Wednesday, June 29, 2005

June 29th-30th Court Watch Update

The ADA Chris Lamiero continued to build his case. Last week, an investigator from the DA's office read into record the transcript of Jason Cazares' testimony in last year's trial. Cazares' story last year was that he smoked 2 cigarettes, had a long talk with co-defendant Jose Merel's older brother Paul about going to Tahoe the following Saturday (?) and then went back in the house. Cazares claimed that it was only after going back into the house after this conversation with Paul, that he was told that Gwen/Lida was dead, and it was then that he and Jaron Nabors went to get shovels in Magidson's truck.

However, no testimony so far has been able to corroborate Cazares' version of events.

After the testimony was read, a videotape of Cazares' initial interview with the police in October 2002, a few weeks following the murder, was played. He said many things--like that he went home at 3 AM, took the route by the railroad tracks, that he never knew anyone was seriously questioning Gwen/Lida's gender--things we know now, and that he has since admitted--were not true. And his demeanor/behavior pattern when he was telling these untruths is notably different than when he was telling the truth. I remember his testimony from last year, and I wonder if the jury will notice what I noticed.

The timeline of when they got the shovels is important, because if Cazares went to get shovels before the murder--that implicates him very seriously. Nabors has already testified that when they left to get the shovels, Gwen was sitting on the couch--injured but still alive. Nabors testified that Cazares' said they needed to go and get shovels because, "They're (Magidson and Jose Merel) gonna kill that bitch."

Following Cazares' interview, Paul Merel was called as a witness. He was very evasive, and now claims that he left the house because his girlfriend Nicole Brown was pushing him to leave. (Last year, he said he knew something bad was going down, and already being on probation himself, was worried the police were coming.) However, Merel testified again that he never had any conversation with Cazares about going to Tahoe that night--that they didn't talk until the next day.

Girlfriend Nicole Brown followed Merel and also testified that Paul never had a conversation of that nature with Cazares. Although she admits her memory was problematic due to alcohol and pot, she testified that she remembers events, if not the specific order. Last year, her testimony was erratic, due to her meth use at that time; however, she stated that she has been sober for a year, and seems credible this time around on the stand, despite the defense attorneys' efforts to discredit her. She and Merel both said they saw Gwen alive and sitting up when they left the Merel house. Moments later, she said they saw Magidson's truck. She testified although she couldn't see who was in the truck, she stated she heard Cazares' voice say, "We're going to get shovels."

A side note--I was told that Nicole Brown has apologized to Gwen's mom Sylvia for her role in this nightmare, and that Sylvia embraced her. These gestures are amazing to me for so many complex reasons. The process of healing and change is very powerful. I am always amazed and moved by it.

Brown's testimony continued through Thursday June 30th and is expected to conclude Tuesday morning July 5th. The younger Merel brother Emanuel is the next witness scheduled. Emanuel (aka Manny) lived in the house at the time, was present that night, and also left with Nicole and Paul. Emanuel was the only person sober (doesn't drink/use pot etc.) that night. It will be interesting to hear his testimony in that regard.

Thanks to Pablo, Vanissar, Oscar and Shane for making it to the trial last week. Community presence means a lot to the Gwen's family. Now that Pride Week is over, we hope to see more folks at Court Watch.

--Connie Champagne


Anonymous Anonymous said...



4:16 PM  
Anonymous deejay said...

Murder is wrong! Gwen should have been honest and told them boys, "I'm a faggot but I give good head what do you say." when a pretty man dressed in womens clothes tricks insecure men into sex you are taking a big risk and if Gwen survived i'm sure she wouldve acted differently. These punks were wrong to put out her flame, may she rest in peace and the boys get what the jury gives them.

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the mother of a "gender non-conforming" 20-year old who will be moving to Hayward at the end of this month. I've seen first-hand how the world looks at and treats GLBTs and I worry about my kid/young adult a lot. Justice for Gwen is too late to help her, but educating others as to what happened to her and why, and changing the attitudes of those who have to hate what they can't understand may make the world safer for my child, and I'm grateful. I'm grateful to Gwen for trying to be who she needed to be, I'm grateful to her mom, who decided not to repay hatred with more hatred and who can afford to be kind to Nicole Brown. Thank you, Connie Champagne, for covering this story...I read about
you in the LA Times this morning and I'm grateful that there are so many people who are willing to stand up and say "enough" to those who would de-legitimize my child and the thousands like her.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Julie Dorf said...

Connie, thank you so much for keeping this blog up to date with the reports from the trial. I'm on vacation this week and this is the only website besides the New York Times that I checked! Excellent LA Times piece - thank you!

See you in court next week. Julie

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the longest, most drawn-out trial I've ever seen. Why are there so many breaks and recesses?

It would be cool if someone with access could post the pics of the main people - Gwen, of course, and all the people associated with the trial - family, defendants, etc.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Jolie said...

When is the next day of this trial? I am so glad that you created this site. This is one of the truly most important issues I am following in the news. This transgendered person is eternally grateful.


10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just be sure your "gender non-conforming" kid let's her partner(s) know she has a dick before things go too far.

1:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Just be sure your "gender non-conforming" kid let's her partner(s) know she has a dick before things go too far."

If that is such a big deal for some of you men, then you shall be the one doing the questioning and
taking resposibility for your actions.

Since for some morons, being transgendered seems to hold the same stigma as a walking HIV virus, then, as with STDs, you must be the one making sure you don't get involve with one. Just like you know there are STDs out there, it is well known as well that there a beautiful post- and pre-operative transsexual women. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not comparing transsexuals with STD's, but for so many bigots out there there's no difference.

Also many foolish guys think that trans people are out there to "fool" them, give me a break!
Who's going to put up with all that crap trans people go through, just to "fool" some guy. What a ridiculous ego-maniatic notion!
FACT IS, people fool themselves when they assume that every phenotypical female, is aso biological. Nature's more complex than that!

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10:24 PM  
Anonymous Lina Flores said...

I've read some articles and seen a movie about Ms. Araujo.. One portrays her as a wild party girl, the film portrays her more innocently... But it doesn't matter..They felt it was her duty to say something... They sure weren't questioning anything while getting sucked off.... If you're gonna party like a broke rock star and then bitch cuz you rec'd a hummer from a dude and not a chick, then the blame lays on these fools... Maybe they should have eased on up on the drugs and started thinking with their fucking brains, and not between their legs....

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11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This case was hard for me to think about. I was 10 years old when the murder was announced. To be honest with you it is very heartbreaking to see people die because they are not like "normal" people. People say that it was society that led the defendants to this. That's nothing but bull to me. Rationalize all you want but media, living in bad neighborhoods, or any kind of problem is NOT an excuse for taking the life of another human being. Society didn't put a gun to these men heads and tell them to kill her. It was themselves! They chose to believe these beliefs, they chose to kill. There is absolutely no way to excuse these killers.

The main thing that makes me mad and makes me hurt inside when people are cruel and ignorant. Everybody always have a problem with race,gender, sexual identity, and religion. People speak of justice yet they are cruel to those who are most in need of their help! We've been taught that the world is a dark cruel place. But now I see that the only thing dark and cruel about it is people like them.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These people who did this are disgusting cowards.

5:10 PM  

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