NewsWest Boys Trial


Day Three: West Boys trial continues as Cal City officer takes the stand

Once again California City police officer Brian Hansen took to the stand, questioned by both the defense and prosecution.
Posted: 9:39 AM, Mar 30, 2023
Updated: 2023-03-30 19:28:54-04
Trezell and Jaqueline West Trial, March 28, 2023

UPDATE (4:28 PM): The trial resumed after lunch, with Officer Brian Hansen still testifying. Alekxia Torres-Stallings continued to question him.

Hansen stated that he was unaware of how wrong the date and time were on the California City Police Department (CCPD) cameras, referring to earlier when he explained that they were "bad." He also clarified that there was a misunderstanding between himself and prosecutor Eric Smith when he claimed that the body cameras were wrong in his testimony.

Hansen was then asked by Torres-Stallings if he interviews male and female suspects differently, to which he replied "not that I know of." He then was asked if he recalls touching Jacqueline West's thigh, which he claimed was instead her knee. A clip from the interview with Jacqueline is played for the court.

"You touched my client underneath the table, yes?" asked Torres-Stallings.

"Wherever her legs were," replied Hansen. He then claimed that the video clip in question was of him comforting Jacqueline, giving a reason for touching her leg.

Torres-Stalling then finished her questioning, with Smith following up.

Smith began asking Hansen about the Google Nest camera, as well as his former testimonies.

"You didn't come up with Nest or contacting Nest two weeks ago?" asked Smith.

Hansen simply replied "no."

Smith finished questioning Hansen, with Timothy Hennessy asking questions after.

Hennessy asked Hansen if he had found footage of Trezell searching for the boys when retrieving video from Harvard Avenue. Hansen confirms that he did not put that information in his police report.

Hansen was then asked about the Nest footage again, to which he says that he is not comfortable saying that the clips he received from Dobbins were taken on the same day the boys went missing.

Hansen was then released from the stand, subject to recall. Jesse Dobbins, the man who owned the Google Nest video, then testified for the court.

Dobbins testified that he had met Jacqueline and Trezell when they had first moved to California City and had talked to them a few times before the boys were reported missing. According to him, on one visit, he had seen multiple children in the house and had possibly heard more in the back. The children he had seen were supposedly as tall as Trezell's hip.

Dobbins then was asked about his Google Nest doorbell. He explained that his Nest subscription only allowed still photos to be taken. He had upgraded to a higher package that allowed short video clips after the boys went missing, implying that the video clips that Officer Hansen had taken from the Nest doorbell were not from the day the boys went missing. Dobbins also said he was unaware if law enforcement had ever contacted Google Nest regarding his account and the videos on it.

Dobbins also described the civilian search effort for Orrin and Orson, including that he bought pizza for those searching and let people use his garage and house, before talking about the harassment that he and the Wests faced from random people. According to Dobbins, he had witnessed a car drive up to the Wests' home before the driver threw a brick through their window. He also claims that he and his grandmother had received unsolicited phone calls, causing him to change his number, and that he had found people in his yard going through his trash.

Dobbins was then released from the stand, followed by Robyn Plantz. Plantz is a former California City resident who had lived in her home on Proctor Boulevard for 21 years. She lived in the home behind the Wests before eventually moving to New Mexico.

According to Plantz, she had seen a man (suspected to be Trezell) going in and out of the fence in the backyard behind her own backyard. She was watching him because she was "nosey," according to her, and he had sparked the interest of her dog. Initially, Plantz had claimed that this was the night that the boys went missing in her testimony, however, she had told a detective identified as Detective Hernandez on record that the event was one to two days before the boys were reported missing.

Plantz also testified that she had never seen children in the backyard, saying "there was never, in 21 years, children in that backyard." Plantz also claimed she had never seen any animals or dogs either, however, in the same interview with Hernandez, she said that she had seen a dog.

Plantz also talked about two interviews she gave the news months after the search began. She claimed she "didn't know what [she] was doing" when giving these interviews.

During the news interview, Plantz claimed that she had not talked to law enforcement. This was not true, however, Plantz testified that the mistake happened because she did not realize she had talked to law enforcement. She claimed that the woman who interviewed her said that the interview was "for law enforcement," not "by."

Later on the stand, Plantz repeated that there were no children in the backyard.

"There were never any children. Ever."

She was excused from the stand not much later and the court was released.

UPDATE (1:30 PM): The trial of Jacqueline and Trezell West continues for its third day, with Officer Brian Hansen still on the stand.

The day began with the court viewing the last ten minutes of an hours-long interview between Trezell, Officer Hansen, and an FBI agent that was taken at the California City Police Department (CCPD) station. During the final minutes, Trezell is informed that he is not under arrest and that he is free to go.

After the interview finished, prosecutor Eric Smith questioned Hansen, revealing that the "Ring-type doorbell" mentioned throughout the trial was actually a Google Nest doorbell video, though there is a second Ring doorbell involved. The doorbell was incorrectly said to be made by "Nest Corporation" during the trial, however, it was manufactured by Google.

Hansen said he had contacted "Nest Corporation" to ask for more footage, but claimed that since the owner of the camera was on a free subscription-based plan, only seconds-long clips were saved.

Following this, Trezell's defense attorney Timothy Hennessy began questioning Hansen and what he had reported versus what he did. According to Hansen, he had reviewed surveillance video footage from around the area after canvassing, however, he did not report this. Hansen also confirmed that the Nest video was not continuous due to being free.

Hennessy then asked Hansen if he recalled the interview of Trezell in the Wests' kitchen, which he did. He was then asked if the information Hansen had told Trezell during the talk was a "ruse." Hansen claimed that it was not a ruse, as Hansen did believe what he was telling Trezell and that Trezell was lying to law enforcement about the missing boys.

Hansen was then questioned on details he had told Trezell in later police interviews, such as there supposedly being no other cars on the road when the Orrin and Orson West went missing. Hansen said that he believes he saw no other cars in the video footage he was provided, however, he admitted he did not review the full footage.

Hennessy then asked Hansen if he would be surprised to find out that the search dogs sent out for the boys were cadaver dogs. Hansen said that he would be surprised, as he wouldn't expect cadaver dogs to be sent hours after children were reported missing. Hansen confirmed that he believed the dogs were search dogs.

Afterward, Hansen was asked various questions about Megan's Law and sex offenders in California City. According to Hennessy, there were 42 sex offenders in the California City area at the time the boys went missing. Hansen could not confirm nor deny that.

Hansen was then asked if he had looked into any of the sex offenders in California City during the first days of the search for the boys. Hansen replied, "I know I didn't." According to Hansen's police report, which he testified is accurate, sex offenders were not looked into as leads until 11 days into the search.

Hennessy then questioned Hansen's report, pointing out that of the six people he talked to 11 days later, only two were registered sex offenders and four were those who were not registered and were simply living with the two offenders. There was no distinction between the registrants and non-registrants interviewed in the report. It was also pointed out by Hennessy that police went to a registered residence, however, the offender registered to it was not an occupant of the home.

"That was the end of your investigation right there?" Hennessy asks, referring to the end of looking into sex offender leads. Hansen only replied with "yes."

Following that, Hennessy asked Officer Hansen if he recalled telling Trezell to "get the [profanity] out of here" during an interview in the Wests' kitchen. The phrase was caught on the police body camera footage submitted to the court as evidence. Hansen recalled telling Trezell that. Hansen admitted that he had wanted to arrest Trezell then and there, resulting in his treatment of Trezell in the video.

Hennessy finished questioning Hansen, with Jacqueline West's defense attorney Alekxia Torres-Stallings immediately questioning him next.

Torres-Stallings started by asking Hansen if he had ever reviewed the testimonies he had previously given to the court and prosecution, his police reports, and the body camera footage he had taken pertaining to the case. Hansen said that he has never reviewed his reports, testimonies, or the footage. He also said that he had never requested his transcripts from Smith.

Torres-Stallings then began asking questions on communication between CCPD officers, with Hansen explaining that work cell phones are not provided and that the officers use their personal phones. When asked if any messages or calls are recorded from their personal phones by the department, Hansen said that he did not believe so. When asked if he had any messages saved from the case, he answered that he did not because he had replaced his phone twice since then.

Hansen was then asked if there was any body camera footage from his visit to a residence on Harvard Avenue, where he retrieved footage from the Google Nest doorbell. He confirms that the only body camera footage he took was at the Wests' home. He also claimed that the police body cameras that the CCPD had were "bad," had the wrong date and time, and would randomly turn on and off.

Later, Torres-Stallings asked for more information about the Google Nest video before having Hansen review his police report. In the report, Hansen did not mention reaching out to Google Nest. When asked if he had any of the names or contact information of anyone he spoke to regarding the Nest video, Hanson said that he had nothing. It was also pointed out that Hansen had never testified about reaching out to Nest until March 9, 2023, with Torres-Stallings asking him if he had lied to the court then or if he was lying to the jury during this trial. Hansen responded "neither."

Torres-Stallings then began asking Hansen questions about his knowledge of diapers, as he had testified earlier in the trial about the unused diapers in the Wests' house and the lack of used diapers. When asked multiple questions about diaper sizing, Hansen admitted that he does not know about diapers and has never bought them. He also said he was unaware that a detective had found a used diaper at the home nearly a year after the initial search.

After Torres-Stallings presented a series of photos to the court of the Wests' home and had Hansen describe the areas, she began asking about signs of the children, such as toys and Christmas presents, that were present in the house. She then began asking about the interviews Hansen had conducted with the four other West children, pointing out that the consent form he had used for each of the children is only to be used in cases where the minor in question commits a crime. Hansen said that he was unaware of that. When asked if he had ever read the directions on the form, he replied that he only had during training.

Hansen also admitted that he was in plain clothes when he interviewed all four boys and Wanda West. He did not remember if he had identified himself as a police officer to the boys at any time during their individual interviews.

Torres-Stallings also pointed out the questions that were asked to the children, with her main focus being the questions "do you know if it is okay to kill someone" and "do you know that it is wrong to help kill someone," as well as the question "do you know right from wrong?"

According to Torres-Stallings, the West children had a hard time answering the questions but Hansen decided to continue with the interviews. Devin West and Aiden West both reportedly told Hanson that they did not know the difference between right and wrong. Meanwhile, Damian had a hard time answering questions verbally in general.

The court was released for lunch shortly after.

UPDATE (11:00 AM): The West Boys trial enters its third day Thursday. Once again the focus has been on the efforts of law enforcement to find the two boys, Orrin and Orson West.

While the defense is still working to prove that the boys were either taken by someone else or are still missing.

Once again California City police officer Brian Hansen took to the stand questioned by both the defense and prosecution. The questioning was focused on doorbell video footage obtained by police from a neighbor as well as an FBI interview with Jacqueline West.

Hansen was asked about his role in the search for the boys and said that when he canvassed for the missing children, he got out of the car. However, he does not remember where. And Hansen said he also reviewed the video footage after he was canvassing but he did not report it.

More witness testimony was heard in the trial of Trezell and Jacqueline West who are both charged with second-degree murder in the case of their two adoptive sons Orrin and Orson.

The prosecutors played an interview on Wednesday between an FBI agent and Trezell West. During the interview, the agent accused Trezell of lying and said the boys had to have been missing longer than they originally reported.

Trezell and Jacqueline initially reported the boys missing in December 2020.

Meanwhile, the defense is trying to establish that law enforcement did not do enough in their search for the boys and that Orrin and Orson West are still missing. Their bodies have never been found.