BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — When being questioned before the Kern County Grand Jury, the eldest son of Trezell and Jacqueline West seemed confused, sometimes giving conflicting responses.
The California City couple is on trial for second-degree murder in the case of their missing adoptive sons Orrin and Orson. As the defense presents its case to to the jury, grand jury testimony by the child was read before the jury.
During the testimony, the child claimed that when the family moved to Cal City in 2020, Orrin and Orson were with them. The child is asked about the visiting the Cal City home with a realtor, again saying Orrin and Orson were present.
However, later in the testimony the child contradicts himself.
After being shown a previous interview the child had done with a forensic interviewer, the child tells the grand jury about hearing "gagging" noises one night in their Bakersfield apartment. The child said he believed the noises came from Orrin. The child told the grand jury that he didn't know what happened and he just went to sleep.
The child told the grand jury that the next day, he woke up and began his homeschooling without knowing Orrin's condition. Later in the testimony though, the child said he saw vomit near Orrin and that his parents told him Orrin had died.
The child also gave conflicting statements, claiming Orrin and Orson were in the van with them when the four older boys were dropped off at their grandmother's home but then saying that Orrin had gone to stay with Jacqueline's mother, as well as Orson.
The defense has alleged that the couple's oldest child was "primed" with false memories and badgered into making false statements about Orrin and Orson. Attorneys believe these inconsistencies and conflicting statements were the result of improper questioning, noting that the child hadn't made allegations of Orrin's death until after he'd been interviewed multiple times.
Defense counsel argued Monday there is no forensic evidence supporting the case against the Wests and that the prosecution's case rests mainly on the child's statements.
The prosecution has argued that Orrin and Orson both died months before the Cal City couple reported them missing. They claim the Cal City couple only reported the boys missing because they were nearing Christmas and were expecting family to visit.
No remains have never been located.
Court will be back in session Wednesday at 9 a.m.