Friday, April 4, 2008

Mario Lozano Trial ~ Day 3 again

For the heck of it I took a look at the front page of the Mountain Democrat website this morning and they've changed something since I wrote the post about Day 3 yesterday afternoon. This morning's version of the paper has a photo of the reenactment they did in the courtroom yesterday. (Shame on me, I copied the photo and then enlarged it a bit.. lol) Here's the photo and the caption from the paper's website:

Democrat photo by Krysten Kellum REENACTMENT~ Police Lt. Kim Nida, left, and prosecutor Dale Gomes demonstrate for the Mountain Democrat what they had shown jurors just minutes earlier ~ a reconstruction of the events as Mario Lozano recalled them that led to the killing of Placerville resident Kacie Barron. Nida and Gomes conducted the demonstration in an attempt to show jurors that Lozano's statements weren't feasible. Sitting in the background are public defender Michael Atwell, left, and murder defendant Lozano.

It's still frustrating not to be able to read the articles on that website.. I wish there were other reporters in that courtroom! Anyway, it's an interesting photo. Notice the gallery seats behind Lozano and his defense attorney. Empty! Notice Lozano slouched down in his chair and not looking at what the prosecutor and the police-woman are doing.


Anonymous said...


Lozano said killing was an accident; reenactment aims to debunk 'accident' claim

By Ken Paglia | Democrat staff writer | April 03, 2008 15:48
Democrat photo by Krysten Kellum REENACTMENT — Police Lt. Kim Nida, left, and prosecutor Dale Gomes demonstrate for the Mountain Democrat what they had shown jurors just minutes earlier — a reconstruction of the events as Mario Lozano recalled them that led to the killing of Placerville resident Kacie Barron. Nida and Gomes conducted the demonstration in an attempt to show jurors that Lozano’s statements weren’t feasible. Sitting in the background are public defender Michael Atwell, left, and murder defendant Lozano.
Just hours after his arrest for murder Mario Lozano told a police detective he shot Kacie Barron accidentally, then a second time so she wouldn't suffer. His statements were revealed Wednesday on the witness stand by Placerville police Lt. Kim Nida, who as a detective in 2006 interviewed Lozano.

Now Lozano, 60, is being tried for the murder. Barron, who was 40, was found fatally shot to the chest and head on July 26, 2006, in a travel trailer parked at her Placerville home.

On Thursday prosecutor Dale Gomes and Lt. Nida re-created for jurors the events that led to Barron's death as Lozano recalled them in an attempt to show they couldn't have happened that way.

Nida began her testimony by describing how Lozano became the prime suspect in the case.

'Kacie's son had told one of the officers that Mario Lozano had stayed with her. He was not to be found anywhere. Not by cell phone or anything. And Kacie's vehicle was missing. So he became the focus of our investigation,' she said.

Nida learned that Barron's credit card had been used two hours after she was killed at a gas station in Markleeville, which is about 70 miles from Placerville in Alpine County. Nida went to the station and obtained the surveillance video.

That video was shown to jurors on Wednesday. It shows a Oldsmobile like the one Barron owned pulling up to a gas station pump. A man of similar stature to Lozano gets out of the car, pumps gas, then leaves.

When Nida resumed testimony she said she found Lozano had an acquaintance who lived near Mammoth Lakes. She notified authorities there to look out for the vehicle. The next day it was found at the acquaintance's home.

Lozano was arrested on Aug. 12, 2006, two weeks after Kacie was killed.

Nida interviewed him 2 1/2 hours after the arrest. She said he was relatively calm and open about giving out information.

'Initially Mr. Lozano started off telling me how he came to California under a different set of circumstances than he expected. He said he came into a crank infested inferno,' testified Nida.

The autopsy on Barron showed she had methamphetamine, often called crank, in her system when she died.

'He said he spent all of his money to get here, including sending Kacie money,' continued Nida. 'He believed she had saved up some of the money he had sent her, but when he arrived it was gone. He said it had been spent on drugs, that Kacie had done that.

'That was as upset as I would see him get during the interview,' Nida said.

Lozano had moved to Placerville from Hawaii about a week before Barron's death. Friends of Barron's testified she didn't want Lozano in her home.

Lozano also believed Barron had a boyfriend. 'He (Lozano) seemed unhappy about that. He didn't give me a name. He said it was 'the pill guy,' ' said Nida. 'I asked Mr. Lozano if he loved Kacie. He said, 'Yes.''

Then Lozano told Nida what happened on the evening of June 26, 2006. The gunplay was initiated because of an argument over Lozano's belongings, he said. 'He just wanted his bags. She refused to give them to him. He was willing to leave. He was going to leave if she gave him those two bags,' Nida said.

Lozano said he was standing outside of Barron's travel trailer and that she was inside, speaking to him from the trailer window.

'He told me that they both had shotguns. She pointed the gun at him, and him at her,' Nida said. 'And Kacie said, 'So you want to play?'

'She pulled on his shotgun. His finger was on the trigger, which caused it to depress. It fired a round to her chest. He said it was an accident.'

Gomes then asked, 'What did Mr. Lozano say about the second shot?'

'He said it was the kill shot. He said she had a gut wound, and he had seen other people with gut shots and knew it wasn't good. He leaned in the window of the trailer and fired a second round at her head. He said he went for the kill shot because he didn't want her to suffer,' testified Nida.

Lozano went on to tell the lieutenant that he climbed in through the trailer window, took a lock box that belonged to Barron, then climbed back out of the window and left, taking Barron's car.

Lozano didn't take the two bags of clothing, which were found by police officers at the scene.

On Thursday morning in court Gomes and Lt. Nida re-created for jurors the positions Lozano and Barron had been in, according to Lozano. The point of the illustration was to show the distance between the tip of the shotgun that Lozano held to Barron's chest where she was shot, if Barron had pulled on the muzzle of the gun, as Lozano recounted.

A Department of Justice criminalist testified early Wednesday that Barron was shot from two to five feet away.

When Nida pointed the shotgun in Gomes' direction from a distance of two feet, Gomes could only brush his fingers against the tip. From a distance of any greater than two feet Gomes could not reach the shotgun.

Lozano's attorney Michael Atwell objected to the re-creation of events, saying it didn't account for unknown elements such as Barron's arm span. He also said it was in no way a scientific recreation.

Judge Proud overruled the objection and allowed the demonstration. 'The people are entitled to illustrate to the jury that the shooting could not have occurred as Lozano has stated,' Proud said.

After the demonstration Gomes rested his case. The trial resumes Tuesday with evidence and an opening statement from Atwell.

Again, I think you are doing a great job. Thank you so much. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...


Victim was shot at close range

By Ken Paglia | Democrat staff writer | April 02, 2008 16:09
Democrat photo by Pat Dollins DEFENSE ATTORNEY Michael Atwell, left, reviews case paperwork with murder defendant Mario Lozano during a break in the trial.
In the Mario Lozano murder trial Wednesday a criminalist testifying for the prosecution revealed that the killer who shot Kacie Barron did so from just a few feet away.

Lozano, 60, was living at Barron's home at the time of the murder. On Tuesday several witnesses described tension between them and said Barron, 40, wanted him to leave.

On Wednesday Department of Justice criminalist John Yount described the procedure he used to determine the distance from which Barron was shot. He test fired shots from the shotgun used in the murder at varying distances from cardboard pieces, then compared the holes to Barron's chest wound (She was shot in the chest and head).

Yount determined that Barron was two to five feet away from her killer.

Placerville Police Officer and crime scene investigator Brody Jordan testified on Wednesday that his analysis of blood spatter at the murder scene led him to believe Barron was standing up when she was shot in the head.

It hasn't yet been made clear the significance of that finding.

Barron's body was found in her travel trailer on July 26, 2006. Lozano was arrested near Mammoth Lakes two weeks later (The Mountain Democrat incorrectly reported in previous articles that Lozano was arrested two months later).

Lozano is represented by public defender Michael Atwell, who has yet to reveal the nature of his defense. He chose to postpone his opening statement until the prosecution finishes their case.

If Lozano is convicted he is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole. He is not facing the death penalty.

Anonymous said...


Witnesses talk of tension before Barron killed

By Ken Paglia | Democrat staff writer | April 01, 2008 16:10
Photo by Dan Burkhart Mario Lozano
The first couple of witnesses in the Mario Lozano murder trial testified Tuesday morning that there was friction between Lozano and his ex-girlfriend Kacie Barron shortly before her death.

Lozano, 60, is accused of shooting Barron, 40, twice with a shotgun on July 26, 2006. Her son Nick Selbman found Barron's body in the travel trailer parked on her property.

Selbman, now 22, was the first to testify for the prosecution, led by deputy district attorney Dale Gomes. Selbman testified that his mother and Lozano had an on-again-off-again relationship over a period of about six months. During that time Lozano had left Placerville and gone back to his native Hawaii, then returned. Upon his return Lozano stayed in Barron's home - something she may not have been thrilled about.

'She wasn't really excited about it, but she wasn't mad about it or anything,' Selbman testified at first. But after a few more questions by Gomes he curbed his words, saying, 'She wasn't happy with him there.'

Selbman then recalled the last time he saw his mother, beginning at about 8 a.m. on July 26. He went to her home to drop off his dog before going to work, a normal routine. But something about that day was different. Barron asked her son to meet her at the bottom of the hill, rather than coming up to her house, as he usually did.

'I thought it was kind of strange,' Selbman said.

Selbman went on to say that his mother had been staying with friends, rather than at her own house, for a couple of days. 'She was waiting for Mario to leave. So she was going to just stay away until he did,' said Selbman.

'I offered to remove him from the house. She said don't worry about it, that it was her problem,' he said.

When Selbman did go up to his mom's property to take a look at a truck that needed fixing, Lozano was there. 'I could sense some tension,' he said.

Selbman went to work, then afterward went to an auto parts store to pick up parts for his mother's truck. When he was finished he called her cell phone and home phone, but she didn't answer either of them.

At close to 6 p.m. he drove to his mother's property to pick up his dog. He noticed her 1990 Oldsmobile was not in the driveway, he said.

Then he heard his dog barking from inside the travel trailer. He also noticed that a window was open and its screen had been taken out.

'I couldn't see why that would happen,' he said.

The door to the travel trailer was locked. Selbman said he noticed a chair perched up near the window. On it he said he saw a footprint. He climbed in the trailer through the window. 'I saw my mom laying on the ground, all covered in blood,' he said. 'It looked like she had been there for a while. Long enough for the blood to dry.'

Selbman said he called 911 and it was busy. He then called his roommates, then 911 again. This time the call was answered, and authorities responded to the scene.

On cross-examination Selbman told public defender Michael Atwell that Lozano had been sending his mom money from Hawaii, and that she had visited him there earlier in 2006.

The second witness for the prosecution was Barron's friend Mike Nuss. Nuss and Barron had known each other since he was 16 years old and, 'kind of grew up together,' Nuss said. They remained good friends up until her death, he said.

Questioning from the prosecution largely focused on a conversation between Nuss and Barron the day before she died. Nuss said he and Barron talked for 2 1/2 hours in her car on the night of July 25.

'She said she hadn't gone home for a couple of days because Mario was there and she wanted him to leave,' Nuss testified. 'He showed up at her house unexpectedly. He had been bit by a centipede in Hawaii and almost died. Kacie told him before that it was over. When he showed up, she stayed away.'

Nuss testified that Lozano had left Barron a couple of cell phone messages that she was concerned about. Barron had asked Nuss to listen to them and give his opinion, he said.

'It sounded like he was giving her a time limit,' Nuss testified. 'It was something like 'You've got 12 to 14 hours to take care of what you've got to take care of.' '

Nuss said he didn't know what to think of the message - or even specifically what Lozano had been referring to. He felt frustration but didn't feel Barron was in danger, he said.

'She just wanted him gone. She didn't want to be in his presence,' he said.

The next day, at around noon, Nuss heard his phone ringing from inside his truck but didn't get to it in time to answer. It was Barron who had called. Nuss returned the call but couldn't get a hold of his friend, he said.

Barron was killed at about 12:10 p.m., Gomes said.

In Gomes' opening statement, he said Lozano admitted the killing to Placerville Police Lt. Kim Nida. 'Lozano described the first shotgun blast to the chest. He described the second shot to her head, in his own words, as the kill shot,' Gomes told jurors.

'He then took her car, her purse, wallet and two .22-caliber handguns. He used Barron's ATM card to put $50 worth of gas in the car.'

Atwell chose to reserve his opening statement until the prosecution finishes its case.

Two months after the July 26 incident Lozano was arrested at the home of an acquaintance near Mammoth Lakes. He has been held at the South Lake Tahoe jail since then.

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

Anonymous said...


Trial set to start for alleged shotgun killer

By Eric Laughlin | Democrat staff writer | March 23, 2008 14:34
Democrat photo by Dan Burkhart SUSPECTED KILLER Mario Lozano appears in court Friday for a trial readiness hearing. The 59-year-old Hawaiian native has been charged with the shotgun slaying of his former girlfriend Kathleen Kacie Barron. His trial is set to begin this week.
Jury selection is set to begin tomorrow in the murder trial of the man who allegedly killed his former girlfriend with a shotgun before going on the run as a fugitive for two months.

Mario H. Lozano, 59, has been in the custody of the El Dorado County sheriff since his August 2006 arrest in Mono County north of Bishop. He had reportedly been staying with a friend before Placerville detectives caught up with him there.

Lozano is accused of killing 40-year-old Kathleen Kacie Barron at her Anderson Way, Placerville, residence. The incident took place in July 2006, after Lozano had returned from his native Kauai to 'rekindle the relationship,' according to a police official.

Barron's body was found by her son in a travel trailer parked in her home's driveway. The incident was the only murder in the city in 2006.

Lozano's trial will be prosecuted by deputy district attorney Dale Gomes, an aggressive prosecutor known for successfully handling sexual assault and domestic violence cases. Lozano is represented by deputy public defender and former prosecutor Michael Atwell.

Jury selection could take two or three days before opening statements begin. The trial could last up to a month or more.

Several members of Barron's family have attended Lozano's pre-trial hearings and plan to be present during the trial.

'We intend to attend everything,' said brother Pat Barron. 'It's pretty painful, though, knowing that whatever happens, we're never going to see my sister again.'

Anakerie said...

Wow! Thank you! Now I can read what the Mt. Democrat has blocked.

Question for you, though.. With the copyright issues would you prefer me to "hide" these?

Anonymous said...

Don't know. I guess you'll have to do what you think is best. I don't know anything about law pertaining to reprinting a newspaper article on the internet. For one thing, you're not selling the information, and for another, I've already paid for the information, as have numerous other newspaper subscribers. Once the newspaper leaves, I'm not sure that the information is protected any longer. But you might ask for consultation on this issue if you're worried, and/or hide them for the time being.

Anakerie said...

I was looking around on the controls for this site, and apparently I can't "hide" the comments without completely deleting them. For now, I guess I'll leave them as they are and if there are issues later on, I will deal with it then.

Again, thank you for giving me the chance to read the articles. I'm still refusing to pay for a subscription to a paper that will be useless to me once this trial is over.

Anonymous said...

Thanx, anonymous.
I recieved 2 emails from Kacie's Mom forwarding Mountain Democrat's articles. The first was the article but the second was only a link that ended up at the subsciption page. We all, I'm sure, appriciate your contribution. Please continue.

Anonymous said...