Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stephanie Lazarus Trial: Evidence Photos

UPDATED May 3rd, 2012 for spelling, clarity.

Early on in the trial, I inquired about obtaining a few of the exhibits. I only wanted diagrams. Unfortunately, Judge Perry did not release any items of evidence until the case was settled. I had decided early on that I would not publish photos of Sherri or any photos that had blood smears in them. This was a personal decision. I felt these images would be too painful for both the victim’s and defendant’s families to have out there on the web. One of the things that bothered me the most about the first Spector trial (that was televised) were the images of Lana Clarkson’s body that hit the Internet and how painful that must have been for her loved ones.

One of the main points of the prosecution’s case against Lazarus was the theory that the crime scene was staged. What does that mean? It means the killer (or killers) manipulated the scene to direct attention away from the real perpetrators. The only evidence of a "robbery" was in the living room. No other room in the town home was disturbed. They were in pristine condition. Sherri kept a neat and tidy home.

One of the prosecution’s key witnesses was Mark Safarik, a former FBI profiler, the people's crime scene analyst. Safarik testified that Sherri’s town home was not in an ideal location for a burglary. The complex was surrounded by walls and gated entrances. The driveway gates needed a remote sensor to open them. The front entrance, you needed either a key or to be “buzzed” inside. Unit 205 was set deep inside the complex and not on an end or near the street.

Below is a layout of the grounds of the town home complex with Unit 205 marked.

Site Plan - 7100 Balboa

Another important element of the staging in the living room was the pulled out drawer from a small table between two chairs. It was the only drawer in the house that was pulled out and it was pulled all the way out of the table and up-ended. It’s also a location where one would not expect to see valuables. Although it is difficult to see on this image, there is evidence that the drawer was not riffled through, to look for valuables because a box of sewing pins is still in place, altogether. On the chair next to the table is the blanket/garment with the bullet holes and indicating the barrel cylinder GSR residue.

Table Drawer Pulled Out

Another element that Safarik believed was evidence of staging was the two pieces of video/stereo equipment stacked in front of the stairway in the entrance foyer. It’s believed this equipment was placed there after Sherri was killed. According to the prosecution’s theory of the crime, the attack on Sherri started in the upper level, in the dining room. This was evidenced by the bullet holes in the kitchen patio sliding doors, and the trajectory of one of the bullets back to a wall in the dining room. In the defense theory, that Sherri interrupted a burglary, Sherri and her attacker would have had to have stepped over this equipment at the bottom of the stairs. From the crime scene, we know the attack continued in the entrance way/foyer, where several blood smears and stains were found. In this photo you can also see part of the living room and the stairs up to the upper kitchen and dining room levels.

VCRs and Stairs

Close up of the equipment.


Below is a photo of the ironing board in the undisturbed dining room. If there was a major struggle in the dining room, there is no evidence of it. Safarik mentioned that ironing boards are items that are not very stable and would easily be overturned in a struggle. There has been speculation that Sherri could have been sitting at this table when Lazarus entered her home. Also in this photo you can see some reading materials on the dining room table. Although you can't see it in this image, there was a chair that was pulled out from this table. It's shown on the diagram of the town home unit.

Ironing Board

On the dining room table are the three roses Ruetten gave his new bride the day before to celebrate their three month wedding anniversary. It’s my personal opinion that Ruetten deeply loved his wife.

Roses on Table

Below is a floor plan of Unit 205. It is a tri-level floor plan. The garage area is underneath the kitchen, with the kitchen patio overlooking the driveway behind the unit. Hopefully this floor plan will tie everything in place. You can see by the notations that the blood smears were all in the entrance way foyer and most were very low to the ground. It’s believed the killer dragged or placed Sherri’s body from the foyer to the location where she was found.

Floor Layout - Unit 205

The first time John Ruetten broke down on the stand occurred when DDA Presby asked Ruetten about telling Sherri's parents they were engaged. Nels and Loretta Rasmussen had a boat in San Diego. John and Sherri went down over Memorial Day weekend in 1985 and told them. This is the photo that Ruetten was looking at on the overhead screen that caused him to cry.

John and Sherri on Boat

John & Sherri's wedding.

John and Sherri Wedding

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kelly Soo Park Changes Counsel

I arrive in downtown Los Angeles in plenty of time for the hearing, however, on my walk to the courthouse I realized I forgot to bring a notepad. I walk to the underground city and purchased a notepad from the CVS drugstore.

When I finally get inside the courtroom, sit in the second row and look inside my bag when I realize in cleaning out my bag over the weekend, I forgot to put back my cache of pens. I get up from my seat in the second bench row and sit in the back row and open my laptop. I know Judge Kennedy allows the press to work on their laptops in her courtroom.

DDA Alan Jackson is here with the Santa Monica detective.

Park's defense attorney's Stephen Bernard is here.

Kelly is here along with several of her supporters.

Jackson is on the phone at the prosecution table.

It’s 8:50 AM. We are waiting for Judge Kennedy.

I don’t recognize the other two gentlemen at the defense table.

Beautiful tie on Jackson, A shimmering light olive color with dark gray diagonal lines. The suit he’s wearing is a charcoal gray with double pleats in back. I can barely see from the back row some faint vertical lines in the suit.

Bernard's co-counsel, Alena Kilmianok arrives.

The Dateline producer “Luce” (sp?) enters and sits in the second row. I first saw her during Fayed case. She’s slender, pretty and has short dark hair. When she sits in the row in front of Park she greets Park. From where I’m sitting I see Park greet her back, reach out and touch her hair. (Maybe she's cut it since Park last saw her.) Park is sitting a row in front of me to my right.

Maybe the other two attorneys are for another case? What makes me believe that is Bernard and Kilmianok are standing back in the well, but the two other gentlemen are standing at the defense table.

Around eight people are here for Kelly, including (allegedly) her bail bondsman, a very tall man with jet black hair.

The Dateline producer gets up to speak to Bernard.

Jackson and the female Santa Monica Detective stand at the podium.

An attractive black female attorney, with long hair wearing a sharp gray suit and tall black heels enters, sits beside me for a moment, takes out her phone and then walks out.

Judge Kennedy is out of her robes and chatting with her clerk. She has on a black sweater over a black top and she looks even thinner than the last time I saw her. Whatever she’s doing it’s working for her.

The City News reporter I saw at Lazarus arrives.

Kelly comes up and stands with the two new attorney’s in the well. They give their names but it’s too quick. I think I hear George Buehler.

Alan Jackson for people.

Substitution of counsel request.

Park wishes to change counsel! This would be her third set of attorneys.

JK: How long is it going to take you to get up to speed? (snip) This is now the third set of attorney’s.

New Defense: Understand (your honor?) it's not our intent to cause unreasonable delay. (snip) Would like court to give us two months, and at that time set a trial date.

When Judge Kennedy asks if Park agrees to the change in counsel, she nods and I can barely hear a whispered “Yes.”

JK: Mr. Bernard, when can you transfer your files?

SB: Today.

It’s around this point that I believe DDA Eric Harmon enters with a large briefcase and sits in the back row.

JK: Make sure our clerk has your business cards and information so we can place it in our files.

The new counsel states that a return date of June 11th had been discussed.

Park waives the right to a speedy trial and agrees to return on June 11th.

JK: Counsel join?

Everyone agrees and that’s it.

In the well, the new counsel is exchanging business cards with the bail bondsman as well as the prosecution team, DDA Jackson and DDA Harmon. I wait, introduce myself, and get business cards from the two gentlemen. Park's new counsel is the team of George W. Buehler and Mark M. Kassabian.

I have a brief hello with DDA Jackson and then I head back to the subway and home. I search the web for Buehler & Kassabian, and their web site indicates they specialize in white collar crime. One has to wonder why at this late stage, Park had a change in strategy in her defense. How would she benefit by utilizing a law firm that does not specialize in the type of defense she needs, specifically homicide?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

State's Appeal Bid In Christian-Newsom Case Rejected

Channon Christian with her boyfriend Christopher Newsom, date unknown.

State's Appeal Bid in Christian-Newsom Case Rejected
On Friday, April 13th 2012, a three-judge panel of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals voted 2-1 to deny the Tennessee Attorney General's Office's application for appeal of Special Judge's Jon Kerry Blackwood's decision to grant new trials on the torture-murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.

Blackwood ordered new trials for all four defendants, but the state appealed his ruling for only three, acknowledging there was proof former Judge Richard Baumgartner was impaired during the trial of Vanessa Coleman.

Judge Blackwood overturned the verdicts and ordered new trials on December 1st, 2011. The families of the victims are resigned to new trials, but are angry at the situation.

Judge Blackwood announced the dates for the new trials in January:

Lemaricus Davidson, June 11th, 2012
Letalvis Cobbins, August 27, 2012
George Thomas, October 22nd, 2012
Vanessa Coleman, November 12th, 2012

Davidson had the same lawyers as before at the hearing in which the verdicts were overturned. They will apparently represent him in the new trial.

The full story of this case is available in the archives of Trials and Tribulations.

Christian-Newsom Torture-Murders Trial Coverage QUICK LINKS

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stephanie Lazarus Sentencing Postponed

Defense attorney Mark Overland, Stephanie Lazarus
at the reading of the guilty verdict.

Stephanie Lazarus' sentencing for her first degree murder conviction in the death of Sherri Rae Rasmussen has been postponed until Friday, May 11th, 2012, at 8:30 AM. The May 4th, 2012, date has been vacated. I had heard this might happen yesterday and the confirmation came in today from the Public Information Office.

I believe that my friend Matthew McGough told me (after I rushed out of the courtroom to publish the verdict) that several dates were thrown out for sentencing before counsel settled on the original May 4th date, (Lazaraus' 52nd birthday) where both parties would be available.

One has to wonder what new issue could have cropped up that initiated the moving of the sentencing date one week later.

I hope to put up an entry sometime tomorrow that will include a few evidence photos from the case.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Leonard Cohen's Neverending Drama With Kelley Lynch

Kelley Lynch and her public defender.
Photo Credit: Al Seib, Los Angeles Times

UPDATED April 17th, 2012
Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen is suing his former manager, Kelley Lynch for harassment and making death threats. Lynch is on trial for making harassing phone calls and sending thousands of E-mails. This case totally escaped my radar because it's being tried by the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office and not the LA County District Attorney. Normally, this is not the type of case I would cover on T&T, but I only mention it because of my peripheral connection to it. Lynch was arrested on March 6th, 2012 by an agency outside of California. Unable to make the $25,000.00 bail, she's been in LA County custody since her arrest.

I first heard from Lynch sometime during my coverage of Phil Spector's murder trials. Not long after, I was included in a very long list of people that Ms. Lynch was E-mailing. She also started to leave comments on T&T. Puzzled as to why I was receiving these long E-mails, I did some research. In 2005, Cohen accused Lynch of misappropriating over five million dollars from his retirement fund leaving him with only $150,000.00. I do not know what she did with the money. In 2006, Cohen won a civil suit against Lynch and was awarded over $9 million dollars. I don't believe Cohen has ever recovered his stolen assets. From my understanding, it's one of the reasons he had to start touring so late in his career again.

Phil Spector produced Leonard Cohen's Death of a Ladies Man (and I hate to say it because I "love" Cohen's work) an absolutely awful album. In some of the early E-mails I have, Lynch claimed to have known Spector for 25 years and worked with him at the same time as one of the prosecution witnesses, Diane Ogden. For some reason only known in Lynch's mind, she connected to the Spector trial and started E-mailing anyone who ever had even a passing connection to Spector. Sources tell me at one point she was E-mailing the LA County DA's office over 100 times a day.

From the beginning, it was pretty clear to me from what I was reading in these E-mails that Lynch was either suffering from a mental illness or had a few screws loose upstairs. When I started getting up to 10 E-mails or more a day, I put a filter on my account for any E-mail address she used and let them go directly into a file labeled "NUTSO". I rarely read them and I never responded to them.

One of the many E-mail's I received from Lynch is dated July 7th, 2009. A total of 35 people were also included the mailing. Besides me, Lynch included Spector's defense attorneys Doron Weinberg, Dennis Riordan; several people in the LA Co. DA's office, including DDA Alan Jackson; employees at the Department of Justice as well as the California State Bar contact E-mail; several people at the LA City Attorney's office including Rocky Delgadillo (former City Attorney); several E-mail contacts for government agencies in the State of Colorado, where I believe Lynch resided for some time.

This single E-mail alone will give you an idea of what the majority of the E-mails contained. Many also included copies of supposed E-mails from others and sometimes excerpts from my T&T entries covering the Spector case. In the E-mail below Lynch is referring to another blogger besides myself. I've xx'd out the rest of the blog name to disassociate T&T from them. I've never communicated with Lynch at any time and I've never published any comments she tried to leave on T&T.

To the IRS Commissioner's Staff,

What's the most "glaring" comment on Blogxxxxxx's Blog (which is nothing other than evidence of an extortion attempt, coercion, collusion, bribery attempts, blackmail, wire fraud, etc.)?
"albeit from a distance and through intermediaries" - that relates to Leonard Cohen's helping me and this is evidence of how this man functions behind the scenes. Of course, my Mother thought he was "insane" and "nuts" when she recalled that he came into Boulder and filed a fraudulent restraining order against me. Then again, she knows him and sees right through him. Even my "ex-husband" could help. Why? He has destroyed Ray's life and inserted himself - from what I can tell - into the Phil Spector murder fiasco and Cohen's tax fraud that I was told is criminal. I told him I was told this and yet he and his "father" wanted me to make what I was also told would have been an illegal deal.

I think the IRS should be extremely interested in all of Blogoxxxxxx's communications with Cohen, Kory, Rice, and others - including the District Attorney of Los Angeles, Alan Jackson, and the Clarkson family.

Would the IRS Commissioner's Staff mind advising me why you are being copied in on these emails if you never found enough credence in my advisers assertions that Cohen exposed me to criminal tax fraud, used me as an unwitting pawn, etc. How about the evidence I've emailed you? The IRS is not going to file a case against someone who has penalties and interest in the vicinity of $30 million and probable problems in Canada, abandoned green card, numerous social security numbers, etc. I see that my "options" are more visits to jail (all of which demand investigating and can be construed as witness tampering and witness intimidation actually - and should), death, the nut house - no thanks. I was already "committed" because I mentioned the IRS and that made me "bi-polar." Of course, I called Agent Betzer from that nut house and my call to Steven Segal is what led the "nuts" to take me seriously. If I'm so useless to everyone as a witness then how come every single person I talk to thinks Cohen should have been arrested and Phil Spector has been set up? Blogoxxxxx'x probably knows that destruction of evidence is criminal so if he received "communications" from my former con-artist friends in Lost Angeles he should save that information. Boies Schiller was very clear with me about this.

Well, my Mother wants me to marry Bruce Cutler so I hope a future judge doesn't get too mad at her. She also wondered if the FBI Duty Agent I'm not arguing with is single. If I'm not "delusional" than I'm just obstinate. Why is Belark defending Lana Clarkson? I didn't call her gay but my emails and postings have been "tampered" with - including my "hints" to the FBI which were absolutely satirical and sarcastic because I think these people are positively nuts.

Does the IRS Commissioner's Staff think impersonating Bruce Cutler is a joke? How about if I impersonate a lawyer from the IRS? Is that a joke? What about the death threat to Nat McBride? Is that a joke? Belark, Gianelli, and possibly others have clearly set out to intimidate Rutger and, I believe, engaged in "witness retaliation." So have a number of "law enforcement officers."
Belark's article is wonderful and sober? Why? It is one long lie. Why hasn't my family interceded? My family thinks Boulder PD has targeted me; they are horrified; they believe Phil Spector was set up; cannot understand how Cohen has gotten away with his criminal conduct for so long; believe Cohen perjured himself in Phil Spector's murder trial; and are concerned for my welfare. Why hasn't Cohen been "arrested" for defrauding me of millions. I reported this to the District Attorney's office and they know there is evidence they can review - on public record with the Boulder Municipal Court. I know why - because he's there "witness" against Phil Spector and shows up in their legal documents even though he had to have changed the story he told the detectives I met.

The IRS Commissioner's Staff, or the Department of Justice, should definitely get in touch with Boulder PD to see why I've been reported. Also, because the District Attorney, Police Chief, Attorney General, and others refuse to explain why "Storbeck" rolled into Deneuve Construction perhaps that could be investigated as well.

Ann Diamond's not a sympathetic reporter but she sure sees through Cohen - as all the emails she wrote me (that I supplied to the IRS - with her full knowledge, awareness, understanding, and permission) clearly set forth. In fact, she thinks he's capable of murder from what I could tell.

The feds are onto me and the feds are being used in an intimidation attempt and to threaten me.
What does it mean that if I decide to privately and quietly straighten my life out ... they would leave me alone. That means, to me, that if I stop insisting that I was TOLD Cohen committed criminal tax fraud, and call Cohen for help, they will stop demanding that Boulder PD arrest me and they will stop lying to the FBI in Oakland. My Mother said they went to the FBI because I did. I went to the FBI about conduct that crosses state borders - and, in particular, official misconduct and law enforcement misconduct that crosses state borders. I went to the IRS (much to my eternal dismay) about Cohen and his tax fraud that I was told is criminal. Hey, I could pretty much be back to a normal life. Why? Are they going to rebuild my former house and undo all the damage they've done? Will Ray have a second childhood?

I still think "Samuel" is connected to the Lost Angeles District Attorney of Jackson but can't say for certain. Sounds like Kory also - the "threat" perceived when someone stops by a law office unannounced with a "witness" - albeit naively. Nuff said. It's witness tampering with a minor and big time - because it evolved into a kidnapping. I've never claimed to send Bruce Cutler an email but he didn't send me one authorizing Belark, Gianelli, Blogoxxxxxx, et al., to speak on his behalf or communicate his views about me to me. Fortunately, they now know that Bruce Cutler and I agree - he's not representing me and I'm waiting for Phil Spector. What's so creepy about my possibly wanting to have sex with Bruce Cutler? I know lots of men that want to have sex with me.

Leonard Cohen may not have been the best father. His drug use was for depression. He drank too much. Time for the violin solo. He's not bragging though and he has admitted this to the world who he apparently views as his confessional while his "fans" are his "constituents." If I were an FBI profiler I would say he has delusions of grandeur.

Anyway, not certain what Belark was attempting to prove by posting everyone copied in on my emails - except that he knows who is copied in and understands this is deadly serious. Do you think Betsy Superfon (Note: I do not know who "Betsy Superfon" is. It's not me. Sprocket.) was trying to "help" me when she was negotiating with Cohen/Kory, on my behalf, without my knowledge, permission, awareness, or authorization? I don't. I think it's incredibly sinister. How about Peter/Jacob Falconey? Isn't it funny that he impersonated a federal agent and told me that the battlefield is Rutger's life? I guess he was trying to help me. Of course, I don't know him but Lindsey told Douglas Penick that he really came to my former house to find out what was going on with Cohen's tax fraud matter and I filed a field report with S&MPD about the fact that he was following me. He followed me on more than one occasion and was watching me. Fortunately, they haven't dragged the Gambinos into this yet. Every time someone can't refute a position they bring up John Gotti or the Gambinos from what I can tell. Bruce Cutler's office did not advise me that we were going to have a problem but I did receive a fax in response to the faxes I sent Mr. Cutler - documenting what I had been going through and including certain "evidence" with that.

Does the IRS really believe that Bruce Cutler doesn't know how to handle me? Anyway, do so or "shut up" is fairly fascinating. I hope Blogoxxxxxx doesn't get a restraining order (fraudulent, of course) against the IRS. I saw that Craig's List attempted to get one against the Attorney General and thought it shouldn't be too long before the "government" realizes just how unconstitutional these rotten shabby tactics are because it won't be able to move.

I think Bill Pavelic is reading my emails because I thought his response about the "Swedish woman" was really frightening - although it does remind me of my matter and the District Attorney's tactics. Of my God - they advised Bruce Cutler that I wanted to have sex with him. "Bait" comes to mind. I'm glad I left him a message giving him a head's up about this "ploy."

I'm not under the impression that Bruce Cutler still represents Phil Spector. He quit the trial and Phillip said the judge targeted him. I am under the impression that people with "motive" want to pierce attorney/client privilege between Phillip and Mr. Cutler and I saw this coming a million miles away and over a year ago. Talking to the police in Boulder is enough to turn into physical abuse (their part) and lies. I don't have a case and I understand that? They obviously haven't heard the last of Kelley Lynch. Now Bruce Cutler has betrayed me? That's why I said he will end up representing Cohen and Clarkson if these nuts keep it up.

Let me advise the IRS of something I witnessed: Leonard Cohen does not have competent legal counsel in Beverly Hills. Kory is insane, told me there is fraud on every entity, they were going after all the advisers, I have a cause of action against every single adviser of Cohen's, the holding periods were illegal, Superfon was communicating with him, they hold Greenberg and Westin primarily responsible, etc. He told the "waitress" that we were there about a "divorce" and discussing the tax consequences. Sound familiar? Do you know what 50% of Cohen's community property is worth? Probably not - he doesn't properly declare anything and disdains ordinary income taxes. Ken Cleveland told me not to even mention Robert Kory and also thought Anjani Thomas was involved with much of what happened to me.

They called my bluff and called Bruce Cutler? Oh no they did not. I actually thought that "call" would end up coming from the District Attorney of Lost Angeles but "Gianelli" beat them to the "punch line.." I see right through these people, I see right through their tactics, and I think they are idiots who underestimate everyone.

Here's my position on my "legal background" - it is evidence that I have been targeted by law enforcement. It is evidence, to me, of witness tampering and worse. I hardly had a parking ticket prior to this bullshit - including the SWAT team. Maybe the IRS can figure out the Inglewood PD angle - particularly now that they are under investigation.

Cohen's views that we were lovers are evidence to me that the man is still obsessed with me and he is delusional. I wasn't his business manager and he won nothing. I have no intention of setting the judgment aside - I am using that as evidence of the lengths Cohen went to in order to cover up what I was told and believe is criminal conduct. Here are the issues raised by John Southard's extremely competent attorneys:

Civil Issues - relating to my being defrauded
Custody Matter

The rest of the insanity was a no brainer - particularly to the former Attorney General of New Jersey who absolutely ended up telling me to go get Bruce Cutler.

If I had known about this case, I would have scheduled my trip back east another time because it would have been interesting from a voyeuristic point of view to see the evidence against Lynch, not to mention see Cohen testify on the stand. My thoughts and prayers are with Leonard Cohen. I do hope Cohen is successful with the prosecution but I don't know if it will stop Lynch's behavior in the future if she is eventually released from custody.

UPDATE April 10th, 2012
The LA Times has a short update on the trial in their LA Now Blog. Apparently Cohen took the stand again on Monday, going into more detail about Lynch's harassment.

I do know that Lynch also left long rambling voice mail messages at the offices of John Taylor at Taylor & Ring, the Clarkson family attorney, that would use up all the available message time.

There were many others that told me they were harassed, but asked that their names not be mentioned in the off chance that Lynch would read T&T, see their name and start the E-mailing campaign again.

UPDATE APRIL 14th, 2012
Latest news from the Los Angeles Times is, Lynch was convicted an all eight charges. Her next court appearance is April 17th, 2012 when she is expected to be sentenced.

UPDATE APRIL 17th, 2012
Lynch was sentenced to 18 months behind bars. LA Times NOW has the details of the sentence.

Leonard Cohen Wikipedia

New York Times

The Sun, UK

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Going to Court: Department 30: "Arraignment Court"

UPDATE 4-4-2012: Edited for spelling, accuracy, additional details.

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Mr. Sprocket dropped me off at the Universal City Station just in time to make the 7:32 AM train. I’m lucky; right before the train reaches Hollywood, a seat becomes available and I can open my laptop to write.

I decided to come to court because my friend Matthew McGough is interested in a case that has a hearing in Dept. 30 today, AKA “arraignment court”. This is an opportunity to hang out with Matthew for the morning and find out what he’s been working on the past couple of weeks. The case involves the recent arrest of a German national, Gerhard Albert Becker, 48, for the involuntary manslaughter death of a 38-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department, Glenn Allen.

It’s alleged that Becker, who was the architect and general contractor on his own luxury designer home in the Hollywood Hills, included several fireplaces in the third floor that were rated for an outdoor installation. The Los Angeles Times has an excellent article on the arrest and allegations. If convicted, Becker faces four years in state prison. It’s my understanding that this is a case that Detective Greg Stearns (Robbery/Homicide) investigated. Stearns was one of the detectives that interviewed Stephanie Lazarus.

8:12 AM: I’m here on the 5th floor, waiting outside Dept. 30. Most of the people in the hallway are either here for jury service (there is a jury service room on the 5th floor) or are waiting for one of the departments on this floor to open. There is one group of well dressed suits waiting on a bench across the hall from me. Sitting with them is a woman in her late 20’s or early 30’s in a dull turquoise blue pea coat, drop earrings and her naturally curly hair pulled up in a bun. Another suit walks up and joins them.

Matthew warned me he might be late so I don’t expect him until after Dept. 30’s doors open up.

8:24 AM: Several people come up and try the door but it’s still locked. There is a cameraman here. It’s a youngish-looking be-speckled man with his hair pulled back in a ponytail. He has the standard police media ID on a chain around his neck. There’s also an individual with a video camera there. Then a second still photographer shows up, a woman. They are all chatting together with an attractive, copper-haired young woman who must be a beat reporter. I take in her outfit as I admire her very pale skin. She’s wearing a short, very light brown wool type coat with bell sleeves, a black skirt and black pointed patent-leather heels.

The hallway starts to jam with people.

A little before 8:30 AM, a female deputy opens the door and asks who’s here from the media. I get up from my bench seat across the hall and join the mainstream press by the door.

It’s not until I finally get inside Dept. 30 that I remember I was here before, over a year ago to see convicted serial killer John Floyd Thomas. (There was no trial. He pled out.) It’s my understanding that this is the same courtroom where Stephanie Lazarus was first photographed in ‘the cage.’ (When Matthew finally arrived, he called it the ‘fish tank.’)

So let me describe arraignment court. It’s a large, deep room. The gallery is made up of three sections separated by two long entry aisles that lead back towards the entry door. The well of the court is separated from the gallery by low walls with wood swinging doors.

The judge’s bench is in the same location with every other courtroom I’ve seen in this building, back center, where they have an excellent command of the room. Coincidentally, the current judge in Dept. 30 is Shelly Torrealba, formerly a DDA in the JSID group. Judge Torrealba was co-counsel with DDA Shannon Presby, at Stephanie Lazarus’ preliminary hearing. (I first saw Judge Torrealba at the DA debate last November, but I couldn’t think of an ice-breaker reason to go up to her and introduce myself beyond telling her I read the transcripts of the Lazarus’ prelim.) Just to the right of the bench is a witness box.

On the left side in the well area, right next to the first bench row is a desk where a deputy sits. People out on bail that are scheduled to appear (and/or who don’t have counsel yet) are instructed to sign in with the bailiff. The first two rows on this side of the gallery next to the bailiff are roped off and reserved for police, counsel and media. In the center of the gallery, the first three rows are also roped off for the same. This is where I took a seat in the second row, sitting next to the pretty copper-haired reporter. I put my purse to the side of me to try to save room for Matthew when he finally showed up.

In the far left area of the well is a higher counter area, behind where the clerk and other court staff sit. This is where all counsel go to check in with the court.

On the far right side is “the cage”. It’s about five or six feet deep and over twenty feet long. It’s a combination of wooden half wall, glass, and horizontal steel bars. The top of the cage is covered with steel mesh. When a defendant is brought out, their counsel stands next to them just outside of the cage. Depending on how many defendants are in the cage at one time will depend on how many sheriff’s are in there with them.

The most eye-catching part of the entire courtroom was the well area and the interesting characters seated at a mass of desks/tables arranged into a “G” pattern. I counted eleven different people sitting on either side of the configuration. Some had computers, some did not. Some had phones and some had horizontal letter tray organizers. The individual directly in front of the judge was the court reporter. Everyone else I had difficulty determining what their role was. Most of the people appeared to be busy, but what they were busy doing I couldn’t fathom. In addition, there were two extra desks set apart facing each other, right up against the dividing wall near the center right of the well. There were two women sitting at the desks. They didn’t have phones or computers and most of the time I was there, they read different things. After a time, one woman had a newspaper in her lap that she was discretely reading. (It’s not until much later in the morning that Matt and I realize these two women must be language interpreters, that may be called into service at a moment’s notice.)

It’s 8:45 AM and Matthew hasn’t arrived yet. People who are here for an appearance, form a line in the left aisle to check in with the bailiff.

Bailiff: Do you have an attorney?

Defendant: No.

Bailiff: Fill this out and bring it back.

On the right side of the gallery in line with “the cage” in the well, were a series of desks facing into the gallery. There was a big sign on one desk that said:


8:50 AM and Matthew’s still not here. I know he had a personal errand he had to run before arriving and I’m hoping he makes it in time for Becker. He knows what Becker’s counsel look like as well as who the prosecutors are.

At 8:50 AM Judge Torrealba takes the bench and it’s now that I notice for the first time a very large HD type video screen mounted on the wall over the bailiff’s desk on the left. There is a defendant in custody somewhere, appearing for court on video conference. The defendant waives his right to appear in court. He then gives up his right to fight extradition to Arizona. Then Judge Torrealba speeds through getting the defendant’s waiver of rights on the record in regards to having preliminary hearings within the required 45 days of arrest. The court clock will be set at 0/45 on May 11th and he’s ordered back to court on that date.

Another defendant who is out on bond is called. It’s the well-dressed defendant I saw in the hallway sitting with the woman in the pea coat. The hearing is quickly over and they leave. A defendant in jail blues is waiting in the cage. He’s sitting on some kind of seat his arms handcuffed behind him. Judge Torrealba steps off the bench for a moment.

It’s hard to describe, but everywhere in this courtroom there is a buzz of activity. And every so often the bailiff has to tell the people waiting in the gallery to be quiet, but mostly the attorneys ignore the command. Various counsel chat in groups in the gallery and attorneys come and go in the well.

9:05 AM Judge Torrealba takes the bench again. I see several faces that look familiar but I can’t place where I’ve seen them before. Most look either like court staff or DDA’s. I could have seen them dropping in on a case I’ve covered or in the cafeteria. I don’t know. Two male attorneys were standing in the bench row directly in front of the reporters to my left and chatted for some time while the judge was on the bench.

9:15 AM Terri Keith from City News arrives and takes a seat in the first bench row on the left. I see her introduce herself to the court reporter who has come over to her while Judge Torrealba is off the bench.

In this courtroom, the DDA could stand at the podium on the left side of the well, but defense counsel and their client can also stand at this podium if they are not in custody. Another defendant is called and a familiar looking face in the well, a woman states, “(Shelly? Knight?) for the people.” She’s a young-looking, tiny woman with thin brown hair just past her shoulders that I believe I saw in Dept. 100.

9:30 AM Matthew finally arrives and we chat about the interesting variety of people working at the desks in the well area. There’s one older gentleman who has a large, walrus worthy gray and white mustache. He’s possibly with the public defender’s office. Another barrel-chested man wearing suspenders and disheveled hair apparently was the DDA assigned to this court to handle some cases. Matthew thinks this would be a very interesting courtroom for artist Thomas Broersma to sketch and I agree.

Matthew also points out the prosecutors and defense attorneys on the Becker case. The main defense attorney is Chad Lewin.

The DDA’s are Sean M. Carney (Arson Unit) and Frances Young (Target Crimes Division). Young is an interesting looking Asian woman. She has jet black hair, but it’s not in a traditional style that you would normally see. It falls past her shoulders and styled in a way that has height and soft curves. Think Julia Roberts' hairstyle in Pretty Woman. She’s wearing a black suit, horizontal cut black blouse and a short strand of large white pearls. Her makeup is perfect and she has a nice glowing smile. She also has on large, odd-shaped black rimmed glasses. The overall look is sharp, very elegant.

It’s not in my notes but I’m remembering that Lewin stepped out and their hearing is set aside until he comes back inside the courtroom. I believe Becker was brought out in the cage but then taken back; I’m not positive about that. The defense co-counsel who came in with Lewin is still here and I’m over hearing some discussion not on the record that Becker may make his 2 million bail today. Something is said about home electronic monitoring.

I note a large sign over the cage in English and Spanish that says

COMMUNICATING WITH CUSTODIES (is prohibited?) and then the specific law code regarding that.

Matthew points my attention away from “the cage” over to the left side of the room and says, “There’s your guy.” A surprise. It’s DDA Alan Jackson with a rolling card loaded with two large paper case box cartons. He goes directly into the well area, finds a spot for his cart and steps up to the clerk’s desk. He leaves his cart in the well and steps back outside Dept. 30. My guess is that he’s here for Eric Harmon’s case that I saw on the calendar for today. Two defendants, David Cruz Ponce and Max Eliseo Rafael are accused of five murders in a homeless encampment on November 2nd, 2008. They were recently arrested in January.

When Jackson reenters, he sits over on the left side of the courtroom in the second bench row. I then see him get up and greet an older balding man. They both go over to the two boxes in the well. It appears the other attorney is signing for the documents.

Jackson’s hearing is now before Judge Torrealba. (One of) the defense attorney’s is objecting to the media in the room photographing (one or both) of the defendants. I believe he raises issues of identity. The people are turning over to the two defense attorneys 1,234 pages of discovery. Now I understand why Jackson had two big boxes. Each attorney received his own copy of the discovery. There is a bit of back and forth as to when the people and both defense counsel can return to Dept. 30. First they pick May 2nd, but eventually decide on May 4th, the day of Lazarus’ sentencing.

Gerard Becker’s hearing is next. The defendant is brought out. The court is issuing an order for his release.

It’s 11:15 AM. I’ve been here over 3 hours. There is a request from the media for a photo and Judge Torrealba grants it. The be-speckled pony-tailed photographer enters the well and from across the room from the cage, starts to snap Becker’s photo.

Judge Torrealba is saying something about the defendant posting bail; that the collateral has been received. She will sign the order and he will be released today. There will be a GPS monitoring device based on the defendant’s prior leaving of the country. It’s warranted to ensure his return for the remaining proceedings.

Apparently, there is a problem with the company (Sentinel?) who places the GPS tracking device placed on the body late in the day at the jail. (That’s not completely clear.) Becker is told he cannot leave the county without prior permission from the court. More discovery is needed and Becker is ordered back to Dept. 30 on April 25th, and the calendar is set at 0/45 as of that date. Detective Gregory Stearns will be the contact info from Sentinel. Judge Torrealba will give the defendant until noon tomorrow to present himself to the Sentinel offices to get the device attached. Tomorrow, court is closed due to the holiday.

Someone states the scrambler bracelet is easy to do in custody; GPS not as easy to do. Something is worked out and Judge Torrealba states that Sentinel will install the device when Becker is transferred (from his previous location?) to Men’s Central jail. It will happen after 5:00 PM.

And that was it for Dept. 30. I was surprised at how quickly Judge Torrealba went through the cases on her calendar for the day.

Matthew and I peeked into Dept. 40. It was a room almost the mirror image of Dept. 30. The only difference was, there were far fewer people in the well area of the court and I didn’t see any desks along the side wall belonging to the LAPD. We then took a peek into Dept. 50. This room was similar in layout to Dept. 30, but there wasn’t a “cage” area. Instead, there was a row of benches facing sideways inside the well of the court.

Afterwards, we dropped in on Dept. 104 so Matthew could check on getting the rest of the Lazarus transcripts he’d ordered. Judge Perry was chatting off the record with a tall, handsome black DDA (he reminded me of Blair Underwood) I’d seen in his courtroom before. Right before the court reporter came over to speak to Matthew, Judge Perry saw us in the gallery and commented, “Just couldn’t stay away?” I smiled.

After dropping in on Judge Perry, we stopped into Dept. 106, Judge Fidler’s courtroom to inquire about a cold case Matthew is following but Wendy, Judge Fidler’s clerk indicated the case was not scheduled to be on the calendar for the next 90 days. After Dept. 106 we dropped in on Dept. 105, Judge Bower’s courtroom. I don’t believe I’d ever been inside this courtroom before. We knew that DDA’s Eric Harmon and Beth Silverman were trying Latece Megale Brown for the rape and murder of two women. (I could not find a news article on the case.) When we entered at about 11:45 AM, Silverman was presenting her closing argument. In just those few moments, I was hearing some pretty horrific facts. Wouldn’t you know, I started to get a coughing fit and had to leave the courtroom. Afterwards, Matthew treated me to sushi in Little Tokyo, where we talked about a short writing project he’s working on. When it’s finished, I’ll let T&T readers know where you can find it on the web.

In addition to the Beck and Ponce/Rafael cases, I’ve become aware of two other cases that might be interesting but they are still a long way off.

David Viens, 47: Case BA38162701

Viens is charged with felony murder in the disappearance of his wife, Dawn. Viens was arrested in March 2011, for Dawn’s October 2009, death.

Freddy Leyva, 22: Case BA39513301

Leyva, a former jobs corps honors student is charged with the stabbing death of his school counselor, Dwayne Alexander, 48.

I’ll be keeping my eye on these cases as they develop. The next day, I check in on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s web site to see when Becker was released from custody. His location had changed on March 30th, at 9:10 AM to the “Inmate Reception Center”. At 11:22 AM, the web site showed he was no longer in custody and out on bond.

And last, a little note on myself. I am taking a little trip to places far and away next week but I will be back in time for Kelly Soo Park’s next pretrial hearing on April 16th, 2012.

UPDATE 4-4-2012:
There was one moment in court that I did not take notes on, that I just remembered during my edit. There was one defendant in custody, who was complaining about something, I believe his court-appointed attorney, but I'm not positive about that. He kept interrupting Judge Torrealba. She ended up yelling at him from the bench, ordering him to stop speaking several times, telling him he did not have the right to raise that complaint at this hearing. If I'm remembering correctly, Judge Torrealba told the defendant that he would be able raise these issues in a later time. I'm guessing that could be once his case is assigned to a trial court.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


WITNESS LIST For Bryan Barnes & Javier Bolden Preliminary Hearing.

September 30th, 2013 Day 1
1. VINCENT CARREON (LAPD Detective with Central Gang Homicide Division CGHD out of 77th Station) Carreon testified he arrived at the location of the shooting at 2717 S. Raymond Ave. He described the scene when he arrived. It was raining. A BMW was on Raymond Ave, double parked with a canopy placed over the car to protect evidence. Testified the victim's cell phones were not located at the scene.

2. EURY MALDONADO (Neighbor and "ear witness" to the shooting) Maldonado testified about hearing gunshots. He stepped out onto his second story balcony and observed two individuals by a doubled parked BMW, one on each side. He believes they were arguing. He observed the individuals run south. He saw the driver of the BMW step out of the car. He could see that he was bleeding. He called 911 and then went downstairs to see if he could render aid.  He stayed with the male victim (Qu) as he walked then crawled to the porch of 2717 Raymond and knocked on the door. The victim died on the porch without speaking.

1. VINCENT CARREON (continuing testimony) Carreon

3. ROBERT LAIT (LAPD Detective with the gang unit) Lait obtained a wire tap on two phone lines, one belonging to Barnes and one belonging to Bolden. Lait was involved in the investigation. He visited the crime scene.

4. LATIANA COLLINS (Former girlfriend of Bryan Barnes)

October 1st, 2013 Day 2
4. LATIANA COLLINS (continuing testimony) Testified that on the night of April 11th, Barnes told her he was with Javier Bolden. Testified Barnes stated he obtained a cell phone via a robbery. Stated Barnes told her he thought he shot someone during the robbery.

1. VINCENT CARREON  (continuing testimony)

October 2nd, 2013 Day 3
5. BRADLEY NIELSON (LAPD Patrol Officer out of 77th Station) Nielson responded to a shooting on S. Western Ave on December 3rd, 2011 around 12:30 AM. At the scene, he recovered a live round and shell casings for a 9mm as well as shell casings for a 40mm cartridge. He interviewed a witness to the event, witness ABC (a pseudonym).

6. TIMOTHY HALL (Victim of a shooting on December 3rd, 2011) Hall attended at party hosted by Scale 10. Testified he did not see who shot him on Dec. 3rd. Testified he was running away when he was hit eight times. Testified he had no memory of a conversation he had with Officer Yolanda Mansillas on February 22nd, 2012 when she came to his house and showed him a photograph. Hall stated he recognized the officer's voice on the tape recording as well as his own, however, he has no memory of the event or of identifying a photo of Bryan Barnes as "BJ" and placing his own initials on the photograph.

7. YOLANDA MANSILLAS: (LAPD Detective out of 77th Station) Investigated Timothy Hall's shooting. Interviewed Hall and witness ABC. Testified about her interviews of victim Hall and witness ABC, who observed the Hall shooting.

8. LUIS VALLE (LAPD Officer out of 77th Station) Valle responded to a shooting on February 12th, 2012 at 8927 S. Western Avenue. When he arrived on the scene there were two victims on the ground. The male victim, Deionce Davance was on the ground and non-responsive.  The female victim was Zanae Flowers. She was  shot about a half a block from Davance.  Officer Valle testified about 9 millimeter shell casings and a 9 millimeter live round that was located at the scene and booked into evidence.

October 3rd, 2013 Day 4
9. ABC (pseudonum per witness request) (Witness to shooting on December 3rd, 2011) ABC was attending a party event hosted by Scale 10. ABC states she's not a member of Scale 10, but was invited by friends who are members. She has attended several Scale 10 parties. She witnessed a shooting outside the party while sitting in her car. She observed Hall being shot at while he was chased around a car in front of the venue.  A few moments later she saw Hall being shot at from the passenger side of a moving red Camaro. ABC identified the shooters as Bryan Barnes and Javier Bolden.

10. CHARLES DARDEN (Cousin to February 12th shooting victim Deionce Davance) Testified he saw Javier Bolden shoot his cousin in the stomach outside a banquet hall on February 12th, 2012.

11. ZANAE FLOWERS (Victim of a shooting on February 12th, 2012)

October 4th, 2013 Day 5
11. ZANAE FLOWERS (continuing testimony) Flowers was shot on February 12th, 2012 after attending a birthday party for her friend at a banquet hall near the corner of Western & 51st Streets. She was shot in the leg.

12. TAMARA MCKEEVER (Sister of victim Deionce Davance and best friend of victim Zanae Flowers) Attended the birthday party on February 12th, 2012. Observed events relating to the shooting of Flowers and Davance.

October 7th, 2013 Day 6
Defense recalled two prosecution witnesses to cross examine them on their interviews with victims and witnesses.




This page will be periodically updated. Sprocket

CASE # BA397880
Ying Wu, 23 (deceased)
Ming Qu, 23 (deceased)
Timothy Hall, 21 (survived)
Deionce Davance (survived, permanent damage)
ZanaeFlowers, 18 (survived)

Bryan Barnes, 21
Javier Bolden, 21

Prosecution Team
DDA Deborah Brazil - (Now Judge Brazil)
DDA Daniel Akemon

Defense - Bryan Barnes
Gustavo Sztraicher, Public Defender
Marie D'Onofrio, Public Defender

Defense - Javier Bolden
Jana Seng - Alternate Public Defender
Andrew Goldman - Alternate Public Defender

Bryan Barnes pled guilty on Feb 5, 2014 and was sentenced to two life terms [Ming Qu and Ying Wu] without the possibility of parole.

Javier Bolden's trial started October 14, 2014. The third count, involving victim Hall was dropped. The death penalty was taken off the table. Attorney Andrew Goldman is defending Bolden.

There are a total of five counts covering three different events and five victims. All events involve shootings. The prosecution alleges the three events are linked by matched bullet casings recovered at the crime scenes.

Counts 1 & 2, 187 felony murder against Barnes & Bolden. 
April 11th, 2012 - USC Chinese Grad Students shooting
Ying Wu and Ming Qu were allegedly shot to death in Qu's double parked BMW during the commission of a robbery, less than a mile from the USC campus. The crime occured around 1 AM on April 11th, 2012.  The only thing missing from the vehicle were the victim's cell phones.  There was an ear-witness to the shooting who observed two individuals beside the double parked BMW. One individual was standing on the driver's side door of the vehicle and the other individual was standing by the passenger side door. The witness heard the suspects arguing.

Barnes is alleged to have sold one victim's cell phone to a Simple Moble store. The other cell phone was recovered in a bedroom drawer during a search of the residence where Barnes was arrested on May 18th, 2012.

Count 3, 664/187 felony attempted murder against Bolden.
December 3rd, 2011 - Timothy Hall - NOTE: This charge was dropped against defendant Bolden before his trial. 
Timothy Hall was shot eight times outside a club in Los Angeles in the early morning hours of December 3rd, 2011.  A witness observed Hall being shot at while being chased around a vehicle in front of the club. Moments later, the same witness observed Hall being shot at from the passenger side of a moving vehicle.

Count 4, 664/187 felony attempted murder against Bolden.
February 12, 2012 - Deionce Davance
Deionce Davance was shot twice outside a venue hall in Los Angeles in the early morning hours of February 12th, 2012.  Davance was shot in the abdomen first directly in front of the venue. He was shot a second time in the head while trying to flee from his attacker.  An eye witness observed the first gunshot and heard the second gunshot.

Count 5, 245, felony assault with a semiautomatic firearm against Bolden.
Zanae Flowers was shot once in the leg while running down Western Ave in the early morning hours of February 12th, 2012.

T&T Javier Bolden Trial Coverage

10/16/2014 Opening Statements in Javier Bolden Murder Trial

09/25/13 Lonnie Franklin, Jr, & Other Cases 
09/30/13 Barnes & Bolden Preliminary Hearing Day 1
09/30/13 Barnes & Bolden Preliminary Hearing Day 1, Part II
09/30/13 Barnes & Bolden Preliminary Hearing Day 1, Part III 
09/30/13 Barnes & Bolden Preliminary Hearing Day 1, Part IV
10/01/13 Barnes & Bolden Preliminary Hearing Day 2
10/01/13 Barnes & Bolden Preliminary Hearing Day 2, Part II 
10/01/13 Barnes & Bolden Preliminary Hearing Day 2, Part III
10/02/13 Barnes & Bolden Preliminary Hearing Day 3
10/02/13 Barnes & Bolden Preliminary Hearing Day 3, Part II 
10/02/13 Barnes & Bolden Preliminary Hearing Day 3, Part III
10/03/13 Barnes & Bolden Preliminary Hearing Day 4
10/04/13 Barnes & Bolden Preliminary Hearing Day 5
10/07/13 Barnes & Bolden Preliminary Hearing Day 6 & Closing Arguments


Mainstream Media Coverage
04/11/12 NBC Two Grad Students Shot Dead

04/11/12 LAT Slaying of Two Grad Students Stuns USC
05/02/12 LAT Arrests Made in Grad Student's Deaths 
05/22/12 LA Weekly Barnes & Bolden Possibly Catch Death Penalty
05/22/12 LAT Slaying Suspects Portrayed Themselves as Party Boys
02/15/13 LAT Lawsuit Against USC Dismissed

Facebook Photo Page of No RespectInc

Facebook Page Javier Bolden (It appears someone has been posting to this page beyond Bolden's arrest date of May 18th, 2012. Sprocket.)