Hello everybody, this is Marty from Dawg’s Blog with tonight’s podcast on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 on the Frank Carson et al Trial. This is the afternoon session. Tom was there this afternoon and we’ll have a report up later.
Judge Zuniga came back out on the bench at 1:33 PM. She was citing another case with regards to what was going on this morning with Navar testimony. She cited People vs. Almada (?), it’s regarding a Messiah violation and has sixth amendment mentions in it. It is in regard to statements against penal interest and she started reading some of the text of that case. She was telling Marlisa Ferreira to clarify the circumstances of some of the statements Navar made to investigators and how they came about. She is wanting to know if he made some statements on his own or these were statements that came from questions by investigators.
She said she was going to call up the jury at this point and will give them an admonishment that she asked last Thursday about Daljit Athwal firing a shot at a shoplifting suspect in the store as the evidence has proven that is not exactly the case. It sounds like he shot one round into the air. The first round was heard, not seen and unknown if it was shot at somebody. The second round was fired in the air and there was a witness to that. So Marlisa Ferreira may have misled the jury.
The jury was called up at 1:44 PM. Judge Zuniga did give the admonishment to the jury, telling them to disregard what the Marlisa Ferreira said in regards to Daljit Athwal shooting at somebody at Pop and Cork. She said there was an objection, she sustained the objection but didn’t strike the testimony and she advised the jury the entire statement will be stricken.
At this time Ronald Brooks Varner was called to the stand. He was a witness called out of order by Jai Gohel as Mr. Varner has been to court 7-8 times. He does have health issues and they needed to get his testimony in before he has some health procedures. He is wearing an oxygen mask.
Jai Gohel started asking him in 2012 Mr. Varner lived at 1170 East St. right next to the Pop and Cork. He still does. He knows the Athwals from Pop and Cork and is familiar with the vacant lot between his house and the store. He’s lived there 8 years recently, but he lived in it before. He was raised in the house, it was is Dad’s house. He moved out for some time after he separated from his wife, then in 2011-2012 he moved back into the house. Jai Gohel asked him if in March and April 2012 was he home every night? He said he did work out of town many times, but that was during the day and he was home at night.
Jai Gohel showed him some pictures, picture #652 the east side of his house and picture #653 the east side of his house and the apartment building (the apt was built on top of his garage in the back off the alley). Picture #654 was another picture of the apt building. Picture #651 the empty lot between Pop and Cork and his house. Jai Gohel was establishing this witness was familiar with these pictures. He put on the overhead picture #652 and it shows the side of his house, behind the fence with his window from the bedroom that faces the Pop and Cork lot. There are two windows that face the lot, but only one room being used which is his bedroom (and maybe his girlfriends or maybe that was just in 2012).
In 2012 Melvin Morrison lived in the apartment as a renter and he’d lived there for 10-12 years. There was a fire at the house and that is the house we saw in the paper sometime back, 2-3 years ago.
He owned 2 dogs at the time, Jack and Roxie, Roxie has since passed away. Right now both dogs would be about 12 years old if Roxie was still alive. Jack is a Russel Terrier and he still has him. Roxie was a boxer and at the time she was 6-7 years old. Both dogs barked in the yard if there was any type of activity going on, especially in the alleyway they were always barking at the triplex in the back. In 2012 his girlfriend lived there with the dogs. He had heard the dogs bark in August of 2012. Had he heard anything in regard to the Pop and Cork lot? He said no. He said the dogs were always alerting from late at night in March or April of 2012 again because of activities across the alleyway at one of the houses back there. He says he remembers the dogs always barking, typically it was the same thing, people in the alley, but he never heard anything at Pop and Cork, except for one time. He was asked if heard any motor vehicles or shovels digging in the dirt in March or April 2012 in that lot. He was shown a picture of the vacant lot at Pop and Cork and asked if he saw the street light? He does remember it is always working and it is always bright. He had to use his curtains because that window was so bright at night. In April 2012 he had a doggy door on his back door and the dogs were free to go in and out anytime of the day or night.
He asked him there were any law enforcement officers on the side lot on August of 2015? He said yes and Robert Woody was there in jail clothes. He knew Robert Woody. Law enforcement officers in the lot were digging and looked like they were investigating. There were tables set up and items on the tables. It never occurred before or since.
Jai Gohel asked if any law enforcement officers had ever come and talked to him? He said never. He said he did talk to the private investigator for the defense and he wanted to know if he had seen anything in March or April of 2012. He said the first person to talk to him was the private investigator. He did not recall any dogs there in the lot at Pop and Cork and he said there was at one time a house in that lot and it had burned down some time ago. There were part that were never burned, but it was bulldozed. They never did give the date the private investigator talked to him.
Percy Martinez started his questioning. He asked in March or April 2012, in the house, did he notice any type of foul odors coming from the lot. He said no. He said the dogs run ot the back fence anytime there is activity. He said he looked the first few times and then quit looking. One time there was a dog in the lot over at Pop and Cork and the dogs had gone to the fence, but that was just the one time and he didn’t remember exactly when.
Marlisa Ferreira started cross examination on this witness. It was a fast and furiously paced cross exam. She obviously had disdain for Mr. Varner and I don’t really understand why, to be honest with you. She did not come off well, the way she was acting towards this gentleman.
She asked if there was a dog in the lot for a year during the day and not at night in 2012. He said there was, he wasn’t sure about the times/dates or how long, but there was a dog over there at one time. He said he moved back into 1170 East St. 8 years ago and never saw anyone dig or heard or saw his dog reacting to anyone in there especially at night. He didn’t know whose dog it was for the short period of time. He worked out of the area during the day, but he was laid off during the summer of 2012, so he was home.
She asked him in the Kirk Bunch interview in March 26, 2018, he said in May he was still working at the time. He says no I didn’t say that. He didn’t recall talking to Kirk Bunch either. The only person he ever talked to was a Sheriff’s deputy. She says do you recognize the person sitting at the table? He says no, I don’t recognize him, but I did talk to someone on the phone and apparently that is what happened. Kirk Bunch gave him a phone call and Marlisa Ferreira was trying to make him look bad because Kirk Bunch couldn’t drive to his house. He says he did recall that he was working out of town, off and on, he didn’t recall specifically what he had said. He was shown a transcript of the interview but says it doesn’t refresh his memory. He doesn’t know if it is accurate or not. She asked did you say you worked out of town? He said no. She asked are you trying to tell the truth? (these are very rapid-fire questions). He said yes. She asked so you don’t recall saying that. He said, yes, that’s right. Did you tell Kirk Bunch that you had side jobs working in the Bay Area, not for the state, but worked construction type of work? He said yeah, but that wasn’t during that time and he was starting to get confused, because the questions were very confusing and very rapid fire. This ended up in a sidebar.
Back from the sidebar. In 2012 he said he had worked some out of town, but asked if he worked at the state parks in 2012, he said no. There were times when he did work for state parks that he didn’t come home at night. She asked if he told Kirk Bunch he stayed overnight? He said yeah, I might have, but I did not work in the State Parks in 2012. She asked if he worked side jobs during the day in 2012? She also asked if he was getting unemployment and going into an area she was trying to make him look bad instead of just asking questions. In 3/30/2012, he may have been working for the Parks, but he’s not sure that far back and again he didn’t really recall talking to Kirk Bunch.
She asked him about law enforcement officers in 2015 in the side lot? He said yeah, it was during the day and unknown day of the week. In regard to the search warrant, he saw three law enforcement officers and Robert Woody, they were there about 4 hours or so.
There was an objection to some of these questions and she started in on a very aggressive attack on this witness and for the life of me, I can’t understand why. He’s just a neighbor that was never interviewed by law enforcement.
He did not see law enforcement officers arrive but did see them leave with Robert Woody. They were digging in the lot by the store and he saw Robert Woody walking around but didn’t see exactly what he was doing.
She asked can he see the ground from his bedroom window? She was getting pictures together to show the witness. Picture #743 it is a view out of his window facing the lot and she was trying to do some comparisons from then and now on some of these pictures. During the summer he puts up awning because the sun comes in the window during the day. The second picture #744 basically the same picture with a slightly different angle. Picture #745 was the other bedroom. Picture #746 the window in the other bedroom with a little different angle. The pictures were taken by the private investigator for the defense. He said the PI was the first one to come around and talked to him about what happened that night. In 2012 a Sheriff’s office detective had talked to him, but they weren’t asking what happened or what he may have seen, they were just showing him the fire and trying to ask if he’d seen the person. It was just prior to Robert Woody on the lot in 2015.
He talked about Mr. Morrison, who lived in the back apt building. She asked if Mr. Morrison talk about Korey Kauffman. He said, no we never had that discussion. She said did you tell Mr. Morrison about the flyer. He said no, we never discussed it. She asked did they talk about Pop and Cork in 2012 when the search warrant was done? He said no. He was unaware of the search warrant. She asked about the dogs barking at law enforcement officers in 2012? He doesn’t think so. He doesn’t remember many officers at the first search warrant in 2012. He says he believes it was on a weekend but didn’t recall what year. It was several years later after he moved back in and he only remembers the law enforcement officers that one time.
The house, that was originally on the lot, was set way back from the road and that was when he lived with his wife and kids in the house. He had moved out of the house 25-26 years ago and it was around that time the house in the back had burned (the house in the back of the Pop and Cork lot). She asked if he ever talked to anybody in regards to the dog in the lot at Pop and Cork? He said no. In 2012 there was no one living in the lot. At one point there was an RV that had been pulled into the lot, but in 2012 no one was living back there. He never investigated what the dogs were barking at as they always barked at the back alley. After the first or second time he had an idea what they were doing so he didn’t keep investigating.
She asked him if he ever saw any rototilling in the back lot? He saw the whole lot one time being rototilled by Robert Woody. She asked him if there was anyone else besides Robert Woody rototilling the lot? He says no, he just saw Robert Woody. He never saw anyone planting in the lot or a garden growing back there.
She asked on 3/30/2012 was that street light working in the alley? He was getting confused. They were rapid fire questions and he couldn’t hardly keep up, nor could the court reporter. He said on 4/27/2012, he wasn’t sure if the light worked either, but says the light was always working, but can’t say for sure.
The jury was sent out at 2:58 PM for a break. Scott McFarlane had been out in the hallway since 1:30 PM, so he was excused and he’s coming back tomorrow morning. Also before we left for the break, Mr. Varner got off the stand the Judge noted the question Jai Gohel had asked about the defense investigator was the first person that he talked to about the side lot, was a very specific question, Marlisa Ferreira asked him a much broader question and it wasn’t specific enough and that was why she sustained the objection and she needs to clean that up a bit.
The jury came back at 3:27 PM. Mr. Varner back on the stand. Marlisa Ferreira is headed back to her pictures and is still moving at a rapid pace despite a request from the court reporter and the Judge to slow things down. She showed him pictures #747 and #754. She asked him if in #747 if he was in the picture? He said yes, I’m in the bedroom, unknown when it was taken, but the shade that was there looked like the other bedroom, not his. #748 is a picture of the front of the house that face East Ave. There was a camera mounted on the front of the house that does not record. He said that is a camera that belonged to Pop and Cork because he was having problems with burglaries, so they gave him a camera to keep an eye on things, but it doesn’t record. He’s not sure which brother he talked to about it, but it was prior to 2012 and the camera was not there when he moved back in. He never had any problems with burglaries after the camera was up. He wasn’t sure who purchased it or who put up the camera because he wasn’t present when it was done. He wasn’t home and someone had put up the camera. She put up picture #749 from the landing at the stairs toward Pop and Cork from the Apartment. It is pretty much the same view now as in 2012. They rebuilt it after the fire. Picture #750 another picture from the Apt landing towards East St and the alley. There was a sidebar. The Judge advises that Marlisa Ferreira needs to lay more foundation for some of her questions. She asked in #749, if in June 2012 if there was a palm tree? He said the Eucalyptus tree was his tree, it was one his side of the fence. It had changed a little bit over the years, it was damaged in the fire, but the palm trees are on the Pop and Cork side of the fence.
There was major confusion with some of these questions. The witness got confused. They jury was sent out at 3:49PM. We are back at 9 AM tomorrow with the jury. Thursday a late start around 10:30- 11 AM, one attorney has to appear in Stockton. On 3/14/19, there is only a morning or afternoon session (I don’t remember which one), there is a jury conflict.
I have a Paypal button at the bottom of each report. Donate whatever you can, I’m just trying to pay the bills. Talk to Doug at Merced Tile Supply for your Tile needs. There is an ad on my site. There have been a few people at court lately, it’s nice to see. Don’t take my word for it, come to court and find out for yourself. Good night everybody!