January 4, 2016.
For the first time in forever, a reporter for the Modesto Bee came into court this morning albeit late. For those of you who are wondering why the Bee has not Been in the court every day I don’t know. You’ll have to call the Bee and asked them.
The Bee reporter came in to the courtroom this morning at 9:50 AM and after the break did not come back in for the rest of the morning session. He was in attendance for 55 minutes this morning. He again came into the courtroom at 1:40 PM and left at 3 PM. He was in attendance for one hour and 20 minutes in the afternoon session.
He posted an article on the Modesto Bee tonight but did not include everything that happened in the courtroom. Well if you’re not there you won’t know what happened. So myself, along with Tom Jensen will let you know what he did not report. So let’s get started.
Today agent Bunch took the stand to testify under Prop 15 which allows a law enforcement officer to testify as accurately as possible what the potential witness told them when they were interview. Under the guidance of deputy Dist. Atty. Ferreira, Bunch related the following to her on direct examination.
He stated that Justin Reedy and Sabrina Romero live together and share children. I will pause right here for a moment and remind you of who Sabrina Romero is. She was one of the first witnesses to be called by the prosecution. Ms. Romero had embezzled approximately $12,000 from a local Dr. where she was employed. Keep in mind she is one of the witnesses for the prosecution.
A complaint was filed on February 27, 2013 alleging a violation of Penal Code section 508, felony embezzlement. From the time the complaint was filed until today there were 20 pre-trials scheduled. She has been released on her own recognizance. There have been two preliminary hearings scheduled and a third one is scheduled for January 11, 2016. For whatever unknown reason, wink, wink, this case is still pending. It remains to be seen whether or not her preliminary hearing will be held on January 11, 2016. Just saying…
Bunch said Reedy told him that there had been a confrontation on Michael Cooley’s property and he heard a loud noise near the rear gate. He then said that he saw Michael Cooley and a white male adult arguing loudly. When Bunch interviewed Reedy he had about 30 to 40 photos of persons with him. However he only showed a photo of Frank Carson to Reedy.
Upon seeing the photo Reedy stated that he was 70% sure that the person arguing with Cooley was Frank Carson. He stated the person was wearing sunglasses. He went on to state that they were yelling at each other in an aggressive manner and a car door was slammed shut and also a gate was slammed open.
Reedy said the white male adult said to Cooley, if any of your friends or you come on my property I will kill you. I’m tired confrontations. Cooley then said to the white male adult to get off his property and come back with a warrant.
The white male adult then allegedly said Cooley, I know you’re a two striker and I will put your ass away and you won’t see the light of day.
Then the focus shifted to Kimberly Stout. She was interviewed at her residence. She stated that she knew Korey Kauffman through his stepfather Kevin Pickett. She said that she knew there were a lot of thefts going on at 838 9th St. She stated that on March 28 of 2012 she saw Robert Woody in a black BMW stopped that Korey Kauffman’s house and drove away. She said she talked to Korey and he told her that he had been threatened but was not upset about it.
During Bunches testimony the defense counsel on numerous occasions had to object because the deputy DA had not laid the foundation for the questions. Someone in the gallery whispered, has she ever tried a case before? Of course all of the objections for lack of foundation can be found in the public record.
She said Corey told her that some guys from the Pop N Cork had threatened to kill him. She said one of them was Baljeet Athwal. She stated she knew Robert Woody was in the passenger seat but could not see who was driving the car. She said she knew the BMW was Athwal’s because she had seen it at their liquor store. She also said that on a prior occasion it Robert Woody’s house, Robert Branco had said that Korey Kauffman was hit so hard he died on the first punch. During this period deputy Dist. Atty. Ferreira was again having problems laying the foundation for questions.
Robert Forkner began a cross-examination and asked Bunch if there was one person in the car, and Bunch said no. Forkner stated that the transcripts say otherwise. DA Ferreira immediately objected saying that Forkner is attempting improper impeachment.
Martha Carlton Magana then said that all of Bunches testimony should be stricken because his testimony is inconsistent with the recordings. She cited several examples. Judge Zuniga denied that request stating that there will be time later on to do that.
Robert Forkner then asked Bunch if one of the witnesses named Paden (Spelling ?) Called him and told him that the information on the Ramey warrant was incorrect and Bunch answered yes. He was then asked if he had told Mr. Paden about the black BMW and Bunch answered no. Bunch was asked if Mr. Paden accused law enforcement of false information in the Ramey warrant and Bunch said yes but Mr. Paden was mistaken. Hmmmn?
Agent Bunches demeanor changed under the questioning by defense attorneys. A lot of the bravado he exhibited when questioned by deputy Dist. Atty. Ferreira had all but disappeared. He seemed much more humble now in answering questions. The focus shifted to his interview with Stout. He was asked if Stout said why did it take so long for you to interview me. It’s been over two years.
Stout also said that prior to the murder, Cooley had set up Korey Kauffman because Cooley felt that Corey was fooling around with Eula Keyes. Well it’s 12 o’clock time for the lunch break.
As the afternoon session opened Robert Forkner asked Bunch if both Reedy and Romero were interviewed together. Bunch said no. Mr. Forkner then asked if Reedy could hear Romero when she made her statement? Bunch answered no. Bunch said that Reedy was walking around in the house in the front room.
Robert Forkner then referred to a transcript and told Bunch that in the transcript Reedy said after thinking about Romero’s statement is when Reedy said that Frank Carson said he would kill anyone which appears to show Bunch was not being truthful regarding who could hear Romero’s statement.
Attorney Jesse Garcia then asked Bunch if he had asked Reedy if he had Been using drugs prior to going outside the property. Bunch said he did not ask him. Bunch said he doesn’t remember if he told Stout that it was a black BMW. He said Stout said it had a Indian male driver.
Under questioning Bunch then said that Mr. Paden did not hear any threats from the vehicle and he never heard Frank Carson’s name come from the vehicle. Mr. Garcia then said didn’t Stout say when she saw Corey the last time he was wearing cowboy boots and Bunch said yes. However in his testimony Bunch said that Stout said that Corey was wearing “shit kicking” boots. This again showing more inconsistencies in Bunches reports versus what was actually said.
Then Mr. Garcia said wasn’t Mr. Paden annoyed and angry because of what you put in the Ramey warrant? Bunch answered well he was “concerned”. Mr. Garcia then asked did Mr. Paden say in that recorded telephone call how could I remember two years ago? Bunch then had to admit also that Paden said he did not see a second person in the car.
Then Bunch had to admit that he and his partner persisted in talking about the possibility of the seat laying down in the car were Mr. Paden couldn’t see someone. To Paden confirmed that there was only one person in the car. Mr. Garcia asked bunch, didn’t Mr. Paden say that this is a bunch of bull shit? Bunch admitted that he said that.
Mr. Garcia asked Bunch if he knew that Kimberly Stout is a prior methamphetamine user and Bunch said he didn’t know that. He was asked if he looked at her criminal record and he stated he did not. Bunch also admitted that Stout had told him that Michael Cooley and Eula Keyes were trading stolen property to a Linda Fisher. Stout also said that Eula Keyes told her that Michael Cooley had set Korey Kauffman up.
Earlier Bunch and said that Stout afraid about testifying because she had to live here. Under cross-examination it was brought out that Stout had said she is not afraid which is another inconsistency and regarding Bunches reports to the audio version.
After the testimony ended defense attorney Martinez brought up to the court that the last day of testimony before the Christmas break, Bunch had gone into a back room with all of the Sheriff’s deputies and talked to them for some time. Mr. Martinez says that after that meeting defendants have Been treated other than fairly. He feels a Bunch said something to them about how to treat the defendants.
Of course deputy Dist. Atty. Ferreira immediately objected stating that there was no meeting and that this is another example of the defense bringing false allegations and impugning the integrity of the Sheriff’s deputies. Judge Zuniga brought the head of the custodial deputies up and talked to him.
She said that he had assured her that there was no change in the normal operating procedures for the inmates. Judge Zuniga said that she is not going to micromanage the Sheriff’s office in this matter.
Throughout this proceeding today it was brought out that Agent Bunch has Been taking leave in writing many of his reports and the reports do not reflect what the audio or video tapes actually say. I believe that Martha Carlton Magana’s motion to strike all of Bunches testimony because of all of his inconsistencies between what was said on the tapes and what he put in his report will be heard at a later date. If my memory serves me, I believe this was an issue six or seven weeks ago also.
That’s all I have for today but I urge you to read my co-authors comments. As I stated before, Tom Jensen has a much better memory than I do and I’m thankful for that. Court is scheduled to reconvene tomorrow at 9:30 AM. If I’m able I will be there to make some comments.