A witness was brought back to court today; prosecution and defense attorneys attempt to set up a concrete timeline of events and understand when the witness was lying and telling the truth when talking to law enforcement.
By Alexandra Quilici
The questioning of a key witness in the burglary trial against Joseph Kaleimanu Hernandez, Rakhem Romel Bradford, and Joshua Anthony Givens resumed on Tuesday morning at Yolo County Superior Court in Woodland.
The witness had previously testified in the last couple weeks, as she was an involved member of the burglaries and a previous girlfriend of Joseph Hernandez.
Mr. Bradford’s defense attorney, Ava Landers, started the day by interrogating the witness about the friendship between her and Mr. Bradford. The witness acknowledged that, while a lot of the people she was around during this time of her life were mean to her, Mr. Bradford never gave her a hard time.
In fact, she testified that Mr. Bradford would give her encouraging words and texted her “don’t do anything crazy” when the police began to investigate her and she was in emotional turmoil.
She never discussed burglaries with Mr. Bradford, and she saw him as a friend that would reach out and who genuinely cared about her.
Then, the defense attorney for Mr. Givens, James Granucci, began to question her previous interactions with law enforcement over the past few years. The witness admitted that almost everything she told law enforcement (in relation to herself) was a lie, and the first and only time she swears to be telling the complete truth is since she has been under oath in her testimony.
Mr. Granucci attempted to understand why, after she was offered a plea deal that relied on her telling the 100 percent truth, she still continued to lie afterwards to the police.
She said she felt there were “loopholes” in the plea deal and that if she admitted to more things, she would be charged with more counts. She also testified that she thought at certain times that withholding information did not count as a lie.
She signed her deal on July 22, 2014, and then was taken around Davis to point out places she burglarized or recognized in a police car on August 27. She lied during this “Queen for the Day” – a term that means someone who had already signed a plea deal would not be further incriminated no matter if they revealed more to the police.
She lied this day, despite being told that the evidence would not be used against her. Just recently, on May 2, 2017, the witness withheld information in a meeting and Mr. Granucci asked if she knew that this meant her plea deal might be in jeopardy. He also asked if she had reason to lie for fear of being deported. She showed nonchalance to this question, and said she wouldn’t mind living in Korea or America at this point (as she speaks fluent English and Korean).
Mr. Granucci went on to ask why, after all these lies, the jury should believe her statement that Mr. Givens was with her when they, according to the witness, stole a television from a house.
The witness stated that he was undeniably there, and that there is even a video of Josh saying, “we went and got cheese,” which is the phrase he used after the television was stolen.
Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin then began to question the witness about the relationship between her and Joseph Hernandez. The witness stated that toward the end she felt threatened, especially during an incident where Hernandez, in his bedroom, claimed “snitches die” and showed her a shotgun.
She also recalled an incident where Hernandez’s brother threatened to kill her by dragging her down the driveway. All of this happened when the police started investigating and she said that “everything was going downhill.”
The witness’ car was also used a lot for burglaries. Her car was caught on camera in an incident near a McDonald’s. The witness became emotional when talking about the car because it was a congratulatory gift from her parents and she had used it to commit crimes.
The witness continued to be questioned, oftentimes not being able to recall specific dates or the timeline of events (most events taking place four years ago).
Her final statements acknowledged that, while she lied to police before her plea deal and after her plea deal, she claims to have never lied under oath. She does not want revenge and does not want to convict an innocent man and swears that now she is only trying to share the truth and her specific recollections.
The witness was then excused and Sheri Kolb, Davis Police Service Specialist, was brought to the stand. Officer Kolb has been working in this specific job for seven years, and has been apart of the Davis Police Department since 1997.
Her job includes looking at non-emergency crimes like burglaries. Her main job is to look at online crime reports that come through the dispatch center.
In 2013, she received a report of a burglary of a backpack. She also received a report of a stolen laptop (initially reported as lost). Ms. Serafin then had the police officer initial off on photo evidence of the stolen items.
Court was then adjourned for the day, to be resumed tomorrow.