Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cameron Brown Retrial: Day Seven

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Prosecution Witnesses:

#16 Jeff Leslie (LA. Co. Sheriff, Co-lead Detective on the case; testimony incomplete)
#17 Linda Peterson (was Ms. Marer's roommate in 1995; testimony complete)
#18 Leena Patel (a teacher at Lauren's school who knew Lauren and Sarah; testimony complete)
#19 Leigh Ann Ormes (babysitter and family friend for Lauren from infancy until preschool and after; testimony complete)

When I arrive on the 9th floor, Patty Brown, the defendant's wife is getting a suit for her husband cleared through security. She has to fill out paperwork to get the suit to him. Inside 107, Ted is here sitting in the first row on the far left. I hear Hum come up to Sarah and tell her there will be a close up of Lauren on the overhead screen.

JP: Let's resume, if Detective Leslie could retake the stand.

There's a bit of a bustle in the well. I note that Ms. Veretsian is wearing her hair up on top of her head today. I like that better on her than when she wears it down. It looks more professional. The jurors enter at 9:03 am. It's now that I realize Alternate #1 rides the Red Line train. I've seen him on the platform. I will be extra vigilant now to ensure I'm no where near him if we happen to take the same train.

Court resumes with Detective Leslie. I see Patty sitting beside Ted. Patty takes out a notepad ans she starts to take notes.

Leslie continues with what the defendant told them about his visitation schedule with Lauren.

JL: He had visitation with her for about an year and currently no unsupervised. (It was) one day or two days a week, alternating. One week on overnight. One week 12:30 pm to 7 pm.

CH: Did you ask the defendant if Wednesday, November 8th was a day off?

There's another question that I miss.

JL: The defendant said his original intention was to, in fact, take her home where Ms. Patty Brown was expecting them. [...] (On the) ride to Abalone Cove, she had stopped crying at that point. [...] He told us she was far too energetic and that he had trouble keeping up.

He was trying to keep up with her and that he was trying to keep up (I miss the rest of the sentence.)

CH: Did he ever indicate that she had trouble keeping up?

JL: No.

There are now questions about when Brown came to the area to retrieve Lauren's body.

JL: He said he returned her (to the beach?) [...] swam back adjacent to the inlet, placed her on the rocks and tried CPR for one minute.

He took his boxer shorts off and flung them to the rocks.

CH: We saw photos of the defendant in a t-shirt and the back with a big stain.

JL: That was a t-shirt (he was wearing).

Hum asks Leslie about the 911 call we listened to on the previous Friday.

CH: That was the tape where he said he couldn't stop crying?

JL: Yes.

Hum goes over what the defendant said he did at the picnic table area.

JL: He said it was Inspiration Point that Lauren had fallen from. [...] He told us it was ten to fifteen minutes on the top with about five minutes (of the time) seated.

CH: Did he describe the area?

JL: He described it as within a "U" shaped area.

The defendant also claimed he ran on ... [...] (He) talked about the route he took to get the cell phone.

CH: How long did he say (it took him to get to the beach area)?

JL: He said it took him from five to ten minutes. [...] And the time he found Lauren face down in the water....

CH: What did the defendant claim he did (then)?

JL: He returned the cell phone from the individual he borrowed it from and that he ran as fast as he could; he went over the top (of Inspiration Point) down to the east side, down to the beach area and the water.

CH: Have you seen all the areas? [...] Was the defendant wearing the same clothing (during this)?

JL: White t-shirt and shorts and that he put his flannel shirt on at some point.

More questions about this trip over Inspiration Point to reach his daughter.

JL: I asked him if he had tripped or fallen. There were no abrasions or scratches

(I believe this is question Hum asks.) Truly for him to have been running as fast as he indicated..... there were not stains or dirt or scuff marks on his clothing?

I believe it's Detective Leslie who is stating that he himself used to compete in off-trail running and mid course terrain. Hum then has another question, where I just get the answer.

JL: I asked if he was falling. He said he was running as hard as he could but watching his (steps?) [...] I asked him if he screamed when he noticed that she went over. [...] He said no.

Leslie testifies that he and his partner, Smith both commented on this They thought this was incredible; they would have screamed. After they confront the defendant on this the defendant replies, "I think I may have called her name."

CH: Did he ever tell you that he tried to simply yell down to the people on the beach.

JL: No, he did not.

PH: Objection to the word "simply."

JP: Sustained objection to the word "simply."

Harris asks to approach the bench. He's making a motion argument. While the attorneys are at side bar, I note that Juror #12 looks around and takes note. Juror #11 takes notes.

JP: Objection overruled!

CH: Did the defendant tell you there was anything preventing him to yell down to call 911?

JL: No.

CH: Did the defendant ever tell you it was too noisy or too windy to yell down to Sacred Cove?

JL: No.

There is another question about (I think) the safety of Inspiration Point.

CH: Did the defendant ever tell you .....

JL: (He said) "The whole place is dangerous. It's nice and steep and the cliffs..."

CH: Did he ever indicate that he was unaware that the place was unsafe?

JL: No.

CH: Did he ever indicate that he was unaware that the place was dangerous?

JL: No.

CH: Any other explanation?

JL: No, that was it.

CH: Did he .... (missed getting the full question).

JL: He said, "No, he did not believe anyone else was out there."

People's #29, two photos and placed up on the bulletin board. The photos show the west side of Inspiration Point and the trail (that) goes down to the nude beach area.

CH: Towards the end of the interview, did you ask him about a camera?

JL: (It) came to our attention that he defendant took photos of his daughter during the day. It was a Ralph's brand 24-27 shot, disposable camera.

CH: When you got the film back?

JL: There were initially photos blurry or blank. Seven photos depicted the defendant with his father posing by the Suburban with surfboards. Photos of the defendant and his father outside the parents residence. There were three photos of Lauren and the remainder of the film was unexposed pictures.

The people put up the three photos of Lauren on the bulletin board and move the board to in front of the jury. Patty gets up from her seat. Ted gets up from his seat. They go towards the far right of the courtroom, third row. Judge Pastor also leaves the bench to get up and see the pictures shown to the jury. The three photos shown to the jury are enlargements from the disposable camera.

The first photo that's gone over is photo B. This picture is of Lauren in the parking lot at Abalone Cove just east of the toll booth. Photo A is right at the end of the trail where it meets with the nursery school paved road. Photo C is in the nursery school itself and Lauren is on the playground equipment. It's noted that every one of these photos is taken on an area that is flat, level ground.

Right then, I have a coughing fit and I quickly get up to leave the courtroom. When I return, more photos of Inspiration Point are being shown to the jury. Patty is still in the back of the courtroom on the far right.

While this is going on the bailiff brings in a suit of clothes. Judge Pastor speaks to the bailiff for a moment.

CH: Where the trail meets the road (parking lot) is that on the edge of any trail or bluff?

JL: (No.)

Another question is asked, as to whether or not the defendant knew the area.

JL: He said he was familiar with the area but had never been to that spot before.

A question is asked as to whether the defendant had been to the area with Lauren before.

JL: (The defendant said) No, he did not.

CH: Did the defendant ever explain to you how he knew where the archery range was?

JL: No, he did not.

CH: Is it visible from Palos Verdes Road South?

JL: No.

CH: Is it visible from Inspiration Point?

JL: No.

CH: Is it visible from the parking lot?

JL: No.

CH: Are there any signs that say archery range, this way?

JL: No, there are not.

(This was something that stood out for me when I finally got the transcript of the 911 call. The defendant told investigators he'd never been to this area before. The defendant stated in the 911 call that he was near the shooting range. If this area cannot be seen from Inspiration Point or from Palos Verdes Road, and the defendant stated he ran from Sacred Cove, over the point down to the beach and then the rocks after the 911 call, how did he know during the 911 call that there was a shooting range/archery range halfway up cliff face on the east side of Inspiration Point? From what I'm understanding of the hike the defendant took with Lauren, the first time he is ever east of Inspiration Point is when he went down to retrieve Lauren's body from the inlet.)

CH: The whole interview took three hours?

JL: Correct.

CH: Did his demeanor remain the same during the entire interview?

JL: (Yes.) Unemotional. Cold. Matter of fact.

Leslie goes onto state that he's seen a number of people, when they've learned that they've lost a loved one. "Hundreds and hundreds," Leslie states.

CH: Had you ever seen before anyone react that way?

JL: Never. Not even close.

CH: During the entire interview, did the defendant ever cry?

JL: No.

CH: Did the defendant ever sob?

JL: No.

CH: Did the defendant ever express any type of remorse?

JL: No.

CH: Sorrow?

JL: No.

CH: Did he ever take responsibility for what happened?

JL: Absolutely not.

Questions are asked about parents who lose a child, and the detective's experience as to reactions of parents that he has witnessed in his career.

JL: In my experience.... regardless of the age (of the child/victim), they (parents) try to put the blame on themselves or to take responsibility, no matter how far removed. [...] They try to blame themselves.

CH: Did the defendant do that at all?

JL: No, not at all.

CH: During that entire interview, did something surprise you?

JL: It dawned on me, two-and-a-half or three hours into the interview, he never once, not once, he never referred to her as "Lauren" or "my little girl." It was always "she" or "her."

CH: Did you confront the defendant about that?

JL: (Yes.) He said, "I know her name. It's Lauren."

CH: Did you speak to the defendant (about), that he exhibited no emotion at all?

JL: I'm sure it was more than once. (That he confronted the defendant about his flat affect.)

CH: Did you try to elicit some type of emotional response (from the defendant)?

JL: We had a Polaroid of Lauren, a face shot of her on the picnic table. We slid that photo towards the defendant at the end of the interview.

CH: People's #30 for identification.

JL: That's the photo.

The photo is put up on the overhead screen. It's not a great photo. This poor child looks Horrible. Her face looks terrible. It's all bloody, and appears mis-shapen.

Hum asks Leslie what did the defendant do/say.

JL: He said, "Yes. That's her."

Juror #5, the black woman has her arms crossed over her chest.

CH: Did you confront him that he had to take some type of responsibility?

JL: He was told to pick up the photo (to look at it). I said to him, you have to take responsibility for this. You're the adult. (The defendant replied) "It's not my fault. She's the one who wanted to go out there. I just followed her."

The interview concluded at 3:30 am and the defendant was allowed to leave.

CH: Subsequent to that, did you make numerous attempts to contact the defendant?

JL: Many.

CH: From that point on, until his arrest, did the defendant agree to speak to you again?

JL: No.

Pastor now tells the jury a limiting instruction. The testimony is only offered for LE's attempts to contact the defendant. I believe Pastor adds something to the effect that it's not an admission of guilt, but I'm not positive.

On November 14th, Detective Leslie attempted to contact the defendant. A female voice came to the door (of Brown's residence). The female voice asked who it was. The voice stated they would have to hold on since she wasn't dressed. The detectives asked to speak to Cameron Brown. (I believe they were told Brown wasn't home.) They asked to speak to Mrs. Patty Brown. Either Brown or Mrs. Brown provided the detectives with business cards for two different attorneys. I believe my notes say that either Brown or his wife told detectives, "If the relationship is going to be long term, you could go through them (counsel)."

CH: Did you keep those cards?

JL: Yes I did.

Hum goes back to the 911 call.

CH: I believe you told us as a deputy sheriff, at one point in your career you were assigned to handle 911 calls. Approximately how long did you do that?

JL: On complain dep(artment?) before I got out into the field. My prior duties in that capacity was to handle 911 calls.

CH: Approximately how many?

JL: I handled thousands.

CH: Was there something the defendant didn't say in that 911 call that struck you?

JL: Hurry up.

CH: Explain.

JL: in every "righteous" emergency, you always hear, "hurry up." (Or send someone fast, hurry up.) The people on the line don't know that we've already dispatched someone to that location, but you always hear the request, "hurry up."

Late in the afternoon of November 8th, 2000, he and his partner went to Inspiration Point to investigate the death.

CH: Explain how the calls are assigned.

JL: Sheriff's Homicide Desk is manned 24/7 by 2 investigators. There are six squads within the bureau [...] pairs of teams, that have sister teams, that switch off. Our team was next in line (to take the next call).

This would be for homicide and deputy involved shootings. If there is a natural death, no suspicious cause with a doctor to sign (the death certificate?), the bureau calls to homicide would not role out to that location/call.

CH: How about a drive-by shooting?

JL: That is a team response.

CH: What about at the desk, where it's unclear as to the determination?

JL: That's a one officer call response.

The way the Homicide Bureau operates on dispatching officers is explained further.

JL: If you can conduct an investigation as a one person, and you can finish that investigation within an eight hour response (then the investigation stays with that one officer) [...] Otherwise, the call is assigned to an investigation team.

Detective Leslie and his partner were in the office finishing up on a previous call, when the call came in about Lauren's fall from the cliff. They were the next on-call team up. When they were in the office, they could see that the incident was on the news (already). Also, additional information was coming into the office. Leslie and his partner were sent out as a team so that Detective Martinez was not saddled with the investigation all by herself. Additionally, Detective Leslie had previously investigated a suicide at Inspiration Point and that was part of why he and his partner ended up being sent. Leslie was familiar with the location. Leslie's partner, Smith is currently retired and living in Idaho. He provided Smith's current location and contact information to the defendant's defense team.

Leslie and Smith headed out to Inspiration Point around 5:30 pm.

CH: At that time, did you know what type of investigation it was, a homicide or accident?

JL: No. [...] They took two cars to the location and got there at about 6:30 pm. [...] It was dark when we arrived. [...] We originally went to the archery range and spoke to two handling patrol deputies. (Leslie mentions their names, but I miss writing them down.)

CH: You went down to the archery range, on the south side... on the east side of Inspiration Point, the San Pedro side?

JL: That's correct.

CH: (Were) Officer's Brothers and Gerness (sp?)....

Detective Leslie saw the officers at that time, and the defendant. The victim's body had already been covered with a sheet.

CH: Why did you first speak to the deputies?

JL: (Standard procedure?) That's (to obtain) general information from the (officers at) the crime scene. We always gather that first before proceeding.

Leslie states he probably talked to the on scene officers for 20-25 minutes but excused himself from that (Smith continuing) and went to talk to the defendant.

CH: Did you see what the defendant was doing?

JL: He wasn't doing much of anything. Just standing around. [...] It's an awkward situation to be in. Many times family are present (at a crime scene), and just to carry on with one's activities and not speak to family.... [...] You're in charge of the investigation and you have to tell them that you will get to them.

CH: And that's why you went over to the defendant?

JL: Yes.

The defendant didn't ask any questions of the detective.

At the scene of Lauren's death, Leslie states the defendant was cooperative. He exhibited the same, indifferent, non-emotional demeanor.

CH: Did you speak with the defendant for some time?

JL: A few minutes, yes.

CH: Were his (answers?) to your questions normal? (Normal tone? ???)

JL: Yes.

CH: How far from him were you?

JL: We were standing next to each other.

CH: When speaking, was he maintaining eye contact with you?

JL: Yes.

CH: Was he looking off at any time?

JL: No.

CH: When you were talking to him was he crying?

JL: No.

CH: Was he sobbing?

JL: No.

CH: Was he upset?

JL: No.

CH: Did he appear to be confused?

JL: No.

Hum asks if the defendant agreed to be interviewed.

JL: He said he would go back to the station with them.

CH: Did he ever ask if he could go back to his daughter and say goodbye?

JL: No.

CH: Did that seem unusual to you?

JL: Yes.

CH: (Explain.)

JL: (In his prior experience) parents want to hold the baby, wrap the baby. (They don't want to let go of their child.)

Hum asks Leslie if there was something the defendant was concerned about.

JL: He mentioned he left his car in the lot. [...] He didn't want to leave his car in the lot. He mentioned his surfboards. Originally, I was going to have the car towed, but ended up arraigning to have the car driven by another officer to the Lomita Station.

CH: Did the defendant say anything about the media?

JL: Yes. [...] And wishing not to be filmed or seen on TV.

A Sargent drove them back to Lomita Station.

CH: Explain what happened at the transport to move the defendant.

JL: At the archery range at the to of the road (at Palos Verdes Dr. S), he pulled the shirt over his head. [...] When we got to the top of the road, he pulled the hands (sleeves?) and shirt over his face and kind of ducked his head.

What comes next is virtually every photograph we've seen so far comes out and Detective Leslie goes over every photograph and explains what we are seeing. It's a very good description and narrative. I note that Patty's notepad is on the ledge of the short wall dividing the well from the gallery. As the easel comes out to put up the photos, Patty and Ted get up to move to the far right of the room and see the photos. For the moment, Pastor is on the bench then he leaves the bench to go over and stand just outside the jury box in the aisle just beside it. Ted goes back to his seat, but I believe Patty stays to see the photos again. Since I've heard many of these photos described before, I don't take any notes. A defense clerk comes over to the back right corner of the courtroom also.

I look on over at the jury. #8, #9, #10 all have their arms crossed. The male jurors are just watching the descriptions, explanations by the detective. Same for the back row. All the jurors appear to be attentive. Two of the alternates take notes.

Leslie states that he has seen in the past vehicles on Portuguese Point, but the road is gated. He states that Portuguese Point is generally a safe area. Leslie states that at one point out at the end of Portuguese Point there was a structure. It was a house built for a movie set. It was a full sized, single family house. Leslie describes the fence around Portuguese Point.

JL: It's a pipe fence, three rails intersected with posts. The top of the fence is chest height, about four feet.

There are warning signs that indicate do not cross over the fence; dangerous conditions. Leslie states that he has been on both Portuguese Point and Inspiration Point. Both points would offer the same view. Leslie describes how one would travel from Portuguese Point to Inspiration Point and back up to Palos Verdes Drive South. He give an explanation to another short-cut route, and even reading my notes I'm not following what he said. Something about crossing a fence by a rock wall.

The morning break is called at 10:30 am. The jury files out. Brown appears to be making a little motion with his hand, looking towards his wife. He shapes his fingers of his hand into what appears to be a "C" shape. I note that slender framed Hum is wearing a stylish tie with baseballs on it. His suit looks to be a bluish-gray with a white shirt.

10:45 am: Court resumes. In Pastor's court, the breaks are right on, fifteen minutes. In Fidler's courtroom, sometimes the breaks would stretch to 20 or 25 minutes. I observe Pat Harris speaking to his clerk. He puts his legal notepad in front of his face while he whispers to her. Ted and Patty are back inside 107. We are waiting on a lost juror, #7. Pastor informs the jury that they are going to go long (maybe until 12:15?) and lunch will go until 1:45 pm, when they will be due back. Patty comes back over to the right side of the courtroom with her notebook while Detective Leslie explains more photos showing the terrain of Inspiration Point.

You go through heavy brush that is not quite a canopy. The width of the "bottle-neck" is deceiving. It's maybe 20-30 feet. At one point the trail is very close to the east side of the cliff. It comes quite close.

CH: How much space between the trail and the east side at the bottle-neck?

JL: Inches.

There is now a fencing at the bottle-neck. At the time of the incident, there was no fence. In November, 2000, there was grass, sagebrush, twigs coming straight up, sticks coming up knee high or higher. The end of the point is hard packed soil with loose soil on top.

The southeast portion area, that juts out farther. It goes downward, in a "U" shape and protrudes out towards the ocean.

CH: That U shape, was that the point that Lieutenant Erickson hand circled in red?

PH: Objection!

JP: Overruled!

JL: Yes.

CH: Did you measure the distance from the Abalone Cove parking lot to where Inspiration Point meets the road?

JL: Nine tenths of a mile along Palos Verdes Road South.

Leslie is asked how far is the distance from the parking lot down the trail to the nursery school, then along trails to Inspiration Point. Leslie indicates they used a device to measure traffic incidents.

PH: Objection!

JP: Sustained! (I'm not sure exactly what question and answer is stricken, since Leslie is able to give the distance and that's on the record.)

JL: 7,500 feet; approximately 1.5 miles.

Leslie also measured from Palos Verdes Drive South to the end of Inspiration Point. It's 1,200 feet. The path from Inspiration Point to the archery range is discussed as well as other paths along the east face of Inspiration Point.

JL: ...Can also travel to the bottleneck. There is a trail that drops down to the archery range and (archery range) parking area.

The defendant stated he removed the body from the inlet on the east side. There's no way to get to the body from Sacred Cove without swimming through the first inlet, climbing over rocks then get to the second inlet that goes under Inspiration Point into a cove.

People's #21 is presented. Photos of the parking lot, Inspiration Point and Portuguese Point. Leslie made marks on the photos at a prior proceeding. PL, PP, IP, and playground (PG).

Hum walks the photo along the jury box. Hum always looks solemn, serious, contemplative.

Peoples #22, more photos of the parking lot, preschool and playground that were marked in the same manner as people's 21. Harris goes over to the defense table and goes through some papers. Brown is in a typical posture, sitting back with his left elbow is leaning on the defense table.

People's #6, more photos of the same general areas looking from different directions. Detective Leslie explains and points out significant landmarks. Sarah has several new girlfriends in the court room supporting her today.

It's 11:15 am and the photos keep coming. People's #12, aerial photo of Inspiration Point, running along the lower portion of Sacred Cove, the beach area rocks, portion of Palos Verdes Drive South and dirt road access to the archery range. In the center of the photo, you can see the inlets and where the water runs under the coves. I note that the three photos of Lauren the defendant took are still up on the bulletin board against the back wall by the jury room. The people are presenting all the photo evidence directly in front of the jury on an easel.

People's #17, more photos. This is an image taken from the north direction showing Inspiration Points, the trail on Inspiration Point, the trail coming from Sacred Cove and where it meets the bottle-neck. Leslie describes several other landmarks.

People's #4, six photos A-F. At 11:17 am, Ted gets up to look at these photos then goes back to his seat.

People's #23, five photos A-E. I notice that Ms. Veretsian is working on a laptop at the defense table. Ms. Kim, for a moment, looks very contemplative at the prosecution table. Now they are presenting the photographs of Saad Omar at Portuguese Point. Brown is now sitting forward at the defense table, looking down or writing something. I can't see his hands.

Another set of photos. Now Brown sits back, leaning back in his chair, his fingers interlaced in front of him. Ted looks like he is trying to stay awake. His right arm is leaning on the back of the bench row and his head is resting on his arm.

Another photo exhibit. Harris goes over to the defense table to speak with his co-counsel.

People's #11, two photos. Harris is back at the front of the jury box to observe the prosecution present the photos, then he's back to the defense table again. After a few moments, he's back looking at photographs.

People's #38 (?). Photos of the west side of Inspiration Point and the Sacred Cove beach area.

People's #24, photos A-C. These are taken on the top of Portuguese Point. You can see the three rail fence and the danger signs. Leslie confirms that these warning signs were there on Portuguese Point in November, 2000.

People's #25, two photos. These are more aerial shots. One is looking over the top of Inspiration Point and the other is looking over the top of Portuguese Point.

Hum asks the witness some questions before he presents more photos. When Leslie was at the archery range, he states that he saw Lauren's body before the coroner removed it. He describes what she was wearing. Purple pants, long sleeved purple top, a white t-shirt underneath. She had on white socks, white panties, purple barrettes in her hair and a scrunchy in her hair. Her right tennis shoe was on the table off of her foot (to the left of it?). The tennis shoe was completely laced.

Leslie went out to the rocks to see if he could find any evidence on the rocks. He noted some items. He noted and collected a pair of blue boxer shorts and white underwear briefs and two cigarette butts. There was a small volume of apparent blood and brain matter on the rocks adjacent to the inlet.

There are photos of these items.

#1. Boxer shorts
#2. White briefs
#3-4. Cigarette butts
#5. Blood and tissue matter

Normally, they would try to take measurements of where items are in relation to each other and other landmarks but that was not possible. So what they did, was take a can of orange spray paint and paint the rocks (with circles?) and a corresponding number to what they found where.

Then there are photos of the items collected. These items are documented in photographs A-E.

Leslie states that they didn't know if all this evidence had a relation to the case (the cigarette butts?) but they marked and collected it.

Photo E is a close up of the blood and tissue with placard #5.

People's #26, A-E photos. A is an aerial photo. Ted gets up and returns to his seat. I can't see the photos to see if the rocks are directly below where the defendant said Lauren fell.

Rocks at the base of Inspiration point you can see the orange numbers. In the next photo described, Leslie states that's Detective Smith at the top of Inspiration Point and Leslie states his former parterner is 6 feet, 1 inch tall.

People's #27 A-E photos. Photo A is of a cell phone, the date and time when photos taken. Photo of the eastern inlet. I can't see any of these photos. Harris is standing directly in front of me.

Leslie is now back in his seat at the witness stand. He left Inspiration Point sometime around midnight. The site was secured by uniform deputy sheriffs. Two deputies were stationed on Palso Verdes Drive South throughout the night. On the night of November 8th, 2000, they did not go out onto Inspiration Point. It would have been too dangerous, even with flashlights. It would have been haphazard to dangerous. The detectives went to Inspiration Point the following day. The scene was still secured by deputies.

On 11/9/2000, he went with his partner, Detective Smith, senior criminalist Michelle Lipisto (she testified in the Spector trial) and forensic criminalist Darnell Carter (sp?), to further document the scene in daylight in particular.

CH: Describe for us the "U" shape on the southeast area that juts (out) into the (?).

In that area, Detective Leslie noticed vegetation, large brush, on the east side of the U shaped area. Leslie describes the ground.

JL: It's hard packed soil, almost like a crust on top as if dried or baked by the sun. [...] There were impressions in the dirt that looked like shoe impressions, side steps, shoe prints.

CH: Is that above the inlet area the defendant said he retrieved Lauren's body?

JL: (Yes.)

The photographer was not willing to go to that area. It was "much too dangerous." They inspected the entire south edge at Inspiration Point.

CH: What were you looking for?

JL: Anything that could be of evidentiary value. Impressions, anything that could be of value.

CH: Did you see any soil or vegetation that looked like it had been disturbed in any way?

JL: No.

CH: Sliding or slippage in any way?

JL: No.

CH: Did you see any of the sticks that were sticking up that appeared to be broken?

JL: (No.)

On November 10th, 2000, the detectives returned to the site with Michelle Lipisto and Deputy Dale Falicon. (Falicon testified in Spector and I got to meet this fine criminalist (who's also a sworn deputy) on my tour of the crime lab. Falicon gave me and Mr. Sprocket a tour of all the firearm facilities. He is a highly respected criminalist.) They also brought along an "ER" detail to further document the U shaped area.

The detectives directed Falicon to photo that area. The ER detail brought rappelling harness and ropes. They hooked Falicon in ropes, harness, then went to the U shape to take photos. They photographed in black and white and color and measurements. Falicon attempted to make casts of what were thought to be shoe impressions as well.

Detective Leslie states that at the time, they did not collect the defendant's boots. On January 2nd, 2001 a search warrant was served on the defendant for his boots.

JL: He told us they were ruined by the salt water and he discarded them.

The ER detail team rappelled down the cliff face; Terry Ascherain (sp?). Detective Leslie was on the tide pool rocks in order to assist in the rappel. He was asking Terry A. to see if he could detect anything of evidentiary value, blood, any impact that Lauren might have had with the cliff face.

CH: Did he find anything?

JL: No.

The easel is brought out again for more evidence photos.

People's #16, two photos. Patty and Ted get up to see the photos. Photo A is the top of Inspiration Point. You can see the ER detail on top of the point. You can sort of see where criminalist Falicon was working with cones. Photo B is a closer version of the U shape and the rappelling rope. Each cone in the photo represents a depression in the topsoil. To me, some of the jury looks a bit tired. It is past the noon hour. #12 takes a few notes. Patty still has her notepad.

CH: From the U shaped area on the southeast point, can you see the nude beach?

JL: No.

CH: Can you see the U shape from Portuguese Point?

JL: No.

On November 10th, 2000, Leslie and Deputy Falicon hiked from the parking lot and took the same paths (the defendant took) to Inspiration Point. They timed their route. It took 50 minutes.

CH: Did you have a four-year-old with you?

JL: We did not.

On November 15th, 2000, they returned to the area with a helicopter to document the area. It was done with a video.

People's #64, a DVD is presented.

Hum goes to a laptop (the first time I've seen one at the end of the prosecution table. It could also be just the laptop that's attached to the projection screen equipment, but I don't think so.)

As I watched the video, it brought everything into focus for me that had been discussed so far through photos, especially the "U" shape at the southeast end of Inspiration Point and how it is sloping downward. I completely understood the trails, and the relationship of the various landmarks to each other. For me, it was the best evidence to date to explain the terrain. Much better than all the photographs. It gave a much better understanding of the bottle-neck on Inspiration Point and the part of the trail that is very close to the edge of the cliff right there.

Once the video was finished, Pastor orders the jury back at 1:45pm and the attorney's a bit before that.

1:40 pm, in the 9th floor hallway. Susan Kim is waiting in the hallway also. Because I wasn't able to see the photos I ask Kim is she is allowed to tell me where the blood and tissue matter was in relation the the area above (on top of the point). She tells me that she can't, but that will come out in expert testimony. I tell her I totally understand. She then says, "That's a very good question."

Inside 107, Judge Pastor is handling cases from courtroom 108 while that Judge is in Orange County today. I recognize one defense attorney. They were in 106 on some pretrial motions for another case during Spector verdict watch. The defense attorney's are Mr. Hold (sp?) and Mr. Amster (sp?).

I sit in the second row, a little bit to the right of directly in line with the witness stand. From this spot, I will be able to see the exhibits better. The victim's family sits directly to my left. Hum comes over to Sarah, and takes a photo out of his jacket pocket and gives it to her. Ted and Pat Harris chat.

JP: Mr. Hum, after a few more questions for Detective Leslie, you're going to call the other witnesses?

CH: Yes, your honor.

JP: Detective, why don't you retake the stand please?

When the hearing on the other case wrapped, attorney Amster walked over to the court report and gave her a big kiss and a hug. It's funny and Judge Pastor, teasingly, makes a big deal out of it.

Patty Brown leans back on the front row bench. I note as the jury files in, many of them are wearing jeans or dress casually. Pastor brings the courtroom to order. The direct examination of Detective Leslie continues.

CH: When you went on November 8th to the archery range, had you ever met the defendant before?

JL: No.

CH: Did you have an agenda when you went out there?

JL: No.

CH: Did you have any desire to make this a homicide verses an accident?

JL: Absolutely not.

CH: Right before you showed the photo (of Lauren, dead) to the defendant, did you accuse him (of murdering his daughter)?

JL: IN trying to elicit an response from him we accused him of either throwing her or pushing her.

CH: (What did the defendant say in response to that)?

JL: He said, no, and pointed to their blue notebooks. You already wrote it down right there.

Now referring to Deputy Asher (sp?) rappelling down the side of Inspiration Point.

JL: There were rocks and debris falling from on top as he was rappelling. It occurred the entire way down the cliff.

PH: Objection! Relevance!

JP: Overruled!

For now, this is the end of Detective Leslie's direct testimony. He will be recalled for more direct later. Since a court day was lost on Monday and there are some out-of-town witnesses scheduled, they will be calling those scheduled witnesses now and return to Detective Leslie's cross examination afterwords.

Pastor explains the out of order and schedule differences to the jury. The people call Linda Peterson. She is a pretty, dark-haired woman with a shapely figure.

The witness states that she knows Sarah Key-Marer. They used to be roommates in 1995. They worked together at Contryside Innn and Suites. They worked the front desk together.

CH: Is Sarah somewhat older?

LP: Sarah is six years older than me.

They lived together for about a year in Costa Mesa. They were living together when Sarah was dating Cameron Brown. She identifies the defendant.

CH: Do you know when they started dating?

LP: Exactly, no. I don't recall when it was.

She states Marer and the defendant dated a couple of months. At some point she became aware that Sarah was pregnant. She overheard a conversation between Sarah and the defendant. She could hear Marer talking on the phone.

LP: She was crying and pleading, "Please don't deport me. Don't do this to me."

CH: Did she appear to be upset? [...] Were you aware that she had overstayed her visa?

LP: I think I was aware of that.

Abortion is discussed with the witness, and what she knew of Ms. Marer's feelings on that issue.

LP: She said she was unwilling to have an abortion. She wanted to have the baby.

At some point, Peterson became away that Marer and the defendant stopped dating. When they were dating, she did meet the defendant at the apartment when he would pick her up. Peterson states she had a discussion with the defendant. She asked him how he felt about Sarah being pregnant. He said he wasn't going to have anything to do with it so it didn't matter to him.

CH: Did you ever tell the defendant Sarah was trying to get pregnant to stay in the US?

LP: Yes.

(I have in my notes she said yes, but as I transcribe my notes, I'm not remembering her answering yes to this question.)

CH: At some point, was there a falling out (with Marer)?

LP: No. [...] She was going to live with another pregnant woman from church and I wanted to live with my boyfriend.

CH: Did you stay in contact with Marer after you stopped being roommates?

LP: Yes.

The witness states she met Marer's daughter a few times. Afterword, they drifted apart (as their lives moved in different directions) but they did stay in contact via email and Facebook. The last time she saw Sarah was three years ago in a prior court proceeding. She currently lives in Carlos San Lucas, Mexico.

CH: One more question.

Hum shows her a document, Defense exhibit B. It's a declaration she signed. She signed it in regard to a court proceeding.

LP: I don't know who prepared it if it was me or Sarah or us together.

(The document is dated June 25th, but I don't think I have the year right. I have 2000, but I'm not positive if that's correct. I may have mis-wrote.)

CH: At that time, the document was correct to the best of your knowledge?

LP: Yes.

Direct is finished and Harris gets up to cross.

Hum asks the witness to read the document (to herself).

PH: When did you first meet Sarah Key-Marer?

LP: When we worked together? [...] I don't remember the exact date.

PH: Was she dating (Brown?)

I believe my notes state she lived with Key-Marer from August '95 to June '96. I think Harris reads from the document. "I was introduced to Cameron Brown when Sarah met him in August, 1995."

PH: In fact, she began dating Brown a few months later, isn't that true?

LP: I honestly don't remember.

PH: You know now as you did then, that she wasn't dating Cameron Brown in August. Do you recall... [...]

Another question is asked and answered.

PH: Ms. Peterson, you wrote this declaration to help Ms. Key-Marer?

LP: I don't remember exactly who wrote it.

PH: You know she became pregnant in December?

LP: I'm not sure.

PH: You told police that she became pregnant soon after [...] (she was dating Mr. Brown; that) she became pregnant.

LP: Yes.

Harris's tone of voice is getting loud in his cross examination of the witness.

PH: You wrote this declaration in 1999, one year before you were interviewed by police! [...] You put (August?) and you knew that wasn't true!

Harris is accusing the witness of knowingly lying on this document.

LP: At the time, no, I didn't really keep track.

PH: And Ms. Peterson, you were trying to help her (Sarah) (were you not)?

(My notes for her answer are totally contradictory. It's not clear from my notes what she answers at first. Another question is asked.)

LP: I really don't know if that's not true. It's been a long time.

PH: So you knew when you wrote the declaration... [...] You told police you knew that she became pregnant shortly after dating Mr. Brown?

LP: Like I said, she may have helped....

PH: You're here testifying to do her a favor?

LP: I don't know what you're trying to say.

Harris provides her with a photo of Brown some time in the past. The witness states she's not sure if the photo Harris provides is how the defendant looked (at that time in '95-'96.) The photo shows a man with light, sun-streaked, past shoulder length long hair. He's clean shaven, very muscular with no shirt on. Now there are question about where she overheard the conversation of deportation.

PH: Do you recall the address of where you were living?

LP: I really don't recall.

(I have a note here wondering why Hum didn't ask the witness if they were under subpoena to testify. Alan Jackson in the Spector case asked that question of all of his 1101(b) witnesses. I can't imagine that the prosecution didn't subpoena the witness.)

PH: Do you remember if after this (?) they broke up.

LP: Yes.

PH: Do you remember if after they broke up, they went to a company (function) dinner together?

LP No.

There's no redirect and I'm surprised. The next witness is called. Leena Patel.

Pastor gives his standard instruction to the witness. The way he talks to them, face on, direct, is very engaging. I think it helps to put some of the witnesses at ease.

CH: Back in November, 2000 were you working?

LeP: Yes I was. [...] I was working at Christian Montessori school in Newport Beach, for about four-and-a-half years total.

Ms. Patel was an elementary school teacher there teaching first and second grades. She knew Sarah Key-Marer. A photo of Lauren is put up on the bulletin board. The witness states that Lauren was not in her class since she did not teach the preschoolers. As part of her duties, she supervised on the playground as well as drop offs and pick-ups by the parents. There were a few times where she filled in for the preschool teachers and Lauren would be in her class. The witness met Lauren's mother and had spoken with her, when she would pick up and drop off Lauren.

LeP: I liked talking to other parents and second, we have something in common. I'm from England.

The witness does have an English accent, much like Key-Marer's accent. She looks to be in her 30's, with dark brown hair and a trim figure. The witness states she would supervise the playground area and she had observed Lauren in her play.

LeP: (Lauren would) play in the sandbox, hang onto teachers and play by herself. [...] She never observed Lauren play rough-house. She was a very calm girl. [...] She played with other children but mostly played by herself.

Patel describes Lauren as a careful and cautious child.

LeP: She was a happy girl. She was always smiling. [...] Lauren became very attached to me.

I take a quick look at Sarah. She has closed her eyes.

CH: Could you sum up her personality?

LeP: She was a very jolly girl. Very happy. [...] (I) would be present when Sarah came to pick her up. She'd say, "Come on mom! Let's go home!"

CH: You would also be present when the biological father would pick up Lauren?

She's asked to identify the defendant.

JP: Pointing to indicate the defendant.

LeP: She wouldn't want to go home with him. If there was another teacher around, she would hid under tables, hide behind teachers. [...] When she was picked up (physically) by her biological father she would cry.

CH: Did he ever inquire how Lauren was doing at school?

LeP: Not with me, no.

The witness testifies that she could see the parking lot of the school from the playground.

CH: What would happen when the defendant pulled up in the parking lot?

LeP: She (Lauren) would start hiding behind teachers.

CH: Describe when the defendant would come up to you and Lauren was clinging to you, did he ever raise his voice to her?

LeP: Yes. He would say, "Come on. Let's go." He would sound angry. [...] He would grab her by the hand or arm and pick her up and say, "Let's go." [...] He would grab her arm more forcefully." [...] It was said in a loud voice.

CH: Did you ever do anything, offer him suggestions for it to go more smoothly?

LeP. Yes. I suggested (to him) if he could bring a toy or some candies or something she likes...

CH: (And what did the defendant say)?

LeP: "I'm not the mother and I shouldn't be telling him what to do."

CH: Were you present at school for an investigation of an allegation of abuse (of the mother by the father)?

The witness states that she was present but she doesn't remember if she was questioned.

I don't have it in my notes, but I believe this is where the direct ends and cross examination begins Unfortunately, I don't have in my notes by a single question who performed the cross, and I don't remember specifically who conducted it. I think it's Veretsian but I'm not positive.)

Defense: Do you recall if you ever had any concerns of Lauren being abused?

LeP: No.

The witness was interviewed by detectives Leslie and Smith in January, 2001.

Defense: During the entire interview did you ever tell them about the pulling of Lauren's arm?

LeP: They never asked that question.

Defense: You testified (prior proceeding?) that there were other times, when the defendant picked her up and she was fine?

LeP: I wouldn't say it was most times. Most times she was crying.

The witness states Lauren was not in her class. The witness verifies that she would not characterize Lauren as a daredevil.

Defense: Would you describe her as highly energetic?

LeP: No.

Defense: You reported the arm grabbing to school management?

The witness wrote a report (or made a verbal report to school administration and) that was put in Lauren's file.

Defense: Did Mr. Hum show it to you?

LeP: No.

Defense: Did you also tell the mother about it?

LeP: Yes.

Defense: If you told Ms. Key-Marer about it, she would be aware of it before you testified about it here at trial? [...] You never got to see how Lauren was with him (Brown) away from school?

The witness verifies that she reported Brown when he showed up on a motorcycle to pick up his daughter and he didn't have a helmet (for Lauren?)?

(I'm wondering what parent on the jury will be able to understand this behavior by Brown.)

Defense: You thought that highly inappropriate?

The witness called the mother and told her about that incident. The witness verifies again that Lauren played in the sand box and not the monkey bars.

Cross is finished and redirect begins.

Hum asks her about the arm grabbing incident. After she first spoke to detectives, she had time to think about it. Three years later, she spoke to Hum and Leslie about the arm grabbing.

Hum asks her what happened when the defendant came to pick up Lauren on his motorcycle.

LeP: I told him he couldn't take Lauren.

CH: The defendant got angry?

LeP: (Yes he did.) He said it was okay. [...] I absolutely refused to let him take her. [...] He was raising his voice at me.

I believe she testifies that she called the mother to come pick Lauren up.

Redirect is finished and recross begins.

Defense asks about the second interview.

Defense: During the first interview, you didn't mention any of this "abuse?"

I miss the answer and this witness is finished with testimony.

Judge Pastor asks to see counsel for a sidebar. Harris, Veretsian & Brown whisper. Hum states that he has one more witness for today. The afternoon break is called at 2:47 pm.

I see Harris is speaking to Brown as the jury exits. After the jury has left, Hum and Detective Leslie stand by the jury box and chat. I see Ted and Harris talk with Veretsian. Sarah waits by the jury box to speak to Hum.

Ted, Patty and Hum go into the little antechamber room to talk. In their conversation that I'm just observing, Harris appears very emotional and waving his arms up and down. I can hear Harris's voice, some words, but not entire sentences. Veretsian joins them in the antechamber. Harris, Patty and Ted continue talking in the antechamber area. By 2:52 pm, they've all left the little room.

During the break, I ask Susan, then Hum, if there's been any kind of admonishment by the Judge for the families of both parties, not to speak to the press. The prosecution is not aware of any instruction like that.

Hum is near Leslie who is standing by the jury box and he slowly paces back and forth in that area of the well. Judge Pastor often stays on the bench for a bit after the break is called, working and he is usually back on the bench long before the break is over. Pastor addresses counsel.

JP: Ms. Benson indicates #7 would like August 24th off for a trip. That fits in very well with counsel's previous scheduling request.

Hum addresses the court that they have a few items, but they can wait.

After Patty and Ted enter the courtroom, Hum addresses Pastor.

CH: Now we do need to address one of the issues.

Counsel approach the area where the sidebars are held with Pastor. I note another woman in the courtroom, a spectator whom I've never seen before. An older woman, dressed in black.

I overhear a few snatches of conversation at the sidebar.

CH: I'm not going to cast aspersions....


JP: Significant issue is that Mr. Brown's wife and her brother......


(The last words I hear are:)

JP: KNOCK IT OFF! (loud, direct voice)

(I'm not positive and I would not swear by it, but it appeared to me in that last comment, Pastor was directly addressing Harris regarding his client's relatives.)

3:07 pm: The jury enters 107. The next witness called is Leigh Ann Ormes.

Before testimony begins, the witness states that she is nervous and apprehensive. The witness states she knows Sarah Key-Marer.

LAO: We met at church. [...] Single parents group. It was in 1996 when Sarah was six months pregnant. [...] Calvery (?) Church, in New Mesa.

The witness states it was a group of single moms and dads who got together for support and book study. Sarah was very pregnant when she met her. At the time, the witness had a young child of her own, a one-year-old, named Edward James. He's called "EJ."

Afterwords, the witness and Sarah became friends. She soon started to watch Lauren as a babysitter. After Lauren was born, the group helped take turns going over to Sarah's house to help cook and clean. "Church things," Ormes clarifies.

Not long after Lauren was born, Sarah came to the group meeting upset. She couldn't use her babysitter. Ormes offered to watch Lauren until Sarah found someone. Afterwords, the witness and Sarah became closer as well. She became Lauren's babysitter. She continued to watch Lauren until she started preschool.

LAO: She became part of our family.

She watched Lauren Monday through Friday. (There's something about Saturday nights, at church, but my notes are not clear.)

LAO: We would take her home with us.

The witness starts to cry and grabs a tissue. Judge Pastor tells the witness to take a moment. The witness states she became friends with Sarah and Greg. She talked with them on a daily basis and they helped each other quite a lot. Ormes would see Lauren when Key-Marer was at work or when Sarah and Greg went on a date. Ormes states she would just tell Sarah to bring Lauren over.

LAO: My son loved to play with her. [...] She liked to play ballerina, dance, sing, act like a butterfly, play house, tea parties. [...] My son had (?) heroes and they'd play. (And Lauren would say to him) "Now, you're going to be the daddy and I'm the mommy and we're going to go to the store." [...] Poor EJ. [...] She was a girly-girl. [...] She always wore dresses and she had her hair up in lace.

The witness talks about one time they went to McDonald's, and the playground area there.

LAO: One day, my son coaxed her up onto the tunnel. She got to the center of the tunnel and she looked down and just stopped. She froze.

CH: How high off the ground was that?

LAO: It's over my head and I'm five-five. [...] Don't know how tall.

Ormes had to call someone to help get her daughter down. Ormes took her to the pool every day, but Lauren hated it. At first she would enjoy it. Ormes states she would have to sit and play with Lauren on the cement, but it would take an hour to coax her into the pool. Ormes is asked about Lauren being outside and around animals and bugs. She tells the story of one time Lauren saw a worm on the ground. She started shreeking, "A snake! A snake!" The witness smiles and explains.

LAO: It was just a tiny worm.

Ormes took her son and Lauren to a park near her house. They went a few times a week. It was a park close to her house back then. They would walk. If her husband was home, they would drive. She would start off walking then she would end up having to carry Lauren.

LAO: She was kind of lazy.

CH: Would Lauren ever run off from you?

LAO: No. She would stay with me.

CH: How about your son EJ?

LAO: Oh yeah.

The witness testifies about taking Lauren to the mall before she went to preschool. She would get in the stroller. Lauren didn't want to walk much. She would either be in the stroller or be held. A trip to Disneyland when Lauren was one-and-a-half years old is described. Lauren did not walk around at Disneyland.

CH: Did Lauren ever show any interest in hiking?

LAO: (No.)

CH: Did Lauren ever do anything when she was nervous?

Ormes describes how, when Lauren was upset she would clench both of her little hands into fists. She describes how one year, she took Lauren (and her son) to see Santa at the mall. After the kids sat on Santa's lap, they got their present from Santa. Lauren wanted her gift, but she didn't want to sit on Santa's lap. She put her hands into fists, and she would not get onto Santa's lap.

CH: After you learned what happened to Lauren, did you go out on Inspiration Point?

LAO: Yes I did.

The witness cries again on the stand. She's very upset.

CH: When you went out on Inspiration Point, did you think about Lauren and how she would have liked it?

LAO: Yes I did. I don't know how on some parts, but the cliff parts, I don't think she would have liked it.

The witness states that she was there, observed when sometimes the defendant came to drop off Lauren, or was around the defendant with Lauren and Sarah. She never saw or heard Sarah say anything negative about the defendant in front of Lauren.

CH: Did you ever hear Sarah say good things about the defendant.

LAO: Oh, sh would be encouraging, to try to get Lauren excited about the visit.

CH: When the unsupervised visits started, would you hear Sarah say the same things?

LAO: Yes. [...] She would try to get Lauren interested in a specific toy to coax her.

CH: After the unsupervised visits started, did Lauren ever say something unusual to you?

LAO: One time before the visit to England. [...] We'd gone to church. [...] Lauren came up to me, and she put her hands like this, (witness demonstrates her hands over her nose and face area, like a tee-pee) and she said to me, "My Papa Cameron going to put my mommy in jail. Greg is just my step dad. Josh is just my step brother. Papa Cameron (is my) new daddy. Patty is my new mommy."

CH: Did Lauren every say that her Papa Cameron loved her?

LAO: Yes, Lauren did say Papa Cameron loves me.

CH: Did you ever hear anything like that prior to the unsupervised visits?

LAO: (No.)

Veretsian gets up to cross the witness.

The witness first states that she babysat Lauren from when she was five weeks then immediately corrects herself and says it was from when Lauren was five months old. Veretsian confronts her on her interviews after the murder.

LV: You previously said five weeks at prior testimony. Five weeks.

LAO: I meant five months.

The witness verifies she spent a lot of time with Lauren, babysitting time. She also saw Lauren while she was attending preschool at least once a week; generally two times a week.

LV: You knew Lauren very well?

LAO: Yes.

LV: (You previously said) Lauren was a strong willed child?

LAO: At times, yes.

LV: She occasionally would throw tantrums?

LAO: Like all children, yes.

There are some questions about prior testimony, something about if someone wasn't nice to Lauren, she would throw a tantrum.

LAO: Yes, she could. If you can imagine a child on the ground kicking their little legs.

Another question about tantrums that Ormes told the investigators.

LV: (You) told investigators if Cameron Brown was not nice to Lauren, she would throw a tantrum?

The witness is very upset again.

LV: Based on your experience, on, and everything you've known, if she didn't want to do something, she... or if someone was mean to her, she would throw a tantrum?

CH: Objection! Speculation!

LAO: Yes.

Now, Veretsian asks more questions about tantrums. If Lauren would get a time out would she cry for her mommy? If Lauren was scolded, would she cry for her mommy?

CH: Objection! Speculation!

JP Sustained.

Veretsian continues to ask "if" questions.

LV: If there was something she did not want to do or if someone was trying to make her, she would throw a tantrum?

I believe there is another objection and the ruling sustained. Veretsian asks to approach and a sidebar is granted.

(I have a note here that isn't very clear. During other witnesses the defense asked if she was crying, asked if she was sitting down, resting. Now asking if she could possibly have thrown a tantrum if she "didn't" want to do something.)

JP: The objection is sustained.

Veretsian flips through the bound papers in her file, looking for something.

LV: You're also very close to Sarah?

LAO: Yes. I see her everyday.

LV: You consider yourself a close friend of Sarah? [...] You wrote a declaration for her (about) what a good parent she was. [...] You also stated that you were a personal friend?

LAO: Yes.

Veretsian goes over her declaration statement and a specific sentence she wrote.

LV: (You wrote) "I have never seen any signs of any abuse."

LAO: That was my declaration for Sarah. For Sarah and Greg.

LV: Did Sarah help you (write it) out?

LAO: No. I wrote it myself.

Veretsian confronts her on the handwriting.

LV: So you're not the one who wrote up (the) handwritten declaration?

Veretsian asks her if this is all in her own handwriting.

LAO: Yes. As far as I recollect. I may not have written all at the same time. [...] That's all my handwriting.

LV: How would you describe your handwriting?

LAO: Messy.

LV: Do you always write cursive?

The witness explains that her handwriting is not all the same. She starts off neat and then it goes all over.

LV: When you met Sarah, she was pregnant?

LAO: Towards the end of her pregnancy. [...] She was still in the group.

LV: You told Sarah that Lauren needed to know her father?

LAO: Years later, not when she was an infant.

LV: You observed a few times when they (Patty and Cameron) dropped her off? [...] You were there on one occasion?

LAO: I thought it was two.

LV: On one occasion Patty and Cameron Brown were there and you observed Patty smiling at Lauren? [...] She seemed to like Lauren? [...] You got the idea that Patty and Cameron were playing house with Lauren?

Now there are questions about a February, 1999 incident where she dropped her son off at Sarah's house. It was her husband's birthday, but she's not sure of the year.

LV: You spoke to Lauren about her dad; you asked her if she had fun, and she would say yes? [...] She told you Papa Cameron loves her very much?

LAO: Yes, she did.

LV: She also told you her new mom Patty loves her very much?

LAO: Yes, she did.

The pool visits are discussed again.

LAO: She would go to the area where the pool was but she would still cry about going into the pool.

Veretsian questions the witness about taking Lauren to the pool, even though Lauren didn't want to go. Ormes explains that her son wanted to go to the pool, and she wasn't going to deny him the pool time just because Lauren didn't want to go. Something to that effect. Ormes explains that the kids were taken to the pool on a regular basis the entire time she lived there (in the complex that had a pool?).

Veretsian asks more questions about the pool, and that possibly Lauren got "somewhat better" at going into the pool "after preschool."

LAO: She would hold onto the edge and cross her arms to move along the edge but we would still have to hold onto her.

LV: When did you last take Lauren into the pool? [...] Did you take her in the last few months of her life?

LAO: Chances are pretty good but I don't remember.

Veretsian shuffles through her papers again, looking for something.

LV: At McDonald's, she would play with the balls but not play in the tunnels?

LAO: Not after that day.

LV: Would she take long walks on the beach?

LAO: No. [...] I've never seen her play on monkey bars.

LV: The Lauren that you knew would not be described as a child who enjoyed most activities?

LAO: Yes. [...] (She enjoyed) anything that didn't involve dirt or animals. [...] She didn't want anything to do with our cat or our dog. [...] If they got close to her... [...] If they jumped on her she would scream.

LV: Did you know her grandmother, whom she visited had a cat?

Veretsian not goes over to the exhibits. She pulls out the easel and puts up the three photos that were taken of Lauren at Abalone Cove and the playground. Veretsian asks the witness to look at Photo B.

LV: does she look like a happy Lauren?

LAO: That' looks like Lauren smiling. [...] But her one hand, I can't see. (The clenched fists are mentioned again.) [...] She would do that when she wasn't happy.

Reluctantly. (my impression) the witness answers Lauren looks happy.

LV: Did you ever see Lauren with Mr. Brown?

LAO: Yes I did.

LV: Would you say on a couple of occasions, you saw them together?

LAO: Yes.

LV: Based on your knowledge of Lauren and seeing... [...] would Lauren have thrown a fit if Cameron Brown was not nice to her?

CH: Objection!

JP: Sustained!

LV: Did you tell detectives that?

CH: Objection!

JP: Sustained.

LV: Did you see Lauren (playing) on swings before she passed away?

LAO: Yes. (I believe she explains that you had to push Lauren slowly on the swings.)

The witness explains how Lauren would play at the beach.

LAO: We would go to the beach and she would play with dolls. [...] Usually, we'd have blankets and towels down and she would just sit by me.

LV: The Lauren you knew, would she collect shells on the beach?

LAO: She wouldn't do that.

LV: The Lauren you knew wouldn't just run off?

LAO: No.

LV: So, the Lauren you knew, wouldn't just run in a classroom and fall?

CH: Objection!

JP: Sustained!

Veretsian asks the witness if she would be surprised if she knew Lauren's mother would pack a swim suit for Lauren when Lauren would go on her overnight trips with Brown.

LV: Sarah, she talked with you about negative things about Cameron?

LAO: It was after her (Lauren's) bedtime.

LV: So, if you weren't there how would you know Lauren wasn't in the room? [...] Did you ask Lauren if her dad had taught her how to swim?

LAO: I don't believe I did, no.

LV: You went to Inspiration Point. You also went to the parking lot. You also saw some... [...] The Lauren you knew would not be walking and throwing rocks in that area?

LAO: No, she would not.

LV: That area of Inspiration point and paths leading up to (it)?

LAO: Because I've never seen her throw rocks.

The witness states that the longest walks she would be on with Lauren were 1/4 of a mile.

LAO: She wanted to be carried so I would carry her the rest of the way.

Veretsian fumbles through her papers again.

LV: The incident at McDonalds. Your son coaxed her up the tunnel. He didn't force her? She went up voluntarily?

LAO: Yes.

That's the end of cross and Hum redirects his witness.

Hum goes over the declaration she wrote for Sarah Key-Marer.
It's a two page declaration, People's #84. He asks her to go over the entirety of the declaration reading point #9.

CH: And this was to your observation regarding Greg and Sarah?

LAO: Yes.

CH: A couple of times after preschool, you still took her to the park and she still wanted to be carried?

LAO: Yes.

CH: When you asked Lauren if she had a good time with her Dad, would she talk about it?

LAO: (No.)

CH: Was that unusual for her not to elaborate?

LAO: Yes.

CH: Why was that?

LAO: Because she was a blabbermouth.

Another incident where the witness observed Cameron Brown with children (?), but my notes are not clear. I just have this answer by the witness.

LAO: Everyone was smiling at kids except Cameron. His expression was just blank.

Redirect is finished and recross begins.

LV: She never said she had a bad time (with her father)?

LAO: She never wanted to go.

I believe that's the end of this witnesses testimony. Judge Pastor asks to see counsel for just a moment.

The jurors are ordered back at 9:00 am Wednesday and excused.

Judge Pastor asks the defense about new discovery from their expert that has not been turned over to the prosecution. (Why is it these defense attorneys always do this? Weinberg did this in Spector several times and he was quite crafty in how he did it.)

Veretsian states she left it at her office. Hum inquires if he could possibly get a hard copy sent to him as well as the information e-mailed to him.

Judge Pastor is stern with the defense. "Make sure that Dr. Sigman (sp?) (his documentation) THAT IS is the totality of the information."

Harris explains that they have been trying to reach their expert. "He went on vacation. We haven't been able to reach him for three days."

Harris states something to the effect of he doesn't have them (?) but he will inquire.

From my notes it's not clear, but I'm remembering another sidebar where I can barely hear much but I do hear something to the effect from Harris about the jurors and their "reaction of (the) witness." The sidebar is lengthy. One last statement I do overhear Harris say is, "Highly prejudicial to have the mother in court." And that was about it for the sidebar.

I'm shocked at what I believe I just heard. Is Harris trying to get the mother of the victim ejected from the courtroom? She has not made a single outburst in court (while I've been there). In the first week, there were times where I saw her dab a tissue to her eyes, but there have been no overtly noticeable displays of crying or sobbing, except for a short time when she was on the stand under direct the first day of trial. I do not know if she cried under cross since I missed that testimony. However, that was over a week ago, and would have been while she was on the stand.

I make a note that it will be too bad that I can't attend trial tomorrow because I would really like to see how this plays out.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Sprocket! No wonder you have been working so hard. This is so long and detailed! As usual, you paint a picture that is easy to imagine while not being there! Thank you so much!