Monday, December 17, 2018

Monica Sementilli & Robert Louis Baker, Pretrial Hearing 7 & Sprocket News

The previous hearing on the case can be found HERE.

Fabio Sementilli
Source: Hair
December 13, 2018

Going to Court & Sprocket News
I'm trying to get used to having to spend more time getting to the Orange Line and also traveling a longer distance on the Orange Line than what I'm used to. I used to be able to get to court by 8am, if I left my house at 6:50 am. Now, I cannot leave any later than 6:30am. When I finally move in, it may take even longer than that.

It's official. My escrow closed on my new home December 3 and the court made me officially a single woman again on December 8. I hope to be fully moved in before the end of the year. Next year will be the daunting task of going back to school and finding work.

The 9th Floor
I arrive on the 9th floor a little after 8:00 am. In the center of the hallway on a bench are several people I don't recognize at first. It's CBS 48 Hours producer Greg Fisher along with Fabio Sementilli's sister, Mirella, her cousin and niece. Fabio's relatives all flew in from Canada for the hearing. Not everyone related to a case is able to attend these pretrial hearings. I'm thinking of the families of Pamela Fayed and Juliana Redding. The families of these victims all lived out of state and were not able to attend every hearing. If you were a friend of Fabio and are able to attend a pretrial hearing, I know his family would be grateful that you took the time to attend.

The Sementilli defense team of Leonard Levine and Blair Burke arrives along with their support staff. LAPD Robbery-Homicide Detective Barry Telis arrives.

Once Dept. 101, Judge Coen's courtroom opens, we all head inside. Greg and I take a seat in the third bench row, behind two of Sementilli's support staff. There are quite a few counsel in the well for other cases before Judge Coen. Almost every seat in the well is taken. There is a quick huddle of defense counsel in the well with the gentleman I believe is Sementelli's electronic data expert.

8:35 AM
Three extra sheriff's deputies arrive and cram into the well of the court. DDA's Beth Silverman and Melissa Opper arrive with two male law clerks. DDA Opper is wearing a very dark plum suit. It looks great on her.

A few moments later, Monica Sementilli is brought out and placed on the end of table seat, where Baker has sat in previous hearings. I note that Monica's hair is almost jet black now. There is only a small amount of reddish blond color left on the ends. She almost looks like she has a bit of makeup on and I'm wondering if she had access to makeup while in custody. Sementilli leans in to speak with Mr. Levine. Levine's co counsel, Blair Berk is in the very back row of the courtroom. A few moments later, she comes up to the well of the court to chat with her client then leaves. Now Berk is in deep conversation with Mr. Levine. Now Berk is walking around, almost pacing in the courtroom.

8:45 AM
Baker is brought out and Judge Coen is on the bench and quickly goes on the record. The court informs the parties that they are still scheduled for trial to start April 29, 2019 and the court calendar set on that date at zero of ten.

It appears the parties have all agreed on a return date of January 17. That's agreeable to everyone. Baker's defense attorney Michael Simmrin informs the court that he (just? recently?) received a 2 terabyte hard drive of discovery from the people. Because of the amount of discovery on this hard drive, Simmrin tells the court that the April trial start date is "...not going to work."

The court tells the parties that the trial date will stand for now and they can address it at the next hearing.

DDA Opper tells the court that the people handed over to the defense over 100,000 pages of additional discovery. The people add that this new material will add two weeks to the trial, making the trial approximately two months instead of the previous estimate of six weeks.

DDA Beth Silverman asks the court for permission to take custody of several SDT's, make copies for the people and defense and then return the originals to the court. The defense has no objection.

And that's pretty much it. The hearing is quickly over. Fabio's family flew in for a hearing that didn't even last ten minutes.

8:50 AM
Sementilli is quickly taken back into custody and the defense teams leave. Baker is still in the courtroom, waiting for the sheriff's to arrange his return to the custody area.  I see DDA Silverman is over by the clerk's counter, most likely picking up the subpoenaed documents. When Baker is finally taken back into custody, I note that he has a small book in his hand with a red cover.

Out in the hallway, DDA's Silverman and Opper patiently answer the family's questions about the status of the case and what lies ahead.

It is my understanding that the LAPD is still actively working this case and more discovery is expected to be turned over in the coming months.

The next hearing in the case is January 17, 2019.

The next post on this case can be found HERE.