Evidence Presented in Murder Trial

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by Setarah Jahid

On February 9, 2017, the Lance Ornellas-Castro trial resumed with a substantial amount of evidence presented from the prosecution. Mr Ornellas-Castro is charged with murder in the shooting death of Andrew Phaouthoum in December of 2015.

The testimony of Sheriff’s Deputy Stephanie Gill, a CSI, continued from the morning session, introducing clear plastic protective googles, fragments of a bullet from the crime scene, and pictures of the crime scene. Deputy Gill confirmed that she had documented all evidence.

Gill was then asked about what she had collected when she searched former co-defendant Jorge Garcia’s house. She collected shoes, a Metro PC receipt, SIM cards, paperwork, and a Metro PC cellphone box. She also collected a phone from the kitchen counter.

Outside the house, she searched the Honda Accord that belonged to Mr. Garcia. Inside, she found two bags of “shake” (the leftover from harvested marijuana) and an envelope with Jorge Garcia’s name on it.

Moving on to the garage, Gill said that she found multiple bags of marijuana and a scale, and she said, “I was informed later that there was a tub …” At this point, Deputy Pubic Defender Dan Hutchinson interceded with, “Objection. Hearsay.” Judge Reed sustained.

The baggies of marijuana were tested for fingerprints, but to no avail.

Dep. Gill then proceeded to check the car for blood, swabbing areas, and the car tested positive.

Gill also made reference to a Pepsi can that was found in the car, which tested positive for Jorge Garcia’s fingerprints. Again, Mr. Hutchinson objected, citing hearsay. Judge Reed sustained, and asked for the answer to be stricken.

Dep. Gill also searched a Lexus on December 10, 2015, which belonged to the victim. She retrieved the keys to this Lexus from the crime scene. Inside, she found two phones – a Verizon flip phone, and an iPhone.

Dep. Gill was then asked about her findings at Ornellas-Castro’s residence, and she shared that she found indicia with his name. More strikingly, she found paperwork from Lodi Guns & Engraving, and a receipt from Lodi Guns dated September 28, 2015.

During cross-examination, Mr. Hutchinson asked if Ornellas-Castro’s car had marijuana retrieved from it, to which Gill responded yes.

Deputy Gill was then released, but is subject to recall.

The final witness of the afternoon was Conrad Del Castillo, a District Asset Protection Supervisor for Raley’s Family of Stores, who had access to surveillance footage of the Bel Air on Florin Road, in Sacramento. He confirmed that on the evening of the victim’s death, there was one camera outside, in a fixed position and recording.

Mr. Castillo was excused, and the court was adjourned. The case will reconvene on February 10, at 9 a.m.

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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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