Robbery Trial Resumes

highspeedchaseBy Jackie Snyder and Tifffany Yeh

People v. Eugene Lemasters resumed on the morning of June 3, 2015. Deputy District Attorney Kyle Hasapes called more witnesses to the stand to testify as to their involvement regarding the February 21, 2015, robbery at Bank of America in Davis.

The first witness called to testify was Officer Ronald Trn, to resume his testimony from the day before on June 2, 2015. Officer Trn, employed through the Davis Police Department, testified that he was one of the primary investigators in the February robbery.

Officer Trn reiterated that, during the interview, the defendant remained calm and relaxed. According to Officer Trn, the defendant even offered  information about which Officer Trn had no knowledge. The defendant made the statement that, prior to the robbery of Bank of America, he had visited a Wells Fargo bank, which he initially planned to rob.

The defendant decided he would not go through with the robbery when he discovered that both of the bank’s tellers were male. He would later move on to Bank of America. In addition, the defendant confided in Officer Trn about a robbery that he allegedly committed approximately three to four years prior, in the county of El Dorado. Officer Trn testified that had the defendant never told him about his initial plan to rob Wells Fargo or his alleged robbery in El Dorado County, he would have never known.

After learning this new information, Officer Trn made the decision to look into each of the alleged incidents. Upon reviewing the Wells Fargo surveillance for February 21, 2015, he discovered the defendant did in fact visit the Wells Fargo before making the decision to rob Bank of America.

While the defendant was honest about the Wells Fargo incident, no proof could be found that the defendant committed a robbery three to four years prior in El Dorado County. Officer Trn testified he believed the defendant’s claim about committing a robbery in El Dorado County. The officer stated he had no reason not to believe the defendant – after all, he was being honest about the Wells Fargo incident.

During cross-examination, Deputy Public Defender Daniel Hutchinson asked Officer Trn if he thought it may be possible the defendant was suffering from a delusion when he claimed he committed the robbery of a bank in El Dorado County. Officer Trn agreed it was possible, although he did not think it was likely. Mr. Hutchinson then asked if individuals who are under the influence of methamphetamine ever experience delusions. Officer Trn replied yes.

The next witness called was Detective James Peterson. Detective Peterson, employed through El Dorado County, was contacted by the Davis Police Department regarding the alleged robbery the defendant claimed he committed. Det. Peterson then interviewed the defendant at the Davis Police Station.

Det. Peterson stated that the defendant seemed honest and even gave specific details about the alleged robbery. Det. Peterson began investigating prior robberies that had taken place in that county.

Even after looking as far back as ten years, he was unsuccessful in finding any bank robberies consistent with the robbery the defendant described. Det. Peterson thought it was possible the defendant was confused as to what took place.

Court was then dismissed for lunch. Judge Reed asked that the jury return at 1:30pm.

Afternoon Session

During the afternoon break, the court reporter asked Deputy District Attorney Kyle Hasapes something like, “Are there going to be charges against Juror #6?” DDA Hasapes replied something along the lines of, “She hasn’t been charged but she doesn’t seem very sane.” Maybe that holds an inkling of what is in store for her, so we will see. The alternate juror was seated in the Juror #6 seat during the trial.

The manager of the Wells Fargo in downtown Davis testified that Mr. Lemasters entered the bank on February 21, 2015. He said that there were three to five tellers working during his shift that day. It was a little busier than a usual Saturday, and there was a longer wait time. There are two entrances to this downtown Davis location. Usually someone greets customers at the lobby of either door. Mr. Lemasters came in from the F Street entrance.

The manager walked to the front of the bank and thanked customers for being patient, due to the long line. Mr. Lemasters waited for around two minutes, and was described by the manager as “being patient” while waiting, before he got to the front of the line. The defendant came to the teller station and the manager walked to the back of the station, to be right next to the teller, whose name was John, at the station. John was described as around 5 ft. 11 in. with short, dark hair. Both John and the manager were at the station the entire time Mr. Lemasters was there.

The defendant asked the teller if he owed any money on a closed account. The manager answered the question because he was needed to access the system for that. The manager said it was not unusual for someone to ask such a question but it was unusual that Mr. Lemasters did not have an ID with him.

He asked the defendant to answer some security questions, such as his name, date of birth, first three numbers of his SSN, address, and more. The manager said he was “given quite a good amount of information.” He looked up the account and was certain that the account was closed.

The defendant did not provide a reason for why the account was closed. He did not notice anything unusaul about Mr. Lemasters’s demeanor. Nothing physically was out of the ordinary about him.

When asked if anything Mr. Lemasters spoke seemed delusional, the manager said no. Also, he did not have a hard time understanding the defendant. The interaction lasted two or three minutes and was quick. Nothing unusual really occurred. The manager was hoping that the defendant would reopen an account with Wells Fargo and ended with a handshake with Mr. Lemasters.

Every teller window has a left camera, a right camera, and there are cameras in the lobby. The surveillance is recorded. DDA Hasapes replayed footage of the interaction that day.

He tried in vain for some time to get the manager to answer whether there were Wells Fargo locations near Oroville, as the judge sustained Mr. Hutchinson’s mentions of foundation.

DDA Hasapes’s attempts to get one or two Google Maps were also denied. He asked the manager if he knew a location in Yuba City, and another one in a different city. Finally, DDA Hasapes asked if the manager had initiated a call to police, and he said no, he had not.

The manager said that, other than Mr. Lemasters not showing an ID, the interaction was not an unpleasant experience. Four or five hours after the interaction, an officer talked to him and asked if he had security footage. The manager referred him to the security agent.

The next witness was Officer Joshua Helton, a police officer with Davis Police Department He described all officers being dispatched to the robbery at Bank of America. From the northwest corner of the bank, the suspect had already fled.

Officer Helton went back to his car, in the direction of the tracker, and was always one or two streets away from the Mr. Lemasters’ Kia. He was asked to process video and collect evidence. He took pictures of the evidence – the car and what was in it.

There were pictures of the red T-shirt, garden nozzle, rubber band, bag with money in it, and the tracker with the battery attached. The red shirt and black cap were on the front right passenger seat, along with the garden hose nozzle.

The rubber band was on the front left corner of the driver’s seat. The bag had some currency just above the strap of the bag. There was currency and fake currency inside the bag. In addition, a picture of a $100 bill on the front left corner of the ground of the driver’s side was shot that day.

The trial resumes tomorrow, June 4, at 9:30am, with evidence expected to be finished by the end of the day.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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