Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bryan Barnes & Javier Bolden Prelim Day 3, USC Chinese Grad Students Murders, Ying Wu & Ming Qu

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
Mr. Sprocket dropped me off at the train this morning and I made it to Dept. 102, Judge Marcus’ courtroom around 8:45 AM.

DDA Akemon was setting up his equipment and files. Several of the defense attorneys were already there and DDA Brazil arrived a few moments later.  Judge Marcus was at the clerk’s desk having a friendly conversation with some of the individuals in the well.  I notice that there are two glass candy jars on Judge Marcus' clerk's desk. One looks like it has large different colored gum drops in it and the other looks like it contains chocolate.

Judge Marcus is not like any other judge I’ve observed in the last several years. He appears sharp in his command of the law. He also has a very jovial, engaging personality, not just with counsel in the well but with the witnesses as well.  He makes me think of someone who is happy all the time and never has a cross word for anyone.  It's different than the more solemn atmosphere I've come to expect from the courtrooms of Judge Kennedy or Judge Perry.

Not much progress was made since only three witnesses took the stand today.  We got a bit of a late start and two witnesses were on the stand for most of the day.

Here is a synopsis of who testified today. I’ll try to have a Quick Links page up for this case within the next few days that will have a complete list of the witnesses who testified as well as links to all the posts so far.

Timothy Hall.

A young black man who was granted immunity by the prosecution for his testimony today.  It’s not clear to me what charges he was facing before being granted immunity.  A case against him was presented to the District Attorney’s office, but it was sent back to the LAPD for further investigation.

On December 3rd, 2011 Hall was shot eight times after he exited a party held in the 8900 block of  Western Avenue. He was interviewed by police two days later at the hospital. That interview was recorded and a transcript of that interview used to question him on what he said. He was also interviewed by police at his home two months later on consecutive days. The second interview was not tape recorded but the third interview was.

Hall was inconsistent in what he remembered telling police on each of those interviews. Hall remembered some of what he told detectives during his first interview of December 5th, 2011 at the hospital. On the stand, Hall stated that he was under a lot of medication at the time and testified he had no memory of some of the things he told detectives.  A review of a transcript of that interview did not improve his memory. He did not recall telling detectives specific details of what happened at the shooting, what the shooter was wearing of if the shooter had a tattoo over their right knee.

Hall stuck to a story that he was running while he got shot and he did not see who shot him.  In the second interview with a female officer, on February 21st, 2012, he had a partial memory of what he told officers about the shooting. He remembers being shown a group photograph of 12 people and identifying Javier Bolden in the photo as someone he went to high school with. In the third interview with the same female officer on the following day, February 22nd, 2012, Hall claimed no memory of that entire conversation or his actions of writing the initials “BJ” on a photo and then also writing his initials on the photo . When the tape recording of that interview was played for Hall in court, Hall identified the voice of the female officer and he identified his own voice. However, he claimed he had no memory of the conversation or what he said or writing on the photo.

Officer Yolanda Mansillas.

Officer Mansillas interviewed Hall two days after he was shot on December 5th, 2011, in the hospital with her partner, Officer Menedez.  She interviewed Hall on February 21st and 22nd, 2012, alone.  She testified about what Hall told her in those three interviews.  For the second interview, Marsillias’ case progress reports were used to verify what Hall said during that interview.

LAPD officer Luis Valle.  

Officer Valle, assigned to 77th Station, testified about responding to a radio call at 25 minutes past 12 midnight, on February 12, 2012 at 8927 S. Western Avenue.  When he arrived on the scene there were two victims on the ground. The male victim, Deionce Davance was on the ground and non-responsive.  The female victim was Zanae Flowers. She was  shot about a half a block from Davance.  Officer Valle testified about 9 millimeter shell casings and a 9 millimeter live round that was located at the scene and booked into evidence.

The first two witness underwent extensive cross examination by counsel for both Barnes and Bolden regarding what Hall said, what he didn’t say as well as what he said he remembered and didn’t remember in his interviews with detectives.

At the end of the day, witnesses were ordered back for Thursday and Friday afternoon. At this rate, I will not be surprised if the hearing continues through Monday.

At the end of the court day, the reporters were waiting around for the prosecutors to pack up to ask them a few questions, Terri Keith from City News dropped in late in the day to ask DDA Akemon about a different case.

Judge Marcus addresses the courtroom and asks everyone to guess what the verdict was in the Katherine Jackson v. AEG case.  This is the famous civil case that has been going on for about five months in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse a few blocks away. We are waiting for a response from him when Judge Marcus announces, "Four Billion Dollars."  Judge Marcus then quickly smiles and tells us the correct verdict.  The jurors did not award Katherine Jackson anything, finding for the defendant, AEG in that case.

I will try to add to my detailed notes as I have the available time. Sprocket. 
  To be continued....