Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ka Pasasouk Preliminary Hearing, Day 1 Part II

 From Ka Pasasouk's Facebook Page.

Continued from Pasasouk Preliminary Hearing....

UPDATE 11/19: Witness name changed per request
UPDATE 7/30: Note: Entry has not been fully edited for spelling, clarity. Sprocket.

1:30 PM
When I get inside Dept. I on the fourth floor, Judge Harvey Giss is on the bench and handling several non-appearances.  One defendant would have had his last appearance today for completion of his probation, but since he decided not to show up for court, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest and two bail holds, totaling $10,000.00 were placed.

Judge Giss Background
I'm told Judge Giss is a former deputy district attorney who's been on the bench a long time. Vincent Bugliosi, on page 64 his book Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away With Murder, quotes Giss when he was still a deputy district attorney.  Mark Geragos and Pat Harris complement Judge Giss in their book, Mistrial: An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works:
If you ask a group of L.A. attorneys who the best prosecutor they every saw in front of a jury was, a number would probably answer Harvey Giss. He was a tough-as-nails, take-no-prisoners DA (with a great head of hair which the authors are both extremely jealous).  Many believed that he should have been the prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson trial.  But when Giss was appointed to the bench in 2001, his entire demeanor changed, and he is now widely respected on both sides. He has an excellent judicial temperament, tries very hard to be fair to all sides, and seems the antithesis of a hard charging prosecutor.
However, two years ago in March 2011, Judge Giss was admonished by the Commission on Judicial Performance for an insensitive Klu Klux Klan remark he made in a case involving African Americans. Judge Giss eventually withdrew from that case.

1:47 PM
Judge Giss tells counsel in the Pasasouk case, "You let me know when every body's set up."  Once both parties tell Judge Giss they are ready, he asks defense attorney James Goldstein for the correct pronunciation of his client's last name, "So I don't mess it up."  It's pronounced Pass-ah-SOUK.  Goldstein is a court appointed attorney. The defense waives the reading of the complaint and we're ready to roll.

DDA Akemon calls his first witness, LAPD Officer Juan Guzman.


Officer Guzman is a medium height uniformed officer with almost black skin.When I first laid eyes on him in the jury box this morning, I couldn't decide if his pleasant looking face had a hint of oriental features or not.

There is a bit of business first about making sure there are no witnesses in the courtroom who will testify later.  Akemon belatedly asks Judge Giss of Detective Diaz could also remain inside the courtroom as a consulting detective.  His request is granted.

Officer Guzman has been a patrol officer for two years.  On December 2nd at approximately 4:30 AM he was working patrol in Los Angeles.  He was at the (Devonshire?) station when he and his partner, Joe Gonzalez (sp?) received a radio call as 'shots fired.'

Judge Giss interrupts the witness testimony to get an agreement from the defense that this preliminary hearing is not a "continuous" prelim, meaning, other hearings can interrupt the proceedings. The defense agrees.

Officer Guzman testifies it took him five minutes to arrive at the location where the 911 call originated, 17411 Devonshire Street.  He responded to the call as "Code 3" which means the officer's drive with their sirens on.   Also responding to the call with them was Sargent Debellis (sp?). At approximately 4:30 AM they arrived at the location on the Devonshire side of the property.  Officer Guzman immediately canvased the location.  It was a residential street.  Guzman got out, canvased the area and looked for signs of a shooting, shell casings. Initially, he didn't find anything.  He had the 911 operator get in contact with the initial caller, Priya Kapil, and have her step outside the residence to meet the officers.

Guzman didn't make the initial contact with Ms. Kapil, his partner did. She came out of the residence and stood in front of the door. Guzman continued to look around the property and went to the west side of the house.  Kapil told officers she heard and argument on the left side of the house.

There was a walkway and a large bush. It was dark. Guzman had his flashlight out.  The first thing Guzman saw was a large pool of blood. He then saw two bodies, each shot in the head.  He called for his Sargent, paramedics and backup.  Guzman then went inside the house to see there were other victims.  No victims appeared to have any life left at the scene.   People's exhibit 1, a photo of the murder scene is shown to the witness. Officer Guzman identifies it as four bodies in the photo.  The puddle of blood is in the lower right corner of the image.  An individual in the image, Jennifer Kim, is pointed out to Officer Guzman.  She's dressed in all black.  Guzman states he didn't see her at fist because of the darkness, but he did see Mr. Calabia.

Officers made their way to the back side of the house and approached the bodies from the south. They found a fourth victim, Teofilo Navales.  He then reported that to his Sargent.

An older Asian woman sitting next to me quietly sobs. It's difficult not to be affected by her sadness.

Judge Giss asks for a proffer.  The witness states as part of his law enforcement training, he took training to give hearsay testimony at a preliminary hearing.  The 911 caller, Kapil, told him there was a delay in making the 911 call because she was in shock and afraid.

Direct ends and cross begins.

Goldstein asks the witness specifically what the 911 caller said.  Guzman asks to look at his statement to refresh his memory.  I don't believe the defense asks any more questions. Cross ends and redirect begins.

Akemon gives the witness a copy of his written statement to read to refresh his memory.

The young Asian woman sitting to my left is also heavily sobbing. I want to reach out and comfort her. Her eyes are bloodshot and she's quite upset.

Then Guzman answers the question about what the 911 caller told him.

JG: She was in shock because it took her a while to process what she just witnessed.

Redirect is finished and the witness is excused.


Neal is an attractive woman with shoulder length brown hair, with the ends curled up into a flip.  She's wearing several long silver chains around her neck.  When she takes the witness stand, she positions herself directly against the side wall of Judge Giss's bench. She angles her position away from the defendant and towards the jury box, as if she is purposefully not looking at him and wants to hide. Her facial expression and body language screams she's very uncomfortable being on the witness stand.

Akemon first asks Neal her age. "Thirty-three," she responds. She identifies Pasasouk for the court, but does it in such a way as to try to avoid looking at him at the same time.  She testifies she used to be the defendant's girlfriend.  She is his ex-girlfriend.  She met the defendant March 16th of last year, 2012.  (Note. I found it interesting that throughout her testimony about the violent events leading up to the shooting, and afterwards, she often didn't remember. However, she clearly remembered the day she met Pasasouk. Sprocket.)

DA: Do you know Jo-Jo Burbank?
CN: I know him because my ex-boyfriend wanted to get rid of Ka out of my residence.
JG: Objection!  Move to strike! Hearsay!

There is at first some confusion as to 'which' ex-boyfriend the witness is referring to.  It's someone other than Ka.  Judge Giss asks that the testimony be read back and then sustains the objection.

Neal states that she doesn't know Jo-Jo personally, other than to say 'Hi and Bye' to.  Neal testifies she's not aware of his other name, Teofilo Navales.  Neal states she doesn't know if there was a problem between Jo-Jo and Ka. Neal states there was a confrontation between Jo-Jo and Ka at her house, but she is having difficulty nailing down when exactly the confrontation was.  She observed Jo-Jo Burbank hit Ka with some type of weapon.

DA: When did that happen in relation to December 2nd? ... How long before?
CN: It was months and months before. ... It was a couple of months after I first met him.
DA: It was May?
CN: It was summer time.

This event happened at her house off of Roscoe Blvd.  Later she moved into the residence on Devonshire Blvd.

DA: When did you move to (the Devonshire house)?
CN: September, maybe.

Neal moved into the Devonshire house with Ka.  The Judge is concerned that the witness isn't being heard by the court reporter. The bailiff gets up from his seat and adjusts the microphone so that it's directly in front of Ms. Neal.

Neal describes where she lived in the Devonshire house. She lived in a room next to the front door, facing the street.  Her room was to the right of the front door. Because the front door of the residence was often locked, she entered her room through a window.  (In THIS KPCC story, you can see the front of the house and the very tall front window. Sprocket.) Neal set up surveillance cameras inside and directly outside of her room.  One camera faced straight ahead, to the street.  The second camera was aimed to the left, towards the trees.  One of the cameras would have looked down the walkway to the bushes.

Neal states that she, Ka and Jo-Jo hung out.  They played darts.  She states that Ka occasionally said that at some point he would have to "FADD" (sp?) with Jo-Jo, which she explains meant "have a fight" one day.  Neal has difficulty describing the number of people who lived in the residence.

CN: It's a big house, lots of people lived in it and outside of it in guest houses.  Just a lot of people.
DA: About how many were living there?
JG: Objection: Lacks foundation!
DA: I'll withdraw the question.

Akemon asks his question in a different way.

CN: Approximately fifteen to twenty people were on the property.

Neal testifies that she saw the defendant with a handgun numerous times.

CN: Since the day he got it.  Everyday.

Neal states the gun was a black 45 caliber Ruger.

DA: Are you certain about the caliber?
CN: I can't really remember the caliber. ... It was mostly black.

Neal doesn't remember seeing silver on the gun.

DA: In connection with this case, did you have a conversation with Detective Meyers?
CN: Yes.
DA: Your conversations were being recorded?
CN: Yes.

Neal states that her memory was better back then and it's probably correct if she identified back then, the weapon as black and silver. Neal states she can't remember how many times she saw the defendant with the gun. "It was a gun I saw every day."  Neal is asked to review her prior statement she gave to detective Meyers on December 3rd.

Neal still looks very uncomfortable on the stand. She's now asked a series of questions about December 1st, the day before the morning of the shooting.

DA: One December 1st, were you at the residence?
CN: Yes.
DA: Were you there the whole day, or had you come and gone?
CN: I had come and gone that day.
DA: When you woke up that morning, was Ka there?
CN: Yes.
DA: Was he in that bedroom?
CN: Yes.
DA: Was there some problem developing?
CN: Yes. He was moving out.

Neal is asked to briefly describe what was happening a couple of days before. She's asked if she felt the relationship was deteriorating.  She agrees that things weren't going well.  Neal pauses for a moment. It's as if she's gathering her composure.

CN: He wanted to leave. ... He didn't feel appreciated. ... He had moved his stuff. ... He had packed up all his shit ... and all his shit was gone.
DA: At some point did he leave?
CN: Yes.
DA: When did he leave?
CN: Evening time, I think.

Neal states that the defendant did not have his own vehicle, but that he left with "Cartoon."  ("Cartoon" is Howard Ledesma Alcantara. Sprocket.) There is testimony that the defendant was "in a gang."  TGP is mentioned. Akemon asks her if that Tau Gamma Penoy, and Neal corrects him and states the spelling is "P I N O Y."

Judge Giss interrupts her testimony to ask her how she knows the defendant was in a gang. "Because, he said he was with TGP." The defendant left in a light beige car.

DA: At some point he returned to the residence?
CN: Yes.
DA: When was that?
CN: At night time.

Neal doesn't remember the exact time.

CN: It was night time. ... Before midnight.
DA: Who did he come back with?
CN: He came back with Lourdes.

She's asked to verify Lourdes full name. Lourdes Pachejo. (Maria Lourdes Pachejo)  Neal knew her. He met her. Howard, Ka and Lourdes were all together.

DA: When they returned, where were you?
CN: I was in my room.

They went upstairs to play darts or mingle or something.  Neal is referring to another room/area in the residence.  Neal names several people who lived in this upstairs room.  Ronald, John Doe (pseudonym per witness request. Sprocket) Dandy.  This upstairs, is an upstairs apartment on the backside of the house, with an entrance on the backside.  Neal was friendly with these people.  She went there (the upstairs room/apt) every day.

Akemon presents to the witness a photo that has a bedroom on it and images of other people.

DA: Do you recognize that bedroom?
CN: No, actually, I don't.
DA: Do you recognize the photos of the people in that photo?
CN: Yes.

Neal identifies the defendant, Howard, (aka Cartoon); another individual, Mr. Doe and another, Jun. She did know Jun's last name was Mendoza.  Another individual in the photo, Dandy, and another, Evelyn Bax.  In the left corner of the photo is Ronald.

DA: Did you have a relationship with Evelyn?
CN: She's just an acquaintance. ... I met her a few times. ... I was friendly with her.
DA: Did you ever hear Mr. Pasasouk say he had problems with Evelyn?
CN: Yes. He didn't want me hanging out with her because she was a slut and Jo-Jo Burbank's girlfriend.

Akemon asks her about the people who were upstairs in the house on December 1st.

That evening, she first saw Evelyn upstairs.  She went upstairs that evening and saw Evelyn. The upstairs is part of the main house but is walled off from the inside.  She names people who lived in that upstairs area.  Ronald, Mr. Doe, and (Ronald? Roland's?) sister. Neal also saw Evelyn and Jun and Dandy up there as well.

As the evening went on, she saw the defendant was rolling drunk.  He was drinking vodka and smoking meth.  Neal did meth with the defendant all day.

DA: At some point on Saturday, did she see that black and silver Ruger?
CN: Yes. ... On him and on the bed.
DA: Did you see it in Mr. Pasasouk's hand?
CN: Yes.

Neal is asked to describe what happened next.

CN: Something happened in the early morning. ... We were fighting.  He put the gun to my head and said that I was going to be another victim. He hit me in the face with his fists.  I was bruised.

The witness is asked to demonstrate how the defendant put the gun to her head. The judge wants to have her demonstrate.  But it's obvious she doesn't want to move away from the wall she's leaning against.  The judge needs to see her demonstrate.  So the judge stands up at the bench, so he can see her leaning against the wall.  The witness demonstrates with her right hand. She was sitting down on the bed and the defendant stood over her. The gun touched her head. Neal explains the defendant said, "You're going to be one of the victims."

DA: Were you doing anything to cause him to do that?
CN: I asked him to leave. ... He got pissed off. ... He grabbed an (electrical?) cord, and was going to tie me up. ... Then he said he was going to get Evelyn too and (tie her up).

Frightened, Neal ran.  She escaped through the rear of the house and exited out the back sliding glass door.  She went to go hide.

DA: Why were you scared?
CN: Because he just threatened to kill me.  ... I heard pounding, and Evelyn scream.

She did not see Howard, but saw his car in the alley.  She's asked to describe how Howard's car was parked in the alley behind the residence.  The back security gate was open. Howard's car was half on the property in the driveway and halfway in the alley.  If the gate was closed, the gate would have hit the car.  Neal testifies that Howard also had a gun that was in his waistband.  She first saw it when he was in her room.  Neal states she really didn't know Cartoon (Howard), she didn't have a relationship with him. She thought he was, "too much."  The last time she remembers seeing Howard he was by her room area, after she was asking everyone to leave.

After Neal escaped the house, she was hiding in-between the garage and the back gate area.  She was hiding in an area described as a 'cubby hole' area.  She took her keys, that were hanging on a (cord?) around her neck and put them on the ground.  She was trying to make it to her truck. She was planning on going to her friend Jesus's (sp?) house.  She heard a big boom, and heard Evelyn scream and say (over and over?) "You're hurting me. You're hurting me, ... or something."

DA: Did you hear Mr. Pasasouk's voice?
CN: I can't remember.

Neal believes she was hiding in that location behind the property for a few minutes.  She opened the neighbor's gate. It was unlocked, so she could go into the neighbor's yard. There was a pool in the neighbor's yard.  She didn't hear anything while she was in this location. She made her way to the front of the neighbor's property via a walkway.  At this time, she's traveling southbound towards Devonshire.  She next hid in the bushes in the front of the neighbor's house.  She hid there because there were people in the front of the house. There was noise.

CN: I heard Ka coming (to? from?) the house asking, ... "Where's Christina! ... Where the fuck is Christina!!"

Neal hid in that location for a few minutes.

DA: Did you hear anyone else?
CN: Just the people who showed up. ... It looked like a blue car. ... It parked in front of the gate of the neighbor's house.

Neal remembers seeing people in the car, two people she thinks.  She could see someone in the driver's seat and the front passenger seat.

CN: I heard a guy and a girl ... and Ka ask, "Who the fuck are you?" ... I heard somebody say, "I'm their brother. ... Then a girl's voice, "Oh my God! Oh my God! ... Then shots.

2:58 PM
Judge Giss calls for the afternoon break. He orders the witness back at 3:15 PM.  I note that the court reporter has a large jar of candy on her desk and the bailiff goes over to her desk and takes a piece out of the jar.

3:15 PM
Neal retakes the stand.  Her face is in a heavy frown at the moment. It appears as if she's scowling. While she's sitting there waiting, she takes a lanyard out with keys on it and hangs it around her neck.

The defendant is brought back out. Interestingly, he's handcuffed in front.  Usually I see defendants in custody cuffed in the back, or cuffed to waist chains.

DDA Akemon revisits the testimony she gave just before the break.

CN: I heard someone say, "They're my brother, or I'm their brother. ... I then heard, "Oh my God! Oh my God!"
DA: How long after (that) before you heard gunshots?
CN: Seconds.
DA: After you heard voices and gunshots, what happened next?

Neal stayed in the front yard for at least another five or six minutes.

DA: Did you see or hear where Ka was?
CN: No, I didn't see or hear him, no.
DA: Did you see Howard's Lexus?
CN: I saw Howard's Lexus zoom across the block.

When Neal first got to the front yard, she saw Howard's Lexus parked in front of the property next to the curb.  After the shots stopped, she heard it (the Lexus) leave and saw it go past the front of the house two times. She didn't see anyone get in the vehicle, she just heard the car door slam.

DA: Did you see or hear Mr. Pasasouk get into that car or not?
CN: I don't know.
DA: After the gunshots stopped, did you hear Mr. Pasasouk's voice?
CN: No.

Afterwards, Neal jumped the gate of the fence and walked up the street to get in her truck. "I booked," she said.  She went down Devonshire and drove to Sylmar.  The next time she heard the defendant, she was at Victory and Roscoe.  The defendant called her on her cell phone.  He wanted to know where she was. She wanted to know where he was.  She then heard Cartoon say in the background, "Can you trust her? Can you trust her?"

JG: Objection!  Hearsay.
Judge Giss over rules. "It's not offered for the truth of the matter."  Judge Giss explains his ruling further and the relevance of the statement. I believe it's Akemon who asks her if she knows Cartoon's voice.

DA: Had you heard Cartoon's voice?
CN: Yes.
DA: Was that his voice?
CN: Yes. ... Ka then said, "Yeah, that's my girl." ... I asked him, "Why do you want to know where I am? Are you going to kill me too?"  ... He said, "Baby, I fucked up. ... I shot three people."
DA: Did he specify who he shot?
CN: No.
DA: Did he name names?
CN: No.
DA: Just specified three people?
CN: (Yes.)

Neal believes the phone call from the defendant happened about an hour after the shooting.

DA: Did Mr. Pasasouk say anything else at that time about the shooting?
CN: No. ... He said he needed my help.  He said, "Don't leave me," and told me originally to meet him, somewhere ... in a downtown restaurant ... originally.

It was some public location that he wanted her to meet him. Then he wanted her to meet him at his aunt's house.  She met him somewhere close to his aunt's house.  The first time she saw the defendant after the shooting, he was in a black Audi.  He was with Donnamae Rabulan and Cartoon.  The defendant got out of the black Audi and got in her car. He directed her to his aunt's house nearby.  The defendant spoke to his aunt and uncle for a minute or two.  She didn't see him go into his aunt's house.

DA: What did he say, if anything, about the gun.
CN: He just said it was gone.

Then she and the defendant got back in her car and met up with the others at a grocery store.  She parked her car and got into the black Audi.  Their plan was to go to Vegas.  There was discussion with the defendant about coming up with an alibi.

CN: We were just going to say we were getting married, so that's why we were in Vegas.

Neal doesn't remember how long it took them to drive to Vegas. "How ever long it takes," she replied.  They stopped somewhere along the way at a Jack in the Box; she doesn't remember where.  Inside the black Audi, she was in the back seat and Pasasouk was in the back seat, lying down. Cartoon was in the passenger seat and Donna May was driving.

DA: During the drive, did he tell you where he shot the people?
CN: I don't remember.
DA: Do you remember telling Detective Meyers that Mr. Pasasouk told you he shot them in the back of the head?
CN: I don't remember.
DA: Did he tell you he named the people?

Neal doesn't remember or she replied, "No."  Neal is asked to read a copy of a transcript of her statement to Detective Meyers.

CN: Jo-Jo Burbank and Robert.
DA: Do you remember now what part of the body Mr. Pasasouk told you he shot (the people)?
CN: No.

The witness is asked to read another section of her statement. Even after reading her statement, she can't remember now what she said back then.  Judge Giss steps in, stating that her testimony is inconsistent with her prior statement.  I believe Akemon now reads from the statement.

DA: The detective asks, "He said that he shot them in the head? ... He told you? .. Multiple times.

Now the witness vaguely remembers making those statements to the detective.

DA: Do you remember, was there a plan to rob somebody?
CN: Yeah. He always talked about a plan of getting all the dealers together and robbing somebody.

Howard was supposed to be the one to shoot everybody but his scary ass got scared.  The defendant didn't say why, he just said ("Sorry ass?" "Scary ass?") didn't do it. Akemon asks if he said something about getting rid of property.  Black widow darts. They were from a bag, a (back pack?). This happened in the hotel room, in Vegas. He emptied darts out of a bag in the hotel and said he took them from one of the victims. The defendant was complaining about Howard. That Howard didn't grab anything, didn't get any money. They grabbed the bag and the darts. In Vegas, he got rid of the darts. The defendant gave everything, his clothing and the darts to Howard.  Howard threw everything away.

CN: When we got to Vegas, Ka gave his clothing to Howard.

In Vegas, Howard's clothing (he had on at the time of the shooting) was already gone by then. Ka's clothing was gotten rid of because of gunshot residue (GSR).  Neal testifies she peed in a bucket so that there wasn't going to be any GSR on them.  Evidently, the defendant thought/heard that urine got rid of GSR.  So she saved her urine in a bucket to be poured on the defendant.

3:45 PM
Direct ends and cross begins.

JG: In the beginning of your testimony, you testified that Ka that day was acting (strange?)?
CN: Yeah.
JG: You said he was loaded on vodka?
CN: Yeah.
JG: You observed that?
CN: Yes.
JG: About what time did he start drinking?
CN: The day before. ... That was the second bottle of vodka.

The defendant started the second bottle at night time. He drank about half of the second bottle.

JG: How about meth?
CN: Yes.
JG: Did you observe him take meth?
CN: Yes.
JG: When did you first see him do meth?
CN: When? Earlier in the morning. ... We smoked all day.

At first, Neal is not clear or is unsure about how many hours it was between smoking meth and the shooting occurred.  Neal states that Howard was also in her room, smoking.  That maybe it was a couple of hours.

JG: He was acting (screwy?)?
CN: Yeah.
JG: You had never seen him act like that before?
CN: Yeah.

Neal states that she wasn't doing meth at the same time with him.  She states that the meth, "Makes me not sleep."  She smoked meth all day of the day before the shooting.  She also smoked all during the night time and into the early morning hours (of December 2nd).  The defendant also smoked all during that time.  The defendant drank all of one bottle of vodka and one half of another.

The judge and the defense attorney try to get the witness to narrow down the exact size of the vodka bottle.

CN: It was a big ass bottle of vodka.

Was it a fifth, was it a gallon, Neal is asked.

CN: It was a Costco sized bottle. ... It was like a gallon.

Neal also saw Howard with a gun that day also. She had also seen Howard with a gun previously. She saw them with guns at the same time.

JG: Ever see them exchange guns?
CN: No.
JG: At the time of the shooting, would you say you were really high on meth?
CN: No.
JG: Had you come down?
CN: (Somewhat.) ... I didn't smoke that much.

When asked about the female voice she heard, Neal said she didn't recognize the voice as anyone that she knew. She didn't recognize the male voice as anyone she knew.

JG: You were hiding from the defendant when you were at the neighbors next door?
CN: Yes.
JG: Was that because he was acting crazy?
CN: Yes.
JG: And you had never seen him act like that before?
CN: Yes.
JG: Were you present when plans were discussed to rob somebody? ... Before that?
CN: No.
JG: Any talk about to rob somebody, was that in Vegas?
CN: Yes.
JG: Did you do some meth in Vegas?
CN: Yes. ... Just a couple of hits. There wasn't much left.
JG: When you got in the car, the black Audi, did you see him with a gun?
CN: No.
JG: That night, did you see hi mwith a gun?
CN: When he was pointing it at my head.

This event was one hour before the shooting.  When the defendant did that (point the gun at her head and touched her head with the gun) he was alone with Neal.

JG: Where was the Lexus at the moment you heard the shots?
CN: Parked on Devonshire. ... I actually saw it (the car). .. I saw the back of it.
JG: Did you see anyone in it?
CN: No.
JG: You saw the Lexus after the shooting? ... It was going around the block?
CN: Yes.
JG: Could you tell who was in it at that point?
CN: No.

Neal states that the defendant didn't have a car.

JG: He didn't have a truck?
CN: He didn't have a car.

Goldstein now asks the witness about Jo-Jo Burbank.

JG: You said at one point, there was some problem between Jo-Jo and Ka. ... That there had been a fight?
CN: Yes.
JG: A few weeks before the shooting?
CN: No. It was months.

After that fight, she saw the defendant and Jo-Jo together. "They were playing darts," Neal answers.

JG: Did he ever tell you that he and Jo-Jo had patched things up?
CN: No, but they played darts together.  They talked.

Neal is asked if she knows the difference between a revolver and a semi-automatic handgun.  Neal replies that the gun was a revolver.

JG: When you were first interviewed with officers, were you being honest?
CN: No.
JG: Were you told by officers yo uwere in big trouble?
CN: I'm sure they might have said that (at some point).

Goldstein asks Neal how long it had been since she last had any meth or alcohol, before she was first interviewed on December 3rd.

CN: Whenever I was arrested. ... It was check-out time (at the hotel).

Neal then explains that she hadn't had any drugs for some time before being interviewed.

JG: When was te last time when you had any drugs? ... Within the last 48 hours?
CN: No.

Neal is asked again which corner gas station she was at when the defendant called her after the shooting.  She received the phone call when she was at Haskell and Victory.  The defendant called her on her cell phone.  Goldstein asks her if the defendant had a cell phone in his name. Neal states he had a phone, but she doesn't know if it was in his name or not.

Cross ends and redirect begins.

When they got to Vegas, Ka was talking about getting all the big dealers, players together and robbing them.  It's not clear from her testimony if this discussion only happened in Vegas or prior.

CN: He mentioned that two guys weren't supposed to leave.

Neal is asked again if the defendant said the people (that were shot) interrupted a robbery plan.

DA: Didn't you tell detectives that there was a robbery plan, ... and that (the) people came out of nowhere? ... That the intended victims, the big dealers ... were all planning on going to a casino that night? ...

After the shooting, she called someone named Chito.

DA: Did you tell Chito that you were very scared and that Ka had shot three people?

Neal doesn't remember how long after the shooting she called Chito.

Redirect ends and recross begins.

There is a discussion concerning the robbery.

JG: Ka was supposed to be the mastermind of the robbery?
CN: Yeah.
JG: Was that connected in any way to the shooting?
CN: No.

Neal's testimony is finished but she's not excused. She's expected to be on call for the next week.  When she gets up from the witness box, I see that the lanyard that's hanging around her neck falls past her waist, almost touching her legs.


The witness is asked her full name.  Sherelle Evelyn Gorgina (sp?) Owens Bax.  She mentions that on her ID, they got her name wrong.

It's 4:15 PM and court ends for the day. The witness is ordered back for tomorrow.  Judge Giss has about six cases on calendar in the morning so he tells counsel court will start promptly at 11 AM.

Judge Giss tells the witness that Detective Meyers will escort her to court.  She asks the judge, "I can't ride my bike?"  Judge Giss responds, "Well, I saw you riding on the sidewalk." Apparently Judge Giss was outside and coming up the sidewalk and the witness was coming towards him on her bike.  Two interpreters are ordered back for tomorrow.

Out in the hallway, I wait to ask DDA Akemon a question about the spelling of 'Howard's' last name.  I see Akemon comforting a woman who is sitting on a bench, sobbing.

One of the detectives sits down on his rolling cart. He mentions that his back was starting to ache.  I tell him I totally understand and strike up a conversation with him. Come to find out, we have a friend in common, former Deputy District Attorney, Alan Jackson

After court, I met KPCC reporter Rina Palta, who filed this report about today's testimony.

To be continued in Day 2....