Written by AARON CASTREJON
WEST COVINA - Days two and three of the trial against a Glendora man accused of molestation and battery of his then 17-year-old neighbor revealed more details of what the prosecution believes is the suspect’s obsession with the girl.
The prosecution led by Deputy District Attorney Mari Henderson alleges that suspect Patrick Adam Nelson, 41, groomed the victim for years in a variety of ways.
The girl’s parents, a friend of the girl and two of the mother’s coworkers took the stand Thursday and Friday.
In their testimony, the parents, identified as Brian and Maggie, and the girl said Nelson would give more expensive gifts to her, such as a necklace for her 17th birthday, and pay more attention to her than her sister.
Maggie, said that when she first met Nelson about 11 years ago, she warned him not to harm her girls in anyway, which Nelson apparently assured her the girls would never be hurt.
The girl and her friend alleged in their testimony that Nelson freely offered alcohol and marijuana edibles from his home, which was accessed through a rear unlocked door. The girl also would allegedly ask Nelson for Vodka through Snapchat messages.
On Wednesday, the jury listened to 58 minutes of a secret recording Brian made of Nelson re-telling the accounts of July 8 when the alleged incidents occurred. Glendora Police Detective Michael Howell gave a recording device to Brian to get Nelson’s account.
On cross-examination, defense attorney Stephanie Johnson believed Howell told Brian what questions to ask in order to force specific answers, but Brian denied the claim, stating he was only told how to operate the device and to get Nelson to recount the incidents in his own words.
On Thursday, the girl said she was home with some friends and was tasked to watch her ailing grandmother July 7, 2018. The girl and friends had been drinking and Nelson allegedly did as well. The victim and her friends became ill and began throwing up.
In the wee hours of July 8, the girl called Nelson to keep her company, because she felt physically sick and didn’t want to be alone -- she needed him there as a father figure and to help tend to her grandmother’s wound, the girl said.
Nelson helped her as she threw up, talked with her for about two hours and allowed her use of his wax vaporizer pen to feel better, the girl said.
A vaporizer pen allows the user to inhale cannabis concentrate or wax.
After the girl showered, Nelson allegedly offered her a back rub, which she agreed to.
The girl said she heard nervous breathing from Nelson during the back rub and that he soon rubbed across her stomach and moved his hand across her breasts twice. She flinched, panicked and elbowed him to stop him.
The girl said she fell asleep, but woke to Nelson allegedly rubbing her butt for several seconds. In the moments, hours and days after the alleged battery and molestation took place, the girl felt confused, sad and dirty about what happened.
A series of Snapchat messages were shown by both the prosecution and defense between the girl and Nelson.
The prosecution said the messages showed how Nelson would compliment the girl’s physical appearance, that if she were older he would marry her, how much he wanted to hug and kiss her and that he is so in love with her and everything she is.
The girl would respond with platonic default emojis of two bears hugging, a heart and sometimes used an emoji stating “I love you,” the girl said.
The girl once offered to kiss Nelson if he fixed his spa, which she wanted to use, although she said she never meant to follow through. Nelson, however, allegedly believed she would and in person, as well as Snapchat, would ask for kisses from her.
On cross examination, the defense questioned the usage of the emojis in response to Nelson’s messages, possibly to emphasize a possibly misleading nature.
Day three of the trial ended earlier than anticipated.
The trial itself may possibly end six days ahead of schedule Monday, May 13. The girl’s sister may be called to testify, after which the jury may go inter deliberation and render a verdict.
If convicted as charged, Nelson faces a possible maximum of one year in jail.