Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 18


Inspiration Point, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

July 31, 2014 8:20 AM
(I'm behind on several stories due to helping Mr. Sprocket on several project proposals. Sprocket)

I’m in the hallway of the 9th floor. I see a familiar face. It’s a pleasant looking be speckled man with white, balding hair. I think he is a defense investigator, but I can’t remember which case I’ve seen him on before.

He asks me which case I’m covering and I tell him Brown. I tell him that I’ve seen him before, but I apologize that I can’t remember his name. He is Scott Ross' (no relation) new investigator.

Brown's wife Patty arrives and she asks to speak to Mr. Ross privately.

There are jurors milling about in the center of the hallway.  A reporter comes down looking for Dept. 109. I direct him to the other end of the hallway.

I'm betting that Brown will rescind his pro per status today.

8:42 AM
DDA Hum comes quickly down the hallway.

Inside the courtroom, and off the record, Mr. Ross tells Judge Lomeli that it looks like, as of last night that Brown will rescind his pro per status.

There is a little, silver microphone flag on on top of the microphone on Judge Lomeli’s desk.  It says “NBC,” and is probably some type of memento of Judge Lomeli’s. I don't know how long the little flag as been there. This is the first time I noticed it.

Judge Lomeli asks whom everyone is in the courtroom. When he looks my way, I freeze for a moment then say, "Betsy Ross, Trials and Tribulations."

The investigator asks to go see Brown. The bailiff tells Mr. Ross that he can't go back there anymore.  It appears it's a security issue that happened with another defendant in another case.

Judge Lomeli asks the bailiff to bring Brown out into the courtroom (once Brown is up on the 9th floor) and he will give the investigator a few minutes with Brown and then they will have their hearing.

Mr. Ross is an author. He told me he's written two books and is working on a third. Ross worked on the Brown case back when Mark Geragos and Pat Harris were still in a partnership.

The pretty black female Sargent deputy arrives and the bailiff and her go back into the custody area.

Attorneys come in and start to set up for the case that is currently in trial, People v. Brian Reid. The DDA prosecuting Reid and

Brown is brought out and Ross goes up into the well to sit with him. I leave the courtroom to publish this update.

8:59 AM
left the courtroom, Brown tells the court that he has motions he’s filed.

Patty Brown comes out in the hallway.  She addresses DDA Hum, “The bailiff said to let you know that they are ready.”

Back inside the courtroom, Ross sits with Brown at the defense table. Judge Lomeli takes the bench. Judge Lomeli calls the case on the record. He asks the parties to state their name for the record.

Judge Lomeli states, “Today we are at zero of 60. I contemplate a jury date of pre-screened jurors, a panel to be (arraigned?) for sometime in February. That should be ample time to get this case ready. ... Coupled to with, you [defendant] wanted pro per status, that comes out to 10 months.”

This means, Brown would have had 10 months to prepare for trial since he obtained his pro per status.

Judge Lomeli addresses the defendant. “I see you’ve filed some motions.” He then asks Brown, “Is it correct that you would like rescind your proper status?”

Brown first asks the court if his former counsel Aron Laub could be here. The court informs Brown that since Mr. Laub is “stand by” counsel, there is no need for him to be here. He automatically becomes the counsel of record.

Judge Lomeli asks Brown again if he gives up, relinquishes his pro per status.

Brown replies, “Yeah, I’ll give it up.”

The court reiterates that he still sees this trial starting sometime in February of next year. The court tells Brown that he will read the motions he’s filed.

DDA Hum brings up a couple of issues. “Since he does no longer represent himself, ... It’s unclear if Mr. Laub will want to go forward with those motions before we proceed ...
before we go through the process of responding to those motions.”

Judge Lomeli states that it will have to be up to Mr. Laub to decide if the motions are (feasible?) and (whether or not) to forward with those motions.

Brown speaks up. “When I filed those motions they were mine.”

Judge Lomeli responds, “Timing has nothing to do with it. ... Once you relinquish your proper status ... I’ve already made some appointments, ... it is all up to him [Aron Laub] ....”

Whether these motions will stand will depend on Mr. Laub.

Judge Lomeli continues and states that Brown’s new investigator will remain on the case. “You seem to be familiar with your investigator.”

As far as a next court date, Judge Lomeli asks the parties, “Why don’t we bring him back in September.”  Judge Lomeli also adds, “I want have a conversation with Mr. Laub about these motions and about proceeding with this case in February.”

I believe Judge Lomeli addresses his clerk, stating, “Ask Mr. Laub to notify my office if he decides to proceed on these motions.”  Judge Lomeli also asks his clerk notify the DA as to Mr. Laub’s position on the motions Brown just filed.

Judge Lomeli picks a date of September 25th. He explains to Brown that the case will be set at 0 of 60 on that date, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will go to trial in 60 days.

DDA Hum brings to the court attention that Investigator Ross remaining on the case may be up to Mr. Laub; if Mr. Laub is comfortable with him, given that this is Mr. Laub’s

DDA Hum continues, “I know that Mr. Ross has contacted our investigator and detective informally.” I believe Hum states the inquiry was regarding discovery and additional witnesses. “Any requests for discovery should come through the attorney and not through informal contacts with detectives.” Hum asks the court that all discovery be formal and memorialized in writing.

Investigator Ross addresses the court. “I’d like to add that the court was aware that I was meeting with Mr. Leslie and that I was asking about discovery.”

I believe the court acknowledges this then states, “From now on, let’s do everything in writing and memorialized.”

Regarding the aspect of whether or not Mr. Ross will stay on as investigator, Judge Lomeli states, “The court is inclined to keep him. ...I specifically appointed him because he is familiar with the case.”

The court then talks about the prior investigator, Mr. Royce, and that Brown had directed this investigator in activities that he was unable to follow, because they were unreasonable requests to follow. Judge Lomeli states that he placed all of that on the record in June.

Judge Lomeli tells the parties, “I’m inclined to keep Mr. Ross on.”

DDA Hum replies, My only concerned is Mr. Laub be comfortable in his ability to represent the defendant. Other than that, I have no interest.”  Judge Lomeli responds, “The court will discuss it with him.”

Investigator Ross tells the court that he’s been in communication with Mr. Laub.

And that’s about it. Judge Lomeli tells the parties, “See everyone on Sept 25th.”  Judge Lomeli then addresses his clerk, David to notify the DA about the motions and to keep Mr. Ross on to work with Mr. Laub.

Douglas Gordon Bradford
After I left Dept. 107, I headed down to Dept. 103, Judge Curtis Rappe’s courtroom, where the Douglas Gordon Bradford case is being tried. Bradford is charged with August 29, 1979 murder in the death of a Canadian nursing student, Lynne Knight, 28.

I had hoped to attend more of this trial but it just didn't work out with my other responsibilities. Since I was down at the court already, I thought I would drop in. Bradford was arrested in 2009 and has been out on bond ever since. It's taken that long for the case to come to trial.


The trial kicked off with opening statements back on July 7th. Deputy District Attorney John Lewin is prosecuting the cold case. Well known defense attorney Robert Shapiro (of O.J. Simpson fame) and Sara Caplan (one of the attorney’s who originally represented Phil Spector) are defending Bradford. I remember seeing Sara Caplan testify in an evidentiary hearing in the first Spector trial. 

When I enter Dept. 103, I see a very large piece of electronic equipment and wires taped to the floor in the ante chamber. Once inside the courtroom proper, there is an area in the back row of the courtroom that is walled off with screens. There are two scruffy looking cameramen monitoring computer screens. One cameraman is wearing a baseball cap that says, “NBC Nightly News.” There are two large boxes attached to the wall above the jury box. The case is being filmed, but it’s not live streaming. The last case I’m aware of that was live-streamed from the downtown courthouse was the first Phil Spector trial in 2007.

The prosecution has rested it's case in chief and the defense case has already started. DDA Lewin is cross examining a defense expert, Mr. Rosenthal, who is a meteorologist.

In the first row of the gallery is empty except for two people, and older frail-looking couple. It's a good bet these are the parents or other family members of the victim.

More notes to come on the Bradford trial....

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.

UPDATE 1:15 PM
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
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.

Sunday
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.