Friday, July 11, 2014

Michael Gargiulo Pretrial 20 & Cold Case Trial of Douglas Gordon Bradford

Michael Thomas Gargiulo, booking photo, date unknown

Friday July 11, 2014
8:10 AM
I'm on the 9th floor of the downtown Criminal Justice Center for another hearing in the Michael Gargiulo case.  As most of you know, Gargiulo is pro per, meaning he is self representing in a death penalty case.  Yes, I know I am behind in getting my trial notes up on Gargiulo's and Cameron Brown's previous hearings, as well as the preliminary hearing of Dawn DaLuise.

Investigator Chris Nicely was already here in the hallway when I arrived.

Earlier this week, the cold case trial of Douglas Gordon Bradford kicked off in Dept. 103, Judge Curtis Rappe's courtroom.  (Larry Altman of the Daily Breeze wrote about the case when the trial started on Monday.) Back in October 2013 at Rick Jackson's Retirement Dinner, I got to speak to DDA John Lewin about when this case might go to trial. At that time, he speculated the case would start sometime in May of this year. He wasn't too far off. I had tried to keep my eye on this case but cases where the defendant is out on bond are a little harder to track. I was hoping I could attend when it started but Mr. Sprocket needed my help on a few jobs earlier this week.  If there is time, I will try to drop in on this trial because I've wanted to attend one of DDA Lewin's cases for some time now.

On the drive in this morning, I was listening to KFI's Eric Leonard's report about the Donald Sterling civil case, over at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. (Anything involving the NBA is bigger news than a cold case murder.) It appears that case is on hold until July 23.

8:26 AM 
There's quite a bit of activity down at the other end of the hallway.  However, at this end I just saw defense attorney Seymour Amster quickly pass and enter Dept. 106, Judge Fidler's courtroom. Amster is co-counsel on the Lonnie Franklin, Jr., alleged serial killer case in Judge Kennedy's court, Dept. 109. The case Amster might be on this morning in Dept. 106 is a dismemberment case.

8:32 AM
Dept. 108 is open and there are quite a few people from the general public here. I have not seen DDA Akemon or DDA Dameron in the hallway yet.  Attorney's come and go from several of the courtrooms at this end of the hall.

8:37 AM
Judge Ohta's clerk came out and put a sign on Judge Otha's door that they are dark. She was kind enough to let me know that Gargiulo's hearing will now be held in Dept. 107, Judge Lomeli's courtroom.  Judge Lomeli allows reporters to use their laptops so I'm hoping I will be able to use my computer for this hearing.

8:44 AM
DDA Akemon and Sheriff's Detective arrive and stop at Chris Nicely to chat.

8:45 AM
Right afterwards, DDA Akemon asked me how Mr. Sprocket was doing. Mr. Sprocket is doing pretty good. He just needs to build his muscle tone back up.

Inside Dept. 107, I check with the bailiff to make sure I can use my laptop for the Gargiulo hearing.  I can.

In overhearing the conversation between DDA Akemon and Nicely, it looks like they will just put this case over.  Interestingly, Mark Overland and his daughter, Courtney are in the well of the court. Overland defended former LAPD Detective Stephanie Lazarus.

Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife, Flora Montes De Oca Alarcon, are currently on trial in Judge Lomeli's courtroom on perjury and voter fraud charges. Overland is representing Mrs. Alarcon.

8:52 AM

Another case is called for a pretrial hearing.  In that case, the defense has filed for a 1538 (motion to suppress) hearing and they need to set a date for that.  Defense says it will take 2 hours. September 26th next court date. And that’s it for that hearing.

DDA Dameron is not here today. It's just Akemon and Chris Nicely.  I get to meet the journalist who I saw at the last Gargiulo hearing. It's the fabulous writer, Christine Pelisek who now writes for The Daily Beast.  She’s amazing.  She wrote several wonderful pieces about Lonnie Franklin, Jr., when she was with The LA Weekly.

I was going to drop in on DDA Lewin's case after this hearing but I found out that Dept. 103 is dark today. The Bradford case will resume on Monday. I'll try to come back for that trial a few days next week. It will all depend on whether or not Mr. Sprocket needs my help.

9:17 AM

Gargiulo is handcuffed to a wheelchair.  Two deputies are wheeling him into court via the front entrance. I don't know why Gargiulo is in a wheelchair.  Whenever a defendant is brought to court in a chair, they are not brought into court through the regular holding area between the courtrooms. The deputies use other security elevators to bring in the defendants through the front courtroom doors.

On the record in the Gargiulo case.

Judge Lomeli asks, "I understand that both of you agree to put this over until next Friday?"

DDA Akemon tells the court that he hasn't spoken to Gargiulo directly. He tells the court that Gargiulo is under a time waiver.

DDA Akemon states they are asking to put the case over to next Friday July 18th.

Judge Lomeli tells the parties, "In speaking with Judge Ohta yesterday, it was his intention to set some parameters and deadlines."

DDA Akemon states that they have presented (or filed with the court) their outline for a timeline.

Garguilo then speaks up and tells the court he has an issue. He's trying to seek medical treatment for an injury he sustained in this courthouse. He would like to see an orthopedic doctor. He tells the court that at the jail, "... They're just trying to overdose me on medication. ... I'm trying to see an orthopedic."

Judge Lomeli tells the defendant that he can't write an order for him to see a specialist. "The only person who can do that is another doctor. ... I can refer you to a doctor."

Judge Lomeli asks the defendant if he has filled out the proper form for that. Gargiulo says he doesn't have the form. Judge Lomeli tells the defendant, "When my clerk gets here..." he will get the form for him.  Judge Lomeli asks him to describe his specific complaint. "I'm seeking medical treatment for an ankle injury and a back injury."

Judge Lomeli will set a medical order. And that's it. The next hearing will be on July 18th.

My understanding is, after the last pretrial hearing on June 27th, Gargiulo was taken back to the lower floor jail holding area. His ankle chains got caught in the elevator or the space between the floors in the elevator and he either fell or tripped.

After Gargiulo is wheeled by me I look directly at him. His head is looking down at his lap, possibly reading some papers.  As he leaves, Judge Lomeli addresses his court reporter. "Remind me, ankle and back." She nods her head in reply.

I wonder how long Gargiulo will be in a wheelchair due to his ankle and back injury.  When a defendant is brought into court in a wheelchair, I'm sure it's more interesting for them. They have the possibility of seeing and interacting with the general public because of the short time they are in the hallway.

I head down to the cafeteria to finish my notes then head home.

Post note:
I almost forgot! Gargiulo's head was still bald and his face completely clean shaven.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Mr. Sprocket Update - Getting Better Every Day

I'm sorry I haven't updated everyone on how Mr. Sprocket is doing for some time.

When I last wrote, Mr. Sprocket was doing great on his morning walks and had just finished a service call for one of his contract clients.

Tuesday, June 24
we took an even longer walk in the morning than the day before. Then Mr. Sprocket got a call from the Bakery. The two door freezer was not working.

Instead of calling his friend, Mr. Sprocket thought he could figure out what was wrong and fix it with my help. He suspected it was the defrost timer.  Luckily, he had a spare on his truck. He loaded up the trunk of the car with tools and parts and we headed to the Bakery.  The evening baking shift didn't start until 6 PM so he could take his time.

This was the first time Mr. Sprocket stood on a ladder.  He did fine.

And when he got tired, he improvised.

Although the new defrost timer was a tight fit on the old box, I handed him tools and he was able to get the new timer installed.  He did start to feel weak at one point, but after a while he realized it was because we had missed lunch. His blood sugar was just low, not anything to do with his heart. We stopped work and went to get something to eat.

Wednesday, June 25, 9:30 AM

This was his first appointment with his cardiologist, but it wasn't an appointment like what we were expecting.  After the initial assessment of him, (about five minutes), we were directed to a room with many other people. We were supposed to bring all of Mr. Sprocket's medications. We didn't know that, but I brought his medication list he was given from Providence St. Joseph's when he was discharged.

We listened to an RN give a lecture on "Managing Your Heart Failure."  Mr. Sprocket really didn't end up in the hospital from congestive heart failure. He had a heart attack. After the lecture, a dietitian explained to the audience how to read a food label and figure out if the food you are eating is high in sodium or not.

It was basic, general information, 95% of which we already knew. After the lecture, the cardiologist and the registered nurse practitioner came around to each person, looked over their medications and had a few words with each person.  And that was it. There was information on how to get your medications refilled, and not to wait until they had run out.

Mr. Sprocket was not impressed with the female cardiologist at all. She took his pulse for about 30 seconds, told him his heart rate was too high (74 or 75) and doubled his beta blocker medication. (It was quite low to begin with.)  She had very little information about his case from Providence St. Josephs. She did not have his prior echo cardiograms or the results of any blood tests, but I guess she thought she had enough information about him to assess him.

She did agree (after pressing into his shins) that he did not need the diuretic so she discontinued that medication.  And that was it. The cardiologist was with him about a minute or two at the most. The nurse spent more time with him.  The nurse did agree that he could get into a cardiac rehab program.  They scheduled an echo cardiogram for August 25. Mr. Sprocket pressed for another echo cardiogram that day. The nurse said she would try to slot him in. They might have an opening in the afternoon.

We brought our lunch and ate in the cafeteria. After lunch, we tried to register for the cardiac rehab program, which is in the physical therapy department. We stopped in, but they needed time to asses him. However, he also had to get to his first appointment with his primary care doctor.  We thought that we might be able to come back later.

The primary doctor was a young Asian intern. That was an interesting appointment where he took a long medical history. Mr. Sprocket was able to get him to prescribe a sleep aid, just not the one he wanted.  He also agreed to test his kidney and thyroid function numbers again. After that appointment, Mr. Sprocket got the call from Cardiology that he could get an echo at 3 PM.  He races up there while I want for 35 minutes for the nurses to get his orders for the labs printed out.

I then head to Cardiology. 

I ask the front desk how soon he will be done with the echo, since the Physical Therapy department closes at 4:00 PM.  At 3:20 PM, they assure me he will be out in a few minutes.  He's not done with the echo until 4:00 PM so we miss getting him on the schedule. 

I'm way too tired from being at the hospital all day. I'd had it. I told Mr. Sprocket we were going home and he could get his blood drawn for the thyroid and kidney tests another day.

Thursday, June 26
We got a good walk in in the morning. Mr. Sprocket stopped by the Bakery to check on the freezer. It was fine. He also received a down payment to order a door seal on another freezer that the health inspector required.  I had a big sewing order due on Saturday so I spent the day sewing and Mr. Sprocket spent the day cooking.  I was up late into the night, making progress on several Market Line bags.

Friday, June 27

Mr. Sprocket went to court with me and helped cover the Cameron Brown hearing. (I still have my notes to write up on the Brown and Michael Gargiulo hearings. From the little I saw of the Brown hearing, it didn't appear Judge Lomeli was very happy.)  After court we headed to the hospital so Mr. Sprocket could register for physical therapy and get his blood drawn.

In the physical therapy department, he was given some simple exercises. It was then he realized that his right leg (the one that had the Impella up the right femoral artery, and is his dominant leg) is quite weak. He had difficulty just lifting his right foot off the ground from a sitting position. It was a little wake up moment as to how much conditioning he has lost.

So now he knows what he needs to concentrate on. Rebuilding leg and arm muscle!  He will get physical therapy once a week starting July 30. That was the first available appointment/time. If he misses two appointments, he is rejected from physical therapy.

After the PT department, we stopped into the Cardiology department to see if he could get the ejection fraction results of his echo cardiogram and also to see if he could drive.  When he left Providence St. Joseph's, Cardiologist #1 (who saved his life) told him he couldn't drive for a month.

The cardiologist and nurse practitioner were very busy but they did send a note out to the front desk that his echo cardiogram was "normal."  His ejection fraction was 50-55.  This was fantastic news.  Normal hearts have ejection fractions ranging from 55-70. Mr. Sprocket was given a note that he was cleared to drive and that there were "no restrictions" on him.

The only issue that Mr. Sprocket has been having has been the insomnia. Mr. Sprocket has a terror about not being able to sleep and one of the main side effects of beta blockers is insomnia.  Insomnia can raise your heart rate. Mr. Sprocket's beta blocker that was prescribed by the #1 cardiologist, a generic for Coreg, is not only a beta blocker but also an alpha blocker, which also causes insomnia.

The medication worked great, caused him virtually no problems, except that sleep was elusive.  Sometimes the sleep aid would work, and sometimes it wouldn't. Sometimes he tried relying on the Benadryl, but that didn't always work and when it did, it left him quite groggy in the morning.

Saturday, June 28th

It was a marathon day of last minute sewing and driving. Mr. Sprocket met up with his friend who took over his accounts while he was hospitalized. He needed to get his door keys back for several of Mr. Sprocket's contracted clients.  Mr. Sprocket drove me crazy, being a back seat driver while he was on the phone most of the time.

I dropped off my sewing order and Mr. Sprocket got to speak to my friend who runs a cardiac rehab program at a different hospital network. Their partner is a pharmacist. They were very patient and answered a ton of questions my husband had. They both thought Mr. Sprocket's recovery so far was "amazing" considering where he was just a month prior, and the fact that he was only on a single heart medication. (In addition to the heart medication, Mr. Sprocket is on aspirin, a blood thinner, a cholesterol lowering med and a thyroid medication.)

Sunday June 29
Mr. Sprocket worked from 1 PM to 8 PM at the Bakery, fixing a problem with the huge, ten tray rotary oven. I helped by handing him tools. This time, he made sure to break early for lunch.

Sunday night, he had another night of virtually no sleep. Mr. Sprocket spent time on the Internet searching his medications and seeing if he could do an alternative to the generic for Coreg.

Monday, June 30
We took a 2.4 mile walk. Mr. Sprocket can now keep up with me. He downloaded several heart monitor apps onto his phone and monitors his heart rate when he walks.  He had a second night of not great sleep.

Tuesday - Thursday, July 1-3
We took a 2.7 mile walk and Mr. Sprocket had to take a rest half way. He was having difficulty and most likely dehydrated. After we got home, Mr. Sprocket got on the phone to the Cardiology department, hoping to get his beta blocker changed.  He was able to speak to the nurse practitioner and the doctor agrees to change his medication. He will now have just a beta blocker and have nitroglycerin pills only if he gets pain. He starts on the new medication that evening. He is able to get a decent night's sleep on the new med.

The next day, Mr. Sprocket notices that the new medication makes him real dizzy. The medication also makes his heart rate somewhat irregular, to the point that it's difficult to get a consistent reading of his heart rate on the heart rate apps. He becomes even more discouraged. That morning, he doesn't feel he can drive on this medication.

On Thursday, we go back to the hospital. I stay in the lobby while Mr. Sprocket heads to the Cardiology department. He sees the nurse practitioner and asks to speak to her. He gets a very short meeting with the cardiologist and the nurse practitioner.  He was asking about options for another medication. There is some discussion about how much time they are having to devote to him. They mention that his heart function is normal. (I don't know since I didn't speak to them, but maybe they see him as not a high risk patient at this point, that doesn't need the attention they are having to give him.) They recommended that he cut his current medication in half, or even discontinue the new medication to see if his symptoms go away.  He cut his medication back to half.

Friday - Sunday, July 4-6
We had an okay 4th of July, watching the fireworks show down at Marina del Rey.  We took a few walks to look at the boats. Mr. Sprocket had a bit of trouble getting to sleep that night.

Saturday morning, Mr. Sprocket walked by himself since I had a client.  He stayed on our street, close to home, going back and forth around a loop. Mr. Sprocket stopped the new beta blocker to see if his dizzy symptoms disappeared. However, his heart rate went a bit high. He had quite a bit of anxiety about that. Searching the Internet he found out that you're not supposed to quit a beta blocker cold turkey, because it can cause your heart rate to jump. Neither the cardiologist nor the nurse practitioner mentioned anything about stepping down gradually off the beta blocker.  Mr. Sprocket talks about changing doctors, since he's totally disappointed in his care. That evening, he went back on 1/2 the new medication. He had to take melatonin and a benadryl to get to sleep.

And that brings us to Sunday. Mr. Sprocket took 1/2 the beta blocker medication. He did okay during our two mile walk and didn't get dizzy. He didn't measure his heart rate too much during this walk. Later in the day, he worked at the Bakery again, putting in a new door gasket on a freezer.  After he was there for a few hours, he asked me to stop by to help him with the gasket.  He takes a late lunch with me then goes back to work.  His heart rate after eating was still pretty high. We left about 6 PM.  On the way home, he stops at one of his regular, monthly clients and talks to the building manager. I ask him to measure his heart rate. It's 101, still too high. He rationalizes that it's high because he was driving. I tell him that is too high for driving. He realizes that at 1/2 the dose, he's not having any dizziness but the medication is not keeping his heart rate down after some relatively easy work and driving.

Overall, Mr. Sprocket is doing remarkably well. It might take a bit more tweaking of his meds to limit the side effects and to keep his heart rate down.  We've decided that he needs help reducing stress so we've ordered a good supply of Dr. D'Adamo's Catechol, made specifically for Type O's and AB's. You can listen to a short lecture about the product at the link.

Mr. Sprocket is also realizing that it will take some time for him to build his strength back up again to where it was before the heart attack.

Thank you everyone, for all your positive thoughts and prayers.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Michael Gargiulo Pretrial 19; Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 17 & Alberd Tersargyan

Michael Thomas Gargiulo, booking photo, date unknown

Lauren Sarene Key, 4 years old

8:23 AM
I'm at the downtown  criminal court building with Mr. Sprocket. A few minutes ago, DDA Daniel Akemon and an assistant quickly passed and entered Dept. 105, Judge Bowers courtroom. I believe they are both working on the case of Damascio Ybarra Torres who shot some doctors at Cal USC Medical Center., sometime in 2003 or 2004.  DDA Akemon was just assigned to follow that case. It's a complicated, mixed sentencing case. Then DDA Akemon heads down to Dept. 109 to get a new date on the Tersargyan case.

DDA Craig Hum, who is prosecuting the Brown case arrives with an assistant. When Dept. 107 opens, DDA Hum and his assistant head in side.

8:32 AM
Mr. Sprocket and I head into Dept. 107.

Brown is already here, sitting at the defense table.
He’s sitting in the chair at the end of the fable so he’s facing us.

Patty Brown is here in the second row. Her body is turned facing toward her husband.  She hands a paper to the bailiff, and the bailiff hands the paper to him.  Brown is wearing black, horn rimmed glasses.

The bailiff leans in to answer a question Brown has. DDA Hum and the court reporter are chatting. This is the earliest that Brown has been brought up, but Judge Lomeli is in trial at the moment so I’m sure that’s why it’s happening so quickly.

I ask Judge Lomeli’s bailiff (the same bailiff I first met in 2007 during Spector 1) if Gargiulo has been brought up yet. He calls and checks for me. No, not yet.

I’ll leave the courtroom in a few minutes to cover the Gargiulo hearing and Mr. Sprocket will take over taking notes on this case.

Mr. Sprocket and I are at Olive View Hospital so that he could register for a Cardiac Rehab Program and to get some additional blood tests.

I thought I would give a quick update on Gargiulo. When he came out of the holding area, he was completely bald. No side burns, no mustache. No facial hair whatsoever.  It was a stark change.

I also obtained a copy of the prosecution's motion that was filed today. This motion is to introduce at trial, crime scene evidence and expert testimony from a retired FBI Behavioral Analyst, Mary Ellen O'Toole.  You can read the motion, HERE.

To be continued....

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mr. Sprocket Home from the Hospital - First Mile Walk & Service Call

June 23, 2014 9:00 PM
I left off Mr. Sprocket's story Friday afternoon, when he got his prescription for the sleep aid, Restoril. He had a good sleep that night.

Saturday he woke up feeling refreshed however, other body aches and pains kept him on the sofa most of the day. His left foot has not felt 'right' for some time now. There are places where it feels numb.  I massaged his feet and calves and that made it feel much better.

Mr. Sprocket didn't take a walk on Saturday, but he did cook a large beef stew. (Chuck roast, cut up into small pieces, Japanese yams (sweet potatoes with the burgundy skins), onions, anise bulb, and a little salt. It came out heavenly. I've missed this stew. He has not made it for some time. We brought a stool into the kitchen and he sat on that while cutting vegetables at the wood counter.

I also massaged a hard lump in his left thigh where he still has the remnants of extensive bruising from one of his central lines.  That massage really did the trick. It made his foot feel much better.

I sewed late Saturday night and woke up too late on Sunday to take my morning walk before the heat set in.  However, around noon time, Mr. Sprocket said he was feeling really good and wanted to go for a "longer walk." Nothing I could say would talk him out of it. He wanted to walk along Ernie's Walk, and he didn't want to take his walker. He felt he didn't need it.

Ernie's Walk runs along the Los Angeles River. It ss about 3/10's of a mile long, but to get there, it's almost half a mile from our house. I didn't think Mr. Sprocket should walk that far. He promised he would take it slow and the minute he felt like he was tired, we would turn back. I wasn't looking forward to this because we were walking during the hottest part of the day.

We took a very slow, leisurely pace. When we got to Ernie's Walk, he said he felt fine and didn't need to rest. He tried the set of 16 steps down to the river walk. He said he wanted to see how he could balance on his own. I didn't hold his arm and he did fine.  We got to the other end of the river walk and he said he still felt good. He wanted to take the stairs up. This is a shorter set of stairs, only 10 steps. They are not standard house height steps, but shorter. 

Mr. Sprocket walked up these steps just fine. 

At the top of the steps is a ramp loop around the Ernie's Walk sign above, back down to the river walk path.

He then came around the loop back down to the path and told me he wanted to take the steps again.

I wanted him to take it slow but he said he wasn't tired, he wasn't winded and he felt fine. He did this loop about seven or eight times, and then he told me he was ready to head back. During the last loop, he tried moving up the steps very fast.

We walked back towards home along the street level this time.  When we got to the first set of stairs at the beginning of the walk, he said he wanted to go up the first set of stairs this time. We walked down a ramp at this end and stopped to looked down at the river. We saw a lone Heron hanging out under the street overpass.

Then Mr. Sprocket tackled the steps back up. Here he is at the middle landing of the stairs.

The total distance of our walk was 1.2 miles. Mr. Sprocket was very encouraged by what he could do and the fact that he wasn't winded and didn't need to stop to catch his breath.

Later that afternoon, he got a call from the Bakery. One of the freezers his industry friend had serviced for him a few days before was acting up, and something else, the oven was making a new noise.  Mr. Sprocket talked the owner through what they needed to do with the oven. The freezer was cooling, however, it was only holding 10 degrees F, but no lower. Mr. Sprocket talked with the owner about what they might plan to do.  Mr. Sprocket and I talked about whether or not he felt he had the energy to stop at the Bakery and just take a look at things.

I needed to go to the fabric store to pick something up for an order, and I suggested that Mr. Sprocket put a set of gauges in the trunk and go with me. If he felt like stopping at the Bakery, we would. Mr. Sprocket already had quite a few tools that were in the trunk of the car when he had his heart attack. I had left them there.

We got ourselves cleaned up and headed out to Jo Ann Fabrics at Porter Ranch.  I was just about to get on the 118 Freeway west when Mr. Sprocket received a service call from another client he's under contract with. This client rarely has problems. With this client, (a small film industry related school) he had just performed the quarterly periodic maintenance on all the equipment the day before his heart attack.  One of the classrooms was down.  Mr. Sprocket and I talked about whether he should call his buddy to take the call.

This client did not know Mr. Sprocket had gone through a heart attack. He decided he didn't want to tell them.  We talked through the pros and cons of him going on the service call to see what was wrong.

Mr. Sprocket said that since he felt so encouraged by his step climbing, he felt that, if he had to climb a ladder to get on the roof, he could. That was the key issue that made him think he could handle the call. I told him, okay, but if he had to go on the roof, he could not carry anything up the ladder. I would have to do all of that. He speculated that a blower motor had gone out. He said he had one at home, and if that was it, it was something that "I" could carry up the ladder and he could install it.

This customer has seven units. Four of the compressors are at ground level behind the building and three on the roof. When we get there, Mr. Sprocket realizes that the unit that is down is one on the ground behind the building. Fantastic. It could still be the blower motor, but I was really encouraged. Possibility of no roof work. When Mr. Sprocket realizes which unit is not working,

he has a very strong suspicion what the problem is. He goes over to the fuse box for this unit. The fuse box is behind a duct.

Mr. Sprocket takes the fuses out and tests them. Sure enough, the fuses are blown. This same problem has manifested in this unit before. However, a dead compressor can also have the problem of blown fuses. The only way to make sure, is to put new fuses in and turn it on. Even if it was a compressor, Mr. Sprocket said the compressor in this unit is small and he felt that I could lift it out of the car, if we had to get a supply house to open and sell us a compressor.

We had to go back to the house to get fuses. Mr. Sprocket didn't have any in the several bags that were in the trunk of the car.  On our way back home, we would be passing by a different Jo Ann Fabrics store. I was ecstatic because I would be able to pick up the items I needed before the fabric store closed at 6:00 pm.

Mr. Sprocket also said that the unit needed a timer, and this problem wouldn't happen again. He doesn't know why he hasn't put a timer in this unit before, since this has happened about four times over the past several years. Mr. Sprocket said the thermostats this company has are not great thermostats. They are old fashioned, and not newer equipment. What he believed happened was, the thermostat is turned off. Within 20 seconds or more, it's turned back on again. Most air conditioning compressors won't start again until at least three minutes have passed. This is to protect the compressor from demanding a surge of current. When the customer turns the unit on again, without a wait time after it was turned off, it blows a fuse. The fuse protects the compressor from too much current.

Mr. Sprocket gets new fuses and a timer he has in stock. The timer will be set to delay the unit from coming on for three minutes after the thermostat calls for cooling.  First Mr. Sprocket installs the fuses to see if the unit will run.  Success! The unit starts. It was just the fuses and not the compressor. Then Mr. Sprocket installs the timer.

Taking the side panel off the unit.

Installing a timer.

Putting the panel back on.

As you can tell, I got to sit in the car most of the time while he did all the work. I only had to find a few tools in the trunk of the car for him. We packed up and then Mr. Sprocket went inside the business and wrote up his bill. Three hour service call (door to door on a weekend) and we were on our way home.

After this long day, Mr. Sprocket said he was too tired to stop by the Bakery. That was fine, since they hadn't called back again.

Dawn DaLuise Case: Pretrial Hearing 3 - Preliminary Hearing

Dawn DaLuise at a prior court hearing.

UPDATE 6/24: spelling, clarity, grammar, added court ruling on bail reduction request

8:12 AM
I’m on the 8th floor of the Airport Courthouse, waiting for Dept. E, Judge James R. Dabney’s courtroom to open. I was a bit alarmed by the lax security through the security scanners this morning.  It appeared that many employees walked through the scanner carrying items or with bags over their shoulders. They did not appear to be wand scanned afterwards. I can’t be positive, but it also appeared that with the walk through scanner went off for some members of the general public, they were not wand scanned either.

I was the first person on the eighth floor this morning. There is one other gentleman at this end of the hall now, and about three others at the other.

When I left the house at 7:15 AM, I thought I would not get here in time. Traffic was quite jammed up on the 405 South for the first few miles.  Once I got past Sunset Blvd., things opened up. I was already on the freeway when I realized I forgot to take my lunch   that Mr. Sprocket had gotten ready for me the night before.

I have no idea how long this preliminary hearing will go, or if it will even go off as planned today.  Mr. Sprocket has two doctor appointments on Wednesday that will probably take most of the day, and this Friday, are three hearings downtown on the same date in the Cameron Brown, Michael Gargiulo and Alberd Tersargyan (aka Albert Haroutunyan). I won’t be able to attend all three, but maybe I can attend two of them.

8:25 AM

I’m betting that the prelim won’t start until 9 or 10 AM. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are  a few other pretrial hearings that Judge Dabney has to clear before the prelim.

8:34 AM

I'm inside Dept E. Judge Dabney is not on the bench. I'm going to use my laptop to type until it looks like things are getting started.

Someone behind me is whispering my name.Oh. My. God. I can't believe it. It's ALAN JACKSON!!! We step outside to get caught up. Jackson tells me he does miss the DA's office, but he is very happy working on civil litigation cases.

9:04 AM
I forgot to mention that Jackson did ask how Mr. Sprocket was doing.

9:05 AM
No Philip Dube yet. The courtroom gallery is less than one-third full.  There are about twelve attorneys in the well. Jackson, his co-counsel and DDA Amy Carter (pretty, glasses, auburn hair in a ponytail today) are off to my right chatting in the aisle.

There is a video camera set up, most likely for the DaLuise preliminary hearing.  Because the the layout of the courtroom, I'm hoping the camera won't pick up up in the background. The podium is in the center, inbetween the defense and prosecution table, so it is difficult to see the witness.

9:15 AM
Philip Dube arrives. He goes to the interview room to speak to his client.  Jackson greets familiar faces in the courtroom.

9:20 AM
Judge Dabney takes the bench. The first case is called. The defendant is not present.  Second case is called.  It's interrupted while Jackson, his co counsel and DDA Carter approach the bench on their case.  The second case is finished then Jackson's case is called. It's set over for July 8.

Then the Dawn DaLuise case is called. A different attorney steps up. It's not public defender, Philip Dube.   The people filed a motion to continue the case. The prosecutor DDA Steggell is in trial. DaLuise's new attorney objects. DaLuise is not willing to waive time. The new attorney reminds the court that when he was here last week, and took over the case, the court wanted to be sure he was ready for prelim on this date.  The defense is ready. The Judge asks the people if the cases falls under 1054a, or (I believe) family law.  The people respond it does not.

The Judge states he's inclined to decline the people's request. The people state that Mr. Fullerton is ready to step in and try the case for the people. Steggell hands off the prelim to DDA Fullerton. DDA Steggell tells the court that it will take the investigating officer about a half our to get to court. The prelim will resume about 10:00 am. DDA Steggell then speaks to an older, Spanish looking couple seated to my left, and tells them that it will be delayed until about 10:15am.  I'm guessing this is the intended victim, Gabriel Suarez's  relatives.  DDA Steggell then speaks to DaLuise's new attorney, a tall and handsome, younger looking black man.

I follow DaLuises's new attorney out of the courtroom and introduce myself. I ask if he is the new attorney taking over for Mr Dube. He replies yes. I ask if I could get his name or his card. He doesn't have a card on him, but he tells me his name.  His name is Jamon Hicks, of Douglas Hicks Law Firm.

I've got to get back up to the 8th floor.

10:12 AM
I'm back inside the courtroom. Judge Dabney is not on the bench. DaLuise's new attorney, Mr. Hicks, was in the cafeteria working when I left.

T&T readers, this may be the last preliminary hearing that I will be able to attend for some time. I don't know what the future will bring. I don't know where life will take me, but I am going to have to find permanent work of some kind, if Mr. Sprocket and I are to survive and save our house.  If you have appreciated T&T's in-depth trial coverage in the past, consider making a donation.

10:15 AM
The court reporter is over at the bailiff's desk and where a jovial conversation is in progress.  Mr. Hicks arrives with a rolling cart.  There appear to be several people in the gallery for other cases, but I don't know why they haven't been called yet.

10:43 AM
We are waiting for DDA Fullerton to return. Judge Dabney left the bench. I overheard someone in the well state that the witness is still about 20 minutes away.  The man sitting next to me yawns, and it becomes contagious. I yawn in response. It didn't help that I was up until 11:00 pm getting an order from my Etsy store ready to ship out. Very grateful my neighbor is able to drop it off at the post office for me.

10:45 AM
Judge Dabney is still off the bench. DDA Fullerton returns and starts setting up his files. I overhear him tell Mr. Hicks that if he plays the video, it's over an hour.

5:50 PM
Short update here to let you know Judge Dabney's ruling. I will have a full update sometime tomorrow.

Judge Dabney stated that Ms. DeLuise believed Mr. Suarez was responsible for the stalking/ harassment providing for ample motive.  The defendant referenced "taking someone out." She sent the victim's name to Christopher Geile. She sent a photo of the victim's residence (a four-plex building) [and I believe, how to identify the unit]. "It does appear to me that the offence has been commited ... and should be held to anwser."

The defense then argued to have lower bail. The prosecution objected to lower bail stating there was no change in circumstances. The court just ruled that she should be held to answer. The court denied a reduction in bail.

The court sets the arraignment for July 7th in this courtroom. After arraignment, the case will be sent to Matrix Court. (My understanding Matrix court is similar to Dept. 100 in downtown Los Angeles. It's the Master Calendar court.)

I will also add that the defendant made a noteworthy admission during a taped interview LA County Sheriff's Detective Steven McCaulley (after the investigation turned from a harrassment/stalking case to a solicitation for murder) when he confronted her with her emails and texts she sent to various people.

Detective McCaulley, after confronting her with the emails and texts, he advises DaLuise to get some advice before making any other decisions. He reminds her that, ....from February 6th on, when you started talking about taking this guy out."  DaLuise responds, "I know."

My understanding of this exchange in the taped interview, (when I heard it in court and the full exchange) DaLuise admits here, that's what she was trying to do, solicit someone to "take Suarez out."

To be continued Tuesday, June 24.....