Janina Hardoy was 24 years old when last seen around the Oceanside Pier, quoting the Bible to homeless people; a couple of months later, in early 2005, she was reported missing from her rented Oceanside home.
On February 5, police went to make a welfare check at about 10:00 p.m. They found disturbing trace evidence in Janina’s bedroom and that night arrested her ex-boyfriend and roommate, Joaquin Martinez, then 27. Joaquin has a prominent, exaggerated lower jaw, which is probably how he got his nickname “Jaws.”
Now 32, he testified on his own behalf during his murder trial earlier this year.
Both prosecution and defense attorneys referred to “tweaker logic” in an effort to explain the behavior of the witnesses.
A woman named Maria, who had befriended Janina, remained in the witness box for more than four hours. She said she met Janina while working at a 7-Eleven in Oceanside: “[Janina] came in, and she had, like, a Rasta hat on, and I kind of figured that she smoked marijuana. And I smoked marijuana as well. So she seemed pretty cool, and I decided to hang out with her.”
They met several times a week at the home Janina rented on East Parker Street in Oceanside. According to Maria, “We’d usually just smoke pot and drink Mad Dog 20/20. It’s, like, cheap wine, but that’s what got us drunk. And we laughed and smoked weed and chilled like normal kids. Janina had a nice female roommate. It was cool.”
But around Christmas of 2004 the atmosphere at the house, and the people who stayed at the house, started to change. Good-hearted Janina invited homeless people to take shelter in her rented home.
“Yeah, anybody off the street, she would help anybody. The con type, kind of gang-member type. The tough-asses, you know. Younger guys… It went downhill. Some of her stuff was stolen, sold off for drugs. Every time I’d come back over after my job, I noticed more stuff disappearing. It [ended up being] really like a flophouse, pretty much.”
The nice female roommate moved out, and a man named Joaquin — called Jaws — moved in. Janina and Jaws became intimate. They were together for perhaps a month.
Jaws took a leadership role in the house. As far as anybody did, he was the one who gave orders regarding who was going to do what and when. Maria described him as “most calm and cool and collective [sic]. Unless provoked.”
Then a woman named Alice moved in. Janina’s new boyfriend Jaws swiftly switched affections to this new woman. How long did it take? “I would say seconds,” said Maria. “Once Alice moved in, there was crap. In terms of living arrangements, [Jaws] still stayed in [Janina’s] room. But Janina, she was obviously against it. I mean, living under your roof, and you’ve got the guy that you were banging, you know, with some other chick in another room.”
Another drug addict who moved in was named Mohammed, or Moe. Maria knew Moe from Oceanside High School. He wasn’t the first addict to move into the house on East Parker Street.
“Once crystal meth came into the house, everything went downhill,” Maria testified. “And a few of them did heroin, so, you know.” Janina started doing the harder drugs after her home filled with street addicts. She became a smoker of crystal meth. “And when that wasn’t enough, she wanted to do what everybody else was doing and decided to start slamming.” Slamming means injecting, Maria told the court. “As Janina smoked crystal meth and weed and we drank, she got more curious and wanted to be…with the people that were doing that, and that’s when things started to disappear. And people were selling her stuff off. I don’t know if she was aware of it.”
Janina did not abandon her group of rescued druggies. “She had such a big heart to help people,” Maria said, “but at the same time, not the brains to stop doing the drugs.”
Toward the end of 2004 and into the beginning of 2005, the addicts at the house began robbing banks. And how was Maria aware of this? “For one reason, criminals aren’t the smartest. We like to brag. So there was bragging going on. There was counting of stacks of bills inside the back bedroom and Moe’s room. Bank bags. They had painted the garage white, whited out the windows, and the truck sat there.” This was Alice’s white truck, which had been used in at least one of the bank jobs. “And then I had overheard…they trusted every one of us in there, so…it was not a secret.” The drug addicts told Janina the money would go toward her rent.
Janina became a nag in her own home. “She had to know everything that was going on…She was kind of like the Barney of the group, the one that got left out, you know? I’d try to include her, try to take her away, but she was just so stubborn. Wanted to stay there. Wanted to be with the group. Wanted to help. She always threatened, when she wouldn’t get her way, that she was going to call the police and she didn’t care what happened.”
The street people in the house began to talk about how annoying Janina was. “We all did,” Maria admitted. They joked about how somebody should overdose her. And in her depressed moments, Janina made comments about how she’d like to take a couple of grams of heroin and overdose.
“I knew she had to get out of there,” Maria said, “especially with her running her mouth about telling the cops stuff. I took her aside. All those guys were smoking crystal meth in Alice’s room. I sat her outside. I said, ‘It’s time for you to go. Something is not right.’” But Janina wouldn’t listen.
At some point the people staying at the house took a room at a nearby motel. “I was told it was to avoid the conflict,” Maria said. And who was with Janina? “No one but her dog.” Janina had a puppy she’d adopted from an animal shelter.
On February 4, 2005, Maria got a phone call to come pick up Moe, who had just bailed out of jail. She picked him up at a grocery store across the street from the Vista jail. It was around 9:00 p.m. “I asked him where Janina was and what was going on, ’cause I hadn’t been around. And he told me that I didn’t have to worry about her, ’cause where she was, she’d be black and blue. And I didn’t speak another word after that, and I just drove him there. Then I knew something was wrong.”
Sometime after, Maria gave another ride to a group of her pals. “I picked them up from the hotel. I remember going into the house at East Parker, and everything was trashed. The dog had defecated all over the place. It looked like someone ransacked the place.” Janina wasn’t there. “But I know she wouldn’t go anywhere without that dog.”
The door to Janina’s room was closed. “As I proceeded to enter the room, it was spotless. Her stuff was gone. The only room in that place that was clean was her room, and I thought that was kind of odd. I proceeded to be nosy and I started checking closets, and the one closest to the door, I opened up, and I saw trash bags. I opened one, and I saw her stuff in it. I just knew then that something had gone wrong.”
On February 5, during the day Maria hung around the house on East Parker Street. The roomies were cleaning up. Jaws ordered Moe to do certain chores.
“He was cleaning out his Mustang [and] Jaws was telling him to hurry up. I was sitting there chilling, smoking a bowl with Alice. So it was just the four of us there. And the day went on. He — I mean, Moe — had taken off. I got a call later on that day that his car had broke down. Out toward Fallbrook. I volunteered like I usually do, because I love to drive.”
Maria drove to a park-and-ride, near where Highway 76 and Interstate 15 intersect. “There’s a gas station where he gave me five bucks for gas.” Moe took things out of his Mustang — a duffel bag, blankets, a bug-sprayer — and put them into Maria’s car. “He wouldn’t let me help him.”
Moe directed Maria to back her car onto a small, gravelly area nearby. He took out a black backpack and put it on the ground, about ten feet behind Maria’s car. “And he put the backpack right here and tried to light it.” Moe refused to let her get out of her car. “It was light out,” she said. “I looked in my rear-view mirror.” Maria clearly saw Moe trying to light something on fire. “It looked like it was smoldering.”
Maria recognized Janina’s favorite backpack. “It was a Dickies backpack.” The prosecutor produced the same black backpack in court; it had a burned or melted hole in it.
Then Moe got into the car and told Maria to drive him to his car, which started immediately. He instructed Maria to drive back to the East Parker Street house, “’cause he said he might break down, so to follow him.” Also, Maria had his stuff in her car. Back in Oceanside, “He parked the Mustang down the street.”
Overcome with curiosity about what had been in the backpack, Maria decided to return to it. “I had to know.” She brought Alice with her to the place near the intersection of Highways 76 and 15. “The backpack was still sitting there.” When Maria felt the bag, it seemed there might be body parts inside. And whose body parts did she think they might be? “I wasn’t sure, because they had taxed so many people. I wasn’t sure.” Maria became agitated in the witness box and spoke rapidly. She choked on her words.
“I had to be nosy and open it. I saw a bag [inside]. Alice opened it, the bag, and it was another bag. But there was a bloody flannel shirt in there and then a bank bag. I didn’t know it was a bank bag until later. And just blood. And I just panicked. I knew something was down. I didn’t know what, but I knew something was going to go on, and I didn’t want to be responsible for it, even though it was already too late.”
The women, high on drugs, put the bag in the trunk of Maria’s Toyota Tercel. “And I panicked. And I watched too much TV. So I decided to get vinyl gloves, bleach, and hydrogen peroxide, to try to get my fingerprints off of everything so that I wouldn’t be charged with anything.
“I was tweaking out, yes.”
They drove to a Walmart and bought cleanup supplies. “Alice knew of a trailer park that was abandoned in Vista, and she and I went there. It was nighttime.” They dumped the contents of the backpack into a plastic laundry tub they had bought and poured the bleach and peroxide on them. “We panicked, and I was afraid to touch it.” Alice stuffed everything back into the backpack. “And then as we were driving out, [Alice] said to go ahead and throw it into the bin.” The backpack was tossed into a large, construction-sized Dumpster.
That was the same night that police knocked on the door of the East Parker Street house, looking for Janina.
By this time, Maria said, she “was out buying pizza. There was helicopters everywhere. Yes, I actually drove by, and they didn’t even stop me.” She later heard that Jaws was arrested. “We were waiting for him down the street at the park, seeing if he’ll run there, but apparently they got him.”
Maria said she contacted the authorities the next day. “I was dying to tell somebody but afraid. Afraid to talk on the phone. Afraid to be seen. Afraid to be recorded. Paranoid.”
Police did recover the hands and feet of Janina Hardoy. They were stuffed inside her own backpack, which had been tossed into the Dumpster at the abandoned trailer park.
Rabbit was 28 years old when he testified in April 2010. When Janina went missing in February 2005, he was 23.
Rabbit wore jail clothes to court: a blue short-sleeved jumpsuit, with chains around his waist; his wrists were cuffed to the waist shackles. His slicked-back hair was pulled into a long, tight braid that sprouted from the back of his head and hung down his back. The black hair contrasted with his pale skin. He had tattoos around his neck and on both arms.
Rabbit reviewed some of his criminal past. “I was in and out of prison,” he said. He’d stolen cars and robbed banks, and “I got ahold of some payroll checks.”
Released on probation in 2004, Rabbit went home and had dinner with his grandmother. The next day he checked in with his probation officer, then “started looking for dope.” It took him two or three hours to score some crystal meth. Rabbit sold meth to support his habit.
It was the rainy season when he moved into the house on East Parker Street. Moe invited him to come stay the night, to get out of the rain. Eventually, Rabbit learned that the home belonged to someone named Janina.
“She was an alcoholic,” he said. “She was a timid person when she wasn’t drinking.
“She was kindhearted…would let all these people stay at her house.” Janina, Rabbit said, didn’t like to turn anyone away. Moe and Jaws were already living there, and two weeks later Alice moved in. Jaws and Alice quickly became a pair.
Yes, Rabbit had seen Janina’s mood transform. “It changed…She got bitter. Some chick moved into her house.” And Janina’s man was now “seeing this chick. She didn’t like what was going on.”
When others would go into their rooms and close the door, Janina resented it. “[Janina] didn’t like not feeling welcome in her own home.”
On February 1, 2005, Rabbit “robbed two banks. With a note.” The first bank didn’t put enough money in the bag, so the crew drove to a second bank. Rabbit, Jaws, and Moe did this pair of robberies, Moe driving his Mustang to the banks. The robberies occurred at 3:45 p.m. and at 4:45 p.m., at two different branches of California Bank & Trust, one in Carlsbad, the other in Encinitas. Then the trio drove back to East Parker Street to divvy up the loot.
Everyone was excited about the piles of cash. Janina came out of her room. Rabbit announced that he was going to get a hotel room. His girlfriend didn’t have a felony record yet, so he could book the room in her name, and it would be “safe.” Janina was happy. She wanted to come along, but Rabbit told her it was something just for him and his girlfriend, that sort of thing. Janina was disappointed and plainly did not want to be left behind. Rabbit felt sorry for Janina, and he gave her four or five dollars so she could go get herself something to drink.
That was the last time anyone admitted seeing Janina alive: at 9:00 p.m. on the night of February 1, 2005.
Rabbit spent that night with his girlfriend at an Oceanside harbor hotel room, about eight miles from the house on East Parker Street.
The next day, February 2, sometime between 3:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon, Rabbit and his girlfriend stopped by the East Parker Street house and “it was real quiet.” Maria and Alice were there, but he did not see Janina; he didn’t really go looking for her. The door to Janina’s room was closed. Rabbit took a nap in his room. Later Moe and Jaws came by, and they were agitated, saying, we got to go, we got to get out of the house, we are being watched for the bank robberies. Paranoid drug-users are easily spooked, and the crowd dispersed. Rabbit and his girlfriend took a cab back to their hotel room at about 9:00 p.m. Eventually, all the druggie roommates gathered at the hotel room and “crashed out.” All except Janina.
The morning of February 3, the group went their separate ways. Moe was arrested in a drug incident, but partner-in-crime Jaws was able to escape. He showed up at the hotel room that night in a bad mood. “He was, like, irate, angry,” Rabbit testified. Jaws talked about almost getting busted. Then he took a shower and got some dope with Alice and made plans to bail Moe out of jail.
The next morning, February 4, Rabbit wanted to go get some of his things from the East Parker Street house, but Jaws pulled him aside and told him he couldn’t return. “That’s when [Jaws] said there was a dead body in the house,” Rabbit recalled. “He said it was Janina.” Jaws told Rabbit he was waiting for Moe to help him get the body out. Then he asked Rabbit to help him move the body.
Did Jaws give a reason for how Janina had died? “It came across [that it was] because she was threatening to call the cops,” Rabbit said. Alice piped in, calling Janina a “rat.”
Alice had her grandmother’s car, a big white Buick. Jaws drove and Alice blabbed as the three went from the hotel to the house. “It was pretty blatant,” Rabbit said. “Pretty much that they killed her. They poisoned her. I guess she didn’t die right away. They went back one time and heard her gurgling, so they smothered her with a pillow.” When Jaws ran from the police bust — the one where Moe got arrested — he went to the East Parker Street house. That, he told Rabbit, was when he had to smother Janina. Rabbit got the impression that Janina had been poisoned earlier.
What was Jaws’s response to all this? “He just kept driving,” Rabbit said. “He kinda nodded his head.” Jaws did say that “it looked like an overdose.”
Alice and Jaws discussed dumping the body into a lagoon or a Dumpster. Rabbit suggested leaving Janina in an alley. He assumed that the body would be dumped in an alley or public park, someplace where a druggie who overdosed might normally be found.
Jaws dropped Rabbit and Alice off at a cross street, and they walked to the house, entering through a back door. They opened the garage door from the inside, so Jaws could pull the car in.
“They said [to] be prepared, it smelled,” Rabbit said. “She had been in there a few days.”
The trio put bandannas over their lower faces. They put gloves on their hands. “I think Alice got them for us.” They walked down the hallway to the closed door of Janina’s bedroom.
When Jaws opened the door, “The dog that was in the house shot out of the bedroom. [Janina] was on the bed. She was laying sideways. With her legs hanging over the side of the bed.” Janina was dressed in burgundy sweats. “She was dead. She had a purplish hue to her. She was stiff.”
In the witness box five years later, Rabbit said, “I was shocked. It was pretty shocking to see that she was actually there. Dead.”
The three busied themselves painting over the large window above Janina’s bed, so no one could see in. They found on Janina’s body the few dollars that Rabbit had given her three days earlier, the day of the bank robberies, when Rabbit was leaving to get a hotel room. Jaws and Alice took this money, Rabbit said. Then “[Jaws] described how we were going to get rid of the body. He said we were going to chop it up.”
Rabbit said, “I was not cool with that. I told him no. He told me to smash the face. I wouldn’t do that either.”
Rabbit thought he remembered Alice bringing in all the tools, such as the baseball bat. Jaws tried to hand the baseball bat to Rabbit, but Rabbit walked out of the room.
“He told me to man up. Stop being a pussy. And a couple other things. Bitch. Punk. He got upset. He said, ‘This is how it’s done.’ He covered her face with a towel.”
Rabbit described how Jaws used the baseball bat on the body. Then Jaws told Rabbit to chop off the hands. Rabbit refused. “He’s, like, ‘You’re going to help.’ I’m, like, ‘I can’t do this.’” Jaws badgered Rabbit, talking him down. “He took a machete, an old rusty machete, about yea big.” In the witness box, Rabbit tried to illustrate the distance with his two hands, but they were cuffed too close together.
Jaws used the machete to remove Janina’s hands; with a pair of shears, he and Alice separated the last shreds holding one hand to the body. The body did not bleed, but bits of pink flesh stuck to the walls and surroundings. Jaws put the hands into plastic grocery bags. “I’m pretty sure he knotted them at the top,” Rabbit said. “And that’s when he’s, like, ‘You’re going to help now.’ It just made me sick. I just dry-heaved.”
And Alice? “They were both pretty much telling me I had to step up, quit being a pussy…so they gave me a nice amount of meth to do. I injected it.” He did this in the same bedroom with Janina, at the foot of her bed. “About three-quarters of a syringe full.” Rabbit felt the effects “right away.”
They asked again if he could help. Rabbit said that at that moment he lost his conscience. “I was in a rush on crystal meth.” He described removing each foot with swings of the machete. He felt pieces of flesh strike him, as he hacked away.
Jaws put the feet in plastic bags, then all the bags were put into a black Dickies backpack.
The three went around the house grabbing bedsheets. They wrapped the body in plastic sheeting and bed linen. Then they put the body into a big duffel bag. “We couldn’t zip it,” Rabbit said. “Jaws picked up the bat and swung and hit her some more,” to make the body fit into the duffel bag. When the body was sufficiently stuffed into the duffel, it was placed on a large skateboard to move it.
In the garage, they put the body into the trunk of the big white Buick. They stripped out of their bandannas, gloves, and their spattered outer clothing and put those things into trash bags. Alice wiped down the walls of Janina’s bedroom with spray-cleaner while the two men shoved Janina’s things into trash bags.
The three got into Grandma’s white Buick. They drove around San Diego’s North County, dropping the trash bags with the feet and hands into Dumpsters behind stores. By now it was night. Janina’s body went into a Dumpster behind a liquor store in Escondido. They returned the white Buick to Alice’s grandmother’s home. Then they phoned Maria, who came and picked them up and drove them all back to the harborside hotel.
Jaws still had the black backpack; he brought it into the hotel’s bathroom. Moe would get rid of it. He’d finally bailed out of jail, and he showed up at the hotel late on the night of February 4.
Rabbit slept at the motel with his girlfriend. According to his testimony, Moe got up the next morning, February 5, and took off with the backpack.
Later that day, Jaws gave Rabbit an “eight-ball” of speed to sell. “I knew this was my chance to split,” Rabbit said. He got on a bus with his girlfriend and left. Some hours later, he received a phone call from Alice and Maria. They told him the house on East Parker Street was being raided. Rabbit did the eight-ball of dope himself.
Jaws in the Witness Box
Joaquin Martinez’s defense was that he did not kill Janina, he only got rid of the body. Maybe someone else killed her, by overdose, or poisoning, or smothering her. Or maybe she committed suicide. She could have OD’d herself; maybe she was depressed. But whatever happened, Jaws did not kill Janina — he was only doing cleanup when he disposed of the body. That’s what he testified to in the courtroom.
When he got out of prison in late 2004, Jaws stayed first in Riverside, then moved on to Oceanside. This was right before Christmas.
“Where were you living in Oceanside?” asked his defense attorney, Daniel Lee Mitts.
“Under bridges,” Jaws said. “Abandoned houses, beaches. Everywhere.”
He met Janina Hardoy by the pier in Oceanside.
“What were you doing by the pier?” asked Mitts.
“Kicking it with the riffraff,” said Jaws.
“And what was Janina doing down there?”
“I don’t know.” Jaws looked annoyed. “Talking some biblical nonsense. Babble Bibble. You would have to know the Bible to understand. It’s, like, throwing biblical concepts in the air.”
“Did she invite you to her home?” asked Mitts.
“She invited a whole bunch of us. About ten.”
“How long did you stay at that house?”
“From Christmas all the way to the time they arrested me.”
Mitts asked about Janina’s drugs of choice. “Alcohol and marijuana,” Jaws said. But Janina moved on to smoking crystal meth. Jaws said he discouraged her from injecting it or “slamming…I really don’t like being with people who slam. You know, it’s a bigger…more money to spend on two people.”
“Now, during this period,” Mitts said, “[when] Janina started using methamphetamine, did her personality change?”
“Yes.” Jaws frowned. “I don’t know, she gets really, like, if she’s a pimp. Like she’s running things.”
“Heroin is your drug of choice?” asked Mitts.
“Shit, it’s like mother’s milk,” Jaws enthused. “Seventeen, I started doing heroin, and that’s when I fell in love with it.”
Eventually, Jaws began giving Janina shots of heroin to make her nod off. “Pretty much it was something to get her out of our hair,” he explained.
“How often did you shoot her up with heroin to get her out of your hair?” asked Mitts.
“Pretty much when she started making…like, acting up,” said Jaws.
The defense attorney asked if any of the group had joked about or suggested killing Janina.
“I’m not going to lie,” Jaws said. “We might have.”
But, said Jaws, it was Moe who may have fatally injected Janina. “I went in the house, and I was going to go into Alice’s room, and I was grabbed by Moe, by the arm. His words, straightforward, is ‘I re-injected her.’ Because I know that she was already down. Because he told me that he snuck in the room.”
Jaws also said it was Moe who may have suffocated Janina. “He confided in me and told me that he put a pillow on her face until she, she jerked. He pulled back and she gasped, and he got scared, dropped the pillow, and left the room.”
Jaws described the day of February 3, when police came to a “taxing” event that he and Moe were trying to pull off. “A bunch of cops showed up, and I hightailed. I started hitting fences, so all the way to Oceanside, I ran. I ran back to the house.”
He went into Janina’s room. “I got curious, yes. I went to the room, I opened it. I guess you could say I dry-heaved first, because the smell was so bad. It’s unspeakable. It’s not just shitting yourself. She was dead. A little bloated. Smelled bad. Tongue sticking out, tongue was swollen. Her face was to the side. I closed the door, and I ran to the phone. That’s when I called Alice, and I started having a little freak. I told her, ‘It’s all bad. Come get me.’” Jaws said he got a ride to the hotel, the one by the harbor.
At the hotel, he had a conversation with Rabbit about Janina being dead and what to do with the body.
“Yeah, how to get rid of her,” Jaws said. “This is just from my own thinking. The way I think is critical. I think I’m a critical thinker. You know what I mean? You’ve got a dead body, right? You drop it off over there, they’re going to find it. Somebody is going to stumble over a body, and if they find the body, they got fingerprints. Just like they got now, they got fingerprints. They got footprints. We’re born with little marks, so that [goes] to the idea that we can’t just leave her out there. So yeah, my demented idea of getting rid of her was to be sure that if they did find the body, there is no identification. It’s a Jane Doe. You know what I mean? Dental records. Hands…I took out the dental records and I took out her hands.”
“How did you take out the dental records?” Mitts asked.
“I used a bat. Well, I used a machete on the hands, but when I knocked the teeth out [with the bat, I also used] the machete to be sure that the teeth were all knocked.”
Mitts reviewed the critical thinking with his client: It was Jaws’s idea to take her hands and feet. It was Jaws’s idea to smash her face in with a baseball bat. Whose idea was it to break her teeth out?
“I told you,” Jaws said. “They were mine. I don’t deny what I did. You know what I mean? What I’m denying is the murder. There’s a difference. To me, there’s a fine line from murder to cleanup, you know.”
“After you chopped up the body with [Rabbit], what did you do with it?” Mitt asked.
“I put the hands in one separate bag, and then I put the feet in another separate bag. And then I put them in knots, and I threw them in a pillowcase. And from the pillowcase, I threw that in a knot, and I threw it in a backpack. No, I think a plastic bag and then into the backpack. And then we wrapped up with blankets the body, then plastic, then blanket, then tape, then plastic, then blanket again, and then we shoved it in a carrier, carry-bag.”
“And what did you do with the bagged body?”
“We put it on a skateboard, and we wheeled it to the car, and we dumped it in there. And then I called [out to] Alice and asked her if she could help clean up.” Alice was in the garage.
“And you told her, ‘Hey, we’ve got to clean up this mess’?” Mitts asked.
“Yeah, and she started cleaning things up,” said Jaws.
“Did Rabbit also help clean up the bedroom?”
“He was more — we were more concerned in trying to get the body in the trunk.”
“Where did you go after you loaded Janina’s body in the car?”
“Just started going to Dumpsters and dumping off a bunch of bags, eliminating them. We had the body. And the body parts [in the backpack] were in the backseat.”
“You took the backpack with you to the motel?” asked Mitts. “Where did you put the backpack?”
“Yes,” said Jaws. “I brought it in. I went in the bathroom, and I put it in the wastebasket, and I put a little sign on top of it [that said] FORBIDDEN. So [by] the time we got back, it was already beginning to be morning time [on February 5]. I think me and Alice took a bath together.”
“What did you tell Moe was in the bag?” Mitts asked.
“Well, I didn’t tell him nothing,” Jaws said. “I made the hand motions of chopping at the hands, and the feet, saying that pretty much she’s dead.”
“At some time [Moe] left with the backpack?”
“Yeah, some time. The next day we all took off, and it was thrown in his car. And we went back to the house.”
“Why did you go to the house?” asked Mitts.
“Clean up, finish,” said Jaws.
Jaws returned to the house to finish getting rid of evidence. “Pretty much get everything out of the house,” he testified. “We’re not there no more. That’s it. It’s a done deal. This house is, you know what I mean, it’s condemned. And pretty much we only paid $500 [toward] the rent. If we paid the whole thing, then yeah, we probably would have had more time. It seemed logical to me that it would be easier to torch the house, and then there would be nothing. No body, no evidence, no crime.”
Mitts invited Jaws to explain his role as a leader in the house.
“I mean, that’s just my personality,” said Jaws. “I mean, come on. I helped to get the rent, when in reality I could have just let the house go to shit and not pay rent. I didn’t have to get Moe a car. I didn’t have to give him the money from the bank [robbery], money to go buy that Mustang that’s not even mine. I didn’t have to give Alice money so she could get that sword. I mean, I’m just that type of person.”
The jury listened carefully.
“When you guys are back at the house cleaning it, and moving things, at some point do the cops raid the house?” asked Mitts. “And where were you?”
“Yeah, I was in the back bedroom,” said Jaws. “There was a knock on the door, and Moe went to the door and said, ‘The owner of the house isn’t home. I’m not supposed to let nobody in.’ So I hopped out the back window, and I hesitated, because I thought maybe it was somebody else. And then when they said, ‘Oceanside PD,’ I was gone. I started hitting fences.”
It took about an hour, plus a sheriff’s canine, to find Jaws hiding in a shed six houses away.
Mitts asked Jaws about being interviewed by an OPD detective and her partner. “What did you tell her?”
“I can’t recall,” said Jaws. “I know I lied — I don’t even know if I lied. I just made up some stories.”
“Okay. But as far as you know, you didn’t tell her the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”
“Yeah, I beat around the bush. And then when her partner started playing good cop, bad cop, I played the part of the poor victim. I’m hurt.”
“Did Janina ever tell you face to face, ‘I’m going to call the police on you, Jaws’?”
“I don’t recall,” Jaws answered carefully. “I think she did, but I don’t recall. I just know, I know she did threaten about the police thing.”
Mitts asked about the gun acquired to do the bank robberies.
Jaws said that he liked to have something in his hand. “I have a habit of having things in my hand — ice pick, knives, guns. You know what I mean?” He warmly remembered an ice pick he’d made from a broken knitting needle: he put a snug handle on it with a leather wrap. Jaws lovingly called it a “perfect thing.”
Deputy District Attorney Geoff Allard
“Tell the jury what you meant by Rabbit being a ‘weenie,’” Allard said.
“Weak,” said Jaws. “Not headstrong. Not capable of taking directions. Just weak-minded, to me.”
Allard asked if Jaws had threatened Rabbit, to force him to help chop up the body.
“No, he volunteered,” Jaws said. “He testified, didn’t he?”
Allard corrected Jaws’s memory. “He said he didn’t volunteer to do it.” Allard continued, “Well, let me ask you this. You testified earlier that you like to have things in your hand?”
“True,” Jaws said.
“If you’re walking around with a shank in your hand, or a gun, because those are the things you like to have in your hand, and you come up to someone and you ask them to do something, do you really think that person thinks you’re asking, or are you basically telling them to do it or else?”
“Well, it’s not ‘or else,’” Jaws said cautiously. “It was just I asked. You know what I mean? If he takes, if he perceives it in that manner, then that’s on him. Because I’ve been around when people have guns in their hands and asked me to do things. It doesn’t mean I had to do it.”
Allard asked about the night when Rabbit helped dispose of the evidence. “So you get to the house and you prepare Rabbit for what he’s about to see. You’ve taken charge?”
“True,” said Jaws. “Yes.”
“Do you remember Rabbit dry-heaving? Did he cry?”
“He didn’t cry. He did dry-heave. He did say he couldn’t do it.”
“Was he crying when he said that? Or was he just whining?”
“No, he was whining,” Jaws said.
“So you offered, because you wanted Rabbit to step up and help you out —”
“I got him high, yeah,” Jaws interrupted. “It’s a manipulating tool.”
“You were the one that told Rabbit what to do, in terms of chopping off the feet?”
“Did you tell him to take the hands first?”
“I told him to take the hands.”
“And he wouldn’t do it?”
“He wouldn’t do it.”
“And when Rabbit couldn’t do it, you got him high?”
Allard reviewed Rabbit’s testimony, then said, “Rabbit talked about how you hit her in the back with a baseball bat, trying to break her back so you could fit her inside the duffel bag. Did you do that?”
“True,” confirmed Jaws.
“Did you sit on her, put your foot on her, squish her? How did you get her inside that big bag?”
“For the life of me, I don’t know how we did it, but we got it in there.” Recalling these trying moments, Jaws looked relieved. He agreed that he’d taken charge and gotten rid of all the stuff. Did he tell Alice to clean up the bedroom?
“I believe so, yes.”
“Tell us what it looked like before Alice got in there and cleaned it all up,” Allard said.
“It was more like that jelly stuff that they were talking about from the machete,” Jaws said. “There was stuff on the wall by the closet, you know what I mean, so that stuff had to get cleaned.”
Allard asked which things went into the Dumpsters.
“The body was in the trunk,” said Jaws. “All the bags were in the backseat. Pretty much everything that had little blood specks, little cast-off stuff. Like, the clothes that had it, that all got thrown away. Anything that had little bits of little flesh had to go. The other clothes didn’t have it. Those were the ones in the closet that are in the house.”
“She was a problem, wasn’t she?” Allard asked.
“She threatened to call the cops on you, right?”
“She said she was going to call the cops on everybody. It’s like a chihuahua, it yaps.”
Allard asked about jail inmates’ attitude regarding killing snitches. “Just so I understand you correctly, it’s okay for you to kill a snitch on the inside, [it’s] just not something you do on the outside?”
“If you could get away with it,” Jaws said. “You know what I mean? It’s not like…I don’t know how to explain this one.”
“And you’d kill the rat based upon what they’ve done versus who they are, right?”
“It’s nothing personal?” Allard said.
“Nothing personal,” said Jaws.
The jury of eight men and four women deliberated for two half-days, then declared Joaquin “Jaws” Martinez guilty of first-degree murder. One juror later said that they were convinced Jaws was running things in that house, giving orders.
Joaquin Martinez was scheduled to be sentenced July 16, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. in Department 20 of the Vista courthouse, by the same superior-court judge who heard his trial, the Honorable Joan Weber. Instead, defense attorney Dan Mitts asked the court for a mental-competency exam.
This exam is scheduled for August 20. There will be a public hearing to report the results on August 27, at 8:00 a.m. in Department 53 of the Central Courthouse, in downtown San Diego. If Joaquin Martinez is found sufficiently sane, a court date will then be set for his sentencing. Janina Hardoy’s family would be expected to speak at that future hearing, before he is sentenced.