Another didn't describe the color.

And the fourth officer didn't mention the scarf at all.

In fact, the scarf that surfaced five months after the shooting was black.

In telling how the gunman walked to his car after the shooting, the four officers variously described his gait as a "swagger," "a slow, cocky walk," "a hurried sway" or said simply, "he walked."

The distinctions were small, and the variances were slight, and they had nothing to do with the facts at the heart of the case.

Stennett was the only person in the Bronco that destroyed Officer Gavin's cruiser. Marks on the shell casings from the Wilkens Avenue shooting precisely matched the firing mechanism of the stolen 10 mm pistol found in Stennett's truck. And the ammunition clip in the pistol had Stennett's thumbprint on it.

But Pettit did not let a single factual wrinkle or lapse in procedure pass the jury's attention.

"Their stories were totally different," recalls Moore, the MTA driver and church deaconess. "You had four people in the vehicle and their stories were different. ... Their stories didn't add up."

And on the witness stand, each of the four officers was forced to admit that he never saw the shooter's face because he had been focused on the gun.

Neither could they say whether anyone was in the Bronco with him.

"Didn't recognize shooter," Hawkes wrote in her notes of the trial. "Didn't see face. ... Couldn't ID shooter."

As the case unfolded, as the numerous lapses in accepted police practice were revealed, Hawkes grew increasingly skeptical, then aghast.

"Did not use gloves when handled weapon," she wrote. "Why??"

"Never reported finding ... scarf. Why???"

"Why no one followed procedure!!!"

"Gunshot residue test on Stennett. Did not find ... residue on hands."

"Did not know patrol car was destroyed."

"Deliberately kept Stennett from lawyer and family."

Among many actions by police that alienated the jurors, this was perhaps the most offensive to the many mothers sitting on the panel.

Stennett, still a minor, had a diagnosis after the crash of a concussion and possible skull fracture. But homicide detectives had kept the befuddled youth in custody for nearly three days - turning away repeated calls from his lawyer and his mother requesting to see him - until he was well enough to be questioned.