Sunday, November 12, 2006
Convicted Paedophile Testifies to Attempted Adoption of Emily by her mother
1 STATE OF FLORIDA
2 CIRCUIT COURT - 7th JUDICIAL DISTRICT
3 VOLUSIA COUNTY
5 KARL ERNEST HINDLE,
7 VIDEO DEPOSITION OF:
-VS- LESLIE D. MERRIAM
8 CASE NO. 2003-12692-FMDL
9 SHEILA KAY FUITH,
12 Videotaped deposition examination
13 of LESLIE D. MERRIAM, taken at the instance of the
14 Plaintiff, under and pursuant to the applicable
15 Florida Statutes and the acts amendatory thereof
16 and supplementary thereto, pursuant to Notice upon
17 the parties, before Christine J. Willette,
18 Registered Professional Reporter, a Notary Public
19 in and for the State of Wisconsin, at the offices
20 of Davczyk & Varline, LLC, 2100 Stewart Avenue,
21 Suite 230, Wausau, Wisconsin, on the 11th day of
22 October 2006, commencing at 3:50 p.m. and ending
23 at 4:31 p.m.
2 A P P E A R A N C E S
4 APPEARING ON BEHALF OF THE PLAINTIFF:
KATHLEEN E. GRANT, Esq.
5 Davczyk & Varline, LLC
2100 Stewart Avenue
6 Suite 230
P.O. Box 1192
7 Wausau, WI 54402-1192
9 (By Telephone)
DAVID L. FERGUSON, Esq.
10 Woodard, Simpson & Ferguson
P.O. Box 2818
11 Ormond Beach, FL 32175
APPEARING ON BEHALF OF THE DEFENDANT:
13 (By Telephone)
KIM BANISTER, Esq.
14 128A Orange Avenue
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
16 ALSO APPEARING BY TELEPHONE:
Karl Ernest Hindle
18 The original transcript of the deposition of
19 LESLIE D. MERRIAM was filed with Attorney Grant.
1 I N D E X P A G E
E X A M I N A T I O N
LESLIE D. MERRIAM
EXAMINATION BY MS. GRANT ............... 5
FURTHER EXAMINATION BY MS. GRANT ....... 33
EXAMINATION BY MR. FERGUSON ............ 35
E X H I B I T S
12 (There were no exhibits marked during the
O B J E C T I O N S
18 P R O D U C T I O N R E Q U E S T S
19 PAGE LINE
20 BY MR. FERGUSON ..................... 6 3
21 Social Security Number of the witness
1 P R O C E E D I N G S
3 LESLIE D. MERRIAM, after having
4 been first duly sworn, was examined and testified
5 as follows:
7 THE WITNESS: Yes, I do.
9 MS. GRANT: Mr. Ferguson, would you
10 care to read the caption for us?
11 MR. FERGUSON: Yes. My name is
12 David Ferguson representing Karl Hindle. This is
13 the case Karl Earnest Hindle, petitioner, versus
14 Sheila Kay Fuith, Respondent, pending in the
15 Circuit Court, 7th Judicial Circuit in and for
16 Volusia County, Florida. Case number
17 2003-12692-FDML (sic), Division IV.
18 MS. GRANT: Thank you.
19 The other appearances today would
20 be Kathleen E. Grant, a member of the bar of
21 Wisconsin, conducting the deposition here in
22 Wausau, Marathon County, Wisconsin. And Kim
23 Banister, an attorney who is appearing, also by
24 telephone, from Datyona Beach Florida. Kim?
25 MS. BANISTER: Yes, that is
2 MS. GRANT: Ms. Fuith is not
3 appearing personally. And Mr. Hindle is not
4 appearing, but is listening and will not speak.
5 We're here today to take the
6 deposition of Leslie Merriam.
9 EXAMINATION BY MS. GRANT:
10 Q. Mr. Merriam?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You're appearing here voluntarily, at our
13 request; is that correct?
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. Can you, for the record, and for the
16 court reporter, state your full name, including
17 your middle name, and spell your last name for us,
19 A. Leslie Dale Merriam, M-e-r-r-i-a-m.
20 Q. Can you tell me your date and place of
21 birth, sir?
22 A. 11-18-52, Wausau.
23 Q. And your Social Security number?
24 A. That, I don't know offhand.
25 Q. Okay.
1 MS. GRANT: David, does the court
2 in Florida need that?
3 MR. FERGUSON: It would be helpful
4 if it could be provided at a later date to us.
5 THE WITNESS: Yes.
6 BY MS. GRANT:
7 Q. Okay. We'll take care of that.
8 Can you tell me your present
9 address, sir?
10 A. E, as in Easton, 12935 County Highway Z,
11 as in Zebra, Wausau, 54403.
12 Q. How long have you lived there, sir?
13 A. Thirty-three years.
14 Q. Are you married?
15 A. Yes, I am.
16 Q. To whom?
17 A. Arlene.
18 Q. How long have you been married to Arlene?
19 A. It will be 33 years in October.
20 Q. Do you have children?
21 A. Three boys.
22 Q. And their names?
23 A. Danny Ray, Dale Lyle, and David Patrick.
24 Q. Are they all grown?
25 A. Yes, they are. They're all married.
1 Q. Do any of them live at home with you?
2 A. No, they don't.
3 Q. Your son, Dale, he's married?
4 A. Yes, he is.
5 Q. To whom?
6 A. Shannon.
7 Q. Do you know Shannon's maiden name?
8 A. Bodeen (ph).
9 Q. Can you spell that for me?
10 A. No, I can't.
11 Q. Okay. Phonetically, B-o-d-e-e-n, Bodeen?
12 A. If that's the way it is, I guess.
13 Q. Okay. How long have Shannon and Dale
14 been married, roughly?
15 A. Four years, I think.
16 Q. Before we went on the record and on
17 video, we briefly discussed the mechanics of a
18 deposition together, you and I, didn't we?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And do you understand that the court
21 reporter is taking down everything we say in the
22 question and answer format; correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And that we're going to try to wait until
25 one another is finished speaking before the other
1 of us says anything. True?
2 A. True.
3 Q. And we've agreed that if you don't
4 understand one of my questions, you'll tell me so
5 and I'll try to rephrase it so that I'm sure that
6 if you're answering, it means you've understood
8 A. True.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 Where are you employed currently,
11 Mr. Merriam?
12 A. Yes, I am.
13 Q. And where?
14 A. Graphic Packaging.
15 Q. How long have you been with Graphic
17 A. A little over six years.
18 Q. Did you attend schools here in Wausau,
20 A. Yes, I did.
21 Q. Do you have any education after high
23 A. Well, a couple years at the tech for farm
25 Q. Okay. What's your job title and what do
1 you do, basically, at Graphic Packaging?
2 A. Well, right now, working roll tray.
3 Q. Okay. We're here today to gather
4 information for a Florida case between Karl Hindle
5 and Sheila Fuith. That's your understanding;
7 A. Correct.
8 Q. And do you know Sheila?
9 A. Very, very little.
10 Q. Can you tell me how you know her?
11 A. Through my daughter-in-law's mother.
12 Q. Through your daughter --
13 A. Shannon's mother.
14 Q. Okay. And who is Shannon's mother?
15 A. Kathy Bodeen.
16 Q. So Shannon Bodeen Merriam's mother is
17 Kathy Bodeen?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. And you know Sheila through Kathy?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. And what is the relationship between
22 Kathy and Sheila?
23 A. Sisters.
24 Q. All right. When did you come to know
1 A. About four years ago, I met her once or
3 Q. Would you recognize her if we pointed
4 her -- if you saw her on the street?
5 A. No, I would not.
6 Q. And what was the occasion of your meeting
8 (Phone beeps).
9 MS. GRANT: Did we lose someone?
10 MS. BANISTER: No, no. We're fine.
11 I'm sorry. I hit a button accidentally.
12 MS. GRANT: Okay.
13 THE WITNESS: Repeat the question,
15 MS. GRANT: Where was I? I
16 think the question --
17 (Requested portion of the testimony
18 read back).
19 BY MS. GRANT:
20 Q. Sheila.
21 A. Mainly, because of her -- of her infant
23 Q. Whose infant daughter?
24 A. Sheila's infant daughter, and by Kathy's.
25 Q. Okay. And who was Sheila's infant
2 A. I don't remember her name right now.
3 Q. Emily?
4 A. Emily.
5 Q. Okay. And does that refresh your
7 A. Yes, it does.
8 Q. When we first talked, you did remember
9 her name, didn't you?
10 A. Yes, I did.
11 Q. So you came to meet Sheila because of
12 Emily; is that your --
13 A. Well, mainly because my kids were
14 watching -- Dale and Shannon were watching Emily.
15 Q. And when you say they were watching
16 Emily, when were they watching Emily? Like
17 baby-sitting for Emily?
18 A. Well, I don't know if they were -- they
19 were kind of baby-sitting and they were -- I don't
20 know, really, the whole story, what -- but -- what
21 was going on.
22 Q. Okay.
23 A. I know that they did try to adopt her,
24 and that's all I do know.
25 Q. Okay. So this would be Shannon, who's
1 married to Dale; correct?
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. So Shannon and Dale, it's your
4 understanding, were anticipating or trying to
5 adopt Emily; is that correct?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. And do you know whose idea this was?
8 A. I thought Sheila's.
9 Q. Do you have any idea why Sheila would
10 want Dale and Shannon to adopt Emily?
11 A. Mainly because she couldn't take care of
13 Q. Who couldn't? Sheila?
14 A. Sheila couldn't.
15 Q. How come?
16 A. I don't really know the whole story
17 behind that.
18 Q. Uh-huh.
19 A. That's -- all I got was bits and pieces
20 of it.
21 Q. Can you remember any of it for me?
22 A. Well, like I said, it was just a little
23 bit that they told me, and I wasn't going to get
24 involved in it.
25 Q. All right. Was Sheila and -- a single
1 mother, to your knowledge, at that time?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Where was Sheila living at that time?
4 A. I think with Kathy, her sister.
5 Q. All right. And she had Emily with her?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Do you recall where Sheila and Emily had
8 been prior to them coming to live with Kathy?
9 A. The last I knew, she was in England.
10 Q. Okay. And did you know of her when she
11 was in England?
12 A. No, I did not.
13 Q. So you didn't know anything about Sheila
14 or Emily until they came back here to Wisconsin?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. Okay. When you saw Emily, did you see
17 her at Kathy's house, or at Dale's house, or at
18 your house, or --
19 A. Well, more at Dale's house.
20 Q. Okay. And what was the occasion of your
21 seeing Emily at Dale's house?
22 A. Just visiting Dale and Shannon.
23 Q. All right. So Emily was there at that
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Was Emily living there, to your
3 A. I think so.
4 Q. All right. Where does Dale work?
5 A. GPI.
6 Q. And did he work there at the time that he
7 and Shannon had Emily with them?
8 A. Yes, he did.
9 Q. Where does Shannon work?
10 A. She works for a lawyer up at U.S. Bank.
11 I don't know the name of the lawyers.
12 Q. Perhaps Piehler & Strande?
13 A. It's possible.
14 Q. Okay. Has she worked -- do you -- was
15 she working there at the time that Emily was with
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Do you happen to know what arrangements
19 were made for Emily's care during the day, for
20 example, when Dale and Sheila were working?
21 A. Dale and Shannon?
22 Q. Excuse me. Dale and Shannon.
23 A. I think Sheila or Kathy watched her.
24 Q. All right. And where would that have
25 been, if you know?
1 A. By Kathy's.
2 Q. All right. So Shannon or Dale would have
3 dropped Emily off at Shannon's mom's house on
4 their way to work, perhaps?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Okay. Did you ever take care of Emily?
7 A. No, I have not.
8 Q. So your contacts with Emily would have
9 been while you were visiting your son and
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. All right. Prior to meeting Sheila, when
13 she returned from England, do you know anything
14 about her or her history with her family?
15 A. No, I don't.
16 Q. Have you heard anything from either Kathy
17 Bodeen or Dale and Shannon about her?
18 A. Yes, I heard it.
19 Q. Can you --
20 A. Would I repeat it? No.
21 Q. Why not?
22 A. Because I won't.
23 Q. Okay.
24 A. Personal reasons.
25 Q. Personal reasons. Would this have been
1 information that would have been part of, say,
2 family discussions about Sheila?
3 A. I think so.
4 Q. And would it have to do with, perhaps,
5 the reasons why Sheila might be wanting to place
6 Emily for adoption?
7 A. That, I couldn't say.
8 Q. All right. Who would have more
9 information about Sheila?
10 A. I think -- I think her family would.
11 Q. All right. Other than Kathy Bodeen, do
12 you know of any other members of her family?
13 A. Just Shannon's grandpa and grandma; I've
14 met them a few times, which would be Kathy's
16 Q. And Sheila's mother --
17 A. Right.
18 Q. -- and dad?
19 And you've met them a few times,
20 you said?
21 A. Yes, I have.
22 Q. And would that be at Dale and Shannon's
24 A. Or at Kathy's.
25 Q. Okay. Are your contacts with this family
1 purely family contacts?
2 A. Yeah, I would say; but very seldom.
3 Q. Okay. Holidays and such?
4 A. Yeah.
5 Q. Okay. Obviously, you see your own son
6 and daughter-in-law more often. Would that be
8 A. Oh, yes.
9 Q. Okay. When Emily was with Shannon and
10 Dale, how often did you see her?
11 A. Two, maybe three times.
12 Q. Uh-huh. And how was she as a child? How
13 did she seem to you?
14 A. Like a child. Like a baby.
15 Q. All right. Did -- was she talking and
16 walking at that time?
17 A. No.
18 Q. All right. Was she -- did she seem happy
19 and outgoing, or quiet and withdrawn? How did she
21 A. I thought she was happy.
22 Q. Okay. Did she seem talkative, in a baby
23 kind of way?
24 A. Well, yeah, I imagine. I imagine it was.
25 Q. Okay. And did you interact with her the
1 way you would interact with another grandchild?
2 For example, if Dale and Shannon have children,
3 did you interact with Emily as you would with
5 A. No, I didn't.
6 Q. How come?
7 A. Because I just didn't.
8 Q. All right. You say that it was your
9 understanding that Shannon and Dale were going to
10 adopt Emily; is that correct?
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. And who told you that or how -- how did
13 you come to understand that?
14 A. I think Dale and Shannon kind of
15 mentioned it.
16 Q. Did they talk to you about it?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Did they ask your advice, whether you
19 thought it would be a good idea or not?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Do you know if they consulted with any
22 attorneys or -- with respect to initiating
23 adoption action?
24 A. Not to my knowledge.
25 Q. All right. Do you know whether or not
1 they, for example, paid the necessary deposit to
2 have a home study done of their home or a study of
3 Emily -- of Emily's background, anything like
5 A. No, I don't know.
6 Q. So you don't know how formally they were
7 pursuing this adoption?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. Do you know whether it was going to be a
10 legal and formal adoption, or a more informal,
11 within-the-family placement?
12 A. I thought it would have been formal.
13 Q. Okay. And did they discuss any of those
14 formalities with you?
15 A. Nope.
16 Q. So this was just your --
17 A. Just -- just what I had kind of heard.
18 Q. Okay. So it was your understanding that
19 they were going to pursue a formal adoption
20 through the courts here in Wisconsin?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you have any idea why that did not
24 A. No, I don't.
25 Q. Okay. At some point, however, the
1 adoption plans fell through or ceased? Or what
2 happened there?
3 A. Well, I think they just kind of ceased,
4 because of all the harassment we were getting from
5 Karl at the time.
6 Q. Okay. So it was your understanding that
7 Karl objected to any sort of adoption of Emily?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. Okay. Do you know, after Emily -- well,
10 strike that.
11 At some point, I take it that Emily
12 no longer was living with Dale and Shannon.
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. Do you know where Emily went after she
15 was living with Dale and Shannon?
16 A. All I heard, at one point, that Kath --
17 that -- excuse me, that Sheila was in Florida.
18 And that was the last I heard about it.
19 Q. And it was your understanding that Emily
20 was with Sheila?
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. Okay. Do you know anything about
23 Sheila's previous history before she went to
24 England or before she knew Karl?
25 A. No, I don't.
1 Q. Have you heard any family stories about
3 A. Yes, I have.
4 Q. Will you repeat those for me, please?
5 A. No, I won't.
6 Q. Kind of give us the gist of it.
7 A. The only thing that I kind of heard is
8 that she left her husband and kids. That's all I
10 Q. Okay. And by that, you're meaning,
11 obviously, someone other than Karl?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. And kids other than Emily?
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. All right. So it was your understanding
16 that before Karl, she had a husband and other
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. Do you know if that was in the United
20 States, or in England?
21 A. United States.
22 Q. And I'm assuming that you know that
23 because Kathy Bodeen knew that?
24 A. Well, Dale or Shannon had said something.
25 Q. Okay. All right. So if I wanted to know
1 more about that, I should be speaking to whom, do
2 you think?
3 A. Her fam -- her family.
4 Q. Okay. All right. When you met Sheila on
5 the one or two occasions that you had occasion to
6 meet her, how did she seem to you?
7 A. The little bit I talked to her, I really
8 can't give you an opinion on her.
9 Q. All right. Did it seem odd to you that a
10 mother would be suggesting placing her child out
11 for adoption?
12 A. To a point, yes.
13 Q. Did you draw any conclusions about that?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Did you form any opinions or have any
16 ideas about that?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Did you ask your son or daughter-in-law
19 if they had any ideas about why she would be
20 placing Emily with them?
21 A. Not really.
22 Q. Did they think it would be good for them
23 and for Emily?
24 A. We all kind of thought it would be good
25 for them and Emily.
1 Q. How come?
2 A. Because that way, she'd have a stable
3 home and that.
4 Q. Emily would?
5 A. Emily would.
6 Q. Opposed to the sort of home that she had
7 or the sort of upbringing she'd had so far with
9 A. Well, if you're on the move all the time,
10 it's kind of hard to -- to get to know anybody.
11 Q. Okay. At that time, Dale and Shannon had
12 been married for some time, had they?
13 A. I think about a year.
14 Q. Okay. And have they adopted children
16 A. No, they haven't.
17 Q. And have they had a child --
18 A. They had lost -- they had lost a son.
19 Q. And when was that?
20 A. The baby had died on November 18.
21 Q. Of?
22 A. Last year.
23 Q. 2005?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. So almost a year ago?
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. Okay. That was obviously after they had
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. Do you have any understanding about
6 Sheila's contact with, for example, her former
7 family, the husband and children here in the
8 United States?
9 A. No, I don't.
10 Q. Do you have any information about
11 Sheila's contact or continuing relationship with
12 Mr. Hindle, with Karl?
13 A. No, I don't.
14 Q. Do you have any information about the
15 whereabouts of Emily between the time that she was
16 here in Wisconsin with Dale and Shannon, and when
17 she was in Florida?
18 A. No, I don't.
19 Q. Do you have any information about
20 Sheila's education or occupational status?
21 A. No, I don't.
22 Q. Do you know if she was working when she
23 lived here in Wisconsin?
24 A. No, I don't.
25 Q. Do you know how she supported herself and
2 A. No, I don't.
3 Q. But it's your understanding she was
4 living with her sister, Kathy?
5 A. For a short time.
6 Q. All right. Currently -- you and I talked
7 before the deposition, and it's your understanding
8 that Dale and Shannon have just recently moved; is
9 that correct?
10 A. That's correct.
11 Q. And you don't know the exact address, do
13 A. No, I don't.
14 Q. But we've agreed that we're going to call
15 Dale or Shannon and learn the address, haven't we?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. And can you tell us, for the record,
18 where they're living now? Not the address, but
20 A. On the southeast corner of Our Savior's
21 church across the road.
22 Q. Uh-huh.
23 A. And that's over by Eagle's Landing.
24 Q. Okay.
25 MS. GRANT: And for the record, and
1 for Mr. Ferguson and Ms. Banister, we will obtain
2 that address for you and I -- I will supply it.
3 MS. BANISTER: Thank you.
4 BY MS. GRANT:
5 Q. Is it your understanding that Kathy
6 Bodeen was, for lack of a better word, the
7 go-between in the adoption of Emily between, say,
8 Sheila and Dale and Shannon?
9 A. That, I don't know.
10 Q. All right. But it's your understanding
11 that an adoption would have progressed and taken
12 place, but for Karl's interference? Is that
13 basically your understanding?
14 A. True.
15 Q. Okay. Are you aware of whether there
16 were any financial arrangements with respect to
17 Dale and Shannon caring for Emily?
18 A. No, I -- I do not know.
19 Q. Is it possible that Sheila was, for
20 example, paying Dale and Shannon to, I don't know,
21 baby-sit or care for Emily while she was here?
22 A. I don't know.
23 Q. But your understanding, and it's your
24 clear understanding, that Emily was living with
25 Dale and Shannon because Dale and Shannon were
1 anticipating adopting her?
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. And it was your understanding that this
4 would be a long-term adoption placement?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. Not merely a short-term baby-sitting or
7 care-giving placement?
8 A. No.
9 Q. How did it affect Dale and Shannon when
10 the adoption fell through?
11 A. I think emotionally.
12 Q. Was it hard for them?
13 A. Yes, because they had bought a lot of
14 stuff; car seats and everything else, just to take
15 care of her.
16 Q. All right. And those were purchases that
17 they made?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. Did you and your wife make any purchases
20 for Emily?
21 A. No, we didn't.
22 Q. Okay. If Dale and Shannon had adopted
23 Emily, obviously, you would have?
24 A. Yes, we would have.
25 Q. Did Emily ever visit with you and your
1 wife in your home?
2 A. Not that I remember.
3 Q. All right. And I think I've asked you
4 this. Did you ever care for Emily, either at Dale
5 and Shannon's, or Kathy's, or in your home, or
6 anyplace else?
7 A. No, I did not.
8 Q. Okay. Obviously, our meeting here today
9 is for all of the attorneys, myself included, to
10 understand as much as we can about the situation
11 with Emily during the time that she was here in
12 Wisconsin. Is there any other information that
13 perhaps I haven't covered or asked you, that you
14 can share with us about Emily and Sheila's
15 situation when they were here, when you knew of
17 A. No.
18 Q. Okay. Are you aware whether Kathy and
19 Sheila's parents, Shannon's grandparents, whether
20 they were aware of the adoption?
21 A. That, I can't say. I have no idea.
22 Q. Okay. But Kathy obviously was?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Dale and Shannon were?
25 A. Correct.
1 Q. Were there any other members of your
2 extended family that interacted with Emily while
3 she was living with Dale and Shannon?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Okay. How about the other -- how about
6 your other sons and their wives?
7 A. Not that I recall.
8 Q. Okay. They may have, you just weren't
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. All right. Can you tell me, your other
12 son's -- tell me their names again. Danny?
13 A. And David.
14 Q. And David. Do they both live in the
15 Wausau area?
16 A. Yes, they do.
17 Q. Do you know their addresses?
18 A. No, I don't.
19 Q. But you can get for me if I need them?
20 A. Probably.
21 Q. Okay. Were they both married at the time
22 that Emily was living with Dale and Shannon?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Was either of them married at that time?
25 A. I think David was.
1 Q. Okay. And his wife's name?
2 A. Cindy.
3 Q. Okay. And you think Danny wasn't?
4 A. Danny, I know, wasn't.
5 Q. Okay. And his wife's name now?
6 A. He's divorced.
7 Q. Okay. All right. Before Sheila and
8 Emily arrived in Wisconsin from England, as far as
9 you know, did you know anything about them through
10 Kathy Bodeen?
11 A. No.
12 Q. And do you know anything about Sheila's
13 other sisters or brothers?
14 A. No, I don't.
15 Q. Okay. Is there anyone else that you know
16 of, or that you could suggest, other than the
17 people we've already discussed, who would have any
18 information with respect to Sheila and Emily
19 during the period of time that Sheila and Emily
20 were living here in our area?
21 A. No, I don't.
22 MS. GRANT: Okay. Mr. Ferguson and
23 Ms. Banister, have -- I'll -- I'll pass the
24 witness at this time.
25 (Busy signal on phone).
1 MS. GRANT: Oh-oh.
2 MR. FERGUSON: We just went -- we
3 just went blank.
4 MS. GRANT: David?
5 MR. FERGUSON: Hello?
6 MS. GRANT: Hello.
7 MR. FERGUSON: I think we may have
8 lost Kim.
9 MS. GRANT: Can you still hear us?
10 MR. FERGUSON: I can hear you. Can
11 you hear me?
12 MS. GRANT: Yes, we can hear you,
13 and we are staying on the record, so that you
14 know. I am now describing for the record the fact
15 that the court reporter and I looked at each other
16 with a strange look on our face, because we are
17 now hearing some sort of a busy signal tone.
19 MR. FERGUSON: Me, too, which leads
20 me to believe we may have just lost Kim Banister.
21 MS. GRANT: Okay. Shall we go off
22 the record until we reconnect?
23 MR. FERGUSON: Go off the record
24 and try to get them -- get her back.
25 MS. GRANT: All right. Please note
1 the time, and we'll go off the record.
2 (Discussion held off the record
3 from 4:20 p.m. to 4:23 p.m.)
4 MR. FERGUSON: Hello?
5 MS. GRANT: Hello.
6 MR. FERGUSON: Is this Kathleen?
7 MS. GRANT: Yes, it is.
8 MR. FERGUSON: Let's see if we can
9 get Kim.
10 (Dial tone on telephone).
11 MS. GRANT: Note for the record
12 that we were disconnected.
13 (4:24 p.m.)
14 (Discussion held off the record).
15 (4:26 p.m.)
16 MR. FERGUSON: All right?
17 MS. GRANT: Okay. We're back on
18 the record.
19 While we were off the record, Mr.
20 Merriam did, indeed, find his Social Security
21 card, and he's going to read his Social Security
22 number into the record for us.
23 MR. FERGUSON: Okay.
24 THE WITNESS: It's 396-62-0386.
25 MS. GRANT: Thank you.
1 Also, while we were off the record,
2 I inquired of Mr. Merriam his concerns about
3 repeating any of the gists of conversations he
4 might have heard with respect to Sheila or her
5 background or, oh, I don't know, any mental or
6 emotional issues surrounding Sheila; and he said
7 his concern had to do with hearsay. But, he has
8 agreed to tell us the gist of conversations he
12 FURTHER EXAMINATION BY MS.
14 Q. So, Mr. Merriam, earlier, I had asked you
15 whether you had heard anything, for example, about
16 Sheila's background, and you indicated you didn't
17 want to repeat those conversations. Do you recall
18 my questions?
19 A. Yes, I did.
20 Q. Would you please repeat for us the sorts
21 of things or what you heard about Sheila or her
23 A. Like I said, it's just hearsay. And it's
24 just that she left her husband and kids.
25 Q. Okay. And do you remember whom you heard
1 those sorts of comments from?
2 A. No, I don't.
3 Q. It would have been, obviously, her sister
4 or your family?
5 A. My son or his wife, yes.
6 Q. Okay. And was it that sort of activity
7 on Sheila's part that led them to believe it would
8 be better for Emily to be with Dale and Shannon?
9 A. I think so.
10 Q. Okay. Did you ever hear any other
11 discussions by Kathy or any other people that you
12 know with respect to, for example, any mental or
13 emotional issues concerning Sheila?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Okay. Do you know whether Sheila ever
16 discussed her plans for Emily or for her life with
17 Emily, other than adoption by Dale and Shannon?
18 A. Not that I know of.
19 Q. Okay.
20 MS. GRANT: Well, I think we were
21 at this point when we got cut off, but as I was
22 saying, I -- I will pass the witness, if either
23 Mr. Ferguson or Mr. -- or Ms. Banister, excuse me,
24 has any questions at this time.
25 MS. BANISTER: I don't have any
1 questions at this time.
2 MR. FERGUSON: Yeah, I've just got
3 a couple of things, really more in clarification
4 than anything else.
7 EXAMINATION BY MR. FERGUSON:
8 Q. Did -- and this is David Ferguson, once
10 Mr. Merriam, did you have any
11 direct conversations with Sheila Fuith with regard
12 to the plans for adoption?
13 A. No, I did not.
14 Q. You did not speak directly to her?
15 A. No, I did not.
16 Q. Okay. And were you aware of any physical
17 conditions that plagued Emily?
18 A. No, I do not.
19 Q. Were you aware of any eye conditions that
20 she suffered from?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Okay. And are you absolutely certain
23 that you never baby-sat?
24 A. I'm a hundred percent sure.
25 Q. Okay. Do you remember ever speaking to
1 myself or any investigators on the phone, and
2 talking about the fact that you had baby-sat once
3 or twice?
4 A. No.
5 Q. You don't remember that?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Okay. All right. Have you ever been
8 convicted of any crimes --
9 A. Yes, I have.
10 Q. -- which are felonies? What crimes are
12 A. Sex offender.
13 Q. Okay. What was the sex offense?
14 A. What? Repeat the question.
15 Q. What was the offense?
16 A. I think third.
17 Q. Pardon?
18 A. I think it was third --
19 Q. Okay. When did it -- when did it -- when
20 did the offense occur?
21 A. '90, '92, somewhere around there.
22 Q. And in what county and state?
23 A. Marathon County, State of Wisconsin.
24 Q. Were you convicted?
25 A. Yes, I was.
1 Q. Are you under any legal restriction from
2 having contact with children?
3 A. No, I am not.
4 Q. Okay. Do you know why Sheila Fuith left
5 the Wisconsin area?
6 A. No, I don't.
7 Q. On how many occasions did you see Ms.
9 A. Maybe once or twice.
10 Q. Okay. On how many occasions did you see
11 the child, Emily?
12 A. I don't know; two, three. I don't
14 Q. Okay. Did you --
15 MR. FERGUSON: I don't think I have
16 anything further.
17 MS. GRANT: Ms. Banister?
18 MS. BANISTER: No, I think I'm --
19 I'm fine.
20 MS. GRANT: Okay. I have no
21 further questions, either.
22 And with that, we will conclude the
23 deposition and go off the record.
24 MR. FERGUSON: Okay. And one --
25 one thing, for the record, here in Florida.
1 MS. GRANT: All right.
2 MR. FERGUSON: The witness does
3 have the right to read the deposition, if it is
4 typed up, for accuracy, or he can waive that
6 MS. GRANT: Do you understand that,
7 Mr. Merriam? In -- it's the same in Wisconsin.
8 People who give their deposition can receive the
9 transcript of it, the question and answer format,
10 read it, and if there are any corrections that you
11 wish to make, you may make them.
12 Would you like to read that
13 deposition transcript for correctness, or do you
14 waive that reading?
15 THE WITNESS: No. I'd like to have
17 MS. GRANT: Okay. I can facilitate
18 that, Mr. Ferguson.
19 MR. FERGUSON: Okay. Very good.
20 MS. GRANT: All right.
21 MR. FERGUSON: Thank you, Mr.
23 MS. BANISTER: Yes. Thanks.
24 MS. GRANT: And I thank you, too.
25 We'll be off the record now.
1 (Deposition concluded at 4:31 p.m.)
2 * * * * * *
1 CERTIFICATION PAGE
I, CHRISTINE J. WILLETTE,
4 Registered Professional Reporter, Notary Public in
and for the State of Wisconsin, do hereby certify:
That prior to being examined, the
6 witness named in the foregoing deposition, LESLIE
D. MERRIAM was by me duly sworn to testify the
7 truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
8 That said deposition was taken
before me at the time, date and place set forth;
9 and I hereby certify the foregoing is a full, true
and correct transcript of my shorthand notes so
10 taken and thereafter reduced to computerized
transcription under my direction and supervision.
I further certify that I am neither
12 counsel for nor related to any party to said
action, nor in any way interested in the outcome
13 thereof; and that I have no contract with the
parties, attorneys, or persons with an interest in
14 the action that affects or has a substantial
tendency to affect impartiality, that requires me
15 to relinquish control of an original deposition
transcript before it is certified and delivered to
16 the custodial attorney, or that requires me to
provide any service not made available to all
17 parties to the action.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto
19 subscribed my name this 4th day of November, 2006.
22 Christine J. Willette, RPR
Notary Public - State of Wisconsin
24 My Commission Expires August 23, 2009
1 STATE OF WISCONSIN )
2 ) ss.
3 MARATHON COUNTY )
6 Before signing said deposition transcript,
7 I have read over the same, and corrections,
8 if any, having been noted and attached
9 thereto, the same is now a true and
10 correct transcript of my testimony.
17 LESLIE D. MERRIAM, Deponent
21 Dated this ________day of ______________, 2006,
23 ____________________, Wisconsin.