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Accused killer Pierre Haobsh makes second appearance in preliminary hearing

Silence befell Department 2 at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Thursday morning as accused killer Pierre Haobsh entered the courtroom in his orange jumpsuit, hands chained to his body, to face the second day in his preliminary hearing into the murder of the Han family.

Presiding Judge Brian Hill began the hearing by reiterating no cameras or other recording devices would be allowed inside the courtroom and outside in the corridor of the courthouse.

Haobsh, who was wearing black thick glasses that seemed to come out of the 1960’s with uncut, bushy hair and a shaved face, remained expressionless–looking down for most of the time– as Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Detective Joel Rivlin described the evidence recovered from the crime scene.

The following are bullet point notes on this morning’s preliminary hearing:

Testimony from Detective Joel Rivlin continued. Detective Rivlin testified that an HDX clear plastic sheet wrapper and empty 3M brand duct tape rolls were found in an office trash can inside the home. An empty bottle of bleach was found in the kitchen trash compactor. Laundry room had a stack of bloodied bed sheets and clothing. Gloves found in two areas of the house and a bloodied tooth was embedded in the carpet near the top of the staircase. Items taken as evidence included a computer tower, purple file folder and children’s clothing. All found in the garage near the bodies. Dr. Henry Han and 5-year-old Emily Han were found next to each other in the garage. Han’s wife Jennie was found in a different section of the garage.

The forensics team made two walkthroughs following the discovery of the crime scene. The first walkthrough to assess the scene occurred on March 23, 2016. The second was recorded on video and began at 1:04 a.m. on March 24, 2016. Detective Rivlin participated in both walkthroughs. There was no specific point of entry into the residence. Detective Rivlin noted most of the home’s doors were unlocked. Two ladders were found outside the home and swabbed for DNA. Several key pieces of evidence were sent to the Department of Justice for processing. Approximately 60 latent prints were recovered from the HDX plastic sheet wrapper. Recovered prints were compared to known prints for Haobsh and prints matched according to Detective Rivlin’s testimony. Habosh’s left thumb and right palm prints were found on the HDX sheet wraps according to expert witness testimony. 10 prints matching Haobsh’s prints were found on Emily’s plastic wrapping according to Detective Rivlin. Five prints on Jennie’s plastic wrapping matched Haobsh’s prints. Prints found on Dr. Han’s plastic sheet wrapper were inconclusive, however, Haobsh was not excluded. Prints found in a bathroom on the home’s second floor matched Haobsh’s left palm print according to testimony. 22-caliber weapon, ammunition and two magazines were recovered from Haobsh’s car after his arrest. A Trader Joe’s bag was found beside one of the bedrooms with a contract inside that included Dr. Han and Haobsh’s names.

Following several objections from the defense attorney to strike some of the most damaging testimony against Haobsh from the record and “overruled” calls from Judge Hill, and after cross-examination, Detective Rivlin was called off the stand but not dismissed from the preliminary hearing as he could be called to testify again.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Detective Travis Henderson was called to the stand as the fifth witness. Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley looked on from one of the courtroom benches. Here are bullet point notes from that testimony.

Detective Travis Henderson arrived at the Han residence on March 23, collected information from the scene and spoke with the 911 callers. Detective Henderson conducted a walkthrough with Detective Rivlin. Both were booties and gloves to protect the integrity of the crime scene. Detectives got a lead that same night. A Sheriff’s deputy spoke with Don Goldberg, the 911 caller that said he had dinner with Dr. Han the night before the crime. The deputy asked Goldberg, “who would do such a thing?” to which Goldberg replied he didn’t know Han had any problems with people but did have a “falling out with Pierre.” The contract found inside the Trader Joe’s bag was called “Memorandum of Understanding” with Dr. Han and Haobsh’s initials and signatures dated March 20 for a business called Obsidian Teridine, LLC. Haobsh and Han had other business ventures together. Haobsh was caught on Home Depot surveillance leaving with plastic wraps in a shopping cart on March 20 at 9 a.m.

Just before the court took a lunch recess, Detective Dennis Thomas with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department was called to the stand. Here are bullet point notes from that testimony.

Detective Thomas and five other sheriff’s personnel were sent up to Oceanside, California to find Haobsh. They set up surveillance around an Oceanside neighborhood where Haobsh’s father was seen smoking on his front balcony, then walks inside. At 11:30 p.m., Haobsh’s father leaves the house and returns 5-10 minutes later–walks into the house and exits with a black duffle bag. Detective Thomas and a second Sheriff’s detective follow Haobsh’s father to a Walmart parking lot where they see him pull up to a burgundy-colored Lexus believed to be Haobsh’s car. Detective Thomas sees the trunks from both cars open and sees Haobsh’s father exchanging something with another individual believed to be Haobsh. They seemed to be in a rush according to testimony. Both men got into their cars and sped off. The detectives follow the cars and request backup from Oceanside police. Haobsh’s father and second individual stop at an Arco Gas station in San Diego County. Haobsh is seen exiting out one of the cars and walking towards the store entrance. Oceanside police arrive and take Haobsh into custody. Detective Thomas cuffs Haobsh’s father. A surveillance photo taken at the Walmart parking lot shows Haobsh’s father by his car next to Haobsh.

Photo evidence was shown at Thursday’s preliminary hearing that included a black 9mm handgun that was allegedly located inside Haobsh’s car fully loaded.

After a lunch recess, everyone congregated back in the courtroom where witness No. 7, Detective Patrick Genovese with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office was called to the stand. Here are bullet points note of Detective Genovese’s testimony under oath.

Detective Genovese was part of a team that thoroughly searched Haobsh’s car after it was towed to Santa Barbara County. Inside the car authorities found: a credit card, cash, Dr. Han’s Social Security number written on a piece of paper, “Memorandum of Understanding” between Han and Haobsh, Rolex watch, Haobsh’s iPhone, Ruger firearm manual, Han’s wallet containing a credit card, CADL, and a Santa Barbara Public Library card. Dr. Han and his wife Jennie’s phones along with Han’s iPad were found wrapped inside aluminum foil. Authorities also located Haobsh’s passport. Two duffel bags were recovered from the trunk of Haobsh’s that included clothing and black goggles. Among other items found–a Home Depot receipt with a purchase date of March 20 for duct tape, plastic sheeting, and a drill. A receipt for the purchase of two handguns on March 19 from Tempe, Arizona were also found. Haobsh’s car had Arizona license plates. A receipt for a Day-Pass at El Capitan Beach and a FedEx receipt with the date of March 21st from a Santa Barbara location were also recovered by authorities.

This preliminary hearing is expected to continue until Friday.

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