Sworn Statement of Asher Samuel Ghiora, Security Guard Trainee
|Date:||May 6, 1997|
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA ____________________________________ STATE ATTORNEY INVESTIGATION RE: LISA MCPHERSON ____________________________________ SWORN STATEMENT: ASHER SAMUEL GHIORA. TAKEN BY: MARK MCGARRY. DATE: May 6, 1997. BEFORE: Kristine N. Blake, RMR, Notary Public, State of Florida at large. PLACE: Criminal Justice Center, B-200, Clearwater, Florida. KANABAY COURT REPORTERS TAMPA AIRPORT MARRIOTT - (813) 224-9500 ST. PETERSBURG/CLEARWATER - (813) 821-3320
APPEARANCES: MARK MCGARRY, ESQUIRE, Assistant State Attorney, Attorney for State of Florida. KEVIN J. DARKEN, ESQUIRE, Trenam, Kemker, 2700 Barnett Plaza, 101 East Kennedy Blvd., P.O. Box 1102, Tampa, FL 33601-1102. Attorney for Church of Scientology. ALSO PRESENT: SERGEANT WAYNE ANDREWS. DETECTIVE JORGE CARRASQUILLO.
ASHER SAMUEL GHIORA, the witness herein, having been first duly sworn, was examined and was deposed as follows:
BY MR. MCGARRY:
Q. Hi. My name's Mark McGarry. I'm a prosecutor, and I'm inquiring into the death of Lisa McPherson during the period of November of 95 and December of 95. Your name came up as a person that might have some information pertaining to her stay at the hotel during that time frame. You're represented by counsel here, and he'd like to put something on the record before we begin.
MR. DARKEN: Yeah. Mr. Ghiora is invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege and is testifying pursuant to the immunity provisions of Florida Statute 914.04. Okay.
BY MR. MCGARRY:
Q. All right. Your full name for the record, please.
A. Asher Samuel Ghiora, A-s-h-e-r.
Q. And your birth date?
A. X, 1975.
Q. And where were you born, Sam?
A. X, California.
Q. Do -- when did you move to Clearwater?
A. July of 1993.
Q. And what was the purpose of your move to Clearwater?
A. And I decided to join the Sea Organization after being there for a few days.
Q. All right. So you moved to Clearwater for the purpose of that?
Q. Did you know anybody in Clearwater? Did you have any friends or family here?
A. No, not specifically.
Q. All right. When you moved in 93 to Clearwater, what was -- were you a member of the staff at that time? Is that what they took you on as?
A. Yeah. I got hired after I moved here, yes.
Q. Okay. What position did they hire you?
A. Well, I went to the -- kind of like a basic orientation training for a few weeks there, and then after that, I was working the food and beverage area in
the Fort Harrison restaurants.
Q. And after that post, did you change?
A. Yes. I was working in the personnel department hiring staff.
Q. All right. And what was your position in November of 95?
A. November of 95 was when I was transferred into -- into security. I became a security trainee at that point.
Q. All right. Who did you work for? Who was your boss?
A. When I came into security?
A. Arthur Baxter.
Q. And your understanding of Mr. Baxter's boss was who?
A. Paul Kellerhals.
Q. Can you recall approximately how many security people you had at the time in 94 -- excuse me 95 for Flag?
A. I would say somewhere around ten.
Q. Ten at the time?
A. Give or take a few.
Q. Okay. Are you still in security right now?
A. Yes, I am.
Q. Okay. How long was your training period?
A. I was considered a trainee for roughly three months.
Q. Can you give me a brief description of what that involved?
A. Basic training, how to -- how to handle trespassers or other -- other situations a security guard would get involved with, some legal training, training as far as how to operate different pieces of equipment or walkie-talkies, for example, computers, fire alarms, things like that.
Q. Who was the person responsible for your training at that time?
Q. So you were brand new at that position in November of 95?
Q. Did you have any education in -- involved in law enforcement prior to coming to the church, training or education?
A. Very -- very limited. I had worked as an extra security type person a couple times during church events where there were like several thousand people in
the building. Other than that, no.
Q. Okay. And your formal education in California went through how far?
A. High school graduate.
Q. Okay. When was the first time you met Lisa McPherson?
A. That I can recall was the first -- when I first started in November of 95.
Q. Okay. Is that, prior to her being admitted to the Cabana section of the hotel?
Q. That was when you first met her, when she was -- her stay there --
A. AS far as --
Q. -- at the Cabana?
A. Yeah. As far as I can remember, I didn't know her before that.
Q. All right. How did you become involved with Lisa McPherson in November of 95?
Q. Would you tell me the substance of that briefing, please?
A. He told me that Lisa McPherson was staying in
the Cabanas, that she was emotionally a wreck, so to speak, that she was having people care for her 24 hours and that I was gonna go help on that.
Q. Baxter gave you this briefing?
A. Yes, he did.
Q. Did he give you any guidelines as to how to handle situations where -- in the event that she wanted to leave or requested you to do anything for her or any guests were to show up and visit her, how you were gonna handle those situations?
A. He didn't cover anything if she had requested to leave or if visitors showed up to see her. He did say that if she needed food or water or -- or anything of that sort, to bring it to her. Yeah.
Q. That's it?
A. (Nodding head.)
Q. How were you going -- did you have a procedure in mind that -- in the event that she did want to leave, how you were gonna handle that?
A. No. No, not specifically.
Q. Did that ever happen?
A. That she requested to leave?
Q. Did you ever have any guests that wanted to
Q. Okay. After that briefing, were you given a schedule of a post or a schedule for your participation in the care of Lisa Mcpherson?
A. Well, he told me that night I would be working through the night and that I would be replaced by Alfonso Barcenas at about 5:30 in the morning, at which time I would go -- go to sleep.
Q. Okay. And do you recall how many days Lisa had been at the hotel before your first full night worth of work would have been?
A. No, I don't.
MR. MCGARRY: Sergeant, could you provide him a calendar?
SERGEANT ANDREWS: Sure.
MR. MCGARRY: Maybe we can get an idea.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: This is December and this is November
THE WITNESS: Okay.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: -- of 95 (indicating.)
MR. MCGARRY: Do you have on there when she started and when she left?
SERGEANT ANDREWS: No. It would have
been on the 18th, on a Saturday would have been the day she arrived late and she left on the 5th of December here (indicating,) on Tuesday late.
THE WITNESS: Okay.
BY MR. MCGARRY:
Q. Sam, do you recall when this conversation was with Mr. Baxter?
A. It was on a Wednesday night, so I guess it would be the 22nd of November.
MR. MCGARRY: Okay. Hang on a second. (Whereupon, there was a phone interruption.)
BY MR. MCGARRY:
Q. Sorry. The date you got your briefing was, again, when?
A. Wednesday, the 22nd of November.
Q. All right. And your first shift?
A. Well, it would have started late that night. And then I was relieved at 5:30 in the morning.
Q. Okay. Did you introduce yourself to Lisa McPherson at that time?
A. No, I didn't.
Q. Was she aware that you were standing outside the door?
A. I'm not sure if she was or wasn't.
Q. Okay. Do you recall who the girls were that
were looking after her at that time?
A. Heather Hoff was inside the room. That was the only one.
Q. All right. Did you introduce yourself to her and indicate that you were there for her assistance if she needed it?
A. I think when I first got there I may have poked my head into the room or something and waved at her.
A. That was about it.
Q. Anything happen that night that was noteworthy?
Q. Did you hear any commotion? Did Lisa require any care or assistance in reference to her stay there?
A. No, not that I -- not the first night.
Q. When was your next watch?
A. My next watch I started on Thursday night. don't remember exactly what time. ,
Q. Where would -- when you'd start these watches, where was your position? Were you just outside the door?
A. Usually I was seated on a bench that was
about 15 feet away from the door.
Q. All right.. And this is a typical -- a typical hotel room door with --, it's locked from the outside?
Q. And you have a key?
A. Yeah, I do.
Q. Okay. And, again, I know you've kind of given a general description of what your purpose for sitting there was, but go over that again for me. What was your purpose for sitting there?
A. Well, my purpose there was if something was needed by the caretakers or by Lisa herself, I would go get it. There was also another purpose of preventing Lisa from either hurting herself or hurting other people, and that was mainly it.
Q. Okay. Anything very eventual -- eventful happen that night, the second night you had a watch?
A. The second night I was there Lisa came out -- came out of the room. I was seated on the bench 15 feet away from the door. She came out of the room and walked toward me. I stood up and she said, "You're not CMO," which is initials for Commodore's Messenger Organization. It's a senior organization in the church. Anyway, she said, "You're not CMO." I said,
"You're right," and she said, "You can't tell me what to do," and I said, "You're right." And then I, you know, put my arm out and pointed in the direction of the door of her room, and she turned around and walked with me back to the -- back to the room She stopped at the threshold of the doorway and said, "I just don't know what's happening" and then said something else to the effect of "I need some help" or "Could you help me?" I don't remember what her words were exactly, though, and then she stepped back into the room, and --
Q. Who was the girl that night that was watching Lisa?
A. At that time it was -- I'm trying to remember her name now. Janice Johnson was the one in the room with her.
Q. All right.
A. Lisa walked back into the room, and then I closed the door, and that was basically it.
Q. That was Thursday night?
A. Yes, it was..
Q. Real late? You had the graveyard shift, right?
A. Right. I'd say it was pretty early in the morning, like two -- two in the morning, somewhere in there.
Q. All right. Did you instruct Lisa she needed to go back into her room when she came out in the hallway?
A. Not verbally. I mean, just with the motion of my hand. That was about it.
Q. Well, by your actions, was that her option? What other options did she have?
A. Well, yeah, I was guiding her back to the room, basically.
Q. Did she indicate she wanted to go somewhere else?
A. No. I mean, she turned around and just walked back over to the room.
Q. All right. Was she having any unusual emotional or mental breakdowns during this period of time that you can -- that you heard outside or that you later heard going on inside?
A. Well, the things she was saying didn't make sense. I mean, it was like she would either start rattling off colors or numbers or scream out a couple times things that didn't make much sense. I mean, once she -- one example is she screamed out "ET phone home" one time, so she seemed like she was not really aware of what was around her and didn't really -- seemed to be emotionally in a lot of trouble mainly.
Q. How much time did Janice Johnson spend with her that evening?
A. That evening, I think Janice was in there for several hours. I'd say about four hours on and off. She went out a couple times to get -- once she got vitamins and once she got some -- some drink.
Q. And your shift ended at 5:30?
A. Yes. No. It ended later. I think around nine o'clock.
Q. All right. Were you not speaking to Lisa because of the policy that I've become familiar with that when somebody's type three, that that's the procedure you use, you don't talk to em?
Q. Okay. The next time you had a watch was when?
A. The next night. Q.. Friday night?
A. Yes. -
Q. And what time did your shift start Friday night?..
A. The same, about eleven o'clock.
Q. All right. Do you remember who the girl was that night watching Lisa? If you don't remember, that's okay.
A. Yeah. I don't remember exactly.
Q. Okay. Anything event -- eventful happen that night?
A. Nothing really eventful. She was still talking, you know, saying things that didn't make any sense. That was about it.
Q. Okay. No violent behavior, no tearing up the room or loud outbursts that you can recall? Was your assistance required any that night?
A. The third night I don't think my assistance was required other than when -- if an attendant had to go into the bathroom or something like that. I mean, loud outbursts kind of occurred the first several nights I was there, so other than that, no, nothing particularly unusual.
Q. What about her eating schedule? Were you providing her -- were you helping in that situation?
A. Yes. On at least two or three occasions I got -- I went and got protein drinks for her, which was like a shake mixed with fruit and protein powder and vitamins. One -- one morning food was brought to her. There was eggs and potatoes in a styrofoam container. She took a fork full of potatoes and started chewing on them and said, "Delicious," and then spit them out, and
that was about it. The -- I -- the only thing that I really saw her taking in was the protein drinks or -- or water.
Q. All right. The next night you were on the watch was when?
A. The following night.
Q. Saturday night?
Q. Tell us about that evening. Why don't we do this: Did you have several more nights on the watch, then, from there onto December 5th?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. Was it every other night or almost every night?
A. It was every night until -- I don't know. think I was there for a total of about ten days, maybe a little bit less.
Q. Well, she left on December 5th.
Q. Were you there then?
A. No, I wasn't. I had stopped several days before that.
Q. Which was before that weekend? December 5th was a Tuesday.
Q. What was the reason why you were -- who told you to not participate in this anymore?
A. Arthur Baxter.
Q. And why did he tell you that?
A. It wasn't particularly -I wasn't seen as being needed anymore.
Q. What did you think he meant by that?
A. Lisa seemed to be -- I don't know if you would say a bit more relaxed or not -- not as -- not as violent as she had been before and it wasn't deemed necessary for me to be there.
Q. All right. Was there any -- rather than going through it every day like we were just doing, is there any events where your assistance physically was needed to help out inside where there was an event going on inside the room that required your assistance that sticks out in your mind?
A. The only time that I can recall specifically was Joan Stevens asked me to come in and help her one time. I don't remember what the circumstances -- why -- why she asked me for that, but I came in and I just had Lisa sit down on the bed. That was about -- that was about it. I know that Joan got hit in the eye around that time. I don't know if it was before she came out or after.
Q. All right. Other than the time we've already mentioned, did you notice Janice Johnson stop by any other times?
A. I don't specifically remember anything other than the second night I was there.
Q. All right. Do you recall any -- being present or watching in a -- an injection that was possibly given to Lisa, intervenous injection, a shot?
A. No, not -- not intravenous.
Q. All right. How about other medication other than vitamins and protein shakes? Bavarian Root, anything like that? I mean, as far as pills or sedatives or anything like that, were you present when any of that was administered to her?
A. She was administered a dose of what I knew had aspirin -- and I don't know what other vitamins or anything else may have been in there -- I believe on my third night there.
Q. Were you present when the dentist, Dr. Houghton, visited?
A. That's what I was talking about, yeah.
Q. Oh, it was him?
A. (Nodding head.)
Q. Okay. Can you describe her physical situation as far as her physical health from when you
first began your watch to the last day of your watch?
A. I can't say I noticed much change other than she -- she wasn't sleeping very much. I remember I saw a few bruises on her legs, and that was about it.
Q. Do you know how those occurred?
A. No, I don't.
Q. Did Mr. Baxter give you any directions on how you were to write up your -- your watch?
A. No, he didn't.
Q. All right. How about -- did anybody else, Kellerhals or anybody else, give you any direction as to whether or not you should write a report or not?
A. Attila Toth did. Not really much direction, just write down what -- what occurred.
Q. Did you do that?
Q. On how many occasions?
A. I'd estimate about three -- three or four times.
Q. You wrote down what occurred?
A. (Nodding head.)
Q. Sergeant Andrews has a compilation of reports that we've been provided by the church. Maybe you could flip through em and indicate to us -- some of them are un -- unnamed and some of them have just
"Security" written on the bottom. Maybe you could point out which ones are your -- authored by you, okay? None of them?
A. None of them.
MR. MCGARRY: Okay. Sergeant, would you pull out FSO 141 and ask him -- maybe he can point -- tell us whose handwriting that is, because it just says "Security." We're not sure who it is. -
SERGEANT ANDREWS: It says "Security" here. Are you familiar with this report at all or do you happen to know who could have authored that?
MR. MCGARRY: That's the 22nd of November.
THE WITNESS: Right. I would -- I'd say it looks like Arthur Baxter's handwriting.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: Okay.
BY MR. MCGARRY:
Q. All right. So you think you did three reports --
A. (Nodding head.)
Q. -- in reference to -- why did you only do three -- three reports if you were there ten -- ten -- approximately ten days, just because there wasn't anything else to write about or --
A. Yeah. There wasn't anything particularly new
or of interest to write about.
Q. Okay. If -- if they exist, do you have any problem with us obtaining those reports and reading them?
Q. I mean, you don't have any personal objection to that, do you?
A. (Shaking head.)
Q. You have to answer for the record.
A. Oh, no. Sorry.
Q. Any other involvement with Lisa McPherson that I've neglected to ask you that stands out in your mind in reference to these ten days that you were there? And when I ask that question, I mean, did she ever strike you or did she ever -- I mean, you know what I'm talking about? Did she ever do an event that required you to ever do something other than sit outside on the bench?
A. There was one time when I was sitting out on the bench, and I think -- I think this was also on the second night where I'm sitting on the bench and the door to the room opened and I heard Lisa talking, and I went over to the room and I saw Lisa standing there with the doorway open, and Janice Johnson, I think, was inside the room. Lisa said a few things that didn't
make much sense and then she lifted her knee like she was trying to knee me in the scrotum, and then I just kind of moved to the side and avoided it. She said a few more things and then tried to do a two finger eye gouge, and I just blocked her hand and that was it. She went back into the room and I closed the door.
Q. Kind of a Three Stooges move --
Q. -- with the fingers? And then she turned around and walked back in the door -- back into the room?
A. She went back into the room, right.
Q. Was that because you blocked her from leaving, or was that -- why did she do that?
A. I'm not sure. I mean, I was standing there in the doorway. She was standing on the other side and -- I mean, I don't know. She didn't -- she didn't try to ram her way past me or anything or she didn't try to rush at me or anything like that.
Q. Did she tell you that she wanted to leave?
A. No, she didn't.
MR. MCGARRY: All right, Sam. These gentlemen would like to ask you some questions as well. If you want to take a break, we can. Otherwise, we can plunge on through and get finished. It's up to you.
THE WITNESS: I can stay.
MR. MCGARRY: All right.
MR. DARKEN: Tell you what. Let me talk to him about one thing.
MR. MCGARRY: Okay. (Whereupon, a break was taken.) (Whereupon, a discussion was had off the record.)
BY MR. MCGARRY:
Q. Okay. Back on the record. Sam, in reference to our questions previously about your briefing with Arthur Baxter in reference to how you were gonna deal with Lisa in the event that she came out of the room and/or tried to leave or asked to leave, if your recollection is better at this time after speaking with your lawyer, can you answer that for us now?
A. Yeah. I believe that Arthur told me if she came out of the room, I was to guide her back to the room. I -- I can't recall the exact conversation I had with him, but I -- I somehow got the idea that that's what was supposed to happen.
Q. And that's basically what did happen, right --
Q. -- on -- on two occasions?
A. Well, one occasion that she actually came out
of the room.
Q. Right. And you kind of just --
A. And there was -- right. And there was the one where she was in the doorway but she didn't actually come out.
Q. All right. But she was in the doorway and she couldn't come out because you were standing in the way? She would have had to move you aside to come out -- continue to come out, correct?
Q. Okay. And did she try to do that?
A. No. The door was also only open partway. It wasn't open all the way. It was just open wide enough for one -- I mean, a single person opening.
MR. MCGARRY: All right. These guys will probably want to follow up on some of that. We'll continue on with them if it's okay with you.
MR. DARKEN: Sure.
MR. MCGARRY: All right.
THE WITNESS: Okay.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: I'll be right with you.
EXAMINATION BY SERGEANT ANDREWS:
Q. Sam, where are you living now? What's your
address? Is it the Hacienda Gardens?
Q. Okay. Do you have any medical background?
A. As -- as far as what?
Q. Any formal training. You probably -- if you're a security guard, you probably did some first aid there, but how about before that, like in high school? Did you take any special medical courses or anything like in high school?
A. Yeah. I took a -- I took a CPR, basic first aid kind of course in high school.
Q. How to treat for shock and stuff like that?
A. Treatment for shock, you know, serious injuries, CPR training, that kind of stuff.
Q. Okay. Are you studying in the Scientology religion right now --
A. Yes, I am.
Q. -- the courses?
A. (Nodding head.) Q.. What level have you gotten to so far?
A. Well, there's different --
Q. Two different sides?
A. -- areas of training, right.
A. I mean, you can train as far as the
administration of a Scientology organization.
Q. Or the auditing side?
A. Or the auditing side, right.
Q. Okay. A So I mean, I've trained -- I can do the auditing that's laid out in the Dianetics book.
Q. Well, I've heard a lot of testimony to OT levels and auditor levels, you know, "I'm a class five." Where are you at there?
A. I haven't gotten onto that -- that training yet.
Q. Okay. So are you -- is it your plan to go into auditing on that side, or are you going to administration? A.. Probably more administration. I mean, you know, eventually I would go into auditor training anyways.
Q. Okay. Are -- is it usual for the security guards to be auditors, or can they be on both sides?
A. Some -- yeah.
Q. They can be on both sides?
A. It just depends. Some do it --
A. -- before, you know.
Q. You indicated that you did about three months
of training at the church and you did what to do with trespassers and you did some firearms training. I assume like --
A. I didn't do firearms training. Mr. DARKEN. I don't think he said firearms training.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: No firearm training?
THE WITNESS: I must have missed that.
MR. DARKEN: He said fire alarm.
THE WITNESS: I said fire alarm training.
BY SERGEANT ANDREWS:
Q. I must have missed that. Did you deal with hand to hand stuff, you know, like the nightstick and holds and Punch, which is the chemical spray stuff? Was that all included, too?
A. Some, yes.
Q. Okay., In that training, did you ever have training to deal with the PTS people?
A. I mean, that's kind of hard to say. There's many different categories of PTS, and they all have different ways of handling --
Q. Okay. Lisa was PTS three according to what people tell us, psychotic or behavioral dysfunction. Did you receive training on what to do with those type
MR. DARKEN: Are you talking about then or now?
SERGEANT ANDREWS: During his three-month training.
THE WITNESS: When I first went onto this particular assignment, I was shown the two references that the State Attorney mentioned before. Other than that, no.
BY SERGEANT ANDREWS:
Q. All right. So your three months of training really came after your assignment to Lisa McPherson's room; is that correct?
Q. Okay. Now, I just want to know now do you have training on what to do with a person who's having a behavioral dysfunction or a PTS three, if it would make it easier?
A. Well, again, I mean, I have the same that I did then, not much more extensive than that.
Q. Okay. What I'm gonna ask you, then, is you're -- I'll give you a scenario. You're on duty at the church and you're a security guard in the parking garage and someone runs up and -- and you're trying to communicate with them, and all of a sudden you realize
something's wrong, you know. We all can talk to people and realize something's wrong.
A. We're talking about a church member running up to me?
Q. Yeah, a church member, a staff member or it could be a public member, and they're running up and you're thinking oh, my conversation with this person is not going anywheres and this may be a PTS three person. Do you have training that's been provided by the church what you do with that person?
A. No, nothing really.
Q. Okay. Who would you notify?
A. The security chief.
Q. Okay. Who is now Paul Kellerhals?
Q. Okay. You said that you were like on these watches from night until in the morning. Were they 11- or 12-hour watches? How -- there was two people doing the watch, I understand. We talked to Alfonso.
Q. And you and him were kind of assigned to the watch, and when he wasn't there, you were there?
Q. So would that be like a 12-hour watch?
A. No. I was on it a bit less time than he was.
Q. So he was on longer?
Q. Okay. Was there any reason for that?
A. Nothing really. I know what had happened is usually for several hours before I would go onto the watch at night, I would do other projects. There was an office being set up somewhere else and I was moving around file cabinets and doing things like that.
Q. Okay. So you did the -- you did the security watch for up to like ten days, possibly eight or nine hours a day?
Q. Did you sleep -- did they have a room provided for you at the Cabanas, or did you have to go back to the Hacienda Gardens to sleep?
A. I went back to the Hacienda.
Q. Okay. Did you ever kind of fall asleep out there on the bench during your watches? I mean, they seem to be very long and -- and in a row.
A. Not that I can think of, no.
Q. Okay. , You said that Lisa came out of the room at one time and immediately said that you're not CMO, and I think I wrote it down as Commodore Messenger Office.
Q. Organization, I'm sorry. Now, is there such an organization?
Q. Are they high up in the church?
Q. It seemed to me when you said that she was making a lot of sense because she said to you, "You're not CMO, so therefore you can't tell me what to do" -- apparently CMO would have been able to tell her what to do; is that correct?
A. No, not specifically.
Q. They wouldn't be able to tell her what to do?
A. That's kind of hard to say. I mean, CMO is an organization. It's part of the Sea Organization. Members of the CMO would be senior to me. You know, I would have to call them sir, et cetera. Her, as a public person, it would be a bit different. Public people tend to be -- no matter how high within the Sea Org. structure somebody is, a public Scientologist would still be on a first name basis with --
Q. The CMO?
A. -- with the CMO, right.
Q. Someplace, I guess, she got the impression, since down the line -- that the CMO could tell her what to do, apparently, from her conversation with you, but
she was still public at that time?
Q. All right. She comes out of the room, and did you go into the room and check on Janice Johnson? I mean, was there any conversation on how she got out of the room and how she left the room?
A. Yes. A couple minutes after Lisa returned to the room, Janice came outside -- Janice came outside for a couple minutes, and I asked her what happened, and she just said -- I don't remember what her words were exactly, but she said Lisa did something and Janice had mis -- misjudged what she was gonna do and she ended up going out the door instead of whatever she thought she was gonna do.
Q. Okay. So Janice was okay, though? She was okay, Lisa just kind of slipped out the door --
Q. -- on her?
Q. And that would be apparent because when Lisa came, out the door, Janice wasn't behind her?
Q. She was still back in the room?
Q. Do you remember where you found Janice in the
room when you went back in?
A. No. I mean, I didn't go into the room. Lisa came out, and then as I was walking with her back to the room, by the time that I was walking back with her Janice had stepped outside of the room, so I -- I don't know where she was in the room at the time
Q. Okay. And you can't remember what Janice said to you about how she got out of the room?
A. Not exactly, no.
Q. How about unexactly? Try that.
A. Just that she had done something which Janice didn't predict was gonna happen --
Q. That's all?
A. -- was -- was the gist of it.
Q. Now, you said in the briefing with Arthur Baxter that he said something to the effect that Lisa was an emotional wreck. Is that what he said or -- or did he give you some other instructions?
A. I believe he said type three. He described it to me a bit as, you know, she would talk and not make sense of what she was saying. At times she would have violent outbursts. That was basically what he described to me.
Q. From your knowledge of the church organization, was it unusual to have a public member
being kept in this motel room? A..I honestly don't know. This was the first time I had -- I had been in a situation like this. I was unfamiliar with what -- what was done in the past.
Q. Okay What did you think of the situation' I mean, I'll just kind of brief it a little bit. You have a public member, Lisa, who's having a behavioral dysfunction, who's being kept in a motel room, okay, that normally guests and public would stay, 24-hour care givers and a security guard at the door around the clock.
Q. What did you make of that scenario, which is basically what other witnesses have testified to?
A. What I was told is it was there mainly so that she could be got into -- at least physically her condition could be broughten (sic) up to a point where she had enough rest and enough food that she wasn't having -- she would -- I don't know if I would say refreshed or well rested or whatever.
Q. Okay. I kind of get the impression that -- and you tell me whether this is your impression, too -- that if she's having a behavioral dysfunction and she's uncontrollable, she's there until she becomes controllable. Is that -- am I putting words in your
mouth or is that basically your feeling, too?
A. No. I mean, they were basically there to -- I don't know how to put it, but to, you know, make sure that she could -- was basically able to have a peaceful environment around her where she would feel safe. You know, it's like she would have her -- you know, whatever food she needed, she would be able to get rest, et cetera.
Q. The door opens up, you described, no one comes out and so you're 15 or 20 feet away and you walk over to the door?
Q. When you get to the door, you don't step in, you're still outside the door?
Q. Okay. And Lisa attempts to knee you in the groin and poke your eyes -- poke you in the eyes?
Q. You know, was she acting like one of the Three Stooges at this point, or was she saying something to you?
A. She was talk -- she was saying something that didn't make sense. It didn't apply to anything that was going on at the time. I don't remember what her words were exactly. That --
A. -- was about it.
Q. If you would have went to the door and Lisa rushed you and knocked you down and continued on running, what was your -- what was your plan of action as the security guard outside the door?
A. Well, what do you mean? What would my next action have been?
A. That's a good question. I'm not -- I'm not entirely sure.
Q. You never thought about it outside the door as the -- kind of the last stand person?
A. Yeah. I mean, I had never -- I never really thought it would get -- get to the point of her trying to run out.
Q. Did you have a radio?
A. Yes, I did. At least -- at least on some of the nights I did.
Q. All right. If -- if Lisa came to the door and said she wanted to go home, did you have the authority to let her go home?
A. I don't know if I would have had the authority or not. If she had come to me in a rational state of mind and said that she wanted to go home, I
would probably ask her to wait for a minute and contact -- either contact Arthur or Paul Kellerhals and tell them what?
Q. And ask -- and ask them permission.
A. I don't know if I would have asked them permission or I would just say, you know, "She came to me and said she'd like to go home, what -- what should I do," okay, or what should I tell her?"
Q. Are you listening to your responses? I've simply asked you --
Q. -- if you had the authority to send her home and we went around in a big circle --
Q. -- to the point where you said, "No, I wouldn't ask them for permission but then I would tell them she wants to go home and see what they had to say." It's a straight yes or no.
A. Well, I would --
MR. DARKEN: Let him answer the question. You ask the questions and he answers them. If you don't like the answer, ask another question.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: Well, that's what I'm doing three or four times and I'm not getting the answers.
MR. DARKEN: You're not getting the answers you like.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: I'm not getting the truthful answers, Mr. Darken.
MR. DARKEN: We're going to cut this off.
MR. MCGARRY: I know. Let's move on to the next question.
MR. DARKEN: You're not getting the answers you like.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: I'm not getting the truthful answers. I asked a simple question and he wouldn't answer it. Please don't slam your hand on the table.
MR. DARKEN: You're saying he's not giving a truthful answer.
MR. MCGARRY: Hold it a minute. Let's just everybody calm down. You want a break?
MR. DARKEN: No.
MR. MCGARRY: All right. Let's finish this up. Let's just move onto the questions. He -- you know, just keep asking the question. If you want to pin him down on it, you can do that, but you gotta give him a chance to respond.
MR. DARKEN: You gotta let him finish
the answer, too, instead of jumping in.
DETECTIVE CARRASQUILLO: He does have immunity, correct?
MR. DARKEN: He does not have immunity for perjury, which is what he just said. If he does not give a truthful answer, he does not have immunity for perjury, which is why I'm upset.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: Well, I'm upset because I asked for that answer three different times, Mr. Darken, and didn't get him to answer the question, so how many times do I ask it, Mr. McGarry?
MR. MCGARRY: Just try to get more specific. I can't answer that, because I can't -- I'm not him, so you just -- all you can do is ask a question. If you don't like the answer, then try another way.
MR. DARKEN: Just ask another question.
BY SERGEANT ANDREWS:
Q. Did you have the authority to leave -- let Lisa McPherson leave this room if she wanted to go home?. ..
A. I don't think I did, no.
Q. Okay. Thank you.
A. And the decision would not have been up to me, in other words.
Q. Thank you. You said that you were there when they mixed up some aspirin and another liquid to give Lisa with Dr. Houghton. Were you in the room at that time? A I'm not sure what you're asking. I didn't see them mix anything up. I was told it was aspirin.
Q. Oh, okay. So you saw something that was in a -- they were gonna give her, I guess --
Q. -- or liquid?
Q. I don't know where to go with that.
Q. You were told it was aspirin?
Q. All right. Were you in the room when they administered this?
A. Yes, I was.
Q. All right. Did -- and I'm just gonna describe what other witnesses say. Did they kind of squirt this into her mouth with a turkey baster?
A. Yeah. I mean, I don't know if I would call it a turkey baster. It was more like a -- well, it looked like a syringe without a needle on it.
Q. Oh, okay. It had a big syringe?
A. Big syringe. It had a plastic end on it with a hole which was about an eighth of an inch wide or something. Yeah. I mean, kind of like a syringe without a needle screwed on it.
Q. They squirted -- Dr Houghton, would it be, squirted this in her mouth?
Q. Do you know why they were doing that?
A. I was told it was being administered as a sedative.
Q. But, I mean, she wasn't drinking -- I mean, normally the person, if they gave you a sedative, they would put it in a glass and give it to you to drink. This girl's conscious and she's in this room and they're squirting something in her mouth?
Q. Do you know why?
A. I don't know. I mean, I'm not familiar with how sedatives are normally administered, so for -- for me it was -- that was about all the knowledge I had. It was being administered as a sedative. That was about all I knew. Well, let me put it this way: She wasn't -- through the time I was there, I know that I didn't see her eat or swallow anything that was solid, all right?
A. So it may have something to do with that. don't know.
Q. All right. Did -- were you there when they had this altercation where Paul Kellerhals had to go in and hold her down and she was yelling and hollering? Were you on duty at that time?
A. No, I was not.
Q. Okay. Do you remember somebody telling you the information? Would that have been Sam on duty, do you know --
DETECTIVE CARRASQUILLO: He is Sam.
BY SERGEANT ANDREWS:
Q. -- when it happened? I'm sorry, Alfonso.
A. I suppose Alfonso would have been there at the time, yeah.
Q. When you wrote those reports, who did you turn those in to?
A. Attila Toth.
A. I don't -- I actually don't remember that
specifically. I -- most likely if I had addressed it to somebody, it would have been to whoever I was told it was going to.
Q. Okay. So your answer is you don't know who you addressed them to?
A. Right. I don't remember or -- even if I -- if I specifically put a heading on top.
Q. Okay. Other than your attorney, Mr. Darken, have you discussed this case with anyone?
A. I discussed it with two other church attorneys, Sandy Weinberg, me and Lee Fugate.
Q. Okay. When was that?
A. Several months ago. I don't remember.
Q. Okay. It just wasn't recently?
Q. It was a couple months ago?
MR. DARKEN: It was before I started representing --
THE WITNESS: Yeah, it was before -- it was before I met Mr. Darken.
BY SERGEANT ANDREWS:
security chief anymore, he's over in Sandcastle?
Q. And Paul Kellerhals is now the security chief?
Q. Do you. know how any of that took place? Was--
A. In relation to this, as far as I know, it didn't have any bearing on it. It happened at a time where there was actually a change in how the -- the particular department was structured. Somebody -- somebody else who had been working in a different area took the post that Paul Kellerhals had and then Paul Kellerhals moved on to be the security chief and Arthur Baxter moved on to be the Sandcastle -- in charge of the Sandcastle security.
Q. Okay. You testified earlier about some liquids and drinking and you used the term "taking in," and I -- I wasn't sure whether that meant -- when you were talking about it whether they were taking the drinks physically in the room because you were outside or that Lisa was taking the drinks into her body. Do you -- can you remember?
A. I don't remember. I mean, I -- I mean, I can remember one time in particular that I walked in with a
protein drink and saw Lisa drink it.
A. I don't know if that answers your question or not, but it's --
Q. I'm not sure. I can't remember exactly the phrase, but you said "taking in," and I couldn't remember or, you know, decipher which that was.
A. I probably meant bringing it into the room.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: Okay. I don't have anything further. Thank you.
EXAMINATION BY DETECTIVE CARRASQUILLO:
Q. Sam, when did you join the church?
A. As a member?
Q. Is there a difference?
A. Well, you can be a member of the church or you can be a staff member.
Q. As a member.
A. Right. I don't know. I mean, my father became a member of the church when I was about four years old, I think.
Q. So since you were four -- ever since you can remember?
A. Right. I mean, it's been in my family since I was very young.
Q. So can we say you were born into the church? Would that be correct? Like I was born a Catholic.
A. Right. No, I was born Jewish, so --
Q. Okay. You -- you went back and you clarified a question with Assistant State Attorney Mark McGarry regarding Lisa leaving the room. What about any instructions about her getting visitors?
A. I didn't get any instructions on that.
Q. So as far as you remember, anyone could have come up to that door, knocked and walked in and visited her, any public person, any staff person?
A. No, that -- that -- I couldn't say that was the arrangement. I mean, if somebody wanted to visit with her, I would probably -- I probably would have asked them to either see Arthur Baxter or Paul Kellerhals first.
Q. Okay. You -- I guess you were under the impression that she was not allowed to have visitors unless it came through your supervisor?
A. Well, let me put it this way: It was mentioned earlier that according to the scriptures of Scientology, you're not supposed to talk to a person in this condition, right.
Q. Type three?
A. Right. So, I mean, a visitor would obviously
be -- that would be the purpose of them visiting, so I would want them' to go through somebody at least who -- who was a bit more involved from the -- I don't know if I would say the technical aspect of it before I would just allow them to go in and have a chat.
Q. So from your perspective, no visitors allowed then; would that be correct?
Q. You said you went in and assisted with Joan Stevens. Isn't that the time we're talking about the syringe and her getting the sedative?
A. No. That was a separate incident.
Q. Tell me me a little bit about the incident where you assisted Joan Stevens.
A. Basically, I was sitting -- sitting outside and Joan Stevens poked her head out and asked me to come in and help her. That's' what happened. I came in. I put my hands on Lisa's shoulders and had her sit down on the bed, and that was about it. Nothing happened after that. I left the room. Q..Anybody else in the room with Joan?
Q. Barbro was not in the room?
A. No. Barbro came later.
Q. Was Lisa partially dressed at that time?
A. I believe so.
Q. What was she wearing?
A. That I don't remember.
Q. A blouse or a pair of pants? A I can't remember what she was wearing.
Q. Was she partially naked?
A. I don't think she was.
Q. Okay. She was partially dressed but not partially naked?
A. I don't -- no, I said I don't remember what she was wearing. I mean, I do remember she had something on. I mean, it may be the difference between if her shirt was buttoned up or not buttoned up. I just can't remember exactly what.
Q. Okay. Just a couple more things. Remember when Sergeant Andrews asked you the question about the situation -- what did you think about the situation? Do I need to go back and rephrase that or do you still remember what we're talking about, about Lisa -- about a public person being locked up in a room with a security guard out front? Do you remember that conversation?
A. Right. I mean, she wasn't locked up in the room.
Q. Okay. But do you remember the question that
Sergeant Andrews asked you regarding that particular situation?
A. What I thought of the situation?
Q. Right. He asked you for your impression.
Q. Okay. Do you remember -- have you still got that in your mind, that question?
Q. Okay. Your answer was "What I was told." You never did answer the question. What was your impression? I want to know what was your impression of the situation, not what you were told but what was your observation,, what was your impression?
A. I think the question is kind of general. Are you asking me for my opinion of what --
Q. We can go back and read it if you want.
MR. MCGARRY: Let's don't make her do that. That's very involved. What is it you want to ask him right now?
DETECTIVE CARRASQUILLO: I want to know what his impression is of the situation with the public person in a room detained with care givers, security guard out at the front. That was the question. Was that the question?
SERGEANT ANDREWS: Yes;
MR. MCGARRY: What his impression is?
DETECTIVE CARRASQUILLO: What did he think of it, his personal opinion at that particular time, and he started answering the question "What I was told was."
MR. MCGARRY: Well, it is kind of a general question. Do you have an impression of what was going on there that you could give us to answer his question?
THE WITNESS: I don't know. I mean, first, I don't remember the word "detained" being used, and I wouldn't say that she was detained.
DETECTIVE CARRASQUILLO: I don't think I used the word "detained" when I described her, did I?
MR. MCGARRY: Uh-huh.
DETECTIVE CARRASQUILLO: Well, scratch "detained" out of there.
THE WITNESS: I don't know. If you're asking me for my opinion, I can't say I had one in particular. What --
BY DETECTIVE CARRASQUILLO:
Q. All right. Let me make it --
A. I saw-
Q. Let me narrow it for you. Is that normal -- would it be normal, from your experience and your
impressions, to have a public person staying in a hotel room with care givers 24 hours a day and security guards out front of the door?
A. Well, okay. The average guest that comes to the hotel doesn't get that. In her case, I would say that it was very evident that she was unable to care for herself, which made it necessary to have care givers there with her.
Q. Okay. - And that was your impression, that she could not care for herself?
A. Yes, it was.
Q. Okay. Now, I want to touch briefly on her physical well being. When you first got there, obviously she was coming up to the door, she was opening the door. She came out of the room at one time, and then you said there came a point where you were no longer needed and she left -- and you left; is that correct?
Q. At that point in time, what was her physical condition actively-wise? Was she walking around in the room? Was she coming out?
A. She wasn't coming out. She was walking around. She was standing up, walking around, sitting down. It varied. Laying in the bed for short periods
Q. Okay. And in relation to that answer now, when -- when the sedatives were given to her, was it way before that or near the end of your stay?
A. The sedatives were given to her, I believe, on the third night I was there.
Q. So it was at the beginning of the stay?
Q. One real quick question. When they were giving her the sedatives, was she being held down?
A. Yes, she was.
Q. Okay. Do you remember who was holding her down?
A. It's kind of hard to say. I mean, I can name off who was in the room at the time. I can't remember exactly where everybody was.
Q. Okay. Well, do that.
A. Okay. David Houghton was in the room, I was in the room, Heather Hoff was in the room, I believe Rita Boykin was in the room. I can't say that for sure. That's all I can -- that's all I can remember exactly.
Q. Okay. Did you assist in holding her down?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. Okay. Did she say anything while you guys
were holding her down?
A. Yes. Yeah. I mean, she was talking up a storm.
Q. What was she saying?
A. I don't know. I remember at one point where it was being squirted into her mouth she said, Yes, give it to me" --
Q. Did she ever say --
A. -- or said something indicating that she did want it. Other than that, the rest -- the rest of her -- the rest of what she was saying didn't make much sense.
Q. Did she say, "Let go of me, get off me, I want to get out of here"?
A. No, she didn't.
DETECTIVE CARRASQUILLO: Okay. No more questions.
THE WITNESS: Not that I remember, at least.
MR. MCGARRY: All right. That will do it. Thank you.
MR. DARKEN: Okay.
(Whereupon, sworn statement was concluded.)
STATE OF FLORIDA ) COUNTY OF PINELLAS ) I, the undersigned authority, certify that ASHER SAMUEL GHIORA personally appeared before me and was duly sworn. WITNESS my hand and official seal this 16th day of May, 1997. KRISTINE M. BLAKE, RNR, Notary Public - State of Florida, My Commission No. CC523799, Expires: 2-21-00. [Notary Seal]
STATE OF FLORIDA ) COUNTY OF PINELLAS ) I, Kristine M. Blake, Registered Professional Reporter, certify that I was authorized to and did stenographically report the sworn statement of ASHER SAMUEL GHIORA; that a review of the transcript was not requested; and that the transcript is a true and complete record of my stenographic notes. I further certify that I am not a relative, employee, attorney, or counsel of any of the parties, nor am I a relative or employee of any of the parties' attorney or counsel connected with the action, nor am I financially interested in the action. DATED this 16th day of May, 1997. KRISTINE M. BLAKE, RNR, Notary Public - State of Florida, My Commission No. CC523799, Expires: 2-21-00. [Notary Seal]