Friday, January 13, 2012

Activity on December 28th the MPD didn't want anyone to know about

I stated in my previous article that Brocchini had all the evidence he needed to establish the Berkeley Marina as a crime scene -- the point at which Scott entered the Bay waters to dispose of Laci.  It didn't matter how "inconclusive" the evidence was -- with one trailing dog not even picking up Laci's scent, and the other trailing dog being nudged by a biased handler and most likely scented with a contaminated article -- it was enough for Brocchini.

The absurdity of Brocchini's conclusion is even more obvious when we discover the other search and rescue dog activity at the Bay on December 28.  This was kept a secret, and even now we know only bits and pieces.  The big secret is that water cadaver dogs were also brought to the Bay. 3 boats, 2 having a water cadaver dog on board, headed off from the Berkeley Marina to Brooks Island.  Yes, the exact same route Scott traveled on his fishing trip, and which the State foisted on the Court, the jurors, and the American public as the exact place where Scott dumped Laci.  The cadaver dogs didn't alert at the Berkeley Marina nor at any place along that route.  Think of that.  Cadaver dogs are able to pick up human decomposition scent, and water cadaver dogs are able to pick up that scent in water.

To be sure everyone gets the point, I'm going to repeat it:  3 boats, 2 with a water cadaver dog on board, headed off from the Berkeley Marina to Brooks Island, the exact same route Scott traveled on his fishing trip, and which the State foisted on the Court, the jurors, and the American public as the exact place where Scott dumped Laci, and not a single one of those 2 water cadaver dogs alerted at the Berkeley Marina, or at any point along the route from the Marina to Brooks Island.

Pat Harris tried to bring this to the attention of the jurors during the testimony of Chris Boyer, but he was not allowed to get into that area of Boyer's activities on December 28, 2002 at the SF Bay because it was "beyond the scope" of the direct examination.  That's how the State prevents the Defense from getting critical information out of a witness -- it simply avoids those subjects in the direct examination and then the  Defense has to call the witness back.  Judge Delucchi allowed a lot of wiggle room in this area because he did not want to have a long trial, so he allowed questioning beyond the scope so the Defense would not have to call the same witness back, but in this instance, he blocked it.

This is all Harris was able to get out of Chris Boyer regarding the water cadaver dogs used on the 28th:
P. HARRIS: What's the first thing you did when you arrived?
BOYER: Went looking for the dive team and the marine patrol were launching the boats, so I went over to speak to them, made sure we had enough boats to support the water efforts and then I went looking to water dog handlers to make sure they were comfortable with the weather conditions and working on the bay with their dogs.
P. HARRIS: Well, you had kind of a dual mission that day, you were handling the boats, water dogs and the trailing dogs, correct?
BOYER: I defaulted into multiple missions that day, yes, sir.
P. HARRIS: When you say defaulted, how did you default in that position?
BOYER: There were two Modesto detectives that were brought onto the boats, and so there wasn't another detective to handle the trailing dog issues so I dealt with that myself.
P. HARRIS: So you weren't originally, it wasn't your original plan to go out there and do, you were originally out there to do the water dogs?
BOYER: Yes, sir.
P. HARRIS: Is that fair?
BOYER: (Nods)
P. HARRIS: When did you first, when do you recall first seeing Mr. Seitz?
BOYER: When we began briefing the water dogs on what their mission would be.
P. HARRIS: So Mr. Seitz came up at that point, how did you first get to see him?
BOYER: He came up at that point his partner is also a dog handler and he had come with her. And she was one of the water dog handlers so he was standing there at the water dog briefing.
P. HARRIS: At this point had he either scented, had he scented the dog at that point on an item?
BOYER: No, not at point.
P. HARRIS: Was he with his dog at that point?
BOYER: No, normally dog handlers, well, I don't recall him having his dog on lead in his hand at that point. Normally dog handlers leave their dogs in their vehicles until they're ready to go on the mission. They discussed it and briefed it. None of the water dog handlers had their dogs with them at that point so I don't believe he had him with him either.
Amazing how much incomplete information can be given in a trial which can send a man to death row.  2 detectives, no names; water dog handlers, no names; water dog mission, no details.

Mark Geragos got some corroborating information from Seitz during the Defense Case in Chief:
SEITZ: I have been a mission ready dog handler since 2001. Began training a dog in 1999. Prior to that with CARDA, I was a Tech
Support Person starting in 1996. And I have been with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office in a volunteer position since September of 1976. 28 years.
GERAGOS: Okay. When you were called out, who called you out to the Berkeley Marina?
SEITZ: I responded as CARDA as a mutual aid request for Berkeley Marina to the assist the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office. I responded with two other dog handlers that were dispatched there to do boat searching. I was there in support of them.
GERAGOS: Okay. The, specifically the, I guess when you got there, you talked to somebody, is that correct?
SEITZ: I met with, there was a briefing in the morning with the other two dog handlers that were present there for the water searching, which I was there with. We met with the two officers from Modesto Police Department and Chris Boyer, who was there from the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office.
GERAGOS: When you met with them, were you told various things, or various scenarios?
SEITZ: There were some. The issue was at first focused on boat searching for two handlers that went out. And I just attended the briefing. There was some discussion about some probable scenarios, and they were going to dispatch the two water search dogs out on boats that morning to try to search some of the area around the marina.
HARRIS: Okay. So you finished working. Did you leave?
HARRIS: You're not working but you stay around?
SEITZ: I put my dog in. My wife was out on the other boat as a dog canine handler, and I waited for her to arrive back to base after they finished their boat searching.
Ron Cloward admitted he didn't even know about this search on the 28th, but it's through Geragos' questioning that we find out the area of interest on the 28th was Brooks Island:
GERAGOS: Could you pull this out for just one second. If I could borrow it. Now, the information that's on here prior to the 8th, did you put that in, for instance, looks like on December 28th, Contra Costa met with two MPD detectives to launch the Berkeley Marina search, Brooks Island. Looks like the U.S. Coast Guard was there.
CLOWARD: I didn't create this document, so I haven't seen it until the other day.
GERAGOS: Do you know who created this document?
CLOWARD: No, I don't.
GERAGOS: Were you aware that the Contra Costa was out with the Modesto PD at the Berkeley Marina on the 28th?
CLOWARD: No, I was not.
Catherine Crier in her book, A Deadly Game, identifies Brooks Island as the focus point of the water dog activity.
At 10:00 P.M., Detective Brocchini contacted Captain Boyer and asked to have the Brooks Island area of the San Francisco Bay search by cadaver dogs and the marina parking lot searched by tracking dogs.  Boyer asked for Laci’s sunglasses and pink slipper to be delivered as scent objects, then scheduled three patrol boats, two cadaver dogs, one dive team, and a helicopter for nine o’clock the next morning.  The police also made available a team of specialized cadaver dogs with the ability to smell bodies in the water
Members of the Contra Costa County Search and Rescue team initiated the search an hour early on December 28.  It was a nippy 53 degrees, and the air was thick with moisture as the three orange crafts were launched.  
Crier goes into some detail on the results of the trailing dog activity, but gives no details on the results of the water cadaver dog activity.  That's because there were no results to report -- zip, nada, nothing.

Brocchini couldn't have been very happy with those results.  How could Anderson's Trimble pick up Laci's scent at the Berkeley Marina, and yet the cadaver dogs not give a single alert at the Berkeley Marina nor at any point along the route from the Marina to Brooks Island -- and they had two opportunities, on the way to Brooks Island and on the way back to the Berkeley Marina?  It certainly wouldn't occur to him that Anderson was manipulating Trimble, or that the scent article was contaminated (not when he is the one that had possession of the scent articles from the night of the 26th till the morning of the 28th; why, that would be like accusing himself).  And it most certainly wouldn't occur to him that Scott wasn't guilty. No, there had to be another explanation.

Of course, Scott disposed of Laci on the way to the Marina, and enough scent remained in the boat for Trimble to pick up.  That would become the next place to look, along Hwy 132.  That search began in earnest on December 30, and will be the subject of our next article.  Unlike the Bay search on the 28th, which was kept a deep, dark secret, the Hwy 132 search was well-publicized.


Burkey said...

GREAT post! And great series. A lot of work going into this blog. Thanks.

LA Curry said...

I thought I had read this post back when it was posted...but I clearly see I missed it somehow.

How interesting this is! It is a shame that more information and witnesses weren't called to bring out more information on these particular water searches! Of course, if the State didn't want any of this information brought out in court, it wouldn't be allowed. Had it been allowed and expounded on, I wonder if this jury would have had any reasonable doubt. I know it brings out MORE reasonable doubt on my end.

Great information...thanks.