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Posts Tagged ‘David Rosenbaum’

In the Shadows of a Murder Trial: Fishbowl5 With WTOP Reporter Neal Augenstein

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein is among the lucky reporters covering the Lululemon murder trial. We caught up with him Monday to ask for his first impressions of the courtroom scene and to inquire about his past coverage of murder trials. The accused is Brittany Norwood for killing her Lululemon coworker Jayna Murray at the Bethesda store in March. The eight-day trial is taking place in Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville, Md. Follow his twitter feed as the side notes are riveting: @AugensteinWTOP.

1. Did you ever shop at Lululemon and did you know what it was before the murder? I’d never shopped at Lululemon before I heard about the murder there. I’d seen the stores before, but hadn’t stopped to figure out how to pronounce it. I think the first few times I tried to say it, I said something closer to Lulamon.

2. Have you covered murder trials before? If so, when, where? Yep, a lot in the 15 years I’ve been with WTOP. I covered the Beltway sniper trials of John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, both in the Virginia Beach area and here in Montgomery County, as well as Muhammad’s execution. I covered the Benjamin and Erika Sifrit Ocean City murder cases in Montgomery County and Frederick, as well as the murder of former New York Times reporter David Rosenbaum. I feel a bit guilty remembering these cases over other murders, because in each instance someone lost their life, and others’ lives were affected.

3. What has shocked you most so far? In this case? I think that on the eve of opening statements I have no real idea what Brittany Norwood’s defense will be. While her lawyers said they planned on using an insanity defense, the judge made clear he felt she was sane, and the defense decided not to plead Not Criminally Responsible. Usually I can tell from court motions what a defense will be, but her lawyers have been very careful to avoid telegraphing their strategy in comments or motions.

4. So far what do you think of Brittany Norwood? Without prejudging her innocence or guilt, I look at the defense table and see someone who 10 months ago had no idea she could be behind bars for the rest of her life. She likely never imagined she’d be called a murder suspect. And then I think of the family of Jayna Murray, and how their lives changed forever, and how powerless, angry, and sad they must feel. At the beginning of the trial, without having heard the evidence and testimony yet, I may feel different when it’s over. In my experience, the verdict and sentence usually comes out about right, somehow. I guess it proves the adage of the American legal system not being perfect, but being the best there is.

5. How do you feel hearing the details of the murder – the rope, the knives, the beating with the metal stand? Since my job is to report as accurately and in context as possible, as I first hear these details I’m concentrating on writing the words as close to verbatim as possible. As I’m writing them, I’m asking myself ‘have I heard these details before, is this new?’ So, I’m thinking more about gathering facts than immediately judging the gravity of the situation. As a reporter, I almost feel I’m being paid to avoid feeling too deeply, at least temporarily. But since a murder trial, by definition, involves a tragedy, I’m never too far from remembering there’s a victim as well as a person fighting for his or her life and freedom. I aim for right, fair, and first. Sometimes I get all three.

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Morning Reading List, 10.24.08


Good morning Washington.

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We’ve got your morning mix of media Muesli after the jump…

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GMU Professor Honors Rosenbaum

From a letter sent from GMU Adjunct Professor Karen Bune to GMU’s Media Relations Department, forwarded to FishbowlDC:

    Dear Mr. Blacksten,

    My name is Karen L. Bune, and I am an adjunct professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at GMU, Fairfax Campus. I teach on Monday nights and teach a class in victimology titled, “Victims and Victimization.” This course looks at all facets of criminal victimization and its impact. This semester I suggested to my class that they engage in a class “service project”. I had discussed with them the case of David Rosenbaum, the NY Times reporter who was fatally beaten on the streets of D.C. That particular case had many issues related to what we study in the course, and I discussed the impact of victimization, the systemic failures, the enduring grief and loss issues on the family, etc.

    I suggested that a project might want to “honor” a victim and/or family and left the decisions up to the class. In a nutshell, the class decided to honor the Rosenbaum family, and they selected a gift off the internet to present to the family. Everyone is voluntarily (they all agreed to do this) chipping in $2.00 -$3.00 to cover the cost of the gift item. I suggested I invite the family to come to class to present the gift.

    I have contacted a family member, and Daniel Rosenbaum (the son)– who is a photographer for The Washington Times newspaper– will be coming on April 23 to accept the gift from the class. He seemed very touched.

    This project will enable the students to understand the importance of reaching out to victims and survivors and will provide them a genuine understanding of the importance of support in the aftermath of crimes of this nature. It will also enable them to recognize their efforts can have a positive impact in the forefront of someone else’s suffering. This project will also be beneficial to the Rosenbaum family in knowing that there are students at the university level who are studying the issues and impact of victimization and learning to make a positive difference in this arena.

    I have already had a couple students offer to bring in cookies and drinks so that we could offer him some refreshment in the aftermath of the presentation.

    I thought I would share this with you because it might be a story you would like to disseminate. The communications director where I work was very impressed with this effort and suggested I contact you because he told me he think it is a heartwarming human interest story that should be disseminated to the public to inform them about the good things GMU students are doing and the positive impact these students can make in the lives of others. He thinks the “night press” would love to write a story about this.

    In reflecting on our conversation, I decided to share this with you.

    Best wishes,
    Karen L. Bune
    Adjunct Professor
    Dept. of Criminal Justice
    GMU, Fairfax Campushair, Dept. of Criminal Justice, GMU

Rosenbaum Suit Settled

From here:

    The city has settled a $20 million lawsuit filed by the family of a veteran New York Times reporter whose beating death raised questions about the city’s emergency medical services, the mayor said Thursday.

    David Rosenbaum
    , 63, was beaten with a heavy plastic pipe during a mugging near his home in January 2006. The family alleged that the people responsible for helping Rosenbaum — from emergency medical workers to hospital staff — failed him.

Read the rest here.