Another short day. Today’s witness was a current inmate, 40 years into a “life without parole” sentence for murder/robbery. For many years, this inmate — very articulate — had been a regional prison gang leader in California’s prisons, transferred around through numerous high-security facilities in the corrections system.
His testimony confirmed that of other inmate witnesses on previous days.
• As a leader at no time did he hear or have information that Jarvis Masters had any involvement in the attack and murder of Sgt. Burchfield. Given his position, this is information he would have had.
• The manufacturing of a weapon used in the attack and the attack itself was entirely carried out by gang members on the 2nd tier of C Section in San Quentin, while Jarvis was housed on the 4th tier, two levels above the scene of the crime.
• As a matter of gang protocol, for security, a weapon would not have been passed vertically from one tier to another. At no time, to this witness’s knowledge did the weapon used in the attack ever leave the second tier. He was emphatic that passing a weapon between tiers never happened.
• Gang members of any rank and position were obligated to copy and pass kites (notes) to other members if directed to by leadership.
From tomorrow—Thursday—on, Jarvis’s legal team will be presenting a steady stream of witnesses most days. Tomorrow, most likely, we will hear from an investigator who worked for San Quentin in the mid-80s, and another key inmate witness.
After today’s hearing broke about noon, I drove up to Guerneville and Russian River Zendo to sit with Darlene Cohen’s body, among her students and friends. I am very glad I went. The zendo is tucked into a wooded hillside a little up and out of town. Darlene’s body was carefully arrayed in the zendo, wearing her robes and rakusu, adorned with scattered blossoms and leaves. As someone wrote earlier today, there was a sweet and enigmatic half-smile on her lips—Mona Lisa style: Darlene’s last expression.