April 1, 2008. El Dorado Co. Superior Court. People vs. Mario Lozano.
Case # P06CRF0427
I’ll try to list this from my notes in a time frame as it happened. As I said, I’ll try to fill in the gaps without being too tedious. I’m not going to edit much because of the time this is taking, so please bear with my mistakes.
8:30 I arrived in court wearing a tee shirt I designed for the first annual “Kacie’s Ride for Hope”. Court was supposed to start then.
8:50 Gomes and Atwater leave court to talk.
9:00 Mario arrives
9:03 Atwater enters then leaves with Mario and the court stenographer. Uh oh, is he going to cop a plea?
9:15 Atwater, Mario and the stenographer enter.
9:18 The Deputy asks the witnesses to leave.
9:20 Gomes enters.
9:26 Atwater asks Gomes to leave again.
9:31 Atwater and Gomes re enter.
9:34 Jury enters.
9:36 Judge Keller enters and court finally begins.
Gomes begins his opening statement with a picture of Kacie and her cousin Sedina Pease sitting on a bench in Kacie’s front yard. He states he will show that on July 26th 2006 Mario shot Kacie twice. That she dreamed of traveling and was spending time working on a trailer she had purchased. At approximately 12:00 Gary Chapman leaves. Just prior to 12:00 Mike Nuss leaves. 12:09 Kacie calls Gary. 12:10 call to Mike Ness. 12:11 Mike calls Kacie’s phone. The defendant got a shotgun loaded with 5 shells from Kacie’s house, disengaged the safety, knocked a screen out of the trailer and shot Kacie in the chest. Then leaned in the trailer and shot Kacie in the forehead. He then stole 2 .22 handguns, her car, purse and wallet. He used Kacie’s ATM card to gas up in Markleeville heading south on hwy. 88. 2 weeks later the police department found him. In his statement to Police he describes the first and second shots. In his words the “kill shot”.
9:46 Atwell reserved the right to present his statement after the Defense presents their case.
9:47 Nick Selbman, Kacie’s son was called and sworn in.
Gomes asked him to identify Kacie in the photo of her and Sedina, then to identify Mario in the courtroom. Nick’s testimony brought out that Kacie and Mario dated about 6 months in an on and off again relationship. Mario lived with Kacie for about a month and left for Hawaii, then was back about a month before she was killed. Kacie wasn’t excited about Mario’s return and stated it was only for awhile. She had expressed negative feelings for Mario early in July. By mid July Kacie stated she was not happy having Mario there.
Kacie had two shotguns registered in her name but one was Nick’s. She also had two .22 pistols there, one also was Nick’s. She kept one shotgun by her bed, the other on a rack in the bedroom. One .22 was in a holster in the computer room and the other was kept in a lockbox. He didn’t know where she kept the lockbox.
Nick had called Kacie in the morning to meet her, Kacie would watch Nick’s dog when he was at work. She asked him to meet her at the bottom of the hill, about a block away, which was unusual. He usually just went to the house and walked in the front door.
Nick was asked to identify 3 pictures of her trailer. Nick stated that Kacie had spent a few nights at Gary’s and at another friend’s, Dinessa’s, houses. She was at Dinessa’s house the night before waiting for Mario to leave. Nick said he offered to remove Mario but Kacie declined saying it was her problem.
Gomes enters the handguns and both shotguns, still covered with fingerprinting dust. Nick identified the guns.
Nick stated he got off work at about 5:30 that Wednesday and called to inform his Mom that he would be at an Auto parts until about 6:00. She didn’t answer. When he got to Kacie’s he noticed her Olds was gone. As he was going to the house he heard his dog barking in the trailer. The door on the trailer was locked. He noticed a window open and a screen off with the A/C running, which was unusual. He noticed a chair below the window with a sandal print on it. He was asked who wore sandals and he responded that Mario did. He stepped up looking in the window and saw a shotgun, his dog and his Mom on the floor covered in blood. He then crawled in the window, checked Kacie’s pulse, threw his dog out the window, crawled out and tried to call 911, called his room mates and then called 911 again.
Gomes enters a lockbox into evidence. Nick identifies it and claims it usually contained his .22, his checks, her old jewelry and pink slips. It was unusual for it to be in the trailer.
That morning Nick met his Mom at the bottom of the hill and followed her to her house. After dropping off his dog he saw Mario on the concrete by the house. Mario said drive safe, have a good day as usual. He brought up that Kacie stayed at a friend, Dinessa’s house a couple nights as why she met him at the bottom of the hill that morning.
Gomes also brought up that there was a restraining order on Dave Parker, a previous boyfriend and that Kacie was going to be a witness in court against him.
10:16 Atwater begins to question Nick and asks about Kacie’s source of income. Gomes objects and council asked to approach the bench.
10:18 Jury asked to break.
Atwater wanted to question Nick about her income, state of mind, if she was selling meds. There was both meth and prescription meds in her blood. If she was selling meds and drugs there could be other people who wanted to harm her. All this could affect her mental state.
Gomes responds that there isn’t any factual relevance with this and her state of mind towards Mario.
Judge Keller states he doesn’t see how this is relevant at this time and sustains.
11:06 Atwater continues to question Nick, bringing up that Mario was sending Kacie money at times and that Kacie had gone to Hawaii in June to see Mario.
Gomes then establishes that Kacie and Nick would shoot guns about every 2 to 3 weeks and that she was familiar with firearms.
Nick excused and Atwater reserved the right to recall him.
11:10 Gomes calls Mike Nuss to the stand and he’s sworn in. He’s asked to identify Mario and he does. Mike establishes that he’s known Kacie since he was 16, about 25 to 30 years. Their relationship turned romantic about 20 years ago but didn’t last. They remained very good friends ever since. He met Mario at Kacie’s house and talked a little after Mario returned from Hawaii. The night before she died, Kacie came to his house and they sat in her car talking for 2 to 3 hours. She had him listen to some cell phone messages. She stated she hadn’t gone home for a couple days waiting for Mario to leave. She stated that after Hawaii, where Mario had been bit by a centipede, he showed up and wouldn’t leave.
Gomes directs him to the cell phone messages. She wanted his opinion about what they meant. One sounded like Mario was giving her a time limit of 12 to 14 hours to take care of what she needed to. Mike said he offered to call the Police to have him removed and Kacie declined stating she didn’t want to be a cop caller.
11:29 Atwater asks Mike why she wanted Mario out. He responded she said it was over and she didn’t want a relationship with him. Atwater asked in conversation was there any mention about Nick leaving his dog, about cell phone call related to…
Mike didn’t understand the question. Asked what day called, Mike didn’t know.
Mike excused with Atwater reserving the right to recall him.
11:36 Lunch recess
1:32 Gomes calls Mike Thompson to the stand and he’s sworn in. He establishes that he’s known Kacie for about 30 years. Their mothers knew each other. He was asked to identify Mario and did. He met Mario 2 to 3 months before Kacie died. He was very good friends with Kacie. He believes her relationship with Mario was boyfriend/girlfriend.
Kacie called him the morning she died and stated that she would be home about 10:30. He actually got there between 11:00 and 12:00. She was in her car in the driveway putting makeup on. As she said, getting out of her car, putting her face on. They had a conversation about her cat, Spoof, who had bitten someone on the leg. She was concerned about Spoof and asked if he could take him. He couldn’t. She asked for a loan of a couple hundred dollars which wasn’t unusual. He loaned her $200. She handed him a few pain pills and insisted he take them. She indicated she had to take care of business today and pointed toward the house. As he was leaving around 12:00 he saw Gary pulling up in a blue pickup. She got a phone call and was talking as he was leaving.
1:46 Atwater asks mike what were the pills she gave him. He responded, Vicodin, about 30 or 50. He gave them all to the prosecution. He stated he gave her money when she returned from Hawaii. Mario had been sick or injured and she went to help him. He was asked if the problem with the cat seemed important. He answered yes. Then he was asked if he knew what the money was for and he responded no. Did she seem to be in a hurry? He answered yes.
Mike excused with Atwater again reserving the right to recall him.
1:53 Gomes calls Gary Chapman to the stand and he is sworn in.
Gary states he’s known Mario 1 to 1 ½ years before Kacie died working on a car for Mario. They became friends but not close. He knew Mario before he met Kacie. Mario was staying at a friend, Fred Williams’ house and then stayed at Gary’s after Fred died for about a week. When asked why Mario left, he responded that he asked him to go. He didn’t like Mario’s attitude, he was controlling. Gary met Kacie at Fred’s home before he died. He remembered Mario being at Kacie’s around Christmas of 2005. He met Kacie to work on her trailer replacing part of the floor, working on the hot water heater and replacing the tub. He had worked about 15 hours over several days. Sometimes he only worked 1 or 2 hours. He had worked on the trailer the day before and didn’t ever notice the shotgun, hand guns, ammo or lockbox in the trailer.
Gomes enters photo of open lock box and box of shotgun shells on trailer cushion into evidence and asks Gary if he recognizes them. Gary responded no. Gary states he had dropped Kacie off at her house on the 26th as she had stayed at his house. When asked why he responded that she wanted Mario out of her house. He dropped her off about 10:30 or 11:00 but wasn’t actually sure if it was the 25th or 26th. He was there on the 26th to pick up $200 she owed him for working on the trailer. During the conversation she kept saying she wanted Mario out of her house. He left around 12:00.
Gomes asked Gary if Kacie needed help would she call him. He said yes. Would she call him if she was in danger? Yes he thought so.
2:15 Atwater asks Gary if they talked about the cat. He said yes. Anything else? He got $200 from her. Atwater questions Gary about Hawaii, when, how long, when she returned and Gary didn’t know.
Gary excused with of course Atwater reserving the right to recall.
2:22 Gomes calls officer Brody Jordan and he is sworn in.
His normal duties are patrol and crime scene investigation. His training includes 60 hrs Basic CSI, 50 hrs Advanced CSI, 40 to 50 hrs Blood shed recovery and 40 to 50 hrs Homicide/ Suspicious death. He has peen with Placerville PD aprox. 4 years. He is shown and identifies several crime scene photos of the trailer exterior and interior. Atwater asks to see photos before agreeing to enter into evidence.
3:04 Before the jury enters; Atwater asks to exclude 4 photos, Gomes states he specifically selected 2 to show Kacie in relation to the trailer and closer to show how she was found. 1 shows circumstantial evidence of blood splatter showing she was standing during shot #2 and 1 showing pellet pattern on the wall showing where her head stopped the pellets. Atwater objects the first 2 because of the blood and says the power point illustration will serve that purpose.
Judge Keller allows the photos.
Gomes points out that he went through over 200 photos to select a few.
3:18 Jury enters.
Judge Keller agrees to allow Gomes to publish the photos with judge’s option to admit pending identification.
5 more pages of notes will be condensed due to repetition of photo scenes and testimony. Officer Jordan identifies photos and evidence:
Photos of outside of trailer, open window and relation of chair; looking in through the window showing shotgun on couch cushion; interior of shotgun on cushion by window screen and expended shell. A power point illustration showing position of evidence in and outside the trailer including: a lock of hair, a dirt devil vacuum, another lock of hair and a bloody dog’s footprint in the entranceway.
He is asked about the workings of this Mossberg shotgun and he explains it holds 5 shells in the feeding tube and can also hold 1 in the firing chamber if one was to pump a shell into the chamber and replace it with another in the feed tube. It has a manual safety and can only be fired if the safety is disengaged and the pump is locked in the forward position.
Back to photos and the illustration: the shotgun on the couch cushion had the safety off, 1 shell in the chamber and 2 in the feed tube; there was an expended shell on the cushion next to the shotgun and one outside on the ground close to the front door. This indicates one shot was fired outside and one inside. There was a cell phone on the floor between the couches and another cell phone by the open security box and box of shells on the cushion of the couch opposite the open window. The box of shells was entered into evidence and was full at the time of investigation. Positions were shown of the 2 shotgun shell waddings. One on the floor and one had hair fragments on it on the dinette cushion with some pellets. Some hair fragments and a pool of blood around the dinette area. A second shotgun was on the floor under Kacie’s right arm. It had 5 shells in the feed tube, the firing chamber was empty and the safety was engaged. Kacie was on the floor under the sink and refrigerator. Photos were shown of the front wall where and an explanation of where Kacie would have been standing and the pattern of pellets and lack of pellets on the wall. The pellets went through the cupboard doors and dented the exterior siding. Some pellets penetrated the siding. Prosecution suspects Kacie was standing by the dinette area when she was shot in the head. 2 duffel bags were in a cupboard above the couch opposite the open window with cloths and personal items belonging to a man. The blood pattern by the dinette dropped when she was shot in the head, not where she was found on the floor.
Gomes asked Officer Jordan about the investigation of the house. In the front bedroom, Kacie’s room, they found a box of shotgun shells that only had 4 shells left in it, 2 shotgun cases with only spare barrels in them and some prescription bottles belonging to Mario.
Gomes makes a point that there are no blood splatters in the south half of the trailer, where the couches and open window are, only a few bloody dog prints.
4:30 Court closes until tomorrow.
Whew, it’s midnight and I gotta get some sleep. So, until tomorrow, Gene.