After two and a half hours of arguments between the defense and prosecution counsel in Judge Samuel T. McAdams’ courtroom, the jury was left to deliberate and come to a decision regarding defendant Brian Freeland’s innocence.
Mr. Freeland is charged with second degree burglary and intent to steal from a Woodland storage unit, in violation of section 459 of the California Penal Code, between March 30 and April 9 of 2013. The defendant allegedly entered storage unit 1139 through an opening in his 1138 storage unit, possibly on more than one occasion, attempted to commit theft and committed theft, and left with a pill bottle from the 1139 unit which was found in his 1138 unit. Freeland pleads not guilty.
Second degree burglary is defined as entering a building, where people do not reside, through penetrating outer boundaries, with the intent to commit a theft or any felony. Freeland is guilty of intent to steal when there is enough evidence that supports his concealing or aiding in concealment of stolen property.
While his defense lawyer J. Tony and Deputy District Attorney Kyle Hasapes delivered concluding remarks about how applicable these provisions are to the defendant, Freeland sat quietly with a solemn and fixed stare toward a corner of the room, while his pregnant wife sat intently listening, away from the counsel.
Deputy DA Hasapes first attempted to convince the jury why his evidence of Freeland’s build, his stature and strong dexterity, is enough to declare him guilty of the two criminal charges.
His argument highlighted the defendant’s capability to calculate the timing for robbery. The defendant decided to rob the victim within the timeframe of March 28 and April 9, 2013. The reason why this timeframe was so important was because this was about the time the defendant and his wife were packing and moving to a new unit.
Thus, DDA Hasapes believed that the activities of packing and moving created convenience for stealing, as well.
Mr. Hasapes argued that, since the defendant’s unit 1138 and victim’s unit 1139 were close to each other, this created an easy point of access to observe the neighbors’ habitual acts and pinpoint the perfect moment to steal when nobody was around.
He also noted the defendant’s ability to create a diversion to distract the victim as to what his intentions were. Mr. Hasapes said the defendant offered to help fix the wide gap within the storage for the victim when his main intentions were to keep it open for stealing. Ultimately, his concluding evidence was that the cleanup of the crime scene demonstrated the defendant’s desire to execute a perfect crime.
Although the victims’ possessions were stolen, no fingerprints or DNA of the defendants were ever discovered. Though the crime scene was clean, DDA Hasapes stated that the defendant’s hiding of the victim’s pill bottle in his unit ultimately elevated suspicion of his actions and doubt of his innocence.
Mr. Rodriguez, the acquaintance of the defendant and plausible suspect in the stealing, demonstrated that his relations and presence at the storage unit with Freeland also makes the defendant, at the least, an associate of the crime.
While Mr. Hasapes called for the defendant’s conviction, Mr. Tony spoke to the defendant’s innocence. Insufficient evidence found at the crime scene and many unaccounted factors of the victim’s relations with other neighbors suggests that the defendant may not have committed any crime.
Despite the victim’s belief that the storage facility is highly secured, the security camera that was built inside the unit could not identify faces clearly in the dark. Consequently, Mr. Toney argued, as the burglary took place at night, the camera’s inability to capture a clear picture of the suspect’s face indicated lack of evidence and an unfair accusation of Freeland.
Moreover, one thing that Mr. Tony wanted to emphasize was that the victim shared the storage unit with, not just her niece, but another neighbor of hers, whose name she can’t remember. In other words, the defense attorney suggested that somebody else has the potential of stealing from the victim and the defendant’s moving schedule just so happens to have coincided perfectly with the crime.
Ultimately, he argued, Freeland does not fit the profile of one guilty of assisting or encouraging a crime. He stated that his client’s knowledge of the crime does not qualify him as an assistant to the burglary.