Sunday, December 18, 2016

Michael Gargiulo Case: Pretrial Hearing 36



Previous post on this case.

Friday December 16, 2016

I'm back at the downtown criminal court building for the second time this week. The LA County Sheriff's website indicated that Gargiulo's next hearing was on December 13, and I was here for the hearing. The first noticeable difference that day was Judge Ohta's placard was no longer on the door to Dept. 108. The new Judge is Lisa B. Lench. When I enter Dept. 108, I ask the two bailiff's standing in the well about the Gargiulo hearing. They inform me that the Gargiulo case will be in Dept. 106. I leave and head into Dept. 106.

It's been a long time since I've been in Judge Larry Paul Fidler's courtroom for a case. That was for Phil Spector's second trial in 2009. A lot of memories came flooding back as I entered. Even though Judge Fidler's courtroom is an exact duplicate of Dept. 108, Judge Fidler's court seemed smaller than what I remembered. Judge Fidler's clerk Wendy was at her desk. She tells me that the Gargiulo hearing was moved to Friday. This ended up being a totally wasted trip.

The Court's Public Information Office indicated that Judge Ohta has been moved to a new assignment and that the Gargiulo case was moved to Dept. 106 within the past week. Judge Ohta is now in Dept. 123 and the 987.9 Judge for the Gargiulo case. I believe that Judge Ohta has also been moved into a supervisory type position. When I get clarification on that, I'll update.

8:30 AM
Today, I make it back to the 9th floor by 8:30 am. I don't see anyone on the floor so I head inside. I note there is a satchel type briefcase lying on the defense table but no defense counsel in sight. In the gallery, I seen defense investigator Chris Nicely sitting with a handsome, suited young man. They are sitting in the second row and I take a seat in the third row. We exchange smiles. It's been six months since I've seen Chris at court. Chris and I chat about finding budget parking as close to the courthouse as possible.

There is a pretty young reporter sitting in the back row that I do not recognize.

I didn't take note on Wednesday, but today I notice that there is a three foot by two foot video screen mounted on the wall high above the jury box, just like the one in Dept. 30, arraignment court. There is a medium size candy jar on the corner of the clerk's counter, tucked up next to the wall. It's half full. There is an ivy type plant on the corner of the court reporter's desk. A petite female sheriff enters with what appears to be a coffee or tea drink and asking about Dept. 106's bailiff. I overhear the sheriff being told that Judge Fidler doesn't allow coffee in the courtroom, only water. That's good to know. Some judges don't mind if you sip on a coffee or tea, but not Judge Fidler.

9:00 AM

DDA Akemon arrives. He shakes hands with Chris Nicely. Nicely introduces the young man to DDA Akemon. It's Nicely's son. Judge Fidler's court reporter comes out. I don't know her name, but I've seen her in the courthouse over the years. The bailiff comes over to the gallery to ask whom everyone is. Luckily, I remembered to put on my lanyard with my "press" badge.

Next, Dale Rubin comes out from the custody area. He smiles at his investigator then goes over to chat with Akemon. Rubin must have been here for a while getting Gargiulo up to speed. Akemon and Rubin chat off the record about return dates. I overhear March and April and what the defendant may do about waiving rights. The clerk, hearing their conversation better than me, tells counsel that they will be going back to a regular time waiver.  For a time, Judge Ohta allowed Gargiulo to enter into a "general" time waiver. From what I hear, it looks like Akemon and Rubin have agreed on a return date and the clerk, hearing the date agrees.

The clerk asks counsel if they are ready for the court. They are. Gargiulo is brought out. Gargiulo's scalp is still clean shaven. Today he has a full mustache. He's not carrying any bag or loose papers. 

A deputy district attorney I vaguely recognize enters the courtroom. I believe it's Head Deputy of JSID [Justice System Integrity Division], James  Garrison. DDA Garrison was called in the Stephanie Lazarus case to read the preliminary hearing testimony of LASD Criminalist Lloyd Mahaney.

Rubin leans in to chat with his client. Judge Fidler comes out and takes the bench. I'm a bit surprised at the new lines in Judge Fidler's face and the goatee he's sporting. Back in 2009 when Judge Fidler was clean shaven, he reminded me of actor Bruce Willis.

Counsel state their appearances. Judge Fidler states for the record that the case was transferred to him by Dept. 100, the Master Calendar Court.

Rubin then speaks first. He informs the court that this is an 8 year old case. There are a lot of pretrial motions filed by the prosecution. The second chair is Daniel Nardoni. Rubin gives the court a very brief outline as to where the case is today. Rubin states, "We are hopeful to continue the case to March 17.  ... Hopeful on that date to respond to a number of pending [prosecution] motions already filed. ... The penalty investigator is up to speed. The guilt [phase] investigator is taking a little longer. ... [We'll have] a better idea in March."

DDA Akemon informs the court that previously, the case was under a "general" time waver in Dept. 108. Judge Fidler asks about that.  Rubin states that on March 17, they would like to make the court calendar zero of 90. [0/90].

Judge Fidler then addresses the defendant, "Sir, how do you pronounce your name?" Gargiulo responds, "Gargiulo." Judge Fidler quickly goes into reading Gargiulo his right to a speedy trial and asks if he agrees to waive that until the next court hearing on March 17th. Gargiulo agrees. And that's it. Judge Fidler leaves the bench.

Before Gargiulo gets up to be taken back into custody, Rubin points his finger at his client, touching his arm with the tip of his finger. Rubin tells Gargiulo, "Be good." Gargiulo responds, "I hear you." And that's it, he's taken back into custody. That's the last hearing for 2016.

The several times I've seen Gargiulo and his new counsel together, it's a marked difference than the relationship [or lack of one] Gargiulo had with former counsel Charles Lindner. From what I've observed, Rubin treats Gargiulo in a respectful manner and is able to communicate with him one on one.

Next post on this case.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Robert Durst - Arraignment at Airport Courthouse Today & Mr. Sprocket Update

UPDATE 11/8/16The LA Times reported the next pretrial hearing in the Durst case is scheduled for February 15, 2017. The LA County Sheriff's inmate locator website indicates Durst is currently being housed in the "Twin Towers" facility. Interestingly, the Sheriff's website does not indicate the next court date.


Screenshot of LASD website, detainee Robert Durst information, 11/8/16.

UPDATE 7:30pm:
Corrected spelling of DDA John Lewin
UPDATE 10am: Corrected the spelling of Kathleen McCormack Durst
November 7, 2016
Robert Durst - A Brief Synopsis
Eccentric real estate millionaire Robert Durst, connected to the murder of Morris Black and the 1982 disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen, is due in court today on charges relating to the murder of his long time friend and supporter, Susan Berman.

Susan Berman, Wikipedia

Berman
, a mobster's daughter, was found dead in her Benedict Canyon home on Christmas Eve 2000. She was shot in the back of the head and found at least a day after her murder.

Durst was arrested in March 2015 and charged with first degree murder in connection with Berman's death. Previously, Durst was arrested for the murder of a neighbor, Morris Black on October 9, 2001. in Galveston, Texas. Durst claimed he murdered Black in self defense. Durst was acquitted of the Black's murder. He eventually pled guilty to body dumping and evidence tampering. Kathleen McCormack Durst is still missing and presumed dead. In April 2016, Kathleen's family petitioned a NY court to have her declared legally dead.

Andrew Jarecki's HBO documentary, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, uncovered physical evidence that prosecutors believe links Durst to Berman's murder. At the end of the documentary, Robert Durst is caught on audio tape stating he "... killed them all."

Durst's arraignment, case #SA089983 will be at the Airport Courthouse, Department W81 at 1:30 pm. Deputy District Attorney John Lewin is prosecuting the case. Expect a big media turnout for Durst's first appearance in California. Since I am taking care of Mr. Sprocket, I will have to be there in spirit.

Mr. Sprocket Update
Mr. Sprocket has had an amazing recovery immediately after his open heart surgery. His full recovery may take three to four months before he can return to his demanding job. It will be six weeks before he is allowed to lift more than five pounds or drive. You can read the previous post on his surgery, here.

Thursday Post-op
I spoke to his surgeon around 6:45 pm. He was in surgery for six hours and had a double bypass. The surgeons had hoped they could do a triple, but the arteries in that area were so blocked they didn't have an unblocked area where the graft could be attached.

The surgery center at Harbor UCLA is relatively new. In April 2014, the hospital opened up 16 modern operating theatres and a 50 bed emergency unit. Harbor UCLA states it is "...one of the busiest operative Level I Trauma Centers in the Western US." When Mr. Sprocket went from his room in the main hospital to pre-op for surgery, we could tell the surgery center was pretty new.

After surgery, at 8:15 pm, I got to see him in the Cardiac Thorasic Unit, [CTU] a six-bed special unit that just handles post-op, open heart/lung surgery patients. Mr. Sprocket was intubated but he could hear my voice, understand me, nodded his head and squeezed my hand when he spoke.

Friday- Saturday
Mr. Sprocket's breathing tube was removed the next morning. That afternoon, less than 24 hours after surgery, he took his first walk. He walked the entire length of the hospital floor and then some before he returned to the CTU. He continued to improve and do well.

On Saturday, he took several walks. The nurses recommended to him that he slow down and pace himself. In the afternoon walk he did at least four laps around the entire length of the 3rd floor. That  afternoon he got his surgical drains removed. There were two drains. One was inserted through his abdomen into his chest. The other one went in about 15 to 18 inches and looped around his left lung. The long drain around his ribs was causing him pain when he breathed and he was relieved to get it out. His doctors thought he was doing so well,  they might send him home Monday or as early as Sunday afternoon.

Sunday
We finally left the hospital Sunday around 5 pm. Mr. Sprocket is very happy to be home, recuperating on the sofa.

Mr. Sprocket, Monday, 11/7, 5:00 am

T&T Robert Durst Case Links
Robert Durst Wikipedia
Robert Durst Google® Images
Susan Berman Wikipedia
Andrew Jarecki Wikipedia
03/15/15 ABC - Why Durst Killed Black In His Own Words 
03/16/15 VF - The Fugitive Heir
04/2015 KFI - Eccentric Millionaire Robert Durst Arrested in New Orleans
11/03/15 ABC - Former Prosecutor Looks into Disappearance of Kathleen
04/01/16 People - Family of Kathleen Durst Petition Court
07/14/16 NYT - Kathleen Durst's Family Back in Court
06/09/15 Variety - Jinx Directors Jarecki, Smerling, Open Up
11/04/16 ABC - Robert Durst Back in Court to Face Murder Charges
Robert Durst - LA Times
Robert Durst - NY Times
HBO - The Jinx
The Charley Project: Kathleen McCormack Durst Disappearance 

Harbor UCLA New Surgical Center
T&T: Mr. Sprocket: Undergoing Open Heart Surgery

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Prayers For Mr. Sprocket: Undergoing Open Heart Surgery


November 3, 2016
Just when things seem to be on a solid footing, life throws you a California earthquake. We've had some difficult challenges the last 18 months. Those challenges have kept me from going to court and covering cases the last four months.

As I'm hitting "publish" on this post, Mr. Sprocket has been on the operating table undergoing open heart surgery for six hours. He still still has the next 12 hours of post-op to get through, and a long recovery. 

2014 Heart Attack History & The Lives of Kitties
Back on May 30, 2014, Mr. Sprocket had a big heart attack. We were very fortunate that he survived the event and bounced back rather quickly. You can read the posts about Mr. Sprocket's heart attack and eventual recovery HERE.

Within a couple weeks of coming home from the hospital, he was back to work. He had a ton of energy. He was doing well. To celebrate his new lease on life, we adopted a new black and white tuxedo kitten, Rudy Rocket from the Baldwin Park Shelter.

There was no way to know then, that Rudy Rocket would only be with us for such a short time, and what would happen later.

Rudy Rocket quickly won over our hearts and became Mr. Sprocket's favorite. He would follow Mr. Sprocket around the house and made sure to visit him each morning in the bathroom. He liked to get inside Mr. Sprocket's shorts.

Rudy Rocket, 1/15/2015

Rudy Rocket would watch the washing machine and bird videos on my computer. He was very smart. He learned to fetch toy mice and bring them back. Sometimes he would leap high into the air and catch the mice mid jump. He could play that game for well over an hour, taking breaks by lying down and panting off his built up energy.

However, our older kitties Scout and Jumpy were not too happy with this little energy dynamo.

The Older Kids

Jumpy was our kitty we adopted along with his litter mate Katie in June 2003. They did everything together. Katie was more outgoing and engaging. Jumpy, almost twice a big, followed her lead and was afraid of his own shadow. If you dropped a pen on the floor he would freak out and go hide. Katie suddenly died in 2007 at 4 years old. Jumpy never seemed to be the same after the loss of his sister. He became even more shy and reclusive. He eventually bonded some with Scout. They would sometimes sleep side by side, fighting over the best spot. Jumpy would let Scout groom him, but he never groomed Scout back.

 A rare photo of Jumpy (l) and Scout (r) on wicker chair, 11/24/2015.

Scout adopted us on a cold February in 2006. Scout found the sanctuary of our back patio. During that cold winter, he was looking for a warm place to curl up and sleep. He found it in a large box of commercial filters that Mr. Sprocket had stored under the covered patio. After he arrived, we left food out for him on the patio table. We provided a warm, insulated cat bed inside an elevated, padded box. Scout had found a forever home in our bed and breakfast. We were lucky he stayed. Affectionate nick names were "Noodle" because when you held him he would often become a limp noodle, not wanting to leave your arms and "Butterhead" because if he smelled butter on the table, he wanted some. We never new how old he was. He was already fixed and had the classic ear notch of a TNR [trap, neuter, release] kitty when he arrived.

When Rudy Rocket joined us, Jumpy didn't want to have anything to do with him at all and retreated to our bedroom.
Scout barely tolerated Rudy Rocket's desire to play rough house. When it got too much he would find some out of the way place to nap quietly.

Here is a rare photo of all three kitties together on Christmas day, 2014.

Christmas Day, 2014.
2015
In February 2015, we got the devastating news that Rudy Rocket had FIP, a disease that is fatal in cats. We tried alternative therapies, even an expensive experimental medicine out of Tennessee but Rudy Rocket continued to decline. He crossed over the rainbow bridge April 25, 2015. It was a difficult time. I was in the middle of covering the third Cameron Brown murder trial.

A month later, Mr. Sprocket closed his business and started looking for a job with a company in his field. That journey took many months. A few weeks later, we got the news that Scout had intestinal lymphoma. He had cancer. We started Scout and Jumpy on a raw diet, added turmeric paste and a low dose steroid. Scout came around and appeared to get better. We hoped for the best.

2016, A Challenging Year
Mr. Sprocket landed a new job. Scout was doing well on his turmeric. It was a busy hot summer with Mr. Sprocket working lots of hours.

In July, Scout started to eat less and less. Blood tests didn't detect anything unusual. He started to decline more and several visits to the vet did not give us any answers.. In mid August, I noticed that his jaw appeared uneven, like there was something wrong. There was. Inside Scout's jaw under his tongue was a tumor. The lymphoma cancer was spreading. It was a very sad goodbye. Scout crossed over the rainbow bridge to join Rudy Rocket on August 25, 2016.

Right around the time that we were having our last week with Scout, Jumpy's appetite declined dramatically. He hardly ate at all. We took Jumpy to the holistic vet in Calabasas, Dr. Tyneway. She is amazing. Jumpy's blood work indicated he had kidney disease. He was put on subcutaneous fluids, a vitamin regimen and a low phosphorus diet. Jumpy would take a bite or two and wouldn't eat any more. After a few more vet visits, Dr. Tyneway was able to detect a faint irregularity in Jumpy's heart. And, his heart rate was too fast. That was new. The problem with having kidney and heart disease at the same time, is the treatment for one is not good for the other. Dr. Tyneway told us to stop the subcutaneous fluids, because that was creating extra stress on his heart.  Soon after that diagnosis, Jumpy stopped eating altogether. He crossed the rainbow bridge on September 16, 2016.

It's been a very difficult time for us, losing three fur babies and Mr. Sprocket's business in the span of 17 months. This is the first time in 22 years that I've been without a kitty to come home to. We buried Rudy Rocket, Scout and Jumpy in the back yard next to Katie and Sprocket Cat, each in their own special box, blanket and their favorite toys. We still miss them very much.

October 2016
Early Wednesday morning October 12, Mr. Sprocket went to do his regular workout routine at the gym. He goes about twice a week. He usually warms up by jogging the one-third mile there. He then starts on the stair climber, climbing as much as 50 flights of stairs. After the cardio, he works out with the weight equipment. This time, he worked out with the weights first. He didn't do as well with the weights as he usually did. He did his stretches then started on the stair climber. He set it for his first set of ten flights.  After climbing five flights of stairs, he could barely do any more. He paused the machine. He started to panic. He couldn't get the energy to work out. He was hyperventilating. He couldn't catch his breath. He thought he might be having a panic attack. He was dizzy and he slowly walked home. He rested for a while on the sofa then went to work for a few hours in the afternoon.

That night, trying to sleep, he could not catch his breath lying down. He then took his vitamin / heart protection concoction of D-Ribose, L-Carnitine, Hawthorn Berry, Taurine and Magnesium, all blended together in water. Some time after he took his drink, he was able to go to sleep. The next few days he took it easy but he slowly started to feel better.

Mr. Sprocket's conclusion as to what happened was, he had a bad reaction to a new CoQ10 supplement he took that morning before his workout. This new supplement had an ingredient called Polysorbate 80. [There are all kinds of concerns about this ingredient.]

The following week, Mr. Sprocket started to feel better and did a few couple mile runs. On Thursday October 20, and Friday, October 21, Mr. Sprocket had two very long work days in a row. He was a little tired, but he felt okay. Sunday night the inability to breathe lying down came back. Whenever he tried to lie flat, he could not catch his breath, he had to sit up. When I woke up Monday morning October 24, he was still on the sofa. He told me that he didn't sleep all night. The breathing problems came back. He didn't know if he was experiencing a panic attack or if it was a problem with his heart. He didn't know what to do. So I made the decision for him. I told him we were going to the hospital to find out. We needed to know.

Olive View Hospital - Monday

We waited for several hours in the emergency room lobby. They did a preliminary evaluation and drew blood. When we got into a room, an ER doctor stopped by almost immediately. He told us that they found a globular enzyme in his blood called Troponin. Troponin is a heart enzyme involved with muscle contraction. When it is found in the blood it indicates the heart muscle has been damaged in some way, usually from a heart attack. Additionally, he had fluid in his lungs and around his heart. This is why he couldn't catch his breath lying down. The stark realization was hitting both of us like a ton of bricks. It wasn't panic attacks. Mr. Sprocket probably had a mild heart attack while working out in the gym. They were admitting Mr. Sprocket to the hospital right away to monitor his heart and perform tests.

Although it's not been proven, Mr. Sprocket believes the polysorbate 80 in the CoQ10 was the culprit. I think it was the progression of the heart disease in combination with the heavy workout.

In the emergency room, they wanted to give Mr. Sprocket Plavix but he refused. He had such a bad reaction to Plavix back in 2014, he didn't want to take the drug again. They gave him Lasix, to get the fluid out of his lungs and from around his heart. He peed out more than a liter and he started to feel better. He got to his room about 9:30 pm and settled in.

Olive View Hospital - Tuesday
Mr. Sprocket was put on an IV drip of Heparin. Tuesday morning Mr. Sprocket had an echo cardiogram. It revealed that he had a clot in the bottom of his left ventricle. This was from stagnant blood not being moved through the heart. That's because the heart wasn't doing it's job. There was a risk of this clot traveling to other parts of his body. They put him on an ACE drug and a statin.

That afternoon, they took him into the cath lab, to see the condition of his arteries. We thought that he might get another stent or two. When he came out of the cath lab, the doctors were all standing around his gurney with me. They did not install any stents. That's when Mr. Sprocket said to me, "They're telling me I need open heart surgery." The doctors said that Mr. Sprocket needed at least a triple bypass. And that's when I started to cry.

The doctor's told him, "Look. You can go home, you can see how you do, but it's likely you would be back here in three to six months with another heart attack and in worse shape." Then they tell us, "We don't do that surgery here. You would need to be transferred to another hospital, either Harbor UCLA in Torrance or LAC USC in East LA. The doctor's would need to know his decision soon, if he wanted the surgery or not because they would need to find a bed for him.

Mr. Sprocket and I talked it over. This is scary stuff for us. His chest would be opened, his heart stopped. He would be placed on a bypass machine for several hours, then his heart started again. If he didn't get the surgery, I would be worrying that, at any moment he could have a heart attack all by himself on the top of a 10 story building, and no one would know he's up there, dying. After talking about our fears, he decided to get the surgery. I searched for one of the doctors to tell him to start looking for a bed so he could be transferred.

I left the hospital around 10 pm that night. Then I get a call from Mr. Sprocket at 3:30 am. They found a bed for him at Harbor UCLA and the transport would be picking him up at 6:30 am. I needed to get back there, to help him pack up and follow the ambulance down there.

Wednesday Morning - Traveling Man

When I got to the hospital around 5:00 am, I had forgotten to bring his special dental floss. Here he is going to another hospital to get open heart bypass surgery, and Mr. Sprocket is obsessed with getting his dental floss. The paramedic and driver are about to arrive and he wants me to stop at a CVS on the way down to pick up some dental floss for him. I tell him I'm not going to do that. I'm going to follow his ambulance the 49 miles to the new hospital. Now he starts getting a little crazy. He's telling me he wants his wallet. I'm a terrible wife. I won't give him his wallet.

He doesn't need his wallet, but he thinks that, on the long ride down there, maybe the paramedics will make a stop so they can pick up some dental floss for him. I tried to explain to him how off the wall that sounded, and did he really think these professionals would stop on their trip so he could get some dental floss. He wanted dental floss so bad he though he would ask. You can just imagine the looks the paramedics gave me when he asked them.


Leaving Olive View Hospital 6:30 am, 10/26/16

Following the ambulance 10/26/16

Right before the ambulance pulled into the special entrance for them, they pulled over and the driver got out. He walked to my car and gave me the floor and room number where Mr. Sprocket will land.

Harbor UCLA - Cardiac Unit, 4West

Every room on this floor is a mini "ward" with four beds to a room. There is a nursing assistant who is in the room at all times, ready to help you if you need anything. He had a wireless monitor on his vitals so the nurses can keep track of how he's doing at the main nurses station.

Later that day, we meet the Cardiology Team as well as members of the Surgical Team. Usually, the surgical team doesn't monitor the patient until they are ready for surgery. However, at this time the Cardiology Team was handling quite a few cases so the surgical team would be monitoring his case.

One of the first things we wondered was, how soon could Mr. Sprocket get his surgery. Unfortunately, this week was already full, so they were estimating early next week. We were quite disappointed. Part of the problem was, in the cath lab, they gave him 75 mg of Plavix. That's actually a very small dose of Plavix. It's a blood thinner, but it works differently than the Heparin. In the operating room, they cannot reverse the effects of Plavix like they can Heparin. They will have to wait until they are certain the Plavix is completely out of his system before they can operate.

The Long Wait
Mr. Sprocket settles in to hospital life and tries his best to convince his doctors to let him take all the supplements and things in the hospital, that he takes at home. Every day, he demands that I bring in more items from home so he can ask the nurses and the doctors if he can take it while he is here. Many of the items are passed onto the pharmacy department and the response back is, "No, not until you get back home." They do let him take CoQ10 and Vitamin C, because the pharmacy has those items in stock. The surgeon's readily agree to letting him take those. Mr. Sprocket found research studies that showed taking CoQ10 while on a statin helped to alleviate the many side effects of the statin. He notices a difference as soon as he starts taking the CoQ10. The statin side effects are hardly noticeable.

Saturday, October 29

Members of Mr. Sprocket's surgical team stopped by to give him some details on his surgery and the risks involved.  There is a 10 percent chance of a complication, anywhere from a minor complication to a major one, including death. Mr. Sprocket is a pretty good candidate. His kidney function is good. His liver function is good. He's never smoked and he doesn't drink alcohol. Except for the artery disease, he was in otherwise good health. He exercises and has a physically demanding job. His prospects are pretty good. And, he's still very ambulatory. He gets up and takes many laps around the ward several times a day, so he doesn't get bored, pulling his IV pole behind him.

I've been taking the long drive to the hospital every day, bringing Mr. Sprocket every little thing he thinks he can't live without. His bedside is looking like he's been living there several months instead of a few days.

The HCD Risk to Open Heart Surgery Patients
Saturday afternoon, a friend forwarded me an alarming October 16, 2016, Consumer Reports story about a frightening new risk for open heart/ lung surgery patients. It has to do with these "Heating Cooling Devices" [HCD's] that are used in conjunction with the heart/lung bypass machine. These machines regulate the patient's body temperature, as the blood moves through the heart/lung machine and the body. Patients have become infected. Since their immune systems are already compromised, they have difficulty fighting off the infection. Mortality is 50% of those infected.

Mr. Sprocket spent all day Sunday reading all he could find on the web about these HCD machines and the NTM bacteria that can grow in these machines and infect the patient. Mr. Sprocket reads everything he can find on these machines and the bacteria that was found to grow in them. Through DNA, the outbreak was traced back to one manufacturer in Germany, where it was determined [or suspected] the machines were infected at the factory, in production.

On Monday morning, Mr. Sprocket's surgical team [the surgical fellow, not the attending surgeon] stopped by and he talked to them about his concerns about these devices. He wanted to know what model of HCD the hospital used. He was concerned that it was the same model that was found to be infected.

The surgical fellow side-stepped his question and asked Mr. Sprocket, "Do you want the surgery or not?" Upset, Mr. Sprocket replied, "ARE YOU CRAZY? OF COURSE I WANT THE SURGERY!!!"

I believe Mr. Sprocket asked again if he knew the type of HCD machine was the Stockert T3. The surgical fellow said, "We don't use that one." He mentioned a name that Mr. Sprocket didn't recognize. And then he left, saying he would stop back in later, which he never did.

Not long after that, I woke up and Mr. Sprocket told me the story. I couldn't believe the doctor was so disrespectful, ignored my husband's concerns and tried to intimidate him into silence. Mr. Sprocket spoke to one of the supervising nurses about what the surgical fellow said and his concerns. She arranged for the Infection Control Dept. to speak to him. A whole team came up. The department head, the clerk and two RN's. They confirmed that the hospital uses the Stockert T3 HCD machine.

Mr. Sprocket was devastated. This model is the one that was reported to have been pre-infected in the manufacturing process in Germany. The prevention team told Mr. Sprocket that they were following the latest cleaning guidelines [bleach] from the manufacturer.

Mr. Sprocket had spent all day Sunday researching the design of these machines not just the Stockert T3. Mr. Sprocket has spent over 30 years in the HVAC field. Although he's never worked on one of these devices, he tells me that it's basically like having a portable ice machine in the operating room. It has a water supply, a heater, a fan and an exhaust that vents into the operating room.

In talking with the Infection Control Dept., he explained to them [his opinion] that because of the flaws [no hermetically sealed water supply] you can never disinfect all areas of the machine that can develop a bio-film. As Mr. Sprocket tried to explain it to me, Would you think your entire toilet was clean, if all you did was fill it with bleach, let it sit and then  flush it? There are areas that can still get bacteria, that are not touched by the bleach.

Later on Monday, Mr. Sprocket spoke to the surgeon who would performing his operation. He listened patiently to all his concerns and was sympathetic. Mr. Sprocket really liked this surgeon. He didn't know what to do.

So Mr. Sprocket went through Sunday and then Monday not certain if he wanted to take the risk and go ahead with the surgery. I urged him to put his faith in God, that he was brought to this hospital and this surgeon for a reason. He told me he needed to sleep on it. That night, Mr. Sprocket located online, the new cleaning manual procedures for the T3 and read through it completely. That must have turned the tide and he decided to go ahead with the surgery. His surgery was first scheduled for Thursday morning, but we learned late Wednesday it was moved to the afternoon.

Mr. Sprocket, in pre-op, getting prepared for surgery.

A Request for T&T Readers
First, if you believe in a higher power, please keep Mr. Sprocket in your prayers.

Second, we don't know what the future holds for us. The surgeons have told us that it may take Mr. Sprocket up to four months to heal his cracked chest and return full time to his physically demanding job. It isn't possible to do his job on "light duty." He needs to be able to haul heavy equipment up on a roof. That extended time away from earning a living will be exceptionally challenging for us.

If you have enjoyed reading T&T's in-depth trial coverage over the past nine years, and you are able, please consider making a donation. On the right side of the blog is a DONATE link, that connects to my sewing Paypal account. Mr. Sprocket and I would be forever grateful for your generosity.

CDC Health Advisory on HCD's
Heater Cooler As A Source of Infection
WaPo: What you Need to Know
Consumer Reports Article
University of Zurich Testing

Monday, August 29, 2016

Lauren Sarene Key 8/29/1996 - 11/8/2000

Lauren Sarene Key, date unknown
Lauren Sarene Key was murdered a few months after her 4th birthday. She would have been 20 years old today. 

Lauren was thrown off of Inspiration Point, a 120ft cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, by her biological father, Cameron Brown in November 2000. Fifteen years later, Brown was convicted of Lauren's murder on May 13, 2015. He was sentenced to life without parole on September 18, 2015.

Even in her short time on earth, Lauren was a delight to those who knew and loved her. Her mother Sarah, her step-father Greg, step-brother Josh, her teachers, and close friends.

Lauren could best be described as a girly girl. She played with dolls, believed in fairies and enjoyed playing house under the dining room table. Her mother's best friend Annette said, "It was easy to fall in love with this baby,"

At Brown's sentencing, her brother Josh described what she was like. "Her personality would brighten up the room. She would dance, sing and tell jokes. She would draw everyone in. She enjoyed making people happy. She had a fascinating imagination and she loved playing pretend. ... She would have me play, too."

During the two trials, I got to see photos and video clips of Lauren playing, walking on the beach, and learning how to roller skate and use a skateboard.

Photos of Lauren in happier times:






Lauren and her mother, Sarah

I have my own little remembrance of Lauren that I see everyday. It was given to me by her family. It sits on my desk, right beside my ring cup and laptop. The medallion says, "Always Remembered, Lauren."


Complete Cameron Brown murder trial case coverage HERE.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Cameron Brown's Appeal Status II - Brown's Opening Brief is Filed

 Cameron Brown, during his third murder trial.
Photo Credit: Pool Photo, Associated Press

Full case coverage HERE.
Prior post on the case HERE.

August 11, 2016
Background

After three trials and 11 years in LA County Sheriff's custody, on May 13, 2015, Cameron Brown was convicted of first degree murder in the death of his 4 year old daughter, Lauren Sarene Key. Lauren plunged to her death off of Inspiration Point, a 120 foot cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA on November 8, 2000. Jurors also found true the special circumstances of lying in wait and murder for financial gain. Brown was sentenced to life without parole on September 18, 2015.

The Appeal Docket
The California Courts of Appeal website indicates that Brown's appeal was filed today. [Two screenshots were taken to show you the complete docket.]


Brown's opening brief was over 25,500 words. Once the California Attorney General's office files their response to Brown's opening brief, Brown's attorney files a reply brief. After all the briefs have been filed, then the waiting game begins for oral arguments to be scheduled. 

To give you an idea of how long it might take, oral arguments in the Stephanie Lazarus case were scheduled 18 months after the case was fully briefed.

Where is Brown Now?

Once in the custody of California's Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, Brown spent about eight months at WASCO, an intake facility. That appears to be an unusually long time at an intake facility. Within the past month or so, Brown was transferred to the CDCR's Substance Abuse and Treatment Facility at Corcoran State Prison, where he is today.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"Grim Sleper," Lonnie Franklin, Jr. Sentencing Today


Lonnie Franklin, Jr., May 5, 2016
Photo Credit: Pool Camera/Video

Full T&T Case Coverage HERE.
Prior case post found HERE.

UPDATE: Daily News - City News Service, Terri Keith report.
UPDATE: ABC7's Miriam Hernandez is live tweeting the sentencing.

August 10, 2016
Lonnie Franklin, Jr., the "Grim Sleeper" a serial killer whose killing spree of young women spanned over 20 years in South Central Los Angeles, was convicted on 10 counts of first degree murder and one count of premeditated attempted murder on May 5, 2016.

During the penalty phase of the trial, Deputy DA's Beth Silverman and Marguerite Rizzo connected Franklin to five additional victims, the oldest dating back the 1970's when Franklin was in the US Army stationed in Germany.

On June 6, 2016, the jury returned death verdicts on all 11 counts. It's expected that Judge Kathleen Kennedy will honor the jury's verdict and sentenced Franklin to death today.

During the penalty phase, jurors heard the heart wrenching memories of 28 family members of the victims testifying about their loss and grief of losing their mother, their sister, their daughter or the grandmother they never got to meet.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the sentencing today.  Our kitty Scout, who was diagnosed last year with Lymphoma, has not been doing well these past few days. I stayed up with him all last night. Hopefully our vet can help him feel better today.

ABC Associated Press- Brian Melley

LA Times - Marissa Gerber & James Queally
NBC4 - Wire Serivces
CBS2 - Local

Friday, July 29, 2016

Michael Gargiulo Case Pretrial Hearing 35

 Michael Thomas Gargiulo, in custody, date unknown

Full T&T case coverage HERE.
Prior hearing on this case HERE.

July 14, 2016
It's been awhile since I've had the chance to update everyone on the Gargiulo case. Not a lot has changed, except that Gargiulo now has counsel he likes and appears to get along with.

I attended the pretrial hearing on Thursday, July 14 in Dept. 108. The last pretrial hearing I attended was on January 27. I missed pretrial hearings on February 29 and April 11.

8:35 AM
In the hallway on the 9th floor I see Dale Rubin. I reintroduce myself to him. Right beside him is a sharply dressed attorney I've seen many times around the courthouse, but I don't know his name. I introduce myself. He is defense attorney Daniel Nardoni and Rubin's second chair on the Gargiulo case.

8:47 AM

Deputy DA Dan Akemon and his intern arrive on the 9th floor. DDA Akemon goes over to chat with Rubin and Nardoni. Defense investigator Chris Nicely is here. Chis is an exceptionally nice guy and I've enjoyed the conversations we've had over the last few years. 

8:50 AM
48 Hours producer Greg Fisher arrives around the same time as LA County Sheriff's detective Mark Lillienfeld. They chat for a bit before Greg comes over to say hello. Over the years, several of Detective Lillienfeld's colleagues have mentioned what a phenomenal detective he is.  

8:58 AM
There are about three dozen people in the hallway. It's a good mix of jurors, general public and counsel. 

9:05 AM
Down at the other end of the hallway headed this way I see Deputy DA Garrett Dameron, DDA Akemon's co-counsel. 

9:15 AM
Inside Dept. 108, I take a seat in the second bench row. Greg joins me. I give him a short update on the case. As we enter, there is a pretrial hearing in another case. Judge Ohta's regular court reporter and court clerk are at their desks. The other hearing is quickly over. 

9:16 AM
Judge Ohta tells his bailiff, "Let's have Mr. Gargiulo."  A few minutes later, the DA's Chief of Media Relations, Jane Robison arrives.

9:18 AM
While the bailiff is retrieving Gargiulo, Judge Ohta, Rubin and Nardoni have a friendly chat. Rubin jokingly tells the court that he and his new co-counsel can't stand each other.

When Gargiulo is brought out he looks the same as when I last saw him. Orange jumpsuit, bald head and clean shaven. As Gargiulo sits in his assigned chair, Rubin puts his left hand on his client's upper back. Gargiulo then leans right to speak to the bailiff and then his new co-counsel.

The court goes on the record. The defendant is before the court. The parties state their appearances. Daniel Nardoni then tells the court that they have "two Daniels," and asks Judge Ohta if he would like to call DDA Akemon "Dan" and himself "Daniel" or "Danny." Judge Ohta pauses a minute before he responds, "I'll probably call you by your last name."

It looks like this is the first time Mr. Nardoni has appeared on the record in Dept. 108 representing Gargiulo. I recently reviewed all the court clerk's minute notes on this case. It appears Mr. Nardoni was appointed on May 27, 2016 in Dept. 123.

As I've mentioned before, Dept. 123 is the 987.9 judge appointed for this case. This is where all defense requests for expenditures are reviewed and approved.


The case calendar is 3 of 90. Rubin tells the court that the defense team is set now. They are trying to come up to speed on the facts of the case. They request a return date of September 14. By that time they will have "digested" the materials.

The court asks Gargiulo if he waives his right to a speedy trial and that the next hearing will be on September 14. "Yes, your honor," Gargiulo responds.

The people put on the record that they turned over discovery pages numbered 30,904 to 31,491. The discovery has officially passed 31,000 pages. Mr. Nardoni verifies they got the discovery last week.


The defense tells the court that Mr. Gargiulo received from a medical person an order for bottled water. The Sheriff's have not been compliant with that order. The defense asks if the court can order that.

Judge Ohta tells the defense that they need to file a habeas [motion?] that [the Sheriff's?] are not compliant. Judge Ohta adds, "File it with me and I'll look [it] over."

Mr. Nardoni asks the court for an order to be able to take his laptop with him when he visits Gargiulo at the jail. Judge Ohta states he will sign that order.

And that's it. Next hearing is September 14, 2016.

When I step onto the elevator, I believe I recognize a detective. I ask him, "Are you Detective Thomas Small?" He tells me "Yes." He also adds that this is his last day. He's retiring as of today. Detective Small is a legendary LAPD Homicide Detective at the Hollywood Station. He was the lead detective on the murder investigation of victim Ashley Ellerin.

Next pretrial hearing September 14.....

Monday, June 6, 2016

Lonnie Franklin, Jr., "Grim Sleeper," Penalty Phase Verdict Watch Day 2


 Lonnie Franklin, Jr., in custody, 2015
Photo Credit: Pool Camera

UPDATE 6/8 NOTE: A summary page has been developed of all the witnesses who testified in the penalty phase, with links to the pages of their detailed testimony.

UPDATE 6/7  Day 9 Part II has been published. This concludes all the prosecution witnesses who testified in the penalty phase.
UPDATE 6/7 Day 9 Part I has been published. This includes the testimony of the German witness. Sprocket.

UPDATED 4:03 PM spelling, grammar, clarity
UPDATED 3:45 PM spelling, grammar, clarity and afterword
Monday June 6, 2016
9:08 AM
I'm still out in the hallway of the 9th floor of the downtown Criminal Justice Center. All the jurors have not arrived yet, so deliberations have not started. Judge Kennedy's bailiff is chatting with the jurors who have arrived. There are about seven or eight jurors here.

9:10 AM
Marissa Gerber from the LA Times arrives on the 9th floor. A cameraman is here and a reporter I know by sight but I don't know her name. Three members of the Anderson family have arrived.

9:12 AM
Terri Keith from City News is here.

9:14 AM
Quite a bit of laughter coming from the jurors chatting with the bailiff. Judge Kennedy's bailiff is really a funny guy.  Local ABC 7's Miriam Hernandez is here.  Miriam looks lovely today, as always.

9:18 AM
The jurors and the bailiff head into Dept. 109.

9:19AM
The jurors gave a single buzz that they have started deliberating.

9:27 AM
NBC's Patrick Healy arrives and chats with the cameraman. Besides the fires, this case may be the only 'big' news in the area.

9:45 AM
Smiling, Judge Kennedy came out and said hello to the media.

9:48 AM 
BUZZ! BUZZ!  A question. The court clerk goes back to ask. The clerk comes out carrying a container and tells the media that it's "food related." The jurors wanted to share some of the food they brought with the alternates.  I believe it's tamales.

10:00 AM
Scriptwriter MW arrives.  A while ago, Terri left to check into her office.

10:13 AM
LA Times reporter Marissa Gerber enters Dept. 109 and plugs in her laptop. The bailiff enters right after and scolds a few of the reporters on their cell phones.

10:22 AM
Buzz! Buzz! The bailiff goes to check. Morning break.

10:34 AM
Well known sketch artist Mona Edwards arrives and starts a conversation with Miriam. Miriam's network hires Edwards to do courtroom sketches.

10:40 AM
The jurors file in and reenter the jury room.

10:41 AM
Buzz! They are deliberating again.

10:43 AM
Mona Edwards leaves the courtroom.

10:56 AM 
Reporter Terri Keith returns. She immediately opens up her files and starts working.

10:59 AM
Deputy Sargent Westphal returns and stops by the bailiff's desk. He was here earlier this morning when the jurors were waiting for everyone to arrive.  It was a short visit.

11:11 AM
Mary Alexander [mother of victim Alicia Alexander] and two of her son's are in the courtroom.

11:21 AM
BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ! We have a verdict. The bailiff went back to check on the jurors.

A few minutes later, Judge Kennedy comes out to view the gallery. The bailiff comes out from the jury room. The bailiff and the judge go back to discuss a time.

Verdict will be read at 12:30 PM

The jurors deliberated about 3.5 hours on Friday and about 1.75 hours today, for a total of just over five hours of deliberations today. 

11:30 AM
The bustling has already started with the media. There is a camerawoman setting up the camera.

11:46 AM
I'm in the cafeteria grabbing a quick lunch. Seven of the jurors are sitting at a table, having their last meal together. It's been a long journey.

At around 11:38 AM, the bailiff closed the courtroom to the media since the court staff were taking their lunch early, and would be working through their normal lunch hour.

12:15 PM
The 9th floor is busy with lots of press. I see interns that are working for the DA's office. Mary Hearn from the court's Public Information Office is here. The three alternates are on the 9th floor. New reporters are Dave Lopez, Reporter Claudia from KNX, and Christine Pelisek, the reporter who broke the case. I saw KFI's Eric Leonard in the first floor lobby when I first went downstairs to grab a bite to eat.

There are quite a few conversations going on at once, but the floor isn't very packed.

12:20 PM 
DDA Tannaz Mokayef arrives to hear the verdict. I see the two clerk interns who worked on the case arrive. Two of the DA's victim advocates are here. I also see another group of young looking DA interns.

Head Deputy Patricia Wilkinson arrives and it let into the courtroom along with several other DA's.
DDA Silverman is on the floor along with Detective Daryn Dupree. She is hugging family members and telling them, "We're done!"

Seymour Amster arrives. Family members are being let into the courtroom first.

12:28 PM
Inside  Dept. 109. DDA Silverman tells the family that they don't have to talk to the media if they don't want to. DDA Silverman makes it clear that if the defense team does speak to the media, she will not be there. There are family members here, but not nearly as many as were here for guilt verdict.

Amster is here but the rest of his defense team is not. The media and the bailiff are getting the logistics together as to when they can turn their camera and microphones on.

12:34 PM
The courtroom is packed. There are quite a few interns from the DA's office, as well as other DA staff and superior court personnel.

12;35 PM
Amster tells someone the gallery, probably one of the reporters, that Beth Silverman will probably speak, ... and after he says her name DDA Silverman interrupts and says, "Mr. Amster doesn't speak for me and never does."

Still getting the last bit of logistics ready.

Three deputies by the courtroom door. Three additional deputies in the well besides the bailiff.

No live transmission from the courtroom. Only a live transmission to the 12th floor, who sends out the live feed.  It doesn't make any sense.

12:42 PM
The bailiff goes to get the defendant.

More family members arrive at the last moment.
The defendant is brought out.

12:44 PM
The court takes the bench.

Caution members of the audience to maintain their dignity.  Court orders the jurors and alternates to be brought into the courtroom.

12:45 PM
The jury enters.

Judge Kennedy greets the jury. Juror #2 was the jury foreperson on this part as well. The verdicts are handed to the bailiff who hands them to the court.

Clerk will read the verdicts.

COUNT 1 DEATH

COUNT 2 DEATH

COUNT 3 DEATH

COUNT 4 DEATH

COUNT 5 DEATH

COUNT 6 DEATH

COUNT 7 DEATH

Family members weep behind me.  Mary Alexander shakes.

COUNT 8 DEATH

COUNT 9 DEATH

COUNT 10 DEATH

COUNT 11 DEATH

The defense has the jurors polled.

Judge Kennedy: All of the jurors have entered into the affirmative.

This has been a very long process we started picking you as jurors in December of last year.

You have been an absolutely exemplary jury ... toward all the respect you've shown to the staff and the attention you paid for in this case.  You now know more about DNA than 90 % of the population.  I know that listening to evidence like this is not easy. There we a lot of very gruesome details that you had to listen to over and over again and yet you maintained your composure and dignity... when I look at you, and our alternates, ... but you are just as important as the original 12. We had such a committed group that made personal sacrifices ... to stay on as long as you did.

I've been on the bench almost 28 years, ...28 in October. You are, without a doubt just the finest group of jurors we've had in terms of how you dealt with people and with each other ... and I'm really going to miss all of you. I'm going to, [I wish I could] bottle you and save you for all my other trials.

The court tells them they cannot be called for jury service for a year. The court speaks more to their jury service. You come from all kinds of backgrounds and ethnicity and some not born in the US. And we have 12 people, ... who have to tackle this monumental task, and you respected each other and kept your composure and had a great attitude towards this process, and you are the best of the US.

The court tells them about if they want to speak to the media it is their decision. She tells them that the court will protect their identity. However, once they speak, their identity is out.

You are relieved from all the admonitions I put on you on this case. You can read and talk about it with anyone. Absolutely free of those limitations. I will tell you that, you are also free to speak to the attorneys. You can come to future proceedings in this case if you wish to.  As I said, you've been such an extraordinary group, and want to thank you so much for your participation. We're going to miss you.

The court continues to thank and praise the jury.

The jury goes back to the jury room to get their personal belongings. DDA Silverman and DDA Rizzo stand as they leave.

Judge Kennedy tells the gallery that the jurors have asked to leave privately so the bailiff will escort them out.

Setting a sentencing date.  August 10th.  The court tells counsel they have to go through the record to verify the transcripts. If you seek a continuance beyond August 10, please let the court know as soon as possible.

Amster addresses the court. He has selected August 10, to accomplish all these tasks.  It will [be the defense who] most likely is to ask for continuance. Their drop date would be August 3, to ask for a continuance, then the court could let the prosecution know if they are going to grant it, so they know to notify the victim families.

Defendant is remanded. People start to pack up.

DDA Silverman hugs Detective Dupree as she exits. Now DDA Rizzo hugs Detective Dupree.  People file out of the courtroom.

3:45 PM
I'm home now. Here is my update on what happened after the courtroom was cleared.

Several victim's family members spoke to the press on the 12th Floor lobby.  Then the prosecutors answered questions from the press and introduced everyone from their team. I tape recorded those interviews and it will take me a while to get the highlights transcribed. I will be concentrating on getting my notes on the last day of the people's case completed, the defense case next and then closing arguments.  In-between that, I'll also try to bring you some still photos from the press conference. I have to have someone help me in blurring out faces of people who did not agree to be photographed.

After the prosecution finished speaking, I headed towards an elevator. I didn't see until the elevator doors were closing that Seymour Amster started to give the press a statement. I did not stay for it; my feet were about to give out and I needed a break. However, I did hear about it from other reporters.

Mr. Amster was said to have been screaming at the press. DDA Silverman was still on the 12 floor and called out to Amster during his statement. I don't have Beth's exact quote, but it was something to the effect of, You don't need to scream, the camera's right in front of your face.


I waited in the ground floor lobby for the prosecution team to emerge from the elevators. It was easy to see on everyone's faces that a great weight had been lifted off their shoulders. The sentencing still has to happen but basically, that's just a formality. It's over. The jury has spoken and the verdicts read into the record. Franklin will stay in LA County custody for the time being.

I learned that DDA's Paul Pzrelomiec and Jamie Castro will go back to their regular assignments in different divisions. It is unknown whether the law clerks, who, having passed the bar and are full fledged attorneys now, will stay with the DA's office. Detective Dave Holmes is happy to get his partner Detective Dupree back. They've got many more cases to work on together.

In the courthouse lobby, I watched as Detective Holmes and a staff assistant took photos of the team. The biggest decision on their minds after that, was where to go for lunch.

Thank you all, for reading T&T.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Lonnie Franklin, Jr., "Grim Sleeper," Penatly Phase Verdict Watch Day 1

Lonnie Franklin, Jr, left, Def. Atty. Seymour Amster, right.
Photo Credit, Al Seib, Los Angeles Times

Friday June 3, 2016 - Verdict Watch 10:47 AM
The bailiff takes the evidence book and the verdict forms back to the jury room.

10:57 AM
It's very quiet in here. ABC's Miriam Hernandez is the only other person in the gallery besides myself and scriptwriter MW.

The clerk is busy on the phone. The ticking of the clock is the loudest noise in the courtroom now, even though all three of us in the gallery are working on our laptops.

11:11 AM
In the eerily silent courtroom, I'm working on the detailed testimony from the people's final witnesses, a week ago Thursday: The German woman, the JAG officer, the Army records supervisor and the three victim impact witnesses. Currently, I'm in the middle of the JAG officer's testimony.  So I'm flipping back and forth between this tab and my work on that entry.

11:21 AM
The clerk answers a phone call question about closing arguments.

11:35 AM
A deputy enters and asks the clerk a question. Then a woman enters. It's a older woman from the public who has attended the trial off and on for the last couple of weeks. It appears she thinks she left a pair of shoes in a bag inside the courtroom. She speaks to the clerk. The clerk asks her to wait for the bailiff to return.

11:40 AM
The clerk is hard at work at her desk. I can see files being organized and I hear sounds of heavy stapling, stamping of forms and occasional typing.

11:49 AM
I notice something I've never noticed before. On the wall behind the bench, just to the right of the US flag, in-between the clerk's desk area and the bench, is a round white button of some sort. It's about 3 or 4 inches round, set withing a square. It's down low, lower than the thermostat that's to the left of the flag.

11:54 AM
I ask the bailiff. He tells me it's a light switch controlling lights over the judge's bench.

11:56 AM
The bailiff opens the door to the custody area. He calls in, "Franklin, are you good?" I believe Franklin replies, "I'm good."

11:58 AM
BUZZ! BUZZ! The bailiff tells us, "That's either a question or break time," as he heads back to the jury room.

Break. The jurors leave for lunch.

Judge Kennedy comes out and smiling, watches as the jurors leave. One juror tells judge Kennedy, "I loved your necklace yesterday."

And we are on lunch break.

1:30PM
The bailiff unlocks the door and the jurors file in. There is some pleasant banter between the jurors and the bailiff.

2:13 PM
In the gallery, it's just me, Miriam Hernandez, MW, and a news camera operator I've seen around trials for a long time. The bailiff and the clerk have been having a conversation that's been keeping both of them in stitches for about 10 minutes now. I can also hear some conversation in the back support rooms among other court staff members.

There's not much to talk about, except when the jury might come back with a verdict. In the James Fayed case, the jurors deliberated five days before coming back with a death penalty verdict. Like I've said time and time again, I don't try to predict what a jury will do, because juries will surprise you.

 2:46 PM
Not a peep from the jury. All quiet in Dept. 109.

Judge Kennedy comes out to ask her clerk a question. Judge Kennedy is wearing a dark green olive dress with a brown cinched belt. From where I'm sitting, it's a white looking beaded necklace.

3:06 PM
Tracy from the DA's victim advocate program drops by with DDA Tannaz Mokayef drop in to see what's happening. We chat the Fayed case and the Kelly Soo Park case. DDA Mokayef prosecuted the three accomplices connected to Pamela Fayed's murder.

3:14 PM
The bailiff comes over to where Tracy and DDA Mokayef are sitting to join their conversation.

3:24 PM
Buzz! Buzz! It's either a question or a break. The bailiff goes to check.

The bailiff comes out. The jurors have a question but no paper. Someone is on hold on the phone but the bailiff says they don't have to come over.  The bailiff states they jury is going home.

5:05 PM
I'm home. It's clear from what I observed and overheard that the jurors asked if they could go home early. The clerk or the bailiff went back to Judge Kennedy's chambers to ask. Right after it was approved, the bailiff told the gallery and he went over to let the jury know.

While this was going on, the clerk was on the phone with possibly one of the attorneys. That's what I believe.

Jurors return Monday at 9:00 am to continue their deliberations.

Lonnie Franklin, Jr., "Grim Sleeper," Penalty Phase Update

Lonnie David Franklin, Jr. During his trial
Photo Credit: Pool Camera
T&T Case coverage and Media Links HERE.

Friday June 3, 2016
8:15 AM
Here's what's happened the last few days of trial.

On Thursday, May 26, 2016 the prosecution presented their final witnesses in their case-in-chief. A woman traveled from Germany to testify about events that happened to her in 1974, when she was 17 years old.  In the early evening of April 16, 1974, while waiting for a train ride home in Stuttgart, Germany, this German woman was kidnapped by three African American servicemen. With a knife held to her throat with threats that she would be killed, she was driven out of the city into the country. The servicemen pulled into a field and all three proceeded to gang rape her throughout the night.

Through two other witnesses, one a JAG officer and the other a US Army records supervisor, DDA Beth Silverman presented evidence that one of the individuals who participated in the attack was the defendant.

In the afternoon, Romy Lampkin testified about the loss of her best friend, her sister, Lachrica Jefferson and the impact her loss had on her and the family. They shared a bedroom growing up. Romy described a sister who was her "protector," more outgoing than she was and wanted to be a pediatrician when she grew up She was devastated when she learned of her sister's death. She described how her mother broke down when she had to tell her that Lachrica was dead.

After Ms. Lampkin, Billy Ware testified about the loss of his sister, Barbara Ware. Billy talked about how he and Barbara grew up together. They were very close and did everything together. They were like one person and protected each other. After Billy testified, his stepmother, Diana Ware took the stand to talk about how when she married Billy and Barbara's father, they became a blended family, like the Brady Bunch. She described the shock and devastation on the family when they learned about Barbara's murder.

After Diana testified, the people rested with the exception of admittance of exhibits. The jury was ordered back the following Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016, the defense presented two witnesses, a retired LAPD homicide detective Tim Williams who testified that the Inez Warren murder may not have been a body dump, and a fingerprint expert Kurt Kuhn, who agreed with the people's expert, Mr. Duncan that the latent print found on the Titan gun magazine was from the defendant.

Wednesday, court was dark so a juror could attend their child's graduation ceremony.

Thursday,  June 2, 2016, DDA Silverman presented her closing argument. Almost the first hour of the morning was taken up with defense attorney Seymour Amster's objections to many slides in the people's Powerpoint presentation. Silverman systematically went through the evidence presented at trial arguing that the defense presented no mitigating evidence. Point by point, the prosecution went over the three aggravating factors, the ten murders, the additional crimes, the victim impact statements and the evidence of remorselessness of the defendant. DDA Sliverman spoke for over an hour in the morning session and about an hour and a half in the afternoon session.

Friday, June 3, 2016. Defense attorney Dale Atherton spoke to the jurors extensively about jury instructions and the mitigating factors they can rely on to choose life. He also goes over lingering doubt in the murders of the ten women, focusing on the unknown DNA found on many of the victims. He asked the jurors, "Don't you want to know..." who those individuals are?

He talked about the mystery gun and that they don't have it in evidence. He also talked about Eneitra Washington being the "key to the prosecution's case." He then delved into all the inconsistencies with her testimony, the sketch, the pock marks verses skin discolorations, no Franklin DNA on her underwear.

Atherton read a poem about a forked path in the woods and which path to take with no one to give guidance. And then he spoke passionately about mercy. Several times during his talks about mercy, his voice got emotional, and he sounded like he was near tears. Since Atherton was facing away from me, I could not tell if he did have tears in his eyes. He quoted from The Merchant of Venice on mercy. He quoted from President Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural address. He then read from a news article about a woman who forgave her son's killer and after he was released from prison, had him move next door to her.

Closing arguments ended around 10:13 AM and then Judge Kennedy read the jurors their final instructions. They entered the jury room at 10:19 AM

There was a lot of lingering inside the courtroom after Judge Kennedy told parties there would be
one hour notice for counsel to get here for the reading of the verdict.

Just now, at 10:47 AM the bailiff took the evidence book and the verdict forms back to the jury room. There are 10 verdict forms for the counts the jurors have to decide on the death penalty.

I'll be here inside the courtroom for verdict watch. I'll be starting a new post to cover that. Over the next week, I'll be getting my detailed notes up on the last witnesses and the closing arguments, so look for those in the days ahead.

A shout out to a special T&T reader in the Carolina's, that I just learned about this morning before court started.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Lonnie Franklin, Jr., "Grim Sleeper," Penalty Phase, Day 9, Part II

l-r: Extra deputy, behind, Judge Kennedy's bailiff
Lonnie Franklin, Jr., center, Deputy Sargent Westphal, right
Photo Credit: Pool Camera, Al Seib, LA Times

Continued from Day 9, Part I......
T&T Case coverage and Media Links HERE

Thursday, May 26, 2016
1:34 PM
I'm inside Dept. 109. People are slowly arriving. The defense is all set up. The prosecution still needs to arrive. Reporter Terri Keith takes a seat beside me and immediately starts working on her thick file of documents. She's one of the hardest working reporters I know.

1:39 PM
The court goes on the record. Amster wants to address the documents again. He's referencing the law to the hearsay exception rule and arguing court cases. Conclusions of opinions are inadmissible under the evidence code. "We think the people are looking to get the proceedings of the German court into evidence by Mr. Pyle. ... And that's what we're objecting to, based on various levels of hearsay. ... The sixth amendment deals with hearsay. ... Those are our objections. This witness should not be able to testify as to what's in the records." He continues on how the people should or should have laid their foundation.

The court turns to the people with their response. DDA Silverman responds. "As I indicated we laid a foundation ... testimony to come in under a section of the evidence code 1280 where the defendant has written down his information on documents. Those are his admissions." Judge Kennedy states that she would have a problem with the report of the criminal proceedings. DDA Silverman tells the court she made that clear before lunch that she wasn't trying to put the report into evidence. She's only saying that the report was a part of the [defendant's] personnel file.

The court asks for Amster's response. "We still feel that anything covering that report as it's contents we're objecting to. ... As this moment we don't feel this witness should be asked [anything regarding this report]."

Judge Kennedy rules. "I believe the contents, summary, his conclusions, his thoughts, clearly are not relevant. The fact that there is a report [in] regards to the trial, that is contained in this packet of materials, I believe that fact is admissible. And if you want to back out the other parts of it ... that would be one way to do it, and just not admit it at all ... and just say that there was a report involving Lonnie D. Franklin in German court."

Amster continues to argue after Judge Kennedy has ruled. He does not feel that this witness should be able to explain anything more from this report. DDA Silverman counters that she's not wanting to get any of the records in. "I said that there were records ... because I don't believe that the contents are admissible."

Now there is back and forth about who will "mark" an exhibit. The defense wanted the people to mark it. DDA Silverman counters, "Mr. Amster, if he wants to put it on himself ... he's mentioned several times he wanted me to mark it so if he wants to do that, he can do it on cross." Amster continues to argue that the records are hearsay, and that there's no hearsay exception that allows for that under the code." Judge Kennedy makes her final ruling. "I understand your objection and I'm overruling your objection as far as the record is identified. ... Can we bring the jury in now please?"

1:47 PM
We have our witness on the stand and we are back on the record. DDA Silverman resumes questioning of Lamar Whatley, the records supervisor for the Army.

39. LAMAR D. DERICO WHATLEY


Before we broke for lunch, did you review the official certified personnel file for Lonnie David Franklin, Jr.?
Yes.
Are you familiar with all of those documents in a personnel file?
Yes, I am.
Do all [personnel files] include an enlistment contract?
Yes.
What type of information does the individual fill out on that document?
Name, birth date, his home of record.
His home of record for when he came into the army?
[Yes.]
Does that include a service number?
Right.

[The enlistment, or service number is the individual's social security number. That number is protected and not stated in testimony.]

Does the document also contain a signature by the person enlisted?
Yes it does.

DDA Silverman presents her next exhibit, the service contract #655. Amster asks for a sidebar.

1:51 PM
DDA Silverman continues. The exhibit #655 has two sides, a and b.

Showing you this document, do you have this same document in the personnel file?
Yes.
What kind of form is it?
[DD Form 4?]
Does that have the name of Lonnie David Franklin, Jr.?
Yes.

Amster interrupts, "Could the court please [have the prosecutor?] leave the editorial remark that she stated?" [I somehow missed an alleged editorial remark.] The court responds, "Neither of you should address each other. And if you need to go to sidebar, we will."

The social security number is his identification number in the military, is that correct?
That's correct.
Do you recognize what you see there [pointing to the document up on the ELMO]?
Yes. This is an enlistment contract.

Shows the name where the address is on [West 85th Street?] in Los Angeles. Points out the date of birth.

Would that be based on information that the enlistee gives to the contract, July 26, 1971?
That is the date he enlisted into the army.

The back of the document has the date the defendant actually went on active duty. The document also has the defendant's signature.

Is the individual fingerprinted at the time he enlists?
Yes....
People's 656, a fingerprint card.
Objection! Sidebar.

1:58 PM
Several of the jurors chat with each other during the sidebar.

Do the records indicate where he was assigned after he enlisted?
Objection, hearsay. Sustained.
What is a DD 214?
It's a certificate of discharge in the defendant's name.
Objection. Overruled.
Showing the top half of exhibit #657. Do you recognize this document from the personnel file?
Yes, it is.
Other than the ID number of the individual that I cover, does that document also contain the same name?
Yes it does.
The same date of birth?
Yes, it does.
And the same residence?
Yes, it does.
Does the document also say he was last assigned to overseas service in Germany?
Yes, I believe it does.
By the way, in the terms of what we [said?], what is a National Defense Service medal?
Objection. Sustained.

Judge Kennedy has a look directed at DDA Silverman that is not positive.

Do the documents in the file also describe .... include a trials observers report and document and notes of a trial?
Yes, it does.
And the end of the trial's observers report, does it have the name Frank Pyle?
Yes it does.
Nothing further.

Amster has no questions for this witness, then asks to approach at sidebar again.

2:05 PM
The people call Romy Lampkins. Unfortunately my notes are not clear, but I believe DDA Rizzo presents the witness.

40. ROMY LAMPKINS


Do you know someone by the name of Lachrica Jefferson?
She's my sister.
Who's older?
I am.
By how many years?
17 months.
Do you have any other brothers or sisters?
No.  ... She was my best friend.
Did you share a bedroom together?
Yes, we did. ... When we were little girls. ... She slept on the top. I slept on the bottom. ... I slept in her bed at night so I wouldn't get tinkled on.

They would do things together. Go to the park, the beach, roller skating. They both liked to skate.

Who was the better skater?
She was more outgoing than I was.
What were her favorite things to do?
She liked to dance. She loved to sing.
Since you shared a bedroom, would you talk all the time at night about things?
Yes.
What were some of the things [you would talk about]?
Some girl things. She said she never wanted kids. I was the one that had kids. ... She wanted to be a pediatric doctor.  ... She figured that would be enough kids for her.
What kind of person was she?
Outgoing person. Happy go lucky. She was well loved.
What about holidays growing up?
It was fun. We had family gatherings a lot of good things going on ... when they would get together.
Since there was the two of you, were there other family members around LA?
Yes.

They would celebrate with extended family. She remembers them getting Barbie houses together and her sister knew how to put her house together. They had their fights about sharing Barbie doll clothes.

Would you say you were the closest person to Lachrica then?
[Yes.]
How was it you learned about her death?
A detective left a card at my mom's house, and then I came over. I stayed on Western.
And a detective came and told you?
Yes.
What was your reaction?
I was devastated. In shock. I couldn't believe it. It was unbelievable.
Did you have to tell your mom?
I had to go over and tell my mom because [I? she?] wasn't able to drive.
How did your mom take it?
Very hard. Very hard.
Did she break down?
She did. She did break down.

How did it affect your mom afterwards?
She was over protective of me then. She was more protective of me. ... I was 23 at the time.
So your mom clamped down on you and she wanted to protect you?
Right.
To make sure it didn't happen [to you?]?
Right.

She helped her mother plan the funeral.

What was that like?
It was hard.
Did you ever think you would be planning the funeral of your sister?
No, not at all.
You went to the funeral?
Oh yes.
What was that day like?
It was the most hardest day of my life.
Do you still think about that day?
I do.
What do you think [about]?
Just trying to go on.

She went to the cemetery that day. She doesn't go to the grave site today. It's too difficult for her.

What day is her birthday?
November 23, 1965.
Do you do anything on that day?
Sometimes, her birthday would fall on Thanksgiving.

During the holidays, her sister is gone, her mother is gone. She celebrates with her children, but it gets a little depressing for me though.

I'm going to show you some photos.
Okay.

Exhibit 490. It's just a face photo of Lachrica Jefferson.

That's "Chrica"" my sister.
Was that a nickname?
Yes. We called her Chrica.

Another exhibit, #629

Do you recognize that photo?
That's my mother and my sister. Mom on the right and left Lachrica with her head on mom's shoulder.
Do you recall when this photo was taken?
I believe it was the day we had buried my grandma.

Another exhibit #658. She points out herself, a cousin, her auntie and Lachrica, next to the cousin. This photo was also taken at the grandmother's funeral. The next photo on the exhibit is of Romy again, her auntie and Lachrica and other cousins. Same event, grandma's funeral.

Exhibit #659. Romy is in the front and Lachrica in the back. This was their elementary school graduation.  Exhibit #660. Romy and her sister again, taken outside of a house. Exhibit #661.  A photo of Lachrica with her oldest son. He was three at the time. The next photo is of Lachrica at Christmas time.


[Tell us about this photo.]
She loved to pose. She was just modeling.

The next exhibit is the memorial program with a photo of Lachrica.

That was the day we laid her to rest. And that was the front page of the funeral program.

The next photo is a photo of Lachrica's headstone. It's a beautifully carved plaque. There is also a photo of the grounds around her grave site.

What is it that you miss most about your sister?
Her smile and her dancing.

No questions from the defense. Witness is excused. Romy testified in a low toned voice. She appeared very sad to me. The people call their next witness, Billy Ware. DDA Rizzo presents the witness.

41. BILLY WARE DION, JR.

Who is Barbara Ware?
My sister. My baby sister.
How many years older?
18 months.
Did your baby sister have a nickname?
Beth. ... It was a full middle name, Bethune, but we called her Beth.
How old were you at the time of her death?
24. ... I have a brother in Houston, Texas.  I have one in Oakland and a sister that resides here. ... Me and Beth, we grew up in the same household. We had the same mother. [My] other siblings had different fathers. ... We were born and raised here. ... When I was in sixth grade, she was in fifth. We were very, very close.

Were you like the same person almost?
Yeah.
What would you do together?
A host of things. ... Most of all, we'd watch cartoons together, eat cereal. We played together, fought together, went to school together. ... We went to the same school at the same time. ... She was always right there with me.

Were you her protector?
Yes. And she was mine as well.
Bach and forth, is that right?
Yes.
What was she like?
Very outgoing, very sweet. She trusted people a little bit more than what she should have. ... She gave away too much in trusting people. ... She would think everybody was okay.
She never questioned people and their motives?
Yes. ...
She would give them the benefit of the doubt; not suspicious of anyone, right?
Right.

She.... we would ride our bikes together. ... Right up to Hollywood and we would catch the bus to Burbank Studios. That's when you could pay to ride the horses. We'd take the Western [Ave.] bus. And then we would take the bus or ride our bikes back home.

They did that when there wasn't such things as iPads or thinks like that.

What did she want to do when she grew up, did she tell you?
No, she didn't. I had a feeling that she wanted to do something that would help people, I really do. In my heart I believe that.
And what about holidays? Do you remember any special holidays?
I have a lot of fond holiday [memories] growing up, and Christmas is one of our favorite times of the year. ...  Christmas is one of our joyous holidays. Christmas was like our thing.
Now, when you celebrate Christmas with your kids?
I do. My kids are 13 and 10. ... I speak of my mother and sister constantly. I show them pictures. They are very much aware of what's going on today and they know.
So you try to bring Beth alive in pictures?
Yes I do.

How old were you when your mother passed?
I was 14. Beth was 13. ... Then our dad remarried Diana Ware. ... Beth never got to meet my kids.
Did Beth talk to you about her problems in life?
Yes. I was aware.
She had some struggles?
She did. ... When [our?] grandparents died, and Beth came for the funeral, and I could see that she was going through some troubles. And I asked her to stay with me in Wichita. ... And that was the last time I saw her.
[When was that?]
April 1987.

The spoke on the phone often. The got in trouble for running up the phone bill. They would keep in touch.

Would you say that you were the closest person to Beth?
Yes, I would, besides her daughter.
She has a daughter? What's her daughter's name.
Naomi [Shae?] Ware.
Did you get to meet her daughter?
Yes.
How old is Naomi now?
Somewhere between 27 and ... I don't even know my own kids age that good.

How did you get to meet Naomi?
Naomi was five before I moved to Wichita.

He still keeps in contact with Naomi, who has her own family now, too.

You were in Wichita when you learned about Beth's death. What was your reaction?

The witness pauses before he answers.

Just shock.

He takes a moment to speak. He takes his glasses off and he puts his hand over his face. He sobs. He then tells DDA Rizzo, "Go ahead."

Was it like a part of you, your best friend had died?
Yes.
How were you able to go on and deal with it?
Up until five years ago, I wasn't able to deal with it. I went through mental health counseling. I went to drugs and alcohol. And about five years ago, when I was told that Mr. Franklin was apprehended. I thought that was ... I took a tailspin with drugs and alcohol. That's the toll that it took on me.

Do you feel like you are moving forward?
I'm a lot better now than I was. ... I'm clean almost three years now. ... But no, prior [to that] ... that was my way of dealing with the pain. ... And that went on for years.
The pain is still there?
Yes. The pain is still there. And I know how to deal with it [now] without turning to that ... and the pain will always be there.
I'm going to show you some photos.

People's exhibits #469 to 470, 472, 476, 475. Photo of Barbara Ware. It's a photo of their mother on a sofa holding Beth on her lap.

That big guy there, that's me.
How old is Billy?
I'm saying two, three years old. But yeah, that's us.

Another photo. Billy identifies his father, Beth and her daughter Naomi. He doesn't know when the photo was taken. Another photo of Naomi very young.

That looks about the last time I'd seen her [Naomi]. That was about that size and age.

Another photo is presented, exhibit #474.

Do you recognize [that photo]?
Yes. I do.
Who is that young man?
That would be me.
Hold old are you?
Probably about 12 or 13 maybe. ... That's my grandfather and Beth.
What year is that?
Maybe 1975, 1976.

The middle to late 70's. Two smiling kids, standing with their grandfather.

What do you miss most about your sister Beth?
That she's not here with me. I often wonder what she would be like as of today. I often wonder what was on her mind when she was going through what she was going through. ... I wish she was here so I could talk to her. ... I miss that I don't have what I had with Beth, with my other brothers and sister. ... And I miss the fact that she's not here.

No cross examination. The people call Diana Ware, stepmother to Beth.

42. DIANA WARE

Do you know someone named Barbara Ware?
She's my stepdaughter.
How old was Barbara when you married her father?
She was 8.
And her brother Bill a little bit older?
Yes. He was about 10.
When you married Barbara's father [did you already have a family?]?
I had a son and a daughter.
So you had melded your families then at that time?
Yes, we did. We had a blended family.
Kind of like the Brady Bunch?
Yes.
Where was Barbara in the age order?
She was the youngest. ... She was a baby.
At that time, you all lived in Los Angeles?
Yes, we did.

Did you call her Beth, too?
Yes. We called her Beth.
[Tell us about Beth.]
She was a very outgoing and fun loving child. She had her challenges when she was older. She loved to roller skate. Her and her brother were very close. Later on she did have her challenges. And she did go to stay with her grandmother in Houston for a while.
And that was to help her get through some of these challenges?
Yes, it was.
And her brother Billy said they would like to go out and ride horses?
Yes. That was when they were younger.
What did you do as a family?
Universal Studios, Disneyland, ball games, recreation areas.
Would you say that you would do a lot of things together on weekends as a family?
I'd say so. Especially around the holidays, we'd get together with the other family members.
Would you be the host?
Most of the times we would be the host.
Did you have a big house so that you could host everybody?
Yes, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Did Beth like those holidays?
Yes, she did.
How did you know that she loved them?
She was always very happy. And I remember one particular holiday, we were waiting for guests to come. ... There were all kinds of guests coming. There children and ... She was always very happy when we would have people over.

There were cousins in the same age range?
Yes. There were cousins.
She enjoyed seeing the cousins?
Yes. ... Her and Billy, they were very close. He would stick up for her and vice versa. She was rough. She could be a tomboy at times.
She wasn't afraid of anyone and wasn't going to let them pick on her brother?
That's for sure.
How long was she in Houston?
That was after ... She was just starting high school, so she was there [about three years?] ... so she came back.

Did she tell you what she wanted to do?
Yes she did. She liked to care for others. I figured she would be in the nursing career. That's what she tended to do.
If she'd gotten the chance, right?
Yes.

How did you learn about Beth's death?
A detective went to my husband's place of business. And then he [husband] came home and told me.
What was your husband's reaction?
He was devastated. ... When he came in I knew something was wrong by the look on his face. And then he told me. It was just ... hard to believe. That it just happened, all of a sudden you know?
Did you believe it?
No. I couldn't believe it. It was very hurtful.
Did you have to tell other family members?
Yes. We had to call my sister-in-laws, and her grandmother and cousins in Houston.
Did you have to let the family from Wichita know about it?
Yes, yes.

Diana, did you plan the funeral?
Yes. My husband and I planned the funeral.
What was that like planning the funeral of your stepdaughter?
No parent thinks that they would ever [have to] bury their child.
[She grabs a tissue and dabs at her eyes.]
My husband was very devastated so I had to take over a lot of it so. ... I did have the help of my sister-in-law. ... My other stepdaughter came from San Diego and she pitched in to help us.
Do you think her father ever got over it?
No, no.

Do you remember the day of the funeral?
I remember it very well. It was very sad. Especially at the cemetery, that we had relatives that had come from Houston. And they were all gathered around so it was a very sad occasion.
Do you go to visit Beth at the cemetery?
We go twice a year.
What about on her birthday, to remember her birthday?
Not anymore. We did at one time on her birthday. ... Other holidays, especially Christmas, we always remember her. We always say a special prayer at that time. Not only for her but for my husband and all the other ones we lost along the way. ... We have pictures and things that we go through ...

You have a granddaughter named Naomi. ... What happened [to Naomi]?
Naomi was adopted by one of Beth's cousins, right after Beth passed away. Her cousin wanted to adopt her and he [Beth's father] agreed. He wanted her out of Los Angeles.
And your husband was very protective of her?
She could come back in the summer and she would spend a few weeks with us.
So your granddaughter was cared for in a loving family?
Yes.
And you would see her about once a year?
Yes. When she was younger she would come back. .. She has children of her own now. ... We don't see her that much anymore. We talk occasionally on the phone.

2:52 PM 
Photos are shown to the witness. The first one is the same photo with Barbara and Billy as very young children.

Do you recall that photo?
That's Beth and her mother. Barbara and Billy. She identifies the same photos that Billy did.

Beth was about 12 when her mother passed and she came to come live with us. ... Naomi was five when her mother [Beth] died.
Do you know if she realized what happened?
They told her afterwards. She didn't remember.
She was too young.
Yes.

More photos. This time it's the witnesses identifies her sister-in-law Sherry [sp?] and her daughter Angela. In the middle, Beth and Naomi. On the right is Treva and her daughter Tia. Treva lives in Los Angeles. That's her other stepdaughter.  Another photo #471, of the young ones. Angela, Naomi, Tia and Shawn [sp?]. Shawn is Treva's son.

Next, Diana is shown the memorial program for Beth.

Do you recognize this?
That's Barbara's obituary.

She recognizes the photo but doesn't know when it was taken. She's then shown a photo of inside the program, listing some of the relatives and friends Barbara left behind.  More photos of Barbara when she was in junior high, possibly 8th grade. Her school photo. Another photo Diana describes.

That's Beth in a yellow dress standing by a car, when she was staying with her grandmother.
Late teenage years?
Yes.

Another photo, exhibit #476. It's Barbara in a uniform, in a crouching position.

That's Beth. She was working at The Hungry Owls Barbecue on Western Avenue. She was about 21 in that photo.

Exhibit #482, a photo of Barbara's headstone.

Yes, that's her grave site.
What do you think about when you're at her grave site?
Oh, ... I just think about the good times we had. And that's at Inglewood ... My husband is there as well and Barbara's mother is there also.
What do you miss the most?
Mostly her smile and the good times we had. The laughter. Just miss her. ... A [spot?] in our hearts that is always there. ... We think about her everyday. ... Prayers have got me there, but it's rough. ... Glad that things have gotten me to this point where things have gotten better.

Direct is finished and there is not cross. The people rest with the admission of the exhibits evidence.

3:01 PM
Over at sidebar. Amster did not want to start until next Tuesday with his case and I'm guessing they are arguing about that. Then it's over and Judge Kennedy addresses the jurors.

"To give you a timeline of where we are. The prosecution has rested in the penalty phase. The defense is going to present witnesses in the penalty phase. There wasn't a lot of cross examination so it's hard to predict how long it's going to take to put on the evidence. ... I have the defense counsel, that he could start the presentation of his evidence on Tuesday, anticipating that we would have [more of] this testimony tomorrow and he relied on that though."

"Most likely, the entirety of the defense case will be finished on Tuesday, or if not entirely finished. ON Wednesday is a graduation and I indicated that we would not be in session on Wednesday. And Monday is Memorial Day ... So I'm sorry for the little bit of disjointed days here. There's a light at the end of this tunnel, and we're almost finished and I do believe we will have final arguments and instructions on Thursday and maybe begin your deliberations maybe late on Thursday."

"What does that mean for tomorrow? We have some things to do on Friday. I'll ... we'll be working for the lawyers tomorrow. Going back to work on Wednesday the first. But I order you to have a wonderful holiday on Monday and I hope everyone has no bungee jumping ... It's possible [you will be] in deliberations by Friday, June 3rd."

One of the jurors has a doctor's appointment scheduled for June 3 and on June 6, and doesn't know how long they will take. The juror is going to see if it's possible to move her doctor's appointments. The court asks, "Why don't you verify that information and we'll talk about it next time I see you. ... I appreciate all of your dealing with our crazy schedules and you've been absolutely incredible jurors."

She gives them her standard admonition about not discussing the case or watching TV or reading about the case in the Internet, and no research. The court orders jurors back at 10:30 on Tuesday.

"Have a wonderful Memorial day."

The jurors and alternates leave. The court discusses logistics of going over the admissibility of exhibits on Friday afternoon. Modified jury instructions are also mention that those can also be reviewed. The length of closing arguments is discussed. DDA Silverman states she will speak for a couple of hours.

And that's it.

Continued on Day 10 with defense witness testimony....