NewsWest Boys Trial


Woman says sighting of Wests in September 2020 left her fearful

Trezell and Jaqueline West Trial, March 28, 2023
Posted at 4:00 PM, Apr 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-19 22:49:23-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A woman who claims she saw Trezell and Jacqueline West walking at the Casa Loma apartments back in September 2020 testified Wednesday that the experience left her feeling that “something wasn’t right.”

Wednesday marked the eleventh day of the murder trial of Trezell and Jacqueline, the California City couple charged with the deaths of their adoptive sons Orrin and Orson.

Maria Salas testified, through a Spanish interpreter, that back in Sept. 2020, she was visiting her daughter who lived at the Casa Loma apartments on Lotus Lane, where the Wests lived at the time.

While she was visiting, Salas testified she heard a loud noise outside and went to check. She then saw a couple walking away from the dumpster carrying an ice chest and assumed the noise she heard must have been something they’d thrown away.

Salas testified that she called her friend who lived at the apartments, Laura Aguirre. She said she did this because she felt fearful and that it “didn’t sit well with her.”

Aguirre also testified Wednesday, saying that when Salas called her that night, she was panicked and crying. She said she tried to comfort Salas and told her people are always near that dumpster.

The evening wasn’t brought up again until later, when Aguirre said Salas called her claiming she saw the couple on the news regarding Orrin and Orson’s disappearance. Salas testified Wednesday that when she saw Trezell and Jacqueline in the news coverage, she remembered they were the couple she saw back in September. She called the police to tell her was she remembered in January 2021.

The defense, however, pointed out some inconsistencies in what Salas told law enforcement during that interview. Defense attorney Fatima Rodriguez asked Salas if she remembered telling law enforcement that she didn’t get a good look at the couple’s faces that night. Salas said she didn’t remember saying that. Rodriguez asked if she remember telling law enforcement that she had seen a Black man and a Black woman walking that night. Salas said if she did, it was only because she was nervous then.

Also called to the stand Wednesday was a criminalist who photographed and processed the Wests’ van for the investigation. The defense point to photos that showed a diaper and baby wipes that were in the van when it was processed. The criminalist testified that he couldn’t remember in the diaper was used or not. Fingerprints in the van also went untested because it was a family vehicle and they knew the children's prints would appear, the criminalist testified.

The couple is charged with second-degree murder after they reported the boys missing in December 2020. The prosecution alleges that the couple killed the boys months prior. The defense and the Wests maintain their innocence, arguing that police believed the boys were killed from the start of the investigation and ignored other possibilities.

Testimony is set to resume Tuesday at 9 a.m.