Audio Recording of Key Witness in Murder Trial

Wolfington-Mugby Antoinnette Borbon

As the morning began, the prosecution’s case-in-chief continued with an audiotape of  a key  witness in this case. Billy Wolfington and Shannon Silva are the two defendants charged with stabbing a man to death in a West Sacramento motel, in the early evening of September 2, 2011.

Carlitha Gordon was the voice on the recorded audio. I missed the name of the West Sacramento officer who actually recorded her statement. As the interrogation first started out, the West Sacramento police officer began asking her questions. Carlitha seemed to rant on and on about her life and how bad it was at the present.

She talked about losing her father and how it made her turn to drug abuse again. She also talked about having to turn to a life she was not proud of, to be able to eat and have a place to stay. She also talked about a man whom she had bought a car from which turned out to be a stolen vehicle. Carlitha felt as if she had been set up, and about possibly having a price on her head for telling police who sold her the car. It would seem like forever until the officer could get her to begin to tell of the events of the night in question.

Finally, a very tired and sick Carlitha began to tell the story. Although she occasionally lost focus, she was able to tell the officer how the two defendants ended up in her room. Carlitha stated a man whom she nicknamed “Red,” along with another bigger dude, came by to see if anyone wanted to buy a laptop.

She stated it was not long before she and a few friends were drinking and smoking pot, while playing a game she called, “ten thousand.” She admitted to smoking meth with her friends, too, but stated the victim, “Bobby,” did not. After just a short time, things took a dark turn. Carlitha said from the time she first saw the bigger dude, who would later be identified as the defendant, Billy Wolfington, he gave her a bad vibe. She stated, “He just had this look about him, like he was there to do something, made me feel scared.”

But Carlitha told the officer, “I didn’t get that from Red, he and I met before. I felt he (Red) was attracted to me but nothing happened, we just stayed friends.” She stated her friend “Kiki” wanted people to leave but was too afraid to ask them so she did it for her. Carlitha said when she told “Bobby” he had to leave, he got angry and said even if he left, he would be coming back.  She felt “Bobby” was acting like he was in a prison yard. It was unclear to Carlitha why he would want to come back.

Bobby was exchanging words with Wolfington and Silva, but Carlitha did not hear the content of the conversation. She said Bobby was talking [expletive] and Wolfington was the first to hit him. She stated, “It happened so fast, it was like, like, I didn’t even know what happened.” She said when the fighting started she left the room. She told the officer she did not even know Bobby had been stabbed. But she did speak of seeing a butterfly knife, could not hear who had the knife. She asserted that her friend “Red” had nothing to do with the stabbing.

Carlitha went on to tell police that Kiki blamed her for the fight: “Look what you did, you made this happen!”  Kiki exclaimed! Carlitha told police she was trying to protect Kiki. She said Kiki was scared.

The officer started to probe Carlitha deeper, stating, “I am not trying to offend you but I feel there are things you are leaving out.” Carlitha responded with profanity. She exclaimed, “I told you everything I know, that dude was just a crazy [expletive] and if you feel I am not telling you it all, then that is just your feelings.”

She went on to tell the officer, “Right now, I’m just like..I’m still…I’m going to be [expletive] by anybody who knows ‘B’ – I know there is a price on my head…”

As the interrogation continued, it began to sound like Carlitha was being pushed to say things which  were not true. The officer began drilling Carlitha about gang relations between the two defendants and Bobby. He asked Carlitha if the stabbing may have been drug related, and she answered “no.” She stated she knew “B” did not sell drugs. He then asked about a phone call made by Wolfington while in her room, but she explained it only was about the sale of the laptop.

She talked about an incident earlier, about two weeks ago, when “B” was shot at by a white male. But she felt it had nothing to do with this stabbing. As time went on, Carlitha began to cry as the officer talked about “B” being stabbed. He asked her if she felt this incident had anything to do with “B” being a known Crip member, or the fact that the two defendants were allegedly from the Broderick Boys. She stated, “No, I never heard them say that and I never really knew about Bobby being a Crip.”

Carlitha kept expressing her fear of Wolfington and how he was acting that night. She stated even “Red, whose real name is Silva, seemed to be acting a bit different.” She repeatedly expressed fear for herself and Kiki.

A very exhausted Carlitha stated, “I am sick, and I am so tired, I just  need to go rest,”  Finally, the interrogation was over and Carlitha was able to go home. Deputy DA Couzens played a brief phone conversation between the officer and Carlitha. He was informing her of a subpeona.

Later in the afternoon, DDA Couzens put Officer Labin Wilson on the stand to talk about his expertise in gang activity, members and characteristics. Wilson has been working in the gang task force unit for about 5 1/2 years. He described the life of a gang member and what the de-briefing process is for gang members. Wilson stated he has also been self-educated, along with extensive training, through the help of other officers and gang members themselves.

Wilson expressed a sincere concern for these young men and a desire to help turn their lives away from crime. He talked about working with the community and other agencies to provide a way out of the gang life.

In cross, Defense Attorney Ron Johnson seemed a bit frustrated with Wilson’s answers. He repeatedly asked Wilson to elaborate specifically about the de-briefing process. Wilson stated he had only completed one, but assisted in 10 to 12 others.  Wilson talked about helping mentor younger gang members. He explained how he was more like a support system, but it had been successful in the past with some.

Defense counsel Johnson asked, “So what did you do to help turn these young members away from that life, did you help with drug treatment programs or education, jobs?” Wilson answered, “It was more of a support, I gave them my phone number to call me when they felt like it, it seemed to help some but we did try to help with jobs and getting them into the military, educating them.”

Johnson asked about the hours of training Wilson put in and if he knew about the Broderick Boys or Northern Riders. Wilson stated he did. Johnson even asked about a power point which Wilson and Couzens had put together for this case.  Finally, Johnson stated to Wilson, “You have not really answered my questions, but I am done.” Clearly, he was not content with Wilson’s answers.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch puts 8 to 12 interns into the Yolo County House to monitor and report on what happens. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org

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10 Comments

  1. Mr.Toad

    “She went on to tell the officer,”right now, I’m just like..I’m still…I’m going to be {explicit} by anybody who knows “B” I know there is a price on my head….’ “

    Ouch!

  2. Siegel

    The question is whether her response was credible. I think David had a reasonable point last week on the impact of drug use on the psyche of some these witnesses.

  3. Mr.Toad

    i once told a friend that he was paranoid after he told me they were after him in his dream because ideas in dreams are not part of our real world reality. Otherwise i try not to be dismissive of people who are afraid someone is after them. After all, someone might actually be after them, especially in a street level world where squealing is against a gang member is known to trigger “a one for all and all on one response.”

  4. Siegel

    There are reasonable fears and unreasonable ones. It is reasonable be fear for one’s safety when one witnessed a murder. It is more questionable when someone asserts without evidence or corroboration that some unknown individual made threats. Is it possible? Yeah. Is it more likely delusions? Possible as well. I haven’t seen the trial, but I do have a few years experience working with meth addicts.

  5. Mr.Toad

    Let me rephrase the dialog

    DA: You are not telling all you know.

    Witness: There is a price on my head.

    My guess is the jury will see it as i see it.

  6. Mr.Toad

    Fair enough. My real concern is the constant denial that gangs are a real and present threat in the community. You have these matter of fact discussions about who is or isn’t in what gang. You have witnesses that are intimidated and paranoid. You have a defendant identified as the number one target of the DA’s original proposed gang injunction. As far as I can tell from the reporting you don’t even have the defense attorney putting up much of a challenge to the gang association accusations or trying to keep them out. Still there is this drumbeat about how gangs are not an issue. i don’t get it.

  7. marabjones

    I did not see Carlitha testify live but I did see the other two gals and the male testify. Of the three, Simone was the only one scared until she sat in jail for the weekend. She testified sober on Monday and it was quite a different story. However, it is reasonable to say that anyone who witnesses a killing, stabbing, what have you, would have an element of fear? Right, as I would…even if this is not tied to gang activity, it is still a very violent crime. This case is taking us for a real roller coaster ride..for sure. More testimony tomorrow…

    thanks for reading…

  8. Themis

    [quote]You have a defendant identified as the number one target of the DA’s original proposed gang injunction. [/quote]

    I have a feeling the court would allow anything into court to try to prove gang affiliation, Mr Toad. That seems to be something that happens frequently here.

  9. marabjones

    Yes, I am quickly learning this, Themis.

    There is a reason why God warns us to be “Sober, vigilant…because our adversary the devil roams the earth like a roaring lion, seeking whom he can destroy.” 1 Peter 5 :8-9.

    As I sat looking at the pictures of some of these young gang members in court, and their pride about it, I realized just how many the devil has in his hands now..sad..so sad to see. We need to work together to come up with an alternative to gang lifestyle for these young kids. Facing life for any crime, be it gang related or not, is too late to think about the consequences.

    Antoinnette..

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