BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Trezell and Jacqueline West, the adoptive parents of Orrin and Orson West, appeared in court for the first time Thursday after being arrested for two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of child cruelty, and a false report of an emergency.
They pleaded not guilty to all five charges but Judge Chad Louie said there is clear and convincing evidence that both are a risk to public safety and set no bail.
Wearing gray jumpsuits and in handcuffs, those in the courtroom Thursday got a look at Trezell and Jacqueline West who sat on opposite sides of the bench. Some family and community members were in the courtroom and said they are relieved to know they will be behind bars for the time being.
Complete Coverage of the West Boys Disappearance
Biological cousin to the missing boys Rosanna Willis agreed with the judge's decision to keep them behind bars.
”Just knowing that they are handcuffed, and they aren’t leaving is a blessing,” said Willis. “I could finally get some sleep now, you know, knowing they’re not out just running. So it’s a lot of relief on our family.”
Judge Louie also granted a request from the prosecution to seal the offense reports, and probable cause declaration but did not grant the prosecution's request for a gag order.
“They can plead what they want, 'no contest,' but we know they’re guilty,” added Willis.
Outside the courthouse, community member Araseli Patino stood beside Wills and many others who have followed the search over the last fourteen months.
“We need to stand injustice for these babies because these babies should never have gone through this. No parents should go through anything like this.”
Willis said she is prepared for the trial, which is expected to begin May 23rd.
“There is nothing that’s going to stop me from being here. Nothing.’
Willis was appreciative of the community for standing by their side during this process.
“I just want to tell the community thank you all for your support, your prayers, for keeping the boys faces out there, for the love, for everything, for investing the time for the billboards, just everything.”
One of the biggest questions is was there any way the West boys could have been given back to the biological family? Or was there a way to reverse the adoption of the boys by Trezell and Jacquline West?
Each individual case is different but 23ABC took an in-depth look at the general process and have some answers.
The short answer is "no." Once an adoption is finalized or closed the parental rights of the biological parents no longer apply.
But in some cases, if there is a proven issue with the adoptive parents and if the biological family can move quickly you can contest the adoption.
You must file a written objection to inform the prospective adoptive parents, their lawyer, and the court that you do not agree with the adoption.
But if all of this is not completed within a year of the adoption the adoptive parents can end your parental rights.