Monday, July 9, 2012

Going to Court: Dept. 30 III - Gerhard Becker & Other Cases

Real-life responsibilities helping Mr. Sprocket with is business (as well as my series review of Mark Bowden's Curious Vanity Fair Article) have delayed the posting of this entry.  Sprocket 

May 18th, 2012, Gerhard Becker
Becker is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of veteran firefighter Glenn Allen, who died responding to a fire at Becker's Hollywood hillside mansion.

At the last Gerhard Becker hearing my friends Matthew McGough and Thomas Broersma and I heard DDA Carney tell Judge Torrealba they may be close to a settlement.  I was quite surprised and didn't see what offering there could be for an involuntary manslaughter case.  It's a good bet that for any settlement, the LAFD and victim's widow would have to be in agreement with the proffer.

When I arrived on the 5th floor at downtown criminal court building, Gerhard Becker was out in the hallway sitting by himself.  I didn't see his ankle bracelet, but I'm sure it was on him.

When I get inside Dept 30, I see that the interesting walrus mustache man who I saw during my first visit is back at a desk in the well. Vania Stuelp (now with local ABC 7) is also here but they are tracking the Mila Kunis stalker who is set to appear in court today.  If it involves a celebrity, the mainstream media is on it like, well, you get the idea.

A few attorneys introduce themselves to each other in the well at the foreign language interpreter's desk.  Several attorneys are lined up at Judge Torrealba's clerks desk on the far left.  The LAPD Bond Desk area is empty.  No one is in yet, it appears.

I notice the pretty female deputy that was in Judge Perry's courtroom is here.  Terri Keith from City News also shows up.  She's probably here for Becker AND the Kunis stalker.  I can't say enough nice things about Terri Keith.  It would take three people to replace her.

When Matthew arrives we debate on whether or not the large vase of flowers to the right of Judge Torrealba's desk are real or not.  I'm betting they are fake.  They are a type of flower that looks like something similar to a lily, and I know in the flower shops they are expensive to buy a single stem.

I'm marveling at an older gentleman, obviously an attorney, walking back and forth in the well.  He's balding with an impressive white mustache, horn-rimmed glasses and is wearing five different colors of pastels.  It must be an omen.  The suit is pale green, his kerchief is pink, he has on a pale, eggshell blue hat, his tie an odd mix of violet, maroon and pink, and pinned to his lapel is a small 3" pink teddy bear.

The seats in the gallery are almost filled.  Quite a few attorneys are still standing around in the gallery and in the well of the court.  Matthew gets up to take a peek out in the hallway.  I note that there are two new language interpreters sitting at the desks in the well to my right.

Francis Young, co-counsel with Sean Carney is here.  As usual, she's an impeccable dresser and has a sleek, slender appearance.  She's wearing a short-waisted tan jacket with a black skirt.  Her glasses are on a cord around her neck. She's wearing a multi-layered gold chain necklace and a large gold and black bracelet on her left wrist.  It's quite tasteful jewelry.

Young's co-counsel is in several shades of gray.  His shirt is a light sliver gray and his tie is tannish-gold.  Becker's counsel Chad Levin is wearing a light blue shirt, red tie and a very dark gray, almost black suit.

There's a bit of bustle in the "fish cage" as defendants wait for their cases to be called.

9:45 AM Young, Carney and Lewin have an off--the-record side conference with Judge Torrealba.  Directly after that, Judge Torrealba goes on the record to set a preliminary hearing date of Wednesday, July 11th, 2012; on that date or withing two days of that date.  Becker's bond still stands and he's ordered back for his preliminary hearing on that date.  The hearing was quick and there wasn't anything else to drop in on so I decide to head home.

In the elevator bay, atthew and I are waiting for an elevator and Becker is in the elevator bay waiting also. No one else is there. Matthew takes the plunge and introduces himself to Becker, Matthew informs Becker he might be writing about his case.  Becker smiles, shakes Matthew's hand, but doesn't offer up much.  Matthew tries another opening, asking Becker if he follows football. Becker seems at first confused, then Matthew clarifies "soccer."  Becker doesn't take the bait to talk much beyond smiles and pleasantries.

I wonder on the way home what happened to that possible "settlement" at the last hearing.  Maybe that will be revealed on July 11th.

Today, I found out that Becker had another preliminary hearing on June 20th.  His next hearing is still this week on July 11th. 

Stephanie Lazarus
I am still working on my entry about Lazarus from the perspective of those who knew her.

There are several other hearings on July 11th, all at the same time and I can't possibly attend them all.  They are all in the morning, at 8:30 am.  Kelly Soo Park and Lonnie Franklin, Jr., (Grim Sleeper) both have pre trial hearings in Dept. 109, Judge Kathleen Kennedy's court.  Down at the other end of the hallway on the 9th floor,  Christian Gerhartsreiter has a pre trial hearing in Dept. 107, Judge Michael Pastor's court.


Anonymous said...

busy day at the courts tomorrow!

Soapbubble said...

Please keep us up to date on the Grim Sleeper case. I found that case fascinating too but it's not getting much press.

Sprocket said...

I am working on my entry covering yesterday's proceedings. I hope to have it up soon.

mlnw said...


Sprocket said...


That's a hard question to answer at this point. It will depend on when it gets to trial as well as whether or not the case will be televised.

The two cases I am tracking the closest at this point are Cameron Brown, third trial and Kelly Soo Park.