MCFARLANE/QUINTANAR PRELIMINARY HEARING
By Marty Carlson
The afternoon session started with Kirk Bunch on the stand still.
And there were still discussing the March 24, 2015 interview and he stated he did not show Edward Quintanar any other documents like phone records only the search warrant that he had for his house. It was also noted it was a document for search warrant for two other places one was Walter Well’s residence, he did not say what the other one was.
There were discussing the day that he was at the CHP office where Quintanar had driven out of the parking lot without talking doing, it was about 2100 hrs. when he arrived and about 2130 hrs. when he left. He stated that he had talked to a supervisor and said he saw Quintanar leave, and that person was an acting Sgt. by the name of Wilvey.(sp?) Again, no written report was generated for that incident. Attorney Gradford had requested that Kurt Bunch generate a report with his observations.
They discussed a report that was generated on August 28, 2017 from Chris Cook that Kurt Bunch had requested some information. There was no detail given about that information. After some minor discussion between the judge and attorneys it was revealed that there will be cell phone evidence presented which drew a sour look from the judge’s face with her noting the amount of time it took for cell phone evidence in the last preliminary hearing (7 weeks). She was reassured by Mme. DA that it will be short testimony and the judge stated she is heard that before.
Attorney Larry Niemeyer began questioning of Kirk Bunch, and asked if Kory Kaufman had a rap sheet drew the objection from the district attorney. And just a couple of things were noted and then the judge said is not relevant. But they did note there was a robbery charge some thefts.
Kirk Bunch had stated that Quintanar and McFarlane had been talking about Korey Kauffman’s past record and arrest history. He also had a history of using drugs. And apparently Bunch had asked if Scott McFarlane had thought that that may be an accurate assessment of Kory’s past. Had drew an objection from the district attorney which was overruled. They also asked Kurt Bunch if the facts were true about what they were saying about Korey Kauffman which to another objection which was again overruled.
It was also noted by Kurt Bunch thing Scott McFarlane had made a comment that he wanted Korey Kauffman to move away. Attorney Niemeyer asked Kurt Bunch if he was married and had children he said he did, and asked him if Heath thought that he would want somebody like Kory Kaufman living next door to him, which drew another objection, and the judge said it was not relevant.
Kirk Bunch also said that Quintanar had told him that Daljit felt that Scott McFarlane was working as an informant for law enforcement in Quintanar apparently had stated that he shared that believe with Daljit. Yet Quintanar also stated he did not trust Scott McFarland and he was a sneaky type person. They talked about Kevin Domby was contacted by Kurt Bunch after learning about the contacts between the Atwals, McFarlane, and Quintanar.
Kirk Bunch said that Scott McFarlane had said he would have to go through CHP channels to talk that he never withheld information, kind of. He went to McFarlane’s residence looking for McFarlane’s wife but she was not home, and he left the card. Scott McFarlane had contacted Bunch by email to make arrangements to meet. McFarlane was also present when his wife was interviewed. During the interview with his wife Scott McFarland voice no objections to the conversation. Kirk Bunch kept saying that McFarlane was not cooperative, but thanked him for his cooperation. He stated he had done that to keep a dialogue open. He had done for interviews in about a year. And Scott McFarlane had never denied an interview.
At that time attorney Niemeyer stated no further questions.
The district attorney went to do recross and asked who is Truxell, Kirk Bunch said he was a CHP captain but he had never talk to him. Troxell had called to complain about the investigation along with Matt Gessler Modesto. He stated Gessler trying to keep Quintanar from talking and had advised Quintanar that they had wiretaps working.
Kirk Bunch was asked what a “person of interest” means, he stated is someone who has pertinent information of a crime. Domby was told Walter Wells Scott McFarlane and Edward Quintanar were all POI’s.
He stated Quintanar became a suspect prior to him getting a search warrant. He said there seemed to be interference in the CHP command, namely Gessler and was a supervisor’s name Frost talking about difference between criminal internal investigations to the officers.
He stated he did not tell Quintanar he was a POI because he still had hoped he would just cooperate and in addition he had an ongoing wiretap and was still doing interviews.
He heard I believe it was Lieut. Frost tell Quintanar on a wiretap to cooperate and said Scott McFarlane was not cooperating due to him not being honest and straight forth in his interviews and talking about the others. And his comment of seeing Kory Kaufman on April 1, but knowing full well Kaufman was murdered already. No further questions were asked.
Alonzo Gradford again started asking questions about POI’s if they are also to confirm or eliminate as a suspect. Saying Quintanar is a POI also makes him a possible suspect and Kurt Bunch stated “absolutely.”
He talked about a wiretap where frosted said cooperate with allied agencies and the complaint was filed apparently with chief Intrebitzen (sp?) At the time, the division leader of the district attorney’s investigators office. Again, no report was written regarding that complaint, attorney Gradford requested a report be generated and Kurt Bunch plainly said “no.”
At this time attorney Gradford makes a motion to the court to dismiss all charges against his client for Brady violations and continued testimony of CHP officers telling Quintanar to cooperate but there was no previous discovery of this information. And at least would like time to bring some of these other witnesses in. Stated he wants to talk to these people in here their testimony that has not previously been discovered.
Mme. DA stated all the people in the chain of command staff at CHP has been available to the defense attorneys all along. Wiretaps and other reports have been available in the internal affairs investigations have all been available in discovery. She says Alonzo Gradford is the one who asked to Kurt Bunch talk to an open this line of discussion not the District Attorney’s Office.
Attorney Gradford argued that his scope of information was exchanged with the command staff at CHP. If Domby, and Truxell communications were not documented in reports they would not be in discovery for him to find out about.
Marlisa Ferreira stated the record is insufficient for a dismissal.
Alonzo Gradford argued that missing information that Kurt Bunch received from Domby saying that all CHP officers are required to participate in this investigation when POI’s. He stated why Quintanar didn’t talk to investigators prior to March 24, 2015, at the very least he requests a continuance to talk to these officers.
At this time, the judge denied the request and saying is not necessary she just wants to get this preliminary hearing over with.
Kurt Bunch stated he did not tell Mark Frost that Quintanar was a POI. In addition, he was not advised or aware of any written policy that says officers must talk to investigators.
Larry Niemeyer asked Kurt Bunch of Quintanar ever told him that he personally believes Scott McFarlane was an informant, he stated actually no that was information developed through other conversations.
Re: Scott McFarlane’s cooperation and the Kory Kaufman viewing on Sunday, April 1, 2012, Kurt Bunch said he was vague about other conversations at pop and cork in regard to Korey Kauffman, and when he was pressed about those conversations he read applied he did not have the reports are transcripts in front of him.
Kurt Bunch constantly was saying Scott McFarland responses to interviews and questions were vague as he expected all police officers to be honest and straightforward in a homicide investigation. In addition, Kurt Bunch is basing some of his information about Scott McFarlane on statements made by Robert Woody, some through a jail recording with his brother Brian, saying that Scott McFarland was following, taking video, and tracking Korey Kauffman. After some questioning by the attorney Kurt Bunch did admit that it was just his interpretation that Scott McFarlane was being vague but he had information that he was doing surveillance and car stops on Korey Kauffman through Robert Woody.
In addition, McFarlane was watching recording and using binoculars to monitor Korey Kauffman. And McFarlane statements to him he was constantly reflecting answers and not being forthright.
Bunch was asked by the attorney about Bobby Atwahl statements, Scott McFarland was not able to recall particular conversations after two years, but Bunch kept saying he was vague and did not actually have a memory problem. Kirk Bunch said he expected us McFarlane to remember but was vague and asked him what was the first question he asked he stated he asked McFarlane if he knew what happened to Korey Kaufman and McFarlane said “no.” Niemeyer asked him what was vague about that answer in fact was in fact direct and Kurt Bunch kind of had to agree with that.
In regard to Bobby Atwahl he said McFarlane’s answers were vague and his participation in conversations at PNC he could not recall the said that should be something that imprinted in his mind. He said it was general conversations at PNC between other officers Woody and the Atwals. Kurt Bunch was continually going into long narratives and on this one stated memories never fade in regard to a murder investigation as people remember and keep those memories forever. In McFarlane’s answers were vague in regard to Baljit.
In regard to Daljit Atwahl there were many more conversations but he again he did not have his reports in front of him to refer to, but could get them shortly. The judge did not want to go through those reports is Larry Neirmeyer stated they can go through each one by one if necessary. Kurt Bunch did say that McFarlane had refused to answer some questions but was asked if a do not recall is to him is a refusal. Kurt Bunch felt that Scott McFarland is dishonest person and was refusing. And again, said that he felt that got McFarland was vague and simply just did not want to answer.
When pressed on why he thought McFarlane was being evasive he stated things like the rolling of the eyes, body language and other observations that he made told him that. He stated that specific questions were deflected and deflection is not an answer but just moving the conversation on to another subject.
He was asked if McFarlane ever stopped or ended an interview he stated no that he had always terminated the interviews and thanked him for his cooperation to keep in open dialogue for down the road. He was asked about when Scott McFarlane was seen on either March 31 or April 1 of 2012 after the theory date and if there was a second person that it also seen Korey Kaufman. He said yes there was a Jesse lepew would also made a statement of seeing Kory on one of those dates but later recanted that information. That interview was not done by Kurt Bunch himself but Steve Jacobson.
Kirk Bunch stated that that information of Korey being seen on those dates is not relevant nor destroys his timeline, and stated again that Scott McFarlane was not being mistaken but deceiving about seeing Kory Kaufman. He also had heard on a wiretap McFarlane had told Walter Wells about the Korey Kauffman citing. They also referred to officer O’Keefe who testified earlier this week about he believed Kaufman was seen but it did not appear to be sure a sure thing. No further questions were asked at this time.
Mdm. DA asked why he Kurt Bunch terminated the interview with Scott McFarland he stated because they were developing other information through other sources like Robert Woody and wiretaps. And he also said this McFarlane never told him about stopping Korey Kauffman in Turlock. Kurt Bunch said he did not believe McFarlane about these the Korey Kauffman sighting when you want due to information that he were developing on the wiretaps and other information like Robert Woody. No further questions asked.
At this time, a little conversation took place with the judge and attorneys about cell phone evidence, as their waiting for John Evers to give him in the room, and apparently Chris Cook or Jim Cook is going to take the stand in this preliminary hearing in the judge stated she did not want a repeat of what happened in previous hearing. Mme. DA assured her that it was short testimony.
Jon Evers was then on the stand, stating that he had interviewed McFarland and the DA wanted to identify McFarland in the courtroom to confirm identity. A slight humorous moment was had by all when Jon Evers started giving compass directions North South and West of the location of the walls in the room and the location of Scott McFarland in reference to those locations. The judge asked him to simply just tell us what he’s wearing.
He stated on 37 in 2014 he interviewed McFarlane at his residence and he stated McFarland knew about the investigation due to the media. And he had talked to Scott McFarlane about damage to the store during the search warrant, and he stated he knew Robert Woody and was aware that Woody had been arrested. Woody was also known by the alias as 5 – 0. McFarlane stated that he was actually closer to Daljit and he would go to PNC to hang out in by his beer. He stated he was there frequently.
Evers said the McFarland said Kaufman was a tweaker and a thief, he rides a bike around town had all kinds of tools on it and apparently had done a traffic stop or two on him in the past. McFarlane had talked to Turlock Police Department in regard to Kaufman and his activities. He advised them of a pickup that had had metal recyclables in it the Kaufman was driving and asked Turlock to keep an eye out for it.
McFarlane had told Evers that he was irrigating on Sunday, April 1, 2012 and saw Kaufman riding his bike, but Mike Cooley had stated that Kaufman’s bike was still at his house. He stated that McFarlane stated he saw Kaufman again at 9 AM at his residence next door to McFarlane’s house. McFarland had also told him that he had received a wiretap intercept letter in regard to a phone conversation.
McFarlane had talked to Robert Woody and it was discussed about a container that went missing off the Frank Carson property after the July 15, 2012 search warrant. And apparently McFarland had let Bobby Atwahl borrow a 30.06 rifle to go hunting with around the Los Banos area. Scott McFarlane never mentioned any trips to Mariposa County.
McFarlane had stated that the Atwals had filed complaints against Kurt Bunch in the District Attorney’s Office after the first search warrant, for the damage done. Scott McFarlane also never mentioned he gave a 22-caliber rifle to the out walls. He said McFarlane stated that Kaufman was a scrapper and conversation at PNC with the Atwals was never about how to subvert an investigation. In addition, Scott McFarland was asked but declined to wear any type of recording device to record the Atwals or get any other information for the investigation.
He stated Scott McFarland discussed people were spot checking Frank Carson’s property especially the antique cars that were parked in a warehouse that were getting stripped. McFarlane also stated that the Atwals were good friends and stated he was friends with Walter Wells in addition they were workmates on different shifts.
Jon Evers stated that McFarlane said he had talked to no one else but Walter Wells was discussed and they did discuss about Daljit hated thieves. Evers also stated McFarlane mentioned that Robert Woody was giving information is a confidential informant. Evers stated that he confirmed that Robert Woody was not an informant in this case. McFarlane also knew about Bobby’s and Robert Woody’s threat to Michael Cooley and asked if he reported those threats to any law enforcement officers he said he did not.
At that time, it was the end of the day and court was taken into recess until 9 AM tomorrow.