Today, as the prosecution neared the end of its case against Jason Anthony Warren, the jury heard evidence of crimes committed more than a decade earlier, crimes with disturbing and uncanny parallels to those for which Warren is now being tried.

A former cab driver took the stand and recalled an incident from the early morning hours of April 10, 2001, in which he was repeatedly stabbed by his fare in the back seat, seemingly out of nowhere. The crime harkened back to the murder of Hoopa woman Dorothy Ulrich, who Warren allegedly stabbed and bludgeoned to death, without any apparent provocation, on Sept. 27, 2012.

On April 10, 2001, following the brutal stabbing, the assailant stole the cab and took a back road toward Arcata. After the Ulrich murder, Warren allegedly stole the Kia Specta she’d been driving and headed toward Arcata.

On April 10, 2001, another witness testified, he and a friend were riding their bikes on the shoulder of the road when they were struck from behind by the stolen cab, which swerved into the bike lane, sped up just before impact and then fled the scene. In the current case, Warren is alleged to have used the Kia Spectra to deliberately run down three women from behind, killing one and badly injuring the other two before fleeing the scene. An expert testified today that the Kia showed no signs of braking before it struck the runners in the southbound shoulder.

There were even similarities in the physical evidence. After the man on his bike was struck from behind in 2001, he recovered the side-view mirror from the car that struck him. It had fallen off along the side of the road, just like the 2012 incident, in which a mirror found at the site of the collision was later matched up with the Kia, which had been abandoned in Eureka.

Warren’s name has yet to be linked to the 2001 events in the courtroom, but it almost certainly will be. Warren was convicted of attempted murder in 2001, when he was just 16 years old. And today Judge Timothy Cissna reminded the jury of something they’d been told during the voir dire portion of the trial — namely that testimony regarding events alleged to have occurred in 2001 must be considered for a limited purpose only. The judge didn’t elaborate today, saying only that there will be further instructions later. However, earlier in proceedings the jury was told that these events shouldn’t be used to make judgments about Warren’s character; rather the testimony should only viewed as evidence of Warren’s state of mind — a distinction that would likely prove challenging for any jury to make.

The day of testimony began with a surprise, as jurors and everyone else in attendance entered the courtroom to find a familiar face sitting in the witness stand: that of Eddie Koch.

Koch was clad in the trademark orange jumpsuit of a jail inmate because last time he was seen, back on on Nov. 9, he vanished from the courthouse during a brief court recess. A warrant was issued for his arrest the following day, and the District Attorney’s Office finally caught up with him yesterday at 4:50 p.m. He was brought back to finish his testimony concerning Warren, whom he had identified as his best friend.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Koch proved to be a difficult witness, behaving by turns bored, uncomfortable and peevish. The 25-year-old was asked by prosecutor Paul Sequeira to recount some of his earlier testimony about the morning of Sept. 27, 2012, in the hours after Warren is alleged to have murdered Dorothy Ulrich in Hoopa and later run down three women and a dog on Myrtle Ave. north of Eureka, killing Suzanne Seemann and the dog and seriously injuring the other two women, Terri Vroman Little and Jessica Hunt.

Koch had testified on Nov. 9 that Warren showed up at his grandparents’ house early that morning, tapping on the bedroom window where Koch was staying and coming inside. But in today’s testimony, Koch repeatedly said he couldn’t recall details from that morning, such as Warren’s behavior and attire, the timeline of events or his statements to law enforcement after the fact.

Sequeira methodically asked Koch for details, despite the evasive responses. More than once Koch protested that he didn’t remember because it all happened three years ago. All Sequeira was able to nail down was that Warren had been to Koch’s grandparents’ house that morning, stayed for a number of hours, probably didn’t shower or change clothes and left with his wife sometime in the afternoon.

Defense attorney Glenn Brown had no questions for Koch.

If Koch’s demeanor was difficult, the next witness, former cab driver Cid Miller, was downright hostile. Skinny and dingy, Miller was led into the courtroom by a bailiff. He took the oath and a seat on the witness stand, and with prompting from Sequeira explained that he’s now a maintenance worker at an apartment building in Seattle. In 2001, Miller said, he was working the graveyard shift for City Cab in Eureka.

Sequeira asked what hours the graveyard shift entails, and Miller’s irritation boiled over for the first time.

“It’s pretty basic, man,” he said. “Six [p.m.] to, like, 2 [a.m.].”

Sequeira pressed on, asking if Miller would pick up fares and drive them where they wanted to go.

“Yeah, that’s what cab drivers do,” Miller snarked, shooting the prosecutor an icy glare. Sequeira tried to put him at ease, explaining that he was only asking questions for the benefit of the jury. “It feels like an interrogation,” Miller responded.

The witness’s antagonistic demeanor continued throughout his testimony. He recounted picking up a male fare sometime between 2 a.m. and 2:20 a.m. on April 10, 2001. What was the man wearing?

“He was dressed like you,” Miller said to Sequeira.

“He was wearing a suit and tie?” Sequeira asked.

Miller gave him a withering look for a beat. “Seriously?” he said. “C’mon, man.” Just normal clothes, he said. Miller picked up the male passenger at the Best Western in Eureka, then took him to Fields Landing to look for someone (unsuccessfully) and finally drove him up to McKinleyville, he testified.

Once there, the fare couldn’t figure out where he wanted to go, and so Miller drove the cab around in circles for five minutes or more, he said. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the guy “reached over and stabbed me in my chest, back and arm while I was trying to get out” of the moving car.

Miller offered to show his scars, but Sequeira replied that it wasn’t necessary. “We believe you,” he said.

“Sound like you don’t,” Miller sneered.

Continuing, he said he finally managed to get his seatbelt off and roll out of the car, which was still moving at roughly 25 miles per hour. Bleeding profusely, he made his way to a nearby house and knocked on the door, but the residents wouldn’t let him in, he said. The next thing he remembers is waking up in the hospital.

Sequeira asked Miller if he’d had any kind of argument with his fare, or if the attack took him by surprise.

Miller stared at him for an even longer beat this time before replying, “Is that a real question?” 

Sequeira assured him that it was. The attack came out of nowhere, Miller replied. Sequeira asked if he knew of any reason why the guy would stab him, and for the first time Miller seemed contemplative.

“I’ve often wondered about that,” he said, “but no.”

In the afternoon, an expert with the California Highway Patrol’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) testified at length about the physics of the collision with the three joggers. The expert, Sgt. Christopher Dalin, explained the methods he used to analyzed the physical evidence and recreate the specifics of the event, including the direction the car was traveling, its estimated velocity as it struck the runners, which parts of the car struck each of the three women, and the ways in which their bodies bent and caromed off the vehicle.

The car was “most certainly” traveling faster than 25 miles per hour, perhaps as fast as 40 miles per hour, going northbound, at least partially in the southbound shoulder, and the physical evidence was “typical of an un-braked vehicle,” Dalin said. His opinion was that the car did not brake before or during impact, saying the supporting evidence for that conclusion was “almost textbook.”

The next witness was Fred Her, a Hmong man who testified through an interpreter. Her was the cyclist struck by the stolen cab in 2001, and in his testimony he recalled riding with his friend on the shoulder of Spear Ave. (Her actually thought it was Janes Rd., but the true location was evident thanks to a diagram he drew for the court, complete with landmarks such as Mad River Hospital and the gas station on the corner of Spear and Alliance.)

Her recalled seeing headlights behind him and steering toward the right side of the shoulder before the car struck him, hitting his bike seat, buttocks and handlebars. “I heard a car [and] sounds like accelerating,” he said through the interpreter. “I saw it move in my direction from the car lane to the bicycle lane.”

He noted that it was a white Ford with blue writing on the door. Her was bruised and had a sore hand after the collision, but he didn’t seek medical treatment. He did, however, contact the Arcata Police Department, and former APD officer Edward Wilson corroborated Her’s account of finding the car’s side-view mirror near the site of the hit-and-run.

Once the day’s testimony wrapped up, Judge Timothy Cissna told the jury that the prosecution will likely rest its case by mid-morning Thursday. There will be a break of more than a week for Thanksgiving, and on the following Monday defense attorney Glenn Brown is scheduled to mount his defense. In what seems like an inauspicious sign for the defense, Cissna said that portion of the trial will take less than a day.