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Trial Continues in Woodruff Police Shooting Case

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Riverside

By Mary Shelton


Testimony about the shooting death of Riverside Police Department detective Doug Jacobs continued, as did the contradictions, during the capital murder trial of Steve Woodruff.

Attorneys for both sides clashed as well, as Judge Christian Thierbach shut down the introduction of any new evidence dealing with ballistics.

Prosecutor Michael Soccio expressed his concern that Woodruff's attorney Mark Blankenship had not introduced any reports regarding any expert testimony about any theory that Jacobs may have been shot by someone else.

"It is apparent that defense is going to look at a different shooter," Soccio said, adding that his ballistics expert would need to examine that scenario if it was raised.

Blankenship said the issue of additional bullets and trajectories has been known by Soccio since the shooting. He added that last spring Soccio sent an investigative team out to the residence to remove a bullet from the side of the house.

Thierbach told both attorneys that no new evidence would be admissible at this point in the trial.

The theory about whether there was another shooter involved was raised during Blankenship's cross-examination of several law enforcement witnesses, during which he asked if officers who were onscene around the time of the shooting had their weapons tested, or their hands examined for gun-powder residue.

Several officers had testified that they had not been tested. Only Ben Baker was required to turn over his guns for testing.
Officer Giovanni Ili testified that he had responded to the 11-99 call and upon arrival, saw Sgt. Gary Leach sitting in his car. The two men then walked over to the stairway, but according to Ili, Leach never climbed up the stairs to the landing. He and Ili instead set up a perimeter. Ili's testimony conflicted with Leach who said that he had left his car and gone up the stairs to assist Baker.

Leach also testified that he had walked back down to set up the perimeter with Ili and officer Lavall Nelson who had just arrived, but never said he walked back to sit in his car.
According to the case history report, Ili registered as onscene at 14:28, the same time as the 11-99, officer down call, although he said he was actually still two blocks away. He said he never heard any screaming in the background on the radio.

Ili testified that Woodruff stood in the doorway of his apartment and tossed the gun out before crawling out naked until he lay prone like a crucifix. He said Woodruff told him there was a baby underneath the bed.
"I had no idea what was going on," Ili said, "I had my knee on his back and he complained of back pain." He handcuffed Woodruff who then said, "I love you guys. God bless you," then Ili told Leach about the child in the house.

After the Metro SWAT team had cleared the house, Ili, who said he never heard any gun shots fired, walked inside including up to the door connecting the apartments, but said he saw no bullet holes there. Earlier, the jury had been shown a picture of that door with multiple bullet holes in the door.

Dana testified that he had received the 11-11 call while exiting the 91 freeway at Central, and the 11-99 call while driving off the University exit of that freeway, similar locations as those given by Leach during his testimony. He heard Ili and Nelson checking in over the radio, but not Leach. He never heard Jacobs record his onscene arrival either, Dana said.

As he neared the location, he was told by an officer on radio to park his car in an alley behind the house and set up a perimeter, where he was unable to see the front of the house. Ten minutes later, he escorted an ambulance to the hospital but had no idea who was inside or even that it was an officer, until he saw Jacobs' body later. Afterwards, he inventoried Jacobs' uniform and back up weapon and entered them into evidence.
Woodruff's family members also had different accounts of the shooting.

Parthenia Carr testified that she looked outside her apartment when she heard her radio turned off. Officer Ben Baker and her neighbor, Holly Menzies were standing on her porch. Carr told Menzies to leave her alone, then pulled the screen door closed, and Menzies left.

Baker walked down the stairs but returned while Carr tried to take her radio inside the house and said he needed the radio as evidence. Carr said she went inside to get a pencil so she could record Baker's name and badge number so she could file a complaint.

Her son, Claude Carr came outside and asked Baker why he was there. Baker then asked Carr his name and said he was under arrest for interfering with an officer. Parthenia Carr said she told her son not to resist and that she would call his parole officer. She said Baker pulled his gun and aimed it at Claude Carr. She was inside the apartment when the shooting took place.
"I heard a pop, looked up and saw Baker with a gun," Carr said, "A man fell up inside the house dead."

After the shooting, Parthenia Carr said she was scared to step over Jacobs' body and was screaming and crying. Baker and another officer took her and Claude down the staircase and they sat on a curb. She said she saw many police officers.

"There was a whole lot of officers, all around, over by the house," she said, "They were everywhere."

She watched as Woodruff crawled out of the house, and was handcuffed by officers.
Carr said she shouted at several officers that her granddaughter Breanna was inside the first floor apartment, but they did not listen. Later she and Breanna were reunited and transferred to the General Investigations Bureau to give statements.

Claude Carr said that he never saw anyone shooting from downstairs.
"I was already on the ground when I heard the first shots," he said.

He had stepped in between his mother and Baker because he feared Baker would pull her down the stairs. Soon after, Jacobs arrived at the apartment and asked about the arrest citation.

Claude Carr had asked to see a supervisor and suddenly Jacobs eyes had widened and he appeared confused. Jacobs then pushed him face- down on the stairs, Carr said. He closed his eyes as more shots were fired, and the first thing he saw when he opened them, was Baker with his gun out. Then he saw Jacobs lying inside the apartment with blood on his face.

Baker then got on the radio and said, officer down and ordered the Carrs to go down the stairs and sit down. After he and Parthenia were relocated around the corner, they heard more gun shots.

Several days after Claude Carr was interviewed by police, he was asked to come down to review transcripts but was arrested on violation of parole, he said.
Testimony is set to resume Jan. 6.

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