NewsWest Boys Trial


Prosecution rests, defense begins case in West trial

Posted at 6:13 PM, May 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-08 21:27:09-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Reasonable doubt. That's all the jury needs to find Trezell and Jacqueline West not guilty.

The California City couple is charged with second-degree murder in the case of their missing adoptive sons Orrin and Orson. On Monday, the prosecution rested their case and the defense presented additional opening statements.

"It is still going to be a tragedy, but we believe that at the conclusion of our case, if reasonable doubt is not already apparent enough, that you will have reasonable doubt," said Alekxia Torres Stallings as she presented opening statements Monday.

Torres Stallings withheld her opening statements during the start of the trial. After the prosecution rested their case, it seemed more apparent why.

“An individual should have some kind of training when they speak with children in order to prevent any type of implantation that can then result in false allegations and false memories," Torres Stallings said, referring to interviews police conducted with the Wests' other children.

Police interviewed all four of the Wests' other sons less than 24 hours after Orrin and Orson were reported missing. Police have testified during the trial that it was due to statements made during these interviews that they suspected foul play.

Subsequently, a forensic interviewer interviewed the children at the Jamison Center. Some of these interviews were played for the jury.

In one of the interviews, interviewer Sunya Barton spoke with the Wests' eldest son, who told her Orrin had died in Bakersfield. He told her Orson came with them to Cal City, but was only there for four days.

However, Torres Stallings explained that these statements came during the child's third interview, and that Barton was "browbeating" him into saying them. She said the defense will bring a child psychologist to explain how the child was "primed" by investigators and surrounding media coverage of the case before the interview. This, along with a lack of evidence, will provide more than enough reasonable doubt, according to Torres Stallings.

“If you’re not looking for it, you won’t see it. That’s essentially what confirmation bias is," she said. "If you intend on only seeing one aspect of a case, you will miss everything else."

The trial is set to resume Tuesday at 9 a.m.