Woman charged with providing gun that killed teen yells in court
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The woman on trial for providing the gun used to kill 14-year-old Endia Martin broke down screaming in federal court on Wednesday during closing arguments by the prosecution.
“They f—ing lied on me,” Vandetta Redwood shouted while Andrianna Kastanek, a federal prosecutor, spoke to the jury.
“I didn’t kill no baby,” Redwood said, adding: “I have my own child.”
And later, to add to the bizarre scene in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve, Redwood’s attorney was accused of taking photos in the courtroom during the prosecutor’s closing argument.
Redwood had been shaking her head early in Kastanek’s argument as the prosecutor told jurors Redwood had given a loaded gun to her 14-year-old cousin just before the girl fatally shot Martin during an April 2014 street brawl that began on social media.
Then, during her outburst, Redwood also attacked one of the key pieces of evidence against her: a video of a fight that preceded the shooting.
“They made that video up,” Redwood said.
Kastanek had said Martin “is now dead because of the decisions the defendant made on that day.” She tried to walk jurors step-by-step through cellphone footage of the fight. Redwood’s outburst began when Kastanek asked jurors to consider what happened when Redwood walked off camera.
Redwood’s attorneys tried to calm her down, and St. Eve excused the jury.
The judge gave Redwood 10 minutes to calm down. Otherwise, she was told she would have to watch the closing arguments by video from another courtroom. But Redwood was later seen walking calmly back into court. And when St. Eve returned to the bench, she asked Redwood if she was “under control.”
“Yes ma’am,” Redwood said.
Closing arguments then continued — with extra security officers in the courtroom.
“This video,” Kastanek continued, “is not made up.”
The prosecutor ended her argument by showing jurors a photo of Martin dressed in purple, Martin’s favorite color.
After the jury left the courtroom for a lunch break, prosecutors accused Redwood’s defense team of taking photographs during the closing argument. Photography is prohibited at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, except for in the lobby, and sanctions were handed down late in 2015 against an attorney who admitted taking photos during a criminal trial he had been observing.
Redwood attorney Alison Motta acknowledged she had been taking pictures of Kastanek’s PowerPoint presentation, and St. Eve asked to see the attorney’s cellphone.
“What is going to come next from you?” St. Eve asked Motta.
The judge later noted that she saw “at least” three photographs of the computer screen on Motta’s phone.
Redwood, 35, has been charged with handing a .38-caliber revolver to her 14-year-old cousin in the midst of the chaotic street fight, along with a simple instruction: “Shoot that bitch.”
Redwood won a legal battle in Cook County Circuit Court over similar charges but now faces the federal prosecution.
When Motta finally had a chance to address the jury, she said it’s possible Redwood didn’t hand the gun to her cousin at all, and that the girl had hidden it in her waistband.