Editor’s Note: This story contains details of domestic abuse. If you or someone you know has been the victim of domestic or sexual abuse, contact The Advocacy Center here.
ITHACA, N.Y. — After more than three weeks, closing statements in the trial for Jeremy Vann have finally come to an end. The prosecution concluded their closing statements Tuesday morning, laying out 14 charges Vann faces and the evidence they say supports the accusations.
Assistant District Attorney Dan Johnson, the prosecuting attorney for the case, focused on one main point throughout his arguments; that Vann was “manipulating the truth to control the narrative” of the events occurring throughout the timeline of the case.
“Keep in mind the defendant committed these crimes as part of an effort to conceal what he was doing,” Johnson said. “It was a constant effort to discredit the one person who could bring this all to light.”
Vann is facing 14 charges after he allegedly attacked a woman in March 2015. The charges against him include robbery, tampering with evidence, and grand larceny, among others.
As the lights dimmed in the courtroom, Johnson showed a slideshow to the jury, mapping out the series of charges against Vann and the specific instances they were connected to. Johnson continued to argue that Vann had been “building a case” against the woman who the charges are related to, saying he had “collected evidence and tucked it away for when it was useful.”
Johnson hammered home the argument that Vann had been “building a case” against the woman who the charges are related to, saying he had “collected evidence and tucked it away for when it was useful.”
“It’s a current that runs from the summer of 2014 to April 2015… it’s a campaign to discredit (her) – to make her seem crazy,” Johnson said.
New Years Eve:
The earliest instance of this, Johnson said, occurred on New Year’s Eve. Vann had allegedly taken the woman out that night to celebrate the holiday by seeing a movie but ended up going to the Dryden Hotel where the woman mixed alcoholic beverages with Xanax.
Text messages later that night showed Vann had texted the woman’s parents, saying that she was out of control and had scratched his face.
Vann took pictures of the scratches on his face but never provided them to police. He gave them to his lawyer after he was charged in March.
Fake dent in his truck:
Testimony provided evidence that Vann and the woman got into an argument in the parking lot of Island Health and Fitness later that month on Jan. 29, 2015, where the woman allegedly began kicking Vann’s truck. During this time, Vann reportedly took the woman’s phone and drove away with it.
The extraction report from Vann’s phone shows a string of text messages to the woman’s mother. In several texts, he told the mother that the woman dented his truck during their argument. The woman’s mother asked him for a picture of the dented truck, which was not met with a reply from Vann for about two hours.
During this time, data from Vann’s phone shows a search for “fake car dent.” An app called “Dude, Your Car!” was then downloaded onto Vann’s Samsung Galaxy – a prank app which gives the illusion of a dented vehicle.
He sent a photo to the mother along with a text that said, “It was no big deal.”
“It was no big deal because it wasn’t real,” Johnson said.
Texts to her mother:
According to text messages displayed in court, Vann and the woman’s mother were in contact about the status of the victim’s mental health on several occasions. During the mother’s testimony, she admitted that she told Vann about the measures they were taking to help the woman, telling him arrangements were made for her therapy.
In a separate message, Vann texted the mother, “I hope she gets the help she needs.”
“I want you to think about why he’s doing this,” Johnson told the jury. “He’s trying to insert himself between her and her mother in order to isolate her – he’s positioning himself as a caring individual.”
Fake Gmail and Facebook Account
The extraction report from Vann’s phone showed evidence that Vann set up a Gmail account woman’s name on Jan. 30, which he then linked to a fake Facebook.
He wrote messages to himself from the fake Facebook account, using the woman’s name, and then took a screenshot.
The messages Vann allegedly wrote to himself from the woman’s fake Facebook account said, “Baby, I just want you to know that I love you/ And I’m sorry I was mean/I never want to lose you, jer.”
Johnson said there was no evidence that the woman had Vann’s phone at the time the messages were sent and nobody testified to that during the trial.
The gun incident
The woman testified that on March 28, 2015, she texted Vann a picture of a long-gun after an explosive fight Between the two of them. Early that morning, she went to his house after a night of drinking, suspecting that he was with another woman.
Read more about the incident here.
She followed the picture of the gun with a text that said, “You shouldn’t have left me here alone with this.”
“I wanted him to come back and just explain to me what was going on,” she said. “He did come back…We just argued some more, and he put the gun away and then he left again.”
Vann saved the picture of the gun, but would not do anything with it for another two days.
After his fight with the woman on March 30, the morning when everything came to a breaking point, Vann texted a screenshot of the picture of the gun to his friend and co-worker, Sgt. Kyle Koskinen.
The message he sent along with the screenshot asked Koskinen to “just 941 her.”
The 941 refers to a police code for the Mental Hygiene Law, which allows police to take people into custody if they appear to be causing harm to themselves or others.
Vann did not clarify to Koskinen that the photo was sent to him on a previous date.
During the woman’s testimony last week, she said she was taking antidepressants while she was seeing Vann. Vann took pictures of her prescriptions during the course of their relationship, something the prosecution noted was unusual.
Johnson used all of these examples in his closing statements to suggest that Vann had been saving evidence to use against the woman, just in case something happened.
Johnson used this evidence to suggest that there was a pattern to Vann’s actions, saying it was a way for him to diminish the woman’s credibility.
As Johnson finished his statements, he addressed the jury one last time.
“When you look around this courthouse, it is magnificent,” he said. “All of that magnificence relates to the importance of justice… justice does not rest on lies. It is your job to see the truth and deliver justice.”
Featured Photo: Jeremy Vann sits with his previous Attorney Jerome Mayersak while giving an interview to New York State Police Investigators a few hours after the incident with the woman. Photo by Jolene Almendarez/The Ithaca Voice