Sorrell Reacts to Evidence
Transcript of Exchange on VPR Call-in Program
On May 30, 2002, William Sorrell was the guest of the Switchboard call-in program on Vermont Public Radio. The first caller challenged Sorrell by summarizing the evidence recounted here in brief and extended forms. Here is a transcript of the call and Sorrell's response to it.
Listen to an audio clip of the exchange here .
VPR, 7:40 PM 5-30-2 Caller (Jim): Yea, yea, am I on the air? Mr. Sorrell has said that he based his conclusion on all of the statements. I've looked at all of the statements and of the 18 eyewitnesses not a single one corroborates his account of the shooting of Woody charging toward the police officers. In fact, every one of them says that Woody never threatened anybody. Every one of them was questioned on whether he charged the police and they all had him pointing the knife at himself at the time of the shooting. AG Sorrell: Ah, Jim's mistaken. I'm sorry, he's mistaken. As I said we talked with each of the surviving people who was in the church at the time, and there were several who supported the police statement that he, at the last minute, second, brought the knife down from his eye, was holding it forward, and charged, or ran, at the, at the police. A number of people in the church were not looking at Mr. Woodward at the time that he was shot. Some were had turned and were leaving, others were watching just the police. Now, Jim is correct that there were inconsistencies in the statements that we saw. There was no way that we could accommodate all of the statements that were made. One individual said that it took 7 minutes between the first shot to the last shot. Another one of the people in the church said it took over 3 minutes. Most of the rest said it was a matter of 2 or 3 seconds, which we believe is consistent with what happened. Um, one woman in her initial statement said that the police wrestled Mr. Woodward to the ground, and then shot him. After he was down on the floor. She later changed her statement to that effect. The gentleman who was in the church but who died between December second and early March, in his statement, he said that there were several shots, some after Mr. Woodward was on the floor. Steve Zind: So given all of those disparate statements, how do you determine what really happened? AG Sorrell: Well, you, you take the, how closely the people say they were watching, exactly where they were looking at time, how strong they are in the view of what they had, and how consis...how many people confirm, you know, this or that issue. For example, did Mr. Woodward move toward the police, charge the police? The weight of the statements was yes, he moved about 12 to 14 feet from where he was a the time he started the charge to where he fell. ah, but, there were one or 2 people who said that, uh, no, he was shot, dropped right where, ah, he was when he was first shot, the woman who was closest to where he fell, everyone else agreed on where he fell - the blood stains were there on the floor and such - it was actually right in front of her, about 4 or 5 feet in front of her, and she said there is no way that's where he fell - the police must have picked him up, dragged him and dropped him there because that's not where he fell. This was a very traumatic incident - it happened quickly and...the mind...can play tricks. Uh, and that happened here. I'm not saying anyone's lying.