Guest Entry by kathlb
Darren Mack Sentencing
Darren and lawyer talking at the table. Darren is smiling and going over papers. Checking out the audience.
He is in shackles. Now he's getting water to drink. Hey, let's get going.
Judge recognizes everyone's names. He clarifies that the motion for a stay was filed and the Supreme Court denied it. He also received two large packets of support letters for Mack from the defense.
Judge received a message last Friday saying that there were not going to be any experts called to testify about his mental state. This may shorten the hearing to one day.
Defense now trying to sneak an expert in and judge is not going for it. He said this is only for family members statements now, not experts.
The expert that the defense wants to call for Darren is Dr. Hymen. Pros. said they were not notified. Defense said they knew about him and talked to him on the phone. This affects Charla's propensity for violence. Judge said this is for sentencing not for expert testimony on this type of thing. Defense is still arguing.
Defense is reminding judge that he said they could present witnesses to speak on his behalf. Judge said not for testimony pertinent to anything other than sentencing. Prosecution is arguing against it.
Prosecution said that there is no ruling that will allow a witness to come in for Mack and trash Charla.
Judge denied the Def. request for this witness. He also said that they didn't even give the Pros. notice of this expert so they could call someone on the Pros. side. They didn't give notice...so it's denied.
Charla's mother is very upset in audience.
Mack's girlfriend sitting listening to judge with her nose in the air.
Defense still arguing. Judge says his rulings at the time of trial did not allow for this expert to testify or attack Charla. Denied.
Judge reminds that witnesses speak under oath. Mack will not be required to take the oath before speaking.
Pros. says 4 witnesses
Charla's brother, Christopher
Def says 12 witnesses and may have more:
Judge said that may be too many. He meant family.
Judge said he will allow two more besides family for Mack, no more.
Defense is still arguing for more witnesses.
Judge says no... there is no need to drag it out that long. Two days are not needed now since there will be no experts.
Pros. says that is the way he understood it also and it has been discussed with the judge and everyone. Judge said he didn't want reports from doctors; he wanted them to come in before this.
Def. said they understood he could produce anyone they want. They still want Dr. Hymen.
Judge said he could have been called before this. This is not the time to litigate the motion to withdraw plea. He said that Mack testified he understood it all at that time; he had it explained to him. Judge says no Dr. Hymen at this time.
Pros. Lally gives statement:
What is the appropriate sentencing on count two and will it run concurrently or consecutively.
Should get 40 years and also they should run consecutively.
Pros. said a man was shot and almost killed. Judge Weller. This was an attack on this judge and while he shouldn't be more important because he was a judge, he became involved due to the fact he is a judge. Going over points in the Nevada constitution. This case represents a direct and violent attack on the state and judiciary in this case. What does this call for in this case?
Justice Black has ruled that the state cannot be bullied or this type of crime against the judiciary should not be tolerated.
The defendant has done good things in his life, his family loves him, he is a good businessman. Does he deserve some consideration for this? Yes and he was allowed to enter a negotiation plea. That is all he should get and he got it.
The court should consider these things when sentencing:
Judge Weller has been victimized by Mack and also since by the press.
He cannot legally comment on those cases so he is hamstrung.
Mack maintains he is sane and that the constitution allows for the assassination of judges.
Pros. said it does NOT. This should be dealt with strongly. This all involves count two.
He states that this was a first-degree murder on count one. Premeditated as well.
Evidence of the "To-Do" list shows premeditation. The photos showed the note was on the kitchen table in a makeshift office. It was on the bottom of a stack of papers showing it wasn't done after the fact. He lists the items on the list.
The thought also entered Mack's mind to kill Sean Meader if he had seen him that day.
The timing was important of events that day. Pros. shows images to the court with time and date stamp on them.
This is after Dan saw Mack with a towel wrapped around his arm, blood on the dog. Image shows Dan's vehicle leaving with the daughter to get her out of there. (9:48)
Defendant's vehicle leaving 15 min. later. The Pros. learned from talking to witnesses some things about Mack.
One, that he had been cut by Charla and dressed the wound. He took his clothing off and showered. Dressed again and redresses his wound. Put a glass in the dishwasher.
He thought about running to the mountains. He packed a suitcase.
They knew Charla's body was moved. He rolled down the window in the Lexus, Charla's vehicle. He moved the Lexus, then the jeep. He put the knife and pistol into the Ford. He loaded the Ford with the assault rifle that he shot the judge with. He tried to clean blood and hair off of things.
He wrote this list (according to Mack) then. Def. said there was not time to do all of that in 15 minutes. The list was done before hand.
There is no suggestion of self-defense. They tried to portray Charla as a killer. Mack claimed that she was an expert in Tai Kwan Do. If they had been able to present a case in trial, they would have called her instructor. He would have testified that she accidentally broke Mack's finger in front of him practicing and they all laughed about it at the time. No malice was there.
Video will show that Mack is the aggressor in the relationship. Wants the judge to consider the fact that her head was almost severed and he drug her around on the floor. They also learned how Mack placed his knee on her neck as she was gasping for air. He also has shown no remorse for killing Charla or shooting at Judge Weller.
Pros. thinks this is very telling. No emotion on Mack’s part for any of it. He methodically describes what happened when questioned.
Victims are also Charla Mack's family including his daughter who will never have her mother back.
Judge Weller's family who wonders if he will return from work each day.
The secretary who has to still sit in front of that window every day where the shot came from and put shrapnel in her neck.
Pros. asks the court to give him 40 years to run consecutively after first count's sentencing.
End of Pros.
Defense asks for more witnesses. Judge says maybe, let's get started.
First witness sworn in for Def.
Name: Corey Schmidt -- cousin of Darren
He has known Darren all his life.
Thoughts about growing up with Darren. Darren has been a great part of his life. He can't remember anything bad Darren has done to anyone. He was a life coach and loaned people money.
There was a cabin his parents and Darren's parents built in Lake Tahoe. They went there a lot together. Lots of family gatherings.
He wanted to go to Reno and start a business...Palace Pawn shop. His parents divorced and it didn't happen. Darren went to work for the pawnshop. Corey went into the entertainment business.
He went to a karate tournament in Reno. He went to the cabin and his father wasn't there as he should be. He searched for him but couldn't find him. Then they opened the closet door and found his father had taken his own life. He called Darren. Darren told him to call 911 and came to be with him. They helped and loved him through the hard time. Darren stayed with him to comfort him. He wants to show what a good man Darren is.
He moved forward in his entertainment career. He was happy and Darren was happy for him. He became a top cruise director for Carnival Cruises. He called Darren numerous times for advice. Darren helped him. His career failed and Darren and his mother asked him to manage the pawnshop. Darren helped him get a home near him. He has cherished memories.
After the killing, things have been so hard. So much has been lost to all. Many come into the store since then and say how Darren helped change their lives in a positive way. He hopes that the judge places Darren in Carson City so his children can see him. He thanks them.
Next witness for Def:
Name: Alecia Biddenson - 38 years old, Major in the Army. She prepared a statement to read.
She has known him since 2006. She cares deeply for Darren and his children and family. States he did not plan the events of the killing. Her life is changed also due to events. She believes in God and trusts in Him. She prays she makes a difference in the lives of others.
She will share this hard time with Darren and his family. She represents herself with integrity. Others have said she is highly credible by those in the media and legal community. She has no reason to lie. She is actively trying to achieve judicial reform in Nevada.
She wrote a letter to Darren's Mom. It said that she described how she met Darren on the internet. How they worked together on judicial reform. She opened her heart and home to Darren because he is so caring. He always spoke with love and appreciation of his family. He was an involved father. She hoped to meet them someday. She hoped that the letter gave them some comfort.
She has now developed a relationship with his children. Each child supports their father. They all want to maintain a relationship with him. If they send him to the far reaches of Nevada they won't be able to visit him easily. She has never been told about a negative experience anyone has had with Darren. They tell her not to give up. She asks the court to consider the letters of support he has gotten for Darren. Also, the witnesses today. Darren has no history of this type of ting. It will never happen again. To say he has no sorrow is a gross misrepresentation of the truth. The judge must sentence him to the minimum with concurrent serving.
Have you seen him interact with his children"
Alecia: no, only what they have told me
Def: Do you know if Darren was afraid of Charla?
Alecia: He said he was.
No further questions.
Next Def. Witness:
Name: Lori Alexander - Has known Darren for 34 years.
34 years is a long time to cover, but she will try to do it quickly.
They met when they were 13. He is one of her best friends. Hard worker, compassionate, loves his children. Wants to get the most out of life. A peacefulness is in him. He has never said anything negative about anyone.
She left Reno but came to visit. Then when she moved back she stayed with them. Her husband died and Darren was there for her. He checked on she and her children often. When her mother died, he helped her also.
She could say more but she says that she is the person she is today and lives her life well because of her friendship with Darren.
Def. questions: Is he sensitive to other's feelings.
Def. Have you seen him violent ever?
Lori: Never.. not even angry
Def.: Have you ever seen Darren take the high road and not react in anger with others?
Lori: Yes, he is a talker, a man who reasons. He doesn't ever say anything negative about anyone.
Def: Do you have experience with Darren and his wife and the divorce?
Lori: Yes, he never said anything bad about her to me. Didn't discuss any problems.
Def.: Did you see him interact with his children and if so how?
Lori: He is an excellent father and they mean more to him than anything. His main concern in his first divorce was his children's welfare.
Def: Do you know anything about him that would lead you to think he would perform a violent act?
Lori: Absolutely not.
Name: Joan Mack - Mother of Darren
Her husband died 22 years ago. Darren helped her by taking over the family business.
She could go on all day, because she was the first one introduced to her son. First child.
A wonderful experience in your first child. As he went through life as a young child, he wanted to learn and read even before going to school. He was a challenging person to teach and guide. He was sickly so she spent a lot of time with him as he grew. She had to work, but they always did everything together. They had dinner every night together. If they were invited out, the children went also. They were also included in their business. They were a mixed marriage and when Darren went into the hospital at 13, they asked him what religion he was. He said how was Mormon, Catholic, Jew. (Darren laughs at this) They were allowed to follow any religion they wanted as children. They all always believed in God and prayed every night.
As he grew he always helped others. The house was open to the children's friends if they needed somewhere to stay or whatever. In her father's family the children had to contribute to the family since they had 8 children. Her mother's family were Catholic and loved all of their grandchildren also. She thanks the Lord every night for her family. Darren went to work in the store very young. When his father died he took over the store so she could do some things that she wanted to do for relaxation.
Def.: Would you say that Darren is the type to help others or have you seen him violent?
Joan: My father always told us not to be violent but defend yourself if you had to. Darren got into a few fights in high school but usually he walked away. He got that from his father.
Def: When I first met you, you told me that you had never caught your son in a lie until you saw him take the guilty plea. Is that right?
Joan: That's right. He never lies that I have ever known. When he took the plea, he was very confused. He was lying when he took the plea.
Def: Was Darren concerned about Charla's violence?
Joan: I never knew what he had been going through until after this happened and I learned about it. I loved Charla and she was a wonderful mother. I thought they were happy. Then they had troubles.
Charla would come over and talk to me for hours. I tried to guide her in ways to help her get along with Darren. Charla said he wants to leave me. Joan told her that sometimes people were good people but not good together. She talked to Charla about a divorce and she tried to convince her to talk more and negotiate so they didn't spend a lot of money on lawyers and the court system. But Charla went with her attorney and the court system. So Joan stepped out.
Def: Darren just told me that you had a conversation with Charla where she said that she didn't care about money, but she wanted him to pay in other ways. Did that happen?
Joan: Yes, she said she wanted him to pay. But she wanted money also... her lawyer told her she should get what she deserves. Joan told her what she deserves and what is there, might be two different things.
Def: Can you say that you have seen him violent like he was with Charla as charged?
Joan: No of course not. He was always talking self-defense.
Def: Was he a good father?
Joan: Yes and so was Charla a good mother. To all of the children. Darren was fortunate in finding women who were wonderful mothers. He still has an insight with his children and a communication with them that's amazing.
Def: Were you here when you saw a photo of Darren naked with his daughter.
Joan: I was but I didn't look. That is nuts.
Def.: Did you think it was inappropriate?
Joan: NO... she was a baby. I don't understand that. Charla took the photo. If we were in Europe, it wouldn't mean anything. That's insulting to show that like the prosecution did.
Def.: Do you think the pros. has been insulting to Darren?
Joan: Yes, it's hurtful. He has admitted to killing her and I can hardly believe it knowing the type of man he is. His little girl needs to be protected from this. The media wanted to get on the bandwagon and it got out of hand in the media. I had to get lawyers to protect myself from the media with my son.
Def.: Would you like to see your son get a jury trial?
Pros. Yes, it's all he's ever wanted; a jury of his peers.
Judge: How many children does he have...their names and ages?
Joan: She tells him. When he started his divorce with Charla, he came to me and asked me to come back into the store so he could concentrate on that.
Judge: Is he a college grad?
Joan: Yes, he was also a good baseball player but he got hurt and couldn't play any more.
Judge: Thank you that is all. We will now have 10 minute recess.
Name: Gary Silverman
He is a lawyer in Reno. He practices Divorce law. He knows Darren for a long time. He represented Darren in the divorce against Debra Ashlock.
Judge: Mr. Mack do you waive any client attorney privilege?
Silverman: I represented Darren in the divorce which went on for three years. We fought with Ms. Ashlock for three years. I thought she was the most cunning and ruthless person I have ever encountered.
Pros.: I object on this your honor.
Judge: Proceed but try and keep it to the facts.
Silverman: We were trying to keep her from relocating during that proceeding. During that time Darren wanted to always do the right thing. We had several moments in that case, during which the client had to make a decision to follow the high road. Darren always did. Darren and Charla were seeing each other during that time. She attended some of the conferences and we all went to dinner sometimes.
Def: When Darren made factual statements could you rely on them?
Silverman: Usually you can't trust your clients. They will not always tell you the truth. We never found Darren to lie to us.
Def: Would you say that it's unusual to have a client like that?
Silverman: Not unusual, but not routine.
Def: What was Charla like?
Silverman: She was smart and really, really cunning.
Def: Have you seen Darren lose his temper?
Silverman: I have seen him angry...dealing with Ms. Ashlock, it was hard not to. He always kept his cool as much as possible.
Def. Was Darren ever afraid of Charla?
Silverman: When we were working together they were so much in love. But about a third of the way into the marriage Darren came by the office and told me that he was afraid to go to sleep because he thought that Charla might stick a knife in him. She loses it and has a terrible temper. He said that twice to me. Two different times. He was very afraid of her.
Def: Is there anything else you want to say?
Silverman: I don't know what happened; I understand there is a guilty plea and that the court is going to decide a sentence. Your Honor, I feel that Darren Mack is worthy of redemption and he's a kind soul. And if God created this world with mercy and this is where is should be applied. Charla was a good gal and he killed her but I know you'll do the right thing.
Judge: Had the divorce and Ms. Ashlock already occurred?
Silverman: Yes, I didn't represent him in that...but in relocation proceedings where she wanted to leave the state.
Judge: You lost that right?
Silverman: Yes, but we delayed the verdict for a while.
Judge: thank you that's all.
Name: John Metzker
Def. What type of businesses do you own?
John: Gaming clubs in Las Vegas and Reno.
Def.: Are you a friend of Darren’s?
John: Yes. I will tell you about the Darren Mack I know. I met him out of college at a gaming house. We worked together over the years concerning downtown businesses. I spent time at the store he ran and came to know everyone. He was a fair boss and employees were content. I bought jewelry there and always had good results and good follow-up. Darren was fair and insisted on honesty. I think this was instilled in him, by his mother. This is the businessman, but the other Darren is a friend.
We traded books since we both read, talked about our families. I talked with him last while he was in jail. He fully believed that he would be acquitted. I think that's why he came back from Mexico. I came to know him well, like a father. I have never heard him speak ill of another person. He turns the other cheek. He loves all children and is ethically honest. He laughs a lot and is a good father. He is a well-respected member of our community. I hate to have to be here but I wanted you to know him as I do.
Judge: Thank you for your time. You can step down.
Name: Joey Mack - son of Darren - age 19 - California State Univ.
Def: Do you love and respect your father?
Joey: Of course. June 12 was the absolute worst time for me. I lost my step mom and can't spend time with my Dad. Not being able to hug your dad or say goodbye to your step mom is the worst thing in my life. (Tears flow) I have always respected him. He has helped so many in and out of the pawnshop. His main focus is to help others. He also spent time working in the Landmark unification program. I saw lots of people's lives change due to this. Mine too. I used to fight with my sister and now we have a great relationship and that's due to my Dad. I saw him help others in this course also. One old man didn't like him...he said he didn't like him after the course. My dad sat down with him and they talked and when they were done, he was smiling. He spoke to me when he left and said it's because of your dad that I now realize what I was doing wrong in my relationship.
He was under a tremendous pressure from Judge Weller. He said you have no idea how it feels to work your whole life and then due to an order by a corrupt judge you can't send your kids to college.
I loved my step mom. But Dad told me not to go to her house because he thought she might hurt me to get to him. I did see her haul off and smack him in the face at an airport.
One time her dog jumped on me and knocked me down and was licking me. She jumped on me and screamed not to ever hit and do that to the dog again.
She has screamed at others too. I feel really bad for her family and I loved Charla too and am so sorry for your loss. (Directs his words to Charla's mother) I think I can step back though and since I loved them both I can see things as they are. I know you, her family, are in pain and I think you are just finding someone to blame and that's my father. I understand that and I'm sorry for you.
Pros.: I object to him talking to Charla's mother your Honor.
Judge: Please just keep your statements to your feelings about your father.
Joey: Okay. I ask that my father just get the minimum because he needs to be out helping people. I also want to show you some pictures of he and his children. I love my Dad and I can't even think about going through my life without him. (more tears)
Judge: Is this your sister in this picture?
(both son and Darren are crying)
Def.: Is there anything else you want to say?
Joey: I could go on and on but I've basically summed it up.
Judge: Thank you Mr. Mack, here are your family photos back, you may step down.
Name: Landon Mack - Darren's brother
Def: Would you like to talk about your brother?
Landon: That's a tough act to follow there. I just want to discuss qualities of honor, integrity, truthfulness...a lot of big works. But to speak of this in a system and use those terms with no reference of anything like that in this system is hard. I am upset with this Nevada court system. Those aren't just words. They are instilled in you. People can use them and live by them or just use them as words. So far, all I've seen of the court system is that they are just words with the courts.
Def: During your growing up have you ever seen your brother torment anyone?
Landon: Being brothers, we tormented each other often. But others, no.
Def.: Is he honest
Def. Is he respected by others and members of the business community and given loans on a handshake?
Landon: Yes. It's always been that way with our family. They know they will get their money back. It started with my Grandfather and still goes.
Def: Do you know Bob Tapadino?
Landon: Yes, Darren went to him and told him he was having to declare bankruptcy. He was left with nothing after Judge Weller's ruling. He is going to help him.
Def.: Have you worked with Darren in the pawnshop?
Landon: Yes, he helps others and those who are homeless. He would give money right out of his pocket.
Def: Have you ever seen Darren be violent with a woman?
Landon: No. I have seen him with a lot of women while we grew up over the years (names them) and never was he violent.
Def.: Is there anything else you want to say?
Landon: It's just a surreal thing. It's been a very appalling adventure watching the prosecution and judges and attorneys who have represented him -- trash him.
Def: Anything else?
Judge: Okay we will now take our lunch break and get started again a little before 2 pm.
Darren led out of the courtroom in chains and handcuffs.
Pros: Judge I don't understand, the Def is attempting to serve Mr. Freeman with a subpoena, I don't understand this and ask that they can't do this.
Def.: We may or may not call him.
Judge: We will have to wait and see the proffer of truth. We shall see after that.
Def calls next witness:
Name: Mark Stone
Def: You live here in Reno and know Darren?
Mark: Yes I've known him for 4 years.
Def.: Please go ahead
Mark: Darren is a graceful and exuberant friend. I am thankful for everything he has taught me and shown me. I am afraid of the things I will miss out on if he is now here. I know he influenced me and helped me become who I am.
Def: What involvement did you have with Darren?
Mark: I worked for him for three years and he taught me everything I know in business in gemology. He has influenced me greatly.
Def: Did you work with him here in the store?
Def: Anything else you'd like to say?
Judge:You may step down
Name: James L. Kelly
Def: What do you do for a living?
James: I am a lawyer
Def: Did you ever come before Judge Weller?
James: Yes, I had a divorce case before him.
Def: Can you tell us about that?
Pros: We object Your Honor, can we approach?
At the bench with Judge, Pros and Def.
You are excused Mr. Kelly.
James: Thank you
Name: Darren Mack
Def: I'd like him to have some documents your Honor
Def.: Darren I'd like to begin by saying you heard the testimony by Gary Silverman, the former divorce lawyer. Can you explain if he was going to testify at the trial?
Darren: Yes, but he backed out and said he wouldn't come forward and say anything good about me.
Def.: Anyone else?
Darren: Yes, they told me Lori wouldn't come forward either. I didn't believe them. My mom is still getting letters from people who want to come forward on my behalf.
Def: Let's start about your trip to Mexico.
Darren: First of all the nice things that my family said about Charla Mack I want to reinforce about her. My children loved her and I endorse all the good things about her. There was another side that not everyone was aware of about Charla. I don't want to sit here and say there was nothing nice about her, just as there are two sides to me also. I have lived my life for 47 years trying to enforce my truthfulness. There are so many things the Pros. have twisted and lied about me that I felt I need to set the record straight. They are all liars. They have tried to paint this, as it not is.
Def: You are fully aware that the Pros. is arguing that both of these things were premeditated.
Darren: Yes, I was forced into that plea. I had $700.000 in a pre-pension plan. I had to go to Smith Barney and I could have gotten $400,000 out of that account. About the bag... I don't know of anyone who can get together all of the Tupperware containers back and then murder someone. She asked me to get the Tupperware back.
Def. Tell me about the hearing with Judge Weller.
Darren: He enforced my paying against all law and reason. I said I would take care of her but let me go back and do that. Weller said now that I have ordered you to pay a million dollars now go and sit with Charla and negotiate. He also said to me "Do you want to go forward with this or just fight?" Which was prejudiced. Weller then took that back. Charla stood in front of the judge and said she was afraid and I threatened to killer. All this was happening in the courtroom at that time. When we left my attorney said, if you ever had a chance to get out of Chuck Weller's court you have an opportunity due to his comment about wanting to fight. This was the first time I had a ray of hope to get out of there and my other lawyers were convinced that I was going to get the things overturned and get a new judge. This was the first time in a year I felt relief. He had already forced me into Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Def: You were ordered how much to pay at that time?
Mark: The truth is $44.000 a month was my income. Charla had no income. Weller said you refuse to give her that bit when you make that much money? He goes on to describe their income, which amounted to him being left with a bit each month. It forced him into bankruptcy. I lost my storage units; I lost a ton of things.
This was portrayed in such a way I couldn't wait to take the stand and clear up these lies. His orders were outrageous. After bankruptcy he wouldn't change the money figures either.
Def: What about supervised visitations?
Darren: At our first meeting it was off the record. So was my being forced into a plea...but it was off the record. I sat down with Charla and lawyers to discuss custody and who would live in the home. Weller said I will tell you what I have decided and you can try and talk me out of it. I pleaded with him to change the amounts. I begged him not to take me down financially. He said he was going to do it. I decided that if it came to money or my children, I will take being with my children. Weller said to Charla, I'm going to give him enough rope to hang himself. If he doesn't follow procedure, you come back to me.
Charla also threatened to kill my first wife. Another person also heard that. And she has threatened my life. I think she had borderline personality. Which explains the wonderful person she was but also the person she was behind closed doors. I asked for a drop-off for my daughter at a neutral. Weller said no, you will go to each other's homes to pick up and drop off. She also was going to tell everyone I was abusive to her during the marriage and I was told she would win even if it was a lie. A mutual restraining order was going to be filed. It wasn't filed by Sean Meader.
Def.: On June 12th were you looking forward to seeing your daughter?
Darren: Yes, we were going to camp and frog hunting and celebrate Father's Day the next week. I was expecting Charla to drop off my daughter that morning.
Def: What about Dan not being in your life much?
Darren: I hadn't seen him in 20 years and he hadn't been there that long.
Def: Charla came over that morning right?
Darren: Yes Erica came over with Charla. Dan was there too. Sparkles the dog was with them too.
Def: Darren, you run a pawn broking store right?
Darren: I run a number of them.
Def: You have a concealed weapon permit right?
Darren: Yes, I was the youngest person in that area to have one.
Def: That morning did you pick up a Derringer from your mother?
Darren: Yes, I was supposed to go shooting with Mark Stone to get our concealed weapons permit. I needed that gun to carry a small weapon in my shorts since it was summer.
Def: That gun was the one that Charla used to pull on you right? And what about the hair?
Darren: Yes... Her hair was caught in the gun and when I removed the gun from her hand, the hair was stuck in it and it was bloody. I asked my attorneys to locate the gun.
Def: Why did you come back from Mexico?
Darren: I came back to deal with the situation and tell the truth. I was concerned that I would ever get a fair trial, but I came back. I also came back to make sure that this didn't happen to other people. I wanted the truth to be told. I made arrangements to turn myself in. The other thing was that they didn't have any leads. I knew I could tell them how it happened.
Def: You went to Mexico and got some money from a friend and had no tickets to another country?
Darren" This wasn't a plan, it wasn't.
Def: When you came back were you informed that if there was a death penalty on the case that Mexico wouldn’t turn you over?
Darren: Yes, but I wanted to come back and have the truth be told. I spoke with one Mexican attorney.
He is criticizing his old attorneys now.
Darren: When I got back I talked to my attorneys and my mother and my brother and arranged to handle my turning myself in. Until someone has been through the forced plea thing you don't understand. The lawyer lied about my phone call. He picked and chose what to play from that call. The DA is illegal in recording me.
Darren is criticizing the former lawyers again and what they told him and how he feels they tricked him and lied about many things. He fired the first lawyers and his brother hired Chesnoff and the other. He said I don't want any deals; I want to take the stand.
Def: If the judge gave you the chance for a low sentence would you take it now and accept a plea?
Darren: No. If he offered me one year, I wouldn't take it. They told me I had to take the plea of murder; I had no choice. It wasn't a "factual" statement of murder.
Judge: We're getting into some litigation things. We need to get back on track on what Mr. Mack thinks a sentence should be thank you.
Def: We're going to be arguing that I have never had a client that wants to withdraw his plea.
Judge: I understand that but you are going back through things that have no bearing on this sentencing.
Def: He wants to address what he feels is material in these statements.
Judge: He has addressed this before. Now is the time to tell me about these two events and the sentencing, not the fact that he wants to withdraw his plea.
Def: I don't think Darren was allowed to contradict the testimony of his lawyers.
Judge: It was your decision to put him on first. This is NOT the issue for sentencing, move on.
Def: Okay. Darren, talk to us.
Darren: I think I started that this was all about disparaging Charla Mack. It's not. It's about telling both parts. The one I fell in love with and married and the other one too. We're missing some things... I lived with Charla for 10 years. I know about her good side. They don't know what went on behind closed doors. She had threatened my life. She had a disorder. Someone can be brilliant and help others and still have this black side that no one knows about. I don't want to take away from the good about her. But there is the other side, I saw her do this to my first wife and her husband. She wanted to destroy Debbie. I told her it wasn't about that; it was just about the kids. I want the whole truth to come out. She had no governor on her feelings. She overreacted. Normal people don't do that.
I went to the police twice, I went to the battered woman's shelter. I spoke to Judge Weller, a police officer, the governor's wife...lots of people about this for help. She told me to get an attorney and try to deal with it. I also spoke to some senators about this judicial thing. Our legislation is out of whack. We need to change this. Weller is committing extortion in his courtroom.
Pros: This is not fair; Judge Weller is not allowed to respond.
Judge: I understand, but publicly someone can talk like this, as judges we have to have thick skins. Mr. Mack, go ahead.
Darren: (to Pros) were you in the room with me when Chuck Weller when he threatened me? You have no clue. There are suits filed against him. He has broken election laws; he has tampered with a juror. Why would we want to hide this and harm our citizens? I'm not making this up. Many have testified that he is and has done these things. Mr. Lally, how many have to come forward before you believe this?
Judge: Please confine your statements to the facts here on sentencing.
Darren: Notes are missing from Mr. Freeman's files that showed things about the gun. I went to 50 different attorneys while I was in Chuck Weller's courtroom for help. There were criminal acts by Sean Meader and Chuck Weller and I recorded things from Charla. I also wore my bulletproof vest whenever I had to meet with Charla. It isn't like I was trying to get leverage. I wanted to get it resolved. I went to Charla... I offered her 1.2 million and she was dead set on a war. I read on how to divorce a borderline personality. They always want a battle. They won't listen. Annihilate the opposition.
Def: You are worried about your daughter and a book that was give to her by Charla's mother.
Darren: All I want is for her to be okay. (Darren is crying and Charla's mother's mouth is open and in shock) Charla's mom is not well. Her mother is not well and she affected Charla. She gave my daughter a book... "Hitler's Daughter... how to deal with it when your Father is a monster". I am just pleading that my daughter gets help and is okay.
He trashes Charla family members........Pros objects.........Judge rules to stop that.
Def: Let's talk about the to-do list.
Darren: The list was written after. On the list was written, "roll the window down for dog" and how would I know that before. She had never brought the dog before but she did that day since she had to take him somewhere. The other list I liked. That was the list after the extorted agreement where he told me that I needed a million dollars. I said I didn't have it. He said he was going to put me in jail then. If you don't have a million I will put you in jail. This was off the record. I said put me in jail. Then Weller said there would have to be a custody hearing then. I was making only $5,000 gross at that time. Weller said get a million from your mother or I'm going to charge you $8100 a month. Sean Meader was standing there with Charla and he said if you settle this and get the million, Charla will not object to joint custody. I talked to Les Shaw and he said are you okay with that? I said yes...I found the money, did the tentative settlement agreement. Then we went to Judge Weller's office and they had just put on for a full custody hearing after I agreed to the million for no custody fight. I was planning on fleeing the country and that's what the first list was about. I was being forced into that. Charla threatened him with taking him down.
Def: Chesnoff told the jury that your brain was fried and you told them that you said some men commit suicide over this. And this is what that came from...the article Charla showed you where they ruined a man like this and that’s what she was going to do to you?
Darren: Yes, and I gave this all to the lawyers ahead of time. Weller could have put me in jail like this man for life.
Def: Chesnoff said to the jury that you were delusional and yet he had the article you gave him right. Also that you thought you were Benjamin Franklin.
Darren: Yes, and I equated that being a patriot. I thought that was a good thing. I talked to a doctor concerning my mental state. They discussed pleading temporary insanity. I couldn't understand that.
Def: Is there anything else you'd like to address?
Darren: There are a lot of things. Let's see. I think some of the things that lend weight to this are the things that have happened since the first shows such prejudice toward me. Anyone who would work this hard to make sure that the truth doesn't come out...the pros. lawyers... if you really buy that I meant that, then I have a bridge I want to sell you. He stole my choice in that matter. I had no choice; Freeman broke my will. The other thing is, everything I have in my statement has been pretty much corroborated.
Darren claims that they belittled him and forced him into taking a plea. And they did it to another guy also.
Def: Def marks an exhibit.
Darren: This is a request for a new bed due to my sore back. It paralyzed me. I sent this to the Dr. I didn't get a response. You have just heard businessmen tell you I'm credible. If I were in that much pain on day 2, I pled on day 27. I didn't sleep for two nights before the plea I was in so much pain.
The pros. proved the actions and not the intent.
Def: Did you ever go to Cabo San Lucas?
Def: What about the rental car?
Darren: I got the car rented because my mother was taking my daughter somewhere and I needed to go to the shoot.
Def: Darren you have plenty of time, what do you want to say?
Darren: Let's assume for the moment since 5 of the last 6 Dr.’s have said I'm not insane. Let's assume that I'm sane. Why would I come back from Mexico and face a death penalty after knowing how corrupt the system is here. Why would I come back when I didn't want to and tell a lie? I want to address the Pros talking about the constitution this morning. It is supposed to be independent. The checks and balances are in there, but the judge’s fold to those who pay the most to their campaign contributions. It's wrong. It's not fair to work that way.
Def: How did you feel when Charla pulled the trigger on you?
Darren: I don't know how to describe the fear when that happened. Another thing I wanted to address. I have spent my life trying to do the right thing. It kind of gets to the point where you think if they are trying to work so hard to discredit me, why? I think they tried to get me to take the plea up front. The Pros. didn't ask me questions like about the Ben Franklin statement. I could have set them straight. Like the Tai Kwan Do statement. I never told them she was accomplished in Tai Kwan Do. I would have told them that. If I had taken the stand, it would have been very embarrassing to them.
Def: When Chesnoff said all of that to the jury how did you feel?
Darren: I would like to bring up the whole things about ecstasy. I never took drugs only marijuana in high school once in awhile. Charla's mom suggested we take ecstasy, she said it might help our marriage. I accepted to do it to try. We went to another country to do that. Over those 100 pills we took most were in another country so we wouldn't violate the laws of our country. It was wonderful as it allowed us to have peace with each other. Only six or seven trips where we did that. I am not brain fried, that's all it was. It's been blown out of proportion. It was just to get along with Charla while she was in that state.
Man alive! This guy is totally out of his mind!
Def: Darren, Derek Knox is in the jail with you? Please address that.
Darren: I told him what happened and he already knew. I said Chesnoff will lie and I want you to help me. Please hide in the attorney meeting room in a cabinet and listen if he lies. He would be a witness. Ultimately it didn't happen. But I wanted him to witness if he lied. Derek would have heard that. Chesnoff said I was like Don Quixote and I should stick with the plea. He also told me an earthquake could happen and the prison would open up and free me. But Derek wasn't free to be in there and hear it for me. He was threatened that if he did testify for me he would never get released. I thanked the Pros. for being professional even with the misstatements. I never thanked them for the plea offer. This took place in a holding cell after the plea.
Def: I want to get to how do you feel about the death of Charla?
Darren: I feel that it's a tremendous tragedy. I love her family. They are like family to me. The impact of this is my little girl doesn't have a mother; my other children don't have a stepmother. Especially Suria losing a child. I can't imagine what they have had to go through. I lost a wife too. Even though this happened I still loved her. I couldn't live with her I was afraid of her. (Charla's family is upset at this) She had threatened me with if I left her, she would kill me. She said she watched Court TV every day and knew how to get away with it. The borderline thing was annihilating me. I gave her way more than I had to money wise. The loss of Charla is one of the most sorrowful things for so many people. I love her father and stepmother and to think they have to live without Charla and the devastation must be horrible. One of the worst things must be for a mother to lose her child. There is no words. I just wish that day had never occurred.
Def.: Darren did you feel that your testimony if we had went on with the trial would have made Chesnoff look like a fool?
Pros: I object
Judge: Move on
Darren: I spent 25 years of trying to build a reputation and I still am willing to sit on the stand and talk about the acts. Why would I lie?? Why am I not given any credibility? The lawyers didn't want me to tell about the knee thing. I wanted to. We fought and went to the ground, the dog came at me and I had to protect myself from her while that was happening.
Def: They said that her head was almost severed do you want to address that?
Darren: Mr. Lally why would you lie and present it that way??
Pros: I object
Judge: Move on from that
Darren: Would you believe two attorneys who are going to get paid either way and tell their client to lie or someone like me who has everything to lose, why would I lie about it?? I'll take the consequences. I wanted the truth to come out. Set the record straight and to let everyone know about the corruption in our judiciary system.
Def: Anything else you want to say?
Darren: Going to prison now with you out here (to def) I feel much better knowing that I will have someone out here who is really working for me. I will continue to get the truth out about judges and what they do behind closed doors. I want the people to get back justice. I look at things positively. For the next few years, I will have a private office to work in.
Pros: I want to talk about this manner of killing. You have said you were in a fight for your life with Charla. You were both on the ground. It was stated that she hit you hard enough to fall to the ground.
Darren: She hit me from behind and it was shocking.
Pros: I think you said you stabbed here and she pointed the gun at you?
Darren: The gun was already in her hand.
Pros: This injury that was so forceful that took you to your knees...there were no injuries on your face were there?
Darren: No. I didn't expect to get cross-examined.
Judge: You elected to speak and they have the right to cross-examine you.
Pros: No injury was on your face right?
Darren: I didn't see any
Pros: None to your chest and back right?
Pros: No injury on your hands?
Darren: I cut myself; she didn't do that.
Pros: Charla weighed 134 lbs, right? She was 5'4" you have a longer reach, you weigh more, you were stronger.
Darren: When she got into her fighting mode she was very strong.
Pros: Where did you stab her first?
Darren: Points to his neck... I only stabbed her intentionally in the neck. I didn’t' know I stabbed her in the arm or the legs.
Pros: One of those injuries was through and through. It wouldn't have happened the way you described.
Darren: I don't know
Pros: You didn't wear a bulletproof vest that day like other times with her did you?
Pros: Do you feel there are times it's okay to be untruthful?
Darren: I don't know
Pros: You went to Mexico and left the vehicle in a parking garage
Pros: You also purchased a bus ticket
Pros: Do you remember getting a receipt for the parking garage?
Darren: You used the name Tim Nichols
Pros: When you bought the bus ticket you used the name Santini?
Pros: So you do lie sometimes
Darren: I just told them to use the name of the guy in front of me.
Pros: You criticized the Pros for saying that you didn't want Dan to drive your daughter.
Pros: Did you know that your own brother said you never allowed anyone to drive your children?
Pros: You said that you'd taken about 100 hits of ecstasy
Pros: Don't you feel like that's a lot?
Darren: It was about 6 or 7 vacations and it's not like I was brain fried.
Pros: You always took it out of the country?
Darren: Sometimes we would do it here
Pros: Isn't it true that you were playing money games with Judge Weller during your divorce?
Pros: Isn't it true that you declared bankruptcy and transferred ownership of your business to avoid paying?
Pros: Isn't it also true that you were disruptive and contemptuous in court with Judge
Pros: Isn't it strange that no one has ever seen her out of line ... only you in the privacy of your own home?
Darren:That's not true. We're going to play a CD here in a minute that will show you how she was with me.
Pros: You have used the word liar a lot today. After your divorce you accused Sean Meader and myself today and Mr. Bascus and Mr. Freeman, and Mr. Chesnoff. But isn't it true that you admitted you were untruthful to a judge?
Darren: I was under duress
Pros. No further questions.
Def: Tell us about your state of mind when you were with Judge Weller?
Darren: I was so broken down, you can ask my family. I have tried to be strong for my children. When I came back from Las Vegas, it was the hardest part of being betrayed. I wasn't sleeping. My next-door cellmate filed a complaint about no heat. I wasn't fed for a few days. You all misstate things. My blood sugar was dropped, I was so tired, that throws your whole body off. Then Chesnoff was forcing this deal down my throat. Stack all things together, back pain, no sleep, too hot, etc. Then you can't make the right decision. It was like torture. I never asked for a plea. Chesnoff pressured me. I asked them to go over my testimony and they wouldn't. Chesnoff kept pressuring. He kept saying to me that I was going to get off until the end. The moment that check was written my whole defense team abandoned me other than Freeman. I'm not going to lie. My whole statement was corroborated. Why would I change my mind at the last moment?
Def: What about the assets of ownership of your mother?
Darren: That was a lie. It was not a transfer of a share of stock. What I gave since I was forced into bankruptcy was a proxy. Do you know what a proxy is? It's just for voting. No money changed hands or stock. I have said this now for 2 1/1 years. I have all of the documentation. She wanted a vote in case there was a tiebreaker. They told me that was okay. Then they told Weller and with threat of jail I had to remove that.
Def: There was something about contempt?
Darren: Like gun control, there needs to be gavel control. Every time Judge Weller would threaten me with jail. I had it all on automatic pay. I have a record. Two things you can't mention in the courts in Nevada...the truth and proof. I never turned off the power to her house; I turned off the power to the guesthouse. She requested the power co. send her the bills. Then she didn't pay them. So the lights really did go off. She did that three times. Then Weller would have a chance to wield his gavel again. Get a CPA to go over my books. I've been begging for that.
Judge: I've heard enough on the power bill, move on.
Def.: Darren anything you'd like to add?
Darren: I just didn't know what to do. I would give anything not to have that happen. One last thing...I have proof. IF the FBI wants to get involved and investigate the judicial system, I will help them. Meader, Charla and Weller were the ones playing games.
Judge: thank you Mr. Mack you can step down.
Def.: Judge can we approach?
They are at the bench.....................
Judge: We are going to take our evening recess. I wanted the def. to wrap it up tonight. But he wants to finish tomorrow. And he wants to play a CD. We will try and finish tomorrow by lunch or 1 pm. I will render a decision tomorrow possibly after things are done tomorrow. I will see you all tomorrow.
In Session Jean Casarez exclusive interview with Darren Mack.