BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Caleb Seiler said he accidentally took a gun part for a rifle that belonged to Matthew Queen.
Seiler said he and Queen fabricated guns together and he believed the part he grabbed was his. It wasn’t, he said, and Queen wasn’t happy to find it missing. Queen was so angry Seiler didn’t tell him about his mistake.
Later, believing the incident had blown over, Seiler went to Queen’s home. He said Queen told him to go into the garage.
Once there, Seiler said, Queen zip-tied his arms to a chair and placed a dog shock collar around his neck. Then he shocked him, Seiler said.
“It wasn’t as awful as I expected it to be, but it definitely was scary and discomfiting,” Seiler said as he testified on the second day of Queen’s trial on charges including torture and murder in what’s become known as the “Bakersfield 3” case.
Seiler said Queen pistol-whipped him in the face, too, then released him after putting a bandage on his face on which he drew a smiley face. He said Queen told him this would not have happened if he had been honest with him.
Queen and his ex-girlfriend, Baylee Despot, are charged in the death of Micah Holsonbake, who disappeared in late March 2018 and whose arm and skull were recovered from the Kern River.
Queen is also charged with threatening several other people and with numerous gun-related offenses. He faces 50 years to life if convicted of all charges.
As in the alleged incident involving Seiler, Holsonbake’s death is believed to have been motivated by a missing gun. Prosecutors say Queen and Despot believed Holsonbake stole a handgun, and they questioned and killed him in a detached garage at the home of another acquaintance.
Despot vanished within a month of Holsonbake and has not been heard from.
James Kulstad is the third member of the “Bakersfield 3” — acquaintances who were either killed or went missing within two months. Kulstad was fatally shot and no arrests have been made, but his death is not believed connected to the allegations against Queen.
Earlier Tuesday Megan Farmer, another alleged victim of Queen, testified about two separate incidents in which she said Queen threatened her with a gun.
Seiler said Queen once threatened him with a gun, too, but it turned out to be a BB gun.
According to Seiler’s testimony, he was awakened by Queen and two other men early Jan. 27, 2019. They told him to get dressed and took his cellphone, he said.
Queen was wearing a bulletproof vest and held a gun, Seiler said.
Seiler testified he didn’t think he’d be coming home as the men walked him to the front door.
“Oh man, I thought it was the last time I was gonna go down that hallway, that’s for sure,” Seiler said.
He and Queen got in the back seat of a pickup and the two other men got in front. Queen threatened to shoot him, Seiler said. Shortly afterward, he revealed the gun was a BB gun.
They drove around Oildale, Queen accusing Seiler of telling police he sold guns, Seiler testified. He told Queen he never spoke with law enforcement.
Seiler said he was dropped off at a post office. Queen made him hand over his shoes, Seiler said. Then Queen returned his cellphone — after removing its battery — and told him to walk home, Seiler said.
Queen’s attorney, Timothy Hennessy, asked about incidents where Queen showed a dark sense of humor and pulled pranks. Seiler said that was true, but he didn’t find either of the incidents he testified about funny, and he had feared for his life.
Hennessy pointed out through questioning that neither Farmer nor Seiler called law enforcement, and both were using drugs back when their respective incidents occurred. Both Farmer and Seiler testified to using cocaine and methamphetamine.
In response, Seiler said people involved in the activities he was — selling guns, using drugs — don’t call the police. Cooperating with law enforcement can get you killed, he said.
He testified he was sober when Queen zip-tied, shocked and pistol-whipped him. He said he got high afterward to self-medicate and try to deal with what happened.
The final witness called Tuesday was Joseph DiGiacomo, one of the other men with Queen the night Seiler says he was taken from his home. He has been granted immunity from prosecution for his testimony.
DiGiacomo said he had been living with Queen. Seiler was a former roommate of DiGiacomo and the two men parted ways on bad terms.
“Didn’t care for him,” DiGiacomo said.
When Queen told him he needed to talk with Seiler, DiGiacomo agreed to drive him to Seiler’s apartment. They picked up a third person along the way whom DiGiacomo said he didn’t know.
DiGiacomo’s testimony differed from Seiler’s on several points.
DiGiacomo testified he stayed by his truck while Queen and the third man got Seiler, but Seiler said DiGiacomo was in his bedroom. DiGiacomo also said he acted as a mediator between Seiler and Queen and told them he wouldn’t allow violence in his truck.
Seiler, however, testified Queen threatened to kill him.
DiGiacomo will continue testifying Wednesday morning.