Pat Boyd, stepfather of Christie Wilson, took the stand Thursday as attorneys for defendant Mario Garcia delved into the missing woman's past.
Defense attorney Ron Peters began the afternoon session with a line of questioning focused on Wilson’s gambling habits and her relationship with boyfriend Daniel Burlando.
Boyd testified he was not aware that Wilson had a problem with gambling. "I knew that she gambled a few times when she was low on money," Boyd said.
Boyd then discussed conversations he had with his stepdaughter about what someone should do if they were attacked. He said they had at one time watched a rape prevention tape.
Peters then presented into evidence photos of Wilson after an altercation with Burlando. Peters said the photo showed bruising on Wilson’s neck and chest. However Boyd said he could not tell from the picture if he was seeing bruising or shading on the photo. He admitted that after the altercation, when Wilson came to him he was not overly sympathetic because he wanted her out of the relationship.
Wilson disappeared early on the morning of October 5, 2005 after a night of gambling at Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln. Mario Garcia, 54, is charged with murder in the Wilson case. He and Wilson were seen on surveillance tape leaving the casino. The two had gambled together for three and a half hours before she was last seen. Despite extensive searches for Wilson, her body was never found.
Prosecuting attorney Garen Horst then called Sacramento police Officer Mark Roddy to the stand. Roddy testified that he responded to the missing person report filed by Burlando. Roddy said he went to Burlando’s apartment on Truxel Road in Sacramento, took a statement and searched the apartment.
When questioned about Burlando’s demeanor, the officer said Burlando was cooperative.
"He did tell us that he drove around Thunder Valley to look for her," Roddy said.
Inside Burlando’s apartment, Roddy said he found a black Samsonite suitcase next to the front door. Inside the bag were some clothes, magazines, and job resumes. Officers also found a smaller handbag with a makeup case inside. Roddy said he also found one of Wilson’s prescription bottles. Family members testified earlier this week that Wilson struggled with depression.
Roddy proceeded to describe the steps he took to launch an investigation into Wilson’s disappearance on Oct. 6. He said he contacted the security division of the Thunder Valley Casino, where security staff confirmed Wilson had been there. Roddy said casino workers sent out a page for Wilson, but got no response.
Police eventually made their way to the casino, where Wilson’s car was located in the east parking lot of the casino. Roddy said the car was clean but did have a layer of dust on it. "You could tell the car had been there a couple of days," Roddy said.
Next to take the stand was Sacramento police Officer Dani Longanecker. She testified about her role in canvassing the apartment complex where Wilson lived with Burlando. Officer Longanecker said when she talked to neighbors, they said they had not seen her for a few days or weeks.
Horst then called Sgt. Martin B. Mamuyack of the Sacramento Police Department who testified that Wilson’s car was towed from the casino parking lot to Capital City Tow in Sacramento. The impound is often used by law enforcement agencies to store vehicles admitted into evidence. On re-direct, Peters asked where the car was placed on the tow yard. Mamuyack testified that the car was placed in a locked area not available to the public.
The next witness called by the prosecution was Detective Richard Doricott of the Sacramento Police Department. He and an evidence technician searched Wilson’s car for evidence. Inside they found boxes, some small plastic garbage cans, and some cleaning supplies. The detective testified that there were no signs of struggle inside her car.
After inspecting Wilson’s car, Doricott went to Burlando’s apartment to gather DNA evidence.
On Saturday, October 8, Doricott called Burlando to go down to the station for an interview. He said he questioned him for two hours. Doricott said Burlando was open about the couple's troubled relationship, including their history of physical violence and infidelity.
At around 4 p.m., Peters started his cross examination on Doricott, but his line of questioning was met with objections from the prosecution. Peters wanted the detective to tell the court how a case could be affected if the party reporting the missing person was inaccurate in the time they claim to had seen the person last. Horst quickly objected saying there was no evidence that had happened. Peters then requested a sidebar. The judge decided to release the jury for the weekend break.
After the jury exited, the defense requested that Garcia be able to talk with his wife on the phone. The judge granted the order, allowing Garcia one phone call a day for 15 minutes. The prosecution interjected that the calls would not fall under marital privilege and they are recorded by the Sacramento County Jail.
Court will resume Tuesday at 9 a.m.
Previous News10 Coverage
Sept.27: "Wilson's Mother Testifies About Daughter's State of Mind"
Sept. 26: "Court Hears Christie Wilson's Voice in Taped Phone Call"
Sept. 25: Wilson's Boyfriend Testifies About "Electric Relationship"
Sept. 12: Jury Selection Begins in Trial of Mario Garcia
Dec. 20, 2005: Judge Sets Date for Murder Trial of Mario Garcia
Nov. 30, 2005: Garcia Identified Through Players Card, Detective Testifies
Oct. 28, 2005: Detectives Arrest Garcia for Murder of Missing Woman