Update late September 23rd: Salt Lake Tribune story now available, pertinent information incorporated into this post in green.
Day Two of the child kidnapping trial of D.J. Bell has concluded, and if the Deseret News story is to be believed, the family members of the two kids allegedly "kidnapped" basically got up on the witness stand and lied their asses off. Additional media stories from KTVX Channel 4 and KSL Channel 5. KSL news video embedded below:
Review all previous posts on this case HERE, with the most recent post appearing first. Also visit the Injustice801 website set up to advocate on behalf of justice for D.J. Bell and Dan Fair.
Ricky Peace, whose four-year-old son was inside Bell's home, said he did not recall hitting Bell. He said he heard his cousin, Lulu Latu, screaming, "They had our kids!" as she returned with the children from Bell's home. Peace said he followed other adults who rushed over to Bell's house but does not remember inflicting any harm. "It was kind of fuzzy that night," Peace said. "In my mind, I'm thinking to rescue my kids." Peace acknowledged he had been convicted in Nevada in 2005 for a 1995 drug-possession case. [Ed. Note: A lie - he distinctly mentioned that the kids had returned, so there was no reason for him to go to Bell's house.]
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Lisa Aiono, mother of the 4-year-old, also testified. She admitted running over to Bell's home, but denied harming him. She said her husband, Ricky Peace, participated in the beating, but he earlier testified he does not recall hitting Bell.
Ieti Mageo, the father of the two-year-old girl who was in Bell's house, said he had consumed between 12 to 20 beers that night and admitted he served prison time for 1999 convictions for burglary, robbery and giving false information to a police officer, and he was incarcerated for a 1995 attempted theft. Mageo said he was busy playing poker at a table outside his house and paid little attention to Bell until Latu returned with the children and was so upset. "My thing was to get my kids out of the house," he said. [Ed. Note: Another lie - Mageo also mentioned that the kids had returned, so the remark about "getting his kids out of the house" doesn't wash. But if he was indeed impaired from drinking 20 beers, why does he remember some of the events clearly, and has conveniently "forgotten" about the incriminating part of the sequence?]
Mageo declined to answer whether he went inside Bell's home or whether he put his hand through some broken glass, citing the 5th Amendment against incriminating himself, based on his own lawyer's advice. Mageo said he did remember telling a police officer that he had looked into a window at Bell's house to try to see the children. [Ed. Note: Yet another lie - Mageo already said that Latu had returned with the children, so the children were no longer in Bell's home.]
Attorneys for both sides have as many as 13 more witnesses in the trial that is set to run through Friday September 25th.
Analysis: These family members obviously lied their asses off on the stand. If they told the truth, they would be opening themselves to aggravated assault and home invasion charges. So they dare not tell the truth. The possibility that their memories of the sequence are imparied by the fact that they were snockered is possible, but their memories seem a bit "selective"; they remember the preceding events well, but suddenly don't remember what happened after Lulu Latu brought the kids back to their home.
What honestly perplexes many who might be sympathetic towards D.J. Bell is why he took the kids into the bedroom. That's a legitimate question which he plans to answer on the stand during the trial. Why not before? Because a gag order was issued by the judge which applies to all participants - violation could bring a contempt of court citation.
Injustice801 states they will not be talking to the press because they believe the focus should be on the trial and not upon them. Understandable, but they are forfeiting a valuable public relations opportunity. The media is trying to play this up as a quarrel between Polynesians and gays, which it appeared to be at first. I've seen very little overt support for Bell from the straight community, although there are increasing supportive comments posted on to the various media stories. Injustice801 ought to be playing up the fact that this was an unprovoked home invasion and gang-style assault, which can and does happen to straight people as well. In conservative Utah, the sanctity-of-the-home argument is the better argument to use. Heck, I'm a hard line social conservative and a loyal "Buttars Brigadier", and I'm absolutely pissed off over what happened to Bell and Fair and the failure of the District Attorney to charge their assailants.
As far as I'm concerned, the only crime Bell and Fair committed was their failure to exercise their Second Amendment rights. When thugs break into your home, assume they want to die - and accommodate them. Blow them away.