Friday, April 4, 2008

DAY2, PEOPLE vs MARIO LOZANO (Before lunch)

Thanx for your praise and patience people. I'm going to start again at the begining of day 2 for the sake of continuity. It was a massive amount of information so I'm only going to post it up to lunch because that's all I have finished right now. I don't want you to have to wait for me to finish the whole day for you to be able to read this much. Also at my Sis' suggestion, I'll be putting my personal comments in italics to help make it plain and simple. I'll keep working on wednesday afternoons notes and post them as soon as I can. Thanx again, Chaplain Limeygene.

April 2, 2008. El Dorado Co. Superior Court, People vs. Mario Lozano.
Case # P06CRF0427 (Before lunch)

8:00 I arrived at the courthouse early today. I forgot to ask what time and didn’t get any answer at Pat’s. I’m wearing a tee shirt I designed for the Second Annual Kacie’s Ride for hope. I went through security and upstairs to the clerk’s office and knocked on the door to ask what time the Lozano trial would start. They didn’t have it posted yet. I found out I was an hour early so I left the building and walked to Starbucks for coffee and then stood outside the courthouse enjoying the sun and my coffee.
8:55 Mario is already in the courtroom. I talked to Ken, the Mountain Democrat reporter, and his editor insists on the subscription fee. Ken was willing to email the articles to me but the editor prohibited this too. No more free news! Oh well… I thanked Ken for asking and I’ll keep trying to record the events.
Pat, his mom Annie Walker, step dad Doug Walker and dad Lee Barron came in. Kacie’s stepbrother John was there too. I forget his last name

9:05 Judge Keller enters and court is in session less jury.
Atwater is aware that the pathologist will give testimony and states he wants to review the material. He wants autopsy photos excluded stating the pathologist’s testimony verbally will suffice. Gomes explains that the photos indicate circumstantial evidence pertaining to the angles of the gunshots. Also the shot in the shoulder indicates she did not have her shotgun shouldered at the time of the first shot as Mario said in his statement. Both photos show that shot #2 was at a significantly longer distance than shot #1. And the discussion continues for a while…
9:24 Jury enters, trial continues.
Gomes calls Dr. Elizabeth Albers to the stand and she is sworn in.
She has been a Forensic Pathologist for the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office for 4 years. Forensic Pathology is a sub-specialty of pathology. Forensic deals with Medical and the degree of medical aspects of evidence. She has a medical degree, 4 years residency in ontology, has performed approximately 1400 autopsies, has been called on to testify and has been qualified as an expert.
Gomes asks her to describe the 7/28 autopsy of Kacie. She states that Kacie was 5’ 5” tall, cause of death was from wounds to head and chest. She was shown and identified Kacie’s death certificate and it was entered into evidence. When asked to describe the wounds she said the first injury was to the right chest. It was 2” X 1 ¼” wide with no soot or stippling. Soot and stippling are things that exit a firearm at the time it is fired. Stippling is gunpowder fragments that might stick to and or burn to the object shot at. Soot is soot and can look like a dark shadow around the object fired at. This residue indicates close to intermediate distance from the muzzle of the firearm. Close to intermediate means inches to a couple feet in distance. Looking at Kacie’s wounds and path of pellets indicates straight front to back direction. She is asked to identify photos of the chest injury and they are admitted to evidence generally subject to Atwell’s previous complaint. Permission granted to publish. This injury was close enough that the pellets were still together in one mass. The head injury was to the right side of forehead and right scalp. It was 3 ¼” wide X 2 ¾”, a little bigger than chest wound with scalloped edges and some individual pellet marks with lack of soot and stippling. This indicates a longer distance from the muzzle of the gun. The wound was front to back and right to left. More photos are identified and entered under the same condition as the last two. Permission granted to publish and both photos show red dots around the wound indicating peripheral pellet marks. The head wound indicated she would not have died instantaneously but very soon thereafter. 3 photos of autopsy entered and published showing the shot cup and projectiles recovered from inside the chest.
9:45 Atwell asks if it was part of her occupation to determine cause of death, and examine wounds. She answered yes to both questions. The head wound would cause death but not instantaneous. There were extensive skull fractures at top of head and right eye with perforations to the brain. She also examined the chest wound. It was most likely the first causing damage to the pulmonary artery and the aorta in perforations. Not separated but resulting in gaping holes. It would be possible to survive this with immediate medical help but the heart was close to torn in two damaging all the valves. This would be impossible to sustain life. There were also injuries to both lungs and the ribs.
Atwell asks if in examining the body were there any other conditions contributing to her death. Dr. Albers stated she did a complete autopsy. Methamphetamine and Hydrocodone were detected in her blood but there was no damage to internal organs indicating chronic use.
Atwater begins questioning the ruler in the photo of chest wound. Was it in centimeters or inches?… Did she use the ruler in the photo to determine the size of the wound? No, she answered, a separate ruler is used during autopsy directly on the wound. The ruler in the photo is an accepted national standard. In the states the standard practice is to measure inside the body in centimeters and outside the body in inches.
Atwater asks the same question about the head wound and receives the same answers.
He asks if she was wearing a shirt. No, autopsy didn’t receive her with a shirt on, she was wearing her bra. There was no soot or stippling on the bra. Soot is deposited at close range, less than 1 foot. Stippling is deposited at intermediate range, 1 to 2 feet.
He asks are the edges of this standard rigid? No, different shotguns and shells varies this so we deal with ranges.
He began to ask her questions about testing blood and determining what part of the body it came from and for a few moments everyone including the judge was unclear of just what he was asking. She answered, no, it would not be possible to determine what part of the body a blood sample came from once blood samples are taken from a body or crime scene.
Atwater asks if Kacie was examined to determine in she had any other scars. Dr. Albers couldn’t be sure without reviewing the autopsy report.
Gomes objects as not relevant. Council approaches bench to discuss relevancy and it’s allowed.
Yes, 2 scars were found. One a 2” scar at midline of lower back. She could not determine the specific procedure but it was consistent with spinal fusion.
Atwell has no further questions and Dr. Albers is excused.
10:07 Gomes recalls officer Jordan for Atwell’s cross-examination.

Now, I’ve been having a really hard time trying to make notes of Atwell’s statements and questions. When he asks a question, frequently those questioned aren’t sure what he’s asking and then there is a slight pause and Atwell will say some thing else. Often it’s something completely different. He has had the entire courtroom stumped more than once. So… here’s my best effort. It will be incomplete because my brain usually works in one direction at a time and I have a hard time trying to write 3 questions on 3 lines at the same time. I’ll just start each new line with an A for Atwell and continue with a J for Jordan to simplify copying this.

Atwell begins questioning Officer Jordan about various exhibits collected… did he make any measurements of the trailer. Jordan answers yes, inside and outside.
A How was this recorded?
J On the original diagram of the scene.
A Do you recall the dimensions?
J 7’ 10” by 21’ possibly 24’. I need to review my report… 7’ 10” wide by 21’ 5” long.
A The trailer, was it on wheels? How high was the trailer from the ground?
J Yes, and approximately 2’.
A Did you measure inside? …inside dimensions similar? J No we didn’t measure inside and yes. The thickness of the walls is about 2”.
A Did you determine how far the seat of the chair was off the ground?
J No, we did not.
A The floor of the trailer?…
J No?
A Did you determine how far off the ground the bottom of the open window was?
J No, I don’t believe they measured that.
A Did you collect any shotgun pellets inside the trailer?
J Yes.
A Were they examined to determine what size they were?
J No, we just collected them and booked them into evidence.
A Did you in your investigation check the box of shells and determine how many shells were in it?
J No, we didn’t count them. The top box in the carton was full.
A Did you find any more live shells?
J Yes, a box with 4 shells in it inside the house.
A As to the shells in the house, what size?
J I’d have to review the report but I believe 8 shot.
A Were they the same in the shotguns? J Yes, both.
A Were the shells in the full box the same? Jordan views the report and states that the full box was 7 ½ shot.
Atwell re-inspects the box in evidence and verifies this.
A Other items besides the 2 duffle bags, any other evidence belonging to Mr. Lozano?
J Yes, 2 items.
A Where?
J Outside and in the bedroom. In the bedroom was a prescription bottle belonging to Mario Lozano and a letter addressed to Kacie Barron from Mr. Lozano. Outside, by the trailer, there was a letter addressed to Mr. Lozano from Kacie in a bag in a toolbox with tools.
A No further questions.
10:21 Gomes redirects. In regards to the letter to Mr. Lozano from Kacie, was it a letter or just an envelope? Jordan stated he needs to view the report and does. It was a yellow envelope addressed to Mario from Kacie. I don’t recall if a letter was enclosed.
10:24 Officer Jordan is excused with Atwell reserving the right to recall.
11:50 Gomes calls John Yount and he is sworn in.
John Yount (pronounced yoont) works at the Dept of Justice as a criminologist in Santa Rosa. He has a BA in science degree.
Gomes asks what kind of analysis does he do? Yount responds firearms and related components.
Gomes asks, have you been called to testify? Yes, Yount says, I’m qualified as an expert on drugs, drug manufacture, paint, blood and breath analysis.
Gomes asks if he has had training in blood spatter analysis. Yes, he says.
Gomes asks, were you called to investigate this case? Yount answers yes, to investigate the travel trailer, some blood spatter interpretation, in lab firearm testing and analysis, determined results of testing on both shotguns, investigated the tank top for blood analysis also determining size and characteristics of the hole in garment. (He explained soot and stippling faster than I could note but it was consistent with Dr. Albers testimony.) He continued, examined the shirt for partially burnt gunpowder particles.
Questioning the investigation of the trailer and blood analysis, Gomes enters a photo of the blood on the floor in the trailer and shows it to Yount. He asks, relative to this photo, did he notice any blood spatter on the shotgun on the floor under Kacie’s hand? Yount says there was some on the butt and some inside the barrel. He did not test the spatter inside the barrel, it was consistent in color and texture with the spatter on the outside of the gun.
Gomes asks, did you determine the relative position of the gun? No, says Yount, the spatter on the gun was consistent with the photo showing the position of the gun on the floor. When the blood fell on the floor the spatter entered the barrel. It’s possible she was holding the gun in her hand with the barrel facing up when she was shot in the head, or the shotgun was propped with the barrel up close to the spatter. The blood on the walls and ceiling with hair and bone fragments indicates she was standing when she received the head shot. By looking at her top, it indicates she was not bleeding profusely from the shoulder wound. The head wound caused the majority of the blood on the floor.
Photos are entered and shown to the jury to verify this concept showing a band of blood free shirt below the breast. Yount adds, there also is a slight but least possible scenario that the dog stepped in the blood and spattered it.
Gomes asks Yount could determine the distance of the victim from the barrel when shot. He says, by the pathologists report and looking at the hole in the tank top, the hole was consistent with the report. Then he used a similar gun and ammo to test distance and hole size. He used 11 of the cartridges from the box in evidence to test from 1’ to 10’ to determine hole size.
Atwell asks to approach the bench and after speaking to the judge, he shows Yount the box of shells from evidence. Yount verifies the box and shows Atwell the markings he placed on the box while testing. He used the exact gun from the crime scene. These are 7 ½ shot, what was in the guns at the scene was 8 shot. He test fired both sizes and it appeared that Winchester shells were used at the scene so he used them at the range for testing. He also fired 2 of the ECI shells for comparison and they were comparable. A slight variation between shells could change his distance but is not sure which shells were used. The ECI shells would slightly increase the distance.
Gomes asks, did you take steps to determine which gun fired the shells in evidence? Yes, Yount responds. He removed the bolts and microscopically determined that the characteristics between the two guns were unique. He was able then to identify gun to shell with the 13 shells fired in testing. He made casts from the shells he used and the shells from the scene and determined that all the shells were fired from the same gun. Gun # 7 from the cushion not the one on the floor by Mrs. Barron.
Gomes then enters the cardboard targets into evidence and shows them to Yount. Yount identifies them as those he used by his writing on them. 11 were on the brown side made with the Winchester shells and 2 were on the white side with the ECI shells at 2’.
The targets are admitted into evidence and Yount explains: Target #66 was at 1’ and had a ¾” hole, smaller than the minor dimension of 1 ¼” in Kacie’s chest.
To explain “minor dimension”, the hole in Kacie’s chest was not round it was oval. The smaller dimension does not change with the angle of the shot .He did not do recreation shots to determine the angle of the shot. He simply dealt with the dimension he needed to recreate in testing which was distance. He then explains the characteristics of the shot charge after it leaves the barrel and how it spreads out after leaving the barrel. #67 was at 2’ and the hole was under 1”, #68 @ 2 ½’ – 1’ to 1 1/8” approaching the size of the wound and hole in shirt, #69 @ 3’ – 1 1/8’ to 1 ¼” getting at the size of wound, #70 @ 2 ½’ – 7/8” squared pattern from the wadding and shot cup. He then explains how the wadding and shot cup is split and it fans out after leaving the barrel and drops back from the pellets. #71 @ 3’ – 1” X 1”. The size varies so he draws conclusions from the variations. To nail down a distance, he would use several shots and take an average of the size. #72 @ 4’ – 1 ¼” X 1 ¼”, same as minor dimension of wound. #73 @ 4’ – 1 ¼” X 1 3/8”, #74 @ 5’ – 1 5/8” X 1 3/8”, #75 @ 5’ - 1 ½” X 1 3/8”, #76 @ 10’ a large defect in center with small holes around it appearing closer to the head injury than chest. #77 and #78 were at 2’ with the ECI shells and both were less than 1”.
Gomes asks, with these tests can you form an opinion about how far Kacie was from the muzzle? Yount answered greater that 2’ and less than 5’ from chest. Each 2’ holes were smaller than the smaller dimension of the chest wound. Two 8-shot @ 2’, one 7 ½-shot @ 2’ and two 7 ½ -shot @ 2 ½’ were compared. One
7 ½-shot @ 2 ½’ was closest to the size of the wound. Both @ 5’ were larger than the wound. Looking at the targets, the 3’ – 4’ are closest to the wound but he cautions the jury about shot to shot variations.
11:55 Break for lunch.


Sprocket said...

I will just come out and say it. This is fabulous coverage of a trial. You've obtained quite a bit of testimony detail and you should be proud of your accomplishments so far.

Will be waiting to read the rest of your trial notes.

Anonymous said...

I've posted the 4 Mountain Democrat articles (April 3rd, 2nd, 1st, and March 23rd) in the comment section for "Mario Lozano Trial - Day 3 again."

Ditto Sprocket's comment above.

Anakerie said...

Thank you again for letting me read the articles! I'm in the process of updating the who's who in a new post, along with a few comments by me about Mario's "story".