Latent print analyst testifies during Pierre Haobsh’s trial
A latent print analyst with the California Department of Justice testified Monday, day three of the trial of Pierre Haobsh, that he identified the suspect’s fingerprints on the plastic covering the bodies of victims Dr. Weidong “Henry” Han, 57; wife, Huijie “Jenni” Yu, 29; and 5-year-old daughter, Emily Han.
The fingerprints and palm prints were found in the interior and exterior of the plastic.
“Which to me, doing the processing, was significant,” latent print analyst Corey Schroeder said.
Dr. Han and his family were found March 23, 2016, wrapped in plastic wrap in the garage of their home in the 4600 block of Greenhill Way near Goleta.
Mr. Haobsh faces three charges of murder in the first degree with enhancements of murder for financial gain, multiple counts of murder and commission of felony.
Judge Brian Hill of the Santa Barbara County Superior Court presides over the bench trial. Mr. Haobsh previously waived his right to a trial by jury.
Mr. Schroeder testified that he found fingerprints later identified as Mr. Haobsh’s in other areas as well, such as a bathroom door and two bags found in an office trash can.
The prints collected included what he labels “level-one,” “level-two” and “level-three” details — meaning they can positively identify or exclude a suspect.
Prosecutor Hilary Dozer asked him how confident he feels in his identification.
“Not only am I confident,” he said. “I am confident that if you got another latent print examiner to review my work, they’d come up with the same examination.”
He only compared the prints to one suspect: Mr. Haobsh.
The prosecution called Sgt. Jeff McDonald of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Monday afternoon as a witness. Sgt. McDonald interviewed Thomas “TJ” Derida, who served as a witness earlier in the trial, and Mr. Haobsh separately on March 25, 2016.
The prosecution played the first hour and a half of a four-hour-long interview with Mr. Haobsh. The interview gives perspective into his connection with Dr. Han and the possible timeline.
(Mr. Haobsh requested the interview with Sgt. McDonald after talking with detectives earlier that day.)
During the March 25, 2016 interview, Sgt. McDonald maintains a relaxed tone and asks questions, like “what do you like to do on work trips?”
Mr. Haobsh answers each question.
During the interview, Mr. Haobsh said he views Dr. Han as a father figure. The two had done business with each other, and Mr. Haobsh, a resident of Oceanside, often stayed in the Han family home while he was in town.
He said that when he was struggling financially, Dr. Han put him on payroll without asking for favors. Emily was encouraged to call him “Uncle Pierre.”
Mr. Haobsh was working on CBD projects for Dr. Han, owner of the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic. But he was excited about some energy technology he invented, he said.
Sgt. McDonald asked him what he thinks may have protected the Han family.
“Just not getting involved in this whole situation,” Mr. Haobsh said.
“What situation?” asked Sgt. McDonald.
“This whole energy thing,” Mr. Haobsh said.
Sgt. McDonald asked Mr. Haobsh about his definition of a monster.
Mr. Derida had earlier told Sgt. McDonald that Mr. Haobsh said he felt like a “monster.” Mr. Derida also testified to this in court last week.
But Mr. Haobsh told Sgt. McDonald that he was not a monster.
“A monster would be somebody who’s really very selfish. . . affects a lot of lives in the process of doing things in their own interest,” he said.
“This whole situation — I don’t think there’s anything worse than that,” Mr. Haobsh said. “I don’t know of anything worse a person can do.”
He later said a monster would “prevent this kind of technology from getting out,” referencing his invention.
When he was arrested in San Diego, he had picked up clothing from his residence at his father’s house.
He told Sgt. McDonald that he planned to move to Las Vegas and live in a casino. He claimed to be good at counting cards.
The death penalty was originally sought in the case, but the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office dropped the bid earlier this year.
Mr. Haobsh is represented by public defenders Christine Voss and Michael Hanley. Benjamin Ladinig and Hilary Dozer are prosecuting the case.
The trial will resume Thursday morning.