Prosecution’s Case Resumes with Jail House Calls in Attempted Murder Case

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

By Jackie Snyder, Tressa Bryant, and Madeleine Gallay

The attempted murder trial of Michael Reyes, Lisa Humble and Liberty Landowski reconvened on Monday. The three are charged with attempting to kill a Hispanic male in West Sacramento on November 18, 2014. The trial has been ongoing for several weeks now.

The prosecution resumed its case on Monday, calling to the stand Investigator John Sadowski. Investigator Sadowski was in charge of going through the defendant’s computer found in the hotel room. Unfortunately, the computer had no hard drive or digital information on it so they were unable to gather any evidence.

Investigator Bryan Schmidt interviewed the victim’s wife and she reported hearing six to seven gunshots and believed she saw three people in the back of the car. She believed she saw one female and two males in the backseat of the car, although she could not be sure. Later, Investigator Schmidt met with Ms. Landowski’s father, who reported his car stolen. It was found shortly later with Ms. Landowski and, when her father was questioned, he admitted to reporting the car stolen in hopes of protecting his daughter. Investigator Schmidt interviewed Ms. Landowski at the police station and helped interview Mr. Reyes and Ms. Humble.

Jennifer Davis was the next witness called to the stand.  Davis currently is employed through the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office as an investigator, focusing mainly on general crimes and child abduction.  Davis was requested to retrieve recorded jail calls made by each of the defendants.

Davis testified that Deputy District Attorney Amanda Zambor asked that she (Davis) locate and download calls made from the defendants between mid-November of 2014 and early May of 2015.  Although several calls were reviewed, only three calls, ones that involved female defendants Lisa Humble and Liberty Landowski, were of great interest.

Each of the three calls were played in court, the first call taking place November 27, 2014. During this call, Lisa Humble is heard telling the individual on the other line that most of the evidence against her consists of video recordings of her and Liberty Landowski purchasing toiletries at a store, as well shopping at the store BevMo!  Humble can then be heard stating that “they can’t charge me with something they can’t find.”  The second call took place on December 10, 2014, and was, once again, made by Humble, to the same phone number. The last call played in court took place December 23, 2014.  This call was made by Liberty Landowski, to the same number Humble had dialed in the other calls played in court.  During this call Landowski can be heard asking an individual to relay the message, “Put my pony in the garage,” to another individual. She then stated, “He will know what I’m talking about.”

DDA Zambor then called Anthony Herrera, a police officer employed through the city of West Sacramento, to the witness stand.  Herrera’s main area of focus as a police officer is gangs and narcotics.

Herrera testified that on November 18, 2014, after the incident in question took place, he was assigned the task of identifying the victims involved and locating all persons of interest. Herrera was able to link the white convertible Mustang, allegedly involved in the incident, to Landowski through a social media account created on her behalf (she had posted a picture of the vehicle prior to the incident).

Herrera stated that, in an effort to locate Michael Reyes, he visited several addresses that were connected to him, including the Crowne Plaza,  the hotel in Sacramento where the defendants were rumored to be staying. The defendants were ultimately located at the nearby La Quinta Inn.

After discovering the room number the defendants were in, Herrera, surrounded by other officers, knocked on the door. Herrera testified that immediately after knocking he heard several voices from inside. He knocked once again before Reyes opened the door. Reyes was told to keep his hands up and to get on the floor. Both Landowski and Humble were discovered in fetal positions next to the beds. A loaded gun was found in Humble’s waistband. When Ms. Zambor asked if the female defendants cooperated, Herrera stated that, although Landowski was “mouthy,” she cooperated. Humble, according to Herrera, was laughing. All three defendants were then taken into custody.

Court was then excused for afternoon break. The jury was asked to return at 1:30 pm.

The trial surrounding attempted murder and criminal gang charges against Michael Reyes, and accessory to attempted murder as well as criminal gang charges for his friends, is in its second week. The afternoon began with Officer Herrera resuming his testimony.

After extensive questioning by the prosecutor, Officer Herrera was deemed as an expert witness on street gangs of all kinds. He has testified 18 times as a gang expert, 14 of which involved Norteños, all in the last eight years in Yolo County.

Officer Herrera then proceeded with an introduction to the history of gangs in Sacramento. They began in 1967 under the Mexican mafia. Eventually they split into the Norteños and Sureños, each forming separate branches of different gangs. The Broderick Boys are a branch of the Norteños whose territory is West Sacramento.

The Broderick Boys are typically drafted into the gang through relatives. If they aren’t related to a current or former gang member then they must prove their  worth to the leaders in order to become accepted. Some start young and begin proving themselves at the age of 14.

Within the gang, going to prison is a rite of passage similar to going to college for other families. In prison, most gang members get an education from the “O.G” or an older gang member.  In prison they work for the gang in order to earn tattoos such as passing messages around on little pieces of paper they call kites.

As gang members are released back into society they rise in the ranks.  In the northern gangs they call them counts, count one and so forth. Count one is the lowest, these are the people who are only a part of the gang for protection. As you get closer to four, you find the wealthier members who are in charge of the ones and twos and make money from illegal gang activity.

Officer Herrera testified that he did further research on the Broderick Boys and Michael Reyes’ involvement in this case. He discovered multiple conversations between Mr. Reyes and his friends, most of whom are gang members, discussing drugs, guns and money deals.

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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  1. sisterhood

    Re: Count 1:  If a person is a member solely for protection, is she forever indebted to the gang?

    I used to work with battered women and children. One asked my advice re: buying protection from gang members or simply doing a favor for a gang member for protection from her friend’s batterer. She was helping her friend escape an abusive boyfriend and was afraid of her own safety. (Sadly, most battered women rightly believe law enforcement could not protect them 24/7. Therefore, many battered women go off the grid or hide for years in a series of friends’ homes, or at WEAVE shelters.)

    If anyone out there really understands the workings of gangs, what happens if a woman gets protection from the gang? Is she forever indebted? Can she buy her way out of the gang?  I told the woman who asked me that I had no idea how that works, but that it sounded dangerous.  Her friend moved a long distance away from her batterer, eventually went back to him, and I ultimately lost touch with them.

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