Lauren Sarene Key, 4, died 11/8/2000.
Photo copyright © Sarah Key-Marer, all rights reserved.
Photo copyright © Sarah Key-Marer, all rights reserved.
UPDATED 4/12 8:10 PM
UPDATED 4/10 11:15 AM
UPDATED 4/7 12:10 PM
UPDATED 4/7/15 added additional witness testimony
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Note: I did not attend court on this day. This is a summary I prepared from the court reporter's transcript.
Court is called to order. Mr. Laub, DDA Hum and the jury are present. The defendant is not present. Judge Lomeli addresses the jury and informs them that "..the defendant has a swollen foot, so he is being treated..." The court tells the jury that "...they will be able to have him down here ... by 1:30."
Judge Lomeli apologizes to the jury and tells them that he just found out this information. He tells them he is frustrated, but he was able to salvage some of the day.
One of the jurors asks, "April Fool's?" The court tells them that it isn't April Fool's and that they will see them back by 1:30 pm.
Once the jury is seated, Judge Lomeli again apologizes to his jurors and explains this was a medically related issue and that it can't be helped. The people call their first witness.
Ms. Peterson knows the victim's mother, Sarah Key-Marer. Peterson is six to seven years younger than Sarah. Peterson met Sarah at the Countryside Inn & Suites, in Costa Mesa, where they both worked. They became friends then roommates. They lived in an apartment together for approximately a year.
In late 1995, Peterson became aware that Sarah was dating Cameron Brown. She believes they dated about two months. Although they were roommates, Peterson was in college and had a boyfriend.
Peterson learned that Sarah was pregnant. At some point later, she overheard Sarah talking on the telephone to someone. DDA Hum asks Peterson what Sarah was saying. Objection! Hearsay.
DDA Hum states it's not offered for the truth of the matter; offered under Evidence Code 1250, for state of mind.
What was Sarah saying? She was crying and she was saying "How can you do this to me" and "just leave me alone." Also, "Please don't have me deported."
Peterson later drove Sarah to Redondo Beach where Brown was living because Sarah didn't have a car. Sarah was going to leave a note on Brown's car, begging him not to have her deported. Peterson observed Sarah write the note. She observed Sarah go to leave the note, but she did not see where Sarah left the note. When Sarah got out of the car she had the note. When she got back in the car, she didn't have the note.
After this incident, Peterson states Sarah and Brown continued to see each other for "... a short period of time."
Peterson did meet Brown, "About three times, four maybe." It was when Brown came to pick Sarah up from her apartment. Peterson and her boyfriend did not double date with Sarah and Brown. Peterson states the reason she and her boyfriend didn't go on double dates, "Because we didn't really like him particularly." Peterson adds, "He wasn't very friendly."
At one point, Peterson asked the defendant how he felt about the pregnancy. His response was, "Well, it doesn't matter to me because I don't want to have anything to do with it anyway." Peterson denies ever telling the defendant that Sarah got pregnant to stay in the country and denies ever discussing Sarah's immigration status with Brown.
Peterson explains why they stopped being roommates. Sarah was pregnant and going to keep her baby. She moved in with her boyfriend. She remained friends with Sarah. They kept in contact. After Lauren was born, she met Lauren a few times. It was not regular visits, but sporadic.
Peterson and Sarah had plans to meet the week Lauren died. After Lauren died, their lives drifted apart. They stayed in contact on social media. They've not had any face to face meetings in the past five years. Peterson has moved out of the country.
Direct ends and Cross begins.
Peterson states at the time she lived with Sarah she was nineteen. There was a six year age gap between them. Peterson agrees that Mr. Brown was about 20 years older than her.
When you talked to him, did you say to him anything about it really doesn't matter whether he wants to be part of the baby's life, that Sarah is going to have the baby anyway? I don't really remember. I might have. I don't recall.
Peterson is questioned about what she told Detective Leslie in November 2000, that Sarah didn't care whether Brown was involved or not. She wanted to have the baby. Peterson does not recall telling Brown that Sarah didn't love him, or that she told detective's that. When confronted with a report of an interview she had with detectives, Peterson agrees she might have said that.
Laub question's Peterson on how long Sarah and Brown dated. She states two to three months.
Laub confronts Peterson with a declaration she made in support of Sarah during the custody child support proceedings. The declaration is shown to Peterson, where she wrote: "I can testify that Sarah and Cameron dated form August 1995 until February 1996." She signed this in June of 2000. Peterson can't remember why she wrote the months August. She testifies it wasn't on purpose. She doesn't remember if she or Sarah prepared the document.
Peterson confirms that when she drove Sarah to Brown's residence, she did not see where the note was placed. She remembers that Sarah did not have the note when she came back.
Cross ends and there's no redirect.
People call Jack Laisure
JACK EARL LAISURE, III
The witness identifies the defendant. In the 1990's, Brown lived at the same marina, Port Royal Marina in Redondo Beach, where Mr. Laisure berthed his boat. Laisure moved to the marina in June 1990. His boat was on "C" Dock. Brown's boat was also located on C Dock.
Back in the early mid 90's, Mr. Laisure agrees that the boating community at Port Royal Marina was a close community. Laisure testifies, "... all the boaters got together. We went sailing on each other's boats. We had barbecues. We did different things around the harbor." The witness indicates that Brown participated in these activities.
Mr. Laisure states that his boat at the time was a sailboat. Brown also lived on a sailboat. One of the people that Mr. Laisure and Brown would socialize with was a man named Troy Nichols, who is now deceased. Another individual they both socialized with at the Port Royal Marina was Scott Simonson.
Mr. Laisure still lives at the marina, on a different sailboat. At some point in 1995 or 1996, the witness states he overheard a conversation between Brown, Troy Nichols and Scott Simonson regarding someone who was pregnant. There is an objection. It's overruled.
The conversation was between all three individuals and another man named Tony. Laisure did not know Tony's last name. Laisure testifies he overheard the defendant say, "... he didn't want to pay child support. He wanted to know how he was going to get out of this. He didn't want the child. He just wanted to be done with it."
Mr. Laisure also heard the defendant talking about having the mother of his daughter deported. Mr. Laisure testifies, "I believe he said something ab out she had overextended her visa and wanted her deported. I believe she was from England."
Brown also said that he didn't want the child.
At some point after this overheard conversation, Brown left the marina with his boat. He was gone from the marina for about two and a half years. Laisure states that when Brown returned, his boat went to B dock in Port Royal Marina. The defendant told the witness that during that time, he had gone to Marina del Rey.
Laisure clarifies that he heard the conversation about the child support after Brown's boat was docked at B Dock. Brown also said, "What is this going to cost me?"
Laisure is given a transcript to refresh his memory about what else he remember's Brown saying. The transcript refreshes his memory. Brown also said that in reference to the child support that he couldn't afford it. Brown said this more than once. Laisure doesn't remember how many times Brown said it.
When Brown came back and docked at B dock, he had a different boat.
Mr. Laisure states he knows a woman named Cari Dunlop, who also socialized with him, Brown Scott Simonson and Troy Nichols. After that last conversation, at some point Brown moved out of the marina.
On television, Laisure learned that the defendant's daughter Lauren, had died. He never met Brown's daughter.
Direct is finished and Cross begins.
Laisure states that he and Brown were not friends, but associates. At some point, Brown accused Laisure of "keying" his van. Laisure states that he wasn't the individual who did that.
One of the things that made Brown unpopular with Laisure and other people at the marina, is Brown would call certain people who had boats "sneak-aboards." Brown would complain about people who lived in the marina but didn't pay fees.
Laub asks, he was kind of one of those obnoxious personalities who snivels about other people breaking the rules; is that right? I wouldn't necessarily put it as sniveling. Tattletale, yes.
Laisure admits that he doesn't have any memory of exactly when any of these conversations took place. Laisure never overheard Brown make any statements about violence towards the pregnant woman or the child.
Cross ends and there's no redirect.
UPDATE 4/7 12:10 PM
The people call Marlene Quiram.
Ms. Quiram has two daughters, CAQ, 19, and CLQ, 11. In 2000, CQ would have been five, a year older than Lauren.
I have decided not to publish Ms. Quiram's daughter's names. Sprocket.
The witness knows Ms. Key-Marer, and her husband, Greg Marer. Quiram's daughter CQ went to the same preschool, Montessori, as Lauren, and she went to the same church as the Sarah and her husband. She knew the entire Key-Marer family, including Lauren and Josh.
The witness would see Sarah at church as well as at the preschool. CQ and Lauren were friends. The witness testifies, "They were friends, and Lauren was always happy to see my daughter, and she was always friendly with the both of us."
The witness and daughter CQ attended a birthday party at Sarah's house for Josh. She would see Sarah during pick up and drop off at the preschool when she mostly saw Sarah. She interacted with Lauren every day. Lauren really took a "shine to CQ," so when Lauren would see them she would come over to Quiram and CQ, say hello, etc. The witness describes Lauren as "very outgoing and friendly, always had a smile on her face."
On occasion, she would have conversations with Lauren, relevant to Lauren because she was four. Lauren would talk about her mother. The witness never heard Lauren say anything negative about her mother. Quiram never heard Lauren speak about "Papa Cameron."
On November 8, 2000 she went to the preschool to drop off a lunch for her daughter. The witness describes how the school was set up. The school was off the street. First was the parking lot, then the school and behind that the playground.
When she arrived at the school, she heard a sound that struck her as unusual. It was a wailing sound. She was trying to pin down where it was coming from. She thought one of the children was upset. It was odd. It was a loud sound. She heard it as soon as she got out of her car. She tracked down the sound, concerned it was coming from her daughter. It wasn't. It was coming from Lauren.
The witness describes Lauren's behavior as she observed it. It was unusual behavior for Lauren. She was wailing at the top of her lungs and Lauren wouldn't make eye contact. Every other time she interacted with Lauren, she would make eye contact and occasionally a hug.
Lauren was outside when she observed her, and was making her way into the school. Lauren was with a man Quiram had never seen before. Quiram identifies Brown as the person she saw.
By this time, Quiram was inside the classroom and so was Lauren and Brown. Lauren had calmed down a bit. She was still upset. She wasn't wailing but tears were running down her face. Lauren was about four to five feet away from her. Lauren would not make eye contact with Quiram or even acknowledge that she was there.
She observed Lauren and Brown leave the preschool. She could still hear Lauren sobbing as they walked to Brown's truck. The witness approximates the time when she first arrived at the school to observing Brown and Lauren leave to be about 15 minutes. The entire time she heard and observed Lauren, she was crying.
Direct ends and cross begins.
Mr. Laub asks: You talked about Lauren not paying attention to you after Mr. Brown was there. She was involved with her father at that point; isn't that right? She was standing next to him, yes.
And he was calming her down? He tried; yep.
He told her it would be alright? He did.
The witness agrees that Brown spoke to Lauren in a low and calm voice, while he was removing her things from her cubby. The witness agrees that Brown was unruffled and that he took her crying well.
The witness states no adults were outside with her and her daughter, as she watched Lauren and Brown leave. She remembers Brown was walking with Lauren, but doesn't remember Brown holding Lauren's hand.
The witness states she did not see Brown pick Lauren up and carry her.
Mr. Laub confronts the witness with her prior testimony at another proceeding. The witness asked, "What did I say? What's in the statement?"
In 2009, she testified that by the time Lauren and Brown left, Lauren had stopped crying.
Cross ends and Redirect begins.
DDA Hum redirects the witness to additional testimony in 2009. At that time, the witness was shown her testimony from 2006.
So once you reviewed your testimony from 2006, your memory was the same as it was here today, that Lauren never stopped crying; is that correct? Correct.
Redirect is finished and there is no recross.
The prosecution calls Fiorella Miletich.
In November 2000, Miletich was working at Christian Montessori as a kindergarten teacher. The school was located in Newport Beach. She taught preschool and kindergarten. She knew Lauren Key. She identifies a photo of Lauren (people's exhibit 95). Lauren was in her classroom, about less than a year. There were 16 or 17 children in her classroom at that time.
Along with teaching, one of her duties was to supervise activities on the playground. She was also present when parents would pick up and drop off their children. The children at the school called her Ms. Fiorella.
Miletich is asked to describe Lauren's personality. "Lauren was happy, playful, very friendly, very outgoing, overall happy."
In class, she liked to draw and color. On the playground, she would play with friends in the sandbox and the tire swing. Lauren was cautious, not a daredevil. She liked to run on the playground and participated in class.
Miletich was present about three or four times when a man would come to pick up Lauren. She does not remember what the man looked like. At the time she remembered, but now she does not.
When the man came to pick up Lauren, he cam with a woman, not Sarah. These pick-ups did not always go smoothly. The first pick-up did not go smoothly because she had to ask for ID. That was because she didn't know him. That first time, he wasn't pleased. She knew this because of the look on his face. The lady was with him.
Miletich states that she didn't talk with the man after she asked for ID. The man addressed the lady with him and said to her, "Just deal with it." Miletich testifies that she had to talk to the lady.
These three or four times that the man would pick up Lauren, did he ever ask how Lauren's day way? No.
Did he ever ask what Lauren did at school? No.
Did he ever ask anything about Lauren? No.
Did he ever ask anything about drawings or report cards or anything like that? No.
Miletich was also present when Sarah would pick up Lauren. Sarah would ask about Lauren's day each time she picked her up. She would ask how her day was, She would talk with Sarah, every time, about Lauren. She heard Lauren talk about her mother. Miletich never heard Lauren say anything bad about her mother. She observed Lauren interact with her mother. "She loved her mom. She was always happy to see her."
Sometime in October 2000, Miletich was aware that Lauren had gone away on a trip.
Now there are questions again about when the man would pick up Lauren from school. The man was always with the lady who wasn't Sarah. The first couple of times, the pick ups went smoothly. Then the last time, that's when she didn't want to go. Miletich knew Lauren didn't want to go because Lauren told her, and, Lauren cried all morning. This was after Lauren came back from her trip.
Miletich doesn't remember how Lauren was [the entire week] when she came back from the trip. She does remember the last day she saw Lauren. Her behavior that day was, "Very odd. She was not being herself." She was crying the whole morning. She was really sad.
Did she say anything to you? She said "Ms. Fiorella, I'm very sad. I'm so sad, I just can't stop crying."
Miletich remembers holding Lauren. Lauren was on her lap, facing her. Miletich states she will never forget the look on Lauren's face. Lauren said she wanted to talk to her mother. Miletich had never seen Lauren behave like this before. Lauren asked Miletich to hug her. She hugged Lauren, trying to make her feel better. Lauren kept on crying and crying. She wouldn't stop.
At some point, Sarah called the school and Miletich let Lauren talk to her mother. Miletich does not remember the length of the call. Lauren calmed down a little bit but she was still upset.
Miletich was not present when Lauren was picked up that day. On all the previous occasions that Brown had picked up Lauren, he was always with the same lady. Miletich had never seen the man pick Lauren up by himself.
After that day, she had never seen Lauren again.
UPDATE 4/12 8:10 PM
Direct ends and cross begins.
You saw this man pick up Lauren three or four times? Yes.
My understanding is, that Lauren was happy being picked up all of those times except for that last one; am I right? Not happy, but she was okay.
Laub asks if she remembers talking to detectives on November 20, 2000. She does.
Laub turns to a transcript and confronts the witness that at that time, she told Detective Leslie that on prior occasions when Lauren's father, Cameron, came to pick her up, she was happy. She replies, "Yes."
As time when on, Lauren was becoming upset. This was during the week after she came back from England. In Miletich's mind, she correlated this with a custody battle. She heard about the custody battle from Lauren's mother.
The witness corrects Mr. Laub. "She didn't tell me about the custody battle, but she told me that he was going to pick her up -- that he was going to pick her up, yes. So I didn't know about Mr. Brown until she told me, yes."
Mr. Laub confronts her again, with what she told detectives that she correlated [Lauren's behavior?] with a custody battle. Laub asks where she heard about a custody battle, that the parent's were in a custody battle.
Miletich answers again that she didn't know about Mr. Brown until Sarah told her that Brown would start picking Lauren up. When asked again where she heard about a custody battle, the witness states she doesn't remember.
Laub asks about the first time that Brown picked up Lauren, and that she asked for ID from Brown and that she had to "...clear it with Sarah that it was okay." Yeah, of course.
Did someone inform you that there was court order that Sarah was the person who was supposed to approve visits? Miletich doesn't remember about a court order, no.
What was supposed to be the reason for Sarah being the one to approve a visit after he comes to get her? What was the reason for that? Miletich didn't know about Brown until Sarah told her. She didn't know about him. Didn't know he was in the picture. Miletich assumed there was a court order.
You told Detective Leslie that you had heard that the dad had said mean things to Lauren? Yes.
Where? She just said that he was mean, but I didn't say, said mean things.
Mr. Laub confronts the witness of this last answer.
AL: Lauren didn't say that.
AL: Lauren didn't say that.
FM: Lauren told me
AL: No. Lauren did not. Sarah said that.
DDA Hum interjects repeating what the witness said Lauren said. The court then asks it's own question. "What said that? Was it Lauren, the child, or ..."
JL: The child.
JL: All right. There's your answer.
Laub then confronts the witness on prior statements where she said that Lauren never spoke about Mr. Brown. Laub wants to refresh her recollection. DDA Hum objects, the witness never said she needed her recollection refreshed. The court sustains the objection. Mr. Laub the n beings to read from [I believe] the detective's report.
"As time progressed, she, Layren, became extremely sad, which Fiorella correlated with the custody battle. Ms. Miletich also stated she heard that the dad had said mean things to her."You said to Detective Leslie, that you heard that the dad had said mean things to Lauren? Lauren told me that he was mean.
That's not what you said to Detective Leslie? Well....
DDA Hum objects. Argumentative. The court interjects "... and she's stating that that came from Lauren, the child. Is that correct?" Yes.
Laub challenges the witness that Miletich never testified before that this came from Lauren? No. I told Mr. Leslie, yes, that that's what, that's what Lauren told me.
Your claiming this is what oyou told Detective Leslie back on November 20 of the year 2000? Yes.
You've never testified in any courtroom at any time that this was something Lauren told you; have you? Hmm, no. This is the first time I'm saying it, yes. But I remember telling him. Because last time nobody asked me.
Laub asks the court for a moment because he's surprised. DDA Hum objects to defense counsel making statements about his state of mind. The court sustains the objection.
Are you saying Lauren told you this on the day when she was so upset? Yes.
You were questioned in prior proceedings about what Lauren said on the day that she was so upset. DDA Hum interjects. DDA Hum asks if this is a question or if Mr. Laub is testifying. Mr. Laub states this is a question after the court asks.
The court asks if she was previously questioned about that subject, whether Lauren told you anything about that, in a prior proceeding? No.
The witness agrees that this is the first time she's saying this.
Laub reads from a 2006 transcript. The witness was asked if she ever heard lauren say anything about anyone who she would refer to as Papa Cameron. Her answer was no.
So when she told you that someone was saying mean things to her, how did she refer to that person? She said her dad was mean. The witness affirms that Lauren said the word "Dad." Miletich assumed Lauren was referring to Mr. Brown.
Laub asks if Miletich had ever met Greg Marer. Yes. Now there is a question if Sarah ever told her Greg Marer was called "Dad" and Mr. Brown was called "Papa." There is an objection by DDA Hum and a bit of back and forth with the court. The court asks counsel to move on. The answer remains that Lauren used the word "Dad."
Laub goes over a question that DDA Hum asked the witness to describe what Lauren was like the last day, the day that she died. Laub repeats her answer.
That's all you said at that time in 2006; isn't that right? DDA Hum objects that the question is vague.
There is a bit of back and forth between the court, Mr. Laub and the witness. The witness interjects a couple of times. Mr. Laub asks why she never added that Lauren said "Dad is mean." The court addresses Mr. Laub, "Yes, but she's already state, Counsel, this is the first time that she's ever state it, so the answer is no."
Mr. Laub asks why she didn't add that when she was testifying in 2006 about what Lauren was saying [about Mr. Brown]. The witness asks, "Can I tell why you now?" Laub responds, "Yeah."
Miletich answers, Yeah? Okay. Because his previous attorney wasn't you. Miletich continues, He came up to me and pointed at that -- pointed that out and he said, "Did you say this," and I said, "Yes." But he didn't ask me "Exactly, did you say that he was mean or you said he said mean things?
Miletich keeps going. I read it and, what you're reading, I read it , and I looked at it, and I said, "Yes, I said that." But nobody asked me, and I didn't say it. That's why I said that I did not say it out loud.
The court responds, "All right."
Miletich continues. But I read it. And he pointed, he pointed it out to me and I read it. And he didn't say anything, he just walked away.
Mr. Laub reviews and the court asks counsel to move along. Laub asks the witness to review another part of a transcript. Mr. Hum objects because the witness never said she needed her recollection refreshed. The objection is sustained.
Laub starts to read from the 2006 transcript and the questions the witness was asked. DDA Hum objects and asks what the purpose of this was. The court tells counsel to approach.
There is a short argument at side bar. DDA Hums objection is sustained. The court asks counsel to move on.
Laub continues with his question about what Mr. Geragos showed her in 2006, and asked her to read the statement that she had given to Detective Leslie. The witness disagrees. "No, he pointed it out."
Laub asks the court to give this it's proper context. "Briefly, Counsel,"
There are questions again about what Mr. Geragos asked the witness in 2006, about when Mr. Brown would pick up Lauren, and that she was happy when her dad would come pick her up. And that her response at that time was, 'The first time she was okay.' Then Laub asks her about the next question from Mr. Geragos, asking her about being interviewed by Detective Leslie on November 20, around 3:20 in the afternoon. That refreshes her recollection as to when it was.
Laub then asks the witness to read [a transcript?] to herself. This is about her prior testimony, about what she previously testified, about Lauren being "happy" when her dad came to pick her up, on prior occasions.
There is a bit more back and forth between the court and Mr. Laub, about what his point of the question was.
Mr. Laub moves onto the first time that Brown and the lady picked up Lauren. He asks the witness about the point where Mr. Brown turned to the lady and said, "You deal with it," he had already shown you his ID, correct? Yes.
At that point, you had to make a phone call to Sarah to get clearance for this visit? Yes.
And that's when he turned to the other lady and said, "You deal with this"? Yes.
Cross ends and redirect beings.
Miletich agrees that she testified in 2006. In 2009 she was in Chile and did not testify. She corrects DDA Hum and states she was in Peru.
In 2006, when you testified, you were never asked about Lauren saying the defendant was mean, correct? Yes. Miletich verifies that she never said that in 2006 and the defense counsel in 2006 never asked her.
And in this proceeding, the defendant's lawyer asked you about that statement, and you testified to us what you remember; is that correct? Yes.
DDA Hum has nothing further. The court then asks Mr. Laub, "Based onthat, just those questions counsel. Let's not go over what you jsut did." Laub responds that he will not.
This must have been somthing that really stuck in your mind as being very important, as you say, lauren told you that Mr. Brown said mean things to her; am I correct? She said he was mean.
She said he was mean. Yes, okay. Miletich clarifies her answer. But not mean things; that, I didn't say. Miletich clarifies that it was Lauren, not Sarah who said this.
And at that moment, at that moment, as a very concerned person, and you obviously are, as a very concerned person, I'm sure you said to her "What does he do to you:; am I right? I don't remember.
Recross examination ends and there is no more direct.
The afternoon break is called.
UPDATE 4/13 7:30 AM
After the break, the people call their next witness, Jacquewyn Martin.
Ms. Martin has female children, aged 18 and 20. [I will not publish her children's names.] SM is 19 and JM is 20.
Back in 2000, SM was four years old. In 2000, her children attended Christian Montessori in Irvine. She worked a short distance away at an architecture organization. It would take her about five minutes to get to her daughters school, in bad traffic.
The witness knew Lauren Key. Identifies People's exhibit 95. Lauren was a student at the same school. Lauren was a friend of SM and JM as well. Martin knew Sarah, Lauren's mother.
Martin knew Sarah through Lauren, and interaction with other parents at the school, such as drop offs and pickups. Sometimes, they would run into each other at a store. She attended Lauren's fourth year birthday party at Sarah's house.
Martin observed her daughter SM and Lauren interact together on the playground. "There was a big rock on the playground. They typically liked to sit there and do each other's hair. They would pull the hair back to make ponytails, and talk, a lot of talking, so -- hold hands, run bach and forth across the playground. So they were pretty active and engaging with each other there; but, typically, I remember the rock and the hair."
Martin agrees that she spend a significant amount of time at the school. She went most lunch periods, if work didn't prevent her from being there.
She knew Lauren for two years, but the second year the most. Martin spent more time with her at that time.
What was her personality? What did she like to do? Sure. "Well, I had no choice to interact with here. She would come up and she would ask a question, wait for an answer, you would giver her an answer, and she would have another why. Endless whys. She would want you to hear her sing a song, and she would sing for you."
Lauren liked getting the attention. She was a very happy kid. As far as play, she mostly remembers Lauren and Sophie doing each other's hair. Martin remembers that more than other things. They would run on the playground, and talking.
Lauren was inquisitive. She would ask a lot of questions. The witness was aware that shortly before Lauren died, Sarah and Lauren had gone on a trip. After Lauren had gone on this trip and returned, the witness noticed a change in Lauren's personality. It was around Halloween. Lauren seemed more introverted. She seemed to be more to herself than the other kids. Usually, Lauren had no problem engaging with other kids, but when she had come back, at the Halloween parade, Martin noticed she just wasn't engaging with the other kids from that point on.
Lauren died on a Wednesday. Martin is asked about Monday at the school, two days before. On that Monday, Martin noticed something different about Lauren's personality and behavior on that day. This time, it was not Lauren in her typical round of questions of things but rather a very specific question. She was asking Martin to take her to her mom. "She wasn't really happy. It was more of a serious request. Umm, she wasn't distraught, but she -0 she did approach me and just asked if I could take her to her mom.
Martin did not take Lauren to her mom.
The next day, Tuesday, when she arrived at the school, Lauren followed Martin in. Lauren found Martin in Ms. Miletich's room. Martin would usually walk through Miletich's room to go to the playground. Lauren beat her outside and approached Martin when she was inside. So just as Martin walked in the door, Lauren came out of the playground and approached me.
What was Lauren't demeanor and interaction on Tuesday. It was still the concern and asking to be taken to her mom again, but there was something more to it. It was more "whimpering" to that when Martin told Lauren she couldn't. As Martin recalls, "... it was just a wind-up. Monday was okay, Tuesday she kind of whimpered when I told her I couldn't."
On Wednesday, Martin went to the preschool on the lunch hour, and interacted with Lauren on that day. She had promised her daughters she would go there to take her daughters to go get a doughnut. She went into Ms. Miletich's room. Her oldest daughter was there. "Lauren again, I believe she captured me -- I'm sure she captured me from the playground." Lauren came up to her and asked Martin to take her to her mom. Martin told Lauren she couldn't. This time, she turned around and started crying outside.
Lauren was going to the playground, as she reached the door, Martin's daughter SM came in with her finger up, the whining cry, Mommy I hurt my finger. Lauren did a 180 turn, came back to Martin with her finger up in the same way and said, "I hurt my finger. Can you take me to my mom?" Martin kissed Lauren's finger and Lauren continued to cry.
As Martin was leaving the school with her daughters, she saw Lauren run onto the playground. Her mouth was wide open and she was wailing. Martin asked her daughters what was wrong with Lauren. They told Martin that Lauren had been crying all day. As Martin was backing up her car, she's facing the playground. She saw Lauren exit the room and observed her wailing.
What Martin observed on Wednesday was not typical behavior for Lauren at all. Martin states she had never seen Lauren cry before. When Martin got back to the school from the doughnut trip, Lauren was no longer there.
The next day, she took her daughters to the school to drop them off. There was a notice on the door that classes were closed that day du to the death of a student. At that time, she didn't know who the student was. She found out the child was Lauren later that same day.
She took her daughters home and contacted some of the other mothers because school was closed. Once she knew it was Lauren, she started to read the newspaper and started to find information on the case. There was a request in the paper, that anyone who had seen Lauren within several hours prior to the incident to call detectives, so Martin called detectives.
People's 97, a two-page document, LASD Homicide Bureau Include Sheet.
When she called detectives, she advised them of Lauren's unusual behavior that day. She provided detectives with her contact information. Martin is asked to review the document to see if it accurately states what she told detectives.
Martin states that when she read the note on the school door she felt it was Lauren.
Direct ends and cross begins.
Mr. Laub tells the witness he's not going to ask her about Lauren being upset, since he knows that she was. Is it true that Lauren was a dainty girl? I would consider her dainty, yes.
And not a typically physical child? As far as rough handling? No.
In your experience, she was vically expressive but not physically so? She was physically expressive. It depends. The witness gives the example of her own children. Her children will play like boys, but when the youngest is away from her older sister, she becomes dainty.
And when her daughter and Lauren were together, they were dainty girls? They did girlie things, yeah.
Lauren never said anything negative about her mother.
And she never said anything negative about her father? No. She wasn't a negative person.
Cross ends and there is no more redirect. Court ends. The jurors are ordered back at 10 AM.
Note: I will be adding more witnesses to this post in the week ahead. Sprocket.
More to come.....