May 1, 2017
Murder, voluntary manslaughter or self defense?
So far, only three witnesses have testified and one was Zoellner's girlfriends and the other two her friends. Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees read at least ten names on a list at the beginning of the trial when he made a motion to exclude all witnesses from the courtroom.
David Josiah Lawson's friend, Elijah Chandler, is one of the witnesses for the People.
Deputy Public Defender Luke Brownfield joined in requesting that motion. Judge Dale Reinholtsen granted that motion as well as the People's motion to assign Sgt. Todd Dokweiler from the Arcata Police Department as the lead investigator for the People in this case.
If the defense presents any evidence or witnesses, this preliminary could go on for a few days.
Of the three witnesses, while there are some discrepancies like two of them agree on what time they arrived, two of them say two guys on the porch and one of them says three guys on the porch. The basic narrative, according to all three witnesses today, was four girls go to the party. When they decide to go home, Zoellner's girlfriend discovers her phone missing. Uses a friend's phone to call Kyle. When he arrives and asks about his girlfriend's phone, he gets punched and pushed into a car. Allegedly JLawson's's girlfriend attacks Zoellner's girlfriend. That fight ends and there are more than a few guys now beating Zoellner, who is unconscious. When Lawson is by a tree, he is bleeding. When someone yells out about a stabbing, Zoellner is knocked out, not near Lawson. Police have to help Zoellner to the car. The initial physical altercation is not started by Zoellner. He and his girlfriend and friends are defending either Zoellner or his girlfriend.