Detective reveals evidence found two days after triple homicide
During day four of the Santa Barbara trial of Pierre Haobsh, prosecutors continued playing a recording of Mr. Haobsh’s interview the day he was arrested — showing when detectives revealed that they believed he was lying.
Sgt. Jeff McDonald of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office (who was a detective at the time of questioning, days away from promotion to sergeant) began the interview with easy questions.
Some questions, like asking his favorite casino game, may seem strange to some, but Mr. Haobsh answered every question.
Sgt. McDonald peppered in tenser questions about Mr. Haobsh’s relationship with Dr. Henry Han or what he did that week, all the while keeping suspicion out of his tone.
Mr. Haobsh’s story was inconsistent at times, but Sgt. McDonald changed his method after seeing blood in Mr. Haobsh’s ear without a wound.
He began asking about Emily Han, who would’ve turned 6 years old the day after Mr. Haobsh’s arrest. He inquired about her hobbies, if she liked to draw and if he talked to her when he saw the Han family.
Mr. Haobsh answered “no,” “sure,” or “I don’t know” to all the questions — seemingly detaching himself from Emily.
Sgt. McDonald knew some of the answers to his questions. Emily’s drawings were everywhere in the Han family home, but Mr. Haobsh, who said he routinely stayed at the house, didn’t acknowledge the pictures.
He remained emotionless, and Sgt. McDonald asked him about the texts sent to Thomas “TJ” Derida the day the Han family was found dead in their garage.
One text read: “Am screwed. They just found everything. My life is over. Only if I got to it all sooner like this morning.”
Mr. Haobsh maintained the texts were about his energy technology business. He said someone stole his generators from a storage unit.
He couldn’t provide the full name of the friend who checked on the storage unit nor the general address of the unit.
Sgt. McDonald said Mr. Derida, a business associate of Mr. Haobsh, told detectives that the text messages were about the Han family murders.
Mr. Derida said Mr. Haobsh killed the family but couldn’t fit all three bodies into his car, so he cleaned up the scene and drove to Mr. Derida’s house in Thousand Oaks for help.
Mr. Haobsh accused Mr. Derida of lying.
Sgt. McDonald disclosed another discrepancy detectives caught: Mr. Haobsh said he’d been staying at the Han home on Greenhill Way for four years, but Dr. Han had only bought the house from his parents a year prior after their deaths.
Mr. Haobsh maintained that he visited that house over the years.
Sgt. McDonald returned to the blood in the ear: “Would you be surprised if the blood in your ear came back to belong to Henry, Jennie or Emily? (sic)”
When he caught him in another discrepancy, Sgt. McDonald said definitively that the blood on his ear must belong to a Han family member.
Mr. Haobsh denied the possibility.
“You can wash your face … The place that people always mess up is they always forget the ear canal,” Sgt. McDonald said later in questioning.
He revealed more evidence: Deputies found Jennie’s blood-stained cell phone in Mr. Haobsh’s car.
Sgt. McDonald accused him of stealing their phones in an attempt to wire $20 million to his account.
Witnesses from Chase Bank previously testified that there was a failed transfer of $72,000 from Dr. Han’s account to Mr. Haobsh.
Sgt. McDonald was also aware of a contractual agreement Mr. Haobsh made promising $15 million in his pursuit of launching his energy technology. His dad told detectives he did not have the $15 million.
Mr. Haobsh said he thought Dr. Han would help him with the expense.
The line of questioning, at this point, was frantic. Mr. Haobsh asked for detectives to call John “Jay” Morgal, another business connection.
Sgt. McDonald was content with the evidence he had. He unveiled photographs of the supply packaging left at the Han home: duct tape rolls and MDX bags that once held the plastic sheeting covering the victims’ bodies.
When Mr. Haobsh saw the picture of the bags, he said, “Now, let me guess; my fingerprints are on it.”
A latent print analyst from the California Department of Justice testified Monday to recovering Mr. Haobsh’s fingerprints from the bags.
Mr. Haobsh told Sgt. McDonald the fingerprints must have been planted.
Sgt. McDonald showed him a picture of him buying the supplies at Home Depot.
He said the plastic sheeting and duct tape were for his generators.
“Your machine, if it’s as great as you say it is, why does it need duct tape?” Sgt. McDonald asked.
Mr. Haobsh said it was for painting.
Other evidence presented Thursday included records from Mr. Haobsh’s 2013 Lexus infotainment system, which tracked the addresses he typed into a GPS system.
At 4:33 a.m. March 23, Mr. Haobsh typed in the address to the Han home. Next, at 9:44 a.m., he looked up an address in Thousand Oaks.
The trial continues today at Santa Barbara County Superior Court.