Someone posted on our Facebook page the other day: “I saw you on TV last weekend. It was a program on the first DNA trial conviction. Talk about ’80s hairstyles. I’m glad it wasn’t me!”. I knew exactly what case she was talking about — Tommie Lee Andrews — and I knew exactly what hairstyle she was laughing about — mine!
The year was 1987. I was working as an Official Court Reporter in Orange County, FL. I think Farrah Fawsett’s hairstyle was all the rage back then. Even though I had a perm and highlights in my hair, practically every day I would get up an hour early with my curling iron to get it just so, and then endlessly spray it with hairspray. I’m telling you, a Category 5 hurricane could not move one hair out of place!
State v. Tommie Lee Andrews was working its way through the court system. His trial was set before The Honorable Rom Powell the weeks I was on rotation in his courtroom. The main prosecutor was Jeffrey Ashton — who’s now the senior prosecutor in the State v. Casey Anthony trial in Orange County.
Just like in the Casey Anthony trial, the courthouse was abuzz with media coverage. Reporting the testimony of the victim and the forensic DNA experts was difficult on the one hand; fascinating on the other.
Having first-row seats to history in the making and preserving that history is a definite benefit of working as a court reporter.