Brent E. Turvey, MS
Knowledge Solutions LLC
1961 Main St., PMB 221
Watsonville, CA 95076
(831) 254-5446

September 26, 2001

Mr. Steve Biskar, Attorney
Orange County Public Defender
14 Civic Center Plaza
Santa Ana, CA  92701
bus: (714) 834-2144
fax: (714) 834-2729

Re: California v. Gerald Johnson, GG00WF0080

Mr. Steve Biskar, the attorney representing Gerald Johnson in this matter, asked this examiner, Brent E. Turvey, MS, to examine the investigation, crime scene evidence, and forensic documentation relating to the homicides of Jose R. Najera and Elena C. Najera, for the purpose of assisting with crime reconstruction efforts.

In order to complete this task, this examiner was provided with and examined the following case material relating to the homicides of Jose R. Najera and Elena C. Najera:

  1. Investigative reports and documents from the Garden Grove Police Department
  2. Preliminary Hearing transcript of Dr. Joseph Halka, pp.341-357
  3. Various forensic reports from the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner’s Department of Forensic Science Services
  4. Autopsy reports and diagrams by Dr. Joseph Halka, and associated reports
  5. Available crime scene photos from victims’ home
  6. Available autopsy photos
  7. Crime scene video taken at victims’ home

CONCLUSIONS

After a careful examination of the case material described above, this examiner has reached the following conclusions:

Conclusion #1 – The crime scene in this case was staged to appear as though an assailant entered the house through a bedroom window and then committed the homicides.

Conclusion #2 – This crime was motivated by cumulative rage, and was not motivated by profit or sexual gratification.

Conclusion #3 [REDACTED]

REASONING FOR CONCLUSION #1 The term crime scene staging refers to the alteration or simulation of physical evidence at a location where a crime has occurred, or where a crime is alleged to have occurred, in order to mislead authorities and/ or redirect their investigation by attempting to simulate an offense, or event, that did not actually take place (Turvey, 2000). It is the opinion of this examiner that the crime scene in this case was staged to appear as though an assailant entered the house through a bedroom window and then committed the homicides. The basis for this opinion resides in the consideration of the following facts:

  1. The associated bloodstains on the window frame and exterior wall of the house are most consistent with having been purposefully applied from the outside. They are not consistent with having been made by someone exiting the house through the window. This is based on the following supporting evidence, which may be observed in photos CS#9 0-3; photos CS#10 5, 7, & 9; and in the crime scene video:

a) The bloodstains are on the base of the window frame and outside of the house on the wall below the window frame. However, this examiner saw no evidence of blood inside the window, or in the room (see photos CS#4 18A & 19A, and crime scene video). This would be expected if someone with bloody hands and bloody clothing exited the house through this window.

b) The bloodstain outside of the house on the wall below the window frame does not appear to be the result of a dynamic exit or entry. If it had been, the large stain on the exterior wall would have smeared in the direction of gravity, slipping under the weight of the assailant. As such, this stain appears to be the result of direct pressing rather than a moving body part bearing weight.

c) The bloodstains on the base of the window frame and outside of the house on the wall below the window frame do not appear to have been smeared or otherwise altered. The bloodstains are essentially in tact. Smearing would be evident if another person entered the house through the window after the initial transfer by the assailant. This finding precludes the possibility of a second entry through the window after the initial transfer of blood to this area.

  1. As evidenced in the crime scene video and the available crime scene photographs relating to Jose Najera’s room, Jose Najera is not wearing clothing consistent with sleepwear. He is wearing work pants, a t-shirt, and socks. He also appears to have his checkbook and/or wallet in his back pocket. This supports the conclusion that Jose Najera was attacked either before going to bed, or after he got up. This does not support the conclusion that he was attacked while sleeping.
  1. As evidenced in the crime scene video and the available crime scene photographs relating to Brian Smith’s car, there is blood transfer on the interior car door. However, there is no evidence of blood transfer on the driver’s side door, inside or outside [Note: This statement is partially in error, a fact which was pointed out to me on the stand by the prosecutor. On the stand, I did not recall reading the lab report which discussed a particular set of stains on the interior of the driver's door, and did not recall recieving them in my copy of discovery materials. In any case, the existence of these stains on the interior door did not and does not change the associated conclusion in this report, as their absence was not key. In fact, criminalist Jerry Chisum argued very convincingly that some of these interior stains were intentionally placed and not the result of natural transfer]. There is also no evidence of blood transfer on the driver’s seat, the pedals, the floor, or the steering wheel. Blood transfer would be expected in these areas if an assailant with bloody hands and clothing got into the vehicle, sat down, and drove the car. [Note: On the stand I was shown a higher quality photo of the interior of the vehicle than I had previously seen. From it I was further able to discern the absence of visible potential bloodstains on the hand-brake. I further commented on the absence of reports from the crime lab to indicate that luminol tests had been performed to look for potential blood, which should be present even in areas where the vehicle had been cleaned. After recieving my report and Jerry Chisum's report in this case, crime lab personnel did go back to search this vehicle again and did make at least one additional report regarding one additional bloodstain found on the driver's seatbelt. Again, this did not affect my opinion regarding the absence of blood reported on the exterior of the driver's door, the steering wheel, driver's seat, pedals, and floor.]
  1. As evidenced in the crime scene video and the available crime scene photographs relating to Jose Najera’s room, the ski mask found at the scene appears to have been intentionally placed in the location that it was found. It does not appear to have been accidentally left behind in the scene. This opinion is based on the fact that the ski mask was found underneath a pillow, between the wall and the bed. It is not likely that the ski mask fell sideways into this location, on accident.

REASONING FOR CONCLUSION #2

An anger motivation is evidenced by an assailant’s use of punishment-oriented force (Turvey, 1999, p.97). In the case of a homicide this may also be referred to as overkill. The term overkill is used to describe the infliction of trauma or injury, beyond that necessary to kill the victim (Burgess et al, 1992, p.354). In this case, the cause of death for both victims was determined to be exsanguination from multiple stab wounds. It is the opinion of this examiner that the injuries to the victims in this case evidence overkill, and that this crime was primarily motivated by cumulative rage. The basis for these opinions resides in the consideration of the following facts:

  1. According to the autopsy report, Jose R. Najera received the following injuries, amounting to overkill:
  1. According to the autopsy report, Elena C. Najera received the following injuries, amounting to overkill:
  1. This examiner has found no evidence of a sexual motivation. This because of the absence of any evidence relating to sexual activity between the victims and the assailant. This also because of the absence of any evidence suggesting a sexual aspect to the crime (Sexual aspects can include circumstances such as victim nudity, torn undergarments, and the presence of erotic material at the primary crime scene).
  1. This examiner has found no evidence of a profit motivation. These because there is no evidence that the assailant took time to search the house for valuables. This also because the assailant left many obvious, easily removable and transportable valuables behind at the scene. These valuables are evident in the available crime scene photos and the crime scene video, and include:

REASONING FOR CONCLUSION #3

[REDACTED]

I swear and affirm to the best of my knowledge that the above statements are true under penalty of perjury.

 

______________________________
Brent E. Turvey, MS

REFERENCES

Burgess, A., Burgess, A.W., Douglas, J. & Ressler, R. (Eds.) (1992) Crime Classification Manual, New York: Lexington Books

Gross, H. (1924) Criminal Investigation, London: Sweet & Maxwell Ltd

Turvey, B. (1999) Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis, London: Academic Press

Turvey, B. “Staged Crime Scenes: A Preliminary Study of 25 Cases,” Journal of Behavioral Profiling, December, 2000, Vol. 1, No. 3