By Tressa Bryant, Jackie Snyder, and Madeleine Gallay
The defense’s final witness in the trial of Michel Reyes, Lisa Humble and Liberty Landowski was Mr. Reyes himself. Mr. Reyes is being charged with attempted murder with an enhancement for gang affiliation. Ms. Landowski and Ms. Humble are being charged with gang affiliation and accessory to murder.
Mr. Reyes described his relationship with his family as keeping his gang street life away from home, and being protective of his family. He has his mother, a stepfather, a grandmother, an autistic brother and a son – whom he cares for greatly.
Mr. Reyes admitted to beginning working with the Broderick Boys when he was 12 years old. Mr. Reyes said he had been in several fights throughout the years, and had been on probation several years for stealing from Walmart. He was caught again a few years later for selling drugs and later stealing a gun and car. He was charged with three years in state prison and ended up serving 18 months instead.
Mr. Reyes discussed the phone he had, which could only work with WiFi. Reyes was unable to make phone calls or send texts without the WiFi. Reyes admitted that he sent all but two of the Facebook messages discussed in the court. Reyes also said that he knew all of his 100 friends on Facebook and that 14-16 of them could possibly be part of the Broderick Boys.
At one point Mr. Reyes got a message from a kindergarten childhood friend of a new target. Reyes responded by saying that the target was related to him and Eric Lovett. Once that was mentioned the target was no longer a target.
Once Mr. Reyes got out of custody he went to his mom’s house for some time and then back and forth from his son’s mom’s house. Reyes ended up moving with his son and his son’s mom to Arkansas to try to create a better life for the three of them. However, things did not work out between him and his uncle, with whom they were staying, so Reyes and his family moved back home.
Upon his return to California, Reyes met Eric Lovett and Lisa Humble. Around the same time he started to use methamphetamine again. The three of them became close and, while staying at a motel a few days before the shooting, Reyes met Liberty Landowski. Ms. Landowski went to the motel to talk with Ms. Humble, and the four of them ended up hanging out together for the next few days.
Mr. Reyes then talked about his meeting with the victim. The victim was just getting out of jail and walked by Reyes and Reyes’s friend and shook their hands. When Reyes asked his friend about him, Reyes learned that the victim was looking for his wife. A few minutes later their paths crossed again and Mr. Reyes offered to help the victim look for his wife, who happened to be a family friend of Reyes’. While searching for the victim’s wife they passed Mr. Reyes’ grandmother’s house where his mom’s car was parked outside. The victim went off about Reyes’ family and the problems he was having with Reyes’ stepdad. Mr. Reyes told the victim that he could work the problem out with his stepdad, and not to confront or involve any of his family.
On the day of the shooting Ms. Landowski was taking Mr. Reyes to the corner of a street so he could buy more “dope” for himself and Mr. Lovett. As Reyes was getting ready to get out of the car he saw the victim and his wife bike by. Reyes had heard two weeks earlier from a friend of his stepdad that the victim fought and tried to stab Reyes’ stepdad with a screwdriver, with Reyes’ brother present. Mr. Reyes got out to confront the victim about the fight.
The victim’s wife told Mr. Reyes to leave her husband alone and continued biking down the street. Reyes felt “pissed” that the victim had gone back on their agreement that Reyes would work out the problem. Mr. Reyes tried to talk to him and challenged the victim to a fight but the victim biked away. The victim told Reyes he did not have a problem with him because Reyes was currently holding a gun. While the victim was biking away, Reyes shot the gun six times and did not realize until later in the day that he had actually hit the victim.
After the shooting, Mr. Reyes felt very paranoid and was hiding for a little bit. Reyes ended up near a friend’s house and got a ride to the mall where he hung out for several hours before getting a ride back to the La Quinta Inn. Reyes checked Ms. Humble’s phone using his phone. Lovett had Reyes set up a tracking device on Humble’s phone, which allowed Reyes to text, call, email, and record anything Humble did without her knowledge. Mr. Reyes used this device to check the police scanner app she had. This is how Reyes discovered the victim had been shot and that the police where looking for him. Reyes felt very sad about what he had done and realized he had messed up and could be “going away” for a long time.
Mr. Reyes had Ms. Landowski go to the store for some hygiene supplies for all of them. Later, Mr. Lovett and Ms. Humble went to get food for the group. Reyes showered and then had sex with Landowski. After Lovett and Humble returned, Lovett left again, to go buy a computer charger, which is when and how the others were caught. Mr. Reyes heard a dog barking outside the hotel room and knew the police had arrived. He shoved the gun down Ms. Humble’s pants. Reyes then answered the door after two knocks and was arrested.
Mr. Reyes finished his direct testimony by saying he had not been trying to kill the victim but knew that the next time he saw the victim he would confront the victim for putting Reyes’ brother in that situation.
Deputy District Attorney Amanda Zambor conducted the cross-examination of Michael Reyes. DDA Zambor asked Reyes several questions about his involvement in a gang. Reyes testified that he was not required to participate in an initiation. He explained that he had grown up in Broderick and therefore he belonged. When asked by Ms. Zambor if Broderick Boys (the name a group of individuals, growing up in the Broderick area of West Sacramento, gave themselves) were a part of the Norteños, Reyes stated that he could only speak for himself and he did indeed consider himself to be a Norteño.
Ms. Zambor then questioned Reyes about how exactly “gang life” worked. Reyes insisted that, although he may consider himself a Norteño, everything he does is for himself, contrary to the belief that individuals involved in gangs commit crimes only in an effort to benefit or promote their gang.
Reyes testified that, growing up, he found the gang culture appealing. He enjoyed the fast life, getting high and getting “into stuff.” Reyes made no attempt to hide the fact that he is a frequent user of methamphetamine. He stated that, in the days leading up to the incident taking place November 18, 2014, he as well as the other defendants had spent the three days prior renting hotel rooms, hanging out and getting high.
Reyes explained that his preferred method of using methamphetamine is by injecting the drug. He stated that smoking too much meth can cause him to become tired. However, when he injects the drug he can stay awake approximately four to five days. Ms. Zambor asked if either female defendants were using meth while staying at the hotels. Reyes stated that it was more of his and Eric Lovett’s “thing.”
During one point of Ms. Zambor’s cross-examination she repeatedly asked Reyes for names of other active members in the gang. Reyes insisted he did not know and could only speak for his own involvement. Reyes did, however, give names of individuals he considered to be “family,” but reiterated that he had no knowledge whether they were active gang members. When asked who was a part of his gang, Reyes stated that “he was.”
The jury was excused for afternoon break. They were asked to return at 1:30pm, at which time the trial would reconvene.
After the lunch break, Mr. Reyes resumed his testimony. He began by explaining what happened the day of November 18.
Mr. Reyes asked Liberty Landowski to drop him off so that he could purchase more dope. He ordered her to pull over, and at that moment he got out of the front passenger seat and walked around to the back of the car.
From the back of the vehicle he saw the victim and his wife bike past the car. Wearing a black and red checkered coat, with a gun and a holster on underneath, he approached the victim, yelling.
The victim stopped biking in order to yell back at Mr. Reyes for approximately one minute, until he started biking away again. Reyes followed him a few steps, until the victim had reached the end of the street, about 46 feet from Reyes, and had started to turn the corner. At this point Mr. Reyes held up his gun and shot it approximately four to five times.
After shooting the last shot, he ran down a path into an orchard and hid for approximately an hour. Once he heard sirens he came out from hiding and walked quickly in the opposite direction. Walking behind a few apartment buildings, he ran into a friend who gave him a ride into town. There he went into a mall, before he eventually took a light rail to a bus stop were he had called another friend named Bob to come pick him up.
Bob took the better part of an hour to show up, but once he did, Mr. Reyes used Bob’s phone to call Mr. Lovett. Lovett provided Reyes with the address of an apartment building, where Reyes met up with Lovett and the girls.
From this apartment, Mr. Reyes asked to go to the store, so Ms. Landowski gave him a ride. There Landowski bought him a pipe and lottery tickets. Soon after leaving the store, Lisa Humble texted Mr. Reyes to come pick them up in order to take them to get more pipes and some food at In-N-Out Burger.
At In-N-Out, Humble and Lovett went in to order food. Moments later, Humble came back out and gave Reyes a room key. Reyes and Landowski then ventured up to room 208, where Reyes showered and had a romantic encounter with Landowski.
Twenty to thirty minutes later, Lovett and Humble returned. Soon after their arrival, Lovett left to get a computer charger. Not five minutes after he left, Mr. Reyes heard a dog bark and knew immediately the police were there.
Mr. Reyes was lying on the bed closest to the door, Ms. Landowski was sitting on the bed and Ms. Humble was pacing around the room. When the police knocked, Reyes chucked the holster to the back of the room, and shoved the gun down Humble’s pants. He then proceeded to open the door, through which the police rushed and arrested them.