Trial for Sabrina Limon now in Day 5

Posted at 8:53 AM, Sep 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-15 22:25:08-04

Day 4 of the Sabrina Limon murder trial continues today.

UPDATE (September 15, 2017 4:30 p.m.):


The prosecution brings text messages between Jonathan Hearn and Sabrina Limon into evidence. 


In the messages Hearn sent to Sabrina he stated that he was going to pray about the letter he was going to write Jason Bernatene. 


In another text dated December 23, 2014, Sabrina tells Hearn that she and her kids ran into Jason Bernatene at a market while getting ice cream. Sabrina tells him her son, Robby, mentioned Hearn to Bernatene and that he told him he knew Hearn. 


Smith then hands the jury transcripts of the a wiretapped phone conversation between Hearn and Sabrina. Smith then plays the conversation for the courtroom to hear. 


During the phone call, Sabrina tells hearn that investigators will soon make an arrest in Robert's murder.


Hearn says that at that point, the two had afreed that if there was anything of significance to discuss, they would talk about it in person, not over the phone. 


A Few months after Robert’s murder Sabrina told Hearn about the insurance payout.

Hearn says she mentioned that she had been in contact with someone from BSNF about a settlement.

He says Sabrina wanted to make sure her kids continued to receive health benefits. She also told him that she also inquired about monetary benefits. Hearn told her to refrain from doing so or to ask for small amounts in order to avoid suspicions.


Hearn says he felt that $100k-$400k seemed like a small amount to ask for.

But that Sabrina was thinking she should request upwards of a million dollars.


Suddenly, Judge Brownlee announces that court is dismissed for the day because one of the attorneys cracked his tooth over the lunch hour and need to get to the dentist.

Court will resume on Monday, September 18th at 9 a.m.


The prosecution calls Corey Hamilton, a five -year BNSF Railway employee.

Jonathan Hearn was expected to resume testimony but because Hamilton cannot stay for long, the prosecution called him to testify before Hearn. 

Hamilton is a BNSF rapid responder. He met Robert Limon in October 2013 when Robert was filling in for the position Hamilton was training for until Hamilton was fully-trained up for the position.


Hamilton says the two would socialize before or after work over for meals, for an hour or so. He says he got to know Robert very well.


Hamilton testifies that he was supposed to work the day Robert was killed but did not go into work. 

He went to BNSF after learning of Robert's death. 

Hamilton testifies that he had never spoken to Sabrina before Robert's funeral. 

Sabrina called him a few weeks after the funeral to as him if he had heard anything about the case and whether he had heard from detectives. 

Hamilton says, “I found it weird that she called me when we had only met in person once.”

So Hamilton says he called detectives immediately.

Hamilton says John Justice (another BNSF employee) was closer to Robert Limon so to him, it was "weird" she called him and not Justice.


During cross-examination, defense attorney Richard Terry says John Justice did not work in Tehachapi full-time but Hamilton did. So it made sense that Sabrina called him to see if there were any developments in the case instead of Justice.

Hamilton is excused from the witness stand.


Admitted killer, Jonathan Hearn, is called back to stand.

Two photos of Hearn taken in the Limon household on December 27, 2013 are brought into evidence. 

The prosecution also presents a photo of Hearn crying. In the photo Hearn is also holding a letter. Hearn says the letter was written February or March of 2014. In the letter he writes, "I love you so much but I never want to hurt your family." 

Hearn says he wrote the letter during a time that he felt that it be best he walked away from the affair. 

The two continued to see each other. Prosecutor, Eric Smith, asks Hearn why Sabrina just didn't get a divorce. Hearn says Sabrina told him that divorce was not an option for her. He says she told him that the friends and family would be loyal to Robert and not her. 

Sabrina added that the idea that of sharing custody of her children with Robert and them growing up in two households was not an option. 

Hearn testifies taht Sabrina expressed that "He (Rob) would honestly rather be dead divorced" and that "losing her would kill him."


Smith asks Hearn when the decision to posion Rob was made and who made the decision on where it would occur. Hearns says that Sabrina told him it would be more convenient Robert died in a hospital away from where they lived so that he didn't suffer in their house. 


Hearn testifies that it was after April 2014 when the two began having darker conversations and that Sabrina told him she wanted him to kill Robert.


Hearn says that he began feeling weary about the pudding poisoning plan because if he was ever made a suspect, his medical background might give him away. Hearn has a paramedic background and also trained as an arson investigator. 

Hearn says he believed it would be best to commit a violent murder, because people would be less likely to believe that he was capable of physically harming anyone. 


Hearn says over the next few months he came up with different ideas of how to kill Robert. He debated on whether he should be at a distance or kill him close-up. He didn't know whether it would be best to kill him during the day or at night. 


Hearn says he talked to Sabrina about confronting Robert then killing him. He says Sabrina was able to provide logistical information about Robert's place of employment.

They discussed the layout of the facility. She said it was an industrial facility at the end of a long road. Shortly before she described the office layout and verbally described the interior, she gave him some other advice on avoiding detection. He says she told him that BNSF's rapid responder division had recently installed forward-facing cameras in the front of the responder trucks.

Hearn testifies that Sabrina told him that it would be better if he took his motorcycle instead of his diesel-fueled pick-up truck, because truck was louder than motorcycle. She suggested using a quieter vehicle so as to not "wake people up or have witnesses".


A few months before the August 2014 murder, Hearn says he was coming back from a trip and was passing through Tehachapi so he decided to stop at BNSF Railway where Robert worked. He says he didn't intend on carrying out the murder that day but instead wanted to scope out the facility.


Smith asks Hearn how he and Sabrina decided on date that he killed Robert. Hearn testified that the Limons had a river trip planned in the weeks following August 17th and that Sabrina told that it she didn't want to go. She told him that it was something she and her husband went on these "adult trips" every year. Sabrina told Hearn she was interested in Rob’s murder happening before then. 


Hearn begins describing the day that he killed Robert Limon. He says Sabrina almost always told him when Robert would work in Tehachapi. 


On the day of the murder, August 17th, 2014, Hearn says he got off work at 8 a.m.

When he got off work, he stopped at Walmart on the way to buy ammunition that was different than the ammunition he had at home. He says he didn't want the bullets he used to kill Robert to match the ones he already owned. 

He says he got home and made final preparations on the silencer that he used. 

He then drove out to an area and tested the silencer.

He returned home and packed the clothes he wore, two backpacks, the gun, ammunition and a mask that resembled an old man. 

When he was finished he drove to Tehachapi. 

Hearn says that he can't recall if he spoke to anyone during his drive to Tehachapi but he recalls having a lengthy conversation with Sabrina that morning. He says she asked him how he was feeling and whether he was sure that he wouldn't be detected. He told her that he had a mask and had purchased clothing that he wouldn't normally wear. He purchased the clothing from a thrift store. 

He says Sabrina asked him whether he made changes to his motorcycle so that know one could trace the getaway vehicle back to him. He told her about the alterations he made to it, changing the color of the bike from black to silver.

He says that Sabrina told him to be careful because in the event of a confrontation, Robert would put up if a fight. She said Robert "could fight".  

Hearn says that Sabrina then told him he was getting a late start and that he was running the risk of Robert's coworker going in to work to relieve him during the killing. 

He says Sabrina expressed concern for his safety, but not Robert's. 


Hearn reveals that he made the silencer used on the gun and describes how he made it. 

He testifies that he and Sabrina decided to make the killing look like a robbery-homicide. Sabrina described the Tehachapi train loop and told him that there had been been a number of train robberies near BNSF. 

Hearn says he didn't take his cell phone with him because he didn't want GPS to show he was there. 


Hearn says during his ride to Tehachapi he though about what he needed to do to avoid detection and the possibility that he might have a confrontation with Robert Limon. 


Hearn says when he arrived at the industrial complex where the BNSF shop was, he saw Robert pass him. He says he parked his motorcycle in a hidden area and walked towards the complex. 


He says he was carrying a backpack, a second backpack with the first one and the gun he used to kill Robert. He says he was wearing utility gloves, a long-sleeve shirt and loose pants that he purchased at a thrift store. 


Hearn says at first he couldn't figure out exactly where the BNSF building was located within the industrial complex but then he saw Robert drive back into the complex into the BNSF garage. 


He says he had conflicting thoughts about whether or not he should kill Robert. But that he proceeded with the murder anyway. He says he was "eager to get it over with".


After he saw Robert exit the truck he was driving, Hearn says he waited in a breezeway are from 10-15 collecting his thoughts. 


Hearn testifies that since Summer 2014 he and Sabrina had an ongoing narrative of “seeking purpose in their lives”.

As he sat in the breezeway he prayed and was seeking that purpose he was looking to find.

He says "it was inevitable that Rob needed to die for Sabrina and I to move forward with our relationship”.

Hearn felt like he was approaching something that inevitably needed to be done.


After he left the breezeway Hearn says he turned the corner and entered the building where Robert works.

He saw Robert exit an office in the back corner of the building.

He says the two stood within 10 feet of each other and exchanged words. 

He says Robert continued to walk towards the entrance of the building. Hearn, wearing a mask, followed him.  

With one hand in his backpack he attempted to retrieve his gun but the silencer was stuck in his backpack. 

When Rob turned around, with the gun still in his backpack, Hearn fired a deep upwards-directed shot at him.

Hearn says the gun was down low and the barrel was facing upward, resulting in an upward trajectory.

After the first shot was fired, Hearn says Rob fell and seemed "mortally wounded”.

Hearn then went to the office to follow through with the plan of “turning over the interior of the office”, to stage a robbery. 

Hearn says he took papers out of file cabinets, grabbed a computer and a disc and put them in his backpack.

Hearn says when shot rob, Rob gasped in a way that convinced Hearn that he was dead. But as he exited the building he decided to shoot Rob a second time because he questioned whether Rob was really dead.

Hearn says he quickly fired one more shot at him, closed the garage door behind him and ran.


Hearn got on his motorcycle, put on the second backpack he was carrying and headed east on Highway 58. 


He says he was in a hurry to change clothes and get home. He says he felt fear and regret bu was also relieved that had been in the works for so long had finally been done. 


Hearn says he exited the freeway, changed the license plate on his motorcycle and took the fending off his motorcycle. He then changed his clothes and got back on the road. 


Smith brings surveillance video of Hearn at a gas station off of Highway 58 in to evidence. Hearn is wearing shorts and a sleeveless shirt. He walks into to the convenience store, purchases a bottled water, Gatorade and gas. 


Hearn says he drank the water and Gatorade, fills up his gas tank then heads home. 


When he got home Hearn says he had a lot of missed calls from Sabrina so he called her. Sabrina told him she was glad to hear from him. She says that she was worried

because she had not heard from either him or Rob. She told Hearn that she called him and Rob several times.

He told Sabrina that he "had done it" and that everything was about to change.

Hearn says that that he told her to be strong and that he needed to get rid of a couple things that he had collected through the imposed robbery.

Sabrina was surprised he had not already disposed of the items.


Hearn says he then destroyed the laptop he had taken from BNSF, drove to a nearby dumpster, got rid of it. He stowed away items he was wearing. He did not get rid of them.

Hearn says he burdened by the fact that he had just committed an "egregious" act.

Hearn says he didn't see Sabrina immediately after the murder because he went on a family trip to San Diego. 


Hearn say that during the three months between the time of Robert's murder and his first arrest, he and Sabrina's relationship was stressed.


Hearn says he and Sabrina previously discussed the Bernatenes telling investigators about their love affair. He wrote Jason Bernatene a letter two weeks after murdering Robert. He wrote the letter to reintroduce himself to Jason as a factor in Sabrina's life. 


Judge Brownlee ends court for morning.