WATCH | Sabrina Limon on trial, accused of conspiring with lover to kill husband
NOTE: This story contains live updates over multiple days of the Sabrina Limon murder trial.
The trial is underway for a woman accused of conspiring with her lover to kill her husband.
Sabrina Limon faces six charges, including murder. Robert Limon, a railroad worker, was shot in 2014 at an industrial complex in Tehachapi.
Limon was arrested in January, days before the man she allegedly conspired with, Jonathan Hearn, took a plea deal. Hearn, a firefighter in Redlands, promised to testify against Limon in exchange for a reduction in his charges.
NOTE: The stream won't be active when the trial is in break.
DAY 5 (SEPT. 15, 2017) SUMMARY
The prosecution continued questioning Hearn Friday, forcing Sabrina Limon and the jury to listen to his account of how he killed Robert Limon. Hearn described putting on a mask and attempting to make the shooting look like a robbery gone wrong.
Hearn fashioned a homemade silencer for his gun, but told the court that when it came time to shoot Robert, the end of the silencer got stuck in his backpack. He said he fired the first shot through the bag.
Hearn delivered the narrative entirely without emotion. Sabrina wore her hair down, covering her face. She sat motionless during the account of her husband's death.
Prosecutors needled Hearn with questions for hours, hoping to convince the jury that Sabrina should also pay for her husband's death.
Hearn testified that he and Sabrina did speak of divorce earlier in their affair as an option. But Hearn said Sabrina worried about how it would look, as well as having to split custody of she and her husband's two children. He said that Sabrina told him that, for Robert, losing her to a divorce would "essentially kill him."
Jurors were shown a handwritten note Hearn penned during the affair that appeared to be a list of his grievances against his lover's husband.
It included statements about how Robert reportedly "gave his wife away to another man, to share a passionate experience that humans can share together," that he "gave his wife to other women," and that he "wants to have a threesome." The list concludes with a plea, "Please kill him, God!"
As Sabrina's stories of her husband's shortcomings piled up, Hearn said he became convinced she was being treated like an object, to the point of abuse. The "open marriage" rationale he and Sabrina used for their affair, he said, became justification for killing him.
He described in detail their joint planning of the shooting on August 17, 2014, noting that Sabrina provided him with details about the placement of surveillance cameras at Robert's workplace and advice about avoiding detection.
Hearn said Sabrina grew impatient waiting for the killing, voicing a hope during the summer of 2014 that her husband would be dead before an annual vacation which she didn't wish to attend.
Prosecutors played a recorded phone call that Sabrina made to Hearn after the killing in which she told him she'd heard police were getting close to making an arrest or arrests in the case. She didn't say anything that specifically implicated her, but Hearn attempts to calm her nerves and begins to pray, "Oh God, please help us. Things might be changing here."
Hearn journaled often and took notes in a Gmail account he shared with Sabrina. Prosecutors showed notes he'd written himself that included the costs of an engagement ring, wedding and honeymoon. Hearn testified that he took Sabrina in the summer of 2014 to look at property where he planned to build a home he'd designed for them, evidence prosecutors imply shows Sabrina had knowledge her husband would be killed.
Hearn's testimony ended abruptly Friday afternoon when the judge announced at about 2:30 that defense attorney Richard Terry had broken a tooth during the lunch break and would require immediate care from a dentist. He dismissed the jury and scheduled Hearn's testimony to resume Monday morning.
The defense will begin it's cross-examination next week.
DAY 4 (SEPT. 14, 2017) SUMMARY
Jonathan Hearn pleaded guilty earlier this year to voluntary manslaughter, but the district attorney's office has a job for him to do before he's officially sentenced. Together with attorney Clayton Campbell, Hearn brokered a deal that shortened his prison time in exchange for his testimony against Sabrina Limon, his former lover and the wife of the man he killed. Hearn's deal will sentence him to about 25 years in prison at the conclusion of Limon's trial.
Prosecutors are attempting to prove that Limon had an equal role in her husband's 2014 death. They're charging her with first degree murder as well as attempted murder in connection with a separate alleged poisoning plot.
Hearn appeared in a suit and tie Thursday afternoon, with shackles on his hands and feet.
As for the poison, Hearn testified the two spoke extensively about ways to carry out the murder, but settled on poison because Limon told Hearn that her husband had a rare medical condition that presented symptoms that might be mimicked in a poisoning attempt. The two decided on Sabrina Limon sending her husband off to work in Tehachapi with poisoned banana pudding in his lunch box.
Robert Limon typically worked in Barstow, but picked up occasional shifts in Tehachapi. They decided to send the pudding on a day he was in Tehachapi because of the limited medical resources nearby. And, Hearn said, Robert Limon worked alone at a railroad shop, so there would be very little chance of the poison being ingested by the wrong person.
The day arrived, Hearn put arsenic trioxide in the pudding and Limon packed the lunch. But they had second thoughts, Hearn said. They worried that their phone records would give them away if police became involved, so Hearn testified that Limon called her husband and made up a story about how the pudding had gone bad and to throw it away. He did.
Hearn's interview with prosecutor Eric Smith painted a picture of a man who was deeply conflicted about the affair. He said he came clean at one point, admitting the affair to Limon's husband, Robert. After their conversation, the prosecution showed a picture of a bank check that Hearn had written to himself, indicating that he was the recipient of God's grace and forgiveness from "Mr. Limon."
Jurors were shown an entry in Hearn's journal in which he quotes loosely from Romans 6 in the New Testament, "Shall we continue to sin that grace may abound? No way." He then testified that he resumed having sex with Limon within a few weeks.
In the beginning, Hearn said he had a favorable impression of Limon's husband, but that changed over time. As the lovers' relationship advanced, the more stories Hearn said Limon shared about her husband's shortcomings.
He said that the Limons had an "open marriage," and that Sabrina Limon felt exploited and objectified.
By the beginning of 2014, Hearn said their early jokes about life without Robert Limon began morphing into real plots to kill him.