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The Other Side


I have already covered much of what happened during that visit on May 5, 2006, but I have not allowed Sheila, Jared, and John to give their side.  In these closing (very lengthy) chapters you will be able to hear at least some of their account of things as given under oath.  To do that, we must jump forward to where I left off earlier, i.e. in June, 2009, when Jesse, Reinhard, Jeremy and I had just returned to the U.S. after six months overseas, both in Kenya and in the United Kingdom.

We were keen to hit the streets with Destroyers, the third title in the end-time trilogy.  But we had a pending court case against my family to deal with.  Reinhard had taken legal action against them in the civil courts, in order to recover lost money for his medical expenses.

We met Reinhard's lawyer, Gary Brown, at a Chinese restaurant near Temple City, where Reinhard had just submitted to a medical examination in relation to the attack.  Gary belonged to the Church of Scientology, something we had not known when Reinhard engaged him, but something that would work strongly in our favor.  Scientology lawyers are more or less the world's best lawyers in combating cult-busters and other hate sites which target minority religions.  Reinhard had chosen Gary because of his willingness to take the case without upfront fees.  Gary had agreed to just take a portion of what Reinhard won.  If Reinhard lost, he would not have to pay Gary anything.

Gary made a good first impression.  He came across as someone with integrity, unlike other lawyers we knew.  Though it profited him to support our position, he also showed an interest in my family's well-being.  Many questions were asked, in an effort to understand why they would carry out such a vicious attack.  We sensed some sincerity in Gary, which made dealings with him easier, even though there were a few points of difference along the way.

Jared had two lawyers representing him: Scott Mizen, and Neil Fraser.  Jared's insurance company (State Farm) had hired Mizen, who would represent their interests throughout the case.  I stress their interests, because their interests were (unbeknownst to Jared) not necessarily Jared's interests.  If the attack was some kind of an accident (even an accident triggered by temporary insanity) they would have to pay up.  But if it was a deliberate murder attempt, then Jared would have no right to make the insurance company pay for the damages (although the insurance company was unavoidably up for the costs of taking all this through the courts in order to determine who had to pay).  This issue of attempted murder vs temporary insanity was a vital factor in what followed with the case.  

A significant illustration of how this affected what the lawyers did, relates to the videotape of the final stages of the attack, which appears in the text with the first chapter of this book (and later in this chapter).  

When we, and then Gary, approached the Long Beach Police, trying to get a copy of that videotape, they claimed that they had lost it.  That video had been in their possession (along with a lot of other incriminating evidence against Jared and John) from the start of the case,  and yet it had never been presented in court nor had most of the other evidence.  Everything had been worked out between the Long Beach Police and my parents to get around any punishment for them, presumably on the basis that Reinhard belonged to a 'cult', and, as such, he deserved what he got.  

It seems that the same police who could not find the tape for Reinhard or his lawyer, had given a copy of the video (perhaps the only copy) to Jared, and he had stupidly shown it to his lawyers.  Mizen had apparently managed to convince my father that the videotape could be used to help him, probably by claiming that it would only implicate John, and not Jared.  Jared had the audacity to argue under oath that the tape showed him doing nothing wrong (a point vocally supported by Mizen at the time), even though it was patently obvious to anyone viewing the tape that Jared too was viciously attacking Reinhard in it.  

Once the tape was admitted as evidence, then Gary Brown, Reinhard's lawyer, was legally allowed to have access to it.  That video, of course, was overwhelming evidence that what had happened in front of the house on May 5, 2006, was, in no way, an accident, to be paid for by State Farm Insurance; rather it was a deliberate and conspiratorial attempt to kill Reinhard... exactly what State Farm needed to get off the hook.

Ironically, while Jared had this problem with his (State Farm Insurance) lawyer wanting to prove him guilty of attempted murder, Reinhard had a problem with his lawyer wanting to prove Jared guilty only of temporary insanity... so that he could collect from the insurance company.  Gary believed that it would be far more difficult to get money from Jared than from the insurance company.  At times, Jared's interests and Reinhard's interests were being lost in the midst of monetary concerns on the parts of the two lawyers.

Jared had hired Fraser on his own behalf.  Fraser had already helped Jared and John escape jail in the criminal courts despite the police having the video, several eye-witnesses, and medical reports detailing the extent of the injuries.  If Fraser could work such wonders in the criminal courts, Jared must have figured that it would be worth his money to have Fraser's support again in a civil court.  

Both of Jared's lawyers attended all of the depositions.  It was Reinhard's responsibility to attend all of the depositions as well.  He updated us on progress via text messages during breaks.

Depositions, for anyone who does not know, are kind of test runs for the actual trial itself, where the lawyers and the witnesses get a chance to hear the sort of questions and the sort of answers that are likely to come up during the trial.  What is said during the deposition can be used as evidence, and if a witness significantly changes their story later, they must explain to the judge and jury why they have done that.

There had apparently been a falling out between Jared and John over how to deal with the case.  Because John had no insurance, one of their options was to place all the blame on John, and do what they could to prove that Jared was an innocent bystander.  Obviously John was not happy with that approach; and because he could not afford a lawyer, he had to represent himself.  Nevertheless, Jared's lawyers (Mizen and Fraser) still came along to advise John about what to say.  They knew that if he said the wrong things it could cost them the case.  They did not want that to happen.

John kicked off the deposition by refusing to answer questions and then claiming to be ill.  At one point he went so far as to claim not to even be able to write.  After Gary made it clear that he would still have to do the deposition another day, John miraculously recovered.

Here are some of the opening exchanges between Gary and John:

Gary:  Prior to coming here today, did you sit down and talk to anybody about this deposition?

John:  About this deposition? Yes, my family. I talked to Sheila Johnson this morning, for approximately maybe 20 minutes.

Gary:  What did your mother tell you this morning?

John:  It's confidential, so I have to object.

Gary:  No, you have to answer me.  So please tell me what your mom told you this morning.

John:  I don't remember.

Gary:  Mr. Onyejiaka, when you tell me you don't remember something, that needs to be the truth too. It's not a convenient way to escape from telling the truth. And should you ever need to testify in a courtroom and should I be able to demonstrate that you used "I don't remember" as a convenient way of escaping telling the truth, I could reasonably argue to a judge or jury that you are not entitled to be believed at all.  Do you understand my point?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  With that in mind, do you recall anything about what your mother said this morning?

John:  Yes. She basically was just informing me about the deposition and how long it's going to take and just little things. 

Gary:  Did she tell you anything about what to say or not say?

John:  No.

Gary:  Did she tell you anything about your father's deposition?

John:  No.

Gary:  About how many times have you talked to Mr. Fraser? [Sheila and Jared's lawyer]

John:  About maybe three times.

Gary:  About how many times have you talked to Mr. Mizen? [Jared's insurance lawyer]

John:  Maybe about twice.

Gary:  Now I'd like to find out when you talked to Mr. Fraser. Can you tell me that?

John:  No, I don't remember.

Gary:  You have no recollection at all about when you talked to Mr. Fraser?

John:  No. Break time. I want to come back to the question after a break.

Gary:  Are you taking a break to talk to somebody?

John:  No, just a break to get some air.

Gary:  You can take a break to get some air, and as soon as you come back, I'm going to ask you if you talked to anybody. So go ahead and take your break.

[break held]

Gary:  Mr. Onyejiaka, did you speak to anyone during the break?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  Who did you speak to?

John:  I spoke to Fraser. Basically I just told him about needing a break and he said, "When you need a break, you can take a break."

Gary:  Okay, regarding your [earlier] discussions with Mr. Mizen, do you have any recollection of the content of any discussion with Mr. Mizen?

John:  No.

Gary:  How is it you remember having a discussion with Mr. Mizen but not knowing what you talked about?

John:  I don't remember.

Gary:  How is it you recall having had three discussions with Mr. Fraser but don't recall the content of any of them?

John:  Objection. 

Gary:  And your objection?

John:  I'm not sure. That's my answer. I'm not sure.

Gary:  Have you had discussions with your father, Jared Johnson, about this lawsuit?

No.

Gary:  So it's your testimony that you have never once talked to your father, Jared Johnson, about this lawsuit; is that correct?

John:  Correct.

What John did not realize was that there was nothing wrong with talking about the lawsuit, something he obviously would have discussed on many occasions with Jared and Sheila.  His exaggerations about not having talked with them at all only revealed that he had other things to hide, i.e. the content of those discussions.

John said that he had finished a community college course (which I don't think he did), and Gary asked him what the course of study was.

John:  Objection, confidential information.

Gary:  It's not. It's really not. What course of study?

John:  I don't remember.

Gary:  Now, you're showing exactly what I warned you about. You went to school and took courses and completed them. Certainly you know what you studied, and now you're using "I don't remember" as a way of hiding from it because you didn't want to answer the question. Isn't that true?

John:  Objection.

Gary:  What's your objection?

John:  Confidential.

Gary:  What do you think is confidential?

John:  What I studied in the past.

Gary:  I have told you that is not confidential. Mr. Fraser has volunteered that it's not confidential. You have not been to law school and yet you want to stand your grounds on the fact that it's confidential. I'm telling you you're making a mistake. I'm going to give you a chance now to correct that.

[Fraser] You may find yourself subject to sanctions if you don't answer these questions.

Gary:  Your choice.

John:  Okay, I'll answer.  Maintenance.

Gary:  Where are you employed?

John:  I work for myself. I do maintenance and tree trimming and things of that nature.

Gary:  And the maintenance work that you referred to, could you describe just generally what you mean by the word 'maintenance'?

John:  Cutting grass, trimming trees, things of that nature.

Gary:  Have you had any other jobs other than or beyond the maintenace work as you described it?

John:  No.

In fact, he later admits that he worked as a bouncer.

Gary:  Have you ever worked with your father?

John:  No. 

Gary:  So you've never done yard maintenance work together?

John:  A little.

Gary:  When did that happen?

John:  I don't remember.

Gary:  And how often did you do yard maintenance work together with your father?

John:  I don't know.


Gary went on to the topic of the Jesus Christians, and he challenged John about a reference to the Jesus Christians as a cult.  

Gary:  What does the word 'cult' mean?

John:  'Cult' is like a group of people that create their own religion out of things that they got from the church.

In fact, that was quite a reasonable definition, i.e. a new religious movement.  A broader definition would include any religious denomination.  As John has expressed it here, there is no mention of the particular group being bad at all.  But, of course, that is not the modern popular meaning of the word as you will see below.

Gary:  Where did you get that meaning from?

John:  Well, I saw different, dangerous cults on the movies. I can't remember which ones, but I had bad impressions of them.

Gary:  So you learned about cults from public movies?

John:  In the news and families, David Koresh and different types of cult leaders that were very dangerous.

Gary:  Who's David Koresh?

John:  The guy who went off and destroyed families in Waco, Texas. He was in books. He was just a monster.

Unfortunately, it isn't long before words like monster, dangerous, bad, and destroy pop up when using the word 'cult' in the modern context, as happened in this exchange. 

It is worth noting here that, despite John's singular lack of information on the subject, Gary's approach would have worked almost as well with a so-called cult expert too, since the word 'cult' is used almost universally these days as an insult, but with no agreed definition for exactly what it constitutes.  We each have some vague idea of what is being talked about, but when all the cards are on the table, all we would actually agree on is that the group being referred to as a cult is generally feared and hated.  It is why trained sociologists never use the term.  They prefer 'new religious movement' instead, and so-called cult experts, like Rick Ross, almost never refer personally to a group as a cult but only say that someone else has referred to the group as a cult.  In other words, their so-called expertise is almost 100% based on quoting other (almost always anonymous) sources.

Gary:  Did you ever look up the definition of the word "cult"?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  Did you see a definition of the word 'cult' that said it includes all organised religions?

John:  I don't remember.

Gary:  So perhaps you never really looked up the definition of 'cult'.  Correct?

John:  Objection.

Gary:  You really never looked up the word 'cult', isn't that true?

John:  Objection. It's argumentative.

Gary:  No, it's asking you for the truth. Pushy questions are allowed during cross-examination. Your mom was doing the research about the Jesus Christians, correct?

John:  Yes, correct.

Gary:  And she was telling you things about them, correct?

John:  Correct.

Gary:  By May 5 of 2006, you'd made up your mind that the Jesus Christians were bad people; is that correct?

John:  Correct.

Each time he felt himself backed into a corner, John would call for a break, to 'get some water'.  He claimed to suddenly feel dehydrated even though Gary later pointed out that there had been a bottle of water on the table in front of him all the time.  What he was almost certainly doing was going to Jared and to Jared's lawyers for a bit of coaching, something which is quite illegal.

Gary:  How did you try to find your brother, Joe, for the two weeks prior to May 5, 2006?

John:  We looked everywhere for him.

Gary:  I'm asking you what you did.

John:  Break time. Break. Break time. I'll come back to it.

Gary:  Let the record reflect that the witness and his father are leaving the room alone. 

(break held)

Gary:  What did you and your father talk about?

John:  We just talked about... I don't remember. I don't remember.

Gary:  Is that too long ago to remember?

John:  No, I just don't remember. We just basically talked about, I needed a little bit of water. I was getting dehydrated.

Gary:  I will point out to a judge and jury that that's your answer to my question. Is there anything else you can tell me about your conversation or no conversation outside the room during a break that's being timed, by the way. Just tell me if you can't remember anything from five minutes ago, just tell me that.

John:  I can remember. I just told him I was getting dehydrated and took some water right here.

Gary:  [repeating the previous question] What did you do to try to find your brother?

John:  We went and looked at them when they went to Stevens Middle School for the whipping trial. 

Gary:  Is that everything you did to try to find your brother prior to May 5, 2006?

John:  Yes. I let everybody know that he was in a cult, and then they saw Joe and Reinhard in the basketball gym in Long Beach.

Note that the 'whipping trial' occurred some six months after the attack, and John was apparently invited to attend by the Fox News crew.  What seems to be embarrassing John here, is that he did nothing to try to find me during the ten days in question, because they already knew that I had not been kidnapped and because they had been communicating with me by phone and email at the time.  He probably needed help from Jared because he did not want to say something that would contradict Jared and Sheila's plans to pretend that they had not been able to communicate with me during that time.

Gary:  What did [your mother] tell you with regard to Joe being missing?

John:  She just contacted the FBI and they were looking for Joe. She told me they found him in Kentucky and he was brainwashed.

Gary:  And what does that mean?

John:  That means when somebody hypnotizes a person to do some sort of missionary work.

Gary:  How do you hyponotize somebody?

John:  You just keep telling them about your beliefs until they fall for it.

Once again, John does quite an accurate job of explaining exactly what cult-busters mean when they say that someone has been hypnotized or brainwashed.  They mean that they have believed something that certain friends or relatives do not want them to believe.  That's it, pure and simple.  No gimmicks; no magic powers; no evil forces.  They just (in my case) believe something that their parents do not want them to believe.

Gary:  Sheila Johnson told you that Joe had been brainwashed; is that correct?

John:  Correct.

Gary:  That he had been found in Kentucky and he was found by the FBI?

John:  Correct.

Gary:  And did the FBI arrest anybody, to your knowledge?

John:  Not to my knowledge.

Gary:  Did they take your brother Joe into custody for any reason, to your knowledge?

John:  They questioned Joe.

Remember that, if I had been kidnapped, there would be no reason to arrest me.  And, of course, I was not arrested.  But John slips into giving an answer which attempts to suggest that I had done something wrong.  After all, that was the entire strategy behind falsely reporting me to be kidnapped, i.e. to get the police to hold me long enough for my parents to rush to the police station and take further steps to detain me.

Gary:  Did you ever talk to anybody who said they were a member of the FBI?

John:  No.

Gary:  So you didn't have any direct contact with the FBI about your brother Joe; am I correct?

John:  Through my mom.

Gary:  When was it that your mom told you that Joe was found in Kentucky and questioned by the FBI?

John:  A little before the incident.

John has confused time here.  I spoke to police officers in Kentucky telling them that I had not been kidnapped, several weeks after the attack.  We were in New Mexico and Arizona before the attack, and we came straight from there to Long Beach, where the incident took place.

Gary:  What else were you told about Joe by your mom?

John:  That he was brainwashed.

Gary:  Do you know how your mom was able to talk to Joe?

John:  On the telephone.

Gary:  So she told you she talked to Joe on the telephone?

John:  Yes. She told me the cult was holding him for ransom.

Gary:  Did she tell you whether Joe called her or she called him?

John:  She... he called her.

Of course in Sheila's testimony there is no phone call!

Finally, Gary asked John a few questions about Prince Sullivan, the cult-buster whom Sheila had rushed me to see after the attack.  John shared new information about Prince, which we had been unaware of.  He said that Sheila had made plans to fly Prince out to Kentucky to 'rescue' me in late May of 2006, after I had re-joined the Jesus Christians and after they had learned of my whereabouts through the FBI.  Note that this would have been after the FBI reported to them that I did not need 'rescuing'.  Once again, it appeared to be my own family (with help from a cult-buster) that was planning another kidnapping.  However, due to their uncertainty about how long I would remain in the area, they cancelled the idea.  

All of that fit in with our understanding of tactics used by cultbusters such as Rick Ross and Graham Baldwin, whom we were almost certain had instructed my parents to falsely report me as having been kidnapped in the first place.  There seemed to be no limits to what Sheila was willing to do to forcibly remove me from the Jesus Christians.

Gary:  How many times did you go to Pastor Prince's house before the incident?

John:  Maybe once. 

Gary:  And tell me who else is with you.

John:  Who else? Me and my mom. In Long Beach.

Gary:  Can you tell me, please, everything you remember about the conversations that took place in front of Pastor Prince's house.

John:  We basically were looking for Joe, and Pastor Prince was concerned and said he can help get Joseph out of the cult.

Gary:  Did Pastor Prince tell you how he thought he could get Joe out of the cult?

John:  He basically was telling us because he helped somebody get out before. He said he would like to find where Joseph was and talk to Joseph.

Gary:  On the day this conversation took place, had you already learned that the FBI had interviewed Joe?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  And did anybody tell Pastor Prince that the FBI had interviewed Joe?

John:  Yes, my mom.

Gary:  Did she do that while you were standing listening to them talk?

John:  Yes. She told me how Pastor Prince needed to talk with Joseph to talk him out of being in the JCs.

Gary:  Was it your mother who told you what happened with Pastor Prince?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  Were you there?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  Were you listening?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  Anybody make a plan to go to Kentucky to see him?

John:  Maybe.

Gary:  Well, you were standing there and I wasn't, so I'm asking you what was said. Did anybody make a plan while you were standing there to go to Kentucky and talk to Joe?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  Who?

John:  My mom and me.

Gary:  What was your plan?

John:  We were going to try to rescue Joseph.

Gary:  How were you going to do that?

John:  I don't know.

Gary:  Tell me what was the plan you talked about.

John:  Just involving Pastor Prince because he was a cult stopper.

Gary:  Did you have a discussion with anybody to go to Kentucky and rescue Joe?

John:  Yes, Pastor Prince.

Gary:  Did Pastor Prince say that he planned to drive to Kentucky?

John:  No, fly.

Gary:  Did anybody offer to buy him an airplane ticket?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  Who?

John:  My mom.

Gary:  Do you know if Pastor Prince ever flew to Kentucky?

John:  I don't know.

Note that John repeatedly mentions getting me "out of the cult".  Nothing about me being kidnapped.  From go to whoa it was all about getting me "out of the cult" and there never was any belief on their part or anyone else's (except maybe the FBI) that I had been kidnapped.

Now we get to the actual attack.  John said that the first thing he did when he arrived at the scene was to interrogate Reinhard, i.e. to ask him, "What are you doing here at my parents' house?  Are you trying to rob it?"  Then he says that he 'restrained' Reinhard, another word that he seemed to think would justify anything, including murder.

John:  I restrained Mr. Zeuner.

Gary:  How did you do that?

John:  I don't remember.

Gary:  Did you touch him?

John:  I don't remember.

Gary:  How did you restrain him?

John:  I don't remember.

Gary:  Tell me, sir, do you have any recollection of ever touching Mr. Zeuner?

John:  Break time.

Gary:  Is that because you don't want to answer the question?

John:  No, it's just I'm dehydrated. I need a lunch break.

Gary:  Drink your water. I'll sit here with you while you drink your water.

John:  No, I'm hungry too.

Gary:  I see. Perhaps are you running away from the question?

John:  No, I'm just hungry. Break time.

[lunch break]

Gary:  We're here after a lunch recess. Did you have plenty of water?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  And did you eat lunch in the company of your father?

John:  yes.

Gary:  What did you talk about?

John:  Just what we're going to eat for lunch.

Gary:  So you didn't talk about the lawsuit at all, correct?

John:  correct.

Gary:  Not a single word about this deposition; is that correct?

John:  Correct.

Gary:  Not a single thing having to do with the incident of May 5, 2006; is that correct?

John:  Correct.

Gary:  So you have no recollection of ever touching Mr. Zeuner; is that correct?

John:  Restraining. Let me correct that, 'restraining'.

Gary:  What does correcting it to 'restraining' mean?

John:  It means I was acting in self-defense.

Gary:  I see. So do you have recollection of touching Mr. Zeuner?

John:  Restraining.

Gary:  Sir, do you understand the word 'touching'?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  Did you ever lay a hand on Mr. Zeuner?

John:  To restrain him, yes.

Gary:  You do recall touching him; is that correct?

John:  Restraining.

Gary:  Sir, did you touch Mr. Zeuner with a fist?

John:  In a way. 

Gary:  In what way?

John:  Self-defence.

Gary:  Did you touch him with a fist?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  Did you touch him with your feet, either of your feet?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  When you touched Mr. Zeuner, at any point when you touched with Mr. Zeuner, was he lying on the ground?

John:  I don't remember.

Gary:  Do you remember touching him when he was standing up?

John:  In a way.

Gary:  What do you mean by 'in a way'?

John:  Self-defense.

Gary:  So are you saying yes, you touched him?

In self-defense, yes.

Gary:  Was it more than once when he was standing up?

John:  I believe so.

Gary:  Where was he standing when you touched him?

John:  He was right in the doorway. He was pulling my father and I restrained him.

Gary:  When is the next time you touched him?

John:  When I was restraining him away from the house.

Gary:  Did you ever move Mr. Zeuner to the sidewalk in front of your parents' house?

John:  I restrained him out of the house.

Gary:  Now, Mr. Onyejiaka you seem to think the word 'restrain' is meaningful in relationship to touch. Restrained is an attitude; touch is something you did. Do you see the difference?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  Good. I'm talking about touching, not what your attitude was. You touched Mr. Zeuner the first time when he was near the house, near the door, correct?

John:  Correct.

Good. The next time you touched him was to move him; am I correct?

John:  Correct.

Gary:  You moved him to the front sidewalk, didn't you?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  I'm gong to show you a picture of him lying on the front sidewalk with you standing over him. Do you recall that event?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  Have you ever seen a video of any part of the incident?

John:  I don't remember.

Gary:  Do you remember being shown a video of any part of the incident by your father?

John:  No.

Gary:  Do you remember being shown a video of any part of the incident by either of the lawyers sitting to your left?

John:  I don't remember.

Gary:  Really? Do you remember anybody showing you a video?

John:  I don't remember.

Gary:  No memory of being shown a video. If you were shown a video that showed you beating Mr. Zeuner, would you be willing to remember it?

John:  Objection.  I don't know.

[After watching the video.]

Gary:  Do you agree that you were throwing punches in this video?

John:  Self-defense.

Gary:  You are talking about your attitude, sir. I'm talking about your fists. Were you throwing punches?

John:  A little bit.

Gary:  And you call that a little bit?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  And toward whom were you throwing the punches?

John:  Toward the cult.

Gary:  Who were you throwing the punches against?

John:  Against the cult.

Gary:  Who?

John:  I don't recall.

Here we are given yet another chilling picture of how the word 'cult' acts to dehumanize individuals.  It could just as easily have been me that John was kicking in the face, in his aggression against 'the cult'.  Everything was justified on the basis of one simple word.

Gary:  Do you remember kicking him too?

John:  In self-defense.

Gary:  That's your attitude, sir. Did you kick him?

John:  A little bit.

Gary:  A little bit? Let's look at the video again. Just want to make sure that this is a little bit. See that kick?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  I'll run it again for you. See that kick?

John:  A little bit.

Gary:  Now I understand what you mean by 'a little bit'. Did you see Mr. Kronmiller in the video?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  What did you see him doing?

John:  He was trespassing.

Gary:  Where was he standing that was trespassing?

John:  He was in front of the house.

Gary:  Okay. Let's take another look at this video. Now, I have stopped the video and you see Mr. Kronmiller on the left? And you see Mr. Zeuner lying on the ground?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  Is that on the public sidewalk?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  Well, let's take a closer look. Can you see the object right behind the curb? Is that a bus bench?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  You're not sure. Can you see the red curb?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  If you got closer to the computer screen, could you perhaps see it better?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  With regard to Mr. Zeuner lying on the ground, did you see him throw a punch or kick while you were beating him with your hands and kicking him with your feet?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  Is this how you were taught to fight in self-defense?

John:  Objection.

Gary:  Do you know what a coward is, sir?

John:  No.

Gary:  Have you ever seen a coward?

John:  Some people that stole my brother are cowards.

Gary:  Really? Have you ever seen a coward in a fight?

John:  I'm not sure. I don't look for cowards.

Gary:  Doesn't that look like a coward?

John:  Objection.

Gary:  You may have an objection, sir, but I have an objection too. Isn't that a coward beating a man who's down and unconscious?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  I am.  [Now, prior to coming here today] you were asked to admit that you saw Reinhard Zeuner was injured because of the beating you administered, and you denied it. Do you still deny it?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  So you deny that you harmed Reinhard Zeuner in any way on May 5, 2006?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  Now, on May 5, 2006, you were coming to the aid of your father. You were cooperating with him to get these guys off his property; is that correct?

John:  Correct.

Gary:  And that was because your mother asked you to do it; is that correct?

John:  I don't know.

Gary:  Did she call you and ask you to come and help?

John:  She called me and asked me to come and see what's going on.

Gary:  Did she call and ask you to bring a camera?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  Did she call and ask you to call 911?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  Did she call and ask you to beat up anybody?

John:  I'm not sure. She called me to come and see what's going on.

Gary:  Just to come and take a look?

John:  Yes.

Gary:  Have you ever been in a fight before which involved your father and you on the same team?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  Did you ever come to the defense of your father before in a fighting situation?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  So you have no memory of saving your dad from a situation where he was in a scuffle with somebody and you came to help him?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  Can you remember yourself being in a scuffle with another human being? any kind of a fist fight ever? apart from the incident we're talking about?

John:  I can't remember.

Finally, Gary tries to determine how much force John felt he was entitled to use in 'restraining' Reinhard and 'protecting his family'.  It came out elsewhere in the course of the interview that John actually works as a bouncer, although probably not legally.  That comes up again in this final bit of questioning by Gary.

Gary:  The video shows you throwing punches. Do you believe those punches were necessary?

John:  A little bit.

Gary:  Why?

John:  To protect my family.

Gary:  Did you have the opinion that you could kill somebody for invading your parents' home?

John:  Let's take a break. Break time.

What Gary is getting at here is that my half-brother, John Onyejiaka, even to this day, believes that he is ENTITLED to kill someone in the name of his family. Even though he had shown no compunctions about lying throughout the deposition, he could not even bring himself to say that he did not feel entitled to kill Reinhard.  And my family appears to support him in this.  Even after taking a break, John continues to avoid answering the question about whether or not he felt he had a right to kill Reinhard... a very strong indication that murder had been his intent on the day of the attack. 

Gary:  What did you believe you could do to help your parents protect their home?

John:  I believe I was protecting my parents because I'm a bouncer at clubs and I have training in protection.

Gary:  What did you believe you could do to protect your parents' home?

John:  Things I was trained in as a bouncer.

Gary:  Did you use only those things you were trained to do as a bouncer to protect your family?

John:  I don't know.

Gary:  As a bouncer were you trained to kick people?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  What are you not sure about?

John:  I'm not sure if I was trained properly.

Gary:  I'm asking you whether you were trained to kick people?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  Where did you go to school to train as a bouncer?

John:  Club Blue.

Gary:  Who trained you to be a bouncer at Club Blue?

John:  The owners and the other bouncers.

Gary:  Who was the owner at that time?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  Who were the other bouncers that trained you at Club Blue?

John:  I don't remember.

Gary:  Can you tell me something about them so I can find them?

John:  I can't.

Gary:  Did you ever get approved by the police department as a bouncer?

John:  I'm not sure.

Gary:  Did you ever apply for registration as a security guard?

John:  I don't remember.

Gary:  So you don't remember any of this stuff, but you remember that on the 5th of May, 2006, you were using your training as a bouncer to protect your family; is that correct?

John:  Correct.

Gary:  Regarding the application of your training as a bouncer to protect your family, tell me what you thought you could do.

John:  Restrain the enemy.

Gary:  Tell me how you restrained the enemy.

John:  Keeping them away from my parents.

Gary: You couldn't kill them, right?

John:  I don't know.

Gary:  You're not sure whether you could kill them or not; is that correct?

I don't know.

Gary:  So on May 5 of 2006, as you were protecting your parents and restraining the enemy, one of the possibilities was you could kill them; is that correct?

John:  I don't know.

After John's deposition, Gary and Reinhard met up with us at the Denny's diner where we had parked the vehicle, to share about how things had gone.  Reinhard shared that it frightened him being forced to sit in a room next to two men who had tried to kill him three years before.  It was a relief that at least the first round was over. 

Sheila's deposition was scheduled to begin the following week.

Click here to read Part 17 of Joe's Story

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