Closing arguments scheduled to begin Friday morning
(Albuquerque) After calling just two witnesses, the defense rested its case Wednesday in the Linda Henning murder trial. The trial takes a day off Thursday while the attorneys and judge meet to discuss jury instructions and other “housekeeping” matters. Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Friday morning.
The state spent several hours Wednesday cross-examining defense witness Diazien Hossencofft. Hossencofft seemed to relish the opportunity to match wits with prosecutor Jack Burkhead. The convicted murderer seemed to ride an emotional roller coaster of anger and glee throughout the day.
Burkhead set-out to rip into Hossencofft’s testimony, intent on exposing lies and inconsistencies. For example, Hossencofft says he went into the victim’s apartment to remove forensic evidence after Bill Miller kidnapped Girly Chew Hossencofft. Hossencofft claims to be a forensic expert. Burkhead told Hossencofft he made a lot of mistakes “for a guy who knows so much about forensics.” The prosecutor rifled-off a long list of evidence left at the scene, “You missed cat hair, dog hair….deer hair, dyed deer hair, art sand, glitter.”
Burkhead also wondered why Hossencofft would even bother to clean-up the blood in Girly’s apartment. Hossencofft had testified he believed it was Girly’s blood. Hossencofft responded that he had to clean-up the mess left behind by Miller to keep Miller from getting caught. He said, if caught, Miller might turn him in. Hossencofft stressed he wasn’t protecting Miller, but simply trying to save his own skin. Burkhead said that didn’t make any sense, as Hossencofft believed the blood was Girly’s, not Miller’s.
The state also questioned Hossencofft about some of the estimated 2,500 letters exchanged between Hossencofft and Henning while both were in jail. “Unless they find a body…they have no hope of convicting us,” Burkhead read aloud an excerpt from a letter written by Hossencofft. Hossencofft explained that both he and Henning were in custody and charged with crimes when he wrote the letter. In that context, he argued, the letter is not incriminating.
In another letter, Hossencofft writes to Henning that Bill Miller is a good scapegoat.
Earlier in the day, the prosecution wasted little time attacking Hossencofft’s credibility on several fronts. There was questioning about his former roommate and alleged “bodyguard,” Dwayne Baker. Hossencofft agreed with Burkhead’s analysis that Baker seemed like a younger version of Bill Miller. The prosecution says Hossencofft once talked to Baker about the “disposing of bodies.” “Didn’t you tell him (Baker), without a body, there is no evidence. With no evidence, there is no crime?”
Baker’s told investigators that Hossencofft claimed to have graduated from the University of Tokyo at the age of 12. He’s also told police that Hossencofft diagnosed him with AIDS. Years later, Baker learned it was a bogus diagnosis. Hossencofft is not a doctor.
Other names long-associated with the case files also emerged in courtroom testimony Wednesday, including Doyle Monk and the late Sunny Blake (pseudonym).
Monk was Hossencofft’s cell mate in Estancia, New Mexico after Hossencofft was arrested in South Carolina. He’s told police that Hossencofft told him details of the murder. Hossencofft argued Wednesday that Monk’s word is no good because of his criminal history.
Hossencofft does not argue that he received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Blake of Santa Fe prior to her death in 1996. He estimates the total amount to be between 400-thousand and a million dollars. However, he says every dollar was a “gift.” Prosecutors say Hossencofft conned the woman into believing that he could save her from breast cancer and gave her injections of his mysterious medicine (believed to have been vitamin B-12). Hossencofft says the money was not payment for any medical treatment.
Records show that Blake, a wealthy benefactor, wrote Hossencofft numerous checks. As Burkhead read aloud some of the dollar amounts, Hossencofft explained where the money went. He says he used a check for $10,879 to travel to Banff, Canada (the prosecution says that is where he conceived his son, Demetri, with a Japanese woman). Hossencofft says a check for $8,786 paid for a trip to California. He says he seems to recall that a check for $10,986 was used for travelling to Hawaii. A check for $13,289, he says, paid for computers. The list went on.
Hossencofft also seemed to depart ways with Henning, who could get the death penalty if convicted. “It is not my concern,” he said. Speaking of both Henning and Miller, he said, “They’re on their own.”
Hossencofft video clip
After testifying Wednesday, Hossencofft was transported to the nearby Bernalillo County Detention Center. This nine-second video shows him at the end of a line of inmates as they walk into the jail. He’s the only one wearing the red “High Risk” prisoner uniform. You’ll hear my question, but will find it hard to hear him in the distance because of nearby traffic on a busy street.
Here, though, is the brief transcript:
Horner: “Diazien, anything to say today?”
Hossencofft: “Yeah, just come see me in Wyoming. (inaudible).”
The exchange immediately reminded me of January 14, 2000. Hossencofft asked me to come see him in jail at that time, too. It’s a request he made several times. Each time, however, he backed-out or his attorney would not permit it. Eventually, he stated he wanted to be paid for interviews. I don’t pay for interviews.
Hossencofft will be returned to Wyoming where he is serving a life sentence for the murder of his estranged wife.