Lauren Sarene Key, 4, died November 8, 2000.
Copyright© Sarah Key-Marer, all rights reserved.
UPDATE 5/3 7:00 AM edited for spelling and clarity
UPDATE 7:30 PM edited for spelling, readability and accuracy
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
I'm inside Dept. 107. Sarah and her girlfriend are here. DDA Hum and Detective Leslie are here. We are waiting on Mr. Laub.
It's my understanding that we will only have testimony read into the record of two witnesses. We may finish quite early.
Mr. Laub arrives with a woman. Mr. Laub introduces her to the court as his wife who will read in the testimony of the first witness. She's sharply dressed in a tan suit. I can't tell from here, but I think she has on pearl like earrings. Her haircut reminds me of Judge Deborah Brazil.
There is another case that is called but there is no defendant brought out.
Brown is brought out. Mr. Laub and DDA Hum are trying to work out the transcript issue. Judge Lomeli goes on the record and there is a conflict between defense and prosecution about some testimony that is objectionable. Judge Lomeli is reading over the transcript now.
Judge Lomeli asks Laub what is the relevance. Laub states the employment needs to be asked. Judge Lomeli states that he can only get where he worked. DDA Hum states even that, that the individual worked for the Department of Defense, that may not be what he does now.
It appears that the witness testimony they are debating, is Brown's brother. Brown's brother it appears, is in Afghanistan, and can't be here to testify. Mr. Laub tells the court that Mr. Brown still works in that capacity for the Department of Defense and where he is, is Afghanistan.
Mr. Laub calls Ian Brown, Ms. Garrett (sp?) will be reading the testimony of Mr. Brown.
This is from the 2009 proceeding.
The defense investigator couldn't be here until 10 AM and that's why Mr. Laub had his wife come to read this testimony. The witness will be introduced to the jury as Ms. Garrett.
Ms. Garrett will read in the testimony of:
Mr. Laub starts but Mrs. Laub states she doesn't have the page he's referring to. Mr. Hum hands her his copy of the transcript.
What relationship is he? The defendant's brother. The witness is the baby of the family. He is 42 and the defendant is 49. [There are four brothers. The witness states the birth order, but I miss getting it exactly.]
Had the opportunity to see the defendant grow up? Yes. Parent's not divorced? Correct.
What sort of activities as a family you would engage in? From para shooting, fishing, many other outdoor activities. ... Family actions centered on the outdoors. Many trips to the mountains, mostly physical outdoor activities. [Their] father is an accomplished blue water sailor.
[How would you categorize Mr. Brown?] Well, growing up, I would literally classify him, as the [sportsman before there were] x-sports figures. Anything from ... [The witness gives examples of the difficult, physical things Brown would take on.] Cam would tell the witness: I went mountain biking and I stayed in two different cabins. [There is much more detail that I miss.] "Just incredible stuff," the witness states
Gives another example of an event where they were on a vacation and they were driving up a really tall mountain. Brown pointed out a cross to the witness, high up on the peak. Brown told the witness that the cross was a memorial to three hikers that had died. Brown told Ian that he hiked up that mountain. Ian was amazed. He couldn't figure out how he got up there, there was no road. To Ian, this was normal for Cam.
Would you say he was someone who was money oriented? No. More explanation as to how Cam would travel, the minimal equipment he would use, and that his physical possessions were not glamor or high end possessions.
Has not been with Cameron for a long time.
Was he someone who would push the envelope? Yes. His envelope is not anyone else's envelope. So physically, he is in excellent shape and keeps himself that way.
There are four brothers? Yes. You're familiar who Lauren is? [Yes.] Did anyone [of the Brown brothers] have children at that time? No. There were no nieces or nephews? None of us had children at that point.
Describes the event where he met Detective Leslie. It was at his mothers house. He and his mother were there. They saw someone walking around outside the house. My mother said, Ian, someone is outside.
Mr. Brown, did they eventually come to the door? They did come to the door and my mother came to the door actually. ... [Detective Leslie came inside.] Later Detective Leslie's partner came in as well.
Did you sit down and have small talk? Yes. I was wearing a [military] shirt that Detective Leslie commented on. I asked Detective Leslie if he had been in the military. [It was] banter.
Did he say something to you that you recall today? We would like to get some information about Cameron. ... We sat down and Detective Leslie sat down, and he said: I know your brother, and I know your brother is innocent. [They said they wanted] to either get more information to clear this thing up or to at least get him out of jail. ... So, I was [?] elated that someone would clear this thing up. [That here was someone who would help.]
Did you know that Detective Leslie was the investigating officer? No.
The witness is asked what else happened. [They started off, and then] there were a few questions that I thought were not what they said they were meaning to do, ... [So I said to them] lets format these questions, and put these towards our attorney, so they can be put forward in a proper way. [So an attorney could go over them to see which questions were appropriate so that nothing would be misconstrued.]
And this is what you put toward the detectives? Yes.
Did they stay [after that or did you] tell them to leave? I believe they asked one more question.
Then the detectives were asked to leave.
Direct ends and cross examination begins.
DDA Hum reads his part.
Good afternoon sir. Obviously you love your brother very much? Yes.
You'd like to help him out if you could? Yes.
Have you visited him in jail? Well it's hard. ... [I believe he explains how it's difficult to arrange the time.] He's visited him close to 20-25 times. He's only allowed a visitor once a week. Some times he wasn't even able to get in to see him.
So 20-25 times you've made an attempt to see your brother? Tried about 30 times.
You testified previously, that you testified that you claimed that Detective Leslie had said that he knew his brother was innocent.
Why didn't you ask Detective Leslie at that time, [I miss the rest of the question, but it was a challenge question, something to the effect of, why didn't you ask Detective Leslie: "If he thought Brown was innocent, why was Brown was still in jail?"].
DDA Hum asked the witness if the defendant had various items?
[Did he, at one time] Had a deuce and a half military truck? [Yes.]
Had a sailboat? [Yes.] He has had more than one sailboat.
He had a motorcycle? [Yes.]
He had some items that could be referred to as toys? Absolutely.
Questions about what Cam told him about his climbing abilities.
And Cam was in very good shape?[Miss answer]
Do you know he was still in good shape and still did hiking and other activities? [Yes.]
Cannot say if his brother hiked in 1999, 2000, 2002.
How often did you met Lauren? I actually never met her.
Did you also have a lawyer at that time? You mean as far as this case, or a lawyer in general, no.
DDA Hum peppered the witness with many questions about who had the attorney, and did that make any sense that they needed to pass questions by an attorney to ensure that nothing was misconstrued.
I knew that Cameron had retained an attorney, and that some information had been recorded erroneously.... to have an attorney say which questions were appropriate and which ones were not, essentially they would be given to an attorney.
If the detectives wanted to misconstrue something, they wouldn't even have to meet with you would they? Well, I don't think that Mr. Leslie [would?] misconstrue anything, but someone else in the DA's office might.
Over and over again as to why he was worried that someone would misconstrue something, then why would you think that you needed a lawyer in the first place? Because the information that I could provide was minimal.
[There's more. The reading is going too fast. I cannot keep up.]
If you say that the information is minimal, and that you weren't concern that Detective Leslie wasn't going to misconstrue something, then why would you need an attorney? The witness thought that it was more appropriate that these questions be presented to an attorney.
There was quite a bit of back and forth between DDA Hum and the witness about the reasons why he felt he needed an attorney, and who he felt would misconstrue his answers.
Cross ends and redirect begins.
On redirect, there are questions about the small talk that occurred and what Detective Leslie said, about believing Brown was innocent. They initially started to ask questions.
The questions were more posed to my mother. My mother was in a highly emotional state.
Was there a point where your mother started breaking down? Yes. It was about Lauren and her death and whether he would be capable of it.
The questions had your mother breaking down crying? There weren't many questions.
You wanted to be helpful to law enforcement? More importantly to help my brother. ... I think that at that point where my mother started crying ... I think it reminded her of the incident.
More questions about whether Detective Leslie wrote down notes while they were there or bring a tape recorder.
Explains that Cam bought a boat by trading in a vehicle that the parents had given him. The boats he had, were not the most expensive boats, brand new that you could by. [They were basically what he could afford.]
Describes the truck that Brown had, and that his other items, were beat up and used.
Talks about the witnesses career and where he's been working for the military. Now questions about his visiting his brother in jail.
And that's it for this witness.
Mr. Laub asks for a sidebar. While the reader was reading in testimony, the private investigator arrived.
Judge Lomeli, after the side bar, gives the jury 20 minute break. They need to go get exhibits from a prior proceeding to read in the next testimony. They thought they had the exhibits already.
We're going to break, and then I'm not ready when Judge Lomeli goes on the record.
On the record. This is addressing the proposed testimony Dr. Sigmund for the defense. I want to make sure it's pointed to give guidance to the witness. Previously the witness had done experiments with water rescue dummy's and [gives number of experiments] of children throwing golf balls. Water rescue dummy's have not been evaluated in relation to [human beings], any testimony regarding this issue, would be [irrelevant].
The only reason the golf ball experiments were done, was to develop a departure speed for the dummy. So they are also not relevant.
The only evidence the defense were presenting was to show Lauren's potential interaction with the cliff. I believe the court basically rules that these tests cannot be presented to the jury. The information is irrelevant.
The court reads in the defense position.
If the dummy is to represent the projectile motion through space, then they would be allowed.
DDA Hum states that they do not. The court states that would be for cross examination.
Mr. Laub state he has no information as to whether or not if anything has been done substantively with these dummies, since 2009, but if he does find any case law that addresses Kelly-Fry, he will notify the court.
The court states that if he can find anything on case law, Kelly-Fry or Dalbert then please let the court know and be here by 8:30 AM on Monday.
So, it's still not clear to me, whether or not the jury will see the water test dummy drops or the throwing of golf balls.
Mr. Ross will read in the testimony.
Could you tell us where you were at Nov 8, 2000? I was down there at the cove and I was sightseeing.
When you are talking about [the beach] are you meaning Sacred Cove? Yes.
Shows a photo, Defense LL, It's the cliffs there and the path leading down to it. Sacred Cove.
Is Sacred Cove a beach area between Portuguese Point and Inspiration Point? Yes.
He was there from 10:30 am in the morning until about 5 minutes after 2 pm.
I left at about ten until 2 pm. ... I was going up a path, that leads a way out of it.
Can you see the path on the photo?
Can you draw a dotted line on the path? I think I could.
Laub points out on the exhibit the marks the witness made [in 2009].
When you were going on that trail, did you observe anyone? Yes. I saw a tall thin male and a little girl. I was on the trail going up, when I noticed them.
MM. exhibit. Another photo of the side of the cliff.
Is this where you made some markings at a prior proceedings? ... Can you point to now, where you first observed the two individuals?
This is so confusing. For the benefit of the jury, Mr. Laub points to where the witness originally marked. I can't see it on the photo.
These were markings that were previously made on this photographs? Yes.
Those markings are in red color? Yes. And the one you just added is in blue, correct? Yes.
Mr. Laub is not sure about where the markings are. They were written over each other, so it's hard to tell which is which.
Point first, where were the two individuals where you first saw them. [Mr. Laub points to an area on the photo, that's near the top of the cliff.]
Can you describe the area where you first observed them? It was kind of a little bluff. It was cloudy, so that's how I could see them. He was just standing there, and she was running back and forth to this bluff, and she was running back and forth throwing rocks. She was doing that for about a minute.
You could see her running back and forth?
Many questions about whether or not he saw the little girl crying or running or screaming. He did not see or hear her crying or running or screaming.
He got to where he got his bike packed, and then he heard a voice say, "This way, this way honey." And then I heard him say, "That a girl."
What did you see when you looked up? Her going back toward him. About four feet.
She was coming back to the trail? Yes.
How close to you were they? About 15 or 20 feet.
Could you see the expression on the little girls face? Happy. Could you see the expression on Mr. Brown's face. He was just standing there, looking straight ahead, down at the path.
He saw them twice. He saw them 20 to 30 seconds at that point.
Did she sit down, did she cry or scream? No.
Did you see the male forcing her to hear anything? No.
Did you hear anything the male said to her? Just what I already told you. "This way honey, this way; that a girl."
And who was ahead? She was.
And she was closer to Inspiration Point? Yes.
Saw them in the second spot. Marks a 2 on that spot. The witnesses did not mark the 2 in the right spot. He marked it where he saw them the first time. There is dialog by the court as to the error and how to make the correction, by putting a 2A in the correct spot.
Mr. Laub states: For the benefit of the court and counsel, and the jury, there appears to be a 2 A right where I am now pointing.
Is this the circle that I'm pointing at and putting it on the top? Right at the initials.
And how would you describe that area? Bushy, some trees and rough. The path is rough. You can slip and slide a little bit toward the trees.
And that is the place where you saw the little girl throwing rocks? No. That was the place where she was coming back? Yes.
Shown photos by the investigators? Yes.
He identified the individuals as the ones he had seen on that day? Yes.
He continued to pack his bike. The individual turned around to look at him. Now the witness is at a different point [on his journey].
The little girl was walking ahead of the individual? 10 or 15 feet. She was walking. Was she walking in a normal pace? Yes.
The man was about 15 feet from the witness.
Could not see the little girl sitting down and not moving. Did not see the male force her along. Did not see the little girls face since she was walking [away?]. This last time, he only saw them about five seconds.
He continued walking up and continued to see the two individuals again. A third location. Not certain where the first two locations were, since he was getting near the top of the path.
[This is very confusing testimony.]
The third time, that would have been coming up to the narrow strip. That would be the third time. You wouldn't see it on this [exhibit] that would be going [another way].
I see, where you are getting back? I see where he glanced back at me. ... They were near me, at the tree. They had moved away from you? Just a little, about 10 feet down. You wouln't be able to mark it, it's two small of a map.
So the 2nd location is about 10 feet from the third? [Miss answer.]
So it is not confusing, okay, the red circle that you have near the 2A and the 3, is basically the same area you observed the two individuals for the second and third time? Yes.
And where did you see them next? Almost at the top? Where did I see the two? There is a narrow strip near Inspiration Point. ... The real narrow strip that goes out. I'll show you.
More questions as to which direction was on his left or right. There is a pause. I believe Mr. Laub is getting another exhibit from the court clerk. MM exhibit. This is a photo of the trail right beside Inspiration Point. [I remember being on this trail in 2009.]
That is the fence on MM, do you see it? Ah yes, it looks better here.
Do you see the trail you saw them on? Yes. That you just described? Yes. Do you have a marking on this exhibit from a prior proceeding? Yes. Do you have an L with a circle where you saw the little girl? Yes.
Will you please put a 4 over the circle where you saw the little girl? Thank you.
The girl was on her hands and feet, crawling up it on her hands and knees, [because it was very difficult in that part].
What was he doing? He was just walking behind her, with his hands [along] his sides.
Did not hear her yelling crying or screaming or stopping or complaining or him yelling at her. Did not see him pulling or pushing her. Did not observe the little girl crying or screaming or complaining or see her sitting down. Did not see him carrying her, or did you see him forcing her along, or pushing her? No, No, No, No, etc.
One time you saw her and you were able to observe her face, was she smiling? No.
How long would you say, was the time period you observed the two individuals on Nov 8th 2000? The witness first asks: From the very beginning? About 15 minutes.
How would you describe her? Happy and playful and free.
Describe the man? Relaxing calm.
Questions about how he was contacted by Detectives. Asks if he sees the detective in court. He's not sure. The witness was just pointing at Detective Leslie.
Miss questions about what the detectives called Brown. Witness states they called Brown a rotten scumbag. Questions about which detective said it and whether the witness thought the detective who said that had already made up their mind.
Defense MM back on the projector.
And every single location where we have a circle, where you saw the two individuals. So that it's clear to the jury that these are the spots.
More instructions to the witness to circle around the already made circles, where he saw the man and the little girl.
The witness states: They are so close together, it's a little confusing. The defense attorney states, That's alright.
Now going over again, on this exhibit, the four locations where he saw the two individuals.
[I'm not going to transcribe all this.]
One juror appears to be scrunching up their face. Another juror is scooted down in their seat and leaning back. One juror wasn't even looking up at the screen; they were looking down. Mr. Laub is trying to explain all the circles and exhibits for the jury. I think I hear a chuckle from one of the jurors.
The court asks if they [the jurors] are okay.
More questions to the witness about where the second location was and if it was 10 feet from the third location.
Direct ends and cross begins. DDA Hum reads the questions he asked of this witness in 2009.
Mr. Hope, the defendant's lawyer asked you a series of questions, that you never asked if the little girl was crying, correct? Correct.
The first time, it was about 500 feet? I wasn't paying attention that much. You couldn't see them that time because they were too far away? Yes.
Second time, they were continuing down the trail. Saw them for about 10 seconds? They were closer. Approximately 15 feet.
And you said that they were walking towards, you, or past you? Parallel.
And they walked past him.
Explains how they walked.
The witness explains. There is one thing though. When he said those things though, he was standing still. It wasn't until after that she moved ahead.
This time was approximate 10 seconds. He didn't look at them the entire 10 seconds. The entire time he observed them, was about 2 seconds.
Next time, was looking at their backs, and that's when the man turned around and looked at you? And you couldn't see the little girls face because she was ahead of you? [Yes, yes.]
The third time, or this last time, the two people were approximately 500 feet away again.
So that entire time, he only saw the little girls face for about 2 seconds.
Questions about how he got there. He rode his bike. He parked his car at the fire department and took his bike out and rode his bike to the tree where he left it.
Arrived there about 10:30 am. And stayed there for a couple hours? Yeah, a few hours.
I just went for a swim, ate my lunch and walked around a little.
Left around 1:30 or 1:50 pm. And how long would you say it took you to hike up to your bike? About 10 minutes.
So at about 2:05 you were at your bike, and you saw that the little girl was on all fours?
[Didn't you tell detectives that, ]At first when you heard the man talk, you first thought that he was talking to a dog? Because that's what it sounded like, not real concerned.
Now questions about the trail, and the direction it goes, and that it was very steep, and that you saw the little girl literally crawling on her hands and knees.
And then the time that the man turned around and looked at you? And did you previously describe that look as a hard look, as if the man was staring at you? [Yes.]
Now questions about when the detectives came out to talk to him. Then possibly another single individual that came to talk to him. DDA Hum asks if Mr Hope talked to the media. [I believe he answers no.] He then identifies Mr. Ross as the investigator who came out to talk to him.
[This is interesting. Mr. Ross, the defense private investigator in 2009, is reading testimony from a witness, who he interviewed, and is being asked about the witnesses interview with Mr. Ross, and other detectives. Surreal.]
Gives the witness, a transcript for the witness to read. It's of the prior proceeding . At the prior proceeding, he testified that the detectives did not call Brown a scumbag.
Now questions about where the two individuals were, when they were on the bluff, while he was looking into the sun, he states he saw Lauren go to the edge and throw rocks.
He did see information on the TV that night.
He went up to Inspiration Point with investigator Ross before the first proceeding .
He considered himself a hiker. He had been hiking there before, but never up to Inspiration Point.
More cross about whether he told detectives that he saw the man guiding the little girl.
Did you see the man guiding the little girl? Verbally, not touching her. Verbally.
Did you tell detectives that you saw his hands out in front of him, guiding or touching her, guiding her along? No.
Asks the witness to read prior transcript to himself.
Is that what you told the detectives? No. I did not say that he was pushing her. He moved his hand forward like this, but he wasn't touching her at all.
In the detective's report, it states that Terry Hope actually said he saw Brown's hands on her back guiding her. The witness states that he never told that to Detectives.
Now questions about the other location, where Lauren was on her hands and knees.
So that hard rocky trail, she is on her hands and knees and she's struggling to get up the trail, and he was three feet behind her? Yes.
Describes what he remembers Lauren was wearing. Pants, tennis shoes?
When you first told Detectives, you thought that she was wearing a white party dress, carrying something white, that she was carrying in her hands ... and red tennis shoes? [Miss answer.]
And that was describing her clothes, just from a few feet away? Right. And not from 500 feet away, looking into the sun? [Miss answer.]
DDA Hum puts up on the clip board, the large photo of Lauren that Brown took. The witness is not sure if this is what the little girl was wearing. The witness now states that his eyes were sweating, and he wasn't looking up close. He was fifteen feet away.
When you first talked to detectives, you didn't say that you eyes were sweating and that you couldn't see very well. [Miss answer.]
So when you were at the top of the cliff and approaching Palos Verdes, and that's the last time you saw the little girl on her hands and knees, and this trail with loose rocks and dirt, and she was struggling to get up? When you saw that, did you think something was wrong there?
I thought they were not dressed right. They seem to be too well dressed and didn't [think that was right].
Cross ends and redirect ends.
Mr. Hope, this steep rocky trail, is that the one that you see up there? Yes.
And you got a circle with an L on it on this photo? Yes.
And is that the location you saw Lauren? Yes.
And this is the steep rocky location that we've been describing? Yes.
Now prior to November 8, had you ever seen Mr. Brown or the little girl? No.
He went to that area about three times a week, for about five years. And at no time had he ever seen these two individuals at this location? No.
More questions about the scumbag comment and if he was lying when he said detectives said that.
Redirect ends and recross beings.
You said that you spoke with detectives about two weeks after it happened, and then you talked about it with another investigator. And with that investigator, you said that you thought it was an accident because the grass was really slippery and that the little girl could have slipped? [Yes.]
And the first time you were on Inspiration Point was in 2006? Yes.
Photo of Brown is put up. Did he look like this? No.
What was the man wearing? He had some kind of blue nylon jacket on, and gray pants, and leather shoes. And the little girl looked like she was going to church.
Recross ends and redirect begins.
More questions about if he was speculating on what the little girl was wearing and if he was certain. I miss most of this questioning.
Now the witness is not sure what the little girl was wearing. It could have been a dress. The defense attorney asks the witness if he's speculating right now as to what she was wearing and the tennis shoes.
And that's all I got of this read-in testimony. I got to hand it to Judge Lomeli's court reporter, if she got all that. It was read so fast, I missed quite a bit of it.
Court is dark the rest of the week until Monday morning at 9:30 AM. If the defense has anything to argue to the court regarding their expert witness, he is to be there by 8:30 AM.
Back during the Lazarus trial, the preliminary hearing testimony of criminalist Lloyd Mahaney was read into the record. That was a much slower read than this testimony today.
Speaking of the Lazarus trial, when I left court on Tuesday, I saw "the eagle" Judge Robert Perry walking east on Temple Street, right in front of the criminal court building. He was speaking with a younger woman who was walking with him. I almost didn't recognize him. I've only seen less than a handful of judges on the street, and it was nice to see him.