Hagins Trial Continues in 2nd Week

By Thom Nadeau Yuba County Sheriff’s Sergeant Joseph Pomeroy, lead investigator, finished testifying Tuesday in the trial of Marcus Charl...

By Thom Nadeau

Yuba County Sheriff’s Sergeant Joseph Pomeroy, lead investigator, finished testifying Tuesday in the trial of Marcus Charles Hagins 19, accused sneaking into a Plumas Lake home and attacking a sleeping girl.

His testimony ended under pointed questioning by defense attorney Michael Bowman clearly aimed at suggesting to the jury of nine women and three men that investigators sought to trap the youthful Hagins into unintentionally making statements that could be interpreted as incriminating.

Pomeroy admitted under cross examination that one seemingly false denial by Hagins may actually have resulted from a confusion of terms. It seems the 20-year-old victim lived in two locations, dividing her time between her father’s and mother’s homes.

Hagins may have misunderstood which home Pomeroy and another investigator were referring to.

After admitted that detectives routinely make false statements themselves to place a suspect at ease and make them more likely to make incriminating statements, Bowman sought to bring out some of the techniques California lawmen often employ to build a prosecutable case against a suspect.

Two questioning devices Bowman mentioned included what Bowman referred to as the “Reid method of investigation” or Reid technique.

Reference sources state that: “The technique consists of a non-accusatory interview combining both investigative and behavior-provoking questions. If the investigative information indicates that the subject committed the crime in question, the Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation are utilized to persuade the subject to tell the truth about what they did.”

The use and abuse of “Reid” and other psychological persuasive devices are a continuing matter of discussion between prosecution and defense sectors of the criminal justice system.

Pomeroy acknowledged having been trained in investigative questioning procedures, but gave up little under Bowman’s inquisition.

Several other witnesses testified, including the father of the victim of home attack, but only briefly, filling in small points or substantiating other aspects of the prosecution’s collection of evidence.

However, one extensively questioned prosecution was Yuba County Sheriff’s Office computer expert Kevin Conde, an apparently extensively experienced investigator whose credentials elaborated at length under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Dupré-Tokos.

Tokos went into such detail and at such length that Yuba County Superior Court Judge Kathleen O’Connor excused the jury for a break and to give her the chance to mildly admonish the prosecutor to speed it up.

With the jury absent, O’Connor said she had signaled the bailiff to turn down the heat in the room because some of the jurors appeared to be dozing under the boring technicalities of Conde’s descriptions.

One other witness that some raised eyebrows was Hagins’ schoolmate Daniel Alberti, who testified he tipped off the cops that he had Hagins’ laptop in his possession and then handed over to them.

What was not made clear under prosecution questioning was how Alberti happened to know the cops were looking for evidence against Hagins.

The jury was dismissed 4:30 p.m. with instructions to return today, Thursday, with the further possibility that court may be in session for only half of Friday, possibly not at all for that day, depending on how scheduling issues were resolved, O’Connor said.
Tom Nadeau

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