Skip to comments.Van Dam friend describes Westerfield as 'creepy'
Posted on 06/11/2002 8:27:12 AM PDT by Southflanknorthpawsis
Van Dam friend describes Westerfield as 'creepy' KIMBERLY EPLER Staff Writer SAN DIEGO ---- David Westerfield, the man accused of killing Danielle van Dam, was described Monday as "creepy" by a friend of the girl's parents who saw him at a bar hours before the 7-year-old disappeared.
"He was very quiet and weird," Denise Kemal, one of two women who went out drinking with Brenda van Dam, testified of Westerfield, the self-employed engineer standing trial for the crime.
The 28-year-old flight attendant said Brenda van Dam introduced her to Westerfield on Feb. 1 when they arrived at a Poway bar for a girl's night out.
Kemal said she thought it was "creepy" the way Westerfield stood watching her, the other two women and some of his friends play pool without saying anything. Judge William Mudd ordered the remarks stricken from the record after Westerfield's attorney, Steven Feldman, objected to the characterization.
Kemal also testified she saw Westerfield outside of his house the next afternoon when she went to the nearby van Dam home to speak with police about Danielle's disappearance.
Kemal was one of five witnesses on Day Four of Westerfield's trial on charges he kidnapped Danielle from her bedroom the first weekend of February and murdered her. Westerfield lived two houses down from the Sabre Springs second-grader.
Westerfield, a twice-divorced father of two, faces the death penalty if convicted. He also is charged with a misdemeanor count of child pornography. Prosecutor Jeff Dusek said that he expects to wrap up his side of the case by the end of June.
Danielle's parents, Brenda and Damon van Dam, did not attend Monday's proceedings. Judge Mudd told the couple last week that they would be notified when they could sit in on the trial. Each spent several hours on the witness stand last week, answering questions about their drug use, giving intimate details about their marriage, and describing the events leading up to their daughter's disappearance. The couple also has two sons.
Other witnesses on the stand Monday were Rich Brady, a friend of the van Dams; Keith Stone, Brady's friend and ex-brother-in-law; Garry Harvey, a friend of Westerfield's who met him at Dad's Cafe and Steakhouse on Feb. 1; and Yvette Wetli, Garry's friend, who also was at Dad's.
Most of the witnesses gave the same basic details about the events at Dad's the night Danielle was last seen alive. There were some variations. When questioned by attorneys, some of the witnesses denied making statements contained in police reports or conversations assigned to them by previous witnesses.
Kemal, a petite brunette dressed in a purple sweater and black pants, spent much of her testimony talking about the night Danielle disappeared. She testified she smoked marijuana in the van Dams' garage with Brenda van Dam and another friend, Barbara Easton, before they went out.
Kemal also said she got a phone call while in the garage and went out the side door to try and get better reception. When she came back in, Kemal said she closed the door, but didn't lock it. She testified the door was wide open at about 2 a.m. when she and Brenda van Dam went to check it after finding a warning light blinking on the home alarm system.
Kemal said she found out about Danielle's disappearance on Saturday, Feb. 2, when Damon van Dam made a brief phone call to say police wanted to talk to her about the side door.
"He told me quickly that they couldn't find her," Kemal said. "That she was missing."
When asked by Feldman, Kemal insisted she never had a conversation with Brenda or Damon van Dam about withholding from police their previous sexual relationship. Kemal testified about having a sexual encounter with Damon van Dam nearly three years ago while Brenda van Dam was with Kemal's then-husband.
The van Dams each admitted to having a sexual relationship with the two women Brenda went out with the night Danielle vanished and their male partners. Westerfield's defense team has attacked the credibility of Danielle's parents, questioning their integrity and the company they kept.
The defense attorneys have implied that the van Dams' lifestyle put their children at risk. The prosecution, meanwhile, has argued Westerfield stole Danielle from her home to satisfy his sexual fantasies for young girls.
Kemal testified the couples "swapped" their spouses after a Halloween party. Kemal testified the van Dam children were staying somewhere else that night.
She said the Halloween gatherings were not "risque," but simply costume parties complete with prizes for first, second and third place. Kemal said she briefly talked to Westerfield the morning Danielle was discovered missing after seeing him on the street.
"He said, 'I can't believe what happened,'" Kemal said, adding Westerfield told her he left by 9 p.m.
Also on the stand were Brady ---- a van Dam family friend ---- who admitted he supplied the marijuana the three women smoked that night. He said he and Stone ran into Brenda van Dam and her friends at the bar. Brady and Stone each testified they went back to the van Dam house to eat pizza about 2 a.m.
When asked by Feldman, they each said they didn't remember Brenda van Dam or Kemal talking about a side garage door being opened after they arrived at the van Dam house. Stone said Damon van Dam looked "surprised" to see him and Brady at his kitchen table when he came downstairs.
Under questioning from the prosecutor, Dusek, Stone and Brady said they did not take Danielle out of the house. Kemal also said that neither she nor Barbara took Danielle.
Later in the afternoon, Westerfield's friend, Harvey, took the stand. He said police searched his residence twice after Danielle disappeared, once with police dogs and a helicopter. A Fallbrook resident and a truck driver, Harvey said he has known Westerfield for about four years after meeting him at another Poway bar.
Harvey didn't look at Westerfield during his testimony. He said he went to a barbecue at Westerfield's house about three weeks before Danielle disappeared and he was meeting with Westerfield at the bar that night because he was helping Westerfield work out some business deals with his roommate.
He said Westerfield introduced him to Brenda van Dam and her two friends. He said he remembered the way Denise had been dancing the previous weekend.
Harvey said he didn't stay with Westerfield the whole evening . The last time he saw Westerfield was about 11:30 or 12:30 when he went to meet Wetli. When Harvey and Wetli returned to Dad's around 1 a.m., Westerfield was no longer in the bar, they each testified.
Wetli testified she had an "uncomfortable" interaction with Kemal and Brenda van Dam's other female friend, Barbara, that night. She said Barbara was sexually aggressive toward her.
Testimony in the trial continues today.
But old Westerfield is "creepy". OK
Really? I wouldn't be surprised. It sounds like she spends a lot of her time doing such things. I don't think she's very picky either.
So would I. I hope the proper authorities have the sense to keep an eye on the family in the future. Those children are not in a safe environment
Wish they would all stop reporting this...that was not what she said...she said 9...no am or pm attached.
Who else is scheduled for today besides Barbara?
Not all is as it seems..
ME TOO !!!!!! It just shows how an inaccuracy can be repeated over and over in the news. Discouraging !!!
WHAT THREAD ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BE ON!! (Screaming)...
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