Inspiration Point, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Lauren Sarene Key plunged from this cliff on
November 8, 2000. View is looking east, of the
eastern edge/point and showing the slope
and angle of the 'horseshoe' location.
UPDATE 4/19 2:45 PM edited for clarity, spelling, accuracy
UPDATE 4/17 7:30 AM edited for clarity, spelling, accuracy
UPDATE 4/16 1:15 PM edited for clarity, spelling, accuracy
Thursday, April 16, 2015
I've been on the 9th floor hallway since about 10:20 AM. Judge Lomeli had a hearing in another case that has gone longer than expected. Lauren's family (Sarah Key-Marer and several friends), the prosecution team and defense attorney Aron Laub are all waiting in the hallway. Mr. Laub is at the other end of the hall, on a phone call.
This end of the hallway is filled with people from other cases and our jury. The bailiff recently came out and apologized to our jury for the delay.
A moment later, the courtroom was opened. Judge Lomeli went on the record without the defendant present. He reviewed all of Deputy Falicon's testimony and ruled that his opinion was a lay person's opinion, not an expert. His opinion was based on his three dimensional observation at the scene, not photographs. Afterwards, Mr. Laub apologized to the court and to DDA Hum for his comments yesterday and those directed at Mr. Hum that became personal.
Now Judge Lomeli is off the bench DDA Hum said he needed just a few additional minutes to get ready. The bailiff is removing extra chairs from the well that were needed for the previous hearing. Brown still has not been brought out. I think the deputy is getting him now. Yes, he is.
The defense investigator is not here today. Brown is brought out. He leans in to speak to Laub. In the gallery with Sarah's friends, there is a member of the DA's office, a victim's advocate whom I've met before but unfortunately I can't remember her name.
The court reporter goes out to fetch the jury. The previous hearing was a sentencing and the victim impact statements went long.
The jury files in behind me. One of the male jurors, I don't know which one states, "Damn, it's freezing in here." It's true. You can never tell if a courtroom will be cold or hot. Judge Lomeli asks his jury, "Are you cold?" YES, the jury replies.
LEIGH ANN ORMES
Knows Sarah Key-Marer. Met Sarah at church, about 19 years ago. In 1996. Met her when Sarah was pregnant.
When she first met Sarah, her son Edward's, nickname was "EJ." The church hosted a single parents, small group that met once a week. There were about 10 to 15 people in the group. They became friends, very close.
How frequently would you interact before she gave birth? Weekly. Her son was about 1 year old. Sarah had a babysitter she was having problems with. Sarah needed to find another babysitter. Offered to watch Lauren until she found someone else. Lauren was 5 months at the time. Sarah never got another babysitter. Ormes babysat Lauren until she went to preschool, at age two, two and a half.
Would often take Lauren places with her family on the weekends. After Lauren was enrolled in preschool, Ormes saw Lauren and Sarah two or three times a week. She would socialize with Sarah and Greg as well.
They still got together for holidays, Christmas, New Years Eve, Birthdays, etc.
Tell us what Lauren was like. She was a lovely little girl. She was beautiful, very feminine, always wearing dresses. Her mother had her hair up, always really cute.
Tell us what kind of activities? She liked to play fairy princesses, tea party, barbies, things like that. She interacted with EJ. EJ was an only child, he always wanted her around. They would play together. They played toys, doesn't matter what kind of toys, she would always turn him to play house a lot. Lauren would say, "You're the daddy I'm the mommy." Never saw Lauren engaged in risky activities.
DDA Hum asks Ormes about how Lauren was with heights. Didn't think she liked heights very much. She got stuck in the tunnel at McDonald's and she freaked out. She wouldn't move forward, wouldn't move back. Someone had to go up and retrieve her. The tunnel was about six seven feet off the ground.
How did Lauren feel about water? She didn't like it. There was a pool at her apt. building. They would go to the pool every day. Her son would try to coax Lauren to get in the pool. Lauren would sit around the pool and play dolls. She didn't like it. She usually screamed if Ormes brought her in the water.
Watched Lauren around cats. Ignored them, but if they came near her, she shied away. An incident involving a worm. Lauren and EJ were by a tree, it was a worm and she started screaming, "A snake! A snake!" Told her it was just a worm, and then Lauren responded, "Oh, okay."
There were a couple parks close to her house. One was 1/4 mile away, another 1/2 mile away. Would tell kids they are going to the park. They would get a block away, and Lauren wanted to be carried. Once Lauren was in preschool, when she got to be three, three and a half. Lauren would still be the same. Didn't want to walk to the park. Once got to park, EJ would run off. Lauren would want to stay near her and play with the hand held toys.
Would ever Lauren ever run off away from you? She was usually attached to my hip. Was she hard to control? I didn't have very many problems with Lauren. She was good.
Were there occasions when she took Lauren to the mall? Ormes would put Lauren in the stroller. Then they would get to the door, and Lauren would ask to be picked up, and carry her the whole time. This was at age three, three and a half.
Did Lauren ever around you, show interest in taking long walks or hikes? No.
Sounds like you were around Lauren a lot, until she passed away? Yes.
Would you have occasions to see Lauren when she was uncomfortable or nervous? She would hold her hands clasp them in front, like this, or put her hands in fists.
Shows a photo of Lauren, exhibit 101. It's the photo of Lauren standing at the playground that Brown took on the day she died. Was that one of the poses she would have if Lauren was upset or scared? (Yes.)
Talks about an event with visiting Santa on his lap, and Lauren had her fist clenching or pulling on her hands. Another event, where Ormes husband was holding Lauren. He asked Lauren if she wanted to see the crocodile. She said sure. He leaned Lauren over a bit to look down at the crocodile. [She became very afraid. I believe the witness also stated Lauren made the hand holding or her hands into fists.]
After Lauren's death, Ormes went to the cliffs, after Lauren died. She went twice, once with a friend and another time with her husband. She went out onto IP with her friend the first time. She went all the way out to the end. They walked on the street side, passed the fenced in area, to the IP cliff, We walked down from the street, towards the end. There were like bushes, towards the end it just dropped off.
When you were out there, what were you thinking? I didn't that she would want to be there, just because of the animals (?) alone, and the water.
Knowing Lauren as well as you did, would Lauren have voluntarily gone out there? I don't believe so.
Did you have the opportunity to observe Lauren and Sarah? Yes. Frequently.
How did she act around her mother? Smiling and laughing and hugging and kissing on her mom. It was the exact same way for Sarah. Lauren was the most important thing in Sarah's life.
Did you ever hear Sarah tell Lauren to act up on Lauren's visit with Brown? No.
Ormes is asked if she witnessed things Sarah would say to Lauren, before Lauren went on a visit with Brown. What I witnessed was, Sarah would say things to her like, "You're going to see Poppa Cameron tomorrow, you're going to have so much fun." Sarah would try to make it seem like fun to Lauren, so Lauren would want to go. Ormes never heard Sarah say anything negative about Brown in front of Lauren.
Ormes would sometimes have conversations with Lauren. Lauren was very vocal. Was there anything that Lauren would not tell you about [after her visits with Brown]? She would normally just say, she had fun. She would not elaborate at all.
Was that unusual for her? Yes.
At the end of Lauren's life, did you know that she went on unsupervised visits with Brown? Yes.
Did you notice her behavior change [after that]? Yes. She started saying things that she had never said before. Like, "I have a new mommy. I have a new Daddy. Sarah doesn't love me any more. Greg is just my step dad and Josh is just my stepbrother. " Ormes states she had never heard her say anything like that before.
The church incident.
She ran up to me at church. Lauren put her hands to her face, and whispered to Ormes, "My Poppa Cammy's going to put my momma Sarah in jail."
Direct ends and cross examination begins.
What you said about the photograph, when was the first time you saw that? I may have seen it in a previous proceeding. And when is the first time you talked to the prosecutor about that? I believe it was in a second interview, and I brought it up.
Testified in the second case? You (never?) testified about how Lauren would hold her hands. Yes, I have.
Laub goes to the first proceeding.
Confronts her on when she first said this about Lauren's hand holding, clutching, or hands in fists. Claims she did not say this in the first proceeding.
Now crossing her on the event at McDonald's and how old she was. She was about two. The witness states there were other experiences involving heights, where Lauren wouldn't go on slides, etc.
Laub asks about if Lauren wanted to be held rather than walked. She thought that meant, that Lauren wanted to be close to her, that Lauren was more comfortable with that.
Have you ever seen any other child, that's three, three and a half, four years old, that needed to be carried everywhere? She wouldn't know, unless she asked other parents. She did not feel it was a negative thing for Lauren.
If you didn't do what she wanted, she would throw one heck of a tantrum? It depends on the situation. If I had put her on a time out, she would throw a tantrum.
Lets, say, Lauren doesn't want to walk doesn't want the stroller, what would you do? Carry her.
She was strong willed wasn't she? Sometimes. She was strong willed but she could also be shy. Depends on the situation.
Isn't it true when she would have a tantrum, she would fall to the floor? I have seen that once.
You told us about how you knew Lauren very well and that was a few years, and how you described her, and would play with things with your son and she wanted to play house? Did you also see any kind of changes in her interest? She progressed each year, hands on type toys. She just had her ways. She was just that way.
When you say she progressed, what did that mean? She would play with dolls or puzzles.
Did it concern you at all, Lauren appeared to be in your eyes, as she was growing, always interested in specific things, these roles, this little homemaker, dolls, etc. Did that concern you at all? No not at all.
Was it part of your sense of things a kid might need to develop a greater variety of [interests] in things? It was my job as her babysitter, was to ensure that she was taken care of and happy. I thought she was progressing.
This thing about water, she didn't want to be in it unless she was held? Yes.
The worm thing, happened when Lauren was two and a half, or three.
Did she ever play in grass? Where I lived, we didn't have a yard. There was a yard available to Lauren later [either at Lauren's own home, or at Ormes' home.]
The worm situation. Was this the first time she had ever seen a worm? [miss answer] From her shrieking at this 1-2 inch worm, from her experience, was that one of the things that you concluded that she didn't like animals? One of the things.
Lauren didn't like animals? Witness had two cats. Lauren was afraid of the cats. Lauren didn't want to pet another church member's dog. Ormes tried to encourage her to pet the dog. Lauren stepped back from the witness [and the dog]. Afterwards, she just told Lauren it was okay, and comforted her.
She believes she testified about Lauren on Santa on his lap previously, at another proceeding. Laub doesn't believe she spoke about Lauren putting her hands in her fists.
If Mr. Brown hadn't been nice to Lauren, you're certain she would have thrown a tantrum? I said that.
You would ask Lauren if she had fun with her dad and she would say yes? Yes.
She also said that her dad Cameron loved her very much. [Yes?]
And that Patty loved her very much? [Yes?]
Cross ends and redirect begins.
She also told you that her Pappa Cameron was going to put her mom in jail? Yes.
Testified previously to Lauren and walking, and that Lauren didn't like to walk.
The temper tantrum. Saw her have a temper tantrum. Did you see her have a temper tantrum around her mother Sarah? I can't recall.
Did you ever see Lauren ever have a temper tantrum with anyone else other than you? No.
Did you know, personally, if Lauren had a close relationship with her father? I believed they were getting to know each other. Objection. [Sustained?]
Based on your knowledge of Lauren's relationship with Brown, what makes you think she would have a tantrum around him? It just makes me think that if something wasn't going right, she would want her mommy.
Laub is flipping through his papers, and apologizes to the court. He's looking for something specific.
The court states he will excuse the witness unless he hears the question. Laub asks for half a minute, I believe.
No more questions. Witness is excused.
Call Dr. Carol Berkowitz.
She is a pediatrician. She is also a parent and a grandparent.
I do general pediatrics, and in pediatrics, and child abuse pediatrics.
The doctor is asked to give her CV. Went to Columbia for her MD. Give her internship, residency, chief residency and Roosevelt Hospital in NY. Explains internship and residency.
She also does developmental assessments. These determine how well they do. Developmental milestones. With infants, when they started to sit up, crawl, etc. Similar for every year as a child progresses.
Gives more of her CV. She's a full professor at the Geffen School of UCLA Medical School. Most of her responsibility, down at Harbor. Overseeing supervising students seeing patients.
Explains board certification and re certification.
There is a Society of Behavioral Pediatrics. She is a member. It encourages teaching, research and practice. Deals with school problems, mental retardation, the whole spectrum of child development and how it is evaluated. On different committees with pediatrics.
She's also lectured on pediatrics. Given several hundred lectures. She's also been published in Medical Journals. Explains getting published and the peer review process. She's had between 45 & 50 [peer reviewed papers?] published.
Judge Lomeli calls for the noon break.
I edited the above entry for spelling, clarity, accuracy.
Inside Dept. 107. Dr. Berkowitz is back on the stand giving the rest of her CV and other articles she's authored.
Now testifying about the awards she's received. And acts as a consultant for various agencies, working for the courts to determine if a child was injured, or abused. Criminal court and federal court, about child pornography, and for the US Postal Services. Also other legal agencies. Also consulted for the FBI, the Navy and Homeland Security, and LA County coroner.
Children ages three to four years old, it's common for them to get bruises on their shins, on bony surfaces. It can happen from normal activity; you've got to bump into something.
Asked to assist in the investigation into the death of Lauren Key. She is not paid for her consultant work for the coroner's office. About eight cases some years, some years six. In preparation, in assisting in the investigation, was provided with information both physical and mental.
She was four years two months. She weighed 44 pounds. Her height (miss). She received the coroner's folder, by going to the coroner's office to view the file. There is an office there, for her to work the file.
She reviewed reports from law enforcement, there was an autopsy report, there were conversation reports with school teachers, Mr. Brown, all of that was a part of the coroner's folder. Also was a pink sheet on the front of the folder, pediatric consultation requested, and a specific question that she was asked.
It had to do with the likelihood that Lauren, would have initiated this hike, and would she have been able to sustain and do the full hike on her own, based on the expectations on her age and developmental level. He development was normal for her age. Was age appropriate and reached her age milestones.
Also received information from the police reports from her personality, things that she would do before her death? Things that were included in the police report. In the report, was that Lauren has recently returned from overseas.
They were not looking for any particular conclusion? No.
Are there cases where you're asked to assist in a death, and you're unable to reach any type of conclusion? Usually she can answer the question, and the coroner may choose on how to interpret her answer. Some cases she [references] unusual medical findings. My role, I'm not a pathologist, but more as a pediatrician with clinical experience with children.
Did anyone pressure you to come to any type of conclusion? No.
In addition to reading reports, did you also engage in certain activities to help with your conclusion, March 26, 2001? She went to the parking lot at Abalone Cove. She drove by herself and parked and there were a number of people there when we first met. Detective Shannon, Detective Smith, and Detective Leslie, Dr. Chinwah and Dr. Lakshmana. Chinwah performed the autopsy, and Lakshmana was the Chief medical examiner at the time.
Did you and any of those people go on a hike from Abalone Cove out to IP? Detective's Smith and Shannon and she went on the hike. Was it your understanding the hike you went on was led by Lauren? Yes.
Back in 2000, could you tell us your particular condition? I was fit, I had run the LA marathon. She ran regularly, every morning about seven miles each day.
It was strenuous hike. It was rugged terrain. There were areas where you were walking along a narrow path along a ledge, up and down. It was a hard hike. The LA marathon was easy.
Do you recall, did you have any children with you at the time? No. How long did it take you? About fifty minutes. A little under an hour.
Would you describe this hike, for you, as pleasurable or enjoyable? It was a hard hike.
You were aware of the defendant's statements to the detectives at the time you took this hike? Obj. Vague.
Were you aware that the defendant told the detectives that Lauren had played at the playground and then just took off hiking? I was.
And were you aware according to the reports, that the defendant said Lauren led the hike and she had so much energy, he could hardly keep up? [Yes?]
Based on all your training and experience and going on the hike itself, how would you characterize that claim? I don't find it to be a credible claim. Why not? It was a hard hike.
After 20 minutes on a playground, 4 year olds, would be a little tired. They have about a 20 minute attention span, although they might want to change the activity, maybe for a few minutes, the terrain was such that she would [not?] have been able to plug away. The path and the entire terrain was really rugged.
Were you basing, what you just told us, would that be your opinion with regard to a four year old in general, or specific to Lauren? What I've said so far would be pretty general to four year olds.
Now information about Lauren? There were two things that I was told about, one was that she had recently traveled, From England where there was a difference in time zones, jet lag, so body rhythm is off. That takes a while to re-adjust, and the records I had, that she had been crying in preschool for an hour and a half, and I think that would have affected her overall energy level.
My conclusion would have been that, first off, Lauren wouldn't have initiated this hike [She would not have said, "Oh lets go on this hike".] and that secondly, if she did hike for a short period of time, she would not have had, on her own, the interest or the stamina, to complete the hike.
From the reports you had, that somehow Lauren ended up at the top of Inspiration Point, but she would not have the interest and stamina to complete the hike, so how could she have completed it?
One [way] was, she could have been carried as part of the hike, then if that didn't happen, she was coerced, I'm going to leave her here, that kept her going.
So this, fear or coercion, would that only be evidenced by threat of being left behind, or were there other possibilities? So would be, left behind, or physically being hit, or come with me or I'm going to give you a smack, or I'm going to be really mad at you if you don't come. Parents can do and say things to have children do things they want them to do.
Wouldn't she just throw a tantrum? Well they [tantrums] are person dependent. They are [dependent upon] who you are with, or whether you just get quiet and comply. She could have thrown a tantrum doesn't mean she was agreeable to what was going on. What we say by tantrum, people mean different things. We don't know that she didn't throw a tantrum, it doesn't mean that would have been her only way of expressing that she didn't want to go.
With regard to children, in 4 year olds, isn't there something called fear of abandonment? Yes. Not specific to four year olds. What would that encompass? Well, being left behind.
Gives the example, of well you could just stay here with the racoons [more to this that I miss]. That's really scary if you're a little kid.
Dr. Berkowitz, you prepared a report in this case? I did. Did you in fact document your expert conclusion based on all your training and all your experience that you received? My conclusion was that I did not believe that the hike was initiated by Lauren and that the completion of the hike would have only occurred by assistance, fear or coercion.
Seventy-nine page document People's Exhibit #79. That is her most recent CV and list of qualifications, etc. It's pretty recent, but she's given some lectures but otherwise, it's up to date.
Direct ends and cross begins.
As a person [you are] who is a scientific thinker? Yes, I think so.
When it comes to reaching a conclusion, the quality of the conclusion can also be affected by the information that it relies on? That's true.
One of the things that you were told by the detectives was that the hike you took, was the same hike that Lauren took, is that right? Yes.
Were you also told though, by the detectives, on the day you were with them, that they actually did not know what path they had taken, but that they ended up at IP? That's correct.
Did the detectives talk wit you about different routes that you could take to IP? I don't know about a different route, we went to one point and around. They're not different hiking paths in that area.
[Asked to explain?] I guess a combination, but we were on the dirt path and on the sides of us was brush. We stayed pretty much on the one path that was visible.
One of the things that they didn't tell you, was that Lauren and Brown were seen on Palos Verdes Drive? I don't remember that, the path was parallel, to the drive. We were never on the drive itself. So her route did not include Palos Verdes Drive South.
She testified in court in 2009. Didn't you say that the detectives didn't tell you that they were seen on Palos Verdes Drive, so you didn't go that way. Her understanding is that, law enforcement didn't know that at the time.
Laub reads transcript from second trial, about Lauren and Brown were on a shorter, easier route.
A big part of the conclusion you reached was on the path you traversed. [Yes.]
Did your hike involve any stops at all? No. Did it involve seeking out the next segment of trail? No. My recollection is we went along the trail and followed it as best we could. There were some areas that were more overgrown. We didn't stop and look, we just kept going on.
So the path you went on, took someone in good shape, 50 minutes? Yes.
You also testified in 2006. One of the things that came up is, if you had been told that there were photographs of Lauren showing her to be happy that day? No.
There was a question, would it matter if there were five to seven witnesses? Would it matter if there were witnesses that at seen Lauren that described her as not appearing to be sad? It would not change her opinion.
Observations, would it matter if she learned that Brown was ahead or behind? No. Would it matter if no one observed Lauren being carried? No. A series of questions, if she had known would it change her assessment, if she was never observed crying? No. If she was happy and playful? No.
Since the time you wrote your report, have you been provided anything new? No.
Wasn't provided her school records, potentially have any relevance in her assessment? I don't think so.
Talked about the, how tired she would have been from England, a week earlier? I think I knew the time frame.
Jet lag for a four year old, would be a week? It would.
What about the drive to the beach? And about being observed by the person at the parking lot? I did hear that.
She could have slept in the ride to the parking lot? That is correct.
What you've [known?] about Lauren as an individual, is what you've been told about her level of activity as a child? It's two fold. It's activity levels and duration four year olds and then taking into additional account, her temperament her risk taking behavior, and that she had also engaged in physical activity at the playground.
[If you] had you seen in the school records a statement by her mother, that she was someone who was lively and energetic? [I believe there is an objection. Then Laub asks the question as a hypothetical.] Question as a hypothetical, because facts have not been introduced, but hypothetically. Were you to be informed, the child's mother had stated in a school record that her daughter was highly energetic, would you have found useful? It wouldn't have changed things. Activity level speaks to a period of time. Some are bubbly and energetic, but it doesn't speak to stamina or endurance.
What your primarily concerned with in this child, is what you've been told about temperament. That applies to all of it and what I know about this individual child. (been told)
Developmental milestones with children. By the age of four, standard developmental milestones include a new interest in the world outside the home? Not sure a new interest, because some are into that outside of that. Four is also considered the age of anxiety, where they have fears of different things.
Those anxieties, are fears, because the child has been completely dependent, on the care taking parent. At four, the very beginnings of personalty of separating, from the other individual?
Berkowitz, states that's not it. It's getting out in the world and experiencing all the things that can happen. Experiencing lighting, being left in a museum when it's closing. [Berkowitz gives more examples of things that 4 year olds cold become afraid of.] It's what we expect in children at this age. It's what I counsel parents at this age. That is something that behaviorally and developmentally that happens.
Isn't it true, that it comes from conflicting needs? That sounds Freudian. [I believe there is some laughter.] It really doesn't follow through.
Isn't it true though, that it's experiencing that desire, to experience what is new? It's very variable, in children experiencing, where children do things more controlled and do things to measure their safety. Take swimming. Some won't even go in the ocean to do different things. That's not Freudian. Some children are afraid of dogs. There's human variability. Some is based on passed experiences and some is the intrinsic wiring in various individuals.
What do you think about a four year old girl who didn't want to walk and be pushed in a stroller and wanted to be held? I think that would be concerning, and it [could be?] a very fearful and concerning child.
Children who mimic parents; one way with one parent and one way with another? It's possible.
If Lauren, understood that her father was an outdoors person, it's possible Lauren would behave different with him or lets say, her mother if her mother was not an outdoors person? Yes.
Were you ever told that Lauren said she loved Mr. Brown? I don't think I was told by one or the other.
Would her love for her mother make any difference in your assessment? No. So it wouldn't make any difference in her love for her father?
Would think it would factor in their effort to please that parent. Laub continues with one parent doing an activity with a child that the other parent never observed or participated in.
But if Lauren had a father is an outdoors man who is very active, and Lauren wants to please him, that would be understandable in her desire to please her father? She would engage in that activity as long as she is capable? Their desire to please doesn't determine the ability to do something.
Laub gives the example of pleasing the father, to go on the hike. Berkowitz states there is a difference between the willingness and the ability to do the activity.
More questions about, we don't know the sequence of [events]. DDA Hum objects. That they do know the sequence. Laub argues, and the court states sidebar.
It's possible here, that what we have Lauren, 20 minutes attention span at the playground and her father says, lets go on this hike. I believe Laub asks about the whole question as to whether or not Lauren would have completed the hike without coerced in some manner, or not being carried.
The whole thing as to where the hike took place and [miss rest]. Laub states the actual hike is not a 50 minutes. The actual hike is 20 to 25 minutes long. That would fit into the attention span. That would fit to the physical? It doesn't fit to the stamina, in regards to the terrain.
It would help. And somebody's saying she took a totally different path, and it would be helpful to know that.
Laub: I'm not asking to say your conclusion based on what you were shown or told, is incorrect, I just want to be sure that it's as correct as the information you were provided.
Cross ends and redirect begins.
The exact path, every step of the way to get from the playground to the end of IP, is that critical to you determination? It had to do with the terrain, the degree of elevation. Even getting up from the playground up to Palos Verdes Drive South, is a steep incline. And that area, of the Palos Verdes Drive, there are landslides and there are irregular terrain.
Berkowitz states, even 22 minutes of walking in that area, would be challenging for an adult, and for a four year old.
The defendants lawyer took into account whether Lauren was on Palos Verdes Drive South, at some point were you on the shoulder of Palos Verdes Drive South on long side of it? We weren't on the pavement, but along the drive.
So you weren't walking on the street, but you were walking along it? There wasn't a sidewalk, but it was bumpy.
My understanding of the only thing that would affect your opinion that if the hike was substantially shorter and substantially easier? correct.
Let me ask this question. Assuming that Lauren did not die on Inspiration Point, was there something else. As far as they traveled, we're only talking about half the hike, the car is back in Abalone cove?
[Berkowitz] My understanding is she would have to walk back to where the car was parked. So IP was the half way point, she would have to have returned to the car. Lauren would not have willingly participated in half the hike she was going on? That's correct.
Redirect ends. Recross begins.
Is there any reason to think that, if Lauren had succeeded making this hike half way and there was time to go back, the outdoors man wouldn't have said to her, Congratulations, good job? I think that's fair to say. [However,] A car took us back to where we had parked.
Did anyone tell you that, the quality of the child's personality had something to do with her assessment? That Lauren had shown a lot of respect for authority figures? They all said, she was asked to do something, she would always do it? Berkowitz has that as a recollection of that. She was a compliant, obedient, good girl? And parents are authority figured? Yes, parents would be.
So, a child like Lauren, is especially attentive to the request of authority figures, she would be attentive to the authority requests of her father? I would think that's true. And she would do it rather than a coercion? Could be, but there could be other reasons why a child would comply with that request.
We can't assign a specific reason in this case? I think you cannot assign one.
Your assessment that Lauren would not have initiated or willingly [gone on the hike?] Again, that hike was strenuous for an adult and very difficult for a four year old who was not a risk taking child, who was more fearful of things. My assessment was based on four year olds and augmented by what I knew specifically about Lauren.
Redirect ends and recross begins.
Were you ever informed that the people who knew Lauren said she could be strong willed? I don't remember reading anything to that effect.
Lauren, to please her father the outdoors man, .... assuming that she reaches a point of getting tired on that hike, and if she shows an exceptional strong willed, is that she would push herself father, to mimic the father? I wouldn't use strong willed that way. I'm not sure how the term was used as it was applied to Lauren, so maybe you could clarify.
Laub states he doesn't know.
So your, conclusion is as good as what you were told. [Yes.]
Witness is finished.
DDA Hum asks for an off the record conversation.
Taking a witness out of sequence, because of scheduling conflicts.
Officer Massey. Retired. From what job? Retired from Airport police in 2007. Had been an officer with the LAX 33 and a half years. It's a city entity but separate from the LAPD.
Worked there on January 19, 2001. Assigned to the desk. She was a desk officer. It was at their head station. At 96 & Sepulveda, right inside the Airport.
As she was working the desk, she was approached by a person who gave his name as Cameron Brown. He made a police report to her.
What did this person tell you? He wanted to make a report that his ex-girlfriend was staking him and made a statement that she said, "I'll kill you." Gave the name of the [stalker] as Sarah Key-Marer.
What relationship? That the had a child together and they were no longer together. Told her they were previously boyfriend and girlfriend.
He told her that while in his custody, his daughter died. He claimed that he had been receiving phone calls every day all day since the child's death, from Sarah. He said he did not answer those phone calls.
What did he say happened? He said that she met him in the parking lot and was yelling and screaming to talk to him.
What did he say he said to her? He said he didn't say anything.
What did he tell you that she did? She blocked him from getting [ on? off?] his motorcycle. She wouldn't let him leave. She was yelling and screaming. Did he tell you she used any particular type of language? I believe she was cursing and screaming.
What specifically did Sarah say, as he was driving off on the motorcycle? "I'll kill you." What were his specific words? He said he was making this report on the advice of his attorney and because of fear for his life.
When he made this report, you were at a police station, and he knew you were an officer? [Yes.] She completed an official report. Were you made aware of any type of report or event at the airport? No? She was not aware of anything about Mr. Brown or anything related to this event? No.
Direct ends and cross examination begins.
When Mr. Brown recorded that he heard Sarah Key-Marer, [?] it wasn't "scream," it was "yell"? I'd have to look in the report. It was explicit as to what he said. She looks at report. The report states Yell.
Something else. She told you that, one of the reasons he was making the report was his attorney told him to do so, I got that. Maybe a little picky, the words were not "afraid for his life" but he was afraid she was going to harm him? Yes.
And his attorney told him not to talk on the phone? Yes.
He said he heard Sarah Marer tell him "I'll kill you," and this was after he had put on his motorcycle helmet and was driving away? Yes.
Did he express any doubt to you that the words he heard, were, "I'll kill you?" No.
There was no reason to [ask him if he was sure]? He just put his helmet on his head and drove off? [Yes.]
Judge Lomeli calls for the afternoon break.
People call their next witness.
Do you know Sarah Key Marer? [Yes.] Met her through a friend Janice, on a cruise that Sarah organized. It was definitely before 2000. Also know Sarah's husband Greg.
They went camping together through the same church. Also her husband and her conducted Sunday School classes for the children through fifth grade. She spent a lot of time with the kids, more than the adults.
Did you know Lauren Key? I knew her from being at church. I met her there. Also met her through a camping trip. Was an annual event organized for families through the church. Would happen every year. They would provide all the food. It was every summer.
What type of camping was it? It was tent camping. First weekend of August 2000, there was a camping event in Orange County. Describes were the event was. Her and her husband went and their three kids. [I get two ages; Six and eight] were the ages of her sons. Saw Lauren and Greg at that event.
Activities that Lauren engaged in? I didn't see her engage in activities that she specifically was organizing. Lauren kept with her family. The witness organized a hike.
Was this 1.5 miles through cliffs and valleys? No, nothing like that. There was a group site, and there was a hill behind the camp site. Was it strenuous? Not really.
About how many kids were there at the camping event? Fifteen, twenty possibly.
How did you ask all the kids if they wanted to go? A group would walk around each families camp site and ask them if they wanted to go. I was very excited and encouraging to the kids, telling them, you'll want to come with us. I was very encouraging to have them come with the group.
Did all the 15 to 20 kids go? Not all of them, I know that Lauren did not want to go.
It stuck out in her mind that Lauren didn't want to go. Lauren was adamant about not going on the hike. There were a big group of kids that wanted to go. Out of our group of friends, Lauren was the only one who didn't want to go.
Did you see Lauren engaging in any kind of physical, rowdy rough behavior? No, not at all. It didn't seem like she was into that type of play. She was into play. She didn't look like that kind of girl that want to get dirty, is how I would describe it.
Did you try to encourage, specifically her? I tend to be pushy. I kept trying to get her to go, and that I would help her and that she wouldn't be alone.
But she still wouldn't go? That's right.
At some point, did you hear that Lauren had died? Yes I did. Did you hear the circumstances? Yes I did. Based on your experience of Lauren ... Objection. Over ruled.
I was just very surprised that she had wanted to go on a hike and that she had fallen off a cliff, because she had seemed so shy and reserved, so I was just shocked.
Direct ends. Cross examination begins.
The conclusion the prosecution was based on that one experience? No, it was on other times I had observed her also.
On that hiking trip, when you were trying to persuade Lauren [did any adults go]? I didn't ask the adults, because they typically didn't want to go.
Lauren was clinging to her mom? Well, she was real close to her mom.
You testified in a proceeding in 2006, correct? Yes. Is it accurate to say, that you don't have any memory of seeing her away from her mother on that camping trip? Not that she remembers, no.
You don't have any memory of her away from her mother? No, because usually when we're together, all the families are together.
What you did remember, is that she was clinging to her mother, correct? Yes.
When Lauren would stay in her family camp, she would hang out with her family, but she would specifically would stay with her mother in the camp? Yes.
And as far as Mr. Brown goes, I don't know if you've heard anything in 2006, you didn't know anything about whether Mr. Brown was an outdoors man or not? No. And you don't know how Lauren was with her father? No.
Witness is excused. People call Janice Roque.
Knows Sarah Key-Marer. Knows her from church. Knows her husband Greg and son Josh. Knew Lauren. Met family through the church.
My husband Michael and Greg were in a small group together, so was introduced that way. They went on a cruise together and camped together. Took care of Lauren one night when Sarah and Greg went out to dinner. Knew Lauren a little over a year.
Describe Lauren's personality. Was she adventurous was she cautious, obedient, defiant? Lauren was kind, personable, outgoing, friendly. A girly girl. When I took care of her, she sat in my lap while I read her stories. She remembers her twirling around in the living room, saying, "Watch me, watch me." I did not experience her being defiant in any way. She was respectful.
Did you observe her in any type of play activity? When we were camping, in the campground, she just had her daughter JOR, [I have not published Ms. Roque's daughter's name.] just a few months old. Lauren wanted to stay at the camp and hold her, and be [with her] in her stroller. She just wanted to be with JOR. Her daughter was about three months old.
Do you ever during this camping trip, remember Lauren participating in any kind of hiking trip? No. Showing any interest in hiking at all? No.
Peoples 100, photo of Lauren with JOR in the stroller. Roque states the photo was during the camping trip in August 2000.
No more questions.
Direct ends. Cross examination begins.
On that camping trip, you never saw Lauren's mother invite her to go out on a hike or any other physical activity? No. The same for Greg Marer as well? No.
You never saw them go out in any kind of nature activity? Not that I recall.
No more cross. The witness is excused.
People call Cari Heather Dunlop
CARI HEATHER DUNLOP
Do you know the individual sitting at the end of counsel table? [Yes.] Identifies the defendant. [I know him from the marina, in Port Royal Marina.
In 1997, did you have a boat there? Yes. The defendant lived there as well. They both lived on their boats. She knew a man named Jack Laisure, [how about] Scott Simonson and Troy Nichols? [Yes.]
She and Brown met. We met we would go to the farmers market. And they would end up at the gate at the end of their dock together. We were acquaintances. We did not date.
She did go hiking with , one time. It was in Palos Verdes. It was kinds rural. It was a cliff, that had hiking trails, where you could go out and hike down to the beach. It was Inspiration Point.
When you went out to Inspiration Point with the defendant, do you remember where you went? Did you go to the point, out on the beach? To the best of your recollection. We hiked for a while, and went out to the beach, and then came back up and left.
Who drove there? Cameron did. We parked on the side of the road. Did the defendant say anything to you in regards to the cliff. He said he liked that place and that he liked it a lot. There was something that he also said about suicide, and it struck her as strange. It was something about suicide? Yes.
Did he tell you what he did for a living? He was a baggage handler for the airlines. At one time he was off duty, for an injury. He was surfing a lot during that time.
Did the defendant tell you any concerns about anything that he was getting compensation and that he was surfing? He asked if we had seen an insurance person there, looking for him.
And this was while he was receiving workman's comp insurance and surfing? [Yes.]
One time when she was just getting to know him, they had a conversation about children. We were in his Volkswagen bus, and we were coming back to the marina. I asked him if he had children and he said no. He laughed and said his ex-girlfriend, [was pregnant?] he had her deported. He laughed about it, like it was a joke or something.
Your relationship you were acquaintances, did you considered him a friend? No. After that last comment, I didn't want to have friends like that. It put me off.
Did you ever have an opportunity to see the defendant display any emotion? He was angry with me, because someone gave her a boat part. She didn't really need it. Cameron found out that she had it. She didn't need it. The part, it wasn't for his boat. He wanted her to give it to him. He got really angry when she wouldn't.
She found out that there was someone else who needed this boat part.
Did you actually give the boat part to this other person rather than the defendant? Yes.
How could you tell he was angry? Well, he was yelling.
Direct ends. Cross begins.
Laub asks to approach.
Sidebar is still on.
Going to release the jury. And the witness is excused. Jury is ordered back at 9:30 AM. They can come early, 9:15 AM and enjoy the doughnuts and bagels the judge will bring them.
And I believe we are in recess. Brought is brought back into custody.
This post was edited for spelling and clarity throughout the morning of April 17.