Dave Rice 7:21 a.m., May 21
Jury deliberates case against two Border Patrol agents
Judge already dismissed two counts, in the misdemeanor trial
After more than a day of deliberation, a jury is still considering the facts in the trial of two Border Patrol agents who are accused of lewd acts in public and then attacking a witness who complained.
Kallie Lamb Helwig, 25, and Gerald Joseph Torello, 35, have pleaded not guilty to charges that they performed sex acts during a circus performance at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and then battered a woman who tried to summon an usher.
In a surprise move, mid-trial, the judge dismissed two misdemeanor counts; those counts were “annoy child” – charged against both defendants, and the other count was “criminal threat.” (There were children seated nearby when the alleged sex acts were occurring, according to testimony.) Superior Court Judge Harry Elias dismissed the one criminal threat accusation, which was charged against only Gerald Torello; this charge was based on an allegation that Torello threatened to “kill” someone, if that person spoke to his female companion again.
The alleged incidents occurred during the final performance of a Cirque du Soleil event, on a Sunday evening, May 27, 2012. Both defendants have remained at liberty.
Prosecutor Tracy Prior charged all counts as misdemeanors, she declined to make a plea deal, and saw the case through trial.
Both defendants took the witness box in their own defense. Kallie Helwig admitted punching the alleged victim at least three times in the head, because “I felt threatened.” Gerald Torello denied that he was present when Kallie Helwig slugged and hair-pulled and grappled with the alleged victim. Torello is charged with battery as an aider and abettor; he is accused of calling out encouragement to Helwig during the confrontation.
The jury of nine women and three men heard three full days of testimony and then began deliberations late Thursday, February 7. The jury is expected to resume Monday morning, February 11, in San Diego’s North County superior courthouse.