BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Of the civilian witnesses called to testify in the first three days of Matthew Queen’s murder trial, most said they used drugs at the time of the events in question.
Caleb Seiler and Megan Farmer used cocaine and methamphetamine. William Brown testified he was strung out on heroin.
On Wednesday, Kassidy Humphrey said she was into heavy drug use around the time Seiler, her then-boyfriend, was allegedly kidnapped by Queen. She testified she could not recall what happened and said anything she previously said came from Seiler, whom she called a pathological liar.
“I’m not a credible witness,” she told the court.
Not a dependable one, either.
Humphrey, who began testifying late Wednesday morning and was ordered to return at 1:30 p.m., later informed the court she wasn’t coming back. Judge Charles R. Brehmer issued a warrant for her arrest.
Jurors will have to decide who they find believable in a case where multiple conflicting statements have been made about Queen’s alleged criminal activities.
Queen, 45, is charged with torture and murder in the death of Micah Holsonbake, as well as dozens of other counts related to alleged kidnappings, threats and gun-related offenses.
Queen and Baylee Despot, his ex-girlfriend, are accused of torturing and killing Holsonbake in March 2018. Parts of his body have been recovered from the Kern River.
Despot vanished soon afterward. Holsonbake, Despot and James Kulstad are members of what’s become known as the “Bakersfield 3.” They knew each other and were either killed or went missing within two months.
Several witnesses have testified in connection with Seiler’s alleged kidnapping.
Seiler on Tuesday said Queen, DiGiacomo and a third man he didn’t know but who was later identified as Brown arrived at the apartment where he was staying early Jan. 17, 2019. They forced him from bed and inside a pickup, he said.
Queen was armed with a gun and threatened to kill him as they drove around Oildale, Seiler said. Queen accused Seiler of telling police he had a gun safe with illegal firearms, Seiler testified.
Queen eventually revealed the gun he was holding was a BB gun, Seiler said. He told the jury he had feared for his life and left Bakersfield for Las Vegas soon afterward.
Other witnesses, however, testified Seiler was not kidnapped.
DiGiacomo, who drove the pickup, said Seiler got in willingly. He testified he would have let him out if he asked.
Brown, who testified Wednesday afternoon, said Queen laughed after pointing the BB gun at Seiler. He also said Queen did not force Seiler to leave the apartment.
Prosecutors Eric Smith and Melanie Ayala noted the testimony of DiGiacomo and Brown differed markedly from what they told investigators. Both portrayed the incident as far more serious than they did at trial.
“Is it fair to say you don’t want anything to happen to (Queen)?” Ayala asked Brown.
He said that’s true. He said Queen is like a brother to him.
Brown testified he’s not sure what to believe of the allegations.
“I’ve heard so much different stuff about this case and it’s unreal,” Brown said. “Half of it doesn’t make sense, and the other half doesn’t make sense either.”
Prosecutors have begun presenting evidence gathered by detectives — including cellphone records and other electronic data — they say back Seiler’s version of events.
Bakersfield police Sgt. Chad Garrett, the lead investigator on the case, testified a message from Queen’s phone to Seiler on Jan. 8, 2019, said the following: “I’m just about fed up with you disrespecting me. You about to find out why they call me the boogieman. You should be answering my calls like it’s life or death.”
Garrett testified electronic records show Queen searched “Caleb Seiler” numerous times the day before and on the alleged kidnapping.
Smith has attempted to show Queen used threats and violence in dealing with those he believed crossed him — using similar methods on multiple occasions.
For instance, Seiler testified Queen once zip-tied him to a chair, shocked him with a dog shock collar and pistol-whipped him because he took a gun part belonging to Queen.
Prosecutors say evidence shows Holsonbake was also zip-tied when tortured and killed for either stealing a gun from Queen or replacing it with a firearm that had a faulty firing pin.
Garrett will continue testifying Thursday. The trial is expected to last until early May.