Defense attorneys for the man accused of murdering Santa Barbara herbalist Dr. Henry Han and his family are asking for the employment records of the Department of Justice analysts that processed fingerprints recovered from the crime scene.
Pierre Haobsh and his attorneys, Senior Deputy Public Defenders Christine Voss and Michael Hanley, appeared for a discovery hearing before Judge Brian Hill in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon.
Ms. Voss asked prosecutors provide her with error records and any remedial actions taken against any analysts who processed or interacted with the crime scene samples at the DOJ’s latent fingerprint laboratory in Fresno.
Prosecutors have already provided some records for analyst Corey Schroeder, but defense attorneys say other analysts may have assisted him.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ben Ladinig and Deputy District Attorney Hilary Dozer argued they should only be required to provide those analyst records for the five years before the fingerprint samples were processed because that is the standard DOJ recordkeeping protocol. Defense attorneys wanted records of their entire DOJ careers.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time. And I’m not sure that my (employment) records from the ’’80s are relevant now,” said Mr. Dozer, who argued that analyst records become less relevant after five years.
As a compromise, Judge Hill indicated he would only require the prosecution to produce an analyst’s entire disciplinary history if they had any record of errors within the five-year period.
He also asked prosecutors to investigate whether any DOJ staff verified the analysts’ evaluation of the fingerprints.
“It’s not certain that there is such a verifier and if so, who it might be,” said Judge Hill.
The evidence hearing will continue Friday afternoon.
On March 23, 2016, Dr. Han, his wife, Jennie, and their 5-year-old daughter, Emily, were found dead on the floor of the garage of their home in the 4600 block of Greenhill Way in unincorporated Santa Barbara. Their bodies were bound in plastic wrap and duct-tape, according to authorities. All three died of gunshot wounds to the head. At an earlier hearing, autopsy photos of the victims’ faces revealed they were shot at point-blank range.
Mr. Haobsh was arrested at gunpoint early March 25, 2016, at a gas station in Bonsall, near Oceanside, where he was living with his father. Authorities say he was in possession of a loaded 9 mm handgun and property belonging to one of the victims.
On March 29, 2016, Mr. Haobsh was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of the Han family. He was 26-year-old at the time of his arrest. He faces the death penalty if convicted.