{Adrianne Reynolds} Kolb trial continues

>From the Quad-Cities Times--

SARAH KOLB TRIAL:Tension fills court
By Barb Ickes

Fifteen jurors, five days and 25 witnesses later, one question
remains: Did Sarah Kolb murder Adrianne Reynolds?

On most any day in a Rock Island County Circuit courtroom, visitors
would have their pick of places to sit. That was not the case last
week, nor is it likely to change this week.

Even during jury selection, the fifth-floor courtroom was packed. A
large collection of Kolb and Reynolds family members occupied most of
the seats ? separated on opposite sides of the aisle like friends of
the bride or groom at a church wedding.

But this was no cause for celebration. If the sheriff?s deputies and
locked doors didn?t give away the gravity of the proceedings, the
silent tension did.

At one point early in the trial, Kolb?s mother defended her family?s
migration to a bench reserved for the media.

?They were getting dirty looks over there,? Kathy Klauer said of her
family to a sheriff?s deputy, pointing toward the benches where
Reynolds? family was seated.

But the tension wore off and, by the second day of testimony, the mood
in the courtroom changed. Even through the most graphic testimony
about the severed body parts of a 16-year-old girl, the focus was on
the facts. The focus was so intense, in fact, that many people
watching the trial were distracted by the sound of pencil meeting
paper as two sketch artists hastily drew out their depictions of the

Judge James Teros saw to it that the distractions were minimal,
running such a tight ship that no one was allowed to come and go from
the courtroom ? for any reason ? during testimony.

That testimony has, so far, come from witnesses called by the
prosecution. It is the state?s burden to prove, beyond a reasonable
doubt, that Kolb murdered Reynolds during a fight in a Taco Bell
restaurant while on a lunchtime break from the Black Hawk Outreach
Center in East Moline where both teens were enrolled.

A long line of teenage classmates from the school took the witness
stand to tell the jury about the threats they heard Kolb make against
Reynolds. Some appeared fearful and reluctant to speak in front of so
many adults. Others wore a confidence that struggled to stand up to
the questioning.

One teenage witness seemed to understand before ever stepping into the
courtroom that the trial was serious business. The boy sat on a bench
outside the courtroom and wept, accepting a handkerchief from the
older man who drove him to the courthouse.

Once inside, he testified that Reynolds had asked him for a ride home
the day she was murdered, but he left school early to avoid ?getting
in the middle? of the obvious dispute between Reynolds and Kolb. If he
blamed himself for failing to change the outcome of that day, he
didn?t say so. If he had, the victim?s stepmother, Joann Reynolds, was
nearby and ready to console.

She already had done so with Sean McKittrick ? the fourth person in
the car at Taco Bell the day prosecutors say Kolb and Cory Gregory
strangled Reynolds.

McKittrick testified that he got out of Kolb?s car and walked back to
the school because he ?didn?t want to be around that type of
situation? when Kolb grabbed Reynolds by the hair. When the
17-year-old finished testifying and the court briefly recessed, Joann
Reynolds approached him outside the courtroom.

?I just told him that we don?t hate him and we don?t want him to blame
himself,? Reynolds said. ?I told him that Adrianne wouldn?t want him
to blame himself.?

Though the Kolb and Reynolds families appeared riveted but at ease
through the first days of testimony, the difficulty of the long days
showed in the sometimes-nervous chatter during recesses. The ample
collection of extended family, including aunts, uncles, cousins and
close friends, gave the families something to talk about besides the

For the Reynolds family, two visitors made an especially meaningful

Adrianne Reynolds? birth father, who spent many years trying
unsuccessfully to connect with his daughter, drove to the Quad-Cities
from Arkansas for the trial. Somber and soft spoken, he seemed to be
struggling with the fact that there no longer is a chance of a
relationship with his daughter.

But the trial had an impact on someone who never had any connection
with Adrianne Reynolds.

Cheryl Ashcraft, whose sister, Jone Knapton, was murdered and her body
dismembered two years ago, also took to the Reynolds? side for a day
of testimony last week. No one has been arrested in the East Moline
woman?s murder.

?I know this is hard for them, going through this trial? Ashcraft
said. ?But, you know, going through this is what my family prays for.?


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