By Emerson Drake
We ended day one with Mark Smith on the stand and had been made aware Mr. Smith had a prior teaching commitment and wasn’t going to be available to start today’s hearing. He will rejoin us during the proceedings on day two.
As an aside it is challenging to remember at Prelim’s as they’re referred to, the questioning, unlike at trial, is not sequential. Witnesses are asked questions in their particular area of the investigation and as a result the focus tends to shift dramatically.
Day two begins with D.A. Investigator Mike Hermosa on the stand. He states he has 32 years of experience in law enforcement and has been the District Attorney’s lead investigator on this case,
Investigator Mike Hermosa is asked if he had any discussion with James Abbey as to why he was at the apartment at 1708A Donald on September 24, 2010. He said when he asked James Abbey about that, his response was “we went to collect the rent and if they didn’t pay we were going to evict them.”
It was then established that Hermosa was aware of 19 properties Kari Abbey managed, duplexes counting as two.
The discussion then revolved around if Rita Elias actually resided at the Donald address. Hermosa had interviewed Robert Quaves <sp> Rita Elias’ former significant other and father of two of her children. Mr Quaves stated he had taken their children to the Donald address on at least 10 occasions to see their mother. On day one there was testimony by Sheriff’s Deputy Vince Hooper stating he had recovered an envelope from the vicinity of where Kari Abbey had thrown Elias’ purse that had the 1708A address on it from the Probation Dept., all of which suggests Ms. Abbey had been residing at the home.
Investigator Hermosa described two incidents pertaining to a home on South Santa Cruz where Kari Abbey and her husband Bennie Taylor had attempted to collect some past due rent .Victor Quintana, the tenan, had been outside talking with Ms. Abbey and after some time went inside to quiet his dog. When he started to come back outside as he was closing the door Bennie Taylor hit him and knocked him out. The police were called and when they arrived the officers apparently knew Ms. Abbey and hugged her and greeted Bennie Taylor with a handshake.
After listening to Victor Quintana’s complaint evidenced by a swollen jaw and missing tooth the officer did nothing. Then Quintana told the officer he wanted to make a citizens arrest and requested the officer to takeTaylorinto custody. The officer refused saying it was mutual combat and dismissed Quintana’s further complaints.
Abbey and Taylor came to theSanta Cruzhome on another date after dark but couldn’t get anyone to answer the door. Taylor went around the house into the side and back yard demanding Quintana come out side, Taylor allegedly yelled “ why don’t you grow some balls and come outside” Thru the door Abbey yelled and insisted Quintana move some of his belongings from the common area behind the home. Quintana refused.
Kari Abbey then went around the back and started throwing Quintana’s belonging around. Quintana called the police. When they arrived the first officer on the scene said he knew Ms. Abbey and after listening to the problem insisted Quintana come out and move his stored items as she had demanded.
Investigator Hermosa told the court that considering his 32 years experience as a police officer, the MPD officer was wrong and never should have made Quintana move his belongings.
On 12/2/10 Kari Abbey, Bennie Taylor and James Robert “Bob” Abbey went to the house rented by Mark Moore and Marian <sp> Martinelle, to collect back rent. Mr. Abbey had shut the power off to the home and Kari and Bennie went around to the back and entered, unannounced, through a glass slider. Kari started yelling at the residents to leave, Bob Abbey told the two present that Bennie Taylor was a police detective like Kari and insisted they leave. At this point Bennie Taylor picked up a log by the fireplace and threatened them. The MPD was called but again the responding officer knew Kari Abbey and nothing was done.
D.A. Dave Harris was establishing a pattern of the Abbeys shutting off the utilities and physical threats to get tenants to move out without using the legal eviction process in homes owned by the Abbeys and Bennie Taylor.
See Day Two Part Two for the rest of the day’s events.