Images from inside Sean Bell's car

Trial continues in Queens
March 14, 2008 2:58:28 PM PDT
Graphic photos from inside the car that Sean Bell was in the night he was shot and killed by police were on display in the courtroom Friday.Eyewitness News reporter NJ Burkett has the latest from Kew Gardens, Queens.

This was our first real look inside the car, and it was powerful and disturbing. It is truly amazing that anyone survived.

"My son was killed for no reason," Sean Bell's mother, Valerie Bell, said. "Just a senseless shooting. I mean, that many bullets in the car? Come on."

It took all the strength Valerie and other family members had to look at the evidence presented in court Friday. The bloody, bullet-ridden car was seen from the inside for the first time, with colored rods to represent the trajectory of the shots and cards with arrows for where they ended up.

There were bullets in the dashboard, floorboards, doors, seats, headrests and even the trunk. One bullet went clear through the car. Many of the remaining shots ended up in the bodies of the unarmed men inside.

Sean Bell was killed and his two friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, were seriously wounded.

The photos were taken by crime scene investigator Charles Reese and introduced into evidence by the prosecution.

Reese described yet another bullet lying loosely in a pool of blood on the front seat.

The day's graphic testimony had the effect of putting Bell's family behind the wheel.

"All you see is blood, and you start thinking how he got murdered," Bell's father, William Bell, said. "You think about what he had to go through."

But supporters of the three detectives charged in the shooting say the pictures do not tell the full story.

"This is an issue of justification," said Michael Palladino, of the Detectives Endowment Association. "We do not dispute the fact that we fired the shots. But that's only a small piece of the evidence that this judge is going to have to consider when he weighs innocence or guilt."

The defense also points out that this one of the reasons they asked for a bench trial instead of a jury trial. They say they believe a judge will be able to view such images as part of a larger picture.