Material Witness Changes Testimony In Bunkerville Retrial
by Shari Dovale
The Bunkerville retrial of four defendants began the second week of testimony in Las Vegas today.
Scott Drexler, Eric Parker, Rick Lovelein and Steven Stewart are on trial for conspiracy and related crimes pertaining to the Bunkerville standoff of April 2014.
Sgt. Shannon Serena of the Nevada Highway Patrol testified today for the prosecution. He stated that he was originally given orders to help with the set up of the K-Rail system (guard rails set up by the Department of Transportation) as they were needed to help the BLM out of the area when the Bundy cattle were released later that day.
Serena then testified that he was in Moapa (about 33 miles from Bunkerville) when he said his orders were changed. He was very specific that his orders were change because “Officers were being held at gunpoint”. Serena testified that he was ordered to go assist these officers.
This is a major change in testimony from the first trial. I have reviewed the testimony from the first trial and cannot find any reference to officers being held at gunpoint.
Additionally, Serena showed dash-cam footage of his travels to Bunkerville, and after he arrived. He stated that there were several hundred people at the protest and that ¾ (three quarters) of them had firearms. He said they were “heavily armed”.
It was noted during cross examination that Serena never included in his report that he was told officers were being held at gunpoint.
Though he claimed to have been fearful at being so outnumbered, he could not remember even if there were any other officers from Nevada Highway Patrol, the Park Service, BLM or Swat. He could only remember about 10-12 metro police being there. He just couldn’t remember anything else.
Serena claimed to have had protesters pointing firearms directly at him. However, none of the dash-cam videos or the still photographs exhibit such behavior. Serena claimed that it was done off camera.
Although three of the four defense attorneys cross-examined Serena, the day came to a close before the fourth attorney, Todd Leventhal (who represents Scott Drexler) was able to cross-examine. Thus, tomorrow will begin with questions by Leventhal. Let’s hope Leventhal reviews transcripts from the last trial this evening. Afterward, the jurors will have their chance to question this witness.
The jury questions have become a highlight in this case. They are paying attention and making every attempt to know what is being kept from them. I am looking forward to them.