not harm her.
Davis – Did you have any cocnern about harm taking place? Tom – No, up to a point, I did what my wife asked me to do. After that, I did something that was a wrong to my wife but not that broke the law. Davis – She has been very consistent saying what you did do. Tom – I don’t think so. She gave different accounts. She’s not consistent.
Davis – Hae you ever been told not to come on her property? Tom – no, to my brother but not me. Davis – Is everything you’re telling the courthe truth? Tom – Yes. Did not go onto the property I was told I couldn’t. Shortly after she said, maybe you should go, I left. There 4-5 minutes. Davis – She says it was 20 minutes. Tom – wasn’t true. I didn’t come out of nowhere. It was her driveway.
CHAIN – There when your employee made phone call? Knew she was making it? Tom – I was in the building. I don’t now if I knew she was making it. Knew shortly thereafter. Knew they had text messages during the weekend. Susan had communicated extensively with my wife about what she was doing wiht Ralph on Sunday and to lesser extent on Saturday. We were working out way up to a fairly big trial. Now I emember, Joyce either said before or after that she didn’t have time to deal with trying again to get Susan, so she asked Forrest to do it. Chain – That’s why she used her cell? Tom – Don’t think Joyce suggested to it.
Chain – Had you confessed to your wife? Tom – Shortly thereafter, after the phone call with Forrest. Susan White told her … I spoke to my wife shortly after. Chain – you knew you’d better confess before you were confronted? Tom – No, that doesn’t describe it. Chain – Probably way 8th grader would handle it. Was Jeep in driveway when you came back? Tom – Yes. Chain – Said no physicality between you and Susan. You didn’t push her down, grab her? Tom – No, no.
Chain – Heard Mrs. White say you were getting wine. Suppose you have bar tab? Tom – Yes, I did. I do, not on me. Bought about 3 for Susan. Chain – Got one for her when you got one for yourself? Tom – Sort of. Tab paid everything consumed at table.
Chain – Got served and knew you’d have to face this day. When served? Tom – Trying to decide when it was. Chain – Whatever the return says. Tom – Think it was a Wednesday.
Chain – Why would soembody call somebody else and ask how much they had to drink? Tom – not what Forrest testified to. You’re asking me what Forrest did and what Forrest was told. What she testified to was what she was told. Chain – She said almost a bottle. Tom – I heard her say Susan White told he she’d consumed a better part of a bottle of wine at her house before coming out with us. Forrest told me as we were preparing for the trial. Within past week. Chain – She told somebody about the conversation. Tom – Only detail about bottle of wine. Chain – Why would Forrest make the phone call? And get into those kind of issues? Tom – The answer is, Joyce asked her to do it. Chain – Why have bar tab? Tom – They don’t give you an itemized receipt – I saw one, they do a bundle of credit card receipts that day – showed an erroneous date because machine doesn’t have a correct marker. Showed total but doesn’t show time because their clock is wrong. I wasn’t asking about the amount or itemization, just the time.
Chain – so we’ve got to believe from you that she was drunk? Tom – I didn’t say that. Chain – Was she? Tom – Ithink she had been drinking too much – too much to drive, certainly. I had no idea she had drunk the better part of a bottle of wine before. I had not drunk anything before we got there. I was watching how she behaved. Things she said I did at her house, I didn’t do. Chain- So says you. Tom – Is that a question?
Chain- now, you’ve got bouncer at City Grocery. Works for Cobra. Do you tip him? Tom – No. Tip bartender. He was behind a very crowded bar. Yes, I thought about bringing here but he couldn’t see us very well.
Chain – …. Tom – I don’t think there’s any dispute about that. Chain – I’m not very technologically savvy. I can see call log, text log, who called, out if answered, how long we talked, etc. You phone do that? Tom – yes. Chain – When served? Tom – Roughly Wednesday week after…. six days. Chain – did you think to preserve that call log? Tom- I’ve looked at alls on telephone bill. Chain – No, notwhat I asked. Did you preserve? Tom – They’re reported on bill, didn’t think ti preserve.
Chain – Nothing further, your honor.
REDIRECT – DAVIS – 6:59p.m.
Davis – How many years a lawyer? Tom – 30. I talked to people I thought might remember from the Bar.
TENDER WITNESS 7 P.M.
DAVIS – WE REST.
LITTLE – Anybody going to argue?
Chain – I don’t know. I truly believe court has listened to it. Don’t know if you want me to sum it up. Said Mrs. White’s story is inconsistent, told to a total stranger. Once to police officer. On the stand, has been consistent throughout. Only inconsistency was when Forrest Jenkins said Susan told her Tom grabbing her hand under table. Others say no touching in the bar. Everybody had too much to drink. That’s what we do. Do you chase somebody all over the county after you’ve had toomuch to drink. Mrs. White says he did’t leave when she asked him and he assaulted her.
Davis – Don’t want to oversimplify this to she said and he said. But it comes down to that. My client says anything that happened was consentual. Suggestion that he hurt her, they deny it. Testimony of genuine concenr. Sure would have been better for Tom not to carry out his wife’s wishes. In text message, she says she was OK. Hard to explain. Some things more than this court should have to involve. People rech out to help other people. One text message, 371, says I am OK, call me tomorrow. To Tom Freeland. I suggest to court that Tom Freeland did not harm that lady. That anything that went on was consentual. Surelyu, a tough situation with his wife. But it’snot at all the way she described it. Believe they have not proven that Tom committed simple assault.
Chain – Call me tomorrow, when you’re on the other side of the county and I have aller ID and I don’t have to answer. We have bruises, we talk about these problems. Somehow they are the bad guy.
LITTLE – OK, I didn’t want this day to come because Ihave known Tommy and his family for a long time. I don’t know .. I don’t have any fixed memory of knowing the Whites. I enjoy what I am doing bu not having a big time today. Must try to objectively look at what we’veheard. I have 33 pages of noes to do over. Davis said something, it’s all about those few minutes – what happened during those few minutes. There is an element,when you’re involved as a victim, invasion of your privacy. This had ended up because everybody was friends. Somewhat invasion of personal privacy, family privacy. Want you to understand that the things that were said and were objected to about the stepson, I am taking as I go through this as true. But, weed it down to a point where everyone has admitted that stepson wasn’t around, wasn’t his Jeep, no danger, if ever waS, real or imagined. And so,what happens again, as Davis said, in those minutes despite listing 33 pages boils down to those minutes. WEhave e-mails, photos, testimony that tries to explain those things.
I don’t find it unusual that someone in Mrs. White’s position would exchange e-mails the next morning before she determined what course of action to take. But these people, having some friendship, knowing each other cwould cause any reasonable person to worry about how to deal with it. Don’t think she would put herslef through this without some validity to what she’s saying. One e-mail says, I felt so privileged to see so much of you.
So, I’ve got to make a decison – is that the defendant is guilty of trespass and simple assault. What I think is happening – all misdemeanor. Fines $414, $260, 30 hours of community service. Know you do good work with Innocence Project, must be something tangible I want you to do. You have every right to appeal. Sorry you’re in this situation. Thanks you for your courtesy.
• • •
OXFORD – Prosecutor Jay Chain calls Police Detective Williams to the stand:
WILLIAMS – Investigation, nothing except speaking with Mrs. White. She appeared, she was very distraught about alleged incident. Concerned … about being the Freeland family, constantly harassing her. DAVIS – WE OBJECT. He’s talking about what she thought. LITTLE – Anything in the report? I’m going to give him a little leeway. Object, if you want.
CHAIN – Obviously an event occurred. Was it continuing? WILLIAMS – Phone calls, text message. Disturbed her, apparently. Chain – Photos taken in your presence? Williams – No, she said had bruises. I said to take them and bring them to me for possible evidence. She did. Chain – Described where. Williams – said backside and buttocks. Chain – Are these the photos? Just three? Williams – That’s it. That’s them. Shows what she said.
DAVIS – No questions. 4:37 p.m.
DAVIS – Questions about what she said, when it happened, how happened. Do not indicate she was inside. OVERRULED.
4:41 – BREAK
• • •
OXFORD – Testimony continues by Susan White, who accuses Oxford attorney Thomas Freeland IV of assault and trespassing at her home last March.
Below is the second part of the Oxford Municipal Court hearing, which began about 2 p.m. Larry Little is judge, Jay Chain is prosecutor.
(Please excuse the typos and glitches likely to occur as I type this as it happens.)
• • •
During break, White remains on the stand. She looks ahead,not to her left, where Freeland sits alone. His attorney and Chain are outside courtroom. White is a 50-ish tall woman with blond-highlighted hair. She’s dressed in black slacks and black three-quarter length jacket. 2:49 – court clerk brings in a box of tissues and places it in front of her. Freeland’s attorney asks White’s attorney to step outside for a chat.
2:58 – *Everybody’s back)
(CHAIN – asks her about a device.) She says it’s a microchip and went to phone store, he retrieved all the messages, I’m not sure what dates are, but it’s when text messages started in March. (Chain – shows her selected messages printed for her to look at.) She looks for message from Freeland. DAVIS – We haven’t had a chance to review these. And we went further and gave them Mr. Freeland’s. We want to be able to avail ouRselves of written messages. LITTLE – Is a copy OK to follow along? DAVIS – yes.
Chain says the messages/device have been with police officer all this time. LITTLE – Let him copy them. Chain – I’ll pick up on 26th date.
3:01 – Chain leaves to copy log of text messages. 3:04 – Chain’s back. SAys it’s whole month of her life. I wouldn’t want anybody reading a whole month of my life. I’m going to redact what I’m reading. If they want more, we’ll go into it further. Doesn’t pertain to this. (Davis says to Freeland that they want to look starting with 22nd.) Chain says they can argue about that when they get there.
3:09 – Chain asks her about calls that you say you got after that event?
SUSAN – Yes sir. (She’s looking through the pages.) OK, the phone call from Tommy Freeland started… it looks like No. 378 on second page. Incoming, recognize number, believe it’s his regular number. Message – says I called to check on you. And then it looks like next one is No. 380 – says I want to tell you something. And then on 381 … DAVIS – WAIT. LITTLE – You can cross on whatever. I want her to keep saying those numbers. If something want to object to, do so. Anything she leaes out is open to cross examination by you, as long as it’s relevant.
SUSAN – (Chain, keep going) OK, 381 – says what? I assume I must have said What? And then 383, he says I hope I didn’t upset you by being too forward. 384 – he says I loved your sweet kisses. And 386, he says, I felt very privileged to see so much of you. Says she’s repeating that he talked to me. And 387, he says And I don’t know why I’m sitting here so close to you but so far off. Chain – did you send messages?) Yes, it looks like I called my husband next. NO. 388 – SAYS PLEASE CALL ME. davis – STANDS UP. Susan says she called her husband. DAVIS – Privilege is still involved. LITTLE – I hadn’t thought about that. DUKES – Stands up, need to talk. (Turns to Ralph White and they whisper out of ear-shot.) LITTLE – If i understood, she couldn’t get husband because phone off. Seems to be attempt to communicate but his phone is off. If he didn’t answer her, there isn’t any privilege, if she’s just repeating what she said and got no answer. Privilege probably started the next day when they talked. She can say what she said because husband didn’t answer back. DUKES – Say it’s not confidential communication? LITTLE – Yes, but if didn’t actually talked, there’s no privilege. DUKES – We agree.
SUSAN – Next, (Chain – what happened next? Next did what after events?) Tried to call my husband three times. (Chain – let’s skip over, tell us about time between going to police.) OK, there are text messages that start on 26th from Joyce Freeland. Couple of those 391, 392 and then I started getting dressed to figure out what I was going to do, if needed to go to police department. Wanted husband’s opinion about whether to do that. One thing I did, go to Hunter’s Hollow and bought some pepper wax. Said I had been attacked and wanted pepper spray. (Chain – bought it for purpose?) To protect myself in case Mr. Freeland or anybody else ever tried to attack me, come into house, I didn’thave anything like that at home. Caused her to take those steps.
Next, I see on here that I talked to one of my children in Texas. See that on here. Log helps refresh my memory. (Chain- don’t look at phone messages. Eent, to Hunters Hollow, at some point you went to police.) Yes sir, I went to police department and I had finally gotten my husband and talked and tell him I had been attacked. DUKES – Mr. White asserts his privilege about marital communications. What she said is sufficient. (Chain – just trying to get to police department)
My husband went with me to police department. Officer came out to talk to us in lobby. We told him what happened to me, went through all of the events of March 25th, and he asked if I wanted to file charges. I told him I needed to think about that my options. I wasn’t sure what I should do. I wanted to think about it a day or two, what to do. (Chain – go back?) I had a meeting with detective Williams, March 30th. I was there about 2 1/2 hours. Told him. Husband came for part of meeting, he had eye appointment, listened to me recite story. (Chain – want to take photos?) Yes, same day March 30th. Police and detectives kind enough to let my husband take pictures of the back of my legs, buttocks where I had been squeezed by Tommy Freeland. We took some with my cell phone, e-mailed them to detective. Others with nice camera he has. Then pictures developed at Walgreens.
(Chain hands her packet of photos – recognize any?) Yes, of me which was taken like 5 days after the attack, but I see still bruises on back of my right leg and on left buttocks. It’s embarrassing but thought they needed to be taken. Caused by Tommy Freeland when he was throwing me around my bedroom or when he put his hand down the back of my pants and squeezing me real hard. (Chain – photos into evidence) DAVIS – No objection. Formal note that husband was involved.
(Chain – after you talked to Williams, did you sign complaint?) Yes sir, what brings us here today. (Chain – in going back to night of dinner with Freelands, so we’re all clear, did you invite him over?) No sir, I didnot. Never told him I wanted him there. (Chain – how long was it between left City Grocery and then got home?) I guess 45 minutes to an hour. (Chain – last time you saw Freeland was at City Grocery?) About that long …. well, he was at the parking lot at the Alumni House. Prior to going to Colonel’s Quarters. Guess 10-15 minutes to get to Colonels’ Quarters. He didn’t call during that time.
Chain tenders witness. 3:30 p.m.
(Chain – can I get text messages? I anticipate getting crossed on those. Outside 25th and 26th, get outside area of relevancy, your honor. It’s really … 352, it starts to 397.)
DAVIS – 3:32 – Still have texts? Susan – court has them. Little offers them. Davis shows texts to her. You got home at 10? She says more like 9:30 or 9:15. (He asks her about a text at 4 p.m.?) Is that 6 hours difference? As look at text messages, is this 10? Were you home? How did that message for 13 seconds, you weren’t home? Susan – I … (370) she says it’s hard to judge the time. You can see where I made a call to Ralph, said I’m in trouble No. 370. Thnk I was at home. (Davis – while you were driving?) No, that’s not right, I didn’t start making phone calls to find Ralph until I was attacked, I believe. (She’s shaking her head). I think I need to look at this.
SUSAN – (Davis – before you got home, you were calling?) She says she doesn’t know. I’m confused about time frame. 364-67, Joyce Freeland and I are texting each other about when they invited to City Grocery. Then, 368 I’m contacting Ralph, leaving message about Freeland invitation and going to dinner with them. (DAvis – after 9:30, you went pretty much all over town. RICK DAVIS)
SUSAN – Guess driving was about 45 minutes. (Davis asks that she told Ralph I’m in trouble, it’s about 10 o’clock.) She said shewas afraid she was going to be followed from city Grocery, didn’t want to go home alone. Ralph, call me I’m in trouble. (Davis – 10 minutes later) Asking about 372 and because Ralph didn’t answer and I didn’t know his phone was off, I’m still trying to reach him. Then I’m asking him if he has a girlfriend. CHAIN – We’ve gone far afield from what we’re talking about. Can’t see the relevance. DUKES – Whole reason I’m here is to assert marital privilege, based on sanctity of marriage and hope it is preserved. To get into that, which has no relevance to this criminal case, flies in the face of that privilege which has been the law of the beginning of Enlgish Common Law.)
LITTLE – Marital privilege applies to spousal communications in this context to indicate if one commits some sort of crime. Is that correct? DUKES – No, statute says exceptions are where one commits crime against the other or a child. Privilege based on non-compulsion to divulge private, marital communication. Not made public. Private. This instance, which hasjust been brought out in open court. This woman asks him if he had a girlfriend. What in the name of God does that have to do with charges against Freeland, putting his hands on her, where we are today?
LITTLE – I did not open this can of worms. Y’all chose to talk about text messages that start at certain times. This is withintht context of those text messages. Don’t think you can assert spousal privilege just when you don’t like the questions. If she wants to answer, it’s fruit of cross-examination. Just saying, one thing and then another, they are entitled to ask her about it. I can’t slice it that thin. Now, other side gets their shot. I can read it. She answered. I guess whatever you’re trying to say.
DAVIS – No 373 – asks her about time of text. Susan – looks like Tommy texted me, asking if I was OK? DAVIS – Next, one minute later. Susan – I was frightened and I called my husband again. I’m trying to reach him again. I’m scared and I’m upset. Call me, it is urgent!!! No. 374. 375- I called him, please call me, someone is attacking me at the back door. Didn’t want to say who it was. Thought it would be better to tell him in person who it was. BEcause I knew he would be very upset. 21 minutes later 376 – called him again, phone off. I’m saying, please help me someone …. I’m trying to tell him someone attacked me. I was extremely frightened, wanted to talk to Ralph.
DAVIS – You continue to text while you say you’re being attacked? SUSAN – I wish I had cell phone to make it a lot clearer. DAVIS – 22 after 10. SUSAN – Maybe he was there earlier between 9 and 10 because honestly, I don’thave my cell phone in front of me that would have all these. I just remember approximately when things happened that evening. That was 5 months ago. DAVIS – Look at 10:24 – outgoing to Tom Freeland. Susan – He called me 378 and said checking on her. 379- I must have said I’m OK, call me tomorrow. I’m trying to keep him away. Said I was OK, but I wasn’t. Trying to get him to stop texting or contacting me. Just didn’t want to get into any more confrontation.
DAVIS – asks about text message before you went out, with Joyce. Susan – Yes. She invited me. Davis – talking about how much you had to drink? Susan – I was talking about that? Davis – let’s simplify. Who told Joyce that you had had some wine? Susan – Before I met them? If yo look at those messages, I had invited my husband to come by for wine, cheese and crackers. Before I ever went out with the Freelands. Had one glass with my husband, cheese and crackers.
DAVIS – Did you call Freeland office on March 28 and talked about how miuch you had to drink? Susan – I didn’t call them. They had someone call me. I’m assuming she was at Freeland Law, they were checking on me. I wouldn’t answer any of Joyce’s communications. She was trying to reach me over weekend, started Saturday morning. I don’t remember anything aboutr a thunderstorm.
DAVIS – Said something happened between you and Tom. Susan – Yes. Davis – you did tell them you had a better part of a bottle of wine before went out? Susan – That is a lie, I never said that. Davis – You drank 3-4 glasses at City Grocery? Susan – No, I did not. Had one glass with husband at home, after left Joyce invited me to City Grocery. They already were there. Davis – everybody was drinking, including you. Susan – Yes, when Joyse asked for a drink, Tom would bring me one. Some would go back to bar and I never finished them.
DAVIS – Conversations on 22nd and ones on 25th, pertained to problems with you marriage. CHAIN – OBJECT. What does that have to do with this? Davis – Nothing to do with trespass, with being welomed on property, with threats she communicated to Tom and Joyce, including a psychiatrist. LITTLE – Wait, y’all we don’t have to take all this. WE still have another case. Theyare entitled to develop whatever case they want to develop. I already get it. I’m not trying to rush you. Just saying, we need to go faster. We’ve all been practicing 30 years, we can go fraster. Let’s just get it over with.
DAVIS – Realize difficulty of some witnesses over others. LITTLE – You’ve laid the groundwork with her. Make other points and we’ll try to get through.
DAVIS – Apologize. You’re under oath. You take medications? Susan – No, I take vitamins, Centrum Silver every day, that’s all I take. Davis – Do you realize text messages with prosecutors that Joyce was attempting to help you through some difficult situations, whatever they might be. Susan – Also think she had a motive. Davis – Including your marriage, your stepson. Susan – I thought we were speaking to each other as friends, as women as girlfriends speak to each other. I wasn’t trying to get legal help. Davis – difficulties with stepchild? Susan -I have a stepson, three other children. We had had some differences my husband and I inference to stepson that had not been solved. Davis – Fearful of your stepson? Susan – I was not fearful like you would want to keep someone out of the house.
DAVIS – Concerned about his being a danger? Susan – Ralpyh and I just have a difference of opinion about my stepson, if he did something to bother me. Difference is what I thought and he thought. Davis – concern that he might harm you? Because he was schizophrenic? Susan – I never had any worry. Joyce Freeland referred psychiatrist to talk to me about what to do in that situation. Davis – To guard your safety, you were worried about his being dangerous to you? CHAIN – I OBJECT. How far do we have to go? LITTLE – Does stepson live with you/ In Oxford? SUSAN – No, not here that day. LITTLE – I’ve heard all I need about that.
DAVIS – Did you communicate your fear…. CHAIN – No disrespect, why are we back to this? LITTLE – Will let her answer that question. (DAVIS confers with Tom Freeland). Davis – Don’t think we have all these text messages. Don’t think we have one for 23rd. Chain – I didn’t hand up one for 23rd.
LITTLE – I get what you’re trying to say. If I let these in, they become part of public domain. I don’t think whatever has happened a conversation that she had with Joyce or Tom Freeland is of such a nature that she has to go through cross-examination for that because she had made an accusation against someone. If it was speaking in legal terms, not factual, something where any of them had a different conversation about themselves… differnet. But this about stepson, I’m not going to let you ask her about that. I will make for identificatio but not part of public domain. But you can disagree, whatever. There’s a limit of how far you can go to develop this theory. Questions you’ve asked have laid foundation for that theory. Comment to friend of priate nature, not fair to these people. I wouldn’t do it if Mr. Freeland had written something very person, Wouldn’t do it. If other stuff in here, you want to ask You can try to do it, that’s all right.
DAVIS – Respect court’s ruling. Can see legitimate concern by Freelands. May I continue? Did you, your stepson come unexpectedly at times? Pop in? Susan – No sir. DAvis – ever express fear he was coming in unepxectedly. You expressed fear about living in New Orleans, fear to Tom Freeland, about Stepson… CHAIN – Can I get a groundrule? LITTLE – We’re through with this, we really are.
DAVIS – You left alone fro City Grocery, correct? Susan – yes. Davis – Tom was circulating around bar, visiting with people, some are witnesses. Susan – he was visiting and would come back, introduce people to us. Davis – your intense conversation was with Joyce, not Tom. Nothing untoward happened with Tom atCity Grocery with Tom? Susan – One time, he put his hand on mine atop table. I sled my hand back off table. Davis – You don’t remember all thre of you holding hands? Susan – I know Joyce says that. I’m suyre we were visiting, sure at some point something like that could have happened. When many puts his hand on mine and doesn’t feel right, I pull mine back. I did not reach out to him. Davis – People at Bar? Bouncer? Susan – I don’t know. Davis – Know Mr. Wheeler? Susan- I don’t know.
CHAIN – Why are we talking about witnesses? LITTLE – She says doesn’t know bouncer, or Wheeler.
DAVIS – Other people around to observe you? Susan – I don’t know. People all around. I was very crowded. Davis – You told police on 28th, you said Tom held your hand under the table? Susan – I deny that. I don’t know who that is. Joyce Freeland wrote me a very bad letter and mentioned him, and I don’t know who he is. Someone called me at my home on 28th 10:15, caller ID says Paul or Paula Dillard. Stillat my house. Joyce called after she did. Paula Dillard called to inquire why I wasn’t anwering my phone and that Joyce was concerned and didn’t understand why I wasn’t answering her calls or texts. I didn’t want to talk to her.
DAVIS – You told Paula Dillard, was she outside Freeland office. You told her Tom put his hand on your leg under the table? Susan – No, I did not. Hen ever did that. It did not happen. I did not tell her. CHAIN – Wh going there? We haven’t charged Mr. Freeland with any of that. Davis – I THINK IN HER DIRECT TESTIMONY SHE MENTIONED SOMETHING UNDER THE TABLE. Little – Go ahead and I’ll let you know.
DAVIS – Drink? Susan – I had a glass of wine. Tom kept taking my glass and coming back with a full one. Never got to finish the glass. DAVIS – Joyce says you were morose. CHAIN – I object, where are we going? Little – Can ask question or an’t refer to other person’s testimony. DAVIS – You were morose? Susan – No, I wasn’t.
DAVIS – You were approached by Tom Freeland and didn’t he take your keys from you? Susan – No sir, no. Tom Freeland was nowhere near me when I walked to car. Tom Freeland never too my car keys. Little – She denies it. Susan – Totally deny he ever had my keys, ever in car with him. Walked down stairs at City Grocery, down Van Buren, got into my car, drove off. I thought he was upstairs in bar, at that point. DAVIS – Deny you drove back to his office? Susan – I deny it.
DAVIS – Didn’t he ask Where are you? Susan – I don’t know. Don’t know what time you’re referring to. Davis – saying you went directly to Alumni House. Susan – Drove around. Davis – Where? Susan – Drove around listening to my music, Decided I didn’t want to go home and went to Alumni House to see if husband is there. Davis – Did you see Tom’s car coming behind you? Susan – He was not, He was out in parking lot at Alumni House after checked to see if husband was registered there. He yelled at me. He was looking for me. Decided to go home. DAVIS – What bout Colonel’s Quarters? Conversation with Tom. Susan – Don’t recall, it was 5 months ago.
DAVIS – You said you had just arrived home when he tried to gain entry to your house. Susan – I was uncomfortable at City Grocery. After Tommyput his hand on mine, I just wanted to get out of there. AFter got in car, deicded to try to find my hsuband. Davis – RememberTom coming up to you and talking at home about Where have you been? Susan – he didn’t just walk up in drive and ask how I was. He jumped out of the dark somewhere in my back yard. Davis – He didn’t express concern about you? Susan – No, he looked angry, fussing at me like he wa angry, I didn’t know why.
DAVIS – Do you deny having a flirtations with Tom Freeland? Susan – Never been Flirtatious with Tommy Freeland, never ever. Just remember being thrown into a wall inside my bedroom door, by him. Davis – You didn’t mutually embrace each other? Susan – No sir. I was being thrown around my bedroom. Davis – What about outside? Susan – I had not touched him, I have no affection for Tommy Freeland. He was grabbing me and kissing me and pulling my head back and saying all these things about how he liked me, been t=attracted to me. Davis – You hadmusic playing inside? Susan – No, I did not. Davis – He came in with you? Susan – No, he pushed me inside, no music playing. Davis- Alarm system? Susan – Yes, use it if we’re going out of town. Since this incident, and I’m there by myself and Ralph is gone, I turn the system on. Had ADT check it and give me a remote panic button to wear so I have it, if I need to push the panic button.
Davis – YOU HAD YOUR PHONE IN YOUR HAND, DIDN’T YOU? SUSAN – When? Davis – When you were texting. Susan – I can’t tell you exactly when I had it. DAvis – That night? Susan – I don’t know. It was probably in my purse, I was carrying it and hadmy keys. Davis – You didn’t push 911. Susan – I didn’t have time. I was attacked at myback door. Davis – Deny that episode took 3-4 minutes at most. Susan – More like 10 minutes. He was talking to me, pushing him away, telling him not to do this. Davis – Left City Grocery at 9:30 got home about …. Susan – probably. Davis – STeadily receiving and sending text message? Susan – Didn’t receiuve any from Tommy until after attacked.
Davis – How many songs played in car? Susan – I don’t know, I didn’t count them.
DAVIS – 4:28 – Initial police report, remember it? Susan – Is he young officer? Don’t remember his name. Davis – didn’t initially file charges. Wanted to talk to husband? Susan – Even thought about talking to my pastor about it. Davis -You were trying by communicating with Joyce, to work on the marriage. Susan – Thought we were two friends, talking the way women talk.
REDIRECT – 4:30 PM
CHAIN – I don’t have any more questions. Ma’am, you may step down.
Calls Officer Williams. (Little – lady suppose to be here at 4 – he calls different case up to be dealt with.)
• • •
OXFORD – The much-awaited city court hearing for long-time Oxford attorney Thomas Freeland IV began during its 1 p.m. session.
Last March, Susan White accused him of assaulting her at her home after she had dinner with him and his wife, Joyce.
Freeland denies the allegations.
In her complaint to the Oxford Police Department, White claimed Freeland followed her into her home, tried to kiss her and ripped her blouse.
Her police citations charge him with simple assault and trespass.
In addition to being an attorney, Freeland is an Internet blogger and is followed regionally on issues of Oxford life, food and legal cases.
White’s claims gained some notoriety in April after the complaint and other police documents, with her account of the incident, were distributed widely by e-mail.
• • •
The following is a rolling account of today’s hearing in Oxford Municipal Court. (Please excuse the typos and glitches likely to occur as I type as fast as I can.) City Judge is Larry Little. City prosecutor is Jay Chain.
1:15 – Court gets under way. Little says he’s going to take DUI guilty pleas before moving to the docket.
1:46 – Freeland enters courtroom. So does his accuser. Little swears in 6-8 people who are going to be witnesses. They are asked to leave the courtroom, except Freeland and White.
Bill Dukes represents White. I have forgotten Freeland’s attorney’s first name – last is Davis. I will get it later.
DAVIS – Has to do with Susan White.
Little – We kind of went over it a while ago. Here husband is an attorney. Freeland is an attorney. Here is my fear and analysis of this situation: I’m not sure if Mr. White can be compelled to testify. As solution, if White wants to stay as husband of victim. I’m going to let him stay. But if after several hours, he has something to tell me because he has set here all this time, we have a problem. I want you guys to find a solution that protects everybody. I don’t have to hear any secrets to know I can’t let Mr. White ain an advantage. A risk you have by staying. You may choose tht you don’t want to hear it so you could come back later. You can’t have it both ways.
MR. WHITE – I’m willing to take that risk.
CHAIN – I’m not going to call him.
LITTLE – Sorry I didn’t anticipate that.
MR. WHITE – I was served subpoena on Monday. Probably would have filed something to quash, if I’d had time.
DAVIS – In shortness of time, after consulting prosecutor, on Friday, we had subpoenas issues. Found out he was at his law office. Asked Chris Case to serve the subpoena. Also tried to serve it on Sunday.
LITTLE – We’re wasting breath. Doesn’t matter to me. No surprise. Case has been set for six months. Let’s go. Will deal with issue of calling him adversely as I hear it.
CHAIN – CALLS SUSAN WHITE
SUSAN II’m calling her Susan to be different from husband) – She’s asked about March 25, signed complaints against Tommy Freeland. She points to him in courtroom.
March 25, I was at home most of day. My husband came by to visit a few minutes. He had been in New Orleans a lot, where we use to live. He has office there. He had been out of town, came by to see me. He said goodbye and assumed he was staying in Alumni House … OBJECTION … didn’t tell me where he was staying.
Lives in Oxfordl. He visited about 5-5:30 p.m. We said goodbye to one another. I was really sad beause I had been alone off and on for 10 days. Tired. Decided ot go to Square. Actally, I need to correct myself. All of this was taking place on March 22, a Tuesday. Going to an Art Show.
March 25 – as relates to Mr. Freeland. OK, uhm, I had seen them previously (Tommy on Mrch 22 on balcony at City Grocery Bar as I was getting out of car to go to gallery.) We waved to one another. Said hi. He asked me to come up, I said no going to gallery. He invited to come up to see Joyce and sit with them. That’s what happened. Ended up going there and he said we could go to gallery later. That’s what I did. Met them, they bought me glass of wine. Went downstairs to eat dinner, reluctant but tired of being home alone. We had conversation, dinner, said gooebye, I went home.
Very next day, I started receiving e-mails or texts from Joyce inviting me to go to different things, Thacker Mountain at Square Books. I kept sayng I was too busy, probably true. Then she invited me to meet them at City Grocery bar, about 5:54 p.m. March 25. And, we texted back and forth. Met them there. Tommy got us a drink. Some kind of writers of book conference. Introducing me to different people who were poets and writers. Spent evening together (Joyce, Tommy and myself) very crowded up there that night. Sitting at a small table at top of stairs. Tommy would get up and down visit, bring people over for me to meet. We were having fun. there abo