APPENDIX A - ON THE BALCONY (with Jerry Ashcroft-Thew)

In an audio interview at 8:05 AM, Jerome Ashcroft unit 415 described hearing what he perceived as standard activity in the unit above him, before hearing running and a metal railing ringing. He said that during that normal activity he "was hearing the furniture UP there moving around, which is also normal if there's people OUT there moving about." He was pretty clear that the furniture moving around was before the running or the ringing. He was half asleep when he heard these sounds. By the time the tape recorder gets turned on, Ashcroft knows someone went over the balcony. He may have already changed and organized what he remembered, to fit what he later learned happened.

It was pretty clear the sounds like voices and ringing came around from the outside through his window, and the running sound came through the ceiling. Whether the moving furniture sound came around from the outside, or through the ceiling, was not clear. It may be Ashcroft imagined the furniture moving sound came from the balcony, only after he learned someone went over the balcony.

Ashcroft heard at least four sounds:

1. normal noises, including one angry voice (or more), and furniture moving around UP there, which is normal when people are OUT there

2. running to balcony (which he determined did not come the whole way from the front door based on it not being enough steps)

3. ringing railing

4. maybe more normal noise that he usually hears up there

At the time Ashcroft's interview was recorded, Ashcroft knew someone went over the balcony. And despite saying over and over at least four times it could have been just one voice talking into a phone, he said he assumed at the time "the rowdying stopped, the fighting's over" after the railing ring. So Ashcroft was already hypothesizing what may have happened, a fight, based on information he got later, police coming. Sprague used the word fighting. So Sprague may have suggested fighting before he started recording.

Ashcroft was probably already assembling sounds he heard when he was half asleep, into an organized story of what he imagined could have happened. Of course you would try to make sense of it. It would be normal to imagine the order was there was fighting, then running, then railing ringing. Even if he did not actually recall the order.

The Pulse shooting woke my dogs up. I thought it was fireworks and went back to sleep. Then I dreamed I heard sirens and voices, and someone ring my doorbell. So I woke up and looked outside, and there was nobody. I decided it must have been a dream, after I tested my doorbell and it sounded different from in the dream. Weeks later, I discovered my doorbell makes the same sound as in the dream if you press and hold it. What you hear when you are half asleep is not reliable.

I hear gunshots and large explosions near my house at night from time to time. I live in an area where people hunt hogs, and buy land just to have a place to shoot guns and blow things up. Once in a while there is an explosion that is unusually loud, or a bullet that whizzes through the trees nearby. When that happens, it becomes interesting enough to try to remember exactly what sounds I heard immediately before, or leading up to the interesting sound. I generally cannot remember the order or timing of sounds I heard only a few moments before, when I was not trying to remember them at the time. If the sounds only become interesting after I hear them, then I did not make a point to remember them. An hour later when I drive up the street and see trucks or something or see my neighbor, I always have already forgotten the exact timing of what I heard, before I can ask anyone about it.

The point is, until Ashcroft heard the sirens, none of the sounds were very interesting to him. He was just trying to forget the sounds and sleep. So it is very easy to forget the exact order of random noises that mean nothing to you. And it is very easy to invent or imagine an order, if you later get some information about what may have happened.

All the neighbors spent days outside looking at Mulrenin's table slightly tilted on his balcony. I went there and witnessed this. Police may even have mentioned it before they started recording Ashcroft's interview. So it is not certain at what point Ashcroft may have decided the furniture moving UP there, might be furniture moving OUT there on the balcony.

Ashcroft made it pretty clear he looked out his bedroom window. His floor layout is identical to Mulrenin. It is hard for us to say, how clearly you can tell what direction a person is running, when that person is above a different room from the room you are in, and most sounds come from outside. Remember, Ashcroft argued the running could not have come from the front door, not because he could hear exactly where it was, but because it was not enough steps. So it sounds like he was merely assuming the running ended at the balcony. And then he worked backwards (like he worked backwards from the arrival of sirens to determine the time), to determine the number of steps must have originated in the middle of the room.

People are better at determining what direction sounds are coming from, than other animals. But not when lying down with their feet toward the sounds, and especially not if one ear is perhaps in a pillow.

All evidence shows Mandi ran out of the apartment around the time Mulrenin went over the balcony. Is it possible this sound was actually Mandi running to the front door? If police started by saying there was a girl in the hall, would Ashcroft have said he heard steps running to the front door? Exactly how heavily could Mulrenin step, or how fast could he run, with a bullet hole in his thigh? The evidence shows Mulrenin was removing the bindings from his wound, and tearing off his bloody gloves impatiently, as he approached the balcony, not running. So any running could not have been Mulrenin running to the balcony.

The ringing could possibly have been Mulrenin hitting the railing at the ground level with his legs. Based on Mandi Jackson's recorded jail phone call, it sounds more like she would have run to the balcony after she saw Mulrenin jumped, when the people on the ground were also looking at Mulrenin on the ground. Maybe Mulrenin went to the balcony, Scott shouted at him at the same time as Songer and Smith shouted at him, then he jumped. Or the shouting Ashcroft heard, may have been Songer and Smith shouting "don't do it." Ashcroft said all the voice sounds come in from outside, not through his ceiling.

So maybe Mulrenin was pushing furniture on the balcony in his approach to the railing, then a railing rang, then everyone including Mandi ran to the balcony. That would mean the furniture being moved really was on the balcony. Since I still believe that hole in the bottom of the recliner matches the cheese knork and not the bullet, that would mean Love could have flipped over the recliner after Mandi left.

1. Mulrenin goes to the balcony and moves the table to go over the railing (it is not a violent move because Mandi's drink could not have moved much)

2. Songer and Smith and Scott see what Mulrenin is doing, and shout at him not to go over

3. Mulrenin jumps and the railing at ground level rings

4. Mandi runs to the balcony to look at Mulrenin on the ground at the same time as everyone else does, or runs to the front door

5. Mandi leaves and Scott stays and looks for the bullet and pulls up the rug from under the recliner

I reversed the order of ringing then running. If you want to say the furniture being moved was on the balcony, you have to either reverse the running and the ringing, or reverse the running and furniture moving, to squeeze the furniture moving in before the ringing.* But if you do that, then you have basically admitted Ashcroft's timeline is garbage. Or you can say the furniture was inside the apartment, perhaps Love turning over the recliner. In any case, the running was not Mulrenin. So the furniture moving OUT there, and the evidence suggesting Mulrenin could not have been running, suggest Ashcroft artificially connected the running and ringing he heard in his sleep, after he found out what happened.

It makes sense to Ashcroft who lives there that the railing would ring from Mulrenin going over it. But it makes sense to me it could be hitting the railing below at the edge of the field. Someone heard Songer say the name "Denise" from five floors up, so the acoustics are pretty good.

And Ashcroft does not place the furniture moving between the running and ringing, so it does not fit with Mulrenin running to the balcony and moving the furniture on the balcony. Ashcroft pretty closely connects the run and the ring, but this really almost has to be invented based on what he found out later.

Ashcroft said both running and ringing sounds were within the normal range of things he hears. So he might not remember their order in his sleep. Even after hearing those sounds, Ashcroft says he did not bother to remember the next sounds he heard accurately. That would be a big jump for him, from okay I am going to remember exactly what I just heard in my sleep, to now a moment later I am not bothering to remember anything I hear. He heard something which he correctly interpreted as someone going over, if he looked out the window. But a moment later he decided no it was just normal sounds, and forgot it.

Mandi later told me from prison every single witness lied at trial. That would include Ashcroft. Remember, Songer and Smith said Mulrenin's balcony was illuminated clearly by multiple types of Christmas lighting, probably also a balcony light, and also the light coming through the glass sliding door behind him. Mulrenin was clearly all alone when they told him not to jump. Ashcroft said furniture normally moves UP there, when people are OUT there. So either the moving furniture was not on the balcony. Or the moving was in there with the ringing, but Ashcroft falsely connected the running and ringing after someone went over and Sprague said there might have been a fight.

I am pretty sure the running was Mandi either running to the balcony (or Scott), or to the front door, after Mulrenin went over. The furniture moving could have been Mulrenin moving balcony furniture before he went over (though Mandi's chair and drink were still lined up and not spilled), or Scott flipping over the recliner before Mulrenin went over, or Scott flipping over the recliner to search for the bullet after Mandi left or ran out.

There is only one way Mulrenin can push furniture on the balcony, then there is running immediately followed by a railing ringing when he goes over. That is if Scott saw drunk blind Mulrenin going over the rail and ran out to stop him. But the witnesses on the ground said they could see Mulrenin clearly illuminated, and both told him not to jump. If six-foot Scott, with a few inches of wide-brimmed hat on top of that, and wide shoulders and a giant beard, came running out to the balcony to stop Mulrenin, they would definitely have seen Scott come out right when Mulrenin went over. They even lied later that they heard shouting and a gun shot right before Mulrenin went over, which it is easy to show is all lies. But it definitely would have got their attention. If Scott was really out there, people who are that wrong should not be allowed to testify, or Mandi should not get life without parole based on it when they do.

But fear not. All these inconsistencies are removed by the time of trial. And every witness will testify to fit a single prosecution narrative, that Mulrenin shouted "oh no", there was a gunshot, and Mulrenin was shot while fleeing over the balcony. Which it is easy to prove is impossible, but you are not allowed to do so at trial. You have to watch people lie, and watch the prosecutor lie, and watch them take your friend's life with lies, while her grandmother shudders with tears, and sit there and take it. And then be treated to a mob of self-important idiots, who are proud to have taken an innocent girl's life with lies and gossip.

While Ashcroft's audio recording and all the other contradictory statements can be used to hold Mandi without bond for years, they cannot actually be used at trial to prove her innocence. You can try to get Ashcroft to look at a transcript on the stand, and see what he said previously. But what will happen is either what happened at Scott's trial, where the prosecution objected to even showing it to him or asking him about it, or what happened at Mandi's trial, where Ashcroft steadfastly insisted he clearly remembered one thing, despite saying another thing in the recording and depositions right in front of him. After however many years, Ashcroft won't even remember what he heard, only the prosecution's narrative.

There is no legal way to introduce what Ashcroft said on tape the day it happened. If there is, like maybe saying the overall narrative is inconsistent, lawyers in Seminole County are too stupid to do it.

And while the defense is not allowed to bother Ashcroft, the prosecution will meet with him a few days before the trial, to coach him to fit their narrative. Just remember that, when you are handing out life sentences, for things and people you have no idea about.

Whether Mandi is found guilty or innocent is not based on what happened, but on whether you let prosecutors and witnesses get away with being dishonest. You do. Kill the slut. One day it will be your family member.

*It is not possible Mandi was sitting on the balcony when Scott knocked and Mulrenin shouted, and Mandi slid her chair to come in, and that is what Ashcroft heard. Because at that time, Ashcroft would have been asleep. The idea that someone was already on the balcony moving furniture when Mulrenin ran past also doesn't fit with anything else I know.