Skip to comments.Van Dam Trial Transcripts, Complete: Testimony continues to vary from previous statements.
Posted on 04/09/2002 11:30:44 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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By Kristen Green
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
March 15, 2002
A chronology of events surrounding Danielle van Dam's disappearance, as outlined by Brenda and Damon van Dam in court yesterday:
FRIDAY, FEB. 15:30 p.m.: Brenda, Danielle and Danielle's two brothers arrive at their Sabre Springs home after running errands. Brenda orders a pizza from Domino's, then leaves to pick it up.
6:30: Damon comes home from work. Brenda returns a few minutes later and the family eats dinner. Damon plays video games with his sons while Danielle reads and writes in her journal.
About 7:30: Two of Brenda's friends arrive. The women go to the garage, where they smoke a marijuana cigarette. The friends, Barbara and Denise, share a beer. Damon joins them for a few minutes, taking a drag or two off the joint. They open a side door to let out smoke.
About 8: Brenda and her friends leave for Dad's Cafe in Poway, about a five-minute drive. Brenda notices David Westerfield is there.
Within the hour, the women run into some male friends -- Keith and Rich. They talk for a while, then the women play pool. They dance for hours, and at one point go outside to smoke marijuana in Brenda's truck.
Back in Sabre Springs, Damon puts the children to bed about 10 and watches television downstairs for a while. He then retreats to the bedroom.
10:45: Damon turns off the TV and drifts off to sleep.
SATURDAY, FEB. 2About 1:45 a.m.: The family dog wakes Damon. He lets it outside for a few minutes. Then he crawls back into bed, switching on the TV while he waits for Brenda to get home.
1:50 a.m.: Brenda arrives home with her friends. The male friends follow in another car.
The group goes inside for leftover pizza, and Brenda notices that an alarm light is flickering. She walks upstairs to tell Damon she's home.
Barbara goes upstairs and climbs on top of the covers next to Damon, who is under the sheets. He puts his arm around her, kisses her and rubs her back.
Brenda heads downstairs to look for an open door or window. The side door in the garage is open, and one of her friends closes it.
Brenda goes back upstairs, tells Damon and Barbara they are being rude and asks them to go downstairs. They have pizza.
2:30: The visitors leave and the van Dams go to bed.
About 2:45 to 3: Damon wakes and notices the security light blinking. He finds a sliding glass door open downstairs. After closing it, he goes back to bed.
8:15: Damon wakes.
Just before 9: Brenda gets up and takes a shower.
About 9:30: A neighbor drops off her children for Brenda to baby-sit. Brenda goes upstairs to check on Danielle and finds her daughter's door open and "an empty bed." She and Damon frantically search the house. Unable to find Danielle, Brenda calls 911.
|Damon Van Dam Preliminary Hearing Transcript
Please take the stand sir
Q: Mr. Van Dam. Please tell us your name
A: Peter Damon Van Dam
Q: Thank you. And how do you spell Damon?
Thank you. Go ahead counsel.
Q: Are you married Mr. Van Dam?
A: Yes I am.
Q: How long have you been married?
A: 13 yrs
Q: Name of your wife?
A: Brenda Van Dam
Q: How many children?
Q: Oldest name is?
Q: How old is he?
A: Derrick just turned 10 I'm sorry
Q: You a little nervous?
A: Just a little
COMMENT: There's some water up there.
Q: Danielle's your second child?
Q: How old is she?
Q: And your youngest child's name is?
Q: How old is he?
A: He's 5
Q: Where do you live sir?
A: 12011 Mountain Pass Road
Q: Is that in the Sabre Springs area of San Diego?
Q: How long have you lived there?
A: about 3 years
Q: Do you work sir?
Q: what days of the week?
A: Mon - Fri
Q: And how about your wife. Does she work outside the home?
A: she has a part time job selling books
Q: How long has she been doing that?
A: About six months. Something like that.
Q: How long have you lived in that neighborhood?
A: About 3 years
Q: Do you know an individual by the name of David Westerfield?
A: Yes I do
Q: Do you see him in court today?
A: Yes I do
Q: Would you point him out please and describe what's he's wearing today
A: Gray suit, white shirt...
Judge comment: He's identified Mr. Westerfield
Q: was he living in the neighborhood when you folks moved in?
Q: up until this situation with Danielle as missing could you describe your relationship with Mr. Westerfield?
A: I spoke with him when we first moved in
Q: you mean like the first week or so or?
A: First month or so maybe I'm not sure. It was a long time ago. Spoke with him for about 5 minutes about a dune buggy he had in his garage and have waved at him since then. And maybe 6 months to a year ago spoke with him about some rocks that were in the street in front of his house and a car had hit them. he was cleaning up the rocks on our side of the street....our side of the corner. Spoke with him a few minutes about the car that had hit the rocks.
Q: How would you describe...did you know his name up until your daughter was missing?
A: No. Up till a few days before when my wife told me his name no I didn't know his name.
Q: Had you ever socialized with him?
Q: To your knowledge had he ever been to your house?
Q: Had you ever been to his house?
Q: Well inside his house. Had you ever been inside his house?
JUDGE: Try the question again please
Q: Had you ever been inside his home?
A: No never inside
Q: Had you been on his property?
A: In his driveway. 3years ago when I spoke with him about the car was the only time.
Q: I'd like to direct your attention back to the last day you saw Danielle. Feb 1st on Friday. Did you work that day?
A: Yes I worked that day
Q: Do you remember about what time you got off work?
A: It was around 6:30
Q: How do you get home?
A: I drove home that day
Q: And got home at about what time
A: about 6:30 I believe
Q: Did you have any plans for the weekend
A: I originally had plans for the weekend that I cancelled
Q: What were the original plans
A: To go snowboarding with my son
Q: Where were you going to go ?
A: Big Bear
Q: Were you going to go with anyone?
A: With.... Yes Bill Libby
Q: And was he going to bring anybody along?
A: His son Derrick and his friend Patrick
Q: How long were you going to go up there for?
A: Just for a day
Q: What happened to the plans
A: I believe the original plans were to not go with Bill and we changed the plans to going with Bill on Sunday instead of going on Saturday. It's kind of hazy now.
Q: All right. Do you remember why the trip was delayed one day?
A: Because Bill wanted to go Sunday. I think I was going to go alone Saturday and then Bill wanted to go Sunday. So we changed to going Sunday with Bill.
Q: On that Friday after you got home what was going on at your place?
A: My wife had just gotten home with pizza and we ate dinner with the kids.
Q: Was anyone going out that evening?
A: Brenda was going out that evening
Q: With whom
A: her friends
Q: Do you know where they were going?
A: Dads cafe
Q: And what were you going to do while she was gone
A: Watch the kids
Q: Did anybody come over that evening?
A: Yes. Her two friends Denise and Barbara
Q: What were you guys doing when they showed up
A: When they showed up I was playing video games with the 2 boys in the living room and Danielle was at the kitchen table reading a book
Q: What happened when the 2 girlfriends showed up
A: I said hello. Brenda was still upstairs. I went to the door and let them in and talked to them for just a minute. I believe they sat down at the kitchen table with Danielle. And I went back to playing video games with the boys.
Q: That evening after you got home from work did you have anything to drink?
A: I had 2 beers with dinner, the pizza, and then 1 beer later playing games with the boys. We ate some more pizza. That was after they had left
Q: All right. After the 2 girlfriends showed up did they remain in the house the entire time.
A: Until they left they went to the garage for awhile
Q: Did you go out there initially with them?
A: For a minute I went out there with them
Q: What happened out in the garage
FELDMAN: I couldn't hear the answer
JUDGE: I couldn't either. Did you go out to the garage with them initially.
A: I don't think it was initially because I think Brenda came down and they went out to the garage. And I think then I went out ,because I was playing games still with the boys, and then I went out and talked to them for a minute and came back in.
Q: What was going on out in the garage
A: They were smoking
A: Cigarettes and marijuana
Q: Did you have any of that marijuana
Q: How much
A: I had maybe two. I think only one though
Q: Two cigarettes?
A: No just a puff. It was cold in the garage so I went back in
Q: How many marijuana cigarettes were out there being passed around
A: I believe it was just one but I'm not sure. I was only out there for a minute.
Q: Anything at all about whether the side garage door was open or closed at that time?
Q: No you don't know
A: I don't know
Q: After you spent your time in the garage where did you go Mr. Van Dam
A: Back to the living room to play video games with the boys
Q: What was the next thing that happened?
A: they came back in. I said goodbye to them and they left.
Q: Went off to where they were going
Q: Who was driving do you remember?
A: I think it was Brenda but I'm not really sure
Q: Did you go outside and see who was driving?
A: No. I definitely couldn't see who was driving
Q: What did you do after they left?
A: Back to video games
Q: Can you estimate for us about what time your wife and her friends left your house?
A: About... around 8
Q: Were you keeping track of time
A: No not at all that's why I don't know. I didn't realize I'd played the video games that long either. It seems like a long time now
Q: Do you remember which video games you were playing?
A: It was Project Gotham on X-Box. We'd just won an X-Box
A: Project Gotham Racing Game on .... We'd just won an X-Box. So we were playing with our X Box
FELDMAN: Your Honor I'm sorry...
JUDGE: you're having difficulty I know.
Damon: I'll turn this way
Judge: I have a feeling that some of us aren't too familiar with video games. Me included.
Damon: OK it's an X Box Video Game system.
Judge: One at a time remember. It was me I'm sorry. Tell us the names of the video games slowly.
A: One video game. Project Gotham Racing
PROSECUTOR: Project Gotham Racing.
JUDGE: I got it. What was the other video game?
A: No other video game. It's an X Box system that you play on.
Judge: Next question. Let's get off the video games.
Q: Were you drinking anything at that time Mr. Van Dam
A: I believe after they left I had 1 more beer and two more slices of pizza with Dylan. Dylan was...I got a slice for me and he ended up eating it. Then I got another slice and he ate that one too.
Q: How about Danielle. What was she doing?
A: Danielle read at the table for awhile. Asked me the spellings of a few words because she was reading her book and then writing it in her journal. And she asked us to turn the tv down. and after awhile she moved into the family room which was just behind where we were sitting.
Q: Where were you with the boys? Which room?
A: Living room. Room with the tv which I believe is the living room is that right
Q: Do you remember what was on tv?
A: Project Gotham Racing
Q: Ok what's next.
JUDGE: That makes 3 of us. Go ahead.
Q: What happened after you guys were done watching the computer stuff on tv?
A: At about a little before 10 I asked the kids to all go up and brush their teeth and get in bed. And I turned off that and I watched tv downstairs for a little while while they went up and got ready for bed.
Q: They get ready by themselves
A: Yeah they get ready by themselves
Q: And as they were upstairs getting ready you were doing what?
A: Watched some tv, cleaned up the kitchen a little
Q: Then what
A: At about 10 went up and put them to bed. And went in Dylan's room first and Danielle was reading to Dylan. And I asked her to go to bed...well I checked that they'd brushed their teeth and all. Asked her to go to bed...I tucked Dylan under the sheets and gave him a kiss goodnight and said goodnight to him. And then I went to her room and she had already gotten in her bed and I gave her a kiss goodnight. And went to Derricks' room and he was still reading and I asked him just to turn the light off when he was done reading because he usually puts himself to bed a few minutes later and cracked all their doors a crack. They wanted them open but I was going to watch tv so I just left them a crack open.
Q: When you say a crack can you estimate for us about how big an opening
A: 6 inches, 8 inches
Q: Did you leave any lights on upstairs
A: When I left Derrick's room his light was left on. All the upstairs lights were off. There may have been a bathroom light on in our room but I'm not sure.
Q: Did they have any night lights either in their rooms or in their bathroom?
A: There's a night light in their bathroom. There's a night light in Dylan's room. Danielle's room did not have a night light. The blinds were open. And I'm not sure if Derrick's room had one at the time or not.
Q: After you tucked them in where'd you go
A: Went back downstairs and watched tv a little longer.
Q: Do you remember what you were watching?
A: I was channel surfing
Q: Did you stay awake?
A: Stayed awake for a little while downstairs and then went upstairs again
Q: Where'd you go when you went upstairs
A: Got in bed and watched tv in bed for a little while
Q: Do you have a dog
A: I have a dog yes. I left that out. Actually. Do you want the whole from after putting Derrick to bed too?
Q: Did you do something with the dog after you put Derrick to bed?
A: Put Derrick to bed and went in our room and the dog had chewed up her dog bed. And I took the dog bed downstairs to the laundry room and put it into the laundry room. And let the dog out back to go to the bathroom.
Q: How did you do that?
A: Through the rear sliding glass door, opened the sliding glass door, let her out to go to the bathroom, closed the door while she was going, and stood there and watched her, then let her back in through the door.
Q: and after you did that is that when you went to watch tv?
A: Downstairs yeah. I kept the dog down there with me for a little while. I didn't watch tv too long.
Q: When you finished watching TV you went where?
A: Went back to my bedroom.
Q: And how bout the pooch, where'd the dog go?
A: The pooch came up to the bedroom with me and I closed her in with me.
A: Because she had no...... Well we close her in all the time basically because she'll pee in the house.
Q: What'd you do in your room?
A: Got ready, got in bed, and watched tv for a little while, and then turned the tv off and went to sleep.
Q: Are you able to estimate for us the time period we're talking about. When you got upstairs, or when you turned the tv off?
A: Around 10:45. 11:00. I don't know.
Q: What event
A: Well going to bed I'd say probably another 15 min downstairs watching TV....about quarter after 10 downstairs watching tv and then went upstairs and maybe 10:30, 10:45 turned off the tv for the last time. I didn't look at the clock at any of those times.
Q: When you came upstairs to watch tv and go to your bedroom did you check on the kids?
Q: You eventually fell asleep in your bedroom?
Q: What was the next thing you were aware of?
A: The dog was whining to go out. She usually sleeps on Brenda's side of the bed and she was up and whining on my side of the bed. So I assumed she had to go to the bathroom so I went down and let her out.
Q: that was the assumption you made?
Q: Is she able to bark or make any sort of noise?
A; She's able to but she doesn't usually.
Q: Why not?
A: She was born and raised on a farm where the dogs had all been de-voiced.
Q: What did you do once the dog was making some motions
A: Got up and went down and let her out
Q: Do you know what time that was?
A: Around 1:45 I think
Q: Did you check the clock at that time?
Q: So this again is an estimate?
A: This is an estimate.
Q: was Brenda home by then?
Q: where did you take the dog
A: I let her out back. And then let her back in. Again watched her while she went out.
Q: what door
A: Through the back sliding glass door. Let her back in. Went back upstairs to the bedroom. Left the bedroom door open.
A: Because I knew Brenda would be home soon because I knew Dads closed at 2AM. So with the bedroom door open the dog was wherever the dog was I don't know. I jumped in bed and I watched TV for a little while
Q: did you have any lights on in your room besides the tv
A: No. The only light on in the house was the dining room light on dim. and yeah the front porch light
Q: what was the next thing that you recall happening
A: I heard the truck pull up and people come in the house. And that time was 1:54 5 6. I distinctly remember because that's the time I looked at the clock. So I would believe probably 1:54 they came in and I laid in bed awhile while I heard them downstairs.
Q: this clock that you have is it a digital clock that prints out the numbers?
A: VCR. On the VCR.
Q: What was the next thing that happened
A: Brenda and Barbara came upstairs, when they came in I heard 2 male voices I didn't know, then Brenda and Barbara came upstairs, Barbara jumped in bed next to me. I think Brenda went to the bathroom but I'm not sure. It was dark in the room.
JUDGE: I couldn't hear you. Keep your voice up
A: I'm not sure where Brenda went. But she came in the room and said something to me and then left the room
Q: When Barbara when you say went and jumped in bed with you what does that mean?
A: She jumped on top of the blankets next to me
Q: Where were you
A: I was under the blankets
Q: How were you dressed
A: I had underwear on
Q: What happened
A: Barbara laid next to me. I rolled over put my arm around her kissed, rubbed her back some
Q: How long were you there with her
A: 5 minutes, around 5 minutes
Q: What happened after that
A: Brenda came back upstairs and asked that we come downstairs with the other people in the house
Q: Did you
Q: what were you wearing when you came downstairs
A: You know I'm not positive
Q: more than underwear
A: More than wearing underwear...I either I put on my housecoat or put on a T-shirt and shorts but I don't remember which
Q: When you got downstairs who was there
A: Rich, Keith, Denise, Barbara and Brenda
Q: Did you know those people
A: Knew them all yes
Q: What was going on downstairs
A: They were eating pizza and cookies
JUDGE: They were eating pizza and what?
JUDGE: That's what I thought you said.
Q: How long did they hang around
A: I would guess 15 minutes to a half hour
Q: Who left first. If you can remember
A: Barbara and Denise left together first
Q: And then what
A: Then Rich and Keith left a few minutes later
Q: How was it that they came to leave? Did you say anything, or did anyone say anything to anybody?
A: Oh yeah we said it was time to go
Q: After they left was anybody left in the house
A: Just Brenda and myself and the kids
Q: When Brenda came home from Dads were you aware of any lights being activated on the warning system?
Q: Do you have a warning system or security system in your house
Q: Explain it to us
A: There's different red lights. There's green lights that go on when all doors are closed. And if certain zone doors are open, which is groups of doors or windows are open, a red light will go on, it'll beep and a red light will go on and stay on as long as the door is open. And I didn't notice any of those lights on.
Q: While you were up in the bedroom, after you took the dog outside and came back the last few minutes before Brenda came home, did you see any lights on in the monitor in your bedroom?
Q: Where's the monitor in your room?
A: It's next to the door to the room
Q: Can you explain to us why you didn't see any lights on, assuming there was a light on
Q: Were you paying attention to the alarm system
A: I was not paying attention to the alarm system but when I lay in bed there's one of the posts of the bed if I lay in a certain area of the bed I can't see the lights at all. So sometimes I can't see them and sometimes I can depending.
Q: is there any audible sound when the light goes off
A: When the door is first opened it beeps cause it'll beep
Q: How long?
A: Just a chirp (Damon makes a sound with his voice to describe this chirping sound). Short chirp.
Q: you heard that?
Q: After your friends leave you and your wife do what?
A: Went upstairs and went to bed
Q: what was the next thing that you remember happened?
A: After we went to bed?
A: Woke up the next morning
Q: did you get up in the middle of the night after you and your wife went to sleep?
A: Oh oh, yes, yes, I'm sorry. Yeah I noticed the light on. I think I woke up because I had to pee and I noticed the light on, on the alarm system
Q: Had you been asleep?
Q: Do you think you heard the chirp that caused you to wake up?
OBJECTION/SUSTAINED The answer is stricken
Q: Had you heard the chirp before you woke up?
Q: When you woke up to use the restroom, when did you notice the light on?
A: As soon as I got up
Q: What'd you do?
A: It was dark in the room so it was kind of obvious when it's so dark in the room
FELDMAN: (garbled) Can the mike be moved or something?
JUDGE: I don't think we can move the mike anymore. Sir, you have sort of a soft voice, so if you could speak up and enunciate a little bit it'd really help. So let's go back and ask him the question again or if you want it read back that'll be fine, about what happened when it woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and all that
PROSECUTOR: Yeah that question.
A: I woke up and noticed that one of the red lights was on. I'm not sure which one but I saw it on in the room
Q: so what'd you do?
A: Went downstairs to check if the door was open
Q: What'd you find?
A: The rear sliding glass door was open a crack
Q: Is this the door that you'd taken the dog in and out of to use the backyard?
Q: When you say it was open a crack describe for us how wide a crack is
A: Around 8 inches. Not quite wide enough for the dog to get through. Maybe 10inches
Q: What'd you do?
A: Closed the door. Locked it.
Q: the last time you'd been to that door, do you know if you closed it?
A: The last time I'd been to the door yes I'm sure I closed it
Q: Did you lock it?
A: I think I locked it but I'm not positive
Q: Since that day, have you tried to get in through that door from the outside.
A: Yes I have
Q: Were you able to
Q: What'd you have to do
A: Actually I can add to that that I was able to.. we first started discussing the alarm system and how well it works
OBJECTION. no question pending
JUDGE: Counsel you're absolutely right but he's doing his best to answer the question. So I'm going to have the question read back and he'll answer the question. OK? Wanna read back the question please?
A: That's all right I know the question. And I to get in the door
Q: Hold on. I have a feeling once I ask the gentleman to read the question that his hands are off the machine ok so he's in trouble. Now I want the question read back.
QUESTION IS READ BACK TO WITNESS
A: I got a screwdriver from the garage, walked out the door, had my wife lock it and in 10 - 20 seconds by prying the door up and down I unlocked the door and opened it from the outside
Q: Did you make any other inquiry as to the efficiency of the alarm system
A: Yes I did
Q: What'd you do
A: I got a child's plain magnet, a real small magnet, and opened the door and put the magnet over the sensor on the door. And the alarm never beeped and the red light never went on. And the magnet hung there by itself with the door remaining open. I did this for all doors in the house with the same result.
Q: After you closed that rear sliding door what did you do?
A: We're back to that night?
A: I closed that door, I went out in the garage, and I visually looked at the side door to the garage and saw that it was in lock position. Went back in the house and went up to bed
Q: check on your kids?
A: I didn't check on the kids
Q: Why Mr. Van Dam?
A: I didn't believe I had any reason to. I assumed in that state, my state of drowsiness, that one of the other people in the house had left that door open because it's right next to the table we were all sitting at
Q: Even though you'd already been to that door a couple times?
A: But they were sitting there after I'd let the dog out the last time
Q: Did you then go back to bed?
Q: When did you get up?
A: About 8 in the morning.
Q: were you the first one up between you and your wife?
A: Between me and my wife yes
Q: where'd you go
A: I went downstairs. My son was already up
Q: Which son
Q: what'd you do?
A: I talked to him for a minute and asked him what he needed for, what he wanted for breakfast and started making him breakfast. Pop tarts
Q: Then what happened
A: My other son. Actually I'm not positive if Dylan was down there too I think Dylan got up a little, a few minutes later and joined us downstairs and I made him pop tarts also and myself a waffle.
Q: and your wife was where?
Q: After you had a little breakfast with the boys what happened?
A: Brenda came downstairs and I think she did the dishes. She started doing some dishes while I took some garbage out.
Q: Where's the garbage?
A: The garbage cans are on the side of the house outside the garage side door
Q: then what
A: We went back upstairs for a little while
Q: after that what happened
A: came back downstairs and she started to make breakfast for the other kids. The neighbor's kids came over.
Q: Was something supposed to happen with the neighbor's kids?
A: Yeah that we were watching the neighbor's children
Q: About what time was it that the neighbor kids come over? If you can estimate
A: 9. Around 9
Q: When they got there what happened
A: They played some with the boys. Danielle's friend asked about Danielle so Brenda told her she could go wake Danielle up
Q: that where you thought she was? Where'd you think Danielle was?
A: In Bed
Q: is that unusual for her to sleep that late?
A: No not all
Q: why not
A: She was always the last one up
Q: then what happened
A: Brenda went up to wake Danielle up and found she wasn't there. Called down to me. Asked me where Danielle was. And I said in the bed. And we started to search for her.
Q: where'd you go Mr. Van Dam?
A: Searching for her in all the bedrooms, under the beds, bathrooms, under the stairs, in the office, the garage, went out to the side of the house, and I noticed that the side gate was also open
Q: What do you mean side gate?
A: The gate that goes to the backyard on the side of the house
Q: Is that near another door or entry way into the house?
A: That's near the side garage door
Q: How far away?
A: About 5 feet, 4 feet
Q: Describe for us how easy or difficult that gate is to open
A: Too difficult for a child to open
Q: why do you say that
A: It's tight, the wood is tight on itself, and it swells, so you have to push the latch open, and pull the gate open from the top of the gate. A child is too small to reach up there and pull it open with the force needed.
Q: How high is this latch on the gate?
A: About 4 foot. Maybe a little higher. 4 foot maybe a little higher
Q: And that gate was open when you saw it?
A: It was slightly ajar. About a foot open
Q: Did you notice that when you took the trash out?
A: No but I wasn't paying attention then
Q: what was your emotional state at that point?
A: I was crazy. I don't know. I was not in good shape.
Q: had Danielle ever run away from home?
Q: had she ever left unexplainably before?
Q: Did you search anywhere else?
A: After that, we, I went to a couple neighbor's houses and knocked. Was that before or after I drove...I drove around the block. And then went to neighbor's houses. I don't remember the order. I was frantic. But I remember I got in the car and drove around the block to look for her. I ran up and down the street first. It was.....
Q: were the police notified?
Q: when and how?
A: When I, after I noticed the gate open, I went back in and Brenda was on the stairs and asked if she should call 911 and I said yes
Q: how quickly did the police get there
A: It seemed fast but I couldn't, I can't tell time with the state I was in
Q: what were you doing while you were waiting for the police to show up
A: I drove the van around the block and they were there by the time I got back I think
Q: then what happened
A: They asked us about the night.... Police came....it's all a haze I was....I was not in a good mental state
Q: did you spend that night at home
A: No we spent it across the street at the neighbor's house
A: The police were, ...the police wanted the house to search
Q: do you know what they were doing inside your house?
Q: from the time that you noticed Danielle missing, did you vacuum or clean the house?
Q: did you destroy, hide, conceal, any sort of evidence, or what you perceive to be evidence in this case?
Q: once the police criminal people showed up were you allowed into the house before they finished their work?
A: Before they finished?
Q: before they finished processing your house
A: Yes we were allowed back in
A: The whole time is so bad I couldn't even say if it was the 2d day or third day, I don't know. But I know when we were allowed back in people... by the time I got in the house there was at least a half a dozen people cleaning it from finger print dust
Q: Do you know where they were cleaning?
A: On the stairs is what I saw. I only went into the entry way
Q: What'd you do?
A: My main concern was that no one cleaned Danielle's room
A: Because I worried......Because (Damon breaks down at this point)
Q: Want to take a break?
A: I knew something bad had happened. And I wanted to make sure that if there was any evidence that it was still there
Q: What'd you do to protect that room
A: Closed the door and we put one of the dog gates up with a sign that said Do Not Enter
Q: Did you let any of your friends into that room?
A: No. We let a couple of people look into it but we wouldn't let anybody walk in
Q: Is that sign still up?
A: no but you guys have convinced me you got enough we haven't cleaned it yet though
Q: You haven't cleaned it yet?
Q: Thank you sir.
End questions by Prosecution
|Post Preliminary Hearing Arguments|
DUSEK: Ask that People 1 - 6 be admitted into evidence.
JUDGE: Any objections?
FELDMAN: We need to address that Your Honor, yes
JUDGE: OK. Address. Well one is the flier for the missing person.
FELDMAN: NO OBJECTION
JUDGE: Received. Two is a picture of the scene where the body was found
FELDMAN: NO OBJECTION
JUDGE: Received. Three, that's what I said the scratches, ....scratches. Received. Four are the....You have objections? Well let's take them one at a time. I don't mean one picture at a time. I meant one group at a time. Six is received. All right so we want to talk about 4 and we want to talk about 5 correct?
JUDGE: 4 are the photos and 5 ....
FELDMAN: Your Honor I'm sorry can we get the camera off us while we do this. Can we ask at least to ....
JUDGE: Are you talking about the pictures
FELDMAN: I'm talking about counsel's discussions at this moment concerning what objections need to be made with regard to People's Exhibits 4 and 5
JUDGE: Yes I think you're entitled to that privacy. So do you want to just go off the record for a few minutes without leaving
JUDGE: OK we're off the record.
JUDGE: You want to respond?
PROSECUTOR: I believe they do. Court can certainly make that determination when they look at them. They also are relevant to show motive on this case.
FELDMAN: Your Honor on the issue of motive I think counsel's suggestion is that if anybody has a picture of a naked woman they then have a motive to kill somebody? That really does push the logic a bit.
JUDGE: That's his argument. And I'm sure his argument isn't as simple as that. The objections are over ruled. 4 and 5 will be received however they will be sealed pursuant to 1417.8 pursuant to the stipulation of the parties but they're received
FELDMAN: Your Honor frankly we didn't know what time we were going to finish and we don't have any witnesses here
JUDGE: That's not my real question. My real question is are there going to be witnesses
FELDMAN: We intend to call witnesses your honor
JUDGE: I didn't hear you
FELDMAN: I'm sorry we intend to call witnesses
JUDGE: And how many witnesses do we intend to call
FELDMAN: At least several and we'll analyze tonight how many more based upon the testimony of the witnesses today
JUDGE: Do you understand that there are severe restrictions...
FELDMAN: I'd be happy to make an offer of proof Your Honor so perhaps you could tell us whether it's appropriate or not
JUDGE: I think it's a good idea
PROSECUTOR: Perhaps we could do that at sidebar
FELDMAN: Your Honor if we're being compelled to make an offer of proof on the prosecution's motion I think it should be made, I mean what are we hiding
JUDGE: We're not going to make it at sidebar. If we're going to do it we're going to do it. Now just briefly go ahead.
FELDMAN: My first question is before I do this Your Honor I want to be sure witnesses are excluded. I just don't know whether they are cause I haven't looked behind me.
JUDGE: I assume that all of the witnesses have been excluded and admonished pursuant to my previous orders am I correct Counsel?
JUDGE: All right
FELDMAN: Your Honor. It's the defense position as follows. And this is what we propose to demonstrate in our case in chief at prelim hearing only. The issue in the case in our view is alibi and 3d party access to the Van Dam residence. It's apparent in our view that anybody who entered that residence on the evening and removed Danielle had to have been familiar with the upstairs of the residence, with the family and with the dog.
PROSECUTOR: It's not an offer of proof. We need to know who's going to testify to what
JUDGE: That's what we want to know
FELDMAN: I'm getting there
JUDGE: Well let's get there directly. And then we'll... I want to know who's coming in, what's the offer of proof. and what does it relate to. This isn't an opening or closing argument.
FELDMAN: I understand. I also understand that given it's a prelim hearing there are substantial restrictions on our ability to present evidence.
FELDMAN: We intend to call Det parga (sp?) to the stand to testify to certain aspects of the search of Mr Westerfield's residence.
PROSECUTOR: She's not in the country
FELDMAN: She's under subpoena. I think. She is. She's under subpoena. We have her
JUDGE: Well she's not in the country so we're gonna have to figure out what to do about that. All right let's skip over Det Parga and try the next one.
FELDMAN: We intend to call Barbara Easton to impeach the testimony of Brenda Van Dam. Specifically with regard to the fact that there was dancing at the bar that Brenda Van Dam was dancing with David Westerfield and we intend to call 2 or 3 witnesses including the bartender at Dads restaurant or by way of 115 officer, I think his first name is Frank Gurback (spell?) he too I believe is under subpoena to the defense, yes he is, and we propose to 115 the testimony of Miss, I think it's Kamel. She will testify...
JUDGE: Let's just start first with Barbara Easton. one at a time. What is your representation as to what her testimony is going to be. Not what questions you're going to ask her. But what her testimony is going to be.
FELDMAN: Your Honor we have a transcript that was provided to us in discovery. It is pages 396-445. And I'd be happy to provide the transcript to the court. Counsel gave it to us.
JUDGE: Let me see it. And before we make a speech let me see it. and somehow direct me to the highlighted portion yes. All right let me take a look at it. Well counsel there are a lot of highlighted portions where is the specific reference to what you just told me about her dancing with Mr Westerfield. What page is that on
FELDMAN: I can't, you have my copy I'm sorry. But I can tell you that if you start at the top you see the word "toasted" that is a place we want to go because it's impeachment of what's previously been testified to by the witness.
JUDGE: Counsel the toasted that you want to talk about is on page 9 only
FELDMAN: I'm sorry my memory.. I thought it was on the first page.
JUDGE: I didn't say the word toasted wasn't on the first page. I said what you just talked about is on page 9. Hold on a second. All right I don't know how we're going to do this but let me tell you in the few minutes that I've had to review this I'm going to give this document back to you and ask you to take a few minutes and refer me specifically to the page where this woman says that there was dancing going on between your client and Mrs Van Dam.
FELDMAN: Your Honor I apologize I think I called the witness wrong we have two other witnesses
JUDGE: Counsel all I know is you gave me a document and said you'll find it in here. It isn't. At least I can't find it.
FELDMAN: Well I apologize to the court. I'm proposing that we have 2 other witnesses to the same fact
JUDGE: Hold on a second. Let me just stop. We were talking about why are you going to be calling Brenda Easton. You told me because she would impeach the previous testimony and she would testify a certain way about who was dancing with whom
FELDMAN: And we disagree with the manner in which Mrs Van Dam described the events that occurred as articulated by Mr Van Dam. And so we see her..... I'm specifically at page 9...
JUDGE: Counsel according to 866 of the penal code you have to either establish an affirmative defense, negate an element of the crime or impeach the testimony of a prosecution witness. I understand what you're telling me. you're telling me that she has a different view of how toasted they were. I understand. But I don't see anything in there...and it was quick reading I'll give you that...that for the purposes of the prelim hearing that I would allow you to go in to with respect to impeachment. I just don't see it. Now let's talk about a witness if you have one who is about to testify to what you represented miss Easton was going to testify to and I understand you made a mistake we all make mistakes.
FELDMAN: Your Honor specifically Discovery page 732 and Discovery 468 reflects the testimony of Cherokee Young's
JUDGE: Let me see it please
FELDMAN: and another woman ...
JUDGE: Cherokee Young is the first one and the second one?
FELDMAN: Patricia LaPage.
JUDGE: Thank you.
FELDMAN: And you'll see a reference to Barbara Easton. Those are short reports Your Honor
JUDGE: Hold On. All right. Counsel I see Cherokee Young's. I see Patricia Lapage. That's not what she said. So I don't see that Patricia Lapage or Brenda Easton are particularly relevant to this hearing. I understand why you want Cherokee Young's and I would ask the DA why I shouldn't allow Cherokee Youngs to testify for impeachment purposes only
PROSECUTOR: I believe she's not under subpoena. I don't know if she is or not.
FELDMAN: She's under subpoena for us
PROSECUTOR: And I do not see that the impeachment area is relevant to the hearing here today
JUDGE: I do
PROSECUTOR: all right
JUDGE: You may call Cherokee Youngs for the limited purpose of impeachment testimony with respect to what is stated within the .........within the paragraph. The indented paragraph.
FELDMAN: Your Honor we have the page that indicates that Barbara Easton..
JUDGE: I have page 732, is what I have
FELDMAN: And in that page it should state that Barbara Easton at Dads bar invited other people back to the house..
JUDGE: Counsel hold on a second. I said....OK?.... that with respect to Cherokee Youngs you can call her to testify for impeachment purposes only with regard to what is stated within the indented paragraph. That covers what you want. All right so right now Cherokee Youngs I'm going to allow you to call for impeachment purposes. All right? If we're doing it let's do it now.
FELDMAN: We don't have her now
JUDGE: No no...I apologize. Let's proceed with this process.
FELDMAN: Your honor we would next propose by way of 115 to call an officer named Frank Gurback (sp?) this is discovery now 458 at sec (?) which reflects an interview with Denise Kamel.
JUDGE: Let me see it please
FELDMAN: Coming right up. 458-461. Your Honor there's an additional page I wish to provide to the court. Actually 2 additional, 463 and 464. It's the same witness just additional discovery that I didn't give you
JUDGE: All right. Where specifically. Oh I have it and you don't. I'm gonna give it back to you and I want you to in some manner indicate what specifically you believe is impeachment. not cumulative because some of the witnesses have not testified exactly the same.
FELDMAN: Your Honor.
FELDMAN: I'm going to try to put ink circles around the specific areas. Just so counsel is aware it's discovery 459 about two quarters of the way down the page. 461 first several lines.
JUDGE: not at the prelim hearing counsel. #1 I don't think it is anything new. I think it's cumulative and I'm gonna exercise my discretion under 352.
FELDMAN: Very well. Next. Glennie Nasland.
JUDGE: I apologize. How do you spell that?
FELDMAN: I said it wrong. N-a-s-l-a-n-d. Counsel it's 525 and 526.
JUDGE: OK let me take a look. You've circled or highlighted it or something?
FELDMAN: Yes I put a circle around it.
JUDGE: Thank you
FELDMAN: May I please provide you 527 as well
JUDGE: Yes you may. This is the testimony of a police officer who's going to come in and testify. You have the actual person?
FELDMAN: we have the witness. I think I circled the wrong spot I'm sorry I didn't realize you were going to ask me to do it this specifically with regard to the paper. So I...
JUDGE: I did that as an accommodation counsel
FELDMAN: If you have 526 up there Your Honor?
JUDGE: I see what you want. You want this person to come in specifically to testify about who was dancing with whom, correct?
FELDMAN: Correct. And intoxication as an affirmative defense --our client's intoxication and potentially as an alibi.
JUDGE: No. She can come in she can testify with respect to who was dancing with whom and that's all. I'm using my discretion under 352. We're not going to turn this into a mini trial. I apologize. How do you spell that last name.
JUDGE: Thank you.
FELDMAN: Your Honor
JUDGE: I'm listening
FELDMAN: We propose to call Sandra Engotti (sp) to testify that there were between 34 and 76 sex registrants within a very short area around the residence of the van dams to show access and 3d party culpability.
JUDGE: Counsel ?
PROSECUTOR: 3d party culpability is not an affirmative defense. An affirmative defense is "I did it". But this is the reason for -the fact there are 290 registrants anywhere is of no relevance and it certainly does not lead to a 3d party culpability
FELDMAN: Your Honor.
JUDGE: Sustained I don't want to hear it
FELDMAN: People vs Hall
JUDGE: You're telling me there is a case that specifically says that in this type of a case that the issue of how many sex registrants, 290 registrants, in the area is relevant?
FELDMAN: No I'm saying that counsel misspoke when he claimed that an affirmative defense was limited to that which he articulated and I was citing People vs Hall for the proposition that 3d party culpability is an affirmative defense.
JUDGE: I'm going to allow you a 3d party culpability. That's not the reason I sustained the objection. I sustained the objection because I think the Number of registrants, 290 Registrants, in the area is irrelevant.
FELDMAN: There's two witnesses that we talked to Counsel about and Sgt Holmes is being very gracious indicating he will accommodate us because we don't have two of the officers under subpoena. I will provide you with the discovery this relates to. And Dylan and Derrick Van Dam I don't want to call them Your honor they are children. If you decide it's relevant I want to do a 115
JUDGE: I'm sure that if I decide it's relevant that we can do it a way in a fashion so we don't have to call the children. I didn't say it was relevant I said "If".
FELDMAN: Your Honor
JUDGE: Let me see what you have please
FELDMAN: I was just going to for the record... 605 discovery 606. I've got it highlighted. And also 60.....I guess 602 and 604 on top of that
JUDGE: All right let me see it
Counsel with respect to the interview with Derrick I see one sentence.
JUDGE: That sentence counsel is on page 603. I don't know what Mr Dusek is looking at but it starts "when asked if his sister." You see that? Bout middle of the page. In fact it's right next to the middle hole. You see that?
JUDGE: that's the only sentence in this 3 page document counsel
PROSECUTOR: then submit it right now. Stipulate that that's what he would say
FELDMAN: Well then I propose to accept the stipulation but I'd like be able to state it. If you'll agree
JUDGE: Hold on. You're reading my mind as I've tried to read your mind throughout this. we may be able to work out these stipulations with these other people. I don't know. Let me take a look at the other child. This is Dylan?
FELDMAN: He says the same thing Your honor
JUDGE: Ok. This is the 5yo? yes. All Right. He says the same thing. You're correct. So do you want to come to sidebar to see if we can propose a stipulation and come back out and try to do it?
FELDMAN: yes Your Honor
JUDGE: And take care of this is that all right with you counsel?
JUDGE: All right let's do this quickly..................
All right we're back on record. I'm advised that there will be a stipulation with respect to the two children. We're gonna have that posed in a minute on that limited area about the gate. I understand there cannot or there will not be a stipulation with respect to Miss Young's and Miss Nasland's testimony although once again to caution it's going to be extremely limited. you know what my goal was today. All right. What else do we have. And I don't even know....I'm not casting any aspersions. What else do we have?
FELDMAN: Your Honor with regard to Det Parga.
JUDGE: Hold on I know about Det parga. You know how I operate. I try to get as much as I can get and I want to know whether or not there's anybody other than Det Parga
FELDMAN: The court will recall that an objection on scope was sustained when I was trying to ask Miss Savage(sp?) certain questions concerning her behaviors at Mr Westerfield's residence so miss Savage would be another one of the witnesses we would ask to be recalled because an argument was made that my cross examination exceeded the scope of the direct. This would be an affirmative defense relating to transference of evidence.
PROSECUTOR: It is the discovery question. He simply wants to discover the case. He has the reports that indicate what was found where and when it was found.
JUDGE: What specifically she's going to testify to that's what you need to do under 866.
FELDMAN: she's going to testify she went from the crime scene at Mountain View and walked to Mr Westerfield's house and walked through Mr Westerfield's house without having changed her shoes, tracking in or contaminating evidence. That does relate to what weight the court gives to the prosecution's physical evidence that's been produced at this hearing.
PROSECUTOR: What evidence has been produced at this hearing as to any hair, fiber, blood, fingerprint evidence coming from Mr Westerfield's house?
JUDGE: I didn't remember any..
FELDMAN: The inference on the jacket is that it came from, and that's how I understood the testimony and those are inferences that I was drawing on their direct testimony concerning Mr Westerfield's jacket which they've alleged had blood on it.
JUDGE: I think Mr Dusek's recollection of the testimony is correct. I don't find that such testimony falls within 866 of the penal code so that's denied.
FELDMAN: there's one other issue Your Honor and that is this. The court is aware that the lawyers have been moving as quickly as possible. At least the defense team has. Late yesterday I received a call after court...no we didn't have court yesterday...at some point yesterday I received a phone call I can't recall whether it was from the DA' office or from a photo company but I'm told that there is I don't know how many 100s of photographs that we have yet to see of the crime scene that will be available to the defense at some point tomorrow morning. Yesterday we called we have a runner whose move position is to pick them up as soon as they're ready. But I think my request would be it's not unreasonable to say we want 6 or 8hrs tomorrow morning to pick up evidence that in our view could have been produced earlier and has not.
JUDGE: What about Det parga. And I have not responded to your last statement nor have I asked the DA for his position. I just want to do things my way and I don't mean that in a dictatorial manner.
FELDMAN: Whatever the court wants
JUDGE: That's what I want. I want to talk about Det Parga
FELDMAN: We can if you'll give us a second with Mr Dusek may be stipulate a way Det Parga...
JUDGE: That'll be good...... go talk.
FELDMAN: We might want a ruling....if it's not unreasonable to request an indicating on relevance to see whether we need to stipulate to anything.
JUDGE: Well that's fair. It wouldn't be an indicating it would be a ruling.
FELDMAN: OK Counsel has given me his 919 and I'm asking to please give it to you.
JUDGE: All right. you have something circled?
FELDMAN: Yes. It's the paragraph that's in yellow.
JUDGE: This is all you want? Or you want the whole paragraph?
FELDMAN: No we want...no we don't want the whole paragraph.
JUDGE: Just the one sentence?
FELDMAN: Yes because our view is that...
JUDGE: I understand
FELDMAN: But they want the whole paragraph
JUDGE: Now I understand what the dispute is. Counsel this is offered for what purpose? Which one of the 3 purposes? Which one...
FELDMAN: The first sentence is relevant to impeach the witness.
JUDGE: I understand.
FELDMAN: That's all we want.
JUDGE: And the 2d few sentences is consistent with what the witness had testified to before am I correct?
PROSECUTOR: I believe all of them are consistent.
FELDMAN: But our position is that it's cumulative after the 1st sentence and we're not offering any
JUDGE: I appreciate that but I've been fairly liberal with my cumulative rulings. If it comes in I'll find it as relevant. if it comes in the whole paragraph comes in. Do you want it in or not?
JUDGE: now let me see if I understand what issues I have left. I have your request with respect to the giving you the opportunity to review the crime scene evidence that's coming in some time tomorrow am I correct?
FELDMAN: That's correct your Honor.
JUDGE: Do I have anything else. Knowing that I still have two witnesses who I have ruled irrelevant.
FELDMAN: At this point again it's been... I can only tell you our habit and custom is to go back and analyze the evidence and make tactical decisions every night constantly
JUDGE: I understand. You know what I don't want to see. I don't want 15 more witnesses or 3 more witnesses tomorrow morning.
FELDMAN: I'm getting that from counsel too.
JUDGE: I'm sorry?
FELDMAN: I was getting that from counsel to my left as well Your Honor
JUDGE: Well I would do the same thing with him. Now.
FELDMAN: But I'm really not sure what Your Honor...you're indicating you don't want surprise witnesses of course I understand that.
JUDGE: Right. I'm asking you now to tell me whether there're any other witnesses based upon what you have now not based upon some more crime scene evidence that you're going to receive that you wish to put on for any purpose under 866. And my understanding is the answer is no.
FELDMAN: Correct. Except that which we've told you about.
JUDGE: the two witnesses
FELDMAN: Well all of our offers. Yes.
JUDGE: But the two witnesses that I've ruled are relevant and they can come in and they're going to testify about who was dancing with whom.
FELDMAN: Yes Your Honor
JUDGE: I want to see counsel at side bar and I want the court reporter
JUDGE: Ok it's not only attorneys who can be persuasive. I'm pleased to announce that we're going to have some stipulations. Go ahead.
(male voice): Your Honor we have reached a stipulation as to the testimony of Officer Bojorquez. That's spelled B-o-j-o-r-q-u-e-z. If he was called to testify he would testify that on Feb 2 2002 he interviewed Dylan Van Dam and the officer asked him if his sister has ever walked away from the house and opened the gate in the backyard. He said yes his sister can climb up and open the gate. She's gotten in trouble before. He said she and my brother got in trouble with my mom for opening the gate and going out front. The same officer will testify...
JUDGE: Hold on these are stipulations for the purpose of the prelim hearing only am I correct? Correct counsel?
JUDGE: So stipulated with respect to the first recitation. Next.
(male voice): the officer would also testify that on Feb 2 2002 he interviewed Derrick Van Dam . And that Derrick Van Dam when asked if his sister knows how to open the gate he said yes she does. He said One time she got in trouble for climbing on the gate and opening it and going out front.
JUDGE: So stipulated for the same purposes.
JUDGE: Thank you. we've got some more.
(male voice): We have a stipulation that Det Parga if called to testify would testify that on Feb 3 2002 he checked
(male voice): on Feb 3 2002 she checked 11995 Mountain pass road at 11:45 hrs. Dave Westerfield was not home. I looked into the window of Westerfield's house and noticed it was very clean and neat. I noticed the front yard hose was lying on the grass and it is a disarray. I assume she means in a disarray. This indicated to me he was in a hurry to leave after using the hose. it was completely unrolled in (garbled).. yard
JUDGE: So stipulated.
JUDGE: OK. There are two more. Have I missed something. Weren't there 2 more?
(male voice): Your Honor I don't believe that the DA will stipulate to the testimony....
JUDGE: Did I misunderstand what happened at sidebar?
PROSECUTOR: No you didn't.
JUDGE: You are willing to testify...uh to stipulate correct?
JUDGE: Thank you:
PROSECUTOR: For the purposes of the prelim hearing only?
JUDGE: Correct. It's a very limited area.
FELDMAN: Your Honor that would be
JUDGE: About dancing.
(male voice): We also have a stipulation that if Glennie Nasland that's N-a-s-l-a-n-d were called to testify.
JUDGE: You want to spell the first name too Please.
(male voice): Glennie that's G-l-e-n-n-i-e would testify that she was at Dads cafe on Feb, on the evening of Feb 1st and that Westerfield danced with, that Brenda danced alone with Westerfield.
JUDGE: So stipulated for the limited purposes of the prelim hearing
PROSECUTOR: May I see that for a moment Your Honor
PROSECUTOR: For the purposes of the prelim hearing only your honor
JUDGE: All of these stipulations have been received for that purpose. There's another one. Cherokee Youngs.
(male voice): We have a stipulation Your Honor, that Cherokee Youngs, that's Y-o-u-n-g-s, first name C-h-e-r-o-k-e-e, if called to testify would testify that on Feb 1st at Dads bar she saw Brenda dancing with Dave Westerfield.
JUDGE: So stipulated for the same purposes.
JUDGE: Stipulation is received. It's my understanding that with the exception of a discussion that we need to have about the anticipated receipt of crime scene evidence discovery tomorrow that we are finished and terminated with this prelim hearing but for argument. Am I correct?
FELDMAN: How about for the motion that i made Your Honor.
FELDMAN: if you're asking if we have any further witnesses that answer is no with the exception of what we don't know about yet.
JUDGE: I understand. I'm now listening to you about what you want me to do and why
FELDMAN: The purpose of the prelim hearing is to weed out groundless charges. And I recognize that the standard of proof is extraordinarily slight. However it does statutorily and as a matter of constitutional right provide and permit that a potentially capital accused defendant be at least given the opportunity to review the photographs that law enforcement has already taken and which are at least on order and should be available to us in certainly less than 24hrs. All I'm asking the court is to permit us the opportunity to review evidence which has been communicated to us and provided to us I believe in due course to review the evidence so that we can make an informed decisions to whether or not we believe it's relevant and appropriate for us under the 6th amendment to advance further affirmative defense testimony.
JUDGE: What is it that you expect to receive.
FELDMAN: I expect to receive 100s of photographs. All I've been told is the price judge. I don't even know how many 100s. But I think one of the gentleman at counsel table I thought told me, but I could be wrong I don't rely on my memory too greatly, that there might be several 100 photographs.
FELDMAN: Of every scene that has been testified to that would include but not be limited to, Your Honor, the scene at which the body was found, Mr Westerfield's residence, Mr Westerfield's motor home, Mr Westerfield's 4x4 motor home, and the Van Dam residence. And I may be forgetting if there's more but at least that.
JUDGE: Thank you. Counsel?
PROSECUTOR: Photographs have been available for pick up for 1 or 2 days. Defense counsel answered ready when the prelim hearing was scheduled. We certainly were not in a rush to judgment. He appears to be. Photographs already have been provided to him before this. This is not the first set of photographs . The current set of photographs that I believe have already been provided show the Van Dam home and the Westerfield home. Perhaps not the recovery site. Those were the latest ones that were done. These are probably duplications or additional photographs from the other sites that we have.
FELDMAN: If somebody had let my office know that in the past 48 hrs there were photographs available you can bet that I would have had them (snaps fingers) this instant and we would have been ready to proceed. There hasn't been a single communication to my office that I'm aware of that indicated to us that there was additional discovery made. Because every single time this whole week and for that matter ever since the case arose that I received any kind of phone call from Mr Clark or any rep of the DA's office I've immediately gone over. I know the names of the clerks by now I've been over so many items because any time discovery has been made available I've been there to get it right now. This is not an unreasonable request. I'm very surprised to hear that photographs existed since this is the first time I've known of it. It's true we've received perhaps a dozen or so of the digital crime, of the digital photos that were taken at the recovery scene. It's true that we received some Xerox copies and some photos that were taken from the autopsy but not scene photographs your honor
JUDGE: You are certainly entitled to all of those photographs and to examine those photographs. There's no question bout that. I think that's part of the discovery process. The purpose of the prelim hearing as you pointed out was to weed out groundless charges. And I can't imagine that the photographs could contain sufficient evidence for me to decide that these charges are totally groundless so I'm going to exercise my discretion not to grant the continuance and this is the end of the prelim hearing. All right do you wish to argue counsel or what?
PROSECUTOR: there are some defense exhibits too I believe
PROSECUTOR: yes the court may recall.
JUDGE: thank you for pointing that out.
PROSECUTOR: The court may recall the court released to our custody Def exhibits F through J yesterday that were I believe exclusively notes and reports of various San Diego police dept experts. I yesterday, actually I'm sorry night before last, had those copied, provided a copy of them to counsel, and also seek the court's permission to substitute one set of those copies for the original notes that the Police Dept needs because they are actively testing material in this case.
JUDGE: You don't have any objection to that do you ?
FELDMAN: No Your Honor
JUDGE: Is it necessary that I actually receive in evidence those notes? I thought we really marked them for housekeeping purposes.
FELDMAN: Essentially for housekeeping purposes but at least this way now the court has a complete set of the notes
JUDGE: But you're not offering them in evidence I should just keep them
FELDMAN: Not at this time
PROSECUTOR: And I've provide a full copy of those to the court your Honor
JUDGE: Well Mr Clark reminded me that there were other Def exhibits which Def didn't' mention so before I assume that you don't wish me to receive them i should ask you. If you have something else to say I'm certainly willing to listen.
PROSECUTOR: Just back to those notes. First of all...they are not a complete set of notes because they are actively being worked on back at the laboratory..... But did I in fact, I can't remember, get the court's permission that the original's can be released.
JUDGE: Yes counsel had no objection you have my permission.
PROSECUTOR: Thank you
FELDMAN: Your Honor.
JUDGE: Do you want to go off record while you discuss this with counsel?
(they go off record)
JUDGE: What do you want to say counsel
FELDMAN: Your honor With regard to Def exhibit A
JUDGE: I know what A is
FELDMAN: Ok we'll submit it but ask that they be sealed. I'm not, I don't want to offer them into evidence but I do want them to be sealed. And i don't think counsel has an objection to the sealing. I apologize counsel I didn't speak directly about...
PROSECUTOR: should be sealed
JUDGE: OK "A" is sealed not offered. And they're sealed once again pursuant to 1417.8 of the penal code
FELDMAN: Thank you your honor. As to "B", "C", "D", and "E" just ask that they be marked. We're not...
JUDGE: You're not offering them.
FELDMAN: Correct. With regard to all of the remaining exhibits Your Honor I just ask to have them marked. We're not moving them.
JUDGE: Any objections?
PROSECUTOR: No your honor.
JUDGE: OK. That's fine. They're all marked. We have them all. "A" will be sealed and the rest have not been offered and as I understand it with the exception of argument we have nothing else in this prelim hearing.
PROSECUTOR: ...reserve the right to respond
JUDGE: I think everyone knows what the burden of proof is in a prelim hearing and it appears to this court and to me that the crimes alleged in the complaint have been committed, there's no question about that. I have reasonable cause to believe that Mr Westerfield is guilty of them. He will be held to answer and the arraignment will be held on Mar 28 at 2PM in Dept 11.
Nothing further to do?
PROSECUTOR: The allegation also Your Honor?
JUDGE: All of the allegations yes
FELDMAN: Mar 28 at 2PM?
JUDGE: That's correct in Dept 11. That's within the statutory time.
FELDMAN: Thank you
JUDGE: Thank you for your professionalism. We are adjourned.
I still want to know WHY the van Dams set out to distance themselves from Westerfield from the get-go? WHY?
Oh, and we are supposed to take Damon's word he didn't vacuum AFTER he realized Danielle was missing? Why believe him? He has trouble keeping his stories straight, doesn't he? DVD had all night and morning to run that vacuum.
But hey, if it was David Westerfield that ran the vacuum cleaner, he'd have been hung out to dry by now. (Notice how this almost disappeared from the radar screen...like running the vacuum at a crime scene isn't a big deal?!)..
If the van Dams were NOT the parents, and a "friends child" had disappeared from their home, they would have considered prime suspects before DW.
Parents aren't "supposed" to harm their children...but it happens everyday.
Also, remember the rumors about the VD's computer being searched and SDPD finding some gay videos, well people have been attributing that little item to the wrong person. Ah, the pendulum, keeps slinging, er, swinging.
Hey fres, did you know that all the transcripts are here? (At least it looks like Jason's forum has allof them)
Actually, statistically, the parents are the most likely suspects. That they dimissed these two so quickly should raise eyebrows and ring alarms. I'll add one more "why" to your list and offer one possible suggestion (actually first mentioned by FresnoDA)--Why were the parents declared "completely cleared" in under 13 hours (according to some sources)? Did it have anything to do with the close friend who had recently retired from the SDPD?
I don't know about you folks, but I've just downloaded all the pages of these transcripts for safe-keeping. We all know (some of us more painfully than others) what can happen to valid information that some people don't like. This time, if it gets flamed off the board, it can be reposted.
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