UPDATE April 16th: Many thanks to Karen for pointing out spelling errors in Gerhartsreiter & Chichester. Sprocket.
Thursday March 21st, 2013
Orange Line Bus
I’m on the Orange Line bus to North Hollywood. It’s packed, but I was able to get a seat since I was right there when a wheelchair exited and the seat row was put back. I’m hoping that after the Cameron Brown hearing, I’ll be able stay and get a seat at the Christian Gerhartsreiter (aka “Clark Rockefeller”) murder trial.
Red Line Train
Just after I had typed my first paragraph, at the next stop, another wheelchair needed to get on and the bench I was sitting on had to get folded up to make way. The Orange Line bus was quite full, and now I’m about 10 minutes later than I had hoped getting into downtown. I know it’s going to be tricky on the 9th floor, and the sooner I’m able to get there the better.
Many of T&T’s readers have been asking about Matthew McGough’s book on the Lazarus case. I’m in contact with Matt on a regular basis, and his work is going well. Recently, he asked me to help with some research. It was a rewarding experience to be able to assist him on this fascinating project. I still can’t tell you a publication date yet, but as soon as I know, I’ll write about it.
T&T is an advertising free, reader supported blog.
Mr. Sprocket has finally gotten his full strength back from being diagnosed with bacteremia in his blood last October. It’s been a slow recovery ever since he was hospitalized last year. A full month on IV medication at home zapped his strength and it took him quite some time to be able to work a full day again. Mr. Sprocket is a ‘one man’ shop in his line of work. Our finances have taken a huge hit due to his illness. Consequently, I will need to devote more of my time to helping my husband in his business. It is unknown at this time if I will be able to continue to offer coverage of all the cases I’ve been following. If you’ve enjoyed reading T&T in the past, a donation --no matter how small-- would be most helpful to us during this difficult time.
The 9th Floor
I’m up on the 9th floor. There are camera operators waiting to get into Dept. 107 for the Christian Gerhartsreiter case and a reporter I don't recognize. Other than that, the hallway is virtually empty. Another camera operator that I recognize (but I can’t remember his name) is also here.
There is no Public Information Officer in the hallway so it’s quite possible there isn’t the huge interest in this case right now, compared to the Jodi Arias trial. Several readers have asked me my thoughts on the Arias trial. To be truthful, I’ve barely watched a full day of testimony. To me, Arias is not that interesting of a defendant. I see her as a garden variety psychopath who lies more than she sleeps and her ability to play gene splicing word-sparring gymnastics with the prosecutor is evidence of that. However, for those of you who have been following the trial, I highly recommend the blog Calls For Justice, run by my former co-blogger, Donchais. She is blogging the trial on a daily basis.
Inside Dept. 107
Once I get inside Dept. 107, the camera crew starts to set up their video equipment. I ask the bailiff, Sheriff Kyles (this is the same deputy that was in Judge Fidler’s courtroom during the first Spector trial) if I can use my laptop. Kyles tells me, “For the Brown hearing, no. For the Gerhartsreiter case, yes.” I pull out my notepad and put my laptop away.
DDA Hum is here at the prosecution table. He’s wearing a dark blue suit, a medium blue shirt and a red and blue patterned tie. We are waiting on defense attorney Aron Laub. Along with several reporters, in the second row near me, there is a middle aged couple speaking French. The man speaks to defense attorney, John Allen. I later find out the French couple is here for another defendant who has a pretrial hearing.
8:40 AM Patty Brown enters the courtroom, looks around and exits. I only got a quick look at her. She’s wearing black.
The camera crew continues setting up equipment and microphones. Judge Lomeli steps out from the back room area and I notice the striking, black and gold stripe vest he has on.
A man enters whom I recognize to be Frank Girardot, metro editor for the Pasadena Star-News & San Gabriel Valley Tribune and author of Name Dropper: Investigating the Clark Rockefeller Mystery. I turn and introduce myself and ask him if Dr. Lynne Herold is still on the stand. He tells me that her testimony was completed yesterday. I’m quite disappointed that I totally missed Dr. Herold. Dr. Herold was kind enough to give me and Mr. Sprocket a tour of the LA Crime Lab after Phil Spector was convicted of murder in April 2009.
9:15 AM I overhear the clerk talking to someone on the phone. Something is said about another appearance in another courtroom. I hear the clerk say, “He’s very upset with you. ... ...supposed to be here at 8:30 AM.” I believe the clerk conveys a question to DDA Hum, that possibly Laub is asking if they can do the hearing tomorrow. Hum replies to the clerk, “... can’t do tomorrow.”
The French speaking man comes over to me to ask me some questions about court procedure. They are here for another man who has a hearing today. The French man shows me the spelling of his friend’s name, Aurangzeb Manjra, or, it’s Manjra Aurangzeb. I wonder what the couple called their friend. This man was a car salesman the French man bought cars from.
The bailiff then announces that Judge Lomeli has taken the bench and Lomeli informs his bailiff, “Not quite yet.”
I continue to explain courtroom procedure to the delightful French couple.
Judge Lomeli, unwilling to wait for Laub any longer, asks his court staff to locate an attorney who can sit in for Laub. Lomeli has the high profile, Gerhartsreiter case in trial and a jury waiting. Attorney William Jacobson is located who is willing to stand in for Laub. The bailiff reminds the court that Brown requires an Sergant’s escort, so they decide not to even bring Brown into the courtroom.
Brown’s case is called. William Jacobson announces for the defense. Judge Lomeli asks DDA Hum what the court calendar is set at today. Hum replies, “I have it as 27 of 90.” I believe Judge Lomeli continues, “It may be a fall trial.” It’s agreed that the matter is put over until April 26th at 8:30 AM. On that date the case would be set at 63 of 90. There will be a waiver at that time as well. Judge Lomeli tells Mr. Jacobson, “....appreciate Mr. Jacobson to come in (as?) short notice."
And that’s it for Brown’s pretrial hearing. I decide to stay for some of the Gerhartsreiter trial. Hum exits the court room and I explain more court procedure to the French couple.
After the hearing is over, Patty Brown comes back in to ask me what happened, since she saw DDA Hum leave. I explain to her what she missed, by waiting out in the hall for her husband’s attorney.
The French couple tell me their friend is a Pakistani man, and it’s a DNA charged case. I believe the couple tells me there was a murder in Glendale and one in Mexico that were linked by DNA.
The prosecution and defense for the Pakistani man are at the bench with Judge Lomeli.
The Pakistani man is brought out, but he is left standing by the bailiff’s desk. They don’t have an appropriate chair for him at the defense table (one without wheels) or, maybe they already brought out Gerhartsreiter (I didn’t notice). He’s a short, slightly rotund man with curly graying hair. He give a big smile to his friends in the gallery. He’s wearing a yellow jail jersey top. That’s interesting. He’s charged with murder. I thought he would be in blues or orange. I need to ask a sheriff about the jail color coding system.
The Pakistani’s case is continued to May 21st. Judge Lomeli states there is a 1050 issue. The trial is expected to start mid August. There is a delay to accommodate the vacation of one of the parties, possibly the prosecutor. The defendant is asked to continue his case to that date and that his trial would commence within 70-75 days of that date. Judge Lomeli asks, “Is that agreeable to you sir?” The defendant responds, “Yes, your honor.” The defense attorney mentions that he might not be completely prepared by then. Judge Lomeli tells the defense that there is a possibility of another 45 days, however, “No more continuances beyond that.” And that’s it for the Pakistani man.
Excellent coverage of the case can be found by Frank Girardot, at the Pasadena Star-News.
I pull out my laptop and try to type as I observe the well area of the court. I’m not a great typist by any means, nor am I very fast. I know I will have to edit my notes extensively, later.
9:28 AM Counsel are at the bench. I feel a bit lost since I dont’ know the names of the defense attorneys or even how to pronounce the prosecutors name, DDA Habib Balian. (Days later, Pasadena Star-News stories provide the names of the defense team Brad Bailey, Danielle Menard. Sprocket)
There is a sheriff’s detective at the prosecution table. I can tell by the green placard badges they wear. The detective’s name is Tim Miley. I can read his name tag because he came into the gallery for a moment and stood in the aisle beside my bench row.
The prosecutor goes to the back row to speak to a distinguished gentleman. Mostly, it’s reporters and cameramen in the gallery that I’m not familiar with.
I didn’t see when Gerhartsreiter was brought out, but he’s now at the defense table.
I see some blond/graying hair around his bald spot in back. He’s wearing what appear to be wire framed glasses. I was under the impression that wire frames were not allowed in the jail.
Members of the public enter the courtroom and sit in the third row. I’m in the second row.
Judge Lomeli commends the jury for being on time. “Thank you very much I appreciate that.” Judge Lomeli informs the jury that tomorrow will be a early day. The question still remains whether just morning or, possibly part of the afternoon.
The prosecution is up and people call their next witness.
(Note: My notes in this section below still need spelling, clarity editing. Sprocket)
A senior, silver-haired woman walks up to the jury box.
DDA HB: How old are you?
The witness stops to think. The Jude questions the witness. She’s 82. (She looks really good for 82.)
DDA HB: How is your memory from things back in the 1980’s?
MK: Pretty good.
DDA HB: Whats better, memory of things long ago, ... of things recently?
MK: It’s kind of a faucet now.
(Long ago is better)
DDA HB: Do you best, tell me what you remember. ... Just because I say something doesn’t mean it s true. Do your best to answer the question as only you know them to be true. ... In the 1980 where were you living?
MK: 1960 Lorain Road San Marino. ... Moved in the day before Thanksgiving in 1959.
DDA HB: When did you move out of that home?
MK: Almost the day before thanksgiving in 1995.
DDA HB: Were you familiar with with the house ... 1920 Lorain Road? ... Who lived there?
MK: DeeDee Sohos.
DDA HB: And her mother lived on the property?
MK: That was her mothers home. Didi grew up in that home.
Didi was the name she called her. Her true name was Ruth. Everybody called her Didi.
DDA HB: Howmany doors down from Didi did you live?
MK: About four.
Photograph peoples 84 put on the overhead screen.
DDA HB: And that’s was how Didi’s home looked back then?
People's 85 or 86 is put on the overhead screen. Balian asks the witness about the people in the photograph.
MK: Didi and Johnny.
DDA HB: Who’s Johnny?
MK: Johnny is Didi’s son.
They would all go to the park and the movies together.
People's 85 photo is shown to the witness.
MK: It’s Didi and Johnny.
Ms. Kent’s son, Clayton, and Johnny were about the same age. Clayton Kent played with Johnny. Didi and Ms. Kent were the only one’s with little ones down at that end of the street. That’s how Ms. Kent met Didi. Would take the kids to swimming, the park. That’s her son.
MK: Johnny was very precocious. He liked to take things apart and figure out how they worked. ... They, Dee was into the theater they made a little play stage. ... He really just hung onto Clay.
DDA HB: Was he friends with Clay?
DDA HB: As they grew older did they take separate paths?
MK: They took separate paths. Clay went int football and sports and Johnny was into more technical things.
DDAHB: Was he into computers?
DDA HB: In the 1980’s, how close was your relationship with Dee?
MK: I knew Didi very well.
DDA HB: How long did you talk to her on the phone?
MK: A great deal of the time. We saw one another.
DDA HB: Did you see her frequently?
MK: Yes. Saw her socially, when it pertained to the children.
DDA HB: In the 1980s, how often would you visit Didi at here home?
The witness pauses.
MK: This is kind of a hard. Momma Dee lived behind, and I was always down there with Momma Dee and Didi.
DDA HB: Through the years, as John grew older into teens and adult years, were you still friends with Didi?
MK: I was still friends but we were not as close as before because the children had moved on. I was busy at the hospital.
She would still visit and go to her house.
DDA HB: How often?
MK: Iv’e never thought in terms of how many times. ... Often times, she would call and ask, “I have this problem and how to I solve it?” So I went down.
DDA HB: (miss question)
MK: We remained friends. Yes.
DDA HB: She would be over at the house within a month once or twice?
MK: Oh sure. ... She idolized her son. She was so thrilled with Johnny. The things that amazed me the most, is that she diagnosed him a diabetes. ... She made sure that she knew so that she (the witness) didn’t do something that would throw his menu off track.
(When the witness took care of him.)
DDA HB: How close were they to each other?
MK: Didi and Johnny? Oh, very close. ... When you have a mother that loved him to pieces, and then finds out he has a[problem she’s very interested.
Defense: Objection! This is going further...
Judge: Counsel, sidebar...maybe you can enlighten me about some things.
DDA HB: How would Didi speak (about John?) to you?
Judge: (Addressing the jury) Not offered for the truth. (To the witness) You can answer if you can.
DDA HB: How did she speak about him?
MK: Oh on the highest terms. She just loved him and tried to do everything she could for him.
DDA HB: At some point did you lear that John got married?
MK: Oh yes.
DDA HB: Did you met his wife?
MK: Very briefly.
DDA HB: (You) didn’t go to the wedding?
DDA HB: But at some point you learned they got married. ... Where did they go to live?
MK: At Didi’s house. They stayed in Johns old room. ... Didi lived in that same house with them.
DDA HB: Why didn’t they live in the guest house?
Defense: Objection! Speculation!
At some point, she learned that there was a male renter in the house.
DDA HB: John and Linda were living in the main house with Didi?
DDA HB: Did you meet this male renter on one occasion?
MK: Just briefly. ... On the property. ... At the garage.
DDA HB: Were you aware of a time, that at some point, John and Linda had left and had not come back home?
DDA HB: Were you aware of a point in time that Ruth was left there and her children were gone?
MK: Yes, she didn’t think it was permanent but her children were gone.
DDA HB: At that time they left, shortly before they left who was living in the main house?
MK: Didi, Linda and John.
DDA HB: And at that time, shortly before they left, who was living in the guest house?
MK: The gentleman who m I had just briefly met.
DDA HB: At that time was they anyone living on that property when John and Linda didn’t come home?
MK: No, there wasn’t any room.
DDA HB: After John left and didn’t come home, did you notice a physical change in the room? (There might be a missed question and answer here.)
MK: Didi started drinking. She just um, she was at a loss, at first. ... She got a postcard.
Upon hearing that objection by the defense the witness answers for the judge by saying, “Hearsay.”
The courtroom breaks out into laughter. I believe the Judge asks the witness, “Did you go to law school?”
MK: I have a son. ... There were huge changes. She didn’t get out of her nightclothes. She didn’t get out of her robe every day. She was drinking.
DDA HB: Did you testify at preliminary hearing? ... Do you remember saying she lost her spark to live?
DDA HB: After John left, was there anyone in the home to take care of her?
MK: No. there was no one.
DDA HB: Do you know where john was working around the time he disappeared?
MK: To my knowledge he still, ... where he had worked?
DDA HB: Yes.
MK: He had worked in Pasadena, and it was in coordination with Cal tech.
DDA HB: Was it JPL?
MK: Yes, that is Cal tech, JPL.
DDA HB: After John left, did she sell her house and move?
MK: Yes. She moved to a trailer court.
Direct ends and cross examination begins. I do not know the name of the defense attorney conducting the cross.
Defense: Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Good morning Mrs. Kent. So, did you live at Lorain road about 36 years?
MK: A long time.
Defense asks about 4 or 5 houses up the street from Didi Sohos.
MK: That’s correct.
Defense: The relationship was based you your son Clayton & John’s relationship? (I believe there are more questions and answers here.)
MK: I didn’t work at the hospital until much later. I was just a housewife.
Defense: John and Clay went they separate ways around 1973 74 in high-school?
Defense: Clayton was more involved n sports and John more involved in the camera club?
MK: That's correct.
Defense: Your familiar that there were two houses on the property?
Defense: There was a big house and a small house, a guest house on the property?
MK: Momma Di's house. ... She built it because she wanted ... Didi was married and she wanted Didi was going to have a family. ... So momma Di’s house (was) in the back until she died.
Defense: That was 1980?
MK: I don’t know the date.
Defense: Then someone moved into that house? ... She couldn’t identify him at the preliminary hearing?
MK: Well, remembering someone’s face that long ago... Familiar, but not positive.
She could not identify the defendant at the previous court proceeding.
Defense: Do you remember someone identifying someone who operated a camera?
MK: I could not identify (him).
Defense: Now going into who lived in the guest house after Clark.
After John and Linda had been gone, a new tenant Jackie Whitmore’s (sp?) mother?
MK: I remember the day, the car was gone. Then the car was in the driveway.
Defense: Do you remember what year, they lived in the property?
MK: When they got married? .... I don’t remember the year.
She doesn’t know anything personally about John or Linda’s marriage.
Defense: All you know is that they lived there at that property?
MK: That's correct.
Defense: All you know is that they lived there and then they were gone?
MK: That’s correct.
Defense: Then, you remember that property started to fall apart and deteriorated?
MK: Yes. The yard, the yard got messy.
Defense: You said at that point, that Ruth began to drink a lot?
Defense: Isn’t it true that Ruth had began to drink a lot before then?
MK: Before John left?
MK: Not to my knowledge.
Defense: Do you recall, when you were interviewed by investigators in this case back in 2009, after the adoption of John, Ruth’s husband left her for (another?) woman and began to drink a lot.
MK: That is not true. ... When she had John she was not drinking. That was not true.
Defense: If you’re saying that’s in a report that’s not accurate?
MK: That’s correct.
(I note that the gentleman crossing the witness is tall and slender with brown hair.)
Defense: When she would be drinking, she would call you on the phone almost every night.
MK: Yes. Uh-hum.
Defense: From her speech and her diction you could tell....
MK: No, not her diction.
Defense: Do you remember being asked in a prior proceeding you were asked about her speech and diction, and then going on to say that she primarily wanted to talk about religion...
MK: I don’t recall her being drinking.
Defense: At night? ...
MK: At that point?
Defense: Your testimony (was?) she became a very heavy drinker?
MK: After John left.
Defense: And that concerned you?
Defense: When Mr. Balian asked you about visits to the property when John and Clayton had gone their separate ways, you said you still visited the property, but isn't’ it true those visits were infrequent?
MK: They were infrequent.
Defense: Despite John's marriage, you did not attend the wedding, correct?
Defense: I appreciate you time. You’ve been very (?)...
Cross ends and redirect begins.
DDA HB: Talking about various people living in the guest house.
Momma Dee passed away a long time before John and Linda got married. And then Jackie’s mother moved in before John and Linda disappeared. But the man who lived in the guest house at the time John and Linda disappeared, was a man and he was the only one who lived there.
John and Linda’s car was in the driveway for a time after they left.
Redirect ends and recross begins.
Defense: At a prior proceeding you testified Momma Di died in 1980?
MK: the year? Probably. I can’t put a year to it. ... I found her.
Defense: Do you recall testifying it was in 1980?
MK: My memory may have been better back then.
Defense: Actually John and Linda got married in 1983, so if momma Di died in 1980 then it could only be about 3 years that she lived there.
MK: That’s correct.
The witness is finished. People call Gustavo Perrea.
I take a few moments to glance over at the jury. I don’t have a good read on them at all. They appear attentive. Some are taking notes. Some are yawning at the moment. The jury consists of seven women and five men. There are some Asian, women, and the men appear older.
An older looking gentleman takes the stand.
Gustavo Perrea (Perea? Perrea?)
DDA HB: Back in 1980’s where were you living?
GP: 1910 Lorain Road, San Marino.
DDA HB: Where in relation to 1920 was your home?
GP: I was just west right next door.
DDA HB: So if you were standing in front, was your house to the right?
GP: Yes to the right.
DDA HB: Who lived at 1920 Lorain?
GP: Didi Sohos.
DDA HB: Did you hear of Ruth Sohos?
DDA HB: Did you call her Didi?
Prosecution showing the witness a photo of the house.
DDA HB: Is that how it appeared? Is this where you knew her to live there?
People’s exhibit 86 is presented to the witness.
DDA HB: Do you recognize that woman?
GP: That’s Didi Sohos.
DDA HB: Do you recognize the boy in the picture?
DDA HB: What year did you move into your home?
DDA HB: When did you move out of that home at 1910 Lorain? ... (Did you) Move out at the end of 1984?
GP: I think November, December.
DDA HB: Did you ever know of any males living in the guest house on Didi property? (miss answer) What name did you know that person (as)?
GP: Christopher Chichester.
DDA HB: Do you see that person in court right now? ... Can you show the jury?
GP: Middle person at the second desk.
Defense: We’ll stipulate (to identity).
DDA HB: Who gave you that name? ... Did he give you that name?
DDA HB: Did he ever give you any other names other than Christopher Chichester?
DDA HB: How long (do) you estimate you knew him?
GP: Couple years I’d say.
DDA HB: Was it a couple years that he was living in that guest house?
DDA HB: Did you ever know him not living in that guest house?
DDA HB: Were you friends with him?
DDA HB: What kind of things did you do?
GP: I remember going out with him one time going out for coffee.
DDA HB: Did you speak to him as he was coming and going from the house?
DDA HB: Did you ever go into the house at...
(I don’t have the judge’s ruling.)
DDA HB: Were you there on one occasion or more than one occasion?
GP: I just recall one occasion, there may have been more.
DDA HB: You never saw (him?) again after 1984?
GP: That’s correct.
DDA HB: The guest house, (was at?) the very back of the property as you walk down Didi’s property?
DDA HB: Is there more than one guest house on this property?
GP: Just one.
The witness thinks the time he was there as 1983.
DDA HB: Do you remember what type of flooring was in the guest house?
GP: I don’t recall.
DDA HB: Do you think based on who you are, (that?) if someone was living on concrete grade flooring, would that be something that you (would have?) noted?
Judge: Would you know sir or would you be guessing or speculating?
GP: I would be guessing.
Judge: Sustained. His answer will stand that he believes that it was not a concrete slab. that answer will stand.
DDA HB: (Miss question.)
GP: I don’t recall.
Judge: Move on.
DDA HB: Where did the defendant tell you he was from?
GP: I don’t remember.
DDA HB: Did he tell you what he did for a living?
GP: I believe he told me he had a local cable show and did some film work.
DDA HB: How friendly were you with ruth at the time the defendant was living in the guest house?
GP: Pretty friendly.
DDA HB: How often did you see Ruth ... I mean, how often did you speak to her and go to her home?
GP: About twice a month.
The defendant would go to her home to say hello.
DDA HB: ... all the times you were at the property, did you ever see the defendant inside the main house?
DDA HB: From your home, was your home one story or two stories?
GP: Two stories.
DDA HB: From your home, where is your bedroom?
GP: My bedroom is on the second story.
DDA HB: Could you see Ruth’s backyard?
DDA HB: Could you see BEHIND the guess house?
GP: Not behind the guest house.
DDA HB: Did you ever see the defendant doing any yard work on the property?
DDA HB: Did you ever see him ever do any manual labor on the property?
DDA HB: Were you working at that time?
DDA HB: How often were you home?
GP: I was home almost every day.
DDA HB: Were you aware at some point in time that... (rest of question is about Johnny).
Photograph. People’s 87.
DDA HB: Did you know Ruth’s son?
GP: Yes, I met him that’s all. I had no interaction.
The witness recognized a photo of John that he was shown.
DDA HB: At some point, (you were) aware that he had got married?
DDA HB: (Did you) meet his wife?
GP: Yes. ... They live lived in the back bedroom on my side.
DDA HB: Of the main house?
GP Yes. Which was on the west side.
Photo of People’s 99. Linda feeding John cake at their wedding.
DDA HB: Who are these people?
GP: Linda and John Sohos.
DDA HB: Linda is his wife?
DDA HB: Were you um, from your window, could you see into their bed room?
DDA HB: In the tie you were there... strike that. ... (Were) you (?) in a position, if there was (hard?) yelling and screaming, would you have heard it?
Defense: Objection. I don’t think this gentleman is able to evaluate the acoustics.
DDA HB: Based on how close your houses are together.
Judge: If he heard ...
The defense still argues that he can’t answer.
Judge: Based on where he was living at the time, did he hear that?
GP: Never did.
DDA HB: Never heard any yelling or screaming?
DDA HB: Never heard or saw them arguing?
DDA HB: Who was living on the property first? The defenant, or John and Lind got married.
GP: The defendant.
DDA HB: How long before they got married?
GP: A year or two.
DDA HB: When you moved away, who was living in the main house?
GP: John, Lina, Didi.
DDA HB: Who was living in the guest house?
DDA HB: Was anyone else living on the property?
GP: Not that I was aware of.
Direct ends and cross begins. A curly, silver-haired defense attorney greets the jury and introduces himself. The defense asks that People’s 88 be put up on the overhead screen. It’s a wedding photo.
Defense: Is that an accurate representation in the difference in their size, height and weight?
GP: Um, she was definitely taller than John.
Defense: Would you say heavier as well?
Defense: Would you say that is a fair representation to that differential?
Defense: You only met them one time?
GP: Linda, I only met her the one time. John, I’ see him. ... I had no interaction with either of them.
Defense: Did you ever hear any yelling?
Defense: Did you ever hear any nice, warm conversations on...
Laughter breaks out in the courtroom and the jury.
GP: I don’t think I would hear nice conversations.
Defense: Did you get interviewed by the police or the prosecution team?
Defense: When would that have been if you recall?
GP: I have no idea. They probably came to my home about six months ago.
Defense: Prior to six months ago, you called up the police to discuss something with them?
GP: Oh yes. When I first.... (miss rest of answer).
Defense: Was that was in 2008?
GP: I have no idea when that was. ... The first person I talked to was Mr. Wilkes (sp?) the police chief in San Marino.
GP: No, that was recently. When the article first came out, it asked you to call. ... I moved into my home in October of ‘08. So it was way after that.
Defense: (You) had no conversations prior to 2008?
GP: That’s correct.
Defense: If there were police reports prior to that august of 2008, they would be incorrect?
I think Judge Lomeli steps in and asks a question.
GP: If I could tell him the date or year I would.
He did have conversation from his current home. ... He believes it was from his current home. He believes it was with Sgt. Miley, within the last year.
Defense: Other than that, you don’t recall any other conversations?
GP: No, I don’t.
The defense asks several more questions. About the location of houses and his home being two stories. Defense asks about the yards on Didi’ property. The witness states there was only one back yard. He could see the entire guest house from his home.
Defense: Could you see the back of the main house?
Defense: So you had a pretty good view of the whole yard?
DDA HB: Objection! Misstates the testimony.
Judge: Did you have a clear view?
GP: I don’t think I had a clear view of the whole back (of the property).
... Of course I had no reason to look back there.
Defense: In 1984, how old were you?
GP: I was 50 years old.
Defense: Were you not employed at that time?
Defense: At some times, you would socialize with Didi Sohos?
GP: Yes I did.
Defense: About twice a month?
Defense: When did that start?
GP: It probably started when I moved there. ...I moved there in ’79.
He moved out in 1984.
Defense: That socializing, perhaps included some drinks and socializing?
Defense: Did you have any observation during the time that Didi was (a? drunk?) or frequent drinker?
GP: I have no idea.
Defense: Other than when you were there, she ...
GP: She had a drink.
Defense: Do you recall if there was any kind of lighting that went on (in the back)?
GP: I don’t believe (there?) was?
Defense: You’re pretty sure there was no lights on in the back?
DDA HB: Objection! Lights on or lights existing?
Judge: Did you ever see it (the back yard) lit?
Judge (or Defense): Did you ever see any lighting fixtures there?
GP: I don’t believe so.
Defense: Did you ever see any lights on?
GP: I don’t remember.
Defense: Did you ever see if lights ever (that?) reflects from the main house to the back?
GP: I don’t recall. ... I don’t believe there were any lights.
(unknown) And we had some testimony about the neighborhood watch that existed at the time.
Defense: Were you a member of the neighborhood watch?
GP: No I was not.
The witness states he knew there were sings on the street (but not aware of their activities). The witness is asked to describe the motor activity.
GP: I believe that was a very busy street.
Defense: Was there a lot of pedestrian traffic?
GP: I believe yes. ... Mostly in the morning.
Defense: Do you remember if there were (da?) walking out there at night?
GP: There might have been. I’m not aware of it.
Defense: And I think that um, if I’m not wrong when you testified earlier, you considered Mr. Chichester, who we know at Gerhartsreiter to be a friend of yours. ... Was he a very good friend of yours?
Defense: Do you remember there being something strange about him?
Defense: Did you think, it was unusual for someone in their 20’s to perusue a relationship with yourself?
Defense: So, if you said something earlier, in a report that you may have said that he was trying to use you?
GP: I don’t believe I said that.
Defense Do you feel that there was anything untoward in your relationship with this gentleman?
People’s exhibit 69 photo of Mr. Chichester.
Defense: ...have you take a look of this and tell the jury if that’s an accurate representation of Mr. Chichester, how he looked back in the 1980’s.
I believe Judge Lomeli asks, “Any redirect?”
DDA HB: Showing you People’s 16. Do you recognize this photo?
GP Yes. That’s Christopher.
DDA HB: Do you recognized this is how he looked at this time?
This witness is excused and a new witness is called to the stand. It’s a woman. The witness slowly makes her way to the gallery and the woman takes the stand.
Witness states her name is Elaine Siskoff. She lives in Wisconsin. She’s lived there all her life.
DDA HB: Did you go to college?
ES: UW of Milwaukee.
DDA HB: Did you ever meet anyone in at (University of Wisconsin that you see here right now)?
Defense: Stipulate to identity.
DDA HB: Approximately what year did you meet?
ES: I believe it was 1981.
DDA HB: Was he, as far as you were aware (enrolled)?
(Unknown) He was attending the university of law (?)
ES: Yes, I thought he was attending the university. He was on campus whenever I saw him, at either the theatre, or the (?) Dept.
DDA HB: What name did the defendant (give?) who introduced himself to you, (or him)?
ES: He came up to a friend and myself.
DDA HB: What did he say?
ES: “Would you like to see a theater production for free?”
DDA HB: And did you go?
ES: Yes we did. ... He was an usher at the theatre production.
DDA HB: What name did he give you?
ES: Christian Gerhartsreiter. ... He gave the name Christopher Gerhartsreiter Chichester.
Unknown: When he was talking about his family tree pedigree, he used the name of Chichester as one of his ancestors.
DDA HB: Did he tell you from where he was from?
ES: He said Germany, but I thought it was England.
DDA HB: If you recall, have you read some things in the media about this case?
ES: Yes I have.
DDA HB: I want you to keep clear what you read and what you remember.
ES: He said he was an exchange student.
DDA HB: Do you recall ...
ES: I guess not really.
DDA HB: Did you ever know him by any other name?
DDA HB: Did you date him for a period of time?
ES: About fall through spring. Spring break and when the semester ended about May.
DDA HB: What year?
ES: I think it was ‘80 or ‘81 and then he left. ... He said he was going to California to pursue intership with the Lucas, Star Wars director.
DDA HB: After he left, did you ever see him again?
ES: No, I never saw him again.
DDA HB: After (you? he?) left did you ever receive anything from him?
ES: A post card.
DDA HB: After that post card, you never saw or heard from him again, is that correct?
DDA HB: Your honor, I have a post card marked as People #89. May I approach?
People’s 89, photo of the postcard. It’s of English men in uniform. Then the back of the card is shown on the overhead. Lots of writing on the back of the card.
DDA HB: Do you recognize the post card?
DDA HB: Is this the post card you recieved.
DDA HB: Did you get it in the mail?
ES: It appeared in my mail.
DDA HB: Postmarked January 23rd?
ES: Well, he left in May, so it would have been the next year.
He writes about how England is great and that he was teaching 10 and 11 year olds in Sunday School.
DDA HB:hen he last met you , did he ever tell you he was going onto England?
Prosecutor reads from card again. About how he was going to other countries, Mozambiquie.
ES: Well, he said his family lived in Africa (country), and that the exchange rate, you could live quite well.
DDA HB: Did you have any reason to disbelieve that he wasn’t on the way to Africa?
DDA HB: Based on everything he told you did you, have any reason to believe that he wasn’t in England or Africa?
Direct ends and cross is by the gentleman with gray hair.
(My note here is: (Jeffrey) Denner, along with (Danielle) Menard and (Brad) Bailey introduces himself. Defense attorney’s names obtained via Pasadena Star-News. Sprocket.)
Defense: I think you mentioned that you first met (the defendant) in Wisconsin?
Defense: Was that Milwalkee, Wisocnsin.
Defense: At some point you two dated?
Defense: Dated as a romantic or just friends?
ES: A little romantic.
Defense: At what period of time did that occur?
ES: I guess I suppose, after (I) met him in October, through May, I saw him once a week maybe that.
Defense: When you say October, October of what year?
ES: It’s been 30 years, I kind of forget what year exactly, knowing I was at the University in ‘81, uh....
Defense: Were you at University of Wisconsin 1980 as well?
ES: Second half. ... I was going to night school in 1980 and thats where I met him.
Defense: Would it be fair to say at some point, the defendant would as you to marry him.
ES: Yes, he did.
Defense: Did he make it clear it would not be a regular romantic marriage but one to circumvent the laws of the immigration?
DDA HB: Objection! Calls for specualtion on his part, based on hearsay.
Defense: When he asked you to marry him, did he say it would be a sham marriage?
(Unknown. Likely prosecution. You honor, can we approach?)
Judge: We’ll be taking our break in five minutes ladies and gentlemen.
Defense: Going forward, I believe you answered yes, that it was going to (be a sham marriage)?
ES: he asked me if I would marry him. I said no. h\He asked me if I knew someone else who might be interested in marrying him. I said possibly. I said maybe my sister.
Defense: You said your sister who is ... Her name was Amy?
ES: Yes. Jersild last name.
Defense: Did they get married?
Defense: Did they ever live together?
Defense: Do you know if he ever promised her compensation for marriage?
ES: He told me he would but my sister told me she never got anything.
Defense: At some point did your sister divorce?
Es: She did so she could marry her current husband.
Defense: Do you know when she got divorced?
ES: I wasn’t aware when she did, no.
Defense: Would you agree it was 20 years before?
Defense: When you knew him it was by what name?
Es: Christopher Gerhart.
Defense: Did he ever ever identify himself (as?) Christian Gerhartsreiter to you?
Defense: Were they any other names you say he ever use any other names?
ES: Yes. There were about eight names that he flashed in front of me at the family tree.
Defense: Did you buy this at the time?
ES: I guess I did.
Defense: Was this the way that he presented himself to the public?
ES: I don’t think I saw him interact with anybody else.
Defense: Did you form an opinon that there was some British (peerchance?) or royalty?
ES: I’m not sure about royalty.
Defense: That he was some British royalty?
DDA HB: Objection!
ES: I don’t believe so.
Defense And at some point you received a post card?
Defense: And that post card was right there? (Pointing to the postcard on the screen.)
Defense: Did you respond to that?
ES: There was no way to respond.
(There was no return address.) Cross ends and redirect begins.
DDA HB: Do you recognizes the handwriting as that of the defendant?
The witness states she saw the defendant writing before. She saw him writing.
Redirect ends and recross begins.
Defense: When did you bring that post card to the attention of law enforcement?
The witness asks, “When was the boston trial? Because someone came to talk to me just before that. I then looked through my college records and found it.”
Defense: When did you in fact send the post card (to LE)?
ES: A month or two.
Recross ends and Redirect begins.
The witness states she was interviewed at her home.
ES: I believe mr Miley was (at my) home and i believe I told him that I had a post card at that time.
Defense: It was very recently that you mailed that? ... What was it that made you go back to look for it?
ES: Well I was cleaning my basement and I was cleaning things out.
Defense: And you just mailed it to Sgt. Miley?
ES: Well, I put it in a drawer, then mailed it .
Defense: Why did you save this post card?
ES: Well, it was my first boyfriend.
The morning break is called and I decide to call it a day.
Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter was convicted of first degree murder on April 10th. His next court hearing is June 26th, 2013 in Department 107.
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