Attempted Murder Trial Resumes

photo by Lauren King, Court Watch Intern
photo by Lauren King, Court Watch Intern

By Harald Kirn and Madeleine Gallay

The attempted murder trial of Michael Reyes, Liberty Landowski and Lisa Humble resumed July 17 with the prosecution calling five witnesses, including three police detectives involved in the manhunt that apprehended the defendants, the receptionist at the La Quinta Inn where they were found, and Liberty Landowski’s father.

The first witness, Detective David Stallions with the West Sacramento Police Department, described the pursuit of the defendants, from the initial call through to the cell phone ping that led them to the Crowne Plaza Hotel off I-80 on Madison Avenue in Sacramento. There another detective received a tip from the manager that the defendants may have gone to the La Quinta Inn less than a mile away, where they had checked in under another name.

Detective Stallions stated that the suspect Lisa Humble had initially been identified as “Elaina Rodriguez,” but was then correctly identified due to an outstanding warrant that the detective was working.  He then described the police raid on the second floor room, how they went in unannounced due to the possibility of a weapon, and how the defendants were extremely cooperative. The detective testified to having found a loaded weapon in the waistband of suspect Lisa Humble. The witness also speculated as to the potential intoxication of suspect Lisa Humble, but had no reason to suspect that she was under the influence, besides the drug paraphernalia found in the room. He correctly identified all three defendants.

The second witness was the receptionist at the La Quinta Inn, who was working the afternoon of Nov. 18, 2014, when the defendants checked into the motel. She described the check-in process, but could not identify the defendants.

The third witness was Detective Eric Palmer of the West Sacramento Police Department. He described the police’s search using known locations of Michael Reyes, and the futile hunt for Landowski’s white Ford Mustang. When the tip at the Crowne Plaza was received, he responded to the scene. He correctly identified defendant Michael Reyes, but was not asked to identify Lisa Humble or Liberty Landowski. The witness also wrote the warrant that allowed the police to search the green Geo Prism they believed the defendants had been using, which is registered to Liberty’s father.

The fourth witness was Detective Lewis Cameron with the West Sacramento Police Department. He had initially responded to the scene of the attempted murder, and was also trying to track down the white Mustang using locations associated with defendant Michael Reyes. He later responded to the cell phone ping at the Crowne Plaza and followed the later tip to the La Quinta, where he canvassed the parking lots for the Mustang.

He then described how he spotted a known associate of Michael Reyes, Eric Lovett, who had previously been a defendant in the case but whose charges were dropped without explanation, standing in the open door of the green Prism that was later identified as Liberty Landowski’s father’s vehicle. He arrested Lovett later in the parking lot, and in his pocket they found a key to the room in which the three defendants were staying. He then corroborated Detective Stallion’s testimony regarding the raid of the room, confirming the opinion that the defendants were extremely cooperative with law enforcement.

The final witness was Liberty Landowski’s father, who initially asked if he had the right to remain silent, triggering the court to call an attorney for the witness. When he did begin to testify, he said claimed he came home from work to find his car missing, and later called the police to report it missing and claimed that he said “it was missing, and might have been stolen.” This was rather than just saying to the dispatcher on the phone that it was stolen.

He later said, when asked if he had been protecting his daughter, both then and during his testimony, that “it was natural for a father to protect his daughter, to look out for her best interest.” The morning session was adjourned in the middle of his testimony.

Afternoon Session

The first witness to take the stand this past Friday, as the attempted murder trial reconvened for its afternoon session, was the person who paid for the defendants’ hotel room at the Crowne Plaza. The witness’ granddaughter is a heroin addict with a little boy, and he wanted her to have a place to stay. He wanted his granddaughter to clean up before seeing her son again.

During his testimony he testified that his granddaughter possibly had blonde hair at the time. Revealing to the court that he never actually went with her to her room, he gave her the room key outside of the hotel in the parking lot, and immediately left.

The second witness to take the stand this past Friday is the victim’s wife. Her testimony laid out the story for what happened on November 18.

The night before, she and her husband slept in a park. With them was their grey and red backpack full of clothes, toiletries, and weapons that would be used to protect themselves if necessary. They spent the night trying to patch up their relationship and had been using methamphetamine.

In the morning they woke up early and began riding their bikes to try to catch a train so the wife could report to the regional parole office. As they were riding down Evergreen Avenue, which eventually runs into Sycamore Avenue near the intersection with Proctor Avenue, a light-colored Mustang pulled up very close to them. Mr. Reyes stepped out of the front passenger seat and approached the witness’ husband.

Not until Mr. Reyes was approximately five feet from the victim did the victim notice Reyes had a firearm in his hand. The victim started to slow down on his bike and argued with Mr. Reyes, eventually getting off  his bike and running up onto the front lawn of a house.

His wife kept biking and was at the corner of the street. Behind her she heard gunshots and her husband yelling, “I have been hit.” As she turned the corner she ran up to a house and banged on the door, eventually calling 911.

As her testimony continued, Defense Attorney Rod Beede uncovered more of the truth about her life, revealing that her husband has a temper and has possibly laid his hands on her before. Mr. Beede also suggested that she is possibly an alcoholic, drinking tequila everyday. He suggested that she could be acquiring this from her husband, as well as possibly the methamphetamine, because he could be a street dealer.

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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49 Comments

  1. NoneYaBidness

    “He is a grandfather, whose granddaughter is a heroin addict with a little boy. The witness wanted his granddaughter to clean up before seeing her son again.”  

    “During his testimony he testified that his granddaughter possibly had blonde hair at the time. Revealing to the court that he never actually went with her to her room, he gave her the room key outside of the hotel in the parking lot….”

    who is the granddaughter they were referring to, that got the key from him and is a heroin addict?

    1. Antoinnette

      @NoneYaBidness…

       

      I was present for the first day of this preliminary hearing. Are you a friend of anyone or just observing this case, curious.

       

      I read over my notes from that day and also recall that Beedy asked the judge to make note of the ID badge of Landowski on the day she was arrested for the purpose of identifying her hair color.

       

      As far as who the grandfather was, believe it was that of Ms. Landowski’s, but I would have to refer to my notes further.

      There was a lot of speculation over the witness identification as well, per my notes.

      Apparently prior to this incident, there had been a dispute between a family member of one of the defendants and the victim. Also, that during an interrogation of the victim’s wife, per police reports, she may have been under the influence when the incident occurred, and/or upset, shaken, believe one of the officer’s testified to. It was noted in his report that he was unsure whether it was trauma or drug/alcohol influence. But he testified to his report on the stand in prelim.

       

      1. NoneYaBidness

        I just asked who the grand daughter was. If you don’t know, and have to look at your notes, then don’t say. when you have verified your info, then talk.

  2. NoneYaBidness

    “Detective Stallions stated that the suspect Lisa Humble had initially been identified as “Elaina Rodriguez,” but was then correctly identified due to an outstanding warrant that the detective was working.”

     

    During the Pre-trial this scenario applied to the victims wife, not the defendant Lisa Humble. Did this change? 

     

    Also, they basically had no evidence against Eric Lovett in this case, other then the fact he was at the hotel parking lot where the others were arrested. During the second day of the Pre-trial, it’s alleged that he made threatening hand gestures towards the victim while he was testifying. I would guess that the DA knew they would not get a conviction on him for this case, but will file charges for threatening a witness.

    I do not know this to be fact. Just an opinion. Based on the transcripts I read.

        1. NoneYaBidness

          Ok, so a moderator, Implied that what i was saying was not respectful. So what you are saying is, that although I have the transcripts, and I know the articles are sloppy, vague, and incorrect. If I say so, your moderator will confront me?

  3. NoneYaBidness

     I commend what the Davis Vanguard is trying to do. But, at least in this case, I have the full court room transcripts for the Pre-Trial, and as far as I can see, your reporting is vague and misleading at best. And in some cases flat out wrong. I would suggest ordering transcripts or getting approval to record in court, then taking the time to make sure the things you print are in fact what was said in court. Otherwise it defeats the purpose. Otherwise, you are not any better than the system you are trying to fix.
     

    1. Antoinnette

      I completely agree,  however,  bare in mind we are volunteering time and effort to allow the public an inside view.  Mistakes are bound to happen, often due to the difficulties of hearing a witness.

      But do agree that the facts needed checking in this case before print.

      I only covered one-day of the preliminary hearing.

      As an investigative reporter for the Davisvanguard,  now independent journalist,  I have felt our program has been most beneficial.

      Having my educational background in court reporting,  retaining testimony comes a bit easier,  although not foolproof.

       

      All that being said, I thank you for reading and giving feedback!

      1. NoneYaBidness

        I feel that what you are trying to do could be very beneficial. And I appreciate it. If the reporting is correct. And Nobody cares that you are “volunteering” your time, if it means that what you print is not correct.

        1. Antoinnette

          Perhaps you didn’t hear me say,”I would have fact checked this before print? ”

           

          Too, not asking you to, “care,” just understand.  Two completely different definitions.

          Albeit,  it may be a moot point..

          Nonetheless. ..again,  appreciate your comments!

  4. Antoinnette

    I appreciate the hard-working interns. Many have been working full-time jobs and / or while attending school.

    I know these articles take hours and personally feel my own are often lacking. .lol.

    1. NoneYaBidness

      Then don’t print them. If you can’t report correct information, what is the point. We all work long hours. We all have struggles, but that is not an excuse to report incorrect information.

      It defeats the whole purpose of what you are trying to do.

      1. Antoinnette

        Correct,  not an excuse but a reason..I’m assuming you have never made a mistake on the job?  We all fall short. . Sure your work is of importance too…Hope you overcome your struggles. .have a restful sleep!

  5. Antoinnette

    Not in my control. .but you can ask Mr. Greenwald. I agree, once again,  facts needed to be correct.

     

    Just curious,  what’s your connection to the case? If you will oblige me? You seem to have a vested interest?

  6. Tia Will

    To the Interns

    I disagree with a statement made by another poster. I think that there are many of us that do care that you are volunteering your time. But I think that a second, equally important point has been missed. That is that most of you are truly “interns” and are learning how to observe and report. This is clearly indicated at the top of each article that you submit.

    I agree that it is important that you check your work and strive to be as clear and factual as possible. I also think that there can be value in learning when you have made a mistake and that you should read and acknowledge comments that are made when there are requests for clarification or corrections of fact made by someone who has greater knowledge of a subject area than you. I have found this to be the case with Antoinette when I have made corrections based on medical knowledge. I very much appreciate her acknowledgement of my comments just as I know that she appreciates our participation and input.

    What I see as the optimal interaction between the interns and a commenter would be that the interns submit only their best, double checked work. The commenters would submit their corrections based on their knowledge without unnecessary derogatory comments ( bearing in mind that these are interns, not professional reporters). The interns then have an obligation to consider the comments,  and verify which version is correct  in the comments. The interns themselves do not have the ability to change the articles themselves once posted, only to make clarifications in the comments. This may not be generally known to all.

    1. David Greenwald

      And to that end, all of the interns except Jackie have been at this for less than a month. Last night, we held a two hour training session with a retired Sacramento Bee reporter. Next week, they will have two more hours of training. What they may lack in experience, they make up in being smart and determined.

      1. betatstr

        I very much appreciate what you are doing and the hard work that goes in to it. The big guys don’t report on these cases (except maybe when there is a verdict), and so your interns and you are doing a big service to the community. If there are inaccuracies or questions, you are always quick to respond in a polite manner. I don’t know what huge mistakes have been made here, if any, but I read it knowing that there may be small issues because it is a lot of info to take down in a small amount of time. And I know you can’t report every little detail. So thank you and your interns for what you ARE doing…it is a great benefit.

    1. David Greenwald

      We have mechanisms for correcting mistakes, but it requires you write out an explanation of what information is wrong so that we can correct it.

  7. Tia Will

    NYB

    Ok, so print lies and miss information. and then cry about it.

    Why even do it?”

    I am wondering to whom this comment is directed ?  The interns, for whom I have already explained the mechanism for correction ? Or perhaps David, who has already made a statement of improvements in terms of training that are underway ? Or my comment as a member of the editorial board in an attempt to clarify issues that not every one may be aware of ? The moderator, whose role is limited to moderation once an article has been posted and commented on ?

    I am simply unclear on whom you are targeting here.

     

  8. NoneYaBidness

    I am saying, that A lie, is a lie. I don’t care if you need training. I don’t care if you are an intern. If you can’t tell the truth, then shut your mouth. Don’t print crap. is that clear?

  9. Tia Will

    NYB

     A lie, is a lie. I don’t care if you need training.”

    This does not seem to leave any room for the difference between “a lie” which is the knowing and willful telling of an untruth, and a factual mistake. The interns will frequently make mistakes, I do not believe that they willfully lie.

    Don’t print crap. is that clear?”

    No, it is not clear. Because you did not address the question I posed.

     

  10. betatstr

    On to what is important… Was this case on trial yesterday (Monday)? Will there be an article posted soon? Thank you for all your hard work and honest effort. I find this case interesting since the victim could have died had a bullet hit a major organ.

  11. hpierce

    Side-bar comment… someone wrote “miss information”, which at first blush is a typo for “mis-information”.  The latter is usually deliberate, the former may be innocent, or reflecting error/inattention, and/or bias.  Gota love the nuances of words.

      1. hpierce

        Moderator… wish the original comment had remained… as the attorneys say, “goes to state of mind (or defects therein)”.  I could be no more offended by the comment (original form) than John McCain was from Mr Trump’s weekend gaffe.  Something about ‘considering the source’.

    1. Davis Progressive

      actually what he told me is that you sent over 300 pages of transcripts to his email, he asked if you could highlight a few issues, and you dropped profanity on him and told him he should do his job.  you keep repeating that the vanguard is printing vague and incorrect information, but you don’t want to specify what that is, which by definition means you’re printing vague and potentially incorrect information.  newspapers have processes for corrections and retractions, but they all require you to correct the information.  do you think the editor of the bee would read your 300 page transcripts and correct their story?

      1. NoneYaBidness

        Yes, because almost every paragraph that has been posted in this case has errors. nothing that you have posted can be believed. cross check the transcripts against what you have written, you will see that a great deal of what you printed is not correct.

        1. Matt Williams

          May I make a suggestion that you submit an article that presents what you see as the correct information. If one is willing to complain, one needs to be willing to contribute.

          1. David Greenwald

            All I asked for was to flag three or four points that they believed was in error. As it stands now, I would have to read 300 pages of transcript and compare it to the articles, and determine which information was and was not correct. I don’t have the bandwidth for that

          1. Matt Williams

            You gave them the correct information in article form? I look forward to reading that.

        2. betatstr

          Perhaps the pre-trial transcript you have just offers differences in testimony as opposed to the actual jury trial. Witnesses rarely say everything the same way especially after many months have gone by. Are you attending the trial and is that why you are adamant that these reporters are telling lies?

          1. David Greenwald

            The problem is that I received 300 pages of transcript via email from an anonymous source. I have no way, based on that, of knowing what this individual believes is in error.

        3. NoneYaBidness

          I am saying that the articles written about the pre-trial hearings are full of errors. I gave them the transcripts proving this. As far as the jury trial goes. I have already pointed out several errors. I am not trying to use pre-trial transcripts to point out jury trial errors. But it is obvious that that things are being reported incorrectly.

          1. Matt Williams

            Then report them correctly. There is an audience here that looks forward to hearing your perspective.

  12. hpierce

    Clever riposte, as I actually wasn’t criticizing/spoofing.  Whatever.

    VG is often ‘missing’ information, particularly if it doesn’t support the desired ‘conclusion’. So do a lot of other ‘news sources’.

  13. NoneYaBidness

    I want to apologize for my rude comments. It was wrong of me to take my aggravations out on the people of this forum. As well as the interns that I’m sure work very hard on these articles.

    1. Matt Williams

      I echo Tia’s sentiments below. You have a perspective on the case … one that is clearly engaged with both the events and the facts as presented. You have followed the process. All of that is worth sharing with the Vanguard readers. I for one hope you do that in an upcoming article.

  14. Tia Will

    NYB

    I want to apologize…..”

    Thank you for this. You just made my day ! First, you made me smile. That is always a positive. More importantly what it brought to mind is the number of times that a very hot comment has made it from my brain to the comment section of the Vanguard, only to have me pause….re-read the comment……and delete it. Sometimes I will replace it with a more tempered version of the same. Sometimes I am just glad that I was able to blow off steam and proceed with my day a little calmer.

    In any event, it takes a big person to apologize and I wanted to let you know that at least one reader appreciates it.

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