Good evening everybody, this is Marty from Dawg’s Blog with tonight podcast on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 on the Frank Carson, et al Trial. This is the afternoon session, the morning session was all arguments over the issue of Scott McFarlane’s plea agreement and some of the wording within that agreement.
So the Judge comes back this afternoon at 1:20 PM with the attorneys, so we could get the jury up at 1:30 PM, but it never works out that way. I believe we got the jury up at 1:42 PM. Regarding the wording of the plea agreement, the issue from this morning, the Judge started giving another citation, People vs. Homak (I believe), but she says there may be some misstatements of the law in some of the arguments. Everything came to a stop and all attorneys read the case law. She said the issue is that McFarlane agreement violates due process for the defendant. Just to give you a recap the defense is claiming the last lines of Scott McFarlane’s plea agreements says that he will testify truthfully and in line with his previous statements to law enforcement. The defense is saying “as agreed on” doesn’t mean he will testify truthfully and there is case law and a due process violation. Marlisa Ferreira says it is not.
Based on the cited cases they talk about the prosecution cases depend on the witness testimony that is the essence of the case depended on those prosecution witnesses. The other ones effect testimony in other ways and this case is like that. So it is clear that when it says the witness will testify truthfully, the Judge says that validates it. The agreement is not valid when the witness has to testify a certain way. That it what the defense was arguing. She started reading the Scott McFarlane plea agreement again. She says in its’ entirety there is an understatement of what the truth is (I don’t really understand what she meant by that). There is nothing in the agreement about a consistent statement it just says he has to testify truthfully. The defense objection is denied.
We got the jury up at 1:42PM. Scott McFarlane on the stand. Marlisa Ferreira started direct with Scott McFarlane. He says he knew Daljit and Baljit from Pop and Cork, he went to Pop and Cork several times a week in 2011 and 2012. He said he would hang out at the far end of the counter, sounded like at the front of the store, but he said also there were times he went to the back area. People would hang out in the back area, friends, law enforcement officers. There were officers from Turlock PD, Stanislaus Sheriff’s Dept., Merced Sheriff’s Dept., Modesto PD and CHP. Alcohol was served in the back room, it a makeshift bar area. He knows Robert Woody from Pop and Cork. He said he was closer to Daljit, than Baljit, because Daljit was there more often when he’d stop in after his night shift 10PM to midnight. He has seen Baljit Athwal at night a handful of times (once or twice/month, not very often, he usually work the morning shift). He’d stay 15-90 min.
He lived in Turlock at the time on South Johnson St. He knows the Pickett’s and Kevin Pickett’s stepson, Korey Kauffman. They were neighbors of his on S. Johnson St. In 2011-2012 he said he had 1-2 conversations/week with Korey Kauffman. Asked if he had any problems with Korey Kauffman? He said no. Did he ever work for you? He said no. Did Korey Kauffman take stuff from your property? He said no. Or at your request? He said no. Did you ever tell other officers that Korey Kauffman had taken things from his property? He said no. He did donate some scrap to the Pickett household one day, knowing they were scrappers and had some stuff to get rid of. Korey Kauffman was present when he turned the scrap over to Kevin Pickett and family.
Marlisa Ferreira asked about Larry Niemeyer supplied a set of points that he would testify to a meeting on 5/23/15, that was the day of the interview he had with Kirk Bunch and Jon Evers. They went through what Scott McFarlane would say. Scott McFarlane said I’m sure of these things and these conversations that he just doesn’t recall all the conversations (and I don’t know why she went into what Larry Niemeyer said he would testify to). He started talking about the conversations he had with other officers or other people at Pop and Cork. He says “I just don’t recall”. She asked did you have those conversations with Quentinar, Wells? He says he doesn’t remember. He said he didn’t think he said some of those things.
Marlisa Ferreira asked a strange question: What did you tell your attorney in regards to some of these points and questions? Objections just lit up the room, it is an improper question. It ended up in a sidebar and the Judge made it pretty clear that it was an improper question. You can’t ask someone about a privileged conversation on the stand. Marlisa Ferreira said she would ask the question differently when she came back from the sidebar. There was a transcript of the interview on 5/23/15, that the Judge apparently did not have. Jai Gohel supplied the court with the transcript. The Judge wanted to know exactly what was said and didn’t have the transcript.
The jury had been sent out to clear up some of this stuff that was going on. There were only out for about 10 min. They came back in and Scott McFarlane back on the stand. On 5/23/15 he told Jon Evers and Kirk Bunch, in regard to Pop and Cork, Korey Kauffman was a topic of conversation. Well, that sounds right, but he didn’t recall any specifics. He first heard about Korey Kauffman was missing when Kevin Pickett and Dawn Poma had come to his house and talked to him about what was going on. He advised the Picketts to contact the Sheriff’s Dept and file a report.
Marlisa Ferreira asked Scott McFarlane if he remembered any injuries to Daljit Athwal’s hand? There was an objection that ended up in a sidebar. The Judge said she didn’t really want to, because she wants to keep going even though there are objections and questions that need to be talked about. When they came back from the sidebar, Marlisa Ferreira asked if he ever saw injuries on Daljit Athwal’s hand? He said yeah, he had a bandage that went around the back and the palm of his hand. There was also an abrasion on his left cheek. He did not recall when he saw those injuries, it was unknown if it was before or after the Kevin Pickett visit. Daljit Athwal said he chased a shoplifter from the store and that’s how those injuries occurred. He also heard a story that Daljit Athwal said he had an accident on a motorcycle. He had never known Daljit Athwal to own a motorcycle.
He was asked what Bobby Athwal drove? He said a Chevy pickup and a Mercedes. He was asked if anything happened to the pickup? He said it was stolen and burned. He never asked any questions when it was stolen and recovered. He said he didn’t really recall, but he didn’t think so, because cars getting stolen and burned is a regular occurance, especially with him being a CHP officer at the time.
He remembers talking to Daljit Athwal, saying he had fixed Robert Woody’s teeth. He didn’t recall how much it cost to have those teeth repaired. He said Daljit Athwal said that was in exchange for the work Robert Woody was doing at the store. He didn’t know if Robert Woody was getting a paycheck, cash or anything for working at the store. He was doing stocking and some handyman work around the store.
Asked if he had ever seen a firearm on Daljit Athwal’s person? He said yes, on an ankle holster. It was unknown caliber and he 100% sure, but thinks it was around 2009-2012 when he saw it and he saw it more than once. He said Daljit Athwal did retrieve the gun from the ankle. He asked if Daljit Athwal ever wore a gun on his hip? He doesn’t recall ever seeing on his hip. Asked if he ever saw firearms at Pop and Cork? He said yes. He saw a handgun on Daljit Athwal’s ankle. He never saw a 22 caliber on his ankle. He didn’t believe it was 22 caliber or 32 caliber. Did he know of any law enforcement officers that kept guns at Pop and Cork? He said yes. How did he know? He said Quentinar had said so. 2011-2012, he kept one gun there, I believe he said, a thirty-aught-six rifle, he loaned to Baljit Athwal. It was just over a weekend or a few day period. He didn’t exactly recall when. He said there was no other guns he kept there. He was asked in 2011-2012 if he had a 22 caliber rifle? He seemed a little confused about that, but it sounded like he did. He was asked if was broke down, like the stock off? He says no. Asked if he knew the brand name of his rifle, was it a Marlin? He doesn’t recall if it was a Marlin or not.
He was asked if he ever talked to Eula Keys? He said no. He was asked if he told a lady at Pop and Cork that bad things happen to bad people in regard to Korey Kauffman? He said yeah, I said that to somebody. He said Korey Kauffman was a nice kid and sometimes bad things happen. He said Korey Kauffman was a thief and maybe he got caught doing something he shouldn’t.
She asked if he had any conversations with the Athwals about Korey Kauffman riding his bicycle with a toolbag hanging off the handlebars. This was when Scott McFarlane was irrigating his fields or something. He said yes, he saw him, and they talked about it at Pop and Cork, he just doesn’t remember when. He did not recall Baljit Athwal or anybody else talking about it, but he believe there was conversations. He did not know for a fact that Korey Kauffman was carrying bags and tools, he just assumed, said it looked like a toolbag. Korey Kauffman, he said, never stole from him.
He said there was some talk that somebody was looking after Frank Carson properties, he didn’t recall when. There was conversations in regards to Frank Carson’s properties at the store. He doesn’t’ recall anyone who was present during those conversations, but said it could be Robert Woody or Robert Woody said it was the Athwals. He remembers the conversations, he doesn’t remember who. He was asked about a conversation with Baljit Athwal regarding Frank Carson said to go by Mike Cooley’s house in 2011-2012, he didn’t know if that was prior to Korey Kauffman going missing or not. He was asked if Baljit Athwal said why they were going by Mike Cooley’s house? He said Baljit said Frank Carson is tired of the thefts on his property. He did not recall that Daljit Athwal got paid. He never asked Baljit Athwal why he was doing it. Asked if he was ever asked to spotlight 9th Street while he was on patrol? He says no.
Asked how he would contact people at Pop and Cork? He said by phone, but doesn’t remember the numbers, but did call their cell phones. He doesn’t recall ever calling on the land line and in 2012 he received a “love letter” (when you have a conversation intercepted on a wiretap, intended for someone else, they have to notify you). In conversation with the Athwals there were never any changes of phones or anything like that after the “love letter”. He wasn’t aware of anyone there using throw away phones. He was asked if there was any talk of changing or new phones? He said not that he knew of.
After Korey Kauffman went missing he saw flyers about Korey Kauffman on the front door at Pop and Cork. Asked if he ever talked to Bobby or D about Korey Kauffman? He didn’t really recall. He never saw those flyers removed or any conversations in regard to remove them. He didn’t recall any conversations with anybody about those flyers or Korey Kauffman. Asked if he talked to about Korey Kauffman with Quentinar? He didn’t recall, but said he may have. Asked if he knew when Robert Woody had gone to Washington? He wasn’t sure about that, but Daljit Athwal said Robert Woody told him after he left, that he had gone to Washington. That was apparently after Korey Kauffman went missing. Daljit Athwal didn’t say if any money was given to Robert Woody for any of that stuff.
Asked about the side lot at Pop and Cork? It is a rectangular shaped lot, on the west side of the store. Marlisa Ferreira put up a picture on the overhead. The alley is on the south end and on the north end is East Ave. He’s been to that side lot about a dozen times. There were BBQ’s on the side lot, especially during the spring and summer. He first met the Athwals in 2006 or 2007. He was hanging around there in 2010-2011. He was not hanging out in the side lot in 2006-2007. In the winter they stayed in the backroom because it was too wet and cold to be in the side lot.
He did do some work in the side lot, he had rototilled the side yard in 2006-2007. Robin Attenhofer had made a suggestion to rototill the part of the yard, so she could grow some plants back there. He said the Athwals gave permission or he thought they did. He said he tilled a long straight strip for Robin Attenhofer to plant. He added composted manure to the yard. Marlisa Ferreira was asking him about some little white balls in the compost? He said he didn’t recall any little white balls, but he did come across buried garbage in the lot. There was even clothes, jeans, blue tarp, trash bags. He said there was a lot of garbage. He didn’t recall telling investigators he came across a pipe in that lot. Specifically this was a gas pipe that the DOJ found in the alleged gravesite at Pop and Cork.
We took a break a little after 3 PM. The jury came back at 3:30 PM. Scott McFarlane is back on the stand.
Marlisa Ferreira showed him #556 picture, a google maps side lot view of Pop and Cork. It was blurry and not very good picture. She pulled up the next picture #557 and it was much better picture. Scott McFarlane was using the laser pointer to show the areas tilled, it was 10 yards long and 1.5 feet or yards wide (whatever he said). He said he never planted anything, he just rototilled. He did see some plants growing a few months later. He thinks it was around the end of April, but isn’t sure about the year. It didn’t sound like it was taken care of well, he didn’t see any plants afterward, just initially. He never saw a garden after 2012. She asked him if there was anything in the yard in 2013? he says no. She asked him if he recalled a bare strip in the SE corner of the picture in 2012. He says no. He said that is in the area where he rototilled for Robin Attenhofer and he thinks Robert Woody was there also when he did the rototilling. She asked if Baljit Athwal or Daljit Athwal came out while he was rototilling? He doesn’t’ recall. He did talk after the fact to them, in the store. Did the Athwals say what was planted? He says no, he was never told. He believes it was in early April, that usually when you start gardens. They aren’t going to produce as early when you plant late. He’s a farmer, so he knows about these things. He did put a bed of compost out there. He said he got it from his brother’s house, so it was not paid for by anyone, just a couple of dumpster fulls in the back of his truck.
Tony Kauffman had come over to his house, 1-2 weeks after Korey Kauffman had went missing.
She asked him if he ever saw a video of a party on the side lot. There was an objection. She started asked about the lighting on the side lot. He said there are city lamps out there, but it is very dark there, it doesn’t light things up much back there. He saw the video of the party, but he didn’t recall how the lighting looked or anything like that. It has been 6-7 years.
He was asked was he aware of the search warrant served in July 2012. He learned there was an investigation going on. He didn’t really recall when he learned about the investigation. He was only aware of private investigators and that was prior to the search warrant. He learned that there was investigation by law enforcement right around the time of the search warrant. He was asked if he was friends with the Athwals? He said yeah, I believe we were close friends. After the search warrant, Kirk Bunch told him that the Athwals were under investigation.
He said after the search warrant the Athwals treated him differently. Daljit Athwal and Robert Woody gave him the cold shoulder at the store when he went in. Asked if the cold shoulder affected him much? He said yeah, it bothered him and it slowed down how much he went into Pop and Cork.
There was a long sidebar. The Judge had an issue with something.
After the sidebar, Marlisa Ferreira was asking after the Picketts came by, Tony Kauffman came by and was with a neighbor’s grandson and Tony Kauffman was asking what was going on next door. Asked about the last time he saw Korey and he didn’t recall what he told him or the gist of the conversation.
Marlisa Ferreira asked if he recalled his code of ethics questions that he was asked in an interview with Sgt. Domby. There was another CHP investigator there. Asked if he recalled what was said during that interview and their discussion about the code of ethics on 9/3/2015. He didn’t really recall. She refreshed him with a transcript. He says he knows what it says in the transcript, but he doesn’t recall saying what he said in the transcript. He said he is mandated by the CHP code of ethics, especially in regards to influences of friends or relatives affect his duties as required by law. Asked if he made any statements to Domby and LePoire (?). There was an objection and another long, animated sidebar. When they came back, Marlisa Ferreira asked if his friendship with the Atwals cloud his judgement in 2012? He said possibly. That is what he told CHP officers in the interview.
It was the end of the day. It was 4:10 – 4:15 PM. The Jury is coming back at 9 AM tomorrow and Scott McFarlane is back on the stand. It sounded like Marlisa Ferreira is almost done, but there is no way to tell.
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We are back in court tomorrow morning. Don’t take my word for it, do like many people did today and come to court and find out for yourself. Good night everybody!