“Mr. Hoabsh, do you think anyone’s going to believe that nonsense?” Supervising Deputy District Attorney Benjamin Ladinig opened the cross examination of Pierre Haobsh, the 31-year-old Oceanside man accused of murdering Chinese herbalist Dr. Weidong “Henry” Han and his family.
Mr. Haobsh continued his testimony in the Santa Barbara Superior Court Tuesday, alleging the U.S. Department of Energy conspired to kill him and Dr. Han for their intention to bring energy technology to China.
Much of his hours-long testimony was unsubstantiated but — if believed — could cast reasonable doubt on the accusations facing the defendant.
Mr. Haobsh allegedly made false statements to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s detectives at the time of his arrest on March 25, 2016.
Mr. Ladinig also questioned the defendant’s credibility by quoting friends, family and business associates of Mr. Haobsh.
The exchange revealed a pattern of contacts losing trust in Mr. Haobsh.
His sister Nadine Courtney called him “a manipulator,” citing an occasion Mr. Haobsh said he had cancer with three weeks left to live.
A former business partner Bill Michael told investigators Mr. Haobsh “could look the Lord in the eyes and lie to him.”
The two had created a company, R.E.M. Group LLC, alongside a group of partners under the expectation Mr. Haobsh could produce energy using magnetic fields.
Mr. Haobsh’s invention needed a battery to jump start, and the group alleged the machine didn’t work. The Tempe police were called to investigate a dispute involving a wire hidden on the property. (Mr. Haobsh contends the wire connected to an exterior light fixture and claimed the group was stopping him from leaving for China.)
“You’ve seen the police report from the Tempe Police Department. They thought you were full of it,” Mr. Ladinig said.
“That’s not the term they used,” replied Mr. Haobsh.
Mr. Ladinig corrected the wording to “evasive.”
By the prosecution’s questioning, Mr. Haobsh’s energy invention was defunct. But Mr. Haobsh’s testimony — and the letters he wrote to attorneys, the judge and former President Donald Trump — said otherwise.
Mr. Haobsh claimed he invented a cheap form of technology that could be used to desalinate water and power jets. He said its potential for humanitarian use is what prompted Dr. Han to partner with him.
While Mr. Haobsh was in Santa Barbara the week of the Han family’s deaths, Dr. Han signed a memorandum of understanding with Mr. Haobsh and went into business creating this energy technology.
But Mr. Haobsh said he was previously warned from producing his invention by the Department of Energy.
He claimed that after he received an invitation to Revenco in China, the Department of Energy barred him from exporting the technology.
He said the department negotiated and eventually offered him over $940 million to surrender his drawings. A short video shown by public defender Christine Voss shows a Chase bank account in Mr. Haobsh’s name with that amount specified.
Mr. Haobsh said the money was in account before he accepted the offer. When he denied the offer, he lost the funds.
He said he refused the money because a condition was blackmail.
The prosecution addressed the video clip. Mr. Ladinig said it’s possible to edit the text so that it appears an account has more money.
Mr. Haobsh admitted to altering bank statements to impress women — many of which he meets on dating websites with fees associated with the women.
Ms. Voss asked Mr. Haobsh if he had trouble finding a date. He said women would “flock to him” when he took his shirt off at the beach and wore a speedo.
She entered two pictures of Mr. Haobsh as evidence, where he appeared to be flexing abdominal muscles at a mirror.
He said those pictures weren’t at his best physique and that he was a bodybuilder. He said he was with a woman he met at a movie theater when the Han family was murdered.
The prosecution pressed into his dating life, mentioning a text where he said he lost $400,000 to women.
But Mr. Haobsh said he includes living in a penthouse and other expenses aimed toward impressing people in that number.
He spent $10,000 on dates with a woman, he told a friend, and repeatedly texted the woman pictures of Chase bank statements in the millions.
On the stand, he said the pictures were taken while negotiating with the Department of Energy.
He claimed multiple encounters with who believes are Department of Energy operatives. He said hitmen attempted to kill him on three occasions, but he fought them off. He claimed to kill six people that cornered him in a remote residence.
He said two men shot at him at close proximity in the IHOP parking lot near the Han residence the morning of the murder. He said he was wearing body armour and was only scratched.
He said he did not make a police report in any instance and was afraid he would sound “crazy” but later reported to law enforcement upon arrest.
The incidents he describes require strength he said he learned in a top-secret training program as part of the Department of Energy’s special operations.
He said he enlisted in this program after the Army could not provide the stipend he needed to afford a luxury car payment.
His military record shows just over a month of active-duty service in the Army and no mention of special operations.
Mr. Ladinig asked if the Department of Energy made regular payments to his bank account.
No, he answered, they paid in cash.
The defense showed a picture of Mr. Haobsh in a military helicopter. Mr. Haobsh said the helicopter transported him to a training bunker.
Jeff Ellis, an investigator with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office, told Mr. Ladinig the photo’s metadata shows the photo has been modified via Photoshop. The data does not say how the photo has been altered.
Mr. Haobsh’s testimony will continue in court today. Judge Brian Hill presides over the bench trial.