July 13, 2016 – This is a first for me. In the ten months of this preliminary hearing, I have seen the defense attorneys working together for the greater good of all the defendants. This morning, defense attorney Martha Carlton-Magana had many of us in the audience frustrated, and scratching our heads. I actually was pounding my head over what was happening. I just could not believe what I was witnessing.
Martha had self-proclaimed cell phone expert Jim Cook on the stand for continuing cross examination. She was asking questions that seemed to have been asked before, and other questions that angered defense attorney Jesse Garcia. Jesse Garcia actually objected to many of her questions, and his objections were joined by Prosecuting DA Marlissa Fereirra on at least one occasion.
It was obvious that Martha was asking questions that Jesse did not want to be asked. Most of these questions seemed to be pointless. Nearly all of the questions were awkwardly asked, with Martha having to repeatedly correct herself. It looked to me that Martha was exhausted, and she struggled to make her thought processes work in an effective way. I will now try to give you some detail of what happened in this morning session. It seemed like watching paint dry to me.
Martha starts out at 10:47AM by asking Jim Cook if he used a program named “Streets and Maps” to make the circles depicting cell phone towers on his Power Point presentation. Cook said that he had used that program. Martha asked Cook if he used any tools or did any measurements when he was drawing the angles associated with the cell phone coverage areas. Cook said he did not use any tools or do any measurements. It seems that Mr. Cook likes to fly by the seat of his pants, and then tries to make precise assumptions about coverage areas.
I notice that Marlissa Fereirra looks exhausted, and she tilts her head back to put some Visine into her eyes. This trial has really taken its toll on everyone involved. Detective Lingerfeldt is dressed in a very nice suit with his usual bow tie. He looked sharp today. I think his bow tie is much like my tie died shirts. We just feel more comfortable in certain attire. To some people, I am sure we both look a little bit goofy. To Hell with those people. LOL
Martha then gets Cook to say how much distance there is between two Turlock area cell phone sites, and one cell phone site in the South Modesto area. Jim Cook testified that he had not done actual measurements of these distances, and was only able to give an estimate.
Martha then asks Jim Cook if he knows how many people live in Turlock. Cook has no idea. Cook also did not know how many people in Turlock have AT&T cell phones or Crickett cell phones.
Martha then goes into a long series of questions that seemed to anger defense attorney Jesse Garcia. She goes into cell phone calls between Baljit Athwal and the Law Office of Frank Carson between 02/15/2012 and 05/22/2012. She gets Cook to state that there were no calls from Baljit Atwall and the Carson Law Office during that time period. There were also no calls from Baljit Athwall and the Carson Law Office between 05/23/2012 and 07/15/2012. These were time periods where there would have been some calls if the prosecution’s theories on this case were true. There were also no calls between Baljit Athwall and Carson’s Law office between 02/15/2012 and 05/22/2012. There were also no calls between Pop N Cork Liquors and Carson’s Law Office during this time period. There were no calls to Frank Carson’s cell phone during this time period. There were no calls to Georgia DeFelippo’s cell phone, Christina DeFelippo’s cell phone, or Brian Schmidt’s cell phone from Baljit during that time period.
During this portion of testimony, defense attorney Jesse Garcia gets increasingly upset with Martha. There were several objections from Jesse, and at least one of the objections was joined by Marlissa Fereirra.
For the umpteenth time, Jim Cook gets admonished by the judge for not answering yes or no questions with a yes or no answer. He actually had to be forced to answer one question correctly by the judge that he had refused to answer with a yes or no answer.
Martha then goes into an endless number of questions concerning her client Baljit Athwall. She was trying to show that Baljit was at Don Pedro Lake on several occasions where Jim Cook has tried to say that Baljit was headed up to the burial site in the mountains. One of the cell phone towers in the Groveland area has a sector that covers a portion of Don Pedro Lake.
Martha asks Jim Cook if he was aware that all of his cell phone ping data on Baljit Athwall was recorded during a time when all of Baljit’s calls were being monitored by a wiretap. He testified that he did not recall being told that Baljit’s calls were being recorded. It was brought out by Martha that all of these recorded calls had been minimized. Martha mentioned that she will probably call DA Investigator Steve Jacobson to the stand to ask him about the minimization. The minimized portions of these calls may have contained information that would support Baljit being at Don Pedro for recreation. I am sure Jacobson will not remember anything useful for the defense, even if he does remember. Martha gets Jim Cook to admit that there is no cell phone reception at the burial site of Korey Kauffman, so there is no way to prove anyone was there using cell phone data.
Martha is not done with her cross examination. I hope she finds a way to not anger defense attorney Jesse Garcia when she resumes cross after lunch.
Sincerely; William Thomas Jensen (Tom)