MARTINEZ -- The trial of a Richmond man charged with 22 felony counts -- including murder, kidnapping, carjacking, robbery and making criminal threats -- began Wednesday afternoon in a Contra Costa courtroom. So numerous are the complaints, it is estimated the proceeding could last four months.
Defendant Jimmie Doss didn't make it past opening statements.
Doss, 36, scoffed and laughed during introductory remarks by Deputy District Attorney Melissa Smith, who told the jury about a witness who will testify that Doss shot into an occupied vehicle, killing one man, and how other witnesses would testify that they were lured to a mostly vacant apartment building where they were beaten, robbed and forced to divulge their PINs.
When Smith began to detail the relationship between Doss and a then-15-year-old prostitute, Doss said, "She's lying."
"Mr. Doss, please," Judge Theresa Canepa said. "Remember what I told you.'
A few minutes later, Doss again interrupted Smith.
"Ain't my fault she lied about her age," he said.
Canepa ordered the jurors out of the room and instructed bailiffs to remove Doss.
"If I can't sit in on my own trial, I'm outta here," he said as he was handcuffed. "I'd rather be back in my cell."
Canepa then cleared the courtroom, Smith included, until Doss was taken away. When jurors were allowed back in, Canepa instructed them not to regard Doss' absence or any statements he made as evidence.
Smith then completed her opening statements. Doss' crime spree, she said, began Nov. 11, 2009, when, after having a seemingly friendly conversation with the occupants of a red car, according to a witness who is expected to testify, he fired eight bullets into the vehicle. One of the two occupants later died at nearby Kaiser Permanente Medical Center.
In December 2009, Smith told jurors, Doss, the young prostitute and two other men began luring would-be johns into an apartment, where they were attacked and held for hours while Doss used their money and bank cards to buy electronic devices.
Victims were selected because they spoke little English or were in the country illegally, Smith said, therefore making them unlikely candidates to contact police. Two of them jumped to safety out of a second-story window, one of them breaking his ankle in the process.
"It was the perfect crime -- cunning, planned, sophisticated and complex," Smith said. "It was supposed to leave no witnesses. It left behind a slew of terrified witnesses."
Martin opted to reserve his opening statements until after the prosecution rests. The trial resumes Thursday morning.
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.