Humboldt Justice With John Chiv: Graphic Testimony Today After Key Witness Disappears

John Chiv covers the local legal system for his blog. He shares his observations on some of the more high profile trials with us in our Humboldt Justice guest column.

The  trial of Jason Warren continued today even though Eddie Koch, a friend of the defendant who had been slated to testify yesterday, left during a brief intermission and has not returned. A warrant was put out for his arrest.

John Chiv, courtroom watcher and local blogger, was there to follow the legal proceedings. He writes that testimony this morning began with California Highway Patrol Officer Eric Nelson. In late September 2012, Nelson had gone to the home of Dorothy Ulrich in the process of tracking down the owner of a car that had struck two women and killing one, Suzanne Seemann, in Eureka earlier that day.

Chiv describes today’s court proceedings:

chivTestimony in the Jason Warren case this morning started with CHP Officer Eric Nelson….

Officer Nelson testified that he heard two friends of the victim–Maria Ulrich and Tiffany Martin–pry open the front door, then “I heard a scream, the type of scream in a horror movie, unadulterated, blood curdling screams, multiple screams,” said Officer Nelson.

Tribal Officer Kane and Officer Nelson had backed away to allow Maria Ulrich and Tiffany Martin to enter the home first since they were the ones to get permission from Dorothy Ulrich’s husband to break into the home. When they heard the screams, they drew their weapons and entered the home to find Dorothy Ulrich lying face down in a pool of blood…

He heard a female voice and was not sure if it was Maria Ulrich or Tiffany Martin saying, “Oh, my God, she’s bloody. Oh, my God, she’s dead.”


Photo released by the Sheriff’s Office of Dorothy Ulrich.

“I saw a slumped body lying in blood,” said Officer Nelson.

On cross examination by Mr. Glenn Brown, Warren’s attorney, Officer Nelson said he had spoken to a neighbor, Tammy Evenson, prior to entering the home. She said that between the early hours of 3:10 and 3:30 a.m. on September 27, 2012, she heard a female voice “cussing and yelling.”

The second witness this morning was former Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Evidence Technician Karen Quenell. Ms. Quenell was still being questioned by Mr. Sequeira when the morning court session ended.

Ms. Quenell had assisted CHP with taking photos and locating some items from the hit and run on Myrtle Avenue which resulted in the death of Suzanne Seemann.

Later that same day, Quenell was the evidence tech who processed the scene and assisted the Deputy Coroner in removing Dorothy Ulrich’s body. While Quenell was testifying and photos were being shown on a screen in the courtroom, Warren sat nonchalant and scribbled on a note pad showing no reaction.

Ms. Quenell pointed out photos of the REVO surveillance monitor of the security system in Dorothy Ulrich’s house, with an “apparent blood stain.”

The DVR portion was taken out and viewed by several multi-agency law enforcement personnel on the scene which included the Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies, Tribal officers and State Patrol. Ms. Quenell testified, “We were trying to determine the person seen on the video.”

The broken blue lanyard that was photographed next to the body of Dorothy Ulrich, identified by her husband in earlier testimony, was then taken out of the evidence box by Quenell and shown again to the jury.


Jason Warren

Ms. Quenell testified that when the Deputy Coroner arrived, a preliminary examination at the crime scene showed “stab wounds on the back.”

The jury then was shown still images and security video of Ulrich’s front porch with a man leaving with a long, stick-like object.

Gary Woffinden, a former law enforcement officer who had prior contact with Jason Warren from his work, assisted in identifying the male figure leaving Dorothy Ulrich’s front porch carrying a long, black, stick-like object as Warren.

Woffingen said that the last time he had seen Warren was two weeks prior to September 27, 2012. He recognized Warren based on his particular style of attire that included jersey tops and long baggy shorts.

He was confident the figure seen was Warren–90 to 95 percent upon first viewing the video–but after seeing the video frames repeatedly and seeing Warren walk in and out, he was a 100 percent positive.




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