ITHACA — As the prosecution continues to present its case in the trial of Jeremy Vann, jurors were shown a video Wednesday of Vann being interviewed by investigators about eight hours after an altercation with the complainant.
Vann, a Tompkins County Sheriff’s deputy, is facing 14 charges related to incidents that took place between December 2014 and March 2015. He is accused of preventing a woman from calling 911, tampering with evidence, damaging property and other offenses, all of which he has vehemently denied.
The woman who accused Vann of attacking her during a domestic dispute nearly two years ago finished testifying Wednesday morning after being on the stand for two and a half days.
In opening statements, Assistant District Attorney Dan Johnson described Vann and the woman’s relationship as “volatile.” Johnson said Vann used his knowledge of the system as a deputy to hide his criminal conduct.
The defense has not presented its case yet, but in opening statements, defense attorney Ray Schlather said there is more to the story. Though Vann might not be the most likable person, Schlather said, he was trying to help the woman who he said had mental health issues and tried to harm herself.
Vann was taken into custody by police exactly two years ago, on March 30, 2015, after an altercation at the victim’s house. According to the woman’s testimony earlier this week, she and Vann had spent the day together March 29. However, things took a bad turn later in the day after the woman said she texted another woman Vann was also seeing at the same time. As things escalated, Vann allegedly pinned her down to take her phone, smashed her coffee table and choked her. Again, Vann denies these allegations.
On Wednesday, the prosecution played an hour-and-a-half video for the jury that showed Vann being interviewed by two New York State Police investigators. The video begins around 9:30 a.m. March 30, after Vann had been there for several hours. Investigator Rick Haas tells Vann that the woman is in the hospital, and they have a statement from her and want to hear his side of the story.
However, Vann was unwilling to say much to investigators, initially.
Vann repeatedly told Haas and Investigator Aaron Lewis that the victim was a compulsive liar, suicidal and had a history of mental health issues.
“She is a compulsive liar…I told you that several times so far,” Vann said. “What happened last night was complete bulls—.”
Vann said he did not know why the woman was in the hospital. He did ask if the victim was filing charges against him and wanted to see her statement, at times unbelieving that she’s filed charges against him. Vann mentioned he did not want to talk because he was concerned about his job.
“Anything I say now, they’re just going to build the case against me,” Vann said.
When Haas asked Vann about claims that he destroyed the woman’s door and asked about other damage in the house, Vann said, “The house is a mess because she’s a pig.”
Vann got more upset as the interview went on, especially after investigators told him his phone was evidence. Vann told them to get a warrant for his phone if they wanted it.
He argued with investigators about whether they are able to confiscate his phone or whether they’d need a warrant. He says that because his phone is not relevant to the incident being reported, police could not seize it.
One investigator tells him, “How long have you been a cop? Come on. It’s all evidence.”
While discussing his phone, Vann eventually appears to start crying and brings his hand to his face.
“Why doesn’t police take anyone else’s phone,” he asks after insinuating that the woman’s phone and several other people’s phone also have evidence on them.
Around 10:45 a.m., he throws the phone on a nearby table and stands up to leave before the video being shown to the jury is stopped.
Another video involving a full statement with attorney Jerome Mayersak was played Thursday morning.