Tow truck driver: Murder suspect in a hurry
SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) -- A tow truck driver Thursday testifying in the murder trial of a man accused of kidnapping and killing a 7-year-old girl said he helped Westerfield free his motor home after it got stuck in the desert and once heard a suspicious sound -- possibly a voice -- over engine noise.
Tow truck driver Dan Conklin, told jurors that he was helping David Westerfield dig his motor home out of a remote desert location where it had become stuck in the sand the morning of Super Bowl Sunday, February 3.
Westerfield is accused of kidnapping Danielle van Dam from her bedroom on February 1, killing her and dumping her body along a desert road where it was found nearly a month later. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
The motor home, Conklin said, was "closed up -- covered." Westerfield appeared in a hurry, he testified.
"I was digging on one side -- I believe he was on the other side digging and I thought he had made some comments to me," Conklin told the court. "I just heard what I thought was a voice, you know -- and it would have been him because we were the only two people there -- say something. So then I walked over and said, 'What?' and he just shook his head.
"And I don't remember the exact words, but it was, 'I wasn't talking to you' or 'I didn't say anything.'"
"Are you sure you heard voices?" San Diego County Prosecutor Jeff Dusek asked.
Conklin replied that he "thought I heard somebody say something."
"You thought only two of you were there?" Dusek continued.
"There was only two of us there at that time," Conklin replied.
"Did you ever get inside that motor home?" Dusek asked.
"No," replied Conklin.
On the morning in question, Conklin a motorcyclist dropped by his shop to tell him someone was stuck in the desert and needed help. When he got to the location, he found the Westerfield's motor home a quarter-mile off the roadway, mired in sand, Conklin said.
Conklin said Westerfield seemed to be in a hurry. After the motor home was successfully unhooked and free, Westerfield was on his way "immediately," not even stopping to retrieve a set of portable levelers he had left behind, the tow driver said.
Under questioning by defense attorney Steven Feldman, Conklin admitted Westerfield seemed "more put out than nervous."
Also testifying Thursday were several witnesses who observed the motor home on Saturday, February 2, when it was briefly at the Silver Strand State Beach Campground in San Diego, as well as two park rangers and a campground volunteer.
Park ranger Brian Neill testified that Westerfield had overpaid the campground fee and he went to return it to him. He observed the motor home to have the "curtains drawn" and "all closed up,"
Neill said he was about to leave when Neill opened the door, walked to the front of the motor home and accepted a $30 overpayment.
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