The defense called up two Palm Springs Police Department (PSPD) employees to discuss the scene of the crime and explain how audio recordings from the night no longer exist.
Jose Arellano who works for the PSPD Traffic Unit was first on the stand on Wednesday. The defense questioned him about when he was called to the scene on February 3, 2019.
Arellano told the courtroom the call came to him as a "traffic collision fatal" while he was off-duty. When Arellano arrived he said other officers were there already. Upon examining the scene he said he saw a Toyota Corolla and a jeep damaged.
As Arellano began his investigation on the Toyota, he said he saw two gun casings. He said he was asked to stop investigating because detectives were taking over since foul play appeared to be involved.
Heather Topliff was then called to the stand. She is a PSPD Dispatch Supervisor. Topliff was not on duty when calls came in about the incident.
However, the defense questioned her about the timeline of when records from a 911 call and officer radio traffic are wiped from its systems.
Topliff told the courtroom that these records are wiped from the dispatch system automatically after one year. If no one ever requests a copy of the records, they are gone forever.
The Riverside County District Attorney requested the records in 2021, but Topliff said they were gone by then and no one had ever made a request anytime before that.
The only thing ever requested by police Topliff said was a log for service of the night. This is a dispatcher log that is used to track incidents.
On the log for service, prosecutors pointed out officers logging a person under a car, who was uncooperative and had blood stains all over him.
The defense argued the process of the logs being deleted was known to detectives, yet they were never requested by anyone on a timely basis to ensure it was booked into evidence.
Both witnesses were dismissed before the lunch break.
The trial is set to resume on January 9.