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Old October 21, 2010, 07:15 PM   #1
SoCal Shooter
Join Date: May 16, 2000
Location: La Jolla, CA, USA
Posts: 34
My experience as a juror in a home invasion robbery

One day about a year ago I got notice for jury duty and groaned thinking how can it be a year already! They get me every year it seems. So I go in and sit in the lounge and my name gets called. I almost always get rejected because I work in a law office, my father, brother and uncle are attorneys, plus I'm applying for federal law enforcement. But I answered all the attorneys questions apparently to their satisfaction and by chance I made it onto the jury. It was then later revealed that this was a home invasion-rape-robbery case. We heard all the evidence, of which the DNA was the most fascinating. Deliberated for a couple days and gave our verdict.

Man gets 76 years to life for home-invasion, rape

There were 3 robbers in all, on trial was one of the robbers (Keven Sellers) plus his girlfriend (Vanna) who was a lookout/guard. The mastermind is still out there somewhere, probably in Mexico if I had to guess. The mastermind (Tommy) was a contractor who had done some work for the homeowners' in laws and came by to do an estimate about a month before, and therefore knew the layout of the house. The robbers came in the backyard at around 8:30 pm accosting one of the tenants and forcing him to lie on the floor in the middle of the house. Then one of the other gunmen gathered the other tenants one by one and also forced them to lie down together and were tied up. One robber was left to guard the tenants while the other 2 ransacked the house. Apparently they where looking for a safe with $50,000, which did not exist. The robbers then waited for a couple hours for the homeowner and his wife to return so that they could lead them to the safe. They accost them in the garage and take the homeowner to lie down with everyone else, while one by one, both men rape and sodomize his wife. During a brief period when she is alone the wife gets to a cordless phone and dials 911, but she is unable to talk since her hands are tied behind her back, so she just leaves it off the hook. The operator figures out that a robbery is taking place and sends in the police. While the police are en route all of the victims are taken into the bedroom and placed together have a blanket put on top of them and are repeatedly doused with lighter fluid and threatened with being burned and shot if they don't say where the safe is. The police have arrived and surround the house, but do not enter. Then Vanna comes out of the house to retrieve something from their car and is arrested without incident. All of this was caught on a security camera in the front of the house. A few minutes later Tommy comes out to check on Vanna and upon seeing the police bolts back inside the house yelling COPS! and running out the back of the house one way along with Kevin who ran another way. Tommy somehow evades the police dropping all his loot and both guns (a .357 Magnum and a Beretta) along the way. Kevin is confronted by police and arrested without incident near the back fence. An eye-opening experience to say the least and I came away with several lessons about how to protect against a home invasion and I hope you do too.

Last edited by SoCal Shooter; October 21, 2010 at 08:14 PM.
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Old October 21, 2010, 07:47 PM   #2
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Thank you for doing your civic duty, and apparently doing it quite well. It is always a revelation to look evil in the eye, and to face up to what some "humans" are truly capable of.
Thank God that there are still a few judges around who don't believe that every criminal is a victim.
Hope they get the third one.

Last edited by orionengnr; October 21, 2010 at 07:53 PM.
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Old October 21, 2010, 07:56 PM   #3
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An eye-opening experience to say the least and I came away with several lessons about how to protect against a home invasion and I hope you do too.
Such as?
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Old October 21, 2010, 08:09 PM   #4
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Excellent blog! Thanks.

It is nice to hear some good news every once in a while.
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Old October 21, 2010, 08:12 PM   #5
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Join Date: May 16, 2000
Location: La Jolla, CA, USA
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1. Always beware of who you let into your house (handymen, painters, etc.)

2. Have video surveillance of both you're front and backyard, with plenty of light.

3. Make sure you have a land line in your room.

4. If you're going to be armed inside your house, have it with you at all times.

5. Make sure all your doors are locked all the time and not just before you go to sleep.

6. Don't be outside after dark.

7. The police will not come inside to help you. They will surround and contain the house and wait for SWAT.
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Old October 21, 2010, 09:03 PM   #6
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2: Be sure to put some cameras low to catch the faces of the intruders. Too many installs use a high mount camera.

3: Most houses have the phone interface box on the outside of the house. All someone has to do is open the box and unplug the wire inside or clip the leading to it. Be sure to shield this area.

4: Yes, the gun needs to be at arms reach. There was a story about a gun owning woman that was assaulted in her house and couldn't get the gun for a extended period of time. ( She held some sort of city level political office , It might be on the corned cat site )
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Old October 21, 2010, 09:32 PM   #7
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The average MO of a burglar is a 17 y.o. male, who lives within 3/4 mile of you, who has been in your house before.

Good work. Let him rot.
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Old October 21, 2010, 10:07 PM   #8
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+1 on that. I've run across my share of questionable characters working as handymen, painters, movers...etc.

Always be weary of those who enter your house to perform labor. Keep eyes on them at all times, don't start conversations, & don't be overly friendly - basically don't let them learn jack about you. This is especially true for the one-man operations and those that are doing unskilled labor (i.e. painting, small odd-jobs...etc).

Some of the biggest news stories on abductions and violent crime revolve around people who come into your home to perform odd-jobs. This is why I usually go with Angieslist as a referral service.

SoCal Shooter
1. Always beware of who you let into your house (handymen, painters, etc.)
"You haven't lived until you've died." - various
People . . . not a big fan . . .
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Old October 21, 2010, 11:39 PM   #9
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Harbor Freight sells such cheap camera systems that can be hooked up to the tv. There were instances a few years back here where thugs were dressing like city workers or utility guys to gain entrance to peoples homes. If you are not expecting utility guys then a quick call to the local utility or whatever is fast and safe way to be sure that it is a bonafide workman that is at the doorstep.
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Old October 22, 2010, 12:03 AM   #10
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I used to get really annoyed with my father...

... because he kept hiring the boyfriend of the next-door neighbor to do handy-work around my parents' house. (Note: This was well into my adult years, and I didn't live there; I'd see this stuff when I'd visit, though, and I'd hear about it from my mother.)

The guy himself wasn't all that bad. Always behind schedule and over-budget, but that's pretty normal in Florida. That aspect definitely annoyed my mother. But the things that got me were:

1) The guy would set up a stereo and a cooler, and drink while he worked; when he got loose enough, he'd often as not get in shouting matches with his girlfriend across the property line;

and worse -

2) When he'd work at my parents' house, if he had a crew working with him, he'd secrete clubs (sawed-off baseball bats) around the site, typically in the soffett of the carport, because even HE didn't trust the guys he was hiring. He really thought his own crew might try to rob him...

My father and I went a few rounds over this guy; my father finally gave in to my mother's and my wishes.

It's really bad when the contractors don't trust their own hires.

I wouldn't let ANY of them in the house, without having a weapon handy.
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