Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Rafael Martinez, Jr. Trial - Update II

Exclusive T&T case coverage can be found HERE.

Continued from Short Update post...

UPDATE 2/23: corrected the spelling of Ms. Huck's name
UPDATE 2/13: corrected holiday and court dark days in final paragraph
February 10, 2015
Here's a short recap of the remaining witnesses who testified over the last few days. I don't know when I'll be able to return to detailed notes since Mr. Sprocket's business has needed my attention.

Thursday, 2/5
In the morning and the afternoon, LAPD Criminalist Patricia Huck took the stand. She's been a criminalist since 1984. She's been with the LAPD since 2005 and a DNA analyst since 2008. Ms. Huck has a soft toned voice and a nice demeanor. I had to really concentrate to hear her. She testified about the DNA testing she performed on evidence collected at the Boehm residence.

Ms. Huck took the partial, male DNA profile that was identified by Cellmark and input the information into CODIS. CODIS returned a potential suspect in the Boehm murders, Rafael Martinez, Jr. Performed two different analysis, a "likelihood ratio" and a "combined probability of inclusion" analysis on the two DNA profiles found under Nancy's fingernails. For the first test, she did a calculation where she assumed one profile was Nancy's. She then performed a calculation which tells her what is the probability that Rafael Martinez' DNA is the second part of that mixture. It is 3.297 billion times more likely it get the profile of Rafael Martinez, than if it was someone else's profile. The second analysis test gives a lower number. It tells how many different people could possibly be in that mixture. 1 in 123,900 individuals could be included in that mixture. Rafael Martinez could not be excluded as a contributor to the DNA mixture found under Nancy's fingernails.

After Ms. Huck, LAPD Investigating Officer Detective Thomas Townsend took the stand. He explained the murder book and the various sections in the book.  Townsend collected a DNA sample from the defendant after CODIS came back with a potential hit and booked the sample into LAPD evidence.

LAPD Detective Vincent Bancroft took the stand. He assisted in the Boehm murder investigation in 1997. Retrieved from the Coroner's property room the fingernail clippings from Nancy and Shawn Boehm. He also collected blood sample swatches prepared by the coroner's officer for both victims. He booked all items into evidence at LAPD.

Friday, 2/6
Two sisters, Patricia Robbins and Teresa Ferro,who lived across the street from Nancy and Shawn testified about their relationships with Nancy and Shawn. Both sisters knew Shawn from around the time he was born. Ms. Robbins testified that, before Nancy lost her job, her house used to be immaculate. Robbins used to occasionally babysit Shawn for Nancy when Shawn was little. When she realized that that there was drug dealing going on at Nancy's house, she called a crime tip line. Ms. Robbins stopped going inside Nancy's house many years prior to Nancy's death.

Ms. Ferro was Shawn's babysitter when he was little. Visited Nancy in her home on September 16, 1997 around 11 PM. They shared a few drinks and had a nice visit. She left Nancy's house around 3 AM the following morning.

Both sisters testified they did not know the defendant.

Dr. Irwin Golden, retired Deputy Medical Examiner for the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, performed the post mortem examination on Nancy Boehm. Testified she received 14 stab wounds to her body. Manner of death was homicide. Cause of death was multiple stab wounds. Dr. Golden testified he did not find any defensive wounds on Nancy's hands or arms.

Dr. Louis Pena, Deputy Medical Examiner for the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, reviewed the autopsy report prepared by Dr. Bockhacker (sp?) on Shawn Boehm.  He presented his conclusions about the report to the jury. Shawn received 11 stab wounds.

This is about the fourth or fifth time I've seen Dr. Pena testify. He testified in the Kelly Soo Park trial. He's a great witness and very engaging. I said hello to him before he took the stand. I remember how nervous he was during the first Spector trial in 2007. By the second trial in 2009, he was like an old pro and does quite well explaining things to the jury.

After the afternoon break, Detective's Townsend and Bancroft retook the stand. I missed their direct testimony and any possible cross.

Monday 2/9
Jody Hynds, Senior Forensic Scientist at Orange County DA's Office. The Orange Co. DA's office has two forensic scientists and their own internal DNA data base. This unit trains the DA's office staff in understanding DNA and presenting this evidence at trial. She has worked in DNA analysis for over 15 years and testified around 100 times.

Hynds worked at Cellmark from 2000 to 2008 as a DNA technician then analyst. Eventually worked in a supervisory capacity. Testified about the DNA analysis and procedures at Cellmark regarding Nancy Boehm's fingernail clippings. She prepared a report on the analysis in 2006. It was during this testing that the extracted DNA from the left and right hand fingernail clippings were combined into a single sample. From her testing she generated a partial male profile.

Based on her training and experience with DNA analysis, Hynds formed an opinion about the likelihood of obtaining a foreign DNA profile from under fingernails. It's very rare to find foreign DNA under fingernails. Normally, people are constantly depositing their own DNA underneath fingernails. Reviewed various peer reviewed studies in regards to fingernail DNA. Her opinion is based on her own work experience and just seeing it every day and knowing the type of result that is seen in samples. The peer reviewed reports really substantiates her experience in the laboratory.  Percentage results and conclusions from several peer reviewed studies are presented to the jury. For example, a study by E.A. Dowlman in 2010, concluded that, a high level of DNA mixture under one’s fingernails is a relatively rare occurrence and its not correlated with causal everyday activities. Based on the studies, cohabiting couples don't have DNA under their fingernails.

In the afternoon session, a defense witness was taken in the middle of Ms. Hynds testimony. LAPD Sargent Frank Kryshak responded to the 2001 crime scene where Luz Nieves was murdered and Francisco Santos survived his injuries. Collected bullet, 6.68 grams of cocaine and a bloody, ten dollar bill from the crime scene. Sargent Kryshak did not have an independent recollection of events.

Tuesday 2/10
Detective Townsend retakes the stand to testify about stipulations between the defense and prosecution. Mostly, it's regarding fingerprints that were found on items that were piled on top of Nancy Boehm's body.  A printout of phone numbers obtained from the call screening device attached to Nancy's phone. The print out of the 911 call from Michael Eulo, who found Nancy and Shawn Boehm's bodies.

The defense calls their third witness, Tami Maynard. Maynard was a friend of Nancy and Shawn's who also knew the defendant. She knew Nancy over ten years. She was a friend and customer and knew Nancy sold drugs on credit. The name she knew Martinez by was "Junior." Saw Martinez at Nancy's house occasionally. Testified about what she knew of Nancy, her habits, the different groups of friends, the bars Nancy frequented, the security procedures at the house, how many different people she saw at the house, etc. Testified about Shawn and his capabilities. Stated the last time she spoke/saw Martinez was several months before Nancy's death.

Next defense witness is Anthony Gobea. Neighbor of Nieves and Santos, who were attacked in 2001. He was in a building next door. At 1:15 AM in the morning of May 10, 2001, he heard two people arguing. He couldn't understand what they were saying. It was two males. It continued for a bit, but he couldn’t hear what they were saying. He hear a door shut, a loud scream and then a bang. When he heard tires squealing, he and a friend stepped outside and saw Mr. Santos in the street, bleeding. They called 911. He remembers the man saying, "Help me, please, help me, please." Gobea and his friend told Santos to stay put.

Stephanie Martinez, the defendant's aunt is the next defense witness. She mostly testifies about Martinez's childhood. Her demeanor strikes me. I can't pin it down. David Martinez is her stepson and Martinez' cousin. Martinez lived with her husband's parents, Martinez's grandparents.

Her stepson, Martinez and Shawn played together as children. Shawn was often over at her house. She often fed the neighborhood children who came to her house. She testifies about what she knew about Shawn's capabilities. When Mr. Burns asks if she would describe Shawn as "retarded," Stephanie replies, "I'd say mentally challenged. He could comprehend a lot."

Stephanie testifies about meeting Nancy twice. Nancy was the known drug pusher in the neighborhood. One incident was when David was expelled from school when marijuana was found in his possession. She was embarrassed to have to pick him up from school. David told her that Nancy sold him the marijuana. She went to Nancy's house and confronted her.  David was not allowed to hang out at Nancy's after that. David was "infatuated" with Shawn's older sister, "Trish."

When David and Junior were adults, they were hanging out at Nancy's a lot. Sometime in 1998 or 1999, Martinez lived with his aunt and uncle. His aunt threw him out of her home when she realized he was doing drugs excessively.

David Martinez, [Sr.] takes the stand. He is the defendant's uncle and Stephanie's husband. His son David is in Soledad prison. David [Jr.] has a mental condition but he doesn't know how to pronounce it. He's asked if it could be schizophrenia, and he states that could be it. Testifies that Martinez lived with his parents, Martinez's grandparents. Knew Shawn as a neighborhood boy. When he was asked if Shawn used to eat at his house he replies, "My wife used to make a lot of good food, espeically chili." The jury laughs.

He knew Nancy from the neighborhood. Nancy was after a couple of his friends. He first met Nancy when he was 13, and he was about five years older than her. He heard through the grapevine that Nancy used to deal drugs, but he was never there.  Testifies that Martinez lived with him and his wife but he doesn't remember about when or why the defendant left their residence.

In the afternoon session, the people move most of their exhibits into evidence. The defense makes a "eleven-eighteen motion" (1118) which is basically a motion to dismiss. There is argument from both sides. Judge Speer denies the motion.

Rafael Martinez takes the stand. DDA Akemon and Detective Townsend stand up and move away from their seats while he walks behind their chairs to the witness stand. He's smiling. The jury is then brought in. Before he starts his testimony a juror's question is answered. Then the people rest their case.

Mr. Burns asks his client, "Can you look these people in the eye...." Martinez turns to the jury and states, "I can tell each an every one of you I have nothing to do with this case on any level."

Martinez finishes his direct testimony a little after 3:30 PM. He was on the stand for about an hour and a half. The jurors are excused for the day. Court resumes at 10:30 am Wednesday. I believe the defense has a DNA expert that will testify tomorrow, but I'm not positive.

Monday is a state holiday. Dept V will also be dark Thursday and Friday of this week. After tomorrow, the trial will resume the following Tuesday.

Continued in Trial Update III.......