Forensic & Security Consultants Corporation
President H. Dale Nute
V. President Stephen B. Milliken
SEC: TREAS James E. Halligan
12 August 1994
Capital Collateral Representative
1533 C South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32310
Agency Case No: 194
To evaluate the evidence in the referenced case.
Transcripts of portions of testimony in trial of Paul Scott
Reports from Palm Beach County Police
Medical Examiner's report
Laboratory reports of Palm Beach County Crime Laboratory
Evidence in custody of Clerk of Court Palm Beach County
Deposition of Bernadine Bernard
Reports of Rhode Island Police Department
Clemency statement of Paul Scott
Transcript of guilty plea of Richard Kondian
Transcript of portions of post conviction hearing of Paul Scott
Affidavit of Richard Kondian
Affidavit of Robert Avera
Affidavit of Jeff Walsh
Affidavit of Valerie Cooke
I prepared a chart listing actions alleged to have occurred in the death of
James Alessi. This listing was taken from the statements made by
Richard Kondian to the police in Rhode Island in 1979, at
his plea in 1979, at a 3.850 hearing for Paul Scott in 1986, and in an
affidavit in 1990; from the statements of Paul Scott upon arrest in 1979 and
at a clemency hearing in 1983; and from the opening and closing
statements of the prosecutor in the trial of Paul Scott. The actions
described in these statements were sequenced in order to compare the statements
for congruence. The physical evidence was then evaluated with respect
to the actions listed, particularly against the in congruent ones.
This evaluation forms the basis for the conclusions below.
The crime scene drawing prepared for trial was examined against the investigative
photographs and as far as possible against the investigative reports.
The attached drawing adds a number of details and corrects a couple of errors. There is some uncertainty
about the errors due to inadequate photographs and because the police,
laboratory and court all used different numbering sequences. The apparent errors include:
labeling #30 (penis swab) as being on the guest book (#69); placing
the guest book (369) and its blood spot (350) on the dresser
rather than the floor as in the photograph; a chair shown at the kitchen
table is shown in photographs as in the middle of the kitchen floor
with apparent blood on it; the three inch circle of blood on the floor
in the doorway to the bath/bedroom area of the house was omitted.
The extensive physical evidence in this case appears quite useful for corroborating
investigative information. Much of the inferences from the physical
evidence however, were not correlated to the investigative information which led
to some conclusions being presented at Paul Scott's trial which
are probably erroneous. The investigative questions of importance in
this case that physical evidence contributes to answering include: identifying the
two assailants as being present in he house was by the straightforward
use of fingerprints. The medical examiner's autopsy also identified
the cause of death in a straight-forward manner even to a tentative description of
the weapon as being object with a 135 degree angle.Interpreting
the rest of the physical evidence was less straightforward and apparently
receive less emphasis.
The most obvious and significant omission in the prosecution's case is the three-inch
circle of heavy blood in the doorway by the TV. The omission is obvious
as the circle was documented at the scene by photographs both with and
without rulers. The omission is significant as the identification of the murder weapon
is problematic.Mr. Kondian repeatedly admits hitting the victim with a champagne bottle
while the prosecutor alleges that Mr. Scott killed the victim with a bear statue.
The circle of blood is three inches in diameter which is consistent with a
three-inch diameter champagne bottle.
A three inch bottle, when striking a spherical object the size of a skull at
an angle, can leave a defect with roughly a 135 degree angle.
The quantity of blood that would have still been on an object in
order to leave this amount on the floor two rooms away from the body is consistent
with the amount expected to be on an object used to inflict multiple lows of the
intensity inflicted on Mr. Alessi.
Nothing else reported at the scene, including the bear statue,
has anything approaching the quantity of blood that would be consistent with the murder weapon.
Given the position of the bear statue in the crime scene, it is consistent with
having fallen from the small white stand lying near the couch during the
struggle. The evidence strongly implies the use of a bottle and
excludes the bear statue.
A second inference concerning a probable weapon was ignored by the prosecutor in his closing
argument. The glass paperweight was not only heavy enough to cause
some of the head wounds of Mr. Alessi but was located an arm's length from
the heaviest blood stain of Mr. Alessi on the dining room floor.
This object also contained fingerprints in blood which show no
attempt at being developed either by powder or by chemical enhancement.
The handling of the paperweight since the crime however, has destroyed so much
of the detail of the prints that an identification very probably could not be accomplished
at this time. The glass paperweight was associated with Mr. Kondian by
his blood being on it. This evidence is consistent with Mr. Scott's
statement that Mr. Kondian struck the victim "in the head with a paperweight
over and over."
A third inference from the physical evidence, ignored by the prosecutor,
concerns the actions leading up to the assault. Mr. Kondian referred to Mr.
Alessi as being "stark naked," being a "fag" and trying to "mount him on the
couch in a sexual position." The "stark naked" condition of Mr. Alessi
is certainly indicated by the lack of any bloody clothing at the scene and
by no physical indication that his clothing was forcibly removed before or during the fight.
Also indicated by this statement is the inference that Mr. Kondian
was also at least partially unclothed at this time, as it would be somewhat futile for
Mr. Alessi to attempt to sexually mount a clothed person.
The prosecutor made an inference in his closing argument that was not
adequately documented and for which no evidence had been admitted.
Examining the photographs himself, he opined that the assailant was left-handed
because wounds are on the right side of the victim's head and the blood spatters
are on the wall behind and to the left of the victim.
Although this would be the case for a left-handed assailant using a fore-hand
swing, a right-handed person using a back-hand swing would give a pattern indistinguishable to the layman.
The variables due to the position of the assailant with respect to the
victim and to the multiple positions that the victim's head could assume
further complicate the examination. The prosecutor likewise asserted that Mr. Scott
had not picked up a pencil since the testimony the wounds were on the right side
of the victim's head and, based on that, insinuated that Mr. Scott was left handed.
The insinuation is not only a non sequitur but appears to be
unsubstantiated by any evidence.
The inference by the prosecutor that Mr. Alessi was the person thrown against
the wall because of the 5 1/2 to 6 foot blood stain is flawed in
two respects. First, the pattern of blood was inadequately interpreted.
Testimony that the stain is 5 1/2 feet exaggerates the size as recorded
in the photographs. The pattern of the blood itself may also be misleading.
It shows some repetition which suggests the person was pushed against the wall
more than once which makes the stain appear wider and suggests that the person had
more blood in him than he actually did. The photographs do not adequately
document the stain to determine whether the stained pattern contains fabric marks from clothing or not
nor was the blood type of the blood determined. Second, the size of Mr. Alessi with
respect to either Mr. Scott or Mr. Kondian would make it somewhat more
likely that he threw one of them against the wall. This would of course have
required that one of them have blood on him but the size of the stain does
not exclude either of the defendants. Consequently, the evidence is as consistent
with the statements by Mr. Scott and Mr. Kondian that is was Mr. Kondian
who was thrown against the wall as it is with the inference by the prosecutor
that Mr. Alessi was thrown against the wall.
The explanation of the prosecutor as to the ripped screen on the
porch ignores a statement allegedly made by Mr. Scott to Inv. Collins and by
Mr. Kondian at his guilty plea that they pushed out a porch screen when running
from the scene. The explanation he presents in closing argument, that Mr.
Alessi tried to get away from them and the screen was pushed out
in the enduing struggle, further ignores the lack of evidence of a struggle
on the back porch on which were a rug, chair, and plants all of which
appear undisturbed in contrast to the disarray in the family room,
foyer, dining room and living room.
The prosecutor also referred, in his closing argument, to blood staining
as evidence of a chase around the dining room table. The evidence in the reports reviewed and introduced at the
trial is insufficient to adequately document this assertion.
The nature of the staining could give different interpretation.s
The victim was tied with a telephone cord and three electrical cords. The knife
which apparently cut the cords, shows evidence of two different burn marks consistent
with causing a short while cutting electrical cords. The descriptions of
the ends of the electrical cords is not adequate to draw a firm conclusion, however, it would appear
more likely that the person cutting the cords cut two live wires rather than cutting
one twice.If the circuit breaker was working properly, it should have
tripped with the first short and thus th3e second short would have had to be caused
by cutting another cord on another circuit. Mr. Scott's fingerprints are on the blade
along with other partial prints apparently insufficient for identification.
The prints identified were made by the tips of Mr. Scott's fingers. The orientation of the prints are
more consistent with them being made while picking the knife up
or moving it than with holding it in a position for use. This evidence is consistent
with Mr. Scott's statement that he cut the cords at Mr. Kondian's direction. An apparent lack
of judgment is indicated by twice cutting off of the plug and then cutting the
cord again further up, when he could have unplugged each cord and cut
it only once as was done on one cord.. An even more dramatic lack of judgment is indicated by cutting an
electrical cord without unplugging it causing a short which burned the
knife, and then doing it again.
Blood found in the shower indicates that one of the assailants showered
before leaving the house. Findings on this blood eliminated it as being from
mr. Alessi but were insufficient to differentiate between Mr. Kondian
and Mr. Scott. Mr. Kondian's left hand was severely cut and drops of
his blood were identified on the foot of the bed and on the dresser
in the master bedroom leading to the shower. The bed is on the left side of a person
going to the shower and the dresser is on the left side of a person leaving
the shower. These facts are consistent with Mr. Kondian taking a shower
after the assault and support the statement of Bernadine Bernard that Mr. Kondian's
hair was wet and his finger still bleeding when she came back to the hotel.
At the time of Mr. Scott's trial, the only statements to be corroborated were
those of Mr. Kondian to the Rhode island police, Mr. Scott's statement to Invs.
Collins and Savidge, and the statement of Vincent Soutullo. Some inferences were thus
not apparent as they would now be with an additional three statement
from Mr. Kondian and a clemency statement from Mr. Scott and a statement from Bernadine Bernard.
Evaluating these statements is also difficult as the statements, even
of the same person, often conflict. Physical evidence can assist in evaluating
the truthfulness if the statements. many of the assertions made in
the statement can be supported even if not proved, or else indicated
to be unlikely or perhaps refuted.
Information available to me does not indicate where the fingerprints of Mr. Scott
were found on the magazine on the coffee table in the living room.
Their location may support Mr. Scott's clemency statement that he was reading
the magazine while Mr. Kondian and Mr. Alessi were having sex. The
semen on Mr. Alessi's penis certainly supports Mr. Scott's statement that Mr.
Kondian and Mr. Alessi were having sex even though it does not prove it.
It may also support Mr. Kondian's statement that Mr. Alessi was trying to
Since the toxicology report from Mr. Alessi does not contain an analysis for the presence
of marijuana or PCP, I can not determine if it supports or refutes the assertions
of both Mr. Kondian and Mr. Scott that the three were smoking the marijuana
in a social situation. Not finding any residue of a "joint" tends to
indicate otherwise while the presence of the tin of apparent marijuana
on the floor tends to support the assertion.
The presence of two glasses in the family room, one on the couch and one on the
floor by the couch, support the assertion of a social situation.
Portions of Mr. Kondian's statements are consistent with (or at least not
contradicted by) his other statements and with Mr. Scott's clemency statement
and also are supported by the physical evidence. These portions include:
- The evening began with drinks.
- Mr. Scott was wandering around the house (reading a magazine?) while Mr. Kondian
was in the family room with Mr. Alessi.
- A struggle between Mr. Kondian and Mr. Alessi ensued.
- Mr. Scott participated in the struggle.
- Mr. Scott hit Mr. Alessi with a vase that broke.
- A violent struggle took place.
- Mr. Kondian cut his finger in the struggle, possibly on the wire
on a champagne bottle.
- Mr. Kondian hit his ring in the struggle.
- Mr. Kondian lost his ring in the struggle, possibly by catching it on the wire
on a champagne bottle.
- Mr. Scott and Mr. Kondian picked up their girlfriends and drove to
Orlando in Mr. Alessi's car.
Portions of Mr. Kondian's statements however, are contradicted by his other
statements or by Mr. Scott's clemency statement. These portions include:
- whether Mr. Kondian had previously had sex with Mr. Alessi before that evening.
- whether Mr. Scott was using drugs earlier that evening.
- whether robbery was a motive.
- the persistence of Mr. Scott in the struggle.
- the condition of Mr. Alessi when they tied him up and when they left.
- that Mr. Kondian and Mr. Scott left together, and
- who was driving when they left.
Of these contradictions in Mr. Kondian's statements, physical evidence indicates:
- that robbery was not the motive since there is no evidence that valuables were removed from
the house nor even that the house was methodically searched as the blood
drops alluded to by the prosecutor are in locations consistent Mr. Kondian
going to the shower or with being left when the cords were cut;
-that Mr. Kondian and Mr. Scott did not leave together since the pushed
out screen indicates an exit for one person and the use of the keys
to drive the car indicates a second person would have more likely left the house
but unlocking the front door if the house key was on the same key ring..
Portions of Mr. Kondian's statements are contradicted by the physical evidence including:
- whether Mr. Kondian had sex with Mr. Alessi before the struggle began since there are
indication his clothes were off and Mr. Alessi had semen on his penis.
- that Mr. Kondian left without showering since he was known to be
bleeding and there is no evidence that Mr. Scott was and the the
blood found in the bedroom and bathroom were consistent with Mr. Kondian's
- that at least one of them did not go back to the florist shop at some time
after the assault since some items believed to be from the florist
shop were later recovered from the girls accompanying the defendants.
Mr. Scott's statements upon arrest are very confusing since I am unable to
determine with any certainty which person the indefinite pronoun "he"
refers to in the description of the various actions.
Furthermore, there appear to be some conflicts between the two versions
of his initial statement as reported by Mr. Collins and mr. Savidge. Depending on whether
"he" refers to Mr. Scott or to Mr. Kondian in the different portions
of the statement, the statement would support or contradict details that were
consistent in the other statements of Mr. Kondian and Mr. Scott. Mr. Scott's
clemency statement however, is consistent with Mr. Kondian's and with
the physical evidence as indicated above. In addition, his statement contradicts Mr. Kondian's
(or Mr. Kondian's is silent on the point) but is supported by the physical
evidence in the following instances:
- Mr. Kondian hit Mr. Alessi with the paperweight,
- Mr. Scott hit Mr. Alessi with a chair,
- Mr. Scott cut the cords including the live wires.
The primary inconsistency in Mr. Scott's clemency statement is that robbery
was the motive for going to Mr. Alessi's house for the reasons discussed above.
The crime scene evidence indicates a disorganized crime which is consistent with the statements
of Mr. Scott and Mr. Kondian that there was no prearranged plan to kill Mr. Alessi.
There is no evidence that they took a weapon or any means to control Mr. Alessi
into the house although they knew that Mr. Alessi was a much larger man.
On the contrary, the evidence indicates weapons
of opportunity or even desperation -- a vase, a flower pot, a paperweight,
a kitchen knife and a bottle -- and restraints of opportunity seized
with undue haste -- a telephone cord and electrical cords. Mr. Kondian
leaving his ring and watch at the scene is another indication of lack of
the deliberation of an organized crime as alluded to by the prosecutor.
The most significant crime scene evidence not presented at Mr. Scott's
trial was the evidence of a bloody circle on the floor consistent in diameter
to a champagne bottle and consistent in quantity of blood to that expected
to be present on an object used as the fatal weapon in this case.
This evidence is consistent with the statements of both Mr. Scott and Mr. Kondian
that Mr. Kondian struck the victim with a champagne bottle. The prosecutor's
inference that the bear statue inflicted the fatal blow is unsubstantiated by
the lack of blood on the statue. The only other item at the scene
with the size, weight and strength to inflict the fatal crushing blows was
the glass paperweight in the dining room but the blood on it was associated
with Mr. Kondian.
The most significant, unsubstantiated crime scene that was presented
at Mr. Scott's trial was the prosecutor's inference from his examination of crime scene
photographs that the assailant was left handed. The complexities of the
variable involved in this case are beyond the capabilities of the layman
to evaluate, particularly from the photographs available in this case.
The prosecutors's insinuation that Mr. Scott was left handed was also
unsubstantiated by any evidence.
H. Dale Nute
Forensic Science Consultant