Homicide Detective Notes

My partner Detective _____ and I, Detective _____, responded to _____ Starboard Street to investigate an accidental fall of a female with possible suspicious circumstances. We presumed that the incident originally occurred at approximately 0851 hours, which was the time of the call to 911 from the residence. The female was identified as Riva Pine who was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at St. Mary the Tower. She was on a ventilator due to her having no brain activity.

When my partner and I arrived at Riva Pine’s residence, Sergeant _____ informed us that Officer _____ was obtaining a search warrant for the location. Long Beach Police Department’s Forensic Team was at the scene.

We approached the front of the residence. The victim’s husband was sitting on a short brick wall on the west side of the driveway. We introduced ourselves and told him (King Pine) that we were there to investigate his wife’s accident.

Detectives observed the exterior of the residence to be decorated in Japanese style. A nine-foot-tall statue of a seated Buddha was in the front yard along with a raised planter bed. A large statue of a head, looking like a Southeast Asian bust of a Buddha, stood next to the gate to the front patio. The front patio was hidden from street view by an enclosure decorated with Chinese or Japanese symbols. There were several noticeable surveillance cameras mounted on the exterior of the house. Pine told us there were 12 cameras total on his property and that they were motion activated.

The search warrant was signed by the Honorable Judge _____ and brought to the residence. Pine provided us with the security code to unlock the front gate that leads to a patio area where the front door is located. We entered the front gate. We used the same security code to open the east-facing front door to the residence. We conducted a walkthrough of the residence with Long Beach Police Department Forensic personnel. Overall photographs were taken of the inside and outside of the residence.

Detectives observed the southeast bedroom to be set up as a workout room. There was a large wooden hutch with several drawers, which were closed, located against the west wall. One of the sliding doors to the upper half of the hutch was open. There were several iron dumbbells on the floor underneath a low, wooden bench along the east wall.

On the south wall of the room, there was a hinged, windowed door that opened to the enclosed front patio. This door was flanked by two, long, narrow windows that extended from the floor of the room to the top of the door. The glass door and windows made the interior of the room visible from the patio. The closet doors in the room were mirrored. The room was decorated with Japanese-style art including a several masks depicting the faces of Japanese ogres. These masks, which appeared to depict horned, fanged demons, were hanging on the south wall of the room. A sheer curtain was installed along the wall. When drawn, this curtain would cover the glass door, windows, and the wall of masks.

The floor of the room was concrete and stained in a dark color. There was a small discolored area on the floor approximately two feet east of the wooden hutch. Pine said that he and a neighbor had scrubbed the floor with a brush causing the stain to be discolored. Pine said he placed a sacred Buddhist shrine item near the scrubbed area. The shrine item was a white ceramic dish with candles. It depicted a human figure in repose.

Placards were placed next to items of evidence that were to be collected after being measured and photographed by LBPD personnel. The following items were numbered and collected as evidence:

  • Clothing worn by King Pine recovered from the floor in the master bathroom.
  • Victim’s tablet-style mobile device recovered from a wooden hutch near the kitchen. King Pine provided us with the code to unlock the device.
  • One pair of shoes worn by King Pine recovered from under the dining room table.
  • Digital video recorder (DVR) for the surveillance cameras recovered from a shelf in the hallway linen-closet.

The following items were lettered and photographed and left at the residence:

  • Location of Victim’s head on the exercise-room floor.
  • One pair of Victim’s slippers located in master bedroom.
  • Black sweater located on top of bed in master bedroom.

My partner and I finished processing the scene and drove to the hospital to check on the status of Victim. Upon arrival we went to the ICU and located Riva Pine in Pod 5 Room 3. Pine was in a supine position and attached to a ventilator and monitoring devices. An emergency craniotomy had been performed on Pine.

Nurses rolled Pine on her left side so we could see the injury to the back of her head. We observed an approximately three-inch-long, L-shaped cut to the back of her head with several staples inserted to close the wound.

Dr. _____ described the injuries as a scalp laceration with a fracture to the left occipital area of the skull, in addition to occipital and frontal injuries to the brain. The ICU nurse advised us that Pine was given a brain stimulation test. It showed no brain activity.

Days after she was transported to the hospital, Dr. _____ pronounced Pine dead. Detectives continued their investigation.

Detectives viewed the video footage that had been recorded on the DVR system recovered from the Pine residence. We observed that the recordings covered only a small portion of the interior and exterior of the house. Many areas of the residence were not on camera.

We noted that the time-code on the videos is approximately 24 minutes ahead of the actual time. This may account for time discrepancies that may appear in police notes.

The footage showed that on the morning of the Victim’s injury at approximately 0829 hours, King Pine walked down the hall toward the back bedrooms and out of camera range. He reappeared at 0831 hours. At 0833 hours, King Pine used the bathroom at the west end of the hallway. The door to this bathroom can be seen in the recordings of Camera 6.

A few minutes later, King Pine exited the bathroom and walked around the kitchen area with his dog. At 0835 hours, King Pine exited the front door with his dog. At 0836 hours, King Pine exited the front gate to walk his dog. He appeared to walk down the street away from the house. He returned at approximately 0907 hours.

Riva Pine did not appear on camera at any time on the morning of her injury except when paramedics wheeled her out of the house on a stretcher.

Detectives downloaded Riva Pine’s tablet-style mobile device. The activity log from this device indicated that it was used to purchase a purse online at 0828 hours. The device was used to log in to a yoga-video website at approximately 0833 hours.

This online activity happened while King Pine was gone walking the dog. Therefore, it is possible to infer that Riva Pine was alive and well, using her tablet device somewhere in the house off-camera while her husband was away from the home with the dog.

Note: King gave a detailed statement to police regarding his activities after returning home with the dog. In reviewing the video footage, however, detectives observed that King’s recorded activities did not match his detailed statement.

When King Pine returned to the residence after walking the dog, he cleaned the dog with an outdoor garden hose next to the front gate. He entered the residence at 0908 hours (0843 real time). He went to the kitchen area and appeared to give a treat to the dog. He spent several minutes putting sheets on a sofa as if preparing it as a bed for the dog. The dog sat down on this bed.

King Pine walked off camera, down the hallway toward the yoga room. Moments later, the dog appeared to be startled by a noise. The dog’s head and ears perked up, but the dog did not move from the bed.

Moments after the dog startled, King Pine returned to the living room in camera view. He appeared to be brushing his teeth. While brushing his teeth, he looked around as if he had heard a noise. He went off camera again. At 0915 hours, King Pine called 911 to report Riva’s injury. Pine was not on camera during the call.

At 0920, King Pine moved patio furniture away from the glass door that opens to the front patio from the workout room where Riva Pine presumably had been doing yoga. King Pine opened the front gate to allow access to the Long Beach Fire Department. At 0921 hours on the video, LB Fire arrived on scene.

After reviewing the video footage, detectives attended the autopsy of Riva Pine at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office. Dr. _____ performed the autopsy. Riva’s organs were harvested by Transplant Team prior to the autopsy.

After the autopsy, Detective Anderson wrote a second search warrant signed by the Honorable Judge _____ for the residence at _____ Starboard Street to search for any items in the workout room that could have caused the injury to the back of Riva’s head.

Detectives requested the assistance of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department Scientific Services Bureau to perform a Luminol test in the room to see if there was any type of blood-stained evidence remaining from the incident.

The exercise room was tested with the Luminol reagent. Four dumbbells, one drawer on the hutch, four areas on the floor, and one black, padded mat luminesced. These areas were tested with a presumptive chemical test for blood. All gave a negative result. No evidence items were collected.

The Luminol test was inconclusive.

Detectives also requested in the search warrant to view any documentation regarding residential ownership for _____ Starboard Street, bank accounts in the names of Riva Pine and King Pine, whole-life or term-life insurance policies for Riva Pine and King Pine, and all retirement or mutual fund accounts in the names of Riva Pine and King Pine.

Detectives viewed the following documents found inside the residence: Living trusts in the names of Riva Pine and Carl Johnson, a.k.a. Carlos Velasquez, a.k.a. King Pine, and the grant deed for the house at _____ Starboard Street. All legal documents were prepared by the law firm of Tommy Clinkscales on Atlantic Avenue in Long Beach.

Upon completion of the warrant, detectives contacted King Pine who was waiting at the home of _____ at _____ Starboard Street.

King Pine stated to detectives that he had possession of the workout clothing that Riva Pine had been wearing at the time of her injury. This clothing was in the white car belonging to Riva Pine. King Pine stated that the hospital had given him the clothes. I collected the clothing from the vehicle. The items were in a clear plastic bag, which I transported to the Long Beach Police Department’s Main Headquarters and placed into evidence. I did not observe any blood or bloodstains on the clothing in the bag.

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