The trial of Ricardo Juarez – the teen accused of fatally stabbing Luis Angel Linares in a March 2007 gang brawl – adjourned early on Wednesday, August 27, after a handful of witnesses had taken the stand.
Very little of what was stated in testimony today was new, partially because many witnesses had previously made appearances in Judge Brian Hill’s court and were called back to the stand. Among the repeat witnesses were Officer McBride, who continued his testimony from Tuesday, Detective LaTorre, prosecution co-counsel and head investigator on the case Detective Brown, and Officer Cruz. The only new witnesses were the manager of Global Feet and Global Feet Kids – sister stores on opposing corners of State and Carrillo Streets – and Officer Kushner who had interviewed several minors associated with the events that took place during the State Street rumble.
Most of the testimony simply rehashed facts that have already been covered by previous testimony, but there were a few new developments. In the course of Kushner’s cross-examination by defense co-counsel Jennifer Archer, it became clear that a juvenile witness interviewed by the officer whose testimony had placed the defendant at the scene of the crime was merely naming those whom he knew had been apprehended. This young man had said that he saw some 10 to 20 Eastsiders involved, but only named the eight at the police station when he was interviewed, as Archer pointed out.
In addition to this positive development for the defense, a shadow of doubt was cast across the thoroughness of the searches conducted by the police on the day of the murder. Archer, in her cross-examination of Detective Brown, brought to light that the head investigator doesn’t know the exact areas searched. While prosecutor Hilary Dozer pointed out that reports need only be filed when something is found by an officer, Archer countered by arguing that though nothing was found, it is unclear exactly what was searched and whether areas might have been neglected. Archer specifically mentioned searches conducted by unknown officers, specific trash receptacles that were not searched in the back parking lot of Saks, and the fact that no one made a full sweep of the trash receptacles in the area bound by Carrillo and Figueroa streets and by State and Chapala streets.
One other small win for the defense was achieved in the course of the questioning of Detective Brown about his contact with yesterday’s witness, Jeannine Kassity. Of the two pages of photo line-ups that Kassity was shown by Brown – a total of 12 mugshots – only one individual was identified. This individual, previously called merely Number Five due to the order of the photos, was the young man whom Kassity believed to be “the kicker,” or one of the main assaulters of the victim while he was lying in the planter in the back parking lot of Saks.
In the course of Detective Brown’s testimony, it became apparent that this Number Five was a young man Atkins and Archer intend to prove was the one who fatally stabbed Linares.
The court adjourned early as one of the prosecution’s witnesses was sick, and will recess until Wednesday, September 3, at 10 a.m.