Laura Dvorak 5:47 p.m., Dec. 6
Driver took the blame for cops shooting his passenger
Brian Lee Olsen made a plea deal after nearly six years in custody
A man held in custody almost six years awaiting trial on a murder charge made a plea deal admitting manslaughter.
Brian Lee Olsen, 40, was charged with murder after police shot and killed the female passenger in his car the night of November 1, 2007. Olsen made his plea deal on September 9, 2013.
Olsen was also charged with three counts of assault-with-a-deadly-weapon for reportedly driving his car towards police when he attempted to flee. San Diego County prosecutors described Olsen as driving towards multiple officers and ramming and damaging four cars and injuring one officer.
It was already dark at 7:46 p.m. when Brian Lee Olsen left his home on Olive Avenue in Carlsbad, California. Olsen was with a woman who was the wife of a gangster, according to sources. Brian Lee Olsen, then 34, and his female companion Esther Elizabeth Evans, 22, were allegedly members or associates of the same gang, called PEN1.
(PEN1 stands for Public Enemy Number One. Police have described this gang as “an unusual hybrid” of a skinhead gang and street gang and prison gang. In the year 2006, that gang reportedly had a “hit list” containing the names of one prosecutor and five police officers in Orange County, according to certain sources.)
There were at least three unmarked cars containing undercover peace officers from Costa Mesa, which arrived that November night. In early statements, police claimed they did not see the female get into the passenger side of Olsen’s car, parked in his drive.
Two law enforcement vehicles pulled up behind Olsen’s vehicle.“It was night time and the officers’ vehicles did not have the lights turned on,” according to statements of defense attorneys. “Defendant was already backing his vehicle out of the driveway.” Police later stated they came for Olsen because he failed to check in with his parole officer.
Brian Olsen believed he was being rushed by the woman’s husband or other PEN1 gangsters, his attorneys asserted. “Defendant believed he was under attack and backed down the cul de sac to escape;” attorneys’ statements are found in the court file.
“Officers opened fire,” one attorney stated, and “twenty-seven (27) rounds were discharged and every round went into the passenger side of defendant’s vehicle.”
One bullet entered Esther Evans’ right ear, it traveled from front to back and right to left. The young woman was kept alive for two days preparing for organ donation before she was declared dead at hospital.
The officers claimed they identified themselves before Olsen tried to ram them with his car. At least one civilian witness made a statement that he was not able to tell it was policemen who were rushing the Chevy Tahoe backing out of the driveway.
Olsen’s defense attorney Mark Fredrick stated: “The police acted outrageously and used excessive force and have fabricated a story.” The attorney claimed that certain officers from Orange County colluded to concoct facts and commit perjury and cover up wrongful actions.
Brian Lee Olsen pleaded guilty last week to voluntary manslaughter and two counts of assault on peace officers using a deadly weapon – his vehicle. Olsen made a deal the day before jury selection was to start, on September 9, 2013.
In San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse, the Honorable Judge Harry Elias immediately sentenced Olsen to 13 years and 8 months prison, per the agreement. Brian Lee Olsen has been held in the Vista jail almost six years; a probation clerk calculated he has 4,277 days “custody credits” so far.
When the shooting incident was first reported in 2007, the accused was named as Brian Lee Olsen, but soon that name was declared to be an alias and he was prosecuted under the name Ronald Jay Sisson. During the plea deal hearing, the defendant stated that his real name remains Brian Lee Olsen.
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