Friday, June 26, 2015

Part One - Transcript of Charles Merritt Preliminary

This is Part One of the Transcript for the Preliminary Hearing in the case of State of California vs Charles Ray Merritt and is a part of the larger exhibit of documentation here at State vs Merritt. 


1 SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA, MONDAY, JUNE 15, 2015
2 -oOo-
3 DEPARTMENT '21' HONORABLE MICHAEL A. SMITH, JUDGE
4 (The Defendant, CHARLES RAY MERRITT, is present with
5 Counsel, JAMES S. TERRELL, JIMMY PHILIP METTIAS,
6 SHARON J. BRUNNER, and DAVID S. ASKANDER, Attorneys at Law;
7 SEAN DAUGHERTY and BRITT IMES are present, representing the
8 People of the State of California.)
9 (Theresa Christine Wolfe, C.S.R., Official Reporter,
10 C-6024.)
11 THE COURT: Good morning.
12 THE BAILIFF: Please come to order. Court is now in
13 session.
14 THE COURT: Call the case of People vs. Merritt.
15 Mr. Merritt is present with counsel. The District Attorney is
16 present.
17 Counsel, want to state your appearances?
18 MR. TERRELL: Good morning.
19 MR. DAUGHERTY: Good morning.
20 MR. TERRELL: Jim Terrell on behalf of Mr. Merritt who's
21 present before the Court.
22 MR. METTIAS: Jimmy Mettias on behalf of Mr. Merritt.
23 MR. ASKANDER: David Askander on behalf of Mr. Merritt.
24 MS. BRUNNER: Sharon Brunner on behalf of Mr. Merritt.
25 THE COURT: This matter is here for preliminary hearing,
26 correct?
27 (Affirmative responses.)
28 THE COURT: Both sides are ready to proceed?
2
1 (Affirmative responses.)
2 THE COURT: People have an investigating officer?
3 MR. DAUGHERTY: Yes, we do.
4 People designate Detective Edward Bachman.
5 THE COURT: And does the Defense also have an
6 investigating officer?
7 MR. METTIAS: No, your Honor.
8 THE COURT: Yes? No?
9 MR. METTIAS: Dave Farrell is our investigator, your
10 Honor.
11 THE COURT: Is he here?
12 MR. TERRELL: He is, sir.
13 THE COURT: Okay. All right.
14 Okay, People can call your first witness.
15 And, at this point, we're going to discontinue the
16 photography. You can resume photography, televising and so
17 forth, at the conclusion of the evidence, when both sides rest
18 and there's argument as to whether or not to hold to answer.
19 Okay.
20 MR. TERRELL: Make a motion to exclude, your Honor.
21 THE COURT: Sure. Any other persons who are expected to
22 be called as witnesses, other than the designated investigating
23 officers, are directed to remain outside the courtroom during
24 testimony. Further, directed not to discuss your testimony with
25 any of the other witnesses.
26 Also, the only people who are authorized to photograph or
27 record anything are licensed media who have submitted requests
28 to photograph and televise or record, and have received orders
3
1 authorizing them to do so. So, if you do not fall in that
2 category, you are not permitted to photograph or record at all
3 during any of the proceedings. If you are doing so and it's not
4 authorized, one of the bailiffs will ask you to leave.
5 All right, People can call your first witness.
6 MR. IMES: Detective Gary Hart, please.
7 MR. DAUGHERTY: Your Honor, may I cross through the well
8 here to get our investigating officer?
9 THE COURT: Sure.
10 (Brief pause.)
11 THE CLERK: Please remain standing. Raise your right
12 hand.
13 Do you solemnly state the evidence you shall give in this
14 matter shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
15 truth, so help you God?
16
17 GARY_HART,
18 (Called as a witness on behalf of the People, was sworn and
19 testified as follows:)
20
21 THE WITNESS: Yes, ma'am.
22 THE CLERK: Thank you.
23 THE BAILIFF: Please be seated. Please state and spell
24 your full name for the record.
25 THE WITNESS: Gary Hart, G-a-r-y, H-a-r-t.
26 THE BAILIFF: Pull those microphones toward you, please.
27 THE WITNESS: Better?
28 THE COURT: Okay, you may proceed.
4
1 DIRECT EXAMINATION
2 BY MR. IMES:
3 Q What is your occupation, sir?
4 A I'm a detective for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's
5 Department, currently assigned to the homicide detail.
6 Q How long have you been employed as a sworn peace officer
7 in the state of California?
8 A Since 1995.
9 Q Were you on duty on November 13th, 2014?
10 A Yes, sir.
11 Q Did you respond to a potential crime scene in the area of
12 Stoddard Wells Road and Quarry Road in the city of Victorville?
13 A Yes, sir. The initial response was on November 11th.
14 Q Were you out there multiple days?
15 A Yes, sir.
16 Q What was the purpose of responding to that area?
17 A Several gravesites had been located in the area.
18 Q When you responded, did you engage in search activity
19 surrounding the potential gravesites?
20 A Yes, sir, I did.
21 Q And who did you do that perimeter searching with?
22 A Initially, we did a gravesite search with probably about
23 two individuals. And we did a collection of the evidence, that
24 was marked. Myself and Dr. Alexis Gray did that.
25 Q During that search, what did you find?
26 A She identified numerous human bones.
27 Q Can you please describe some of the bones that you found
28 during that search?
5
1 A We found ribs, found part of a leg. All these were just
2 bones. There was nothing else to them. Several different
3 pieces of skeletal remains that were identified by Dr. Gray, and
4 not by me.
5 Q When you were with Dr. Gray, did she indicate some unique
6 bones or bone fragments that were recovered, to you?
7 A Specifically, she told me each of the items on my report
8 she identified, such as ribs, calcaneus, things like that.
9 MR. TERRELL: Object as to hearsay as to the statements
10 made by the doctor.
11 MR. IMES: Prop 115.
12 THE COURT: Overruled.
13 Q (By Mr. Imes) Did she indicate to you whether any of the
14 bones appeared to be those of a child's as opposed to an adult?
15 A Yes, she identified four rib bones --
16 MR. TERRELL: I would object to foundation as to the
17 knowledge and the foundation as to the doctor's qualifications
18 as to this information.
19 THE COURT: Do you know who Dr. Gray is?
20 THE WITNESS: Yes, sir, I do.
21 THE COURT: Give us a little bit of information about
22 that.
23 THE WITNESS: Dr. Gray works for the San Bernardino
24 County Sheriff's Department as an anthropologist. She is
25 normally called when bones are located, and she is called upon
26 to identify whether they're animal or human.
27 THE COURT: And you've worked with her before on other
28 identifications of skeletal, potential skeletal remains?
6
1 THE WITNESS: Yes, sir, I have.
2 THE COURT: The objection is overruled.
3 MR. IMES: I'm sorry, did we get an answer?
4 THE COURT: No, I don't think so.
5 THE WITNESS: She identified four bones as being a
6 child's rib, which she identified as being left side. The other
7 two were not determined.
8 Q (By Mr. Imes) In total, how many bones were discovered
9 out of the potential gravesites?
10 A May I refer to my report for a proper number?
11 Q If it would refresh your recollection.
12 MR. IMES: With the Court's permission?
13 MR. TERRELL: The Defense would ask the Court to tell us
14 a page and paragraph.
15 THE COURT: Sure. If you can indicate what page and
16 paragraph of your report you're referring to.
17 THE WITNESS: I'm referring to my report. It's on bone
18 recovery. I don't have my pages numbered. This is from my
19 laptop. I printed this out. I apologize.
20 Q (By Mr. Imes) So, how many bones were recovered?
21 A I have 45 collected. But some of those were fragments,
22 so more than 45.
23 Q What was done with those bones at the end of your search?
24 A As we collected them I placed them in proper-sized
25 packaging material, placed them into a bin, and subsequently
26 placed those into a locked vehicle that was parked about 20 feet
27 southwest of the gravesites.
28 The bones were subsequently taken to the coroner's office
7
1 for examination.
2 MR. IMES: Thank you. I have nothing further of
3 Detective Hart.
4 THE COURT: Cross.
5 MR. TERRELL: No questions, your Honor.
6 THE COURT: Okay. Any objection to Detective Hart being
7 excused?
8 MR. IMES: None from us, your Honor.
9 MR. TERRELL: No.
10 THE COURT: Okay. Thank you, sir, for your attendance.
11 And you are excused.
12 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
13 THE COURT: Go ahead.
14 MR. IMES: People's next witness, your Honor, would be
15 Detective Armando Avila, please.
16 THE CLERK: Please raise your right hand.
17 Do you solemnly state the evidence you shall give in this
18 matter shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
19 truth, so help you God?
20
21 JOSE_AVILA,
22 (Called as a witness on behalf of the People, was sworn and
23 testified as follows:)
24
25 THE WITNESS: I do.
26 THE CLERK: Thank you. Have a seat.
27 THE BAILIFF: Please state and spell your full name for
28 the record. And if you can utilize one of the mikes in front of
8
1 you.
2 THE WITNESS: Jose Avila, J-o-s-e, A-v-i-l-a.
3 THE COURT: Okay, you may proceed.
4 DIRECT EXAMINATION
5 BY MR. IMES:
6 Q Sergeant Avila, do you commonly go by "Armando" as well?
7 A Correct, that's my middle name.
8 Q What is your occupation, sir?
9 A I'm a deputy sheriff and I'm employed by the San
10 Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. I hold the rank of
11 sergeant.
12 Q How long have you been employed as a sworn peace officer
13 in the state of California?
14 A This is my 15th year.
15 Q Were you on duty in that capacity on November 11th, 2013?
16 A That is correct.
17 Q Were you informed of a potential crime scene gravesite in
18 the area of Stoddard Wells Road east of Quarry Road, west of the
19 I-15?
20 A That is correct.
21 Q Did you respond to that area?
22 A Not at the time of the call. The next day, I did.
23 Q That would be November 12th, sir?
24 A That is correct.
25 Q And is that in San Bernardino County?
26 A Yes.
27 Q Can you give us a brief overview of the scene that we're
28 talking about that you responded to?
9
1 A The scene was located in the desert area just north of
2 Stoddard Wells Road, west of the I-15. It's a desert area
3 that's dirt. It's covered in shrubs and greasewoods.
4 Q Were the presence of possible human skeletal remains
5 pointed out to you when you arrived at the scene and did your
6 walk-through?
7 A Yeah. Actually, the remains comment was made on Monday
8 after I received a phone call from my sergeant at the time. And
9 I was told that a motorcycle rider had found what he thought was
10 a human skull.
11 Q When you arrived, had two potential gravesites already
12 been identified?
13 A Yes.
14 Q Can you please describe what they appeared to be, or
15 appeared like to you?
16 A Well, the gravesites were apart from each other. One was
17 to the northwest, the other one was south and east of the first
18 one. The dirt was disturbed and was depressed at both sites.
19 Q When you say "depressed," what do you mean?
20 A Meaning it appeared that it had been, something had been
21 dug up and then put back in. And it appeared that there was
22 some animal activity that had been trying to dig something up.
23 Q Were you familiar with the weather conditions at or
24 about --
25 Strike that.
26 Did you notice any other markings leading up to the
27 gravesites that were significant to you?
28 A Yes.
10
1 Q What were they?
2 A There were tire tracks that were leading to the graves
3 from a gas-line road.
4 Q What made you believe that the observations you were
5 making were of the tire tracks?
6 A They were two similar tracks that it appeared to me,
7 based on what I saw, that somebody backed up a vehicle to the
8 graves.
9 Q Were they parallel tracks?
10 A That is correct.
11 Q Did they have the width of what appeared to be vehicle
12 tires or car tires or truck tires, as opposed to, like, a
13 motorcycle or bicycle?
14 A I believe they were from a large vehicle.
15 Q At some point were the two gravesites given a designation
16 to differentiate them?
17 A Yes, they were.
18 Q How were they differentiated?
19 A The northernmost gravesite was assigned the letter A and
20 the one southward was B.
21 Q As to the tracks that you observed leading to grave A,
22 was a measurement taken of the distance between those tracks?
23 A The width, you mean?
24 Q Yes.
25 A Yes.
26 Q And what was that result?
27 A If I recall, without looking at my report, I think it was
28 73 inches outer-to-outer wall of the tire.
11
1 Q And was the same done for the tracks that you observed
2 leading to grave B?
3 A That is correct.
4 Q And what was the result of that measurement?
5 A Without looking at my report, I believe it was 76 inches.
6 Q Were you assigned a particular task in relation to the
7 excavation of the gravesites?
8 A Well, I actually was the assigned case agent when I was
9 at the homicide detail for this case. When --
10 MR. TERRELL: Nonresponsive, your Honor.
11 THE COURT: Overruled. He can explain his answer.
12 THE WITNESS: When we started the excavation, Detective
13 Eddie Bachman was assigned grave A, was the northernmost grave,
14 and I took grave B.
15 Q (By Mr. Imes) And what was your role in taking grave B,
16 so to speak?
17 A I was basically documenting any evidence that we would
18 collect from within that grave.
19 Q And what personnel participated, or what type of
20 personnel participated in the excavation of grave B?
21 A On the first day it was a volunteer for the coroner's
22 office, Bernell. I forget her first name.
23 I'm sorry, on the first day it was Gray, Dr. Gray, and
24 coroner investigator Hunter.
25 Q Can you tell us what was found based on your observations
26 during the excavation of grave B?
27 A Well, the excavation had already been started by Hunter
28 and Gray. And I believe the -- the remains that had been
12
1 recovered prior to me joining them had been documented by one of
2 the crime scene specialists, who gave me that information.
3 Q Were you made familiar with the remains that were
4 recovered prior to your arrival?
5 A Yes.
6 Q By whom?
7 A It was crime scene specialist Radeleff, with the first
8 name Heather, I believe.
9 Q And as the excavation of grave B progressed, was there a
10 distinction made between the items that were being recovered, if
11 that makes sense to you?
12 A I'm not sure what you're asking with that.
13 Q During the excavation, did it become apparent there was
14 more than one individual contained in this grave?
15 A Yes.
16 Q And what -- what is done during the excavation process to
17 differentiate between those two?
18 A Well, the way the grave was excavated, basically they
19 take a little bit of dirt at a time and measure what we collect,
20 any evidence that may surface as the excavation is progressing.
21 At some point we found the skull of a small child, which then we
22 discovered the entire skeletal system of the child, the bones.
23 Basically his bones.
24 Q And where in grave B was that located at?
25 A Grave B was the southernmost grave.
26 Q And within the grave, was it scattered amongst the entire
27 site of the grave, or any particular location within the grave?
28 A Well, the small child was pretty much together, contained
13
1 within the, I would say the bottom half of the grave.
2 Q What about the other remains that were found, what
3 distinguished them from what you've described as a child's
4 skeletal remains?
5 A Well, they were larger bones. The skull was fractured.
6 We found clothing that appeared to be that of an adult. And
7 then we found clothing that appeared to be that of a child.
8 Q Did you find, specifically, another skull that appeared
9 to be one belonging to an adult, based on its size?
10 A For that grave?
11 Q Yes.
12 A Yes.
13 Q You indicated that you found some clothing. Please
14 describe the clothing that you observed.
15 A It was a pair of black pants, and I believe it had the
16 underwear within them. And they were on the northernmost part
17 of the grave.
18 Q What kind of underwear?
19 A I'd have to refer to my report to give you specifics.
20 Q Would it refresh your recollection to refer to your
21 report for the specifics of the nature of the underwear?
22 A Yes.
23 Q Can you please do so? And let us know what you're
24 looking at.
25 MR. IMES: With the Court's permission, of course.
26 THE COURT: Sure.
27 THE WITNESS: Okay.
28 (Brief pause.)
14
1 THE WITNESS: Okay, it's going to be page No. 4 of the
2 scene report. I think my numbers -- I don't have numbers like
3 you do.
4 Q (By Mr. Imes) Okay.
5 A What I have documented is one pair of black sweatpants,
6 size small, a New York Laundry brand, and small size Old Navy
7 white panties. And they were at 16 inches in depth.
8 Q When you say "white panties," are you referring to female
9 undergarments?
10 A Correct.
11 Q They appeared to be adult-size as opposed to child-size?
12 A That is correct.
13 Q What other clothing or other nonskeletal items did you
14 find in grave B?
15 A I found a Body Glove cell phone case, small child's blue
16 pants with a diaper in them, a sledgehammer.
17 Q When you say "sledgehammer," can you please describe it?
18 A Three-pound sledgehammer, Stanley brand.
19 Q Was there anything distinctive about that sledgehammer
20 when you looked at it?
21 A Other than rust on it, nothing else.
22 Q What else did you find within the grave other than
23 skeletal remains?
24 A I don't recall anything else, other than the clothes and
25 the remains.
26 Q Let me be a little more specific. Do you recall
27 observing what appeared to be part of a woman's black brassiere?
28 A Yes.
15
1 Q And was it intact or partial?
2 A It was partial.
3 Q And what part of the brassiere was located within grave
4 B?
5 A I'd have to refer to my report for that.
6 Q If it would refresh your recollection.
7 MR. IMES: With the Court's permission?
8 THE COURT: Sure.
9 (Brief pause.)
10 MR. TERRELL: Could I get a page and paragraph, please?
11 THE COURT: Sure.
12 THE WITNESS: It's going to be the same report as before,
13 the scene report, my page No. 4.
14 And what I found in the grave was the left cup of the
15 bra.
16 Q Did you find what appeared to be a backpack of some type?
17 A Yes.
18 Q Can you please describe that for us?
19 A It's a black backpack. It appeared to be a child's
20 backpack.
21 Q Why do you say that?
22 A 'Cause it was small. And it was actually recovered
23 within the area where the child's remains were located.
24 Q Did you find any material that resembled a whitish or
25 off-whitish bath-towel-type material?
26 MR. TERRELL: I'm going to object. Leading as to each
27 one of these pieces of property, your Honor.
28 THE COURT: Overruled.
16
1 THE WITNESS: Yes.
2 Q (By Mr. Imes) Were you familiar with some items that
3 were found near grave B but not contained within the grave?
4 A Yes.
5 Q Can you -- do you recall what, specifically, you were
6 made aware of or observed?
7 A There was another right cup or a piece of bra that was
8 stuck to a greasewood, that was black in color. We recovered
9 that. Red straps, like a tie-down strap that was faded.
10 Q What do you mean by a tie-down strap?
11 A If you ever transport something in a truck, you usually
12 tie it down with a ratchet strap.
13 Q So, a ratcheting-type tie-down strap, as opposed to just
14 a piece of rope that you would tie something down with?
15 A Correct. It appeared to be faded at the time. And there
16 was a female extension cord socket. It was white in color.
17 Q Just the socket part, or more of the extension cord
18 itself?
19 A It appeared if it had been cut off of an extension cord,
20 just the female socket part.
21 Q Anything else?
22 A I believe a beer bottle, or a beer can.
23 Q Find any other white towel-like material outside the
24 grave?
25 A Yes.
26 Q Where was that located?
27 A I think they were located north of the grave.
28 Q When you were talking about the human remains that were
17
1 found within the grave, you indicated there was what appeared to
2 be a child's remains as well as an adult's remains. Did you
3 designate those with indicators so you could distinguish between
4 the two?
5 A Yes.
6 Q And how did you distinguish between the two?
7 A The remains for the adults were labeled B and B-1. And
8 the child's remains were B-2.
9 Q When you were discussing the discovery of one of the
10 skulls in the grave, you previously testified that it appeared
11 to be fractured. Which skull were you referring to?
12 A The adult's.
13 Well, actually, they were both fractured.
14 Q But when you testified previously, were you thinking
15 about one in particular?
16 A The female, yes, the adult.
17 MR. IMES: I have no further questions of Sergeant Avila.
18 THE COURT: Cross.
19 MR. TERRELL: No questions for Sergeant Avila.
20 EXAMINATION
21 BY THE COURT:
22 Q Let me clarify one or two things. Grave A and grave B.
23 What's the distance between them?
24 A I'd have to refer to my report, your Honor. I have that.
25 Q Sure.
26 (Brief pause.)
27 A I don't think I have the distance between the graves
28 documented, your Honor.
18
1 What I have is the coroner's office set up a, a
2 scene-dating point, if you would, that basically found the
3 coordinates and set up a compass in between the two graves. And
4 I got measurements from that data point to grave B.
5 Q Well, you were there, you saw both graves, right?
6 A Yes.
7 Q Give me an idea. Is it 50 feet, 10 feet, 100 yards?
8 A Approximately 20, 25 feet apart.
9 Q Okay. Now, the tire tracks that you testified about, you
10 said went from what you described as a pipeline road?
11 A Yes.
12 Q To the gravesites?
13 A Correct.
14 Q And what's the distance from the road to the gravesites?
15 A From Quarry Road, maybe --
16 I'm going to refer to my report for that. I can give you
17 exact measurements.
18 Q Sure. Okay.
19 (Brief pause.)
20 A It's approximately 650 feet --
21 Q Okay?
22 A -- from the road, from Quarry Road to the graves. But
23 the tire tracks were from the gas-line pipe road to the grave,
24 which is different.
25 Q Okay. Tell me what that distance is.
26 A I didn't measure the distance from the gas-line road,
27 because it looked like a wash, originally. But it was adjacent,
28 probably within 20 feet of the graves.
19
1 Q Okay. So --
2 A So -- if it makes sense.
3 Q So, if you're on Quarry Road --
4 A Quarry Road?
5 Q Right.
6 A Then you have a gas-line road that goes between the
7 freeway and Quarry Road.
8 So, from Quarry Road to the graves, it's about 650 feet.
9 From the gas line to the graves, it's about 20 feet or so.
10 Q How do you get from Quarry Road to the gas-line road?
11 A How do you get --
12 Q Okay.
13 A How -- how did --
14 Q How did you get there?
15 A We actually parked on Quarry Road and we walked to the
16 gravesites.
17 Q Were there tire tracks from Quarry Road to the gas-line
18 road?
19 A Not that we could tell, or I could tell.
20 Q So the only tire tracks that you noted were from the
21 gas-line road to the gravesites?
22 A Correct.
23 Q And that was about I think you said about 25 feet?
24 A About 20, 25 feet. It appeared as somebody drove on the
25 gas-line pipe road and pulled up, made a left turn, and then
26 probably backed into the graves.
27 Q Okay. And were there, you said that the distance between
28 the outer wall of the tire tracks going to grave A was 73
20
1 inches?
2 A Approximately, yes.
3 Q Approximately. And going to grave B was approximately 76
4 inches?
5 A Correct.
6 Q So, were there two separate sets of tire tracks, one
7 going to grave A and one going to grave B?
8 A That is correct.
9 Q Okay.
10 A And, obviously, they weren't fresh. It appeared they had
11 been there for some time. And they looked eroded.
12 Q Okay. And both of those two separate sets of tire tracks
13 went from the pipeline road to the gravesites?
14 A Correct.
15 Q Okay. From approximately the same area on the pipeline
16 road?
17 A Yes.
18 Q Okay.
19 THE COURT: Okay. Anything further by either counsel?
20 MR. IMES: No, sir.
21 MR. TERRELL: Nope.
22 THE COURT: Okay. Any objection to Detective Avila being
23 excused?
24 MR. IMES: No, sir.
25 MR. TERRELL: None.
26 THE COURT: Okay.
27 Thank you, sir, for your attendance. And you are
28 excused.
21
1 And you can call your next witness.
2 MR. IMES: Call Detective Edward Bachman for a line of
3 questioning at this time.
4 THE CLERK: Please raise your right hand to be sworn.
5 Do you solemnly state the evidence you shall give in this
6 matter shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
7 truth, so help you God?
8
9 EDWARD_BACHMAN,
10 (Called as a witness on behalf of the People, was sworn and
11 testified as follows:)
12
13 THE WITNESS: I do.
14 THE CLERK: Thank you. You may have a seat.
15 THE BAILIFF: Please state your full name and spell it
16 for the record.
17 THE WITNESS: Edward Bachman, E-d-w-a-r-d, B-a-c-h-m-a-n.
18 THE COURT: Okay, you may proceed.
19 DIRECT EXAMINATION
20 BY MR. IMES:
21 Q What is your occupation and by whom are you employed?
22 A I'm a detective with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's
23 Department, assigned to the specialized investigation division,
24 homicide detail.
25 Q How long have you been employed as a sworn peace officer
26 in the state of California?
27 A About 12 and a half years.
28 Q You were present in the courtroom during the first two
22
1 witnesses' testimony?
2 A I have been.
3 Q You're familiar with the investigation they've been
4 testifying about?
5 A Yes, sir.
6 Q Did you participate in that investigation as well?
7 A Yes, sir.
8 Q Did you respond to the scene as well, starting on
9 November 11, 2013?
10 A The initial callout came on November 11, but we didn't
11 respond until the 12th.
12 Q When you say, "We" didn't respond, who do you mean?
13 A The way it works is our team sergeant gets the
14 notification and the request for homicide.
15 Because of the call of service coming late in the day,
16 and it being a gravesite excavation, we made the decision for
17 the station personnel to secure the scene on the 11th, and then
18 we responded on the 12th.
19 Q Were you responded --
20 On the 12th were you briefed and given a walk-through of,
21 for all intents and purposes, the crime scene?
22 A Yes, sir.
23 Q Are you familiar with the distinction Sergeant Avila made
24 between grave A and grave B?
25 A Yes, I am.
26 Q And were you assigned to assist in the investigation
27 of -- with the excavation of grave A?
28 A I was.
23
1 Q Can you please describe for the judge what items were
2 excavated from grave A?
3 A So inside of grave A during the excavation process we
4 removed a portion of dirt over the two days. From the inside we
5 recovered the remains of a male adult, who was wrapped in a
6 woven white blanket. He had a white extension cord wrapped
7 around his neck, tied in a knot. And then around the outside of
8 the blanket there was a red tie-down strap that was securing the
9 blanket on his remains.
10 Q If I can ask, I believe it's the extension cord you said
11 was around the neck area, or what would have been the neck area?
12 A Yes, sir.
13 Q Obviously, we're down to skeletal remains, correct?
14 A That's correct.
15 Q Was the blanket you're, or the material you're referring
16 to, was that underneath the extension cord or was the extension
17 cord underneath it?
18 A So, you had the skeletal remains, you had the white
19 extension cord wrapped around, well, what would have been
20 directly around the victim's neck. The woven white blanket was
21 wrapped around the outside of the extension cord. And then the
22 tie-down strap was wrapped around the blanket.
23 Q What else did you find?
24 A Skeletal remains, what later was found to be the male
25 victim, was clothed in a T-shirt, a pair of cloth shorts, a pair
26 of Hanes underwear.
27 Q Can you describe the blanket-type material that you
28 observed?
24
1 A Yeah, it was a woven-style cloth blanket. It had a kind
2 of pattern on it, but the problem was, from the body
3 decomposition fluids the blanket was very brittle and was kind
4 of falling apart as we pulled the remains out.
5 Q Did you observe the, what would have been the skull of
6 this adult male?
7 A Yes, sir.
8 Q What did you note about it?
9 A The way the victim was positioned inside the grave, he
10 was partially facedown on his right side with the left portion
11 of his skull facing towards the top of the grave. There was a
12 large hole in the back of the victim's, left side of his skull.
13 Q When you say "left side," are you talking the front left
14 side, the middle left side, or the back left side?
15 A The back rear portion on the left side.
16 Q Did you become familiar with how the multiple sets of
17 remains were inventoried and identified or designated for
18 further identification purposes?
19 A Yes.
20 Q Can you briefly describe for the judge how each of the
21 sets of remains were identified?
22 A So, basically, because at the time they were
23 unidentified, when the coroner's office doesn't know an identity
24 to the victim, they will be assigned an unidentified Doe number.
25 For males, they'll assign an unidentified John Doe, and for the
26 female, an unidentified Jane Doe.
27 Q What was done in this case?
28 A For the -- when they looked at the set of remains, they
25
1 assigned three sets of unidentified John Doe numbers and one set
2 of unidentified Jane Doe, until they were positively identified.
3 Q For the skeletal remains found in grave A that you were
4 excavating or observing, how was -- how was those remains
5 designated?
6 A Unidentified John Doe. And I'll have to refer to my
7 report to grab the actual number.
8 Q I just want to do that for the purposes -- so we talk
9 consistently through your testimony about who we're talking
10 about?
11 A Yes, sir.
12 Q If you would, please?
13 (Brief pause.)
14 A So, it's on my report under "Victim identification." And
15 the victim was identified, or was assigned undetermined Doe,
16 John Doe 19-17.
17 Q 19-17 was, I'm sorry, which one?
18 A That was -- actually, it should be -- that number
19 doesn't -- it should be for Joseph McStay, who was later
20 determined to be Joseph McStay.
21 Q That was for the remains from grave A?
22 A Yes, sir.
23 MR. TERRELL: Can I get the page that the detective is
24 on, please?
25 THE WITNESS: I don't have my page numbers listed. But
26 it's my scene, and under a heading of "Victim identification."
27 MR. TERRELL: Thank you.
28 Q (By Mr. Imes) And for grave B, the two sets of remains
26
1 from there, how were they identified so we can track them?
2 A That, I don't have that report in front of me. Detective
3 Avila covered that portion of that.
4 Q And, then, was a similar designation given to the remains
5 that were found outside the gravesite?
6 A Yes, sir.
7 Q So, that would account for four;
8 Is that correct?
9 A That's correct.
10 Q Did you have an occasion to speak with Dr. Chanikar
11 Changsri?
12 It's Dr. C-h-a-n-i-k-a-r, last of C-h-a-n-g-s-r-i.
13 A Yes, I did.
14 Q Who is she?
15 A She is a forensic pathologist. She's employed by the San
16 Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, assigned to the coroner
17 division.
18 Q Are you familiar with her training and experience and
19 qualifications to hold the position you just described?
20 A She's been assigned as a forensic pathologist with the
21 coroner's division for nine years. She briefly went over that
22 she's been, she's board certified as a forensic pathologist, and
23 she's performed in excess of 4,000 autopsies at the time of her
24 report.
25 Q Did she conduct a postmortem examination of the four sets
26 of remains that were removed from the gravesite area north of
27 Victorville?
28 A She did.
27
1 Q Can you please describe what she told you in regards to
2 the adult remains taken from gravesite B, that Detective Avila
3 assisted in its excavation?
4 A So, at that point the remains weren't identified yet.
5 But they were later determined to be Summer McStay, through DNA.
6 She received the set of remains and she performed the autopsy in
7 conjunction with Dr. Alexis Gray, the forensic anthropologist.
8 During that autopsy she inventoried the remains and noted
9 several injuries she identified as being antemortem, or prior to
10 death.
11 Q And what were those injuries?
12 A To quote Dr. Changsri, she had multiple fractures of the
13 jaw, a fracture of the left parietal bone, two fractures of the
14 right frontal bone, the fracture to the parietal bone with hair
15 embedded in it, and the fracture of the left frontal bone.
16 Q You're referring to the identification -- to the remains
17 identified as Summer McStay?
18 A That's correct.
19 Q And she indicated, too, that she believed there were some
20 injuries that were, or fractures that would have occurred prior
21 to death;
22 Did she indicate how she was able to determine that?
23 A So, when she and the forensic anthropologist look at
24 bones, they're able to tell by the color of the bones at the
25 time when they're recovered whether the remains or the injuries
26 were caused before the time of death or after. If they're
27 caused after, the color will be different than if they were
28 caused prior to death.
28
1 Q Based on those injuries she observed in the skeletal
2 remains of Summer McStay, did she determine a manner and cause
3 of death?
4 A She did. She determined the manner of -- of death as
5 blunt-force trauma to the head, and the cause of death -- well,
6 actually the reverse, the manner of death to be blunt-force
7 trauma to the head, and the manner of death as homicide
8 Q And, I guess to clarify, I don't know if you misspoke,
9 how was Summer identified?
10 A She was identified through DNA comparison.
11 Q Was also a dental records comparison done through
12 Dr. Golden?
13 A It was through -- actually, when we located the remains,
14 coroner investigator Hunter obtained photographs of the dental
15 palates, sent them to the, I believe it is through the missing
16 persons, National Center for Missing Persons, and located the
17 set of profiles for the McStay family. Because we located four
18 sets of remains, they sent him the dental records that were
19 originally submitted by San Diego Sheriff's Department. He sent
20 the photographs of Summer's dental records and the ones he
21 obtained from DOJ, and Dr. Greg Golden, our department's
22 forensic odontologist, compared the profiles.
23 Q As to the remains, the skeletal remains that were
24 identified by Dr. Gray on the outside of the grave area,
25 including the child's skull, did Dr. Changsri indicate that she
26 did an examination of those remains?
27 A She did.
28 Q And were those the remains that were identified as
29
1 belonging to Joseph McStay, Jr.?
2 A They were.
3 Q And what did she tell you about her examination of those
4 remains?
5 A That because of the minimal amount of remains that they
6 recovered, she wasn't able to determine a cause of death. But
7 based on the breaks in the skull and the circumstances
8 surrounding the recovery of all of the family's remains, she
9 determined it to be a homicide.
10 Q As to the adult male remains that you referred to
11 earlier, were those -- I think you mentioned they were
12 identified as those belonging to Joseph McStay, Sr.?
13 A That's correct.
14 Q And did Dr. Changsri indicate to you that she conducted a
15 postmortem examination on those skeletal remains, as well?
16 A She did.
17 Q And what did she indicate to you about her observations
18 during that examination?
19 A So, to quote her on the injuries, she said that Joseph
20 McStay suffered a fracture of the left parietal and occipital
21 bones, a fracture of the base of his skull, a fracture of the
22 right parietal bone, a fracture of the right tibia and the
23 fracture of the anterior third rib. She believed that Joseph
24 sustained at least four separate impacts to his skull.
25 Q And, again, did she indicate to you whether those -- if
26 she could tell if they were pre or postmortem-inflicted?
27 A They were premortem. Which includes the fractures to his
28 lower extremities, and parietal.
30
1 Q And did she indicate to you her opinion as to a manner
2 and cause of death?
3 A Yes, she said the cause -- she determined the cause of
4 death was blunt-force trauma to the head. And the manner of
5 death was homicide.
6 Q And last, but not least, did you speak with Dr. Changsri
7 regarding the child's skeletal remains that were found in grave
8 B with the adult?
9 A I did.
10 Q And were those remains subsequently identified as
11 belonging to Gianni McStay?
12 A Yes, sir.
13 Q And what observations did Dr. Changsri indicate to you
14 during that examination of those remains?
15 A So, to quote, the injuries she observed were two
16 fractures of the left parietal bone, four fractures of the right
17 parietal bone, the fracture to the middle, to the left frontal
18 bone and that fracture of the sagittal suture. She believed
19 that Gianni suffered at least seven blows to the head.
20 She believed that based on the fact that a child's bones
21 are more flexible, that he could have suffered more than that,
22 but just based off of what she could see from the fractures,
23 there was at least seven.
24 Q Did she indicate to you that based on looking at those
25 fractures, whether or not they were pre or postmortem injuries?
26 A She said they were premortem.
27 Q Did she also indicate to you at the conclusion of her
28 examination a manner and cause of death as to Gianni McStay?
31
1 A She did. She determined cause of death as blunt-force
2 trauma to the head, and the manner of death as homicide.
3 Q Did you speak with her about the condition of the remains
4 as she was looking at them, in reference, using as a reference
5 point the time period by which we know the McStays went missing?
6 A Yes, sir.
7 Q And what was that time period which they were believed to
8 have gone missing?
9 A So, Changsri and Gray both conferred and believed that it
10 was consistent with the victims being in the ground for at least
11 two years. But they said it was well within the time period of
12 having been there since 2010.
13 Q And 2010 as being the what?
14 A The time of death.
15 Q When were they reported missing, to your knowledge?
16 A In February of 2010.
17 Q Thank you. I'm going to switch gears, slightly.
18 After the discovery of the remains in December of 2013,
19 did you have an occasion to speak with Michael McStay?
20 A I did.
21 Q Let me go back just a moment.
22 Were you familiar with the three-pound mini sledgehammer
23 that was excavated from grave B?
24 A Yes, sir.
25 Q Was Dr. Changsri made familiar with that weapon?
26 A She was. The sledgehammer was shown to her at the time
27 of the postmortem autopsy.
28 Q Based on your observation and speaking with her, was that
32
1 item consistent or inconsistent with possibly inflicting some or
2 all of the fractures?
3 A Changsri said that the sledgehammer was consistent with
4 the weapon used to cause the injuries to all four victims, or
5 the three victims she could see the remains of.
6 Q Back to where I was.
7 Did you speak with Michael McStay in December of 2013?
8 A Yes, sir.
9 Q Who is Michael McStay?
10 A Michael McStay is the brother to Joseph McStay.
11 Q What did Michael McStay tell you about who Joseph McStay
12 was?
13 A Joseph McStay is his brother. Joseph married Summer
14 McStay and they had two children in common, Gianni and Joseph,
15 Jr.
16 Basically, Michael described their relationship as being
17 close. Joseph owned a custom fountain company -- well,
18 actually, it was a fountain company that was Internet based with
19 two separate sides, one was the custom-based side and the other
20 was, Joseph would order prefabricated fountains and sell them to
21 customers who would go to his with website and purchase them.
22 Q When did he start that business?
23 A I'd have to look at my report to confirm the date on
24 that, sir.
25 Q It was prior to them, obviously, going missing in 2010?
26 A Yes, sir.
27 Q And at the time that's pertinent to our inquiry, where
28 was Joseph and his family living?
33
1 A Joseph and his family at the time they went missing were
2 living in Fallbrook, California.
3 Q Where is that?
4 A It's just down from Temecula in Southern California.
5 They actually lived on Avocado Vista Lane, San Diego County.
6 Q Did Michael McStay indicate to you whether he had ever
7 been to the house prior to his brother and his family being
8 reported missing?
9 A He had not.
10 Q What did Michael McStay indicate to you was the last time
11 he had actually seen his brother or any other members of the
12 family?
13 A Or any other member of the missing family?
14 Q Yes, the immediate missing family of Joseph McStay?
15 A I believe it would have been a week prior.
16 THE COURT: A week prior to what?
17 THE WITNESS: To the disappearance, to him being aware
18 of, him being aware they were missing. So, the beginning of
19 February.
20 THE COURT: Of 2010?
21 THE WITNESS: 2010, yes.
22 Q (By Mr. Imes) Who did you speak to?
23 A Joseph.
24 Q Joseph, Sr.?
25 A Yes, sir.
26 Q If we could try to make that distinction, 'cause,
27 obviously, there's Joseph, Sr., and Jr.
28 A Right.
34
1 Q Did he indicate how -- how he became aware that Joseph,
2 Sr., and members of the family were missing, or people were
3 unable to get ahold of them?
4 A Michael actually talked to his father, Patrick, who was
5 alerted of the missing family by Joseph's business partner,
6 Charles Chase Merritt.
7 Q Was that on February 8th of 2010?
8 A Yes, sir.
9 Q Did Michael indicate to you the last time he had actually
10 spoken to Joseph was about February 4th of 2010?
11 A I believe, yes.
12 Q And I slipped. Joseph, Sr.?
13 A Yes, sir.
14 Q After receiving the call from their dad, Patrick, did
15 Michael McStay say that, or indicate to you that he attempted to
16 contact Joseph, Sr.?
17 A He did.
18 Q And did he say he did that on February 9th of 2010?
19 A Yes.
20 Q And what did he say was the result of that attempt to
21 contact his brother, Joseph, Sr.?
22 A He was unable to contact him. Nobody was there at the
23 house.
24 Q Did he call or did he go to the house?
25 A He went out to the house.
26 Q Did he attempt to call as well?
27 THE COURT: What date was that?
28 THE WITNESS: February 9th.
35
1 THE COURT: February 9th. Okay.
2 Q (By Mr. Imes) When he attempted to call his brother
3 Joseph, Sr., what would happen?
4 A Joseph Sr.'s, cell phone went to voice mail.
5 Q And at some point did he become familiar with Charles
6 Merritt?
7 A Yes.
8 Q And did Mike McStay indicate how he was familiar with
9 Charles Merritt?
10 A So, Mike knew that Merritt was a business partner of
11 Joseph Sr.'s. Merritt was involved with the custom side of the
12 fountain company. Joseph met Merritt, and Merritt was basically
13 his custom fountain builder. They would work together, and
14 Chase would build the fountains, or Merritt would build the
15 fountains, and then they would be sold on Joseph's website.
16 Q And prior to the first part of February when the family
17 is unable to be located, did Mike McStay indicate to you that he
18 had ever met, in person, Mr. Merritt?
19 A He had not.
20 Q He did not indicate to you, or he had not met
21 Mr. Merritt?
22 A He had not met Mr. Merritt.
23 Q Did Michael tell you that he attempted to contact
24 Mr. Merritt after being alerted to the concerns by their father,
25 Patrick?
26 A Yes.
27 Q And how did, having not met Mr. Merritt before, how did
28 Michael contact the defendant?
36
1 A I believe Michael actually got a call from Merritt.
2 Merritt contacted him out of the blue and was trying to find
3 Joseph. Which prompted Mike to start looking into it, also.
4 Q Charles Merritt, did you ultimately become familiar with
5 him?
6 A Yes.
7 Q You've met him in person, spoke with him?
8 A I have.
9 Q Do you see him in court?
10 A I do.
11 Q Can you please identify him for the record by where he's
12 seated and what he is wearing?
13 A He is seated at counsel table to my left wearing the gray
14 button-down shirt and the tie.
15 MR. IMES: May the record reflect the witness has
16 identified the defendant?
17 THE COURT: The record will so reflect.
18 Q (By Mr. Imes) And is this the individual that Michael
19 McStay was referring to?
20 A Yes, sir.
21 Q You said ultimately, at some point, they were in contact
22 with each other, the defendant and Mike McStay. What was the
23 result of that contact?
24 A They ended up meeting out at the McStay, Joseph and
25 Summer's house out in Fallbrook to go and check on them.
26 Q And when was that?
27 A That was on February 9th.
28 Q February 9th or February 13th?
37
1 A You know what, can I double-check the dates on that, sir?
2 Q Since my memory is different than yours, would it refresh
3 your recollection to see who's correct?
4 A Yes, sir.
5 MR. IMES: With the Court's permission, may he refer to
6 his report?
7 THE COURT: Sure.
8 (Brief pause.)
9 THE WITNESS: Yeah, I stand corrected, sir. I'm sorry,
10 he met Mr. Merritt out there on February 13th, 2010.
11 Q (By Mr. Imes) Can you tell us, what did Michael tell you
12 transpired when he met with the defendant at Joseph Sr.'s,
13 residence on the 13th of February, 2010?
14 A So, on that date, it was a Saturday. They had checked
15 all around the house to see if they could find anyone inside --
16 or find any way inside. Michael said that Mr. Merritt located a
17 back window that was unsecured, unlocked. And told Michael
18 where he located the window. Michael ultimately wanted to get
19 inside to see if anyone was inside, or try to find any type of
20 contact information for Joseph, Sr., and Summer. So, he opened
21 the window and ended up climbing inside.
22 Q Did the defendant go in?
23 A No.
24 Q Did he, Michael, indicate if there was a reason why the
25 defendant didn't go in?
26 A He said because Mr. Merritt had a criminal past --
27 MR. TERRELL: Objection. Irrelevant, your Honor.
28 THE COURT: Sustained.
38
1 MR. TERRELL: Move to strike.
2 THE COURT: The last portion of the answer is stricken.
3 Q (By Mr. Imes) Back, I want to double back just for a
4 second, to the February 9th phone conversation between Michael
5 and the defendant;
6 Do you remember that?
7 A Yes.
8 Q Did Michael indicate to you what -- what the defendant
9 said about the condition of the residence during that phone
10 conversation?
11 A That it was all locked up and the family's dogs were left
12 outside.
13 Q What did Michael indicate to you he did when he did enter
14 the Joseph, Sr., family home?
15 A He said that he ended up, I believe, going around to the
16 front door. He opened the front door, and Mr. Merritt came
17 inside with him. Michael started looking around the house to
18 see if he could find any type of contact information.
19 Michael knew that Summer's family, or Summer's mom lived
20 in Big Bear, so he was trying to find any kind of contact phone
21 numbers or information he could to try and track down where the
22 family was at. He still believed that the family had just gone
23 on vacation.
24 Q Did Michael indicate to you that he observed what he
25 thought was unusual behavior by the defendant while in the house
26 on February 13th?
27 A Yes.
28 Q What was that behavior he observed?
39
1 A Just that he didn't want to walk around the house. He
2 wanted to basically stay sequestered in the lower portion while
3 Michael was looking around.
4 Q Did he indicate to you whether the defendant touched
5 anything or anything such as that?
6 A I don't believe he did, no. He did not, Merritt did not
7 touch anything.
8 Q What was the conclusion of that meeting at the Fallbrook
9 residence?
10 A So, they, Michael and Merritt came to the agreement if
11 they had not heard from Joseph, Sr., or Summer by Monday,
12 February 15th, 2010, that Michael would contact the Sheriff's
13 Department and file a missing persons report.
14 Q Why the delay, did he indicate?
15 A 'Cause Michael still believed at that time that the
16 family are just gone on vacation, that they were possibly either
17 up in Big Bear or gone away for a while and just didn't want to
18 be bothered.
19 Q Did Michael indicate to you that, in fact, on the 15th he
20 did call law enforcement?
21 A He did.
22 Q What did he tell you?
23 A He contacted the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
24 And ultimately went down to the Sheriff's Department, met with a
25 deputy there. They responded out to the house on Avocado Vista
26 Lane. And he went inside with the deputies, still learned there
27 was no one inside. Ultimately the deputy contacted their
28 homicide detail and had them respond, because of the suspicious
40
1 circumstances.
2 Q During the walk-through with the deputy on February 15th,
3 did Michael indicate to you several observations that he made of
4 the house that he thought were of note?
5 A Yes. Can I refer to my report for that?
6 Q If it would refresh your recollection to those details.
7 MR. IMES: With the Court's permission?
8 (Brief pause.)
9 THE WITNESS: So, Michael noticed it appeared they were
10 remodeling the house. There was blue painter's tape up on the
11 wall. There were paint rollers left out. There was a stack of
12 hardwood flooring in the lower portion of the house.
13 He said it looked like they were kind of basically out of
14 the house. Because upstairs there was a large amount of
15 clothing and other stuff strewn about. And they had the kids'
16 plastic houses, what would be outdoor houses, inside the house,
17 upstairs.
18 Michael said when the family lived in San Clemente, those
19 houses were outside. But for some reason they were inside the
20 Fallbrook house.
21 Q Did he indicate something appeared odd as to a futon that
22 was located in the house?
23 A The futon was there inside the house and there was a
24 couple of bowls of popcorn sitting out on the futon.
25 Q Did Michael indicate to you that it appeared the cover
26 was missing from that futon?
27 A I believe he did, yes.
28 Q Are you familiar with an individual that's referred to as
41
1 McGyver McCarger?
2 A Yes.
3 Q And how are you familiar with that individual?
4 A I've interviewed him on a couple of different occasions.
5 He's a family friend of the McStays.
6 Q Did you have an occasion to speak with Mr. McCarger?
7 A I did.
8 Q And, I'm sorry. For the record, his last name is M-c,
9 capital C-a-r-g-e-r.
10 What did he tell you about his knowledge of the McStay
11 family?
12 A So, he was a mutual friend of both Joseph, Sr., and
13 Summer's. He actually introduced them. And from the time he
14 introduced them they hit it off, so to speak. They were -- they
15 started dating. And he tried to urge them to pace their
16 relationship, but ultimately they ended up having, Gianni was
17 their first son, and then later Summer became pregnant with
18 Joseph, Jr.
19 Q And did he indicate that he had had contact with the
20 Joseph, Sr., family around or near the time that they are
21 believed to have gone missing?
22 A Yes.
23 Q What did he tell you?
24 A So, McGyver -- or McCarger kept in contact with both
25 Joseph and Summer on a regular basis. During one of the
26 contacts he had with Summer prior to February 4th, 2010, he
27 learned that they had a painter that was supposed to paint the
28 house. And the painter up and stopped showing up for them to --
42
1 for him to paint the house.
2 Summer was upset because they had lined up stuff they
3 planned to do as far as installing the flooring and whatnot.
4 And McCarger offered to help them paint the house. Just to help
5 get the process going along.
6 Q And what did he tell you happened in helping paint the
7 house?
8 A So, he went over like two to three days, for sure on
9 February 2nd and February 3rd. He went there and he helped
10 Joseph and Summer and the boys paint the lower portion of the
11 house.
12 Q Was there something that prevented him from being there
13 on February 4th?
14 A There was. He had a prearranged function that he was
15 supposed to go to. That he ended not being able to be there on
16 the 4th to continue painting.
17 Q Did he indicate how he attempted to -- to contact the
18 McStay family in order to return and help finish the job?
19 A He did.
20 Q What did he tell you happened?
21 A He tried getting ahold of both Joseph and Summer. Both
22 their phones went to voice mail and he was unable to get in
23 contact with them. He sent them text messages and called their
24 phones.
25 Q Did he say when that occurred?
26 A I believe on the night of February 4th he started. And
27 then February 5th he was trying to continue to get ahold of them
28 to make arrangements to go out there.
43
1 Q Did he indicate to you that at some point after they were
2 believed to have gone missing that he went back to the Fallbrook
3 house?
4 A He did.
5 Q Did he tell you when that occurred?
6 A I believe it was on February 19th, 2010, that he went out
7 there. It was actually after the search warrant had been
8 executed by San Bernardino Sheriff's Department.
9 Q And did he make any observations that he thought were
10 unique or important to inform you of?
11 A He did.
12 Q And what did he tell you?
13 A So, when he went to the house, he met with both Joseph,
14 Sr., and Sr.'s, families. He said that when he arrived that
15 they were already, that Joseph Sr.'s, mother, Susan, and
16 Summer's mother, Blanche, had already started to clean up the
17 house because they felt that the family was still going to come
18 back.
19 He said that he quickly started taking mental snapshots
20 of things he noticed around the house. And said he believed
21 there was a futon cover for the futon in the downstairs living
22 area that was missing.
23 He said that another big thing he noticed was the paint
24 trays that were downstairs. Susan was washing paint out of
25 there. And McCarger believed that was suspicious, because
26 during the time that he was painting with Summer, she complained
27 about having to clean up afterward. So, he showed her how to
28 foil-line the paint trays. And he said it was -- generally
44
1 Summer would just have to wad up the tinfoil and throw it away,
2 instead of having to scrub the paint trays as Susan was doing.
3 Q Would it be fair, based on your knowledge of the
4 investigation, and I think you've referred to it a couple of
5 times, that it's your opinion that the McStays went missing on
6 or about February 4th of 2010?
7 A Yes, sir.
8 Q Using that as a date of reference. How old would Gianni
9 have been at the time of the disappearance?
10 A Four.
11 Q And Joseph, Jr.?
12 A Two.
13 MR. IMES: At this time, I don't have any further
14 questions of Detective Bachman.
15 THE COURT: Okay. Why don't we go ahead and take our
16 morning recess at this time, fifteen minutes. We'll see
17 everyone back in about fifteen minutes.
18 MR. IMES: Thank you.
19 (Whereupon a recess was had.)
20 THE BAILIFF: Please remain seated and come to order.
21 Court is again in session.
22 THE COURT: All right, the record will reflect we are
23 back in session. Parties and counsel are present. Our witness
24 is back on the witness stand.
25 Cross.
26 MR. TERRELL: Defense has no questions.
27 THE COURT: Okay. Any objection to this witness being
28 excused?
45
1 MR. TERRELL: No.
2 MR. IMES: Let's not excuse him. He's probably coming
3 back up, so, to avoid having to reswear him --
4 THE COURT: Yeah, you can resume your seat at counsel
5 table.
6 Okay. You can call your next witness.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why hasn't anyone ever asked McGyver to observe the painting and if there was any walls painted that he had not done ? Or what color paint was in the trays. White or the tan color ? Was the interior painting at the same stage it was when he left ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems,that the TV character, MacGyver, would be more equipped,to deal, with that situation.

      Delete
  3. How do we know McGyver wasn't asked? If he wasn't asked by SDSD, I bet he was by SBSD.

    ReplyDelete