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Brooke Marie ROTTIERS






A.K.A.: "Crazy"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - Torture
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: August 28, 2006
Date of arrest: September 7, 2006
Date of birth: 1980
Victims profile: Marvin Gabriel, 22, and Milton Chavez, 28
Method of murder: Suffocation (stuffing underpants down their throats and taping plastic bags over their heads)
Location: Corona, Riverside County, California, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on October 22, 2010

Ex-Corona prostitute sentenced to death for torturing, murdering two men

By Yazmin Alvarez -

October 22, 2010

An ex-prostitute was sentenced to death today for killing two men during a robbery, in what a judge described as a “cold, callous, brutal and particularly cruel” crime.

Brooke Marie Rottiers, 30, of Corona, was convicted June 23 of two counts of first-degree murder in the slayings of 22-year Marvin Gabriel and 28-year-old Milton Chavez.

Jurors also found true a special circumstance allegation that the Aug. 28, 2006, killings were committed during the course of a robbery.

The same jury recommended that Rottiers be executed for the killings — a recommendation that Riverside County Superior Court Judge Helios J. Hernandez affirmed today.

“The defendant’s conduct … included beating, hitting, stomping, hog-tying and asphyxiation,” Hernandez said. “Her actions were cold, callous, brutal and particularly cruel. She went well beyond the minimum necessary to rob and cover her tracks.”

Defense attorney Chris Jensen sought a life term for his client. He argued that the sexual abuse she suffered as a child and her long battle with drug addiction — as well as the needs of her four young children, who are in the custody of family members — weighed against a death sentence.

Hernandez disagreed, saying Rottiers “understood the criminality of her conduct” and “was thinking clearly and purposefully.”

Rottiers’ co-defendants, Omar Tyree Hutchinson, 34, and Franchune Dyuel Epps, 26, were convicted by separate juries of the same charges. Epps was sentenced to life in prison without parole, and Hernandez is expected to impose the same sentence on Hutchinson on Wednesday.

The District Attorney’s Office sought capital punishment for Rottiers because she masterminded the murders.

According to Deputy District Attorney Sean Lafferty, Chavez and Gabriel met Rottiers and Epps while drinking after work at a Highgrove bar.

Rottiers led the day laborers to believe she would have sex for money and had them follow her and Epps back to the National Inn in Corona, where Rottiers lived with Hutchinson, a small-time drug dealer, Lafferty said.

Once inside the motel room, Epps pulled a gun and held it on the victims while Rottiers and Hutchinson stripped them and stole their money and valuables, the prosecutor said.

Rottiers, who is 6 feet tall and weighs 200 pounds, beat the 5-foot-2 Chavez, then bound him and Gabriel with electrical cords, phone cords, bras and panties, according to Lafferty.

The defendant, known as “Crazy,” gagged the men with anything she could get her hands on, according to trial testimony.

“The victims had panties and other cloth items stuffed in their mouths,” the judge said. “Their mouths and noses were covered and taped over.

They were hog-tied with cords around their necks to their hands, which were behind their backs and to their ankles. They asked for mercy. Instead of mercy, she let them suffocate to death while she and her co-defendants ingested drugs.”

Their bodies were wrapped in bed sheets and loaded into the trunk of a car that Rottiers drove to Gavilan Hills — a remote area near Lake Matthews — and abandoned on a dirt road. The car and the men’s remains were found the next day by a resident.


Jury recommends death sentence for prostitute who robbed, beat and suffocated two men

July 15, 2010

RIVERSIDE - A jury today recommended a death sentence for a sometime-prostitute who robbed, beat and suffocated two men she lured to her motel room on the pretext of sex.

Brooke Marie Rottiers, 30, of Corona, was convicted June 23 of two counts of first-degree murder and special circumstance allegations that the crimes were committed during the course of a robbery.

The same jury spent 4 1/2 days deliberating in the penalty phase of the defendant's trial before returning with its recommendation that Rottiers be executed.

Formal sentencing is set for Sept. 17.

Rottiers' attorney, Chris Jensen, plans to ask Riverside County Superior Court Judge Helios J. Hernandez to reduce his client's sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Judges have the discretion to modify a jury's verdict, but rarely do so.

Rottiers' co-defendants, Omar Tyree Hutchinson, 34, and Franchune Dyuel Epps, 26, were convicted of the same charges and are facing life prison terms when they're sentenced by Hernandez -- Hutchinson on Aug. 16 and Epps on Aug. 17.

Witnesses for the defense described Rottiers as an attentive mother who loved her four children, but battled drug abuse.

The District Attorney's Office sought capital punishment for the defendant because she masterminded the murders of 22-year Marvin Gabriel and 28-year-old Milton Chavez on Aug. 28, 2006, according to prosecutor Sean Lafferty.

The day laborers met Rottiers and Epps while drinking after work at a Highgrove bar.

Rottiers led the men to believe she would provide sex for cash and had them follow her and Epps back to the National Inn in Corona, where Rottiers lived with Hutchinson, a small-time drug dealer, according to Lafferty.

Once inside the motel room, Epps pulled a gun and held it on the victims while Rottiers and Hutchinson stripped them and stole their money and valuables, the prosecutor said.

Rottiers, who stands nearly 6 feet tall and weighs 200 pounds, beat the 5-foot-2 Chavez, then bound him and Gabriel with electrical cords, phone cords, bras and panties, according to Lafferty.

The defendant, known as "Crazy," suffocated the men, stuffing underpants down their throats and taping plastic bags over their heads, the prosecutor said.

The defendants also beat the men over the head with a blunt instrument, he said.

Their bodies were wrapped in bed sheets, loaded into the trunk of a car that Rottiers drove to Gavilan Hills, a remote area near Lake Matthews, and left beside a dirt road, where they were discovered by a resident the next day.


Trio convicted in day laborers' deaths

June 30, 2010

Three separate juries have convicted a prostitute, her boyfriend and another woman who lured two men to a Corona motel room where they were robbed and killed.

Jurors, all hearing evidence in the same case, found Brooke Marie Rottiers, Omar Tyree Hutchinson and Franchune Dyuel Epps guilty of murder and a special circumstance of robbery. The verdicts were read Friday.

The penalty phase for Rottiers began Tuesday. Jurors will determine if she should face a death sentence. Epps and Hutchinson both face life in prison without parole.

The trio was convicted of killing Marvin Gabriel, 22, and Milton Chavez, 28, two Riverside day laborers whose decomposing bodies were found by Riverside County sheriff's deputies hogtied with electrical cords and bright-pink duct tape. The men were gagged with panties and found with plastic bags around their neck with bras and cords, according to court records.

Authorities found the bodies when inspecting an abandoned Honda Accord left in the Gavilan Hills area in August 2006, near Lake Mathews in Riverside County.

Prosecutors said two men went to the El Paraiso bar in Riverside the night of the killing. Cell phone records show Rottiers, now 30, who was working as a prostitute, was in the same area with Epps, 26.

The two men and the defendants then went to a Corona motel. Epps was accused of pulling a gun as Rottiers ordered Hutchinson to strip them down and rob them.

Rottiers believed she may have killed one of the men accidentally, Deputy District Attorney Sean Lafferty said.

Rottiers then beat the two men and strangled them.

Hutchinson's attorney, Ryan Markson said Hutchinson admitted to helping her dispose of the bodies but denied taking part in the robbery.

A motel guest told detectives Rottiers, who went by the nickname "Kraizie" described how the men were strangled and smothered with pillowcases as they suffered. Rottiers, who was arguing with Hutchinson about borrowing a car, said she was worried about police finding her DNA. In the room, police found the same pink duct tape used to tape a plastic bag over one man's head after a wash cloth was shoved down his throat.

"It's horrific. It's one of the most disturbing murders I've seen", Lafferty said. "It's not an instantaneous death. It's a very personal brutal, intimate way to kill somebody".




A. The People's Case

1. Discovery of the bodies

The victims, Gabriel and Chavez, worked in construction. Gabriel weighed between 175 and 200 pounds and was five feet eight inches tall. Chavez weighed between 104 and 120 pounds and was five feet five inches tall.

In the afternoon on August 29, 2006, a car was discovered next to the road in an isolated area near Lake Matthews. When investigators from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department's Central Homicide Unit arrived at the scene, they discovered the bodies of two men, who were later identified as Gabriel and Chavez. A washcloth was found stuffed in Gabriel's mouth, duct tape covered his mouth, a belt had been wrapped around his face, and plastic bags also had been wrapped around his face and neck. A telephone cord had been wrapped around both his wrists, and a black bra had been wrapped around that telephone cord. Gabriel had been hogtied; an electrical cord was found around the wrist bindings and between the wrists and the ankles.

Electrical cords had been wrapped around Chavez's ankles, and a leather belt had been wrapped around his chin and the back of his neck. Over that, another leather belt, a pair of panties, and two pieces of telephone cord also had been wrapped around Chavez's neck.
Mark McCormick, M.D., a forensic pathologist for the Riverside County coroner's office, testified that Gabriel and Chavez both died from asphyxiation.

2. Crime scene and investigation

Investigators learned from the manager of the National Inn in Corona that he had recently evicted two people, Rottiers and Hutchinson, from room 114 after the cleaning crew informed him that blankets and sheets were missing and the power cords had been removed from two motel vacuum cleaners. The manager testified that on August 28, 2006, between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m., Rottiers borrowed the motel dolly to move some items out of room 114, and a car had been backed into the garage.

Scott Williams testified that on August 29, 2006, he was released from prison on parole and was picked up by Christy Day, the mother of his son and a recovering methamphetamine and heroin addict. Day took Williams to the National Inn where she lived. Williams indicated at trial that the National Inn was a "[k]ind of rough motel" where other parolees stayed and prostitution and drug use occurred. Williams also indicated he knew Rottiers and Hutchinson. The manager showed Williams room 114. The room had been stripped of bed linens. Two homicide detectives came to the door while Williams was in the room.

Detective Jesse Martinez, a homicide investigator at the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, testified that on August 29, 2006, he was assigned to assist Senior Investigator Robert Masson (Detective Masson) and Investigator John Powers in investigating this case. Detective Martinez testified that when he, Detective Masson, and another investigator arrived at the National Inn that day, the manager told them he was in the process of renting room 114 to Williams and Day. When the investigators entered room 114, they encountered Williams.

Day testified and identified Rottiers in the courtroom, indicating she had met Rottiers at the National Inn. Rottiers lived in room 114 in August 2006 and was in a romantic relationship with Hutchinson. Day also identified Hutchinson in the courtroom, stating she had purchased methamphetamine from him. Day denied knowing that Hutchinson was Rottiers's pimp, but, when asked about Rottiers's role as a prostitute, Day testified that Rottiers told her she would rob her customers instead of "doing the date."

Day testified that on August 27, 2006, at around 10:00 p.m., she went to Rottiers's room to look for Day's daughter. When Rottiers answered the door, Day saw two Hispanic men in the room with Rottiers. One of the men was taller than Day, who is five feet seven inches tall.

Day also testified that in the early morning hours of August 29, 2006, Rottiers came to her room, woke her up, and told her she did something she was not proud of. Rottiers said she had picked up two men in Riverside and had brought them back to her room to "do a date," and Hutchinson came into the room and caught her having sex with one of them. Rottiers told Day that Hutchinson said something like, "You say you're so bad, let's see what you got" or "Let's see what you're going to do now." Rottiers also told Day she ended up strangling the two men with her hands, bras, and panties, and that she "kind of liked it." Rottiers told Day that she hit the men with her knuckles when they started to smell, and she showed Day her bruised and swollen knuckles. Rottiers also told Day she put the men's bodies in a car along with all the bedding from the room, drove out to Lake Matthews, and tried to light the car on fire, but a second car got stuck and "they"3 had to leave before she was able to burn the car.

According to Day, Rottiers came back to Day's room at National Inn a few days later and was talking loudly with Hutchinson on a Nextel phone. Day overheard Rottiers say something about DNA, that Hutchinson was being "weak," and that she would do the same thing to him as she did to "those two mother fuckers" she had killed. At that point, the manager came to the room and told Rottiers to leave.

Richard Stornetta testified that he and Williams were released from prison at the same time, and Day picked them up and took them to the National Inn. Stornetta went with Williams to look at room 114, which Stornetta described as torn up and "stripped." A woman nicknamed "Crazy," whom Williams identified at trial as Rottiers, came to Day's room. Stornetta heard Rottiers talking on the phone with someone, yelling at that person and calling that person a "weak piece of shit" who could not even help her "pick up one of 'em." Rottiers talked about her DNA being all over the room and said something about a dolly cart. At that point Williams asked Rottiers to leave.

Yvette Meek, a recovering drug addict, testified she knew Rottiers and Hutchinson in 2006. Meek stated that Rottiers told her she would pick up guys pretending to be a prostitute, and then she would rob them without going through with the sexual act.

3. Forensic evidence

Megan Mannion-Gray, a criminalist at the California Department of Justice's Jan Banshinski Laboratory and Bureau of Forensic Services, testified about DNA testing on evidence taken from the victims. Epps, who is an African-American, was excluded as a DNA donor on 15 items compared by the lab. Regarding a swab taken from one item of evidence as to which Epps could not be excluded as a DNA donor, there was a 33 percent chance that a randomly selected African-American could have been the donor. Regarding another swab as to which Epps could not be excluded as a DNA donor, there was more than a 50 percent chance that a randomly selected African-American could have been the donor. Rottiers could not be excluded as a contributor of DNA discovered on an electrical cord, but Epps could be excluded. Rottiers could not be excluded as a contributor of DNA found in fingernail clippings taken from Gabriel, but Epps could be excluded. Rottiers also could not be excluded as a contributor of DNA discovered on a belt, but Epps could be excluded.

4. Phone records

A radio frequency engineer working for Ericsson under contract for Sprint Nextel, provided expert testimony regarding phone records obtained from Sprint in this case. He indicated that the timing, duration, and locations of cell phone calls can be determined from phone records and cell tower locations.

Authenticated Sprint Nextel cell phone records for Epps, Rottiers, and Hutchinson were presented to the jury. The phone records showed direct connect communications made on August 27, 2006, from Epps's phone to one belonging to Rottiers that carried the billing of "Krazie Hutchinson." A total of four such phone connections were recorded between 9:46 p.m. and 10:18 p.m. on August 27. A fifth connection between those two phones was recorded early the next morning, August 28, at 2:22 a.m.

The phone records also showed a direct connect communication made from Rottiers' phone to Epps's phone at 10:15 p.m. on August 27, 2006. Later that night, at 11:23 p.m., a direct connect communication was made between Epps's phone and Hutchinson's phone. The next day, August 28 at 12:15 p.m., a connection was also made from Epps's phone to Hutchinson's phone.

5. Epps's May 15, 2007 statements to Detectives Masson and Martinez

On May 15, 2007, Epps gave a statement to Detectives Masson and Martinez, a transcript of which was admitted into evidence. Epps indicated she knew Rottiers through a mutual boyfriend, Brandon Evans, who had been Epps's boyfriend two or three years earlier. Epps knew that Rottiers's nickname was "Crazy" and Rottiers's current boyfriend, Hutchinson, was Rottiers's pimp. She claimed she went to the National Inn in Corona at around 2:00 a.m. to buy drugs from Hutchinson, and she was high on drugs at the time. She stated that when she arrived at the motel room, she saw Rottiers, Hutchinson, and Rottiers's twin daughters. She described the room as "junky," with phone cords ripped from the wall, vacuum cleaners with cords ripped out, and a phone on the bed with no cord.

Epps stated that Rottiers and Hutchinson were arguing when she entered the room. Rottiers told Hutchinson he was stupid and careless, and Hutchinson called Rottiers a "stupid bitch." Epps told the detectives Hutchinson said, "Oh, shit, the blanket," and Rottiers threw a blanket on the floor as if she were hiding something. Epps said she did not know what was under the blanket, but it was something "kind of lumpy," and an investigator later told her the "lumps" were bodies.

Epps asked, "Am I being recorded?" When Detective Masson assured her that she was not being recorded, but that Detective Martinez was taking notes for a report, Epps provided additional details about the homicides. She stated that she saw Rottiers and Hutchinson wrapping up the bodies in blankets, and she helped them move one the bodies to the trunk of the car Rottiers was driving. Epps said that to get the body into the trunk, she lifted one side of the blanket and Rottiers lifted the other. Rottiers and Hutchinson moved the second body to the trunk of the car after Rottiers asked the motel manager for a dolly. Hutchinson left after the second body was put in the car. Epps stated she helped Rottiers vacate the motel room and move to the Flaming Arrow motel.

Epps told the detectives she left Rottiers at the Flaming Arrow, but later saw her driving around town as Epps was driving down the street with the bodies in the trunk. Rottiers told her she needed to drop the car off, and Epps led her to the Lake Matthews area where she showed Rottiers an open space where she could leave the car. Rottiers pulled off the road, left the engine running as if the car had been abandoned, and then hopped out of the car and let it roll. Epps said she got out of her car and cursed at Rottiers for leaving the engine running, and then they got into Epps's car. Epps started driving Rottiers back to her motel room. However, following Rottiers's directions, Epps drove the car into sand and she had to call for a tow truck to pull it out. Epps left Rottiers by the side of the road and drove home.
When pressed, Epps told the detectives that Rottiers killed the two men by smothering them by stepping on their faces with her bare feet after they were tied up. Epps stated she was sitting in the room when it happened, and Rottiers killed the larger man first. She claimed she did not know how the other man died; she looked over and he was not moving or breathing. Epps then said Rottiers smothered the smaller man first. She claimed she went there because Rottiers "chirped" her that Hutchinson had "chronic" (drugs) for her.

Contrary to her earlier version of the facts, Epps then told the detectives that the two men were still dressed when she arrived at the motel room, and both undressed when Rottiers told them to do so. The men thought they were about to have sex. Rottiers began hitting them with Hutchinson's belt. Rottiers punched the smaller man and knocked him out. The larger man was covering his private parts with his hands when Hutchinson hit him and knocked him to the floor. Rottiers then tied up both men using cords from the phone and vacuum cleaners. Rottiers then killed both men, the smaller man first, with Rottiers's daughters still in the room. Epps again stated that Rottiers killed the larger man by stepping on his face and smothering him, but also stated she did not know how the smaller man died.
Epps told the detectives she pulled her car into the motel just as Rottiers and the two men were getting out of their car. Rottiers and the two men entered the motel room about 30 seconds before Epps entered the room. Hutchinson was already in the room with Rottiers's daughters.

Epps stated she "might have handed [Rottiers] the phone cord." She said she knew the cord was not hooked up to the wall phone because the cord was by her leg and she grabbed it. Epps said she "probably tried to give [the cord] to her and it didn't go, so she snatched [it]." Epps admitted she pulled the cord from the wall. She then said Rottiers "ripped it out of the wall." She said she watched Rottiers rip the cord out of the vacuum cleaner. Epps denied handing Rottiers any duct tape.

6. Epps's June 14, 2007 statements to the district attorney

On June 14, 2007, Epps was interviewed by District Attorney Senior Investigator Tom Dove and Deputy District Attorney John Molloy. A transcript of the interview was admitted into evidence.

Epps stated she met Hutchinson a month or two before August 2006. She bought drugs from him. Epps had known Rottiers since about 2003. She met Rottiers through Epps's former boyfriend, Evans.

According to Epps, she went to the National Inn on the day of the incident to buy drugs from Hutchinson. When she arrived, six people were in the room: Rottiers, Rottiers's two daughters, who were asleep on the bed, Hutchinson, and "two Mexican guys," who were lying naked on the floor. Epps stated that Rottiers and Hutchinson were arguing about something, and she (Epps) was "so high" on drugs at the time she could not remember what they were arguing about and she could not remember whether the two men were tied up. She recalled that Rottiers, who was barefooted, walked over to the smaller man, who was praying, and stepped on his nose and mouth. Hutchinson was standing over the man, who started kicking, and told him not to move. The man's face turned purple and he urinated on himself. The larger man, who was crying, stood up.

Epps stated that one of Rottiers's girls woke up and Hutchinson was going to take her out, but Rottiers told him not to leave and, pointing to the larger man, said, "This one has to go, too." Rottiers started punching and spitting on the larger man, who fell to his knees and begged her to stop, saying "please, please." Rottiers hit him again and then Hutchinson punched him. When Hutchinson hit him, the man fell and hit his head on the edge of the door. Rottiers then stepped on his nose and mouth with both feet and leaned against the wall to keep her balance. The man was kicking and Rottiers stood on his face for 10 to 15 minutes. Epps claimed she sat on the bed during the entire incident. According to Epps, when Rottiers finished she asked Epps to help her move her things to another motel. Epps helped put her things into the victims' car and took them to the other motel while Hutchinson took the girls to a fast-food restaurant.

Epps admitted she helped Rottiers put the smaller man into the car. They carried him on a blanket. Epps said she grabbed one end of the blanket, Rottiers grabbed the other end, and they walked up to the car and put him in the trunk. When Rottiers and Hutchinson were unable to lift the heavier man's body, which was wrapped in a blanket, Rottiers asked the manager for a dolly and brought it back to the room. Epps said she was holding the girls as Rottiers and Hutchinson put the "big guy" on the dolly, pulled him out to the car, and put him in the trunk on top of the "little guy." Epps also admitted she drove her borrowed car and led Rottiers to a place near Lake Matthews in the mountains to dispose of the victims' car and the bodies. On the way back, Epps's car got stuck in sand and she called for a tow truck. To help pay for the tow service, Rottiers got into "some other dude's" car and was paid $150 to do a "quickie." Rottiers used Epps's cell phone to call for a cab and left on her own, but Epps said she did not know how she returned to Corona.

When questioned about DNA evidence, Epps admitted she might have touched a vacuum cleaner or a vacuum cleaner cord or a telephone cord. She stated it was possible the two men were tied up when she arrived at the motel.

Epps denied that she participated in killing the victims. She denied seeing duct tape on the face of one of the men. Epps claimed she did not see Rottiers kill the man who was lying unconscious on the floor when Epps arrived; she only watched Rottiers kill the "big guy." However, she then stated she saw Rottiers stand on both men. Epps denied the men were hogtied.

Epps claimed a phone cord was on her foot, she grabbed it, and then she dropped it without giving it to Rottiers. She claimed that when she grabbed for the phone cord, Rottiers told Epps to give her the vacuum cleaner cord, Epps said, "I ain't giving you shit," and Rottiers then ripped the cord out of a vacuum cleaner.

Epps admitted she watched as Rottiers tied up one of the men with a cord she ripped out of a vacuum cleaner.

The People rested on June 9, 2010, in the presence of all three juries.

B. The Defense Cases

1. Epps's and Rottiers's defense

On June 9, 2010, after the People rested, Rottiers and Epps presented no witnesses and rested in the presence of all three juries based upon "the sufficiency of the prosecution case."

2. Hutchinson's defense

The next day, June 10, Hutchinson's counsel informed the court and counsel for the other parties that Hutchinson had decided to testify on his own behalf.

In the presence of all three juries, Markson first presented the testimony of Virgal Cooper, who stated that he used methamphetamine in the summer of 2006, he lived at the National Inn motel in Corona at that time, and Hutchinson was his methamphetamine supplier. Cooper indicated that in late August 2006, he used his cell phone to call Hutchinson to buy some methamphetamine. Although Cooper initially stated he called Hutchinson after midnight, he then acknowledged his cell phone records showed he made the call at 10:26 p.m. Cooper met with Hutchinson at the bottom of the stairs outside Cooper's motel room about 20 or 30 minutes later and bought some methamphetamine from Hutchinson. As they were sitting on the stairs, Cooper saw a small car pull into the motel parking lot. According to Cooper, four people were in the car: Rottiers, two "Hispanic guys," and an African-American woman. When asked by Hutchinson's counsel whether he saw any of those four people in the courtroom, Cooper testified he saw one: Rottiers.

On cross-examination by Epps's counsel, Cooper stated he did not know Epps, but he had met her twice through "other people." When counsel said, "You told Officer Gibson, `I never met Franchune Epps at all and cannot recall ever having met her,'" Cooper responded he had "[n]ever met her formally." Counsel then asked Cooper, "You don't recognize her in the courtroom today?" Cooper replied, "No, I don't." He then testified he met Epps at a motel "[d]own the street—I forget the name of it—by the pool hall." When asked, Cooper could not remember the name of the pool hall, but indicated it was next door to a CVS pharmacy.

a. Hutchinson's testimony before all three juries

Also on June 10, 2010, following Cooper's testimony, Hutchinson testified on his own behalf in the presence of all three juries. He indicated that he and Rottiers started living together in June or July of 2006. He noticed that she put the name "Krazie Hutchinson" on one of the phone bills that was in her name. On August 11, 2006, he moved his belongings into room 114 at the National Inn, but did not always stay there.

Hutchinson stated that on Sunday morning, August 27, he woke up at the Motel 6 and went over to the National Inn to check on Rottiers's twin daughters. When he arrived, he found Rottiers vacuuming the room. He and Rottiers got into an intense argument. Rottiers tried to bully him, and he told her he was no longer going to pay for the room and she needed to find somewhere to go. After 20 minutes, he left. He testified he had no plans to get back with Rottiers that evening or to watch her daughters or to commit a robbery that night.

Hutchinson stated he next saw Rottiers at around 2:30 the next morning (August 28). He was sitting on a chair behind a wall in the carport and putting some "dope" in a sack for Cooper, who had called him at 10:30 p.m., when two cars came in and parked in the carport. Rottiers was driving one of the cars and Chavez and Gabriel were with her. Hutchinson identified Epps in the courtroom as the driver of the other car. He testified that Epps was carrying a stick in her hand that looked like half of a mop handle.

Hutchinson indicated that he confronted Rottiers about the two men as they were walking towards room 114, and she told him she was about to rob the men and asked whether he wanted to help. Hutchinson said he told Rottiers he had $900 in his pocket and did not need to rob anyone. Rottiers went to the room and he went back to talk to Cooper. Shortly thereafter, out of curiosity, Hutchinson went to the room. He stated he knocked on the door, and, when Rottiers opened it, he saw the two men were dressed and money and wallets were on the bed. He saw Epps sitting in a chair by the kitchen playing with a cell phone. Rottiers, who had been speaking to the two men in Spanish, told Hutchinson that one of them said he was going to do something to her girls. Hutchinson testified he immediately jumped on the "big guy" (Gabriel) and they both fell on the bed.

Hutchinson testified his statement to Detective Masson that he hit the man after the man lunged at Rottiers was a "pure ass lie." Hutchinson also testified that his statement to Detective Masson that Epps had a gun was false, and he made that false statement because Rottiers asked him to do so.

According to Hutchinson, he sat down on the bed and read a magazine after he hit Gabriel. He said that Rottiers and Epps left the room to check the car, and he stayed in the room. The door was open and the men did not leave. Rottiers and Epps quickly returned. Hutchinson testified that Rottiers looked at him and Epps with a "mean" look, and then hit the "big dude," Gabriel, on the back of his head with the telephone that was in the room. According to Hutchinson, Epps then hit the other man (Chavez) with the stick she was carrying, and Hutchinson left the room after telling Rottiers and Epps they were crazy.

Hutchinson testified he returned to room 114 later that morning at around 4:00 a.m. He indicated he did not expect Gabriel and Chavez to be there because "pretty much the robbery's done." He saw that Chavez was naked and hogtied with his hands behind his back and his wrists tied to his ankles. He had a belt around his neck. Hutchinson acknowledged that, at Rottiers's request, he told Detective Masson that Rottiers had told him that "[Epps] made me do it," but he testified that statement was not true. Hutchinson stated that Rottiers "had asked me to blame [Epps] for that."

According to Hutchinson, Chavez started choking when Rottiers tried to loosen the belt around his neck. Hutchinson said he saw Gabriel lying naked and unresponsive on the floor, moaning and groaning. Rottiers started asking for cords to tie up the men, and Hutchinson suggested she use a vacuum cleaner cord. Hutchinson tugged weakly on the cord, and Rottiers snatched it and ripped it out of the vacuum cleaner. He stated that Epps threw a phone cord near Rottiers, and he was in the room for only about 10 to 15 minutes and then left.

Hutchinson said he returned to the National Inn and walked back to room 114 a third time at around 6:00 a.m. after Rottiers called him. As he was walking back to the room, he saw the manager standing by the office. As he approached the room, he saw Rottiers coming out of the room and rolling one of the bodies out on a dolly. When Rottiers rolled the dolly up to the trunk of the car, she asked Hutchinson, who was standing next to the trunk, to help her hoist the body into the trunk. Chavez's body was already in the trunk, and Epps was also standing by the car. He did not hear Chavez making any noises and he did not see any movement in the blanket covering his body.

Hutchinson claimed he did not help Rottiers put Gabriel's body in the trunk, but admitted that when Rottiers asked him where she should dump the bodies, he told her to dump them in a field in the Lake Matthews area. He stated that he and Rottiers later went to Orange County and Rottiers complained he did not help her dispose of the bodies.

On June 15, after he completed his testimony, Hutchinson rested.

2. Epps's and Rottiers's defense cases

Also on June 15, after Hutchinson completed his testimony and rested, Rottiers and Epps rested without presenting any witnesses.



Brooke Rottiers


Franchune Dyuel Epps, Omar Tyree Hutchinson, and Brooke Marie Rottiers.



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