NewsBakersfield 3


Matthew Queen Trial: Co-conspirator testifies for the prosecution

Matthew Vandecasteele, Queen were "best friends"
Matthew Queen Trial, April 4, 2022
Posted at 4:28 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 19:28:56-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — On day eight of the Matthew Queen trial, a man charged as a co-conspirator in the case took the stand.

Wednesday, Matthew Vandecasteele, who was charged as a co-conspirator in the case, took the stand testifying as part of a plea deal.

According to prosecutors, Holsonbake, Baylee Despot, who was Queen’s ex-girlfriend, and Queen were all involved in the manufacturing and selling of illegal weapons including assault rifles since 2017 — a year before Holsonbake’s disappearance.

Prosecutors allege that Vandecasteele was present the night that Matthew Queen and Baylee Despot allegedly zip-tied Micah Holsonbake and killed him.

Wednesday morning, Vandecasteele testified to his relationship with Queen, saying he and Queen were best friends.

Vandecasteele said that on the night Queen and Despot allegedly killed Micah, Queen had called him asking to speak to Micah in his garage. Vandecasteele said he didn't question Queen and left his gate and garage unlocked.

In opening statements, prosecutors laid out evidence from phone calls, wiretaps, and surveillance videos that they say all point to Queen killing Holsonbake. On the other hand, the defense instead says that by the end of this trial, the jury won’t believe Queen is responsible.

“That’s how they all knew each other. They knew each other because of manufacturing these assault weapons, of selling these assault weapons. The primary person being Matthew Queen," Prosecutor Eric Smith said.

Earlier this week, witnesses have testified to the violent behavior of the Queen in the past, and forensic investigators broke down the DNA in this case.

The deputy coroner described gathering remains from Lake Ming last year and connecting a human skull found in a trash bag to that of Holsonback. The coroner stated the skull appeared to have been burned.

A sergeant with the Kern County Sheriff's Office also testified, reviewing surveillance footage of Queen at the home of Jane Parent, the mother of Queen's then-girlfriend Baylee Despot. She is charged in this case as well and has been missing since 2018.

In the footage, Queen appears to leave several bags near the home according to Sgt. Amanda Plugge. Those bags contained Despot's belongings.

FBI investigators were also called to testify Monday explaining fiber analysis of twine found at Queen's home on Compass Avenue and connecting that rope to the same kind found with Despot's belongings, as well as rope found along with Holsonbake's remains.

Blood was also found on a wooden plank removed from a detached garage where prosecutors allege Queen and Despot killed Holsonbake. Analysts testified that DNA matched the DNA to Holsonbake.

If convicted Queen faces up to 50 years to life in prison.

The trial is expected to last through May.