BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A woman testified Friday that murder suspect Matthew Queen twice pointed a gun at her, once asking how she would feel if her daughter grew up without a mother.
On the first occasion, Megan Farmer said Queen questioned her if his girlfriend, Baylee Despot, had been faithful to him. The second incident occurred after she tried to convince Despot to leave Queen, she said.
Her testimony came on the third day of Queen’s preliminary hearing, which is expected to finish Monday morning. A judge will then decide whether enough evidence has been presented to order Queen to trial.
Queen, 44, is charged with first-degree murder, torture, kidnapping and dozens of other counts related to multiple incidents.
He and Despot are accused of torturing and killing Micah Holsonbake in 2018. Holsonbake went missing in March 2018 and his arm was later found in the Kern River near Hart Park. The rest of his body has not been found.
Despot disappeared in April 2018 and hasn’t been heard from since. She was 20 at the time of her disappearance.
Farmer testified Queen argued with Holsonbake over a missing gun in the months leading up to his disappearance. She said Queen accused Holsonbake of taking the gun.
Both Holsonbake and Despot are members of what’s known as the “Bakersfield 3,” acquaintances who were killed or went missing within two months of each other in 2018. James Kulsad, the third person, was shot and killed in southwest Bakersfield April 8, 2018, and his killing remains unsolved.
On Friday, Farmer testified Queen first threatened her after picking up her and Holsonbake from her mother’s house to take them to Queen’s house. She said she knew both men and was a good friend of Despot.
Instead of driving toward his house, Queen went in another direction and headed toward an orchard in a rural area by Renfro Road, Farmer said. Holsonbake asked where they were going and Queen didn’t answer, she said. Holsonbake, who had a fear of orchards because gang members had allegedly threatened him in one, jumped out of the vehicle and ran off.
Queen then drove into the orchard and told Farmer to get out of the vehicle, she testified. He got a gun from the back and pointed it at her, she said. He told her that her daughter would grow up without a mother if she didn’t tell him the truth, Farmer said.
He asked her whether Despot had been faithful, Farmer said. She said she fell to her knees and begged for her life, the muzzle of the gun inches from her head.
“I thought I was gonna die,” Farmer testified. “I’m lucky I’m not dead.”
Eventually, she said, Queen allowed her to get up and they got back in the vehicle.
They called Holsonbake and picked him up then went to Queen’s house where they drank and hung out, according to her testimony.
Under cross-examination by Queen defense attorney Timothy Hennessy, Farmer denied that driving toward the orchard was a prank to scare Holsonbake. She said she didn’t laugh with Queen when Holsonbake jumped from the vehicle, and also denied Queen told her to “play along” with the prank.
In the second incident, Farmer said she spoke with Despot in a bedroom of Queen’s house and told her she needed to leave him. Farmer said her daughter was in the room.
Queen walked in and Farmer told him Despot needed to break up with him. He grabbed a gun and pointed it at her, Farmer said.
“I was in fear for my daughter’s life, overall,” Farmer testified. “I was in fear for my life and Baylee’s life.”
Despot got between them and yelled to Farmer to get out of the house, Farmer said. She said she grabbed her daughter and ran outside.
Queen followed her, Farmer said.
Although Farmer said she had been afraid Queen would kill her, she said she accepted a ride from him. Farmer said she and her daughter got in Queen’s vehicle and he drove them to a liquor store.
Hennessy asked Farmer about her drug use. She said she used drugs, mostly cocaine, during the time of the incidents in question, but not on the days they occurred.
The preliminary hearing resumes 9 a.m. Monday.