There Are No Heroes in a
Court Room

By

Leonard Zwelling

         Today hurt.

         Evette Toney, the live-in girlfriend of Dr. George
Blumenschein spent another 4+ hours on the witness stand this afternoon and
continued her flawless testimony. The assistant district attorney led her
through the time line that started before Dr. Blumenschein’s near fatal
poisoning up to the last weeks prior to the arrest of the defendant. It was
painful to watch, but rang of truth. Several key conclusions can be drawn:

Evette
loves George. She did before the poisoning. She did before she found out after
the poisoning about George’s affair with the defendant. She stuck with him then
and she is still with him now. It is very hard to believe that she is the
source of the poison that almost killed him. As the ADA said, it’s the elephant
in the room and the question on the minds of every person in the courtroom. How
could she stay with this guy? The answer was a beauty:

“Our
relationship is a work in progress.”

What
has become very clear is the sequence of events that transpired on the fateful
day, January 27, 2013, when Dr. Blumenschein was taken to the MD Anderson ER
with slurred speech and an inability to walk that eventually proved to be due
to ethylene glycol poisoining.

To
review briefly:

He
had been on a trip to San Diego on Friday January 25, 2013 and returned late in
the afternoon on Saturday. He had picked up dinner for Evette and himself at
Nico Nicos and they ate exactly the same food about 7 PM in their home and then
retired early.

They
arose about 7 AM on Sunday. She went to a 24 Hour Fitness Center to exercise leaving
the house at about 7:45 AM. He left at the same time, putatively to go to work,
but in fact going to the home of the defendant where the dalliance, shower,
vodka shots and coffee chaser ensued. It is yet unclear whether both Dr.
Blumenschein and the defendant shared the coffee and I suspect it will remain
unclear.

They
then go to MD Anderson to work where George and Evette make contact at about 1
PM and he is starting to feel ill and have some slurred speech. This gets worse
throughout the day but he insists on going to a scheduled dinner that evening
with a few other MD Anderson faculty to discuss a potential move to a different
academic center. During this time, George is less and less coordinated and his
speech is slurring more. Despite Evette’s urging on the phone that he go to an
ER, he instead goes with the defendant who was also at the dinner to her place from which he drives,
despite his poor condition, to Anderson with the defendant following. Evette
runs to the defendant’s home to find them gone, calls the defendant and then
follows on to Anderson.

Upon
entering the building, Evette sees George barely able to stand and Ana follows
close behind having parked her car. It takes about 20 minutes to get George to
the ER, but Evette records his slurred words while he is slumped on a bench with
her iPhone. The jury watches the recording. Ana sits beside Slumping Foggy George on a bench.

George
is under dialysis for his failing kidneys within 12 hours and the diagnosis of
ethylene glycol poisoning is made rather quickly when the diagnostic crystals
are found in his urine.

Evette
testifies that George immediately suspected Ana, but was unwilling to point an
accusatory finger, but rather elected to allow the investigation to go where it
would. It is only several weeks into the hospitalization that George finally tells
Evette about the sexual nature of his relationship with the woman Evette
thought was only his research partner, the defendant.

George
says to Evette: “Don’t poke the dragon. I think she poisoned me.” George orders
Evette to stay silent on the matter for he was in no shape to defend himself or
her and they both feared for their lives. It was after this that George
revealed the true nature of his relationship with Ana. Evette felt betrayed and
disgusted and even confronted the defendant face-to-face. It was at this point
that Evette and George began to record phone calls with Ana some of which were
introduced into evidence and allowed the matching of the defendant’s voice with
that of the voice reporting conflicts of interest between George and Evette on
the GSK hot line.

On
cross-examination the defense could not shake her story. For more than two
hours they tried. They could not. They were able to demonstrate that neither
the Southside Place nor UT Police did wonderful investigatory work, but the
prosecution’s time line remains solid.

We
know what happened to George and we pretty much know when. We probably know
how. Why can be speculated upon, but who is the issue here and all signs are
indeed pointing to the defendant. But…

The
defense has not started its presentation yet and it is highly unlikely that the
defendant will be heard from. The judge will have to instruct the jury not to
consider the defendant’s lack of testimony as prejudicial as an indication of her guilt or
innocence. By pleading not guilty, her position is a stake in the ground and
need not be substantiated with evidence. That burden is on the prosecution.

I
think that gets you up to date for now. Full session tomorrow but off on
Thursday.  My guess is that we will be
finished next week, but who knows? And then deliberations start as does the
inevitable waiting.

It
appears that the victim was a philandering, self-centered man who actually had
someone who really loved him, but that was not enough. The girlfriend seems
naïve to a fault, but credible nonetheless. For a smart girl, she sure ignored
some bright red flags as the defense pointed out. Yet throughout her ordeal on
the witness stand she stayed solid and unshakeable.

Then
there is the defendant from whom we will not likely hear. Why? Either the
prosecution has made its case beyond a reasonable doubt or it hasn’t. There’s
no DNA evidence. There are no fingerprints. There are no forensics really.
There are video and audio recordings and circumstantial evidence of an
intricate plot that caught up a typical male and a stand-by-your-man female in
a web of someone far more diabolic than they could have imagined. Maybe…

But
for sure, the only heroes in this saga are being sold on the street in front of
the court house. There are none on the 16th floor, just humanity in
full frontal view.

Leonard Zwelling