Continued coverage of Day 3, Kelly Soo Park Trial.
When the lunch break was called, I got down to the cafeteria as fast as I could to grab a small salad to go with the lunch Mr. Sprocket had fixed for me. My problem at lunch is trying to find an unoccupied table in the cafeteria that's near an electrical outlet for my laptop. Those are few and far between. I work on editing my trial notes through lunch and get back on the 9th floor a little after 1:00 PM.
I wait by the door to open to ensure I get the same seat.
The jury is called to come into the courtroom.
The prosecution calls their next witness, Brian Van Holt. It's a handsome man wearing a white shirt and no tie. He looks to be in his 30's.
Here is his photo on Van Holt's IMDb page.
Brian Van Holt, from his IMDb page.
3. Brian Van Holt
Identifies a photo of Juliana Redding. She was his friend. Knew her approximately 2 years. Met at friends restaurant Primivtio in Venice Beach. Met her Mach 14th. 2008. Last time he saw her, she was leaving his loft in Venice. Prior to that, he was with her at the restaurant with a number of friends.
Juliana was with her friend Cher, and other employees at the restaurant. "Group of us went to a bar after the restaurant. The bar was The Otheroom. Juliana was a part of that group that went. They stayed an hour or two.
Cher, Mark, himself and couple other friends went to his loft after the bar. Juliana went to his house. She drove to his house. She was there an hour an a half, two.
Was Cher there as well?
Was it just hanging out?
During that night, Juliana left?
Yes. She left with Cher.
She returned to his house later, alone. She stayed a half an hour to an hour. During that time, they talked and there was some intimate behavior. "We kissed and we embraced." He did not have sexual intercourse with her.
The kissed and embraced, "I can’t be clear but I think I did touch the upper part of her chest." He can’t recall the exact time she left, maybe 1:30 AM. He walked her to her car. He had never been to her apartment. Never saw her again later.
Found out that she was murdered from his friend Mary, who was one of her co-workers, one of the restaurant owners. He was told Monday afternoon, early evening. He has a friendship with Mary. He had plans to meet up with Juliana and his friend Johnny, at Primivito. That evening, the group at the restaurant saw news coverage about the murder. Yes, it came on the news and we saw it.
He called the police immediately. To inform them that he was with Juliana on Friday night and to help with the investigation. He did not hear back immediately. A detective called back about a week later. During that week, he spoke to friends and family, work associates that he had called police. I hired and attorney. "They suggested I hire counsel, to protect me counsel me. Specifically my agent."
JK: Are you an actor?
BVH: Yes I am.
He did hire an attorney. One of the reasons he hired an attorney was he had never been involved in this surreal event like this. At the time he was in a series on TV that was airing or shortly ending. The attorney was someone that was referred to him by his agent. After he hired his attorney, he didn't initially have contact with police.
SOW: When contacted by police, was it Detective Henry?
Detective Henry first left a message and he passed that onto his attorney.
BVH: My attorney forbid it. Or forbade it? What’s the correct English?
Judge Kennedy tells him the correct way is that he advised him not to talk.
SOW: After Detective Henry left you a message, was there a time that you spoke to Detective Henry?
BVH: Yes, that was when I gave my DNA.
He provided a sample of his DNA when Henry showed up with a subpoena for his DNA.
BVH: I did not know they were coming. They just showed up.
SOW: At that time, did you talk to them about Juliana?
BVH: I explained the history of our relationship, and what occurred that night and that I had never been to her apartment.
His attorney was not present when he spoke to the police. In the beginning, his relationship is wasn’t anything. But they were friends. They had gone out previously than March 14th. As he sits here today, he doesn’t have an attorney.
At some time, he did contact Detective Thompson, but doesn’t know the exact date. It was a year or two later. He contacted her. He felt he needed to talk to her personally, without an attorney. "I heard rumors and I was uncomfortable with the way things evolved. And I wanted to clear the air." He was unhappy about how everything evolved. He testified at a prior hearing but doesn’t remember when that was. At that hearing, he did have an attorney.
SOW: At that hearing were you granted immunity at that hearing?
SOW: At first, were you aware what that even meant?
He explains what he thought it meant. He never asked for immunity.
Direct ends and cross begins by Buehler.
GB: On March 14th, you and Juliana met? Earlier in the evening you socialized?
BVH: That’s correct.
GB: Then she left and came back?
GB: Did she come back at your request?
The witnesses hesitates. He says he's not sure how to answer that. He then replies that it was a mutual request. She said she was going to drop a friend off and come back.
There was sexual contact, but no intercourse. He did not see her the following night. After he knew that she had died, he made a call to the police.
Buehler questions him on why he didn’t speak to the police initially. It is his understanding that his lawyer wouldn’t let him speak to the police unless he was offered immunity. He was not informed that his attorney did this.
He testified before the grand jury. At the time, he did not really have an understanding what immunity meant. He did tell his attorney that he wanted to talk to the police, but he was honoring what his attorney requested.
On March 15th, he was at his house. Questions as to what he told detectives where he was, and if he had anyone who could verify that he was home alone that night.
He’s asked what he told detectives he was doing on Saturday night. He thinks he was reading scripts for auditions on Monday. Beuhler asks which shows he was reading scripts for, what type of scripts.
Beuhler asks if that was usual for him to read scripts on Saturday night.
BVH: Yes, if I had auditions on Monday.
He often went to the restaurant Primitivo.
GB: Did Ms. Redding ever tell you if she had ever been harassed by anyone?
SOW: Objection! Sustained!
GB: Is it your understanding that you have immunity today for your testimony?
BVH: I don’t think I do.
GB: How often did you go to the restaurant?
BVH: Couple of times a week.
Cross ends and redirect begins.
He did have an audition on Monday and he lives about a block from the restaurant. The witness is excused.
Slender, pretty girl in her 20's enters the courtroom. She's wearing a sleeveless black form fitting dress with semi-platform black pumps. She has jet black hair and a tan.
4. Jessica Crissey
The witness identifies Juliana's photo. Juliana was her best friend. She starts to cry. She knew her 20 years. Grew up in Tucson. Celebrated Juliana’s 21st birthday together.
JC: (Jessica Quill?) Sarah Murphy, we flew out there.
People put up a photo of a group of girls Crissey identifies the people in the photo.
JC: Ashley on the left, Julina and myself and Munir in the background. It was taken on a plane that was Munir’s.
She details the flights she took from Arizona to California to Las Vegas.
On the way to the airport, Juliana was very upset.
SOW: What was she upset about?
SOW: Were you present with Juliana that day, when she had contact with her father?
Juliana was upset on the way to LAX. She became more upset once we got to Las Vegas. Uwaydah had two friends with him on the plane. She had never met Uwaydah before. They went to the Wynn Hotel. The rooms were two large suites with an adjoining doors open. When they got to Las Vegas, it was night time. It was dark. They had dinner when they arrived at the hotel. During the dinner, Juliana became more upset, and then she went to the bathroom with Juliana when she became upset.
SOW: Was she crying in the bathroom?
They went back to the table and the group continued with their dinner and have dessert. Then went back to rooms to get ready to dinner. Uwaydah tried to talk to her but she was all upset. She was yelling. He thought what she was angry about was her dogs. Arguing with her about that. She was upset about her dog.
SOW: Was she upset about anything else?
JC: Yes. ... She just kept calling him a liar.
SOW: And that had nothing to do with the dogs?
JC: No. ... We were all in both rooms (at the hotel). Juliana left. She was crying in the lobby. She felt so betrayed.
They did not stay at the Wind Hotel (with Uwaydah). They stayed at the Rio. They left the next day. The were supposed to stay there the whole weekend. We all wanted to leave. They (Juliana and someone else) left before we did. Juliana and Sarah got a flight.
Juliana did not have any more contact with Uwaydah. He was calling her nonstop, trying to get her to talk to him. He was waiting for her back in LA. They all took commercial flights back to LA.
Cross? No questions.
5. Natasha Hobey
Tall, beautiful slender, woman with past her shoulders brown hair. The three woman who have testified so far are very attractive young women. The witness looks nervous. She's wearing a skin tight burgundy dress that accentuates her body. Around her waist is a thick black patent leather belt.
Identifies photo of Juliana Redding. "She was my best friend." She is upset on the stand. Had been friends for two years. They met at Santa Monica college. Knew that Juliana was involved with Uwaydah. It was professional, platonic, and a little bit romantic maybe. Did not know how long involved with Uwaydah.
SOW: Do you know at what point the relationship ended?
NH: It ended about a year after I known her. Around the time that she passed away, she was uncomfortable having a relationship with him.
Juliana lived in her apartment on Centinela. Doesn’t know how long she lived there. She lived there at least five months. She went with her to find that apartment. Uwaydah went with them to find the apartment. When Juliana looked for the apartment, she was living in that house in Beverly Hills. She was 21 when she was killed. She did not go to Las Vegas, but she had just gotten a brand new job, and she didn’t want to miss her shift. She was invited to go to the celebration in Las Vegas.
Spoke to Juliana after the trip to Las Vegas. The day after her birthday. She thinks it was a Saturday. She got a call from Juliana at 8:00 am in the morning. Juliana was upset. Based on the conversation, she picked her up at the airport. Stopped by her apartment, then drove to Beverly Hills. Juliana really wanted her dogs.
The witness starts to cry. she covers her face with her hands. "I’m sorry." Just picked one of her dogs there from the house. We had been told that the dog had been moved to a location in San Diego. We picked up the little dog, Gigi (sp?). There were a couple boxes left over at the house (of Juliana's things).
SOW: Was anyone at the house when they got there?
NH: Yes. Rosita, the housekeeper.
After the breakup with Uwaydah, Juliana returned to Primivito, where she was working before working for Uwaydah.
SOW: When was the last time you saw Juliana?
NH: It was Wednesday, the 12th, I believe. We went to go get our nails done. ... We were there a couple hours.
SOW: Do you remember Juliana having a special key chain she had with her at all times?
NH: It was a Louis Vitton key chain that she had with her at all times. It had a rainbow.
Juliana liked it because it looked just like a bag of skittles. She cries again, covering her face. Photo of the key chain on the screen.
NH: We just loved the key chain.
I tried to find a photo of the key chain like the exhibit the people presented. I couldn't find one. This is the closest I could find. Sprocket.
NH: It looks like her key chain, but her key chain had primary colors.
The key chain colors in the people's exhibit are pastels.
NH: Juliana got that from Uwaydah. She also got a purse from Louis Vitton, and some diamond earrings and there was a purse too, that she really liked. And other things too.
The witness cries again.
NH: There was a Range Rover car, that he let her drive around.
NH: I don’t believe that she continued to drive the Range Rover.
At the Beverly Hills home, when she picked up her dogs she drove the Highlander away. She was supposed to see Juliana after the 12th. It was just a given. She socialized with Juliana and Uwaydah. Lots of times.
NH: We’d go for dinner, sports games, Laker games, baseball games.
When they came back from Las Vegas, they no longer socialized with Uwaydah. She gave a DNA sample. Wiese asks if she had ever seen the defendant before.
NH: No. ... Juliana had never mentioned her.
Direct ends and cross begins by Buehler.
She did go over to Juliana’s apartment. Many times.
GB: Did she generally lock the doors?
GB: Did she lock the doors all the time?
GB: When interviewed by police, you asked, you said Juliene never took a shower, do you remember say that?
NH: She just was the type of girl, that, even though she appeared to be high maintenance, she wasn’t. She would just put on some deodorant.
It was a place they would go that had “yappy hour” and it was for dogs. There was a time that she and Juliana went and Uwaydah was there. At a later time, after Juliana was uncomfortable being around Uwaydah, they saw Uwaydah at the “yappy hour” location and they were surprised. Juliana thought that Uwaydah may have been (following?) her.
Cross ends. Judge Kennedy excused the witness and when she leaves the witness stand, she tells he court, “Thank you so much.”
6. Robert Hernandez
Police Sgt. with the Santa Monica Police Department. Currently assigned to supervise communications division. 28 years been a police officer. March 16th, responded to the scene. Responded to a radio call to check the status at that location. Overhead photo of the location, map photo. Google map photo. That’s the area he responded to.
Next photograph. Front door of Juliana’s apartment. When he got there, a gentleman who later identified himself as John Gilmore approached. He was talking on his cell phone. "He saw me approaching and made contact with me."
Hernandez spoke to him maybe five, ten minutes. He pinged Juliana’s cell phone number, when that wasn’t successful, he looked for ways to enter the apartment. There is a metal door in the photo, and there is a wooden door behind the security gate. Another photo, the front door of the complex. People’s 11. "That’s a view of the kitchen area, from the living room, looking towards the back door."
Went to the rear of the apartment to see if he could get in that way. "There is a fence with a gate, that runs along the east property line." Photo of the apartment of the gate to the property, and you can see the metal gate.
He called for an officer who was experienced in lock picking. Officer (Cap? sp?) arrived and tried the front door and couldn’t get in that way. More officers arrived then received a call that someone else, (Wan Little?) offered to assist in gaining entry to the apartment. Officer Cap was successful in picking the lock to the security gate. Couldn’t get in the rear door, so got in through the window in the door. Forced up the bottom half of the window so he could reach in and undo the lock from the outside.
Just the bottom lock on the wood door was locked, not the deadbolt. When he got inside, he could smell the distinct odor of natural gas and requested the Santa Monica Fire Department. They came to the location.
Officer Loki (sp?), and Officer McGowan (sp?) was present when the location was opened. "When the door was being opened, I was letting them know what was going on inside. I was right behind other officers when they made entry."
Photo of the kitchen, immediately inside the rear door of the apartment. Could tell immediately where the gas was coming from. "At some point, I walked in that area, and could tell the gas odor was coming from the stove." The stove is on the left when you walk in. On the right is a table and chairs.
Photo of the living room from the kitchen area. People’s 15, is still the living room from the kitchen area, and items on the floor with evidence markers. They (evidence markers) were placed there after officers arrived. The photo accurately depicts the scene as he saw it when he arrived. Photo shows how the front door was when he entered the location. The front door deadbolt was engaged on the front door security door.
Other officers had gone further into the bedroom. Officer McGowan told him they found a woman’s body in the bedroom. "I saw a woman partially on the bed, her feet were dangling off the end of the bed. She was on her back."
Photo, of the bedroom as he entered is presented. Photo taken from far outside the bedroom.
Another closer photo. Juliana, slightly on her side her, left leg twisted over to her right, almost looking intertwined. Saw bruises on her arms, small cut on her legs and a cut on her face. Saw a small amount of blood on the floor beneath her feet. Photo of blood on floor beneath her foot in photo. Can see her toes in the photo.
He did not check to see if Juliana was alive." Lividity was already present in her body." Witness explains what lividity is. Photo is like, from the door to the bedroom.
SOW: (Using the laser) Show where on the body. t
RH: The back side of both thighs, where I saw lividity, the blood pooling.
There was a small dog in the bedroom. He was curled up on some clothing and growling at the officers. He went back outside. Requested animal control come take possession of the puppy, and then called the Redding house. He spoke to Mr. Redding and advised him as to what he found.
The bottom lock to the back door, the metal door was locked. It was a type of lock that you did not have to lock from the outside. The top lock on the back door requires to lock with a key.
GB: No questions at this point.
Prosecution asks if this is a good time to take the afternoon break.
At the break, Jack Leonard and I have a conversation with Josh Herman, Bail Bondsman for Kelly Soo Park. I ask him how expensive is it to bring back someone who has jumped bail. Leonard and I get a lesson in how difficult it is to collect an individual who jumps bail and makes it to another country. The bail bondsman talked about his client in very glowing terms.
During part of the break while I was listening the the bail bondsman on my right, Park was sitting in the chair to my left.
3:06 PM Court resumes.
Sargent Lewis is called. Uniformed Officer takes the stand.
7. Richard Lewis
Sargent with the Santa Monica Police Department almost 23 years. On March 16th, he was a detective with Robbery Homicide. He received a call regarding a homicide investigation. He went out to assist in the investigation. Mentions the other officers who went with him. Discussed the circumstances of what they had seen so far. He went inside with four others.
Entered the apartment through the south door, that went into the kitchen area. Identifies the door that officers opened in the photo. Walked from that door through the living room. It looked disheveled to him. Photo up on the screen. One of the legs to the coffee table was broken, or twisted. Bunch of torn paper, or toilet paper. And a lamp on the table that is twisted out of place.
There’s a lamp cord in the photo, and the paper appears to be bits of paper wrapped around the cord. The lamp was not plugged in.
The table was pushed up against (something?), that looked out of place. And a pillow, on the couch, the cover to one of the cushions was missing. Photo shows the uncovered pillow. It appeared to be a pillow that belonged to that couch. And it looked like that when he first saw it. Never found the cover.
Under one of the table legs, there was a gold chain that had been broken into two pieces. Half the chain was in a tray. The other part of the chain was under the leg of the table slightly.
Evidence marker 10 is the tray where the chain was, and marker 11 is the lamp. In the tray, remote control to the TV and some other items, a vase, with some sticks and a lit candle. There was a liquid inside the vase. The candle was lit when he arrived. When the tray moved, liquid poured out of the tray. (Underneath the tray?)
Another photo of the apartment going into the hallway. You can see the pillow and the lamp cord with the toilet paper. Peoples 25. The photo of the vase with the liquid in it. Next to vase with oil in it is something, looks like print dust.
Describes what he saw in the bedroom. On top of the bed, he saw a female on the bed. Photo of Juliana's face and upper body on the bed. Then a photo of her legs. Her legs in this photo are in a different position. There is a gasp from the gallery when the photo of Juliana's face was shown.
SOW: Did you observe injuries?
Both knees, numerous bruises and abrasions. Right calf bruises, small lacerations. Saw blood in the room. Saw the blood in the photograph. It’s on the floor below her right foot. While he was at the scene, forensic technicians came to collect evidence. He names the criminalists that he remembers and Okun-Wiese offers other names that he confirms.
The first technician arrived within an hour.
It's now that I notice that Juliana’s mother is not in the courtroom. I don’t know when she left. She was here after lunch. She may have left at the break to avoid looking at these photos of her daughter. Her husband Greg is still in the courtroom.
More questions about the locks on the doors and which ones were locked and how they need to be engaged. A key would be needed to lock the deadbolts when you exited the doors. Photo of one of the security doors, where the top deadbolt is in a locked position. The deadbolt is an interior latch knob, not a key to lock it. Witness reviews report to refresh his memory as to who arrived from the coroner’s office. He searched the entire apartment.
Her vehicle was at the location, parked out on Centinela. Saw a cell phone at the scene. It was on the end table, next to her bed. He also saw the victim's computer.
SOW: The computer plugged in?
RL: Best of my knowledge it was but it may not have been. It was in the living room.
SOW: The phone, did you have somebody recover that phone?
RL: It was recovered.
Photo with evidence tag 19, of bedroom end table with the phone on it.
Took the cell phone to the Beverly Hills Police Department. Because they did the forensic evidence on the phones at the time. Took the computer as well to Beverly Hills PD. Took it to have it forensically tested to see if there was any evidence on it.
SOW: Did not find a Louis Vitton key chain or a robe?
RL: I know we were looking for two robes at one time and we didn’t fine one (of them).
Direct ends. Buehler asks for a sidebar with Judge Kennedy. The jury watches the attorneys.
At the sidebar, I try to listen. I overhear Judge Kennedy say, something to the effect of, so you’re not ready to do any cross examination today?
Judge Kennedy takes the bench and tells the jury due to circumstances beyond her control, we are not continuing today. We are finishing early today.
Judge Kennedy takes the time to talk to the jury about being on time for court. A juror was late today that they had to wait for. Explains to the jury that, "If we were the FAA, we would be fined for not getting the plane off on time." She tells the jurors to report back at 9:00 AM tomorrow..
Before Park leaves, right in front of me in the third row, she gives a big hug to one of her family members, an Asian woman with short gray hair. She also hugs another man who has come to all of her court hearings.
And that's it.
KELLY SOO PARK QUICK LINKS