Kyle Zoellner was the suspect accused in the stabbing death of 19-year old Humboldt State student David Josiah Lawson. After five days of preliminary hearings, Zoellner was released due to a lack of physical evidence. Below are the eyewitness accounts of each person called to testify during the hearings.
Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017
Day Two of Preliminary Hearings
Krystle Arminio (Arcata Police Officer)
Stipulations about knife, fibers and prints (Ron Harpham report)
Perris (BU member)
Liliana (Friend of Josiah’s girlfriend)
Krystle Arminio – Arcata Police Department
U.S Army Military Police for 12 years. Was at Mcdonalds at 3:00 a.m when she got the report that a male suspect had been stabbed. Took her less than three minutes to arrive on scene. When she arrived people were just running around. Officer Mckenzie was already at Josiah’s body when she arrived and officer Neilson had Kyle Zoellner in custody and he was with 2-3 girls. There were about 10-15 people standing around Josiah’s body. Officer Mckenzie was applying pressure to stab wounds while two friends held Josiah’s hand and one person was holding his legs in the air. Officer Arminio did chest compressions to Josiah. Crowd would not step back, could feel them right behind her. Stopped doing compressions, got up and asked crowd to move back and asked them to guide ambulance. Pitch black outside only had flashlight. Ambulance took 15-20 minutes.
University police showed up and the fire truck. People were getting too close had to tell them to move back. The scene was becoming unsafe for ambulance to come in and treat Josiah. Pleaded with crowd to move back. No one was being cooperative on scene only remember “one nice guy” out of the whole crowd and crowd was hostile 90% of the time. Crowd yelling, “Fuck the police, this Compton!”
People were yelling at her calling her a “stupid bitch.” Saying that she didn’t know what she was doing and yelling, “Where is the ambulance?” Leaves Josiah went to Spear to see where ambulance was, didn’t see it, went back to Josiah’s body. Fire truck arrives. Female firefighter “pulls” Josiah’s body a few inches from under the tree bushes to have more room to work on him. Said that Josiah never gave her any sign of life when she was with him at the scene.
Two university police and EMT ambulance staff along with Sgt. Jones arrived on the scene.
Crowd hostile with firefighters and cops to where there was a delay in putting Josiah’s body on the gurney. People were not blocking her, but EMT couldn’t get through crowd.
When the ambulance tried to leave with Josiah’s body there was an altercation outside the back of the ambulance because someone who was family wanted to ride with Josiah to the hospital. She had to hop out of the ambulance and tell the crowd to back off.
Looked for evidence 20-30 minutes after Josiah left in the ambulance.
Believed that the stabbing did not happen where Josiah was found. People pointing saying he was stabbed “there,” closer to porch near house. Followed trail of blood. Never saw any cell phones or people filming.
Tried to get witness statements, did not interview anyone on scene. People told her fuck the police; didn’t talk to her. Found knife under red Ford mustang. Radioed officer Mckenzie to come collect the evidence and take pictures.
Went to Mad River Hospital and was told Josiah passed away, “talked to everybody there.”
Interviewed Josiah’s girlfriend in ER. Testified that Ren had bite marks on her breast, cuts and bruises everywhere. On her left arm someone jabbed her with something sharp leaving puncture wounds. Said that Ren told her that she was jumped by two girls, one girl with blue hair (Lila Ortega) bit her breast. Took pictures of her wounds. (Showed by the DA the pictures she took of Ren and they were entered into evidence).
On the second day the court also agreed upon a stipulation. The prosecution and defense stipulated that the knife found on the scene did not match the fibers and prints of Zoellner. (Ron Harpham report)
Perris – HSU student BU Member
Came outside of party ready to leave. Saw Ren arguing with the girl with fanny pack (Naiya Wilkins), blue hair, (Lila Ortega) and Kyle Zoellner. Two girls kind of hiding behind Ren. As he is progressing down the driveway he saw Josiah approaching and told Josiah not to worry because Ren was doing what she always did. Before he got to the car he heard screaming. Turned around and as he made it up the driveway closer to the porch, he saw Josiah had Zoellner on the ground in a choke hold, with Zoellner’s body on top of him between his legs. He saw Ren and the two girls fighting. Said that he tried to get Josiah to let Kyle go but Josiah had such a grip on Zoellner’s neck that he thought Josiah was going to kill him. When Josiah finally released his grip, Zoellner rolled off Josiah to the side of him. Paris reached his hand out to help Josiah up and he didn’t reach back. Saw what he thought was mud at first, realized it was blood, saw wound. Asked Zoellner if he had a knife and before he responded, Perris socked him because he was afraid that Zoellner had a knife. The girls who were with Zoellner then grab Perris. He tried to go inside but they were tugging and grabbing at him. He turned around and saw Elijah helping Josiah. Two girls were helping Zoellner walk down the driveway towards the street and he wanted to make sure that Zoellner didn’t leave. Called police, noted the ambulance took way too long. Police arrived and he told police that Zoellner had stabbed his friend. Noted that he said that Ren was doing what she always did because when she got drunk she got aggressive but he never saw her fight. Did hear them mention something about being pepper sprayed. Everybody was leaving, a lot of people had already left prior/post stabbing. Met with detectives three times, subpoenaed for phone.
Was inside the house, heard someone banging on the door. Saw people going outside (about 10 ppl). Upon leaving the house, she saw Ren getting up from the ground and her face was beat up. Saw girl with short Blonde hair and pink-crop top. She ran to Ren who was freaking out looking for Josiah. “Where’s Josiah?” she kept saying. Looked for Josiah with Ren. Flashed light from phone, saw someone lying on the floor. Never saw knife. Blood coming out Josiah’s mouth when they found him.
Saw two girls helping Kyle up and saw a white guy being taken away.
Pictures provided by the girlfriend of Lawson**