Monday, July 29, 2013

Ka Pasasouk Preliminary Hearing

Ka Pasasouk, 4/3/13 
Photo Credit: Daily News David Crane

UPDATED 8:00 PM clarity, spelling
Monday, July 29th, 2013
6:30 AM
In the early morning hours of December 2nd, 2012, Ka Pasasouk, 31, is alleged to have murdered four individuals outside an illegal boarding house in Northridge, California. It's my understanding the house was divided up into individual units.

Allegedly, Pasasouk got into an argument with Teofilo Navales, 49, possibly a property dispute, outside the residence and shot him. Robert Calabia, 34, Jennifer Kim, 26, and Amanda Ghossein, 24, were shot immediately after.  Four lives were gone so quickly.

Pasasouk fled Los Angeles to Las Vegas with three other individuals (Howard Alcantra, 30, Christina Neal, 33, Donna Rabulan, 30), where all four were arrested.  Alcantra was charged with robbery and aiding a felon.  Neal and Rabulan were charged with aiding a felon.

The case is tragic because in September 2012, Pasasouk was before Van Nuys Couthouse Judge Jessica Silver on drug charges.  According to a December 20th, 2012 LA Times article:

The district attorney's office has said it erred in telling Silver that Pasasouk was eligible for a Proposition 36 drug review program,  which allowed him to receive treatment rather than prison time.
The Los Angeles County Probation Department had urged that he be sent  back to state prison for "long-term detention" because of his lengthy  criminal record. But Silver followed the recommendation of the D.A.'s  office and ordered him to drug treatment.

Less than three months later, four people ended up dead.

Ka Pasasouk's preliminary hearing on four felony murder charges is expected to begin today in the San Fernando Courthouse, Department H, Judge Lloyd Nash's courtroom. The preliminary hearing is expected to take five days. I'll have an update once I reach the San Fernando Courthouse.

8:15 AM
I'm in the cafeteria of the San Fernando Courthouse.  There is an area inside the first floor cafeteria called "SELF-HELP LEGAL ACCESS CENTER." I do not know if I will be able to use my laptop inside Judge Nash's courtroom, which is on the third floor.  Unlike courtrooms in other states that are hard wired with cameras, Los Angeles County is still behind the times. It is up to each individual judge whether or not I can even use my laptop for note taking. Many of the judges on the 9th floor in the downtown Criminal Justice Center don't allow laptops.  I'm going to make my way up to the 3rd floor now.

8:25 AM
I'm on the 3rd floor.   The elevator bay is in the center.  There are four courtrooms on this floor, Departments E, F, G, and H.  At the left end is the District Attorney's branch office.  There are a little over a dozen people on the floor, waiting on the old, oak stained wood benches.  An older, casually dressed Latino man sitting next to me asks, "How are you doing miss?"

8:29 AM
The DDA's clerk that I met via a Gargiulo hearing arrives and heads down towards the DA's office.  I believe I forgot to mention that DDA Daniel Akemon, who is prosecuting Michael Thomas Gargiulo, will be presenting the case against Pasasouk. 

8:35 AM
I see DDA Akemon speaking to someone who looks like a detective. He comes down my way and gives me a greeting.

10:50 AM
The short update is, the case has been transferred to Dept. I for the preliminary hearing at 1:30 PM.  I've come back home to grab a bite to eat before I return to court.

1:00 PM
I'm back at the San Fernando Courthouse, cafeteria, getting a last minute charge on my laptop before I head upstairs to the 4th floor. I see the court's interpreter from this morning in the cafeteria, picking up his things from his lunch table. From the time I left my house until I sat down inside the cafeteria, the trip took 22 minutes.

When I cleared security this afternoon, I noticed for the first time that the main lobby has an LA County Sheriff's "Civil Office."  After several years of attending trials and sitting in hallways, it's not difficult to determine who is here for their own court appearance, who a defense attorney, who are court personnel and who is with the DA's office.

1:15 PM
I'm on the fourth floor.  The outlets in the cafeteria beside my table did not work so I'm happy to get a bench seat directly beside a power outlet that does.  The court's interpreter is here along with the Filipino looking officer who was in the jury box this morning. A few minutes later DDA Akemon arrives on the 4th floor and asks two Filipinio women who are seated across from me to walk down to another area so he can ask them some questions privately.  Pasasouk is being represented by

I just realized I left my notebook at home or in the cafeteria.

1:27 PM
After checking the cafeteria, I realize I left my notepad at home.  I'm saved. DDA Akemon was kind enough to loan me a notepad in case I can't use my laptop for note taking.  Department I is Judge Harvey Giss's courtroom.  Judge Giss is a former deputy district attorney.

We wait for court to open.  The hallway is filled with a variety of different people. Three clerks with the DA's office arrive.  One is carrying a box of materials.  One, a woman, has one of the little blue badges clipped to her clothing that I've often seen on other law students who are clerking for a season.

Pasasouk's defense attorney is James Goldstein.

3:00 PM
We are on the afternoon break.

Two witnesses have been called so far.  The first witness was an LAPD patrol officer, Juan Guzman, who was called to the scene via a radio call, "shots fired."  Officer Guzman was the one who discovered the bodies on the side and back of the property.

The second witness is the ex-girlfriend of the defendant, Christina Rose Neal. She has been on the stand for almost an hour, testifying about the events leading up to the shooting.  Right before the break, Neal testified about the defendant putting a gun to her head and threatening her.  Terrified, she escaped through the back of the residence and at first, was hiding in a cubby-hole area between the back security gate and the garage.  Through a neighbors yard, she made her way to the front of the neighbor's property.  From where she was hiding in the neighbor's yard, she testified about seeing people arrive to the property.  She heard the voices of a guy and a girl. She heard the defendant ask, "Who the fuck are you?" She heard somebody say, "I'm their brother."  She then heard a girl say, "Oh my God!  Oh my God!"  Then gunshots.

Continued in Ka Pasasouk Preliminary Hearing Day 1, Part II.....

I will be working on today's detailed notes of testimony late into the evening tonight. Sprocket.

Mainstream media story coverage can be found in the Ka Pasasouk QUICK LINKS.


PatC said...

It's a shame the DA and the Judge can't be held accountable in some way for their parts in the tragedy.