Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Day 9, Prosecution's Case Continues

Defense attorney Lara Yeretsian and Cameron Brown, 9/2009.
Photo credit: Al Seib, Los Angeles Times


UPDATE 1:00 PM spelling, clarity
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Note to Readers

I apologize. I was unable to attend court yesterday.

Our beloved 1 year old kitten, Rocket has been diagnosed with a fatal illness, feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Rocket, named in honor of the original ‘Sprocket,’ was adopted from the Baldwin Park shelter last July, in celebration of Mr. Sprocket’s recovery from his heart attack. Mr. Sprocket and I are very sad. I’ve been up quite late the last few nights, researching alternative treatments and trying to find a homeopathic vet who has experience using Irene de Villers protocol.

Yesterday
It’s my understanding that court resumed Wednesday afternoon and that several witnesses from Lauren’s school testified. I will inquire about the cost of purchasing a copy of Wednesday’s transcript so I can prepare a synopsis of the witnesses who testified. If I am unable to afford the transcript, I will at least get the names of the witnesses who testified.

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9:45 AM
I'm inside Dept. 107. Defense attorney Aron Laub is at the defense table. There are three women in the gallery I do not recognize.

9:50 AM
DDA Craig Hum and Detective Jeff Leslie arrive with their files.

9:55 AM
Sarah Key-Marer, Lauren's mother arrives with two friends. Since the middle of the second row is occupied, they sit in the third row.

The jurors are brought in and put in the jury room.

9:57 AM
Brown is brought into the courtroom handcuffed to a wheelchair. I have heard that Brown has an injury to his toe but I haven't had that confirmed via counsel. Brown was wearing an orange jumpsuit and the white long-john type shirt underneath.  The two sheriff's that brought him in exit.

9:59 AM
Two jurors enter a bit late.

10:07 AM
At sidebar, counsel and the judge are talking about Brown's foot issue. The foot is swollen. The court tells counsel that there is no issue with the court that he has a problem, but apparently, the doctor has cleared Brown. The court indicates that they are providing a wheelchair for Brown.

Laub argues to the court that Brown's foot issue is spreading. The court states that he's been seen by three doctors in three days.

The court responds that Brown said he wouldn't come to court unless seen by a doctor. The court tells Laub if he continues this behavior, then court will continue [the trial] with his absence.

Court goes on the record with what was discussed at side bar.

Laub states that he was first informed by Mr. Brown he was seen by Dr. Vilatie (sp?) [Va-lah-hee?] on Monday. The court corrects him and states that it was Tuesday. It was his memory that he saw a doctor on Monday morning and saw a female associate on Wednesday. Dr. Vilatie told Brown that he would need to be seen again. Laub claims that doctor ordered follow up treatments in prior occasions have not happened.

There is a long history of problems that Mr. Brown has had, at the jail. Understand from the jails perspective, that he is a complainer. Laub has talked to a watch commander ... some of Brown's complaints have been legitimate.  I can tell the court this morning, the foot remains swollen. And the red spot has spread to the outer side of the foot.  Feels that it is a violation of Mr. Brown's due process rights. It's not only going to be a discomfort, but now his health is at issue.

Laub states that the doctor who has cleared Brown is not the doctor who treated him. Asking the court to speak to the Dr. Vilatie directly. Laub mentions that one of the problems that the jail has had is staph infections.

The court states that Dr. Vilatie cleared him. Next day seen by the nurse. The court states that Brown would like to be seen by the same doctor every day. "We don't have that luxury." Based on the information that the court has received, Dr. Vilatie has cleared him for court. The court went through great lengths and the bailiff went to great lengths to ensure that Brown was seen by a doctor.


DDA Hum asks that the medical records be reviewed from all three trials. DDA Hum asks that any review in court, include all medical records.

Laub brings to the point that Brown was in a cell for two weeks without any light. (I remember when Laub brought this up last year.)

10:23 AM
Court asks tha the jury be brought in. Brown stays seated. The jury enters.

Judge apologizes to the court. "I'm so embarrassed I can't even look at you. Some jurors laugh.

JANINE HERRERA-SAUNDERS

Back in November of 2000. Working at a preschool Christian Montessori school. She had been working there approximately 2 years. She was the assistant director. Performed many duties from A to Z. Responsible for paperwork, interacting with parents, evaluated classrooms, compliance with state regulations and children interacting.

She also had children at the Montessori school. Their ages were: 6, 4.5, 2, and 1.  In everyday basis, she had contact with the children and parents. Via drop off and pick up as well as by phone. She was responsible for knowing who was allowed to pick up the children for safety as the school as a whole. 

Legal paperwork completed by parents before child enrolled as to who could pickup the child from school.

She knew Lauren Key. Photo of Lauren put up that she identifies. She was one of the children of the school and became a student in the kindergarten class. She interact with her on a daily basis. She was on the playground often, doing a lot supervising there. It was easy to get to know all the children.

What kind of little girl was she? Lauren was delight. Lauren, was very lovable. She exuberated life. She was very [?]. She had very good social skills, good child to child social skills. Her development verbally was very advanced. She could form sentences; very advanced. She could speak to adults well. She was just a very happy, well behaved child.


She was obedient? She knew her boundaries. To my memory, she was one of the children you wouldn't have reprimand. My description of obedient, she had social skills. She knew what she was allowed to do. And she would follow the procedure and enjoy her life.

Was she adventurous, or not so much? A risk taker, or not so much? Her temperament followed more into the docile side. She wasn't an adventurous child. She became like family to her. She was more docile.

What did she like to do? In regards to activities, predominantly on the playground, would be more [the playhouse].  There were various options for the children, she was a natural child she loved live, her temperament was more toward the playhouse and more toward pretend play, in the playhouse.

Did you also know Sarah Key-Marer? Yes.

Did you ever see Lauren interact with her mother? Yes. It was very open. Very loving. You would see hugs, it was back and forth between both, very loving and bonding. It was a very loving scene. Sarah would  be interested in what was going on with her life. It was a situation that you would expect.

What was her reaction when her mom came to pick her up? Happy. Her face was illuminated. She had the same bond with the staff at the school, even more so with her mom. Run to her. She was happy.

What a cubby? A cubby is space within the preschool classroom, where the kids would place their articles for the day. A lunch pail, a blanket, their personal belongings.

Were there swimming lessons offered through the school? Yes. They took place at the YMCA kitty-corner to the school.

Her memory of Lauren going there is not clear. She would wait to cross streets. When they would go to the pool, Lauren was extremely resistant into entering the water. Her body would tense up, she would shake her head.  Despite our relationship, despite, the training [by the swimming coaches] to get children into the water, Lauren would resist.

The witness gives a demonstration using the witness stand. Lauren would sit a half a yard plus from the water, the sitting fetal position and sit there. She did not want to go into the water.

Any individuals other than Sarah, who on occasion would pick Lauren up? Yes. She identifies the defendant.

Were you informed by Sarah who this individual was? Yes.

Was there a procedure that the court mandated if someone picked Lauren up, other than Sarah? According to school rules, they had to be properly be placed with the paperwork. As far as school rules, once they are on the form, they could pick up. Sarah would type up a document each time that Lauren would have a visit with Brown when he was picking Lauren up.

Had you personally seen Brown pick up Lauren from the school? Yes. She observed [about] three to four, less than 10.

When the defendant would pick up Lauren from school, was he ever by himself? No. He was generally with another woman who was his girlfriend.

Speaking of Patty Brown, she is not in court today. Sprocket

When they came to pick up Lauren, it was very tense from the moment of entering to the school. She observed this. The defendant came in [to the school], he didn't appear to want to engage [with Lauren?]. Being the father,  I tried to make, from the school standpoint, to engage him with Lauren's day. He appeared very disinterested. As Lauren would come in as well, she would come in more slowly, He appeared more irritable, more impatient. [The atmosphere when Brown and the girlfriend would come] was intense.

What else did you observe? Lauren would come in generally slow. Her face would look solemn. Her walk appeared to be hesitant. The girlfriend again, now showing, appeared to be more tense and impatient as well. She [the girlfriend] was more reactive and tried to hurry Lauren along. She would just try to get things going and move Lauren out the door. The witness, she's gesturing with her hands.

Questions the witness about November 8, 2000.

Do you remember that day? Very much so. She saw Lauren that day. She saw Lauren within the early morning.

How was Lauren acting on Nov. 8? From early morning until pick up time, Lauren was acting totally out of her normal character. Lauren was very frantic that day. She was crying all day long. She was whimpering. She was crying, very frantic. Her sentences, at the same time, one word. She woul, her mind would appear to be in a frantic state.

On Nov. 8 in 200, did you see Lauren engage in the playground? No. That was unusual for Lauren. Did not see Lauren socializing with her friends that day? No. She was with Lauren most of the day, walking with her, talking with her, trying to calm her down. She was unable to engage in her usual activities at all. That was because of her disposition that day.

Was Lauren asking you to do anything? She was asking me to phone her mother. Continuously all day, she was asking me to call her mother.

At some point, did you allow Lauren to speak to her mother? Yes. Not long prior Cameron coming to pick up Lauren, I placed Lauren on the phone with her mother. We were on the pick-nick benches when they called.

She cannot remember the conversation. I do remember her [Lauren] yelling, 'Mommy, Mommy Mommy,' and crying.

This was on the phone? Yes.

While on the phone, did someone come to pick Lauren up? Yes, the defendant.

As far as her observation, Brown was by himself. This was the first time that she saw Brown pick up Lauren by himself.  While Lauren was on the phone with her Mom, she was crying.

What happened when the defendant came into view? My memory is, he arrived a bit earlier. When he came into view, he asked what was wrong. I made light of the situation, and let him know, that maybe she wasn't feeling well and that she was talking to her mother. Lauren at that point immediately changed her dipsosition as to what was going on all day. She stood up straight, in a type of robotic stance. Her hands were by her sides. No emotion on her face at all. She looked at him with eyes of boldness as I was observing her. Lauren then said she was fine.

Brown was standing up straight as well. He bent down at his waist and picked her up under her arms and placed her on the right side of his body. He picked Lauren up and turned and carried her away.

Her arms were close to her body. Then her face was clenched. Then Lauren reached out with one of her arms, reaching for the teacher.

Was that the last time you ever saw Lauren? Yes, that was the last time I ever saw Lauren.

I have a coughing fit and have to leave the courtroom.  When I come back, Mr. Laub is cross examining the witness.

What does it mean to be here for Lauren to you? Lauren still lives in our hearts. I got to know Sarah very well. You're always looking for the best interests of the child. When I say the best interests, I'm not here taking Sarah s side or Brown's side, I'm just reporting what I saw that day. That's what I was trying to say.

But you do believe that Mr. Brown killed Laruen? That is not why I'm here today.

But that's what you told Sarah? She has not talked to Sarah in lieu of the case.

Where did it come that Brown had to have a separate approval every time that Brown came? Sarah asked that it be done as part of the custody case, so that it was documented, each time that Brown picked up Lauren.

Do you remember if you had a court document [ordering this]? She doesn't remember.

Isn't it a fact, that you didn't have a court document, that said you had to have a separate document when Brown picked up Lauren?  From her memory, she did not.

So that meant that each time Brown came up to pick up Lauren, he had to interact with the school staff? Insists that every parent interacted with staff when they picked up their child.

But that didn't happen with every parent? (Miss complete answer.)

She would call Sarah, if she didn't have a document for Brown to pick up. She assumed that
there was a custody issue with Lauren.

Another coughing fit. I leave the courtroom to get water.

Questioning the witness on differences in her testimony from this trial to prior proceedings as to how Lauren behaved when Brown picked up Lauren.

Laub challenges the witness that she never described Lauren as robotic before. Witness states that she didn't reread prior court proceedings.

Isn't it true that you do believe that Mr. Brown killed Lauren, and that you're trying to remember things in a way [that's supportive of Sarah/ Brown's guilt]... Isn't that what's going on? No sir.

Laub confronts the witness again that she's trying to testify this time in a way that supports Brown's guilt?  Witness asks to see her prior statements.

Witness explains that compared to the prior proceeding, she found her voice. That back then, she wasn't as descriptive. Now, she's using more ajectives.

Laub confronts her on that aspect of her testimony.

Laub states that the reason she's using those words, is because she's more convinced than ever, that Mr. Brown killed Lauren? No sir.

Now questioning about how she described Lauren's temperament, and that she used the word docile and described to detectives that Lauren was docile and did more feminine things and did not play on the obstacles? Yes sir.

Witness is excused.

I'm really struggling not to cough at the moment.

Deborah Jenkin

DEBORAH JENKIN
What is your occupation? Works with Los Angeles school system. In Nov. 2000, she was a Recreation Leader for Rancho Palos Verdes. Worked at a museum, park locations, City Hall. She was a city employee.

Was one of your jobs as a recreation person, was to work at parking lot at Abalone Cove? Yes. That park was beach access they had a parking lot. She took the money for patrons to go in.

There's a parking lot at Abalone Cove. Yes. She took the money for people to park and that's what she was doing on that day.

The parking lot is off of Palos Verdes Drive South.  It runs parallel to the coast in the area of Abalone Cove.  One direction is San Pedro, the other direction is LAX.

The road at that location is raised up. It is on the top area of the bluff. Explains how one gets into the parking lot from the main road.

On Nov 8, 2000, that day she worked from 9 am to 4 pm. She worked that entire shift. Describe the parking lot back then. The driveway was blacktop then it turned to gravel.  The booth to pay was located on the driver's side. She was looking towards the ocean, sitting in the booth. Parking was $5.00 on that day. The parking lot was raised up, on the bluff.

Was there any time of fencing or safety devices around the parking lot? Yes there was.  There was metal poles and wood slats all around the parking lot. Like a fence, the framework of the fence.  The fence was about four feet hall.

Were there any openings in this fence that encircled the parking lot. Yes. There was an opening for hikers to go down to the tide pools. There was a trail head. The trail head went downwards towards the beach. There was a preschool, tide pools and the beach area.

There was another way to get to the preschool. There was a private road. That road was further down the main road. There was a gate across this road.

The path from the parking lot that went down to the preschool and beach what is it? It's dirt.

The parking lot itself, were there bathroom? AT that time there were bathrooms that were connected to the shack where she took the money, and then an outhouse a few feet away. There were public phones in that area at the time.

There was a separate exit to get out of the parking lot. To get in the lot they would have to pass her. To exit, they would not pass her.

Nov 8, 2000, was that a busy day for the parking lot? Not at all. How many cars came in that day? Ten or eleven.

Somewhere between noon and 2 pm, there was a car that caught your attention? Yes. How many were in the car? Two. It was one adult and one child. The adult was a man. The child was a girl.

11:35 AM
People's 101 for identification. Is that the girl? Yes. Is that how she was dressed when you saw her in the car? Yes.  Lauren has on a long sleeve shirt, It looks like a tunic.

She identifies the defendant as the man who was driving the car.

The car was an older model, American made car, possibly white and gray. There was a surfboard on top of the car. Lauren was in the front passenger seat. She was not in a car seat and she didn't have a seat belt on.

What was it about this man and little girl that caught your attention? It's not what I saw, it's what I didn't see. First of all, she was in the front seat, with no safety restraints. I saw the man, who I can't even describe how he was, like I'd never seen. His eyes were different, his hair was all blown, so when I looked at him, I looked at the inconsistencies that were there. There was someone who was put together, [Lauren] and then there was the man.

The little girl was extremely still. Some kids are excited to get to the beach. She sat right there in the passenger seat. She turned and looked at me and stared me in the eye. We were locked in eye contact for the duration. It was just inconsistent behavior of what I've normally seen. It just raised my [?]. I just wondered what was going on. I was trying to like process, what's going on here.

One of her thoughts was, that it was a kidnapping.

Before the car pulled into the driveway, what were you doing? You were on the phone with city hall? Yes. She then put the phone down. Did the defendant give you the five dollars? Yes.

I gave him a map of the paths down to the tide pools.

What did the defendant do? He took the map and they drove off to the left into the parking lot. After they turned to the left, she could not see the car anymore. She then picked up the phone and continued with her conversation on the phone. [To the person she was speaking with on the phone] I told her that something just strange happened. I asked her what should I do. Should she report it or what.

Their conversation ended that she didn't see anything that this was a kidnapping. She had called the police before, and they would not come until you see something.

After you hung up the phone, did you go anywhere? She wnet to see where the little girl and the man had parked, and to see if she could see anything else going on. It was parked between the shack and phone booth.  There were parking spots closer to the trail head, but they did not park there.

Could not see the defendant or little girl when she went out to look where they had parked.

Later that evening, as getting ready to leave the job, did yo unotice anything unusual? there was a ton of sirens. Then they just kept coming. Then one helicopr came, then there were two then three or four helicoptors. Picked up the phone and calle city hall and asked if they knew anything that was going on. They didn't know anything. City hall said they would call back.

At some time she found out that a child had died on the cliff. Her thoughts went immediately to the little girl.

Group of six photographs, marked collectively 104.

First photograph  104aof the parking lot shack. It's a decent sized building.  This is the shack where she collected the money.  There are big windows in the center of the photo. Photo b.  This is the photo, of where you would go down the trail.

Photo C, of the fence and signs. That is closer photo of the trail head. Those signs were there on that day.  Photo D. Bottom right hand corner, was the preschool, nursery school.  The bluff off in the distance, is Portuguese Point. Inspiration Point is past Portuguese Point.  Photo E. Another trail that one can hike on. It goes down the nursery school. Photo F, some of the play equipment at the nursery school.

Direct is finished. Cross examination.

You sounded pretty emotional, about not calling the police that day, have you felt guilt since then? Of course. She testified prior. Yes.

Has it been frustrating for you that this case kept going on? Well I would like him to answer. I think there needs a finality to it?

Would that relieve your guilt some how? .... Nothing's going to bring that little girl back.

You feel in some way personall responsible? My thought is, that adults are here to protect children. And adults did not protect her.


And she fell off the cliff? And how did that happen? Objection!

Judge interceedes.

How would calling the police would have interceded? Maybe it would have [change his consciousness?]

Now questions about statements she gave the police. You did say that, that these two people, Mr. Brown and Lauren didn't seem right together.  Yes. They looked like two different socioeconomic levels.

That was one of the significant things that caught her eye. She was dressed very well, and he was in beach attire. She looked well kept. She looked clean. She looked gorgeous.

Judge interrupts. Calls the lunch hour.

Judge is off the bench.

12:23 PM
I've tentatively heard that five individuals testified Wednesday afternoon. I hope to have their names later today or tomorrow.

1:25 PM
In the 9th floor hallway. DDA Hum is pacing by the door to Dept. 107. He's wearing a black suit and white shirt. I finally get a close look at Detective Leslie's tie. It's stunning. A paisley pattern of tan, gold threads and touches of brownish-burgundy. 


1:32 PM
Inside Dept. 107. Brown is brought out. The jurors are asked to line up.  Judge Lomeli comes out from the back rooms and stops at his clerks desk. The jury files in.

Mr. Laub continues his cross examination.

Asks about the trail in one of the photos. She testifies that the playground and the school are connected.

The trail down to the beach was used regularly by school age children? Yes, by school aged children.

Asks how long the trail is, 1 mile, 1.5 mile?  1/2 to 3/4 mile. She's not sure.

Going back to when she saw the car, with the little girl going in, when you observed the little girl, she observed to her that she must have just awakened.  That's what I told Detective Leslie, but she didn't appear sleepy. All the things that she said prior to that were negative about the defendant.

You were struck by his eyes? His and hers. Because she looked at me and stare.

You went about your normal performance of your duties? And the whole time I'm looking at her.

And when you turned around to get the map?  Well, just for a second.

Their eyes were locked the entire time.

When looking at the eyes of the little girl, did you say anything to her? No, I did not.

So it sounds like, you don't know if she's staring at you and being polite, it's really hard to know what was happening. Well, it was she just turned, and stared at me, and I'd never had that with another child.

Well it sounds like, she turned to look at you, and different economical circumstance, ... Mr. Brown's face, it looked like a mad man? Yes.  It looked to you, like he was crazy? Yes.

Seven days later, you did have the opportunity to talk to Detective Leslie? Correct. And you were able to tell them, what it was? Correct. At that time, you didn't say anything about Mr. Brown's eyes? I talked about kidnapping. Actually, you didn't say anything about his face at all? No.

You were shown a photograph of Lauren Keywhich you identified. And you couldn't remember the photograph of Mr. Brown. Correct.

Redirect.
The attoreny sayd that you didn't say anything about the defendant's face, but it concerned you that it might be a kidnapping. Correct.

You made eye contact with Lauren? Correct. You saidit looked like they were strangeers? Correct. You said it looked like they didn't belong together? Correct.

He asked you about feeling guilty, about not calling the police. After this happened she left this career to go into something to help children.

Recross.
Doing special ed work is honerable and needed. Is the reason this comes out now, is your feelings of guilt made you become a special ed teacher?  (Miss complete answer.

Witness is finished.

People call Saad Omar.

SAAD OMAR

He also goes by "Sam."  He's 52 years old.

Back in Nov 2000, he lived in Long Beach.  He worked at The Coffee Clatch, in Redondo? Beach. Back then, he used to take Wednesday's off.

On his days off, he used to go to Rancho Palos Verdes, Portuguese Point. He would go about once a month. It was quiet, serene, beautiful.

How long as of Nov 2000, how long had you been going to PP? About 10 years.

Prior to Nov 8, 2000, had you ever seen a young child on the trails in that area? No.

Specifically about Nov. 8, 2000. He went there that day. He drove from Long Beach. He parked in the parking lot.

Where did you go after? I went down the trail to the beach area, and came back up.  Was preschool in session when you were down there? I don't think so.

The preschool is on the beach? Yes. When he got down to the beach and preschool, he went east/south, toward Long Beach.

He walked on to the beach area, and then he took a trail, back up to Portuguese Point. Went along this trail that goes up. It's a dirt trail. It's wider than a hiking trail, so that a vehicle could drive. There was a lifeguard station down at the bottom of that trial.

From the parking lot at Abalone Cove, how long did it take you to get there? About a half hour.

He went there, because he had a book he was going to read.

Asked to describe Portuguese Point. It's like a penensula. It's square, a long flat wide area. There is a fence around it. It's a nice view from there. It's a relatively safe area.

After he got onto PP, did you look in any particular direction? Yes. Towards LAX, where he parked.

Did you see any people who caught your attention? Yes, I did. Tell us what you saw. I saw a man walking with a little girl. Where were the man and the little girl. Just before, halfway through the trail, they were walking, coming up the trial.

This was the general area of the trail that he took, but some distance away.

Why did you notice them. It was odd seeing kids in that area. I'd never see that before.  I saw them walking up to portuguese point.

When you saw them were they together? The gentleman was in front, she was walking behind. Do you remember how far behind was the little girl? Four to five feet.

You were observing this from a significant distance? Objection? Sustance?

Witness estimates that the people were about a quarter of a mile away from him.

Observed the man and child as they came towards him.  They were walking up the same road that he had taken. And they continued up in the same direction he had taken. He watched them a couple of minutes. The man was in front of the little girl, the entire time.

Did you ever see the little girl running ahead? No.

What did you do? I turned around towards Catalina Island for a few seconds, 30 seconds, and then turned back around and saw the man and little girl again. Saw that he could see that the little girl was a girl.

Describes the next point where he saw the defendant and Lauren.  When he turned around, the man was still in front and the girl was still behind, three to four feet.

Did the man and the girl continue to come up the road in your direciton? Yes. About how close did they get to you? Four to five feet.

Hum demonstrates how far they were by standing 5-6 feet away. The man was still ahead of the little girl. When the man saw Sam, he stopped. [The little girl caught up] Identifies the defendant.

Asks him to look at people's 101. That's the little girl.

After the defendant stopped he continued to watch them. They walked to the other end of PP. When he first saw them, they were on the LAX side of PP. And he saw them walk towards the Long Beach side. The man was in front. Did the little girl look to be leading him? No. When they got to the Long Beach side, he stopped watching them. At no time, was the little girl ever in front.

He jumped the fence at the end of PP, and sat under the trees.  Did you see where the little girl and the defendant went? No.

He could not see IP from where he was sitting on PP. Now some time between did you hear a sound? 3:45.

Did you hear a noise that caught your attention? Do you remember how long after it was you saw the man and the little girl? About 45 minutes.

Tell us what sound you heard? I thought I heard a short scream, a faint scream?  I got up and looked around and didn't see anything. I thought it was sea gulls.  The sound came from the Long Beach direction.

After you looked around and didn't see anything, did you continue to read your book? Yes. Later did you see helicopters? Yes. Did you watch the news that night? Yes I did.

What did you do the next day? On the news they were saying if there were any witnesses, to call the police. What was it about what you had seen that day that made you call the police?  Just the fact that I had seen kids in that area.

After you called the police, did they get back in touch with you? Yes. He met the police out there, at PP, and pointed out the various areas, that he was describing.

Arial photograph, mark as 105. Big, blown up photo overview of PP.

Witness identifies the photo as Portuguese Point. Points out the trail that switches back up the side of the mountain, up to PP.

Witness points to where he was on PP when he first saw the man and the little girl.  The man and little girl, were off the photo, to the left when he first saw them.  When he first saw them, they were on the lower trail.  DDA Hum makes a dotted line as to the path that Omar saw the defendant and Lauren take.

He was still at the same spot, when the defendant and Lauren came within five feet from him.

The defendant and the little girl, went from left to right on the photo, the back portion/dirt area of Portuguese Point.  He went to a group of trees, at the very end of Portuguese Point. The spot is sort of in the middle, but a bit more towards the LAX side of PP.  That's where he was reading a book.

Another enlarged photo, People's 106.
Photo of the trail that goes up from the beach to the top of PP. A switchback road that climbs the side of the cliff from the beach to the top.  DDA Hum marks the exhibit in red dotted line, where the witness outlined with the laser pointer.

He went out with the detectives to PP. Photographs were taken to show the areas he was talking about.

Photos 107 a-d. Four photos on a big poster board. These were the photos that were taken when he went with detectives.  In the photo, Omar is standing where he was when he first saw the father and the little girl, and pointing to where he first saw them.

Photo B, part of the road that goes to the top of PP. Photo C, of Omar and the edge of the white wall in the photo, is where he last saw the defendant and Lauren.

Photo D. This is a rea that goes to, around the end that faces Catalina Island. This leads to where he jumped the fence and was reading his book.

In 2006, did you go back to this area with Detective Leslie and people from the DA's office. Another photo, Peoples 108, a-c.

Did you direct Detective Leslie, to a particular spot, via cell phone? Yes, directed them to a particular spot. In the photo, can you see Detective Leslie and someone from our office? Yes. Identifies the location as where he first saw the defendant and Lauren.  Photo B, another photo of where he saw the defendant and Lauren on the road.  Same thing in Photo C, is where defendant and Lauren came up the trail to PP.

Why did you keep watching them? I just, it was just weird. It didn't look right. It didn't make sense.

Been going to that area once or twice over 10 years. Had never seen children on those trails in that time.

When you were at the top of PP, and the defendant got to within five or six feet you, describe how the little girl looked. She looked tired, out of breath, and she was dragging down. It didn't look like she wasn't having a good time.

Did you hear them talk to each other at all? No. From the time that you first saw the defendant and the little girl, until the time they got up to PP and were five or six feet from you, did you ever see the little girl in front of the defendant? No. Obj. asked and answered. Sustained.

Did you always see the little girl behind the defendant? Yes.

During the time that you saw them, when you first saw them, did it ever appear to you, that the defendant was having trouble keeping up with the little girl? No.

Now you said that after the little girl caught up with the defendant, they then went to the Long Beach side of PP? Yes.

In that entire time, did the little girl, ever run ahead?

Judge clarifies in question. No.

Several more questions of this type, that Mr. Laub objects to. Judge asks the question to cover the entire area. The little girl was never ahead.

Did the police ever tell you what the defendant said happened? No. Did the police ever tell you to say one thing or the other? No.

You know where IP is located? Yes. Have you ever been out on IP? Once. When was that? A year later. Did you go out to the end of the IP? Yes.

The entire time you've been out to PP, have you ever seen a child out on IP? No.

Cross examination.

Back years ago, at some point you were contacted an investiagor from the public defenders office. Yes. And you refused to talk to him? No, I asked if I had to talk to him. I asked if it was manditory.

Is there a reason, personal to you, because you wanted to talk to the prosecution and not the defense? Because of what I saw that day?

I know that you are here to testify, is the facts different if the defense knows them? It was the bad feeling I have, and that's why I contacted the police.

What harm would there be in sharing facts as facts, to both sides of the investigation? If they told me I had to, I would have.  They didn't call me back.

You told them on the first call, you wouldn't talk to them, unless it was required.

You mentioned that you'd never seen kids in this area. Do you know of something. Do you know if Palos Verdes Conservatory took kids up there. I heard it in prior testimony, but before I had never heard that.

At any point at all, in any of your observations, did the little girl appear to stop and refuse to go forward? No. did she stop and sit down? No. did you ever see the man take the girls hand and start to pull her? No. When you saw her closer up, did she appear to have been crying? No, but her demeanor, she was subdued, really tired. She wasn't crying? No.

As she got closer to you, did she say anthing to you, Mister, please help me? No. Did the little girl say anything like I didn't feel well? no. Did she say anything to try to direct your attention to her? No. did you hear her, say anything to this little girl? At any time did you hear the man say anything to the little girl? No.

Cross ends, no redirect.

James Witherow.
JAMES WITHEROW

Back in 2000, in what city did you live? In 2000, Long Beach. Prior to living there, he lived in Rancho Palos Verdes, San Pedro. Back during that time, he would hike around the fire station near PP.

He would go hiking there, because hardly anyone went there and it was good walking because you had a hill to climb. He would go two to three days a week. He was hiking there since the 80's. He would hike 2-3 days a week.

He used to go there and dive and hike.

Did you have certain hikes that were set hikes he would take in that area? Yes. Did one of those involve the Abalone Cove, PP area? Yes.

In that area that you had been hiking in since 2000, was there other hikes you would take in that area as well?  He would hike down to what was called the nude beach and back up.

Nov 8, 2000. He went hiking in the area.  He parked his car on PV Drive, there's a firestation nearby there are a few parking spots on PV Drive, away from the parking lot, towards LAX.   Gives a long description of the trail that he takes.

Sounds like you were in pretty good shape back then? Still am for an old man. Jury chuckles.

More detailed descriptions of the trails on the side of the cliff from the parking lot. When he gets to the playground, there's a trail that drops that down into a gully, and then as soon as you get to the beach, there is a trail that goes up to the top of the bluff. When in the gully, you are at the beach level. Then he goes back up the other side of the gully, to the bluff area. After the blacktop road, there is a lifeguard station.

He continued to travel in the direction of PP. From the bluff, he went to PP. Eventually he connects with a road. This is on the LAX side of PP.  The road eventually connects to PV Drive. He intersected this road, part way up the cliff side.

The road, if you take it too quick, you can get winded. He took the loop around PP, then stopped at the rock wall. He hiked up to a little knoll, and then went up to PV Drive.

During this hike, did you see a man and a small child as well? Yes. I saw them three times.  The first time, when I cam up that narrow trail to that flat area, the bluff, and they were going up the blacktop road, in front of me.

Where were they, when you first saw them? On the blacktop road. When you first saw them, could you tell if the child was male or female? No. The child was behind the male, a larger person. The child was behind the man five to 20 feet. That's an estimate.

As you saw the two of them, were they moving at the same pace? I really couldn't tell but they seem to be moving at about the same pace.

The second time he saw them. He was on PP on the San Pedro side, where the fence and white wall meet. 

Now asking about the second time (?). At that time, the were near where there was a port-a-potty. They were on a trail, next to the road. PV Drive South. They were on the side of the road, [on PV Drive South].

3:00 PM
Judge Lomeli calls for the afternoon break. The jury files out.

3:10 PM
In the gallery, DDA Hum jokes with his witness. Now inside the well, DDA Hum paces. There is a suited gentleman who entered Dept. 107 about five minutes prior. He greeted DDA Hum. Now he's sitting in the gallery.

3:15 AM
On the record, provided defense counsel with a disk, that was redacted from previous 83. Less than what people's 83 had been, it's minus the excessive ringing. 

We start at 9:30 AM tomorrow.

The clerk gets the jury. The jury files in. We are back on the record.

Continuing with direct. The second time he saw them, the man and the child were on the side of Palos Verdes Drive South. They were walking towards San Pedro, towards IP. The second time saw them, the child was behind the man. About the same distance as prior.

Saw the man and child a third time. He went up the hill, from that white stone wall, to the top and back down. The next time he saw them, he was on PP, and saw them heading out towards IP.

When he saw the man and child the third time, he was basically in the same spot, when he saw them the third time.  The were in a narrow area, just before the trees and bushes. He saw them going out toward the end of IP. The third time he saw them, they were in the same position, the child was behind the man again. Anywhere between five and 20 feet.

Exhibit 110 a-c. Big blow up of three photographs. Photos on the board. Photo A, that's the top of the bluff. There's a flat area.  It's a side view of the cliff, from the view of the parking lot towards Portuguese Point.

It's confusing to understand this witnesses description. Photo B is an area of PV Drive South. The photo was taken from about the same spot he was in, when he saw the man and child.

Third time he saw the man and child. Photo C, another view of Inspiration Point. In the center of the photo, is where he last saw the man and child on IP.

Peoples 109, Ariel photograph of IP and PP. The view is in the direction of LAX.

In that photo, can you se the place where the man and child were, the second time. You can see Palos Verdes Drive South. The witness outlines on this road, where he saw the man and child the second time.  The first time he saw them, was when they were beside the rock wall.  Where he saw them, all three times are marked on the exhibit.

After he saw them for the third time, he went out to PV Drive, beyond where the landslide was. He then walked back to his car on PV Drive.

At some point he heard that something had happened. He asked the parking people about the helicopters. The police left a business card at his door, and they came out to interview him.

He saw the man and the child three separate times. Every time he saw them the man was always in front. Did you ever see the little girl, running ahead? No.

Coming to the area since 1984 1985. In the entire time going to that area, have you ever seen a child on Inspiration Point? No. Have you ever been out to IP? One time. There's a narrow area, where it's unstable. That was the area where he saw the man and child a third time.

Direct ends and cross begins.

As informed experienced hiker, you said IP is unstable? In my opinion. I didn't feel safe there. Is IP from your knowledge, a place where a person could fall off, slip off because of the instability of the place? Easily.

If you were to add all three different moments, it adds up to two to three minutes? And at no time, did I get to see the people. So I can't ask you how they were interacting? No. [He didn't see them that close.]

When you spoke to Det. Leslie on Nov. 20th, 2000. You said that the man was ahead of the child five to 20 feet? Yes. I made that mistake. From where you were, you couldn't tell how far it was exactly? [No.]  The witness adds, five to 20 feet.

Mr. Barber

RICHARD IKEL BARBER

Back in Nov of 2000, he was living in Palos Verdes estates. On Nov 8, sometimes between 12 and 2:30 PM. He was driving on PV Drive South. Headed in the direction of LAX.

At some point was in the area of IP and PP. Correct. HE was driving and he saw a man and a young girl on the side of the road. On the ocean side.  He saw them walking together.  They were 20 to 25 feet apart. The gentleman was in front.

Were they as far apart as you and I are right now? Close. Approximately 20 feet. Yes.

Were they on the same side of the road as you were driving? Opposite?  They were traveling in the opposite direction. They were near the intersection of Peppertree and PVDrive South.

People's 109 on the screen. Identifies where the streets intersect on the large exhibit. DDA Hum makes a mark on the exhibit.

111 a-b. Shows two view of Palos Verdes Drive South, each from a different direction. 111a, can see in that photograph, where he saw the man and little girl as they were walking on the side of the road. Saw the man in front of a bush, and saw the little girl, behind the man, behind the bush in the photo.

Back in Nov. of 2000, he drove that area of PV Drive S. regularly. His work took him down that road regularly. Was it common for you to see children walking on the side of the road? Absolutely not.

How often had you seen a child walking on the side of the road there? Never.

Would it be accurate to say you saw the man and little girl during a brief time? Yes. Did you ever see the little girl running ahead of the man? I can't be sure.  Did you ever see the little girl ahead of the man? No.

Cross examination.

You just identifed Cameron Brown as the person you saw in 2000, am I correct that you only saw this man and this girl for a few seconds? It was unusual. It left an impression.

Were they walking at a normal pace? The impression I had, was the little girl was a distance from him. Were they walking at a normal pace? I can't be sure.

You said there was nothing unusual about the man and little girl, you told that to the police back in November? Yes.

Redirect
You said it just felt weird? Just the expression between the two of them, it was a feeling.

Recross
Where were you living at the time? RPV. Were you aware of that the city blocked to have signs and guard views? He wasn't aware of that.

Then a question about children and running around but I miss it and the answer.

The witness is excused and the jury is excused.

4:01 PM
The defendant is brought back into custody and the judge is off the bench.

9:30 AM tomorrow.




3 comments:

Kris Woodwaski said...

Thank You Mrs Sprocket for everything you do. I am sorry to hear about your kitty and will pray you find a cure soon. I hope you are feeling better.

Gregg the Obscure said...

Sorry about the difficulties with your cat. Pets touch our hearts in so many ways.

NancyB said...

I am so sad to hear about Rocket. I was worried about you & Mr. Sprocket when I saw no court coverage yesterday. I spoke with Beth Karas this evening, who is also a fan of yours and I sent her your link. She is going to post a link to your blog on her website about your coverage of this trial! Which I'm thrilled about. She is such a lovely person. :)