Eyewitnesses, Law Enforcement Officials Testify in Monday’s Kelso/Berkley Attempted Murder Trial

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By Gracy Joslin and Sahaily Zazueta

WOODLAND, CA – New witnesses testified here in Yolo County Superior Court Monday in the ongoing attempted murder trial of Isaiah Montrey Berkley and Theo Mitchell Ray Kelso.

Berkley and Kelso are being charged with assault with firearm, attempted murder, dissuading a witness, threatening to commit a crime with intent to terrorize, robbery in the first degree and attempted second degree robbery.

Deputy District Attorney Jesse Richardson questioned six new witnesses regarding the events that took place between Jan. 30 and Feb. 3, 2019.

On Jan. 30, both defendants are accused of breaking into a woman’s home with whom they allegedly smoked weed earlier in the day. According to her testimony, they pistol whipped her and then robbed her.

Then on Feb. 3, Kelso allegedly walked toward the male witness in a silver Honda, masked and with a gun, causing the man to drive away.

Berkley, who was in the witness’s car at the time, allegedly put a gun to the man’s head making demands, but eventually left the vehicle; that’s when gunshots were fired and the high-speed car chase around Woodland broke out.

In one of the new testimonies, a Woodland resident claims the car chase entered into her cul-de-sac. She said she heard three gunshots and went outside to see where they were coming from.

After going back inside and looking out her window, she was able to identify the two vehicles and in particular she could see the witness in the silver Honda focusing on his driving as “the passenger side window was shot out.”

Lieutenant Kevin Skaife testified, and said he remembers speaking to the woman involved in the incident from Feb. 3. Moreover, the recording of the 911 call placed that day was played for the jury to hear.

In the recording, the woman said she got pistol whipped and robbed and stated, “I think I know who they are,” but when asked their names she said “I don’t know.” She also first told the operator there was one man and then changed her statement to three.

Executive Assistant to the Chief of Police at the Woodland Police Department, Trista Kennedy, was a Crime Scene Investigator at the time of the Jan. 3 incident, and was in charge of documenting evidence from the silver Honda, the vehicle driven by the witness who was shot in the car chase that day.

On the stand, Kennedy drew multiple diagrams and said the purpose of doing so was to document the “different locations of different bullets that had touched the vehicle; either entered it, or off of it, in the front of the vehicle and the driver’s seat.”

She circled markings that “appeared” to be from a bullet and said she observed seven bullet marks on the exterior of the vehicle.

Detective John Perez, from the Woodland Police Department’s gang task force, testified that two witnesses identified Kelso as a suspect in the shooting, and also talked about the contents of Kelso’s cellphone.

In the days following the Feb. 3 shooting, Detective Perez showed a lineup of photos to two female witnesses. Both witnesses, who were shown the lineup on different days, identified Kelso as an individual involved in the shooting.

Detective Perez testified Sergeant Jason Brooks provided him with Kelso’s name as a suspect to include in the photo lineup.

A data extraction report generated by Detective Joshua Amoruso contained information from Kelso’s phone such as contact lists, call logs, text messages, and recovered photos and videos that had been deleted.

Kelso’s phone contained Berkley’s contact information, call logs that showed more than 20 calls between Kelso and Berkley from Jan. 20 to Feb. 8, and several videos of him with Berkley that indicated that the two men knew each other.

The jury was told there was also a text message conversation between Kelso and an unknown individual on Feb. 8 discussing gang enhancements and prison time, and in one message to this unknown individual, Kelso wrote, “I feel like I should just turn myself in.”

In the same message thread continued on Feb. 9, Kelso texted the individual regarding Berkley’s charges. Berkley was arrested on Feb. 8.

Kelso wrote, “The sh– that n— was charged with is like 15 plus years, plus [an] additional 10 for gang enhancement. That’s 25 years in prison and I just lost my uncle. What do you want me to do, just be happy and act like everything is okay?”

The data extraction report from Kelso’s phone also recovered several deleted photos and videos of Kelso with a firearm with a green lower receiver. Detective Perez stated that the firearm matches the description of the weapon used in the Jan. 2019 robbery..

One of the recovered photos also showed a mason jar with marijuana inside a red duffel bag with the caption, “Hit they b—a—.” Detective Perez interpreted the caption to mean that Kelso was “bragging about robbing someone.”

The photo was taken on Jan. 30 and deleted on Jan. 31, which fits the timeframe of the home invasion robbery. Detective Perez testified that the items in the photo also matched the items that were stolen in the robbery.

The trial is set to proceed throughout the week.

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About The Author

Gracy is a 4th Year at UC Davis studying Political Science and minoring in Communications and Sociology. Post graduation plans include traveling and then eventually attending Law School.

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