Pierre Haobsh was found guilty on all counts Wednesday by Judge Brian Hill in the triple homicide case which prosecutors called “one of the most unspeakable horrors and murders” in the history of Santa Barbara.
At the trial without a jury, Judge Hill returned a guilty verdict on each of the three counts of first degree murder, also finding that the seriousness of each crime required all applicable improvements, including special murder allegations. for financial gain, multiple murders, and on the prowl.
The verdict ends a case that began when Dr Henry Han, described by prosecutor Benjamin Ladinig as “one of Santa Barbara’s most beloved healers and a beacon of light”, was shot and killed in sleeping with his wife, Jennie, and their five-year-old daughter Emily in the wee hours of March 23, 2016. Han and his wife were each shot three times in the head, while Emily was shot eight.
Haobsh was arrested three days after the murders following advice from his friend and associate Thomas “TJ” Direda, who provided detectives with information that would lead them to discover that Haobsh had committed the murders after setting up a business. with Han, called Obsidian Teradyne, which aimed to synthesize CBD for herbal medicine.
A “mountain of evidence”, as Ladinig described it, from the Ladinig and Hilary Dozer prosecution team has proven how Haobsh committed the crime: cell phone recordings, CCTV and Internet history have Traced Haobsh as he researched and purchased the gun in Arizona, then at Home Depot purchasing the materials for a homemade suppressor and the plastic sheeting and duct tape used to wrap the three bodies.
Screenshots from his own laptop and phone showed how he stole Han’s information using spyware and gained access to his Chase online bank account in an attempt to transfer $ 77,000 to his own account. But even Haobsh’s own testimony – a sprawling, fantastical tale of a life full of secret agents, prototypes of perpetual energy, and miracle cures for cancer – couldn’t explain what might be the bigger question, who to at one point was asked by the accused himself as he was questioned by Ladinig earlier on Wednesday morning.
“Why would someone shoot him eight times?” Haobsh asked, as an autopsy photo of his youngest victim, Emily, was displayed onscreen in Judge Hill’s Department 2 courtroom. Haobsh refused to look at the screen except out of the corner of his eye, as Ladinig leafed through the photos of the three victims.
“I don’t know, why did you do it? Ladinig fired back.
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Haobsh denied any involvement and added to his testimony the day before by telling his side of the story, which, anyway, was hard to believe. He told friends he was going into FBI custody, was a DEA informant, was on a movie development contract in Hollywood, and later was in the process. to die of an “incurable cancer” and that he had only a few months to live.
At the booth, Haobsh denied sending messages sent from his phone on a case-by-case basis; some that he remembered in detail, while others he said could not have come from him. He is reluctant to call them lies – they are “exaggerated”, “not quite right” or “out of context”.
He did not have cancer, he admitted, but believed he had been exposed to a carcinogenic chemical that he said had the potential to mutate his cells. Through his work in his home lab, he said he performed cell studies and was able to overcome fear of health.
“So your testimony is that you healed the cancer and created a free energy machine?” Ladinig asked.
Haobsh sent in several fake screenshots of bank accounts worth $ 2.7 million, $ 85 million, and one $ 940 million, using an HTML editing trick often used by teens who edit their notes to show them to their parents. The trick allows someone to change the text of a website to say what they want, without changing the actual content of the page.
At one point, Ladinig texted Haobsh to a girlfriend, Allie, admitting to lying about the account. But even then, he does not concede, testifying that he actually had the money in various accounts opened by the Department of Energy, but told Allie that he lied about it because he thought it was ‘she would just “ask for money.”
During the prosecution’s closing statement, Ladinig called Haobsh a “liar liar who lies about a lie”, and dismissed his theories of hacking, filed evidence, and Energy Department conspiracies as far-fetched. incredible.
âThe notion of executive work is so far removed from this universe that no human being with any semblance of common sense would believe it,â Ladinig said.
Christine Voss and Michael Hanley’s defense team fought against the idea that Haobsh’s story was implausible, and Voss managed to cast doubt on various aspects of the prosecution case.
Voss interviewed experts called in by Dozer and Ladinig and said investigators failed to adequately pursue other suspects or theories once Haobsh was identified as a suspect. She also pointed to the polarizing testimony of Dr Brent Turvey, who questioned the entire law enforcement methodology of matching guns to ammunition. Turvey said there is no empirical and scientific way to truly prove that a bullet was fired from a specific firearm.
Haobsh waived his right to a jury trial in exchange for the district attorney’s office removing the death penalty, agreeing to leave his fate in the hands of Judge Hill, who ultimately ruled that the evidence accumulated against the accused were too important to ignore.
“The evidence in my mind proves beyond a doubt, beyond a shadow of a doubt, without a doubt, that he is guilty,” Hill said.
Haobsh will return to court for his sentence at 9 a.m. on January 24, 2022. He faces a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
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