Good evening everybody, this Marty from Dawgs Blog. This is tonight’s podcast on the Frank Carson et al. Trial on October 4, 2018. Tom wasn’t in court today and so you only got my noon report and then you’ve got the noon report transcribed. They’re doing a lot of preliminary stuff like the search warrant, pictures and so on. Talked about Scott McFarlane this morning. They talked about some of the other pictures they want to put in, a lot of pictures of guns irregardless if it has anything to do with this homicide or not. They’re saying Korey Kauffman was killed with a handgun, but they are showing a lot of rifles and because they are saying the .22 calibers are interchangeable between rifles and handguns. So that’s how it went this this morning.
The Judge was on the bench this afternoon at 1:20. We were supposed to start at 1:15 this afternoon. They had a couple issues they had to bring up the court with some of the pictures that they were wanting to admit, and they had to get all this stuff straightened out. I don’t know why it wasn’t done before now, that’s what limiting motions are for, but we couldn’t get those done either.
Percy Martinez argued that both brothers were taken into custody on March 3, 2014. Baljit Athwal was in a vehicle, one that the cop cars and there was a crash, some type of accident. Tim Redd, detective from Turlock (I think he was detective at the time) was injured pretty seriously or they were concerned it was serious, so they let Baljit go so he could go seek a medical treatment. He didn’t get medical treatment even though he was in the backseat in handcuffs. He received some injuries of some sort, but they didn’t get him treatment. They released him from custody so he could seek treatment. So Percy Martinez is saying that’s part of the MO for processing and trying to get the suspects to make statements and she says so that arrest is relevant. They’re claiming that is not an arrested, it was a detention. There is a fine line in that the terms arrest and detention. A police officer can arrest you and detain you for a ticket or just to identify you or if that you know he can identify you under certain circumstances. You don’t always have to identify yourself so there’s a fine line between detention and arrest. They are saying he was detained. When you’re detained you can be, what they call 849 (it means it’s a 849 it’s the section that allows them to release you from custody and is quite often was 849B for example, is what they they book drunk in public for and it’s a six-hour kick out. 849 is the authority to did they do it under.
Marlisa Ferreira argued that Baljit Atwal’s arrest and the accident is a non-issue to the issue at hand. She said is not relevant to the issues at hand. She says Tim Redd was seriously injured and Baljit Atwal was released to seek medical help.
Jai Gohel argued that it’s unknown that the DA is trying to enter evidence of the lawsuit as part of the obstruction charge. What Jai Gohel is saying and the DA has contended all along that the Atwals were obstructing justice by filing a lawsuit because they feel that they were unjustly targeted and arrested in other areas prior to this. Furthermore, Frank Carson was advising people to file complaints against officers and file lawsuits if they think they’re wrong which is part of due process, but Marlisa Ferreira is saying that’s a consciousness of guilt and state of mind to follow-up on your constitutional rights. They are saying that it’s an obstruction of justice and you will stop an investigation by filing a lawsuit or complaining. No, you never got stop investigation no matter what you do. I’m sorry that’s just the way it is. So anyway so that’s what Jai Gohel was arguing that was one of the issues in one of the things that they claim is the obstruction of justice.
Judge Zuniga says the issue raised by the district attorney has morphed into this conversation that went to the accident, other things happened on the day of the search warrant and the accident. Really they were just talking about the photos in this thing just evolves into a lot of things. She said the DA seems to think that the issue of location of the property found has not been ruled on and she saying: well, yeah, it kinda has. But there’s that the issue of the children’s phones that were brought up that were confiscated and these are phones that had stickers, obviously kids were using these phones. The Judge says she doesn’t know if there’s really a way to tell if they look like kids phones or not. Jai Gohel argued all if you look at phones and you can tell.
everything that the officer searched is fair game, but what he didn’t do and that’s what she’s trying to get him to do is talk about what other people did and that’s that that’s not fair game. The accident is not an issue for this officer because he wasn’t really was involved in that. When other officers come up she says a very well could be.
Gary Martinez the DA investigator, if I remember right. Jai Gohel restarted his cross on Gary Martinez and asked about the search warrant on March 30, 2014 at about Baljit Atwals house, 7 AM, Monday morning. Swat made entry on that house at 7 AM, a Sheriff’s office SWAT team. As they always do they take everyone out of the house, videotape the house and then they did do their search. Jai Gohel was saying that Baljit Atwal was standing outside in his underwear. He was handcuffed in front of his kids, but they’re not going to let him put that sympathy factor out there with the kids. Apparently kids are an issue. I don’t know. Percy Martinez asked him about his 31 years with Modesto Police Department and he had gone to the District Attorney’s Office in June 2012. he had done three or four search warrants since he’s been with the DA’s office. Every item seized had its own item number. Apparently what they did was they also each room was given a number like a thousand are hundreds number whatever was and then in item number was given as a sub number of that. So if you had room 600 and you said you took a computer it would be like 601, that type of thing. He did not note any rooms that nothing was taken from. He just noted what he did take, and that’s typical.
Marlisa Ferreira went back to direct again she talked about the assigned numbers to each room. She also asked him about the SWAT entry and what is a matrix? Now if you’re not familiar with the term “matrix” as far as law enforcement is concerned, they have a scale that they use. I put up the matrix card once before it’s not from the sheriff’s department here, but is similar to what they used. I’ve seen it and it’s a scale that they they go through a list and they add up numbers and it so they figured out to the level of risk to the officers, that’s the matrix of the level of risk is how they’re going to do their entry. If it’s beyond a certain number then a SWAT entry is done. It’s a safety formula that the law enforcement uses. So there was an objection when she said again how it was determined to use a SWAT entry. it was a result of the matrix but, they went sidebar and then she came back and then talk about how it was a SWAT entry based on the matrix. SWAT used multiple objects to make entry. They could’ve used a ram on the front door, a pry bar however they did it. Judge Zuniga interjected and asked him if Ceres SWAT was at the briefing meeting prior to the serving of the search warrants. Remember it wasn’t one property that was being searched. It was several, the Woody house, Baljit’s house, Daljit Atwal’s house. I don’t remember if they did Pop and Cork on that day or not. There were multiple entry teams involved but they all briefed together prior to going out. So the SWAT entry at Baljit’s house was done at 7 AM so they had them meet pretty early.
The evidence, he said, was booked under us Sheriff’s office case number. Remember there was talk about was he doing reports on the sheriff’s department letterhead or the District Attorney’s Office Letterhead. He was a DA investor so he is doing reports under the DA’s office but he says the evidence was booked under a Sheriff’s office case number. He wasn’t sure if there were Sheriff’s deputies involved and how many sheriff’s deputies were involved in the SWAT team. He said maybe about ½ a dozen. Marlisa Ferreira asked him if that search warrant was signed by Judge. You can’t do a search warrant legally if it’s not signed by Judge. I don’t know why she asked some of the things but she did. Marlisa Ferreira asked if he arrested anyone and he said no, I personally did not take anyone into custody.
Jai Gohel asked him why Baljit Athwal was arrested. I’m not actually clear who determined to take him into custody, he was detained, he was in handcuffs. He did not see Baljit Athwal taken into custody. He was doing the search from 7 am until noon and he doesn’t remember seeing Baljit Athwal at that time and he wasn’t sure if Baljit was dressed or not.
The DA asked if it was standard operating procedure in a search warrant that people are moved outside the house. Of course it is, it is a safety issue, that doesn’t mean they have to make him stand outside in his underwear.
Jai Gohel tried to ask earlier about the kids and the family dynamic in the house and the DA objected. Then she asked a question about the kids put outside the house, is that standard operating procedure? So Jai Gohel can then ask who was taken outside? His wife, his three kids, and they’re all taken out to the street along with Baljit. Percy Martinez asked again the kids were detained about five hours. It was objected to. Well, that’s what happened. There was no further questions, this officer was done.
Dave Hickman was called to the stand. Dave Hickman is a Sheriff’s office Detective. He works robbery homicide or at least at the time I think he still does. He’s been a detective 14 of the 18 years in the office. He was on the case in March 2015 – August 2015. she asked him about 1:50 pm on 8/15/2015, he responded to the Department of Justice. They were doing a property search behind the Pop and Cork store on in the dirt lot in the back. That was a walk-through day with with Robert Woody. They were doing a dig in the property, looking for evidence of remains. He was at the dig until about 5:30 p.m. He left for short while but came back. He was helping with the digging itself in the lot. Remember they only dug in one spot, where Woody pointed and they only dug a couple feet back down and he was assisting the DOJ to dig 2 feet down and I believe it was like 6 or 7 or 8 feet wide. Robert Woody said he was able to do it 10 minutes, so they should have got him to do it.
Jai Gohel asked him how many people were out there digging? He said there are 3 to 4 people, including himself. There were no phones, body parts, no human remains. In addition there were no cadaver dogs searching.
I noticed too, just before we came back from lunch, Steve “the Juice” Jacobson was walking in with Dominic Saldana. Every time they want him to testify they had the hunt him down to get him to the stand. So Dominic Saldana was then called the stand. I noticed Jacobson stayed outside with Saldana, probably to make sure he stayed there, I don’t know.
The DA started her direct and she asked him if he recognized “a guy”, is how she put it, at the table. He said yeah it’s the Pop and Cork guy. She says is that would you go by, the Pop and Cork guy? He said well yeah we called him D, I don’t know his name but we called him D. he knows the guy at the other end of the table as D’s brother. He was asked if he recognized Frank Carson sitting at the end of the table and he did not recall ever seeing Frank Carson, he’s only seen him in the newspaper. He reads the paper, how about that.
Marlisa Ferreira, at this point, had gotten up and she went over and stood right next to Daljit Atwal, almost touching him, pointing her finger at “the guy” and she did the same thing to Baljit Atwal. Apparently she’s not too afraid to these guys, they’re not too dangerous if she’s willing to do that.he used to work at Pop and Cork. He did not know Korey Kauffman, but he had heard mostly through the streets and Kevin Pickett that he had gone missing. He knows Robert Woody and he knew Robert Woody worked at Pop and Cork. He saw Robert Woody at Pop and Cork before he started working there. He had talked to D a Pop and Cork when he had worked there and it also talked to the brother, that’s how he referred to him, the brother. He was asked did he ever hear about Korey Kauffman was a tweaker? Mr. Saldana was, I don’t want to say he was under the influence, because I didn’t get that close to see for myself, but it’s either that or he’s got some serious issues. So this poor guy he’s obviously a street person so and he didn’t understand some of the terms they used. They weren’t big words, but he didn’t understand. He said he heard D talk about calling Korey Kauffman a tweaker before. She asked if he ever saw D with a gun? He said yes. She asked him if D ever pointed that gun at him? He said no, never directly at him, but I don’t really recall either. So she was trying to getting to say that Daljit Atwal had pointed the gun at him at one time for something. Marlisa Ferreira was asking about the interview he did with Jon Evers and Kirk Bunch, she had him reviewing his transcript of that report. He said he did point a gun at him, but he did not recall what D had said to him when he had done that. Again he was reading the transcript. He actually read very quickly, I thought. He said that D had said something about “fucking tweakers”, that’s the term that was used. He said D did tell him to get out of the store at one point and used the “m***** f******* tweakers” term again. He has not talked to Daljit Atwal or Baljit Athwal since he is been subpoenaed.
Hans Hjertonsson went to do cross on Dominic Saldana and asked him how he feels? Is everything okay with him? He says he feels good. He says he is a meth addict, but he has been clean for two weeks. Meth addicts typically almost always say they been clean for two weeks or it’s been a week, or it’s been a while. Even though they may be under the influence, they always say that. He was asked what his method is, how he likes to ingest the methamphetamine? He says that all depends on how the people that are with me, because “I ain’t got no money” are supplying the drugs. He was shown again the transcript to refresh. He was interviewed in March 2014. he has no specific recall of the of things and he’ll use the defense “what do I know I’m a meth addict”. he said it was a few years ago. He didn’t remember who else was there with Kirk Bunch doing the interview but there was a big guy. He told investigators that he had known the people from Pop and Cork since December of the previous year from that interview. So that was in March 2014, so it was around November or December 2013. again he’s not sure of the dates, it’s a deduction that was made through questioning. So he did not know them for a long time of prior to that interview. He said that he was under the influence of methamphetamine the day he talked to Kirk Bunch and Jon Evers. He did make some comments during an interview, like Oh, man I’m so wired right now I don’t know, things like that. He said he was scared and he was told some lies by the investigators. Someone had told him, I believe it finally came out it was Kirk Bunch, that he was going to be arrested for aiding and abetting a homicide. He said it kind of freaked him out, getting charged with that type of thing. He said he had known about Korey Kauffman missing, through the media so apparently he does read the paper or watch the news or facebook and street talk. He said there was a lot of Street talk going on.
Percy Martinez did cross and he did bring it out that he stayed at Kevin Pickett’s house for some time after Korey went missing. He was living in the Pickett house and that’s where he had initially start learning about Korey Kauffman. That’s all Percy had.
Mme. DA did some re-re-redirect on him, as she always does. She asked him if he stayed at Pop and Cork in a camper, in the back for some time? There was some talk about somebody was living in the back lot in a camper on the back lot of Pop and Cork. This is something apparently Kevin Pickett arranged and this came up during Kevin Pickett’s testimony. He said that D point a gun at him and called him a “m****** f****** tweaker”and told to get out of the store. She asked if he was lying and he says I’m not lying. He told officers that he had heard D called Korey Kauffman a tweaker and the officer did tell him he could be taken into custody for at least lying to them.
Hans Hjertonsson went on re-cross again and asked about living in the back of Pop and Cork and living at Kevin Pickett’s house. That’s where he learned that the Kaufman had gone missing. But didn’t know D from Pop and Cork until sometime later. It kinda sounds like Kevin Pickett might’ve introduced Saldana to the Pop and Cork people and Kevin Pickett also arranged for the camper in the back of the store for him to live there. Kirk Bunch said that he confessed. He said I don’t know. Kirk Bunch told him they had information that he had moved the body and he said he was tweaking and he was scared and he didn’t know what to do.
Judge Zuniga stepped in and tells the attorneys together to come to a sidebar because she cannot remember this part of the information and she’s not tracking the stuff. She’s doing this more and more, she doesn’t not recall the information, she doesn’t remember her rulings, she doesn’t remember a lot of things. It would make this thing go a lot faster sometimes if she had better recall, but she doesn’t. This case is really overwhelming too. They had a sidebar.
Then he said that he talked to Kirk Bunch and Kirk Bunch again said that he moved the body, but he told Kirk Bunch that he never did anything like that but Kirk Bunch was telling him but admitted later in the interview to saying the tweaker comments. he said he was so under the influence at the time that he’s not really sure what he said. It’s sad that it’s come down to this for some of these people.
Percy Martinez again did recross and asked him to if Kirk Bunch told him he could be taken into custody for homicide? He said yes. He was scared. This is how they interview people with intimidation.
Again Marlisa Ferreira did re-re-re-re-direct and she asked him if he had anything do with it. He said no, I didn’t have anything to do with that homicide. He told Kirk Bunch he’s just a tweaker or and he talks like a tweaker and he said he was under the influence at the time. He was asked if he knows the difference between a truth or lie? He said yeah the truth is the truth the lie is the a lie. He was kind of funny in some ways and you know there were some humorous things, that came out, but I thought the testimony was wasn’t humorous at all. He said he was never arrested for homicide.
Hans did re-re-re-re-cross and just asked one question. Did he tell Kirk Bunch that he was under the influence? He said yes.
Percy Martinez asked him about somebody by the name of Chris Moda (?), but he said that was just a tweaker talking about somebody had said that he had moved the body. There’s no further questions. Dominic Saldana was done.
The DA then called Modesto Police Department officer. Lance Nikolai. This gets a little interesting. the first of all, we had 4-5 witnesses today, that’s amazing itself. Nikolai has been with the Modesto Police Department 22 years. He’s never been a detective. He was working August 9, 2012 on patrol and around 6:51 PM he was sent to 811 15th St. For disturbing the peace, in progress. That is Frank Carson’s office. Now remember 8/9/2012 is the day that they went to Frank Carson’s office after they sent questions in regard to Korey Kauffman. Evers, Bunch, and Navarro all went to Frank Carson’s office and that’s where is the altercation was. Frank Carson was the reporting party, the RP, and the call was there were officers in his business and refused to leave, also talk about one of the officers had a gun under his jacket or shirt. They staged their response to wait for other officers and there were like three or four cars together and then they go in, in strength and force. It’s a safety thing. He also said there was a supplemental information that was broadcast by his dispatch, that the RP was 5150. now if you don’t know what 5150 is, most people do in this state, it’s what they use to refer to is a mentally unstable person. So there there telling him that the RP was 5150. he did say prior to going to Carson’s office he did stop and talk to Jon Evers, I don’t know if that was in person or on the phone or radio. Jon Evers, remember, was a Modesto police officer that’s working this task force – that’s not called a task force. When he got there Jon Evers was not there anymore, nor were Kirk Bunch or Navarro. They arrived at the scene and Frank Carson was out front and he made contact with Frank Carson. Now he didn’t have a body cam on.
Let me let me make a quick note. Now Sgt. Nikolai, I thought he was very good on the stand, I thought he was honest and straightforward and just kind of told it how it was and when I saw the body cam footage was kind of impressed away he handled the whole thing. Just my 2 cents. But he had a trainee with him that day that was wearing a body cam. So it worked out well, because you can see Nikolai and Frank Carson talking on the body cam. The trainee was standing back and watching. It showed Officer Nikolai and Frank Carson talking out on the sidewalk and the street in front of his office. There was a couple other officers there. They were just standing around. Frank Carson was really calm, he wasn’t excited. He said the conversation went very well. The video was submitted into evidence so they can play the video. They handed out transcript to the jury and to the translators so they could follow along. The judge emphasizes that the transcriptions are not evidence, the recording is, but they do that to aid in following along.
Frank Carson was extremely calm. The investigators that had gone into the office were making it sound like he was he was a lunatic and out of control, somebody was saying that he 5150 and stuff like that. But he was very calm and very respectful, he wasn’t jumping down screaming and the video shows that. The jury saw Frank Carson having a real civil, calm, conversation with officer Nikolai. None of the other involved officers there they were patrol officers Modesto police engaged Frank Carson. I was impressed with the way Nikolai handled it, there were no problems.Frank Carson requested that Kirk Bunch and Frank Navarro be arrested for trespassing, because he demanded they leave if they didn’t have a warrant. He asked them for a warrant. They didn’t have a warrant. He asked them if he was going to be arrested? They said no, he’s not going to be arrested. He said okay get out. For several minutes they refused to do so and it escalated and Frank Carson ended up calling 911. Frank Carson was giving a pretty detailed accounting of what happened, a little bit of history and background of what happened there and in the past. Nikolai said that it would be submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for possible complaint. Frank Carson looks at him and says these are district attorney investigators. They can’t determine a complaint against them he said they would have to go the AG’s office. Nikolai was trying to just resolve the situation, typically that were patrol officers do.
It was after little after 3 o’clock at this point and we took a break. We came back again. Nikolai was back on the stand. Frank Carson said he didn’t have the worker still on the property. He talked about how there was a worker there, but the door was locked when those investigators got there. The worker walked over and opened or unlocked the door. Whatever it was, he was saying that the door was locked.
He had asked for Georgia DeFilippo’s information, but he said he said he never got a statement from Georgia DeFilippo. Frank Carson asked for a CA, meaning a citizen’s arrest. But the officer says, and I understand where he’s coming from, he’s not sure what he could do in a situation like this that involves investigators from the District Attorney’s Office and his own office and Frank Navarro was Turlock Police Department. So the supervisor would have to get involved to make that determination, if anybody was going to be arrested and/or cited. He also said typically that type of situation is somebody saying there’s a trespasser in my office, they have to be advised by the owner the properties are not welcome there. If they still refuse to leave then the police officer advises them they’re not welcome. If they don’t leave and then some action is taken. So he said that’s kind of the protocol that’s followed in those type of situations.
After he left the Carson office he met with the Evers, Navarro and Bunch. I believe it was over at the District Attorney’s Office. Marlisa Ferreira asked the officer Nikolai if Frank Carson ever said anything about him being a suspect in a homicide? He said no. It was objected to and sustained. It really wasn’t appropriate the way she asked it. There’s a sidebar. Then she started to ask, it sounded like almost the same identical question. It was objected to. judge says I made a mistake and they had a sidebar again. So she made a mistake in a ruling of some sort. So Frank Carson was telling Nikolai that he was or was not a suspect in a DA case, I believe is what he said and so the that the kinda cleared it up a little bit. Frank Carson did mention that he was a suspect in a case, but he didn’t say that he was suspect a homicide. Frank Carson never said Jon Evers was talking to Georgia DeFilippo outside and and Frank Carson wasn’t asking for Evers to be cited or arrested. He was asking for Bunch and Navarro because they were in the office and wouldn’t leave. He says John Evers stepped outside, he did leave. To him that was him leaving and technically it is. So he wasn’t asking for any action against Evers. He was asked if Frank Carson said anything about earlier visits to the office? He said that was never mentioned.
So that was it for the day. The jury was sent out. They talked about a few scheduling things, I typically don’t listen that because it changes by the minute. I tried putting up schedules of things and stuff, it just doesn’t work because they’ll change it that night by email. Unfortunately, I’m not part of the loop in those emails, I think that goes without saying.
Tomorrow the jury is back at 10 AM. attorney’s are back at 9AM to talk about the stupid pictures and search warrants. All this should been done already but is not. I don’t know if Nikolai is done testifying or not, but I don’t think so. I noticed that the officer or detective Tim Redd was sitting outside waiting to testify. There was another officer who there, I don’t know who he was, but he was obviously an officer. The defense attorneys were, to be honest with you,a little pleased that Marlisa Ferreira chose to put that video into evidence showing Frank Carson’s calm demeanor. They are talking about how out-of-control he was, a lunatic and 5150 and all this stuff. Frank Carson was very calm and being respectful and they had a good conversation. That’s exactly Nikolai said.
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