Sworn Statement of Michael Arthur Stuart Baxter, Security Chief
|Date:||May 6, 1997|
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA ____________________________________ STATE ATTORNEY INVESTIGATION RE: LISA MCPHERSON ____________________________________ SWORN STATEMENT: MICHAEL ARTHUR STUART BAXTER. 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.
MICHAEL ARTHUR STUART BAXTER, the witness herein, having been first duly sworn, was examined and was deposed as follows: EXAMINATION BY
Q. All right. State your name again.
A. Michael Arthur Stuart Baxter.
Q. Date of birth?
A. X, 57.
Q. My name's Mark McGarry. I'm a prosecutor, and I'm investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Lisa McPherson occurring on -- during the period of time of November of 95 and December of 95. You're represented by counsel, and I think he would like to add something to the record before we begin.
MR. DARKEN: Yes. Mr. Baxter is invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and is testifying pursuant to the immunity provisions of Florida Statute 914.04. BY
Q. All right. Where are you from?
A. (Nodding head.)
Q. Wow. That's -- you're the farthest away
we've gotten now. When did you move to the states?
Q. And did you move to Clearwater in 82?
A. (Nodding heade) Q And why did you move to Clearwater?
A. I was in the staff in the church in Australia and I was asked to come over here to Clearwater.
Q. Okay. So they asked you --
Q. They transferred you over here?
Q. When did you join the church?
A. I was born into it. Well, I was ten months old when I came in, but basically I was born into it.
Q. That's a long time ago?
Q. So your family's been involved all along here?
Q. Okay. And they asked that you -- were you a member of staff in Australia?
Q. In what respect?
A. I was in clerical. I had been on staff since 73.
Q. And when they asked you to come to Clearwater, what had they had in mind for you to do?
A. I had no idea. I was asked, "Do you want to come over to join the Sea Organization?" I said, "Yes. "
Q. Sea org?
A. It was my choice.
Q. How does that work? I mean are you a U.S. citizen now or --
A. I have a green card.
Q. You have a green card? Is that a religious visa that you get to start with and then eventually you got a green card?
A. I believe so. I believe so. I was given a religious visa, I believe. I have a green card that I think extends for ten years, so --
A. -- I think I'm classified as a permanent resident.
Q. All right. And in 82 what were your duties as a staff member with the church?
A. I was involved in a few functions. One was in administrative, another one was in financial, and then I moved into more clerical work. Mainly clerical.
Q. Mainly clerical?
A. Yeah, mainly clerical.
Q. When did you begin the security aspect of your duties?
A. In -- gosh, about six years ago, in 1991.
Q. All right. And how did that come to pass? Did you request that, or was that a transfer the church put you into?
A. I was asked if I would like to be in the security force because there was a need for more security personnel, and I was asked, "Would you like to be a member of the security force?" and I said, "Yes." It was a transfer at my -- well, I was asked if I'd like to be in the security force and I said yes.
Q. Okay. Are you also participating in spiritual enrichment as well?
A. Staff members do.
Q. And have you attained a certain level of enrichment as far as that?
A. Now, I don't know how familiar you are with --
Q. Not as much as the
SERGEANT here but --
A. Okay. I don't like to confuse anybody.
Q. -- enough to be dangerous with questions.
A. Good. So on the -- there's certain levels. I'm the -- what is called OT3, like the third grade up.
Q. Okay. All right. When you went to security in 91, who was the person in charge at that time? Do you remember?
A. There was a guy called George Hughes who I think was the chief of security at that time.
Q. Okay. And did you go through some training in reference to your new job description?
Q. Okay. And was he the person that supervised the training at that time?
A. Yes, yes. There were not -- let me just say this: There were not many people in the security force at that time, so there was very --
Q. I understand it's increased --
Q. -- greatly over the last few years due to all the bomb threats probably, right?
A. It's part and parcel.
Q. Yeah. Did you have any formal training in security back in Australia or outside the church?
Q. Your formal education, how far did that go?
A. I was going to college, and then I opted to
join the church full time.
Q. And I gather that you progressed through the security program and were still a member of the -- or involved with security when Lisa McPherson began her stay at the hotel in November of 95?
Q. Okay. Had you known Lisa McPherson prior to her stay --
Q. -- at the Cabana on that date?
A. Not at all, no.
Q. Okay. Did you have an occasion to be -- how'd you learn that she was there?
A. I received a phone call from some church member. I believe it was Bonita Slaughter, her employee, maybe her husband, I'm not sure, but somebody called me on the phone and said Lisa had had some situation and she had been taken to hospital. I received that phone call. That's how I first heard of her, because I received a phone call.
Q. And what was the purpose of her telling you that?
A. To -- I don't know, to see if there's any help that could be -- to be gotten.
Q. Well, was part of the conversation that Lisa
was going to be staying at the hotel for some rest and relaxation?
Q. Not at that time?.
A. Not at that time.
Q. So she was just informing you --
A. Of the circumstances.
Q. -- of the circumstances? Now, was that because she's a friend of yours or because you're in security, that's something that you should be briefed of in the course of regular business in the church?
A. I can only -- I can only answer that with an opinion which is this: Security is there 24 hours a day. If anybody wants to tell anybody anything, security could be called.
Q. So they act as a communication liaison as well?
A. If there's -- yeah, that's correct. If there's a situation, then security can assist in -- let's say somebody has a death in the family in Keokuk. They can always call security any time of day and we can get the family member to call back and find out when the funeral is, so there is that aspect of we're always there.
Q. Okay. Did you pass that information on to anybody else?
Q. And why?
A. I called -- well, why, because I didn't know who Lisa McPherson was. I didn't know if she was currently receiving any training or counseling. I had no idea, so I called Alain Kartuzinski, because if she was at that point getting some counseling, he would need to know.
Q. Because he is her senior at that time?
A. Not senior.
Q. She wasn't -- case supervisor?
A. Yeah, correct.
MR. MCGARRY: See, I'm picking that stuff up.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: Okay. BY
Q. Did you call anybody else with that information?
A. I believe I called Emma Schamehorn who is the
medical person in the church.
Q. All right. Would that explain why some of these people or at least Mr. Kartuzinski -- I don't know if Emma showed up or not. The detective probably remembers this -- why they might have gone down to the hospital at that time?
A. I'm sure.
Q. Okay. Did you call anybody else besides those two people?
A. I don't remember calling anybody else.
Q. All right. Who was your next conversation in reference to Lisa McPherson with?
A. Probably Alain calling me from the hospital.
Q. Okay. And what was the purpose of that conversation?
A. He -- let's see. He called me, I believe, to -- to let me know that he and Lisa are coming back to the hotel.
A. I don't remember the exact content of that phone call, but I believe that's --
Q. That's the gist of it?
A. That's the gist of it, yeah, from what I can recall.
Q. For purposes of checking her in at a room as
a guest presumably?
Q. Did you make any -- did you act on that information in any particular way?
A. Alain asked me, I believe, if -- if I could see if there was a room available, and I went to the front desk and I -- I found that there was a room available, which was the Cabana at the back of the hotel, and I just don't know whether I called him back on that or not. Anyway, that was the -- the next step.
Q. Okay. I might as well get this straightened out, because it's confusing. Paul Kellerhals was also in security at the time?
A. No, no. He was my direct superior. He was in charge of the security force. He had other duties as well.
Q. Okay. So his was more of a general multiple job description as opposed to you being more specifically involved?
A. Right. He was very much involved in security -- with security.
Q. Right. He explained that. Was he involved in this telephone conversation circle here with you and Alain?
A. I didn't speak to him --
Q. Okay. A,. -- at that point. Later on we did talk, of course, but at that point I didn't -- I called Alain, and I remember calling Emma. I don't remember calling anybody else
Q. Okay. But to the best of your knowledge, he would have been briefed on these circumstances as well --
Q. -- at the time because of his level?
A. (Nodding head.)
Q. Okay. Did you, in fact, make arrangements for a room stay for Lisa at that time?
A. I did. I -- when I found out that there was a room in the Fort Harrison available I said, "Great. Can we just reserve this, please." And that was made available.
Q. And were you around when Lisa checked in?
Q. You weren't?
Q. You weren't?
A. No, I wasn't there.
Q. Did you later, in fact, learn she did check in?
A. Yes. I checked back and found out she was there.
Q. And who told you that? If you can't remember, that's okay.
A. No. I mean, I -- I don't remember exactly who it was.
Q. All right. Who was your next conversation with in reference to Lisa McPherson as best you can recall? Well, my next question --~ I'm trying to get us going now as to how this got organized as -- as far as the circumstances surrounding all of these people. There must be 16 or 18 of them that were involved in keeping an eye on Lisa, whether or not you were involved in that, played a role in that, helped in that, so why don't you get me started with that area right there of questioning if you could. Maybe you didn't play a role. I don't know.
A. So who was the next person I talked to?
Q. Well, you see where I'm going with this?
Q. What was your next step in this process here? Lisa ends up with a lot of people looking after her. Did you play a role in that?
A. When -- let me say this: This is what I do
remember, okay. When I -- when she came into the hotel -- let's get my things straight here.
Q. I'll start of f with an easier question and we'll just reroute this. Were you ever given any information -- were you ever given the information that she was not quite mentally all together?
Q. And where was that, in the conversations you had while she was in -- at the Morton Plant Hospital there?
A. No. What -- this is what happened: When -- when I received the phone call from Bonita or whoever it was, she told me Lisa had -- had some kind of a problem. She had taken her clothes of f and was walking down the street.
A. At that point -- but I had nobody else particularly telling me. Now, Alain called me back from the hospital. He said they were just going to come back to the Fort Harrison. I think it was just basically that when Bonita or whoever called me with the initial accounts.
Q. Okay. So you kind of had an idea?
Q. All right. Were you -- I've been told from
numerous witnesses in our investigation that the purpose of her stay there was for rest and relaxation as well as to get her stabilized so she could undergo a procedure that might -- an introspective run-down to get her back together again with everything. Were you ever told that was gonna be the purpose of her stay at the hotel?
Q. Okay. And who told you that?
A. Well, Paul Kellerhals and I discussed this. Alain discussed it as well. When he called from the hospital, he said that they're going to come into the Fort Harrison. Didn't know why. But later on, to the best of my knowledge -- understand that, right, because I'm a little bit hazy on that.
Q. We can ask more.
A. Alain -- I think it was Alain said what we want to do is just give her some -- a quiet place to rest so she can just get back to battery.
Q. Okay. Now, you know we've already spoken to Sam here. He was just beginning his indoctrination into the security aspect of this post here?
Q. You had been a senior to him, correct, or did it work that way?
A. It would have worked that way, yeah.
A. It would have worked that way. I mean, I would have been the person that he would receive instructions from and so forth. (
Q. Okay. And your instructions were coming from Mr. Kartuzinski, or were they from -- also from Paul?
A. With regard to what?
Q. With the procedure for the added needs of Lisa McPherson.
Q. Okay. Now, we've kind of got to that point there. Did you have further meetings with either Paul or Mr. Kartuzinski in reference to how -- what procedures were going to be implemented as far as the needs of Lisa Mcpherson?
Q. Okay. And when was that and what was said with -- who was this conversation with?
A. All right. The -- the matter of -- oh, boy, when? There were a few times we -- we talked, okay. Paul Kellerhals first. He was my immediate superior --
A. -- so he was involved with me with regard to the security involvement of this concern. Alain
Kartuzinski was involved by virtue of the fact that he wanted to make sure that she was well rested and so forth.
Q. More on the spiritual end of it?
A. So the conversations I would have had with Paul Kellerhals would have been to do with security involvement on the matter.
Q. Okay. Now, the substance of those conversations, did you all have a plan, like who was going to take a shift, who were the people who were gonna stand outside the door and the people that were standing outside the door, what were their duties and responsibilities? Did you guys formulate a plan? Was there a conversation about that?
A. Paul Kellerhals and I discussed that, and to the best of my knowledge -- remember this -- he -- there were two new people coming into the security force. One was a guy called Sam Ghiora and the other one was called Alfonso Barcenas. Alfonso, he met with Paul Kellerhals, and I don't know what they talked about, but he was one of the people involved. And then Sam Ghiora I talked to after having talked to Paul Kellerhals and what the instructions would be and so
Q. All right. Are you privy to what those instructions were?
A. With Alfonso and Paul? No. I -- I wasn't there. With -- Sammy can tell you what I told Sam.
Q. Okay. That woulld be helpful.
A. Sam -- well, this is what I was told by Paul Kellerhals, too. This is the general scenario. The idea was Lisa needed rest and quiet. We didn't know what kind of a situation she was in. We didn't know if she was dangerous to herself or anybody else. I didn't know if she was violent or not, so Sam -- I told Sam the general scenario what occurred. We don't know what the circumstances are. His duties primarily are to -- if -- if any assistance is required, if any -- there were tenants there, too, see. If any tenants needed some food or whatever, help, help if you could do it. If there was any noise outside, quiet it down so she can sleep. Alfonso, I don't know what -- what he -- probably the same.
Q. Okay. You weren't involved personally with any of the duties of the watch, were you?
Q. Okay. Did you ever assist in it by chance?
A. How do you--
Q. Assist in anything to do with Lisa McPherson by chance, just by being in the general area and seeing that somebody needed some assistance?
A. No, no.
Q. So you don't have any -- and you don't have any stories to tell me about the bizarre things Lisa did while in that motel room?
A. No. The funny thing is, I never saw her.
A. Yeah. So I'm sorry, I can't --
Q. The -- was there a procedure implemented by you or Paul, if you know, whereas Sam and Alfonso would document any of what occurred in a written form?
A. Alain requested that the attendants would write a daily report on whatever occurred, and I don't know how many reports were written. I know some reports were written, and those reports were given to Alain.
Q. Okay. Personally or through the messenger service in the hotel, or do you know, the reports?
A. The reports written by the attendants?
A. Possibly Sam wrote some, maybe Alfonso wrote some.
Q. And the delivery method to get to Kartuzinski
would be how, if you know?
A. Well, more -- I don't know. More than likely, the reports would be -- somebody could take them to Alain's office. How that was worked out was worked out. Security could assist in that.
A. Somebody could take it to the security office and they would be taken to Alain's office. Who would do it, I wouldn't --
A. That wasn't like deliberately set up, this person does it at this certain time, see.
Q. So to the best of your knowledge, Mr. Kartuzinski was getting the reports from both your security people as well as the caretakers? Does that include Janice Johnson as well?
A. I don't know what her -- if she was a caretaker or not, actually, but any reports -- see, let me just say this: Any reports that were written would go to him, so if Janice Johnson wrote a report, it would go to him.
Q. All right. Now, this may be a little naive, but why is he getting these reports?
A. His position of case supervisor --
Q. Necessitated that?
A. -- necessitated that.
Q. Okay. I knew that kind of, but I just wanted to make sure.
A. Yeah, yeah.
Q. Did you write any reports?
A. I did -- there was one I wrote. There was one I wrote that I specifically remember.
Q. Where in this whole thing was this?
A. Well, hell, I don't remember what day it was.
Q. Beginning, end?
A. Security wasn't involved throughout the whole thing. There was some point where security was -- we stopped the whole -- our involvement in the thing. It was over early on.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: I have some calendars of November and December.
MR. DARKEN: He's seen the one report.
MR. MCGARRY: Oh, is that his report? THE WITNESS: That's the one -- yeah, I wrote the damn thing.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: This one here (indicating?) THE WITNESS: Yeah. That's my writing. If you can read it, you're lucky.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: I got everything but
the signature. 141, Mark.
MR. MCGARRY: Yep. Thank you very much. THE WITNESS: This was on the 2 2nd. There you go. So that was the 22nd. When did this whole thing start? So this is four days in. BY
Q. All right. This is your report?
A. That's right.
Q. That's marked as -- for purposes of the record, it's got an FSO mark at the bottom. It says 141, I believe, and goes to 142, but that is a log or a record that you created?
Q. Well, see, this goes back to my question here. We obviously didn't communicate well on that question. You did have some -- if this is in your handwriting, then you were privy to something going on there with Lisa at least on this one day?
A. Tell you what happened here. Alain called me -- I remember this. Alain called me and said, "I don't have a report," and he asked for my assistance in getting a report, so I said, "All right, fine." I remember going back to the -- to the area in the back of the hotel and asking one of the attendants who was outside what happened, and I wrote
Q. Oh, okay. All right. So this is information you obtained from somebody else --
A. Yeah, yeah.
Q. -- that was watching her?
Q. So this is not observations that you made?
A. Not at all. I even forget who I got this from, but there was -- some attendant was outside, and I said, "What happened last night" or whatever happened, and I got this back. I took it back to Alain. I don't know if I gave it to him or put it on his desk but --
Q. So this right here (indicating) --
A. Is my -
Q. You should be a doctor.
A. It's pretty bad, huh?
Q. Okay. So this is the sole report that you recall --
A. That I recall, yes.
Q. -- doing? Now, were -- were Sam and Alfonso, I guess, giving you updates as to -- verbally anyway as to what
was going on with their watch as far as their participation?
A. To be honest with you, I don't recall that. It's possible. I was also attending to other security duties at the time, too, so that -- that situation was that situation, so I honestly don't remember if they -- if they discussed it with me or not, and they probably did, but the particular -- the actual real thing is if they were to report, they would have gone to Alain, so I don't remember them actually speaking to me.
Q. All right.
A. They may have.
Q. We know of another meeting that a lot of the caretakers were asked to attend. I'm not sure whether or not you would have been invited or not, but Marcus Carinno had a meeting on December 5th. Do you recall participating in that?
A. No. December 5th?
Q. Yeah. It would have been the day she died.
A. No. Where was that meeting held?
Q. I don't know. I know it was held somewhere.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: I think it was the Coachman building. I think they had it at the Coachman building. THE WITNESS: I wasn't at that meeting.
Q. All right. There's gonna be an area that I'm sure is going to be explored by the detectives here as well of great importance, and that is the area concerning the instructions given to both Sam and Alfonso in -- if there was any, in reference to how they would deal with the situation of Lisa coming out of the room and wanting to leave.
Q. Are you aware of any instructions in reference to that particular area for those fellows?
A. I did tell Sam something. I didn't speak to Alfonso, but I did tell Sam something.
Q. All right. I'd like to hear that.
A. What I told Sam, to the best of my recollection here -- after I explained to Sam the situation that we thought we were dealing with here, I said or I think I said if she -- Lisa, if she comes out of the room, guide her back in, and that would be pretty much the extent of it. If she comes out of the room, help -- help her go back in or help the attendants in that respect, see.
Q. And -- you see where I'm going with that question? It's a tough question, because if she asked to leave, then our question is, well, gosh, it makes it
look like you guys are keeping her against her will. You see where I'm, going?
A. Understood now.
Q. And if she is completely crazy or acting bizarre and you let her go and she gets run over by a truck, then you don't look so good either.
Q. I'm not trying to trick you.
A. I understand where you're coming from. Let me say this then, okay?
Q. All right.
A. That's tricky, isn't it? If -- if she had -- let me say this: If she had asked to leave, then we would have asked Alain yeah or no. I'll tell you why. We -- me, I didn't want to have a situation where she'd take her clothes of f and go running back in the back of the hotel and get hit by a truck or something. I didn't want that to happen. I didn't know the situation she was in I did know something was wrong, so, obviously, I didn't want to have a situation where if she is gonna be some kind of risk to herself or danger to herself and get hurt -- I didn't want that to happen.
Q. Okay. So were those feelings communicated to Sam and Alfonso?
A. I told Sam. I said to Sam words to the effect like I said before, if she comes out --
Q. The next question is were you aware or were you ever told that that's what she wanted to do? /
A. I don't remember that. I ~ Did she ever -- did you ever get any communication from anybody that was involved with this watch that, hey, Lisa wants out of here? Did you ever hear that?
A. Not that I remember.
A. Not that I remember.
Q. All right. Other than -- I assume you've talked to Sam about an incident that occurred where she came out the door and he gently persuaded her with an arm to go back in?
A. I actually don't remember that conversation.
A. I mean, if he says he talked to me, fine, but I don't actually remember that.
Q. Actually, I don't think he even mentioned talking to you, but I'm just supposing that he might have brought that up to you in conversation.
A. I actually don't remember that conversation.
Q. Okay. Now, what -- what is it that caused
you to stop the -- the 24-hour added help -- security help outside of the room?
A. I forget when this was, but maybe halfway through the whole matter Paul Kellerhals and I had a -- had a conversation and it seemed to us that it was quiet, there was no particular concern on our part for her being a danger to herself or anybody else, so we discussed well, if she -- if that's okay, then we don't need to have the security detail whatsoever, so he told me, "Well, if that's the case, we'll just -- we'll just pull the guard of f," and so we did. Now, what day that was I don't remember, but I think it was about a week -- a week before --
Q. Are you privy to the -- to the communication -- I mean, who communicated that to you or him, the information that she's --
A. That she was --
Q. Was that coming from Mr. Kartuzinski or from the caretakers or do you know?
A. I can guess this, that Alain talked to Paul. That's what I can guess.
Q. Okay. Now, in any of your conversations with Mr. Kartuzinski, did you ever get the impression that he had been down there to see Lisa, or was this a hands of f, I'm gonna let somebody else watch her and then
step in when she's fixed?
A. That's a tricky one to answer.
Q. Well, the only way you can answer that is by the conversations you had with him or personally viewing him down there.
A. I -- I never saw him down there.
Q. All right. So that's half of the question.
A. Now, that doesn't say he didn't, but I just never saw him down there.
A. What was the other half of the question?
Q. In a conversation that you had with him, he referenced the fact that he's been down there to help her and see her and oversee this thing.
A. I do not remember him saying anything like that to me at all. Not to say he didn't.
Q. You've already said he's handled this through reports and daily logs?
Q. So his -- as far as you're aware, his connection to Lisa is through daily logs and communication -- and/or communication with people that have personally handled Lisa?
A. I'd say yes to that, yeah.
Q. Janice Johnson -- is your office in this
A. In the Fort Harrison?
Q. Yeah, at that time.
A. At that time, yes.
Q. You're over in Sandcastle now, right?
Q. How did that change come about?
A. There was a restructuring -- the change of what, me --
Q. Moving from Flag -- I guess that's what you call Fort Harrison.
A. Fort Harrison to Sandcastle. Somebody -- the security force is growing. Somebody came in to Paul Kellerhals' position. Paul Kellerhals has quite a bit of experience in security. He then became the security chief. Therefore, I couldn't have the same position, so I -- I was moved to the Sandcastle because I have a certain forte. Being where I am on the gradation chart, Sandcastle is where I have all the materials concerning that, and that's what I'm good for and good at, so that's why I moved to the Sandcastle.
Q. Did Sandcastle not have security prior to you?
A. Yeah, it --
Q. It did?
A. Yeah, it did but not enough.
Q. What is Sandcastle? What is that?
A. It's a hotel.
Q. That's a hotel also?
A. It's a hotel, and there's classrooms there as well. I
Q. That's the upper level stuff --
A. That's right.
Q. -- over there, right?
A. That's right.
Q. So that change occurred when, approximately?
A. About a year ago maybe.
Q. This change didn't occur after this Lisa thing, it occurred --
A. I don't know whether it was before or after, actually.
Q. All right. Are you familiar with the mechanical aspect of the doors there in the Cabana area of that hotel?
A. Somewhat. ~
Q. Can you describe to me how they work? Do you understand the question?
A. Yeah, I think so. It's a guest room, right, so any -- any door --
MR. DARKEN: Did you say Sandcastle or
MR. MCGARRY: Fort Harrison. Cabana. Cabana. THE WITNESS: Yeah. So any door can be opened from the inside but it can be locked from the inside so nobody can get in. You can't open it from the outside if it's locked. From the inside you can. It doesn't lock -- you can't lock it from the outside. BY
Q. Right. So it's like a hotel room door?
A. Yeah, it's a hotel room door.
Q. And do you have the key to get in --
Q. -- if it's closed? The doorknob doesn't always turn on the outside, it's always locked --
Q. -- like a hotel door?
A. (Nodding head.)
Q. Now, this room, can you describe this room? Did it have -- did you ever see the inside of this room during --
A. No, I didn't. I mean, I can describe the generic hotel room but --
Q. We've had that done. You don't need to do
that. You weren't involved in any of the organizational schedules of the caretakers, were you?
A. How do you mean?
Q. Well, there's 15 or more various women that were on certain schedules to take care of Lisa
A. I was partly involved, yes.
Q. Okay. I'd like to hear about that.
A. There was -- there was a list of names drawn up of people that were to be attendants.
Q. Do you know who drew that?
A. I don'.t know specifically who drew it. I don't know. I know there were people involved in that, and I was asked to help round up a few of them. ~ -
Q. This must have been at the beginning of her stay.
Q. When you say "round up," you mean contact em, tell them what their responsibilities would be and what the situation was?
A. Well, what round up meant -- I'm sorry. Round up meant to actually go and contact them and have them come to a briefing of what the situation is so they can get some information and assist.
Q. And you, in fact, did do that?
A. I did.
Q. And who was the briefer?
A. Either -- Alain because he has a technical aspect.
Q. All right. Were you present for that? No. Q.1 All right. And was that the sum and substance of your involvement with the organization of the caretakers?
A. Yeah. I don't know who made the actual roster up.
Q. Okay. Now, to the best of your knowledge, was Sam and Alfonso given radio communication during their stays?
Q. All right. Is there anything else that you can recall during this period of time as the chief of security there that you did in reference to Lisa Mcpherson's stay that I have neglected to ask you that stands out in your mind, assisted or, you know, anything else that you could recall?
A. I don't think so.
MR. MCGARRY: All right. That will conclude the questions that I have. These detectives would like to ask you a few questions. If you want a break, we'll take one.
THE WITNESS: No.
MR. MCGARRY: If you want to plunge ahead, we're ready to go. THE WITNESS: Plunge ahead. EXAMINATION BY
Q. Do you want me to call you Arthur? I see you have the other two names.
A. I go by Arthur.
Q. What's your present address?
A. I live at the Hacienda Gardens.
Q. Do you have any medical background?
A. Right now I've got some bruised ribs. Other than that, asthma.
Q. Okay. Okay. I guess maybe it's our two countries that are swapping us. Medical background meaning training --
Q. -- you know, anything like that?
Q. Okay. Knowing the organization, was it unusual for Bonita Slaughter to call the church and security there and ask for assistants with Bonita -- I mean with Lisa McPherson, that it was a public member, that she was out of the outside hospital? It seems to
me a little strange that -- that if she was a staff member -- I could see her calling security to tell her to get ahold of somebody there, like the MLO to get em down to the hospital, because I think or I've been told that the church does pay a lot of the medical bills for staff, but Lisa was a public member working for Bonita Slaughter making very, very good money, you know, independent and only taking classes at the church, yet when she had the accident, took her clothes of f, went to Morton Plant, Bonita called security at the church?
A. Called me?
A. No, not necessarily. I'll tell you why. This is supposition, now, understand because I don't know.
A. But if she was taking some kind of class or service, if there's a situation with a church member, be it staff, be it public, then the case supervisor would need to know what's going on. What the case supervisor did with that information is up to the case supervisor.
A. But you can't always get ahold of people necessarily, because they're moving around and so forth. Security's always there, so that's why -- so from that viewpoint, unusual? No, not necessarily.
Q. All right. So we would probably -- supposition again, probably tie it to the fact that possibly Alain was her auditor or case supervisor working on her case or she had somebody doing auditing?
A. I don't know.
Q. They wanted her -- well, they had no other reason to tell the church other than that, that she was in auditing classes or whatever?
A. That could be the reason. I don't know.
Q. Okay. Do you remember if Bonita Slaughter asked you specifically to call Alain?
A. I don't.
A. I would do it naturally.
Q. That's the natural chain?
Q. Okay. Now, we talked to Sam and we've talked to Alfonso, and they were kind of security trainees. It appears that you and Paul Kellerhals were the brains to the outfit at the time. What was your understanding of what was happening with Lisa and what was expected
of you as the security chief?
A. My understanding was she had some kind of problem and she needed -- I got this from Alain. She needed some rest or some quiet place to recuperate so that she could come out of whatever it was she was in. Security involvement, like I mentioned before, if -- if there was -- if she posed some kind of physical threat to herself or like harm herself or harm somebody else, then we would be involved in that aspect of it, too. Again, if -- if some assistance was required on -- let's say she asked for something, a hamburger or something. We'd possibly get that, too, see. The other aspect -- and I don't know if I mentioned this or not. If there was a lot of noise, we would quiet it down so she could sleep or rest.
Q. Okay. In your report you wrote down here that you were told that she punched somebody out.
Q. Were you concerned about that as far as the secured level? You know, you just said that it would be your responsibility to -- if she's gonna hurt somebody. Now, you've written down here that she punched out a caretaker.
Q. Did you make any plan at that time if
violence would continue, what would happen to her?
A. There was no change of viewpoint at that particular point in time.
Q. Okay. So Paul Kellerhals and you never discussed what happens if she becomes crazy, really hurts people, what we were going to do wIth security, because the caretakers would fall back on security for the assistance? I think they did in several cases.
A. That -- well, hell, that was a concern I had up here (indicating.) I didn't particularly -- I don't remember particularly talking to anybody about that aspect of it. If she went completely crazy, smashing windows, well, I think it's very likely that the people involved would actually help calm her down so she wouldn't cut her hands of f or whatever, you see.
Q. I bring that up, because in talking to Alfonso Barcenas, he says he was called in the room to strip it completely out, which means he took the telephone out and the TV out and the lamps down and all of those things. Were you aware of that as far as the security chief?
A. I was aware of the room being inspected for anything which could be utilized if she went nuts, like -- let's say there was a knife or a -- something that was glass that could be broken that she could
damage herself with, yes.
Q. Okay. I think Sam has said that she had actually come out one time and he guided her back, and he used the same term, "guided her back," and then another time she came to the door and opened it and attempted to knee him in the groin and poke him in the eyes. Did you, as security chief, have a plan in effect if she bolted from the room to run away?
A. I have to fall back on the -- I would say yes to that question just from the viewpoint that Sam had the instructions from me if she comes out, help guide her back in again. That's all. The application of force or what could occur, we didn't actually discuss that. It was like "I hope she stays calm."
Q. All right.
A. You see what I mean? We didn't actually discuss any like horrendous scenarios that could possibly have come up.
Q. Yet -- yet we have Sam saying that he had to go in and hold her down while they squirted some type of medication into her mouth. Apparently, there was physical force being used by your security force.
A. Okay. I honestly don't remember him telling me that.
A. I actually don't.
Q. Would he -- would he write a report to that effect? I mean, you know, in police work we have to write reports for everything. Security seems very similar where you have logs and communications.
A. If -- see, he would -- if he wrote reports, and he possibly did, he would have given them to Alain.
Q. Okay. And that goes back to my question. I notice on a bunch of the tops of these pages it says to the SNR, senior case supervisor, which was Alain and said "Rush" on the top. Now, would security get involved in that type of mail delivery if it was a rush?
Q. All right.
A. I only say possibly because if there was a way that somebody could take the report to Alain, they would do it. If not, they could bring it to security and security could assist getting the report to Alain.
Q. Okay. As a security chief, did you have the responsibility or the -- I don't want to say power, but let's use that word. Did you have the power to release Lisa McPherson in this whole cycle that she was
A. No., That call would have been from Alain.
Q. Okay. Thank you. Let me just ask you to look at FSO 143.
Q. It's from the staff chaplain, which we found out so far is Valerie Demonjay (phonetic.)
Q. And it's pretty faded out, but if you look down here in the very clear letters it says, "Update," okay, "4:35 p.m."
A. That's my writing.
Q. That's your writing?
Q. Okay. Can you explain -- explain about this?
A. What time was this written? Do we know?
Q. She started here with -- from the watch from 3:30 a.m. to four p.m. and then this looks like you're giving an update at 4:30 -- 4:35 p.m.
A. This is the afternoon, right.
Q. Yeah. This lady here, Valerie, was on watch from three in the morning -- 3:30 in the morning until four p.m.?
Q. And so it looks like you're possibly giving
A. Yeah, that's correct. That's my writing.
Q. Let me look. I think in copying these, I might even be able to give you a date.
A. Yeah. It's been chopped off up here. This is November.
Q. Can you give us a little update on how this happened?
A. This could have occurred by Valerie. See, her watch finished at four o'clock. I'm supposing here she may have called me in the office and said -- or somebody -- no, it wouldn't have been Valerie. Somebody -- an attendant after Valerie could have called me and said this is what's happening now, and then I would put that on the report before it went to Alain.
Q. All right. What would you do with the report?
A. This would go to Alain.
Q. So would you take it to him?
A. Not necessarily.
Q. Or would you put it in the box?
A. I could have taken it or somebody could have taken it. It could have been myself or somebody. Maybe the person -- maybe Valerie took it up there. This is a possibility, too.
A. Valerie may have gone back to talk to one of the attendants and said what's happening now, told me, I put that there and I gave the report to Valerie and Valerie gives it to Alain. I just don't remember.
Q. It looked like your writing --
A. It was my writing.
Q. -- and it looked a little darker than the other stuff --
Q. -- so I wanted to cover that with you. Have you ever participated previously or since Lisa McPherson in one of these cycles?
A. I don't.
Q. No is the answer?
A. Yeah, to the best of my knowledge. When I got this phone call from. Bonita Slaughter, I think that's the first time I heard of this person.
Q. Okay. Security radio system, like the police department have a central control or central dispatch with somebody in a room answering the radios from the people on the street on duty. Can you explain a little bit your system? I mean, what I'm looking at, would -- if Sam Ghiora's outside the room with his walkie-talkie and Lisa McPherson's out of the room, would he call control and log that onto the radio system?
A. Not necessarily. If she smashed a window and was jumping out of a window, very likely, but if she just came out of the room, not necessarily; maybe but not necessarily.
Q. The security logs that are kept, what do they look like? I mean, are they just a sheet of paper?
A. You mean these things or --
Q. No, the control, the people in control that would be writing down anything from the security force out there making their observations.
Q. I'm sure -- like what we would do, we'd say there's a suspicious person standing over here by this building.
Q. What -- how was that recorded and how is the information kept?
A. It sometimes is and sometimes isn't.
A. Like this (indicating.)
Q. Okay. In handwriting on paper?
A. Sometimes handwriting on paper. Not always kept, because paper just stacks up. 1
Q. Who -- if we were looking to look at those logs for say the 18th of November through the 5th of December --
Q. -- who would we contact to do that?
A. I would have to say I don't even know if any exist from that particular point in time. Handwritten -- handwritten reports from the security personnel, to the best of my recollection, at that particular point in time or just generally speaking, they would be kept maybe for a week or two and then shredded or disposed of.
Q. All right. I take it from that system, then, that as the security chief, you were -- never had to write any type of report of what you did. The police have to do like a self worth report, how many arrests we made or how many contacts we made. None of that was in the church security?
A. No. We didn't have that kind of system.
Q. You didn't have to write a report to any senior saying this is what we did last month?
A. When I was security chief I did a weekly report of the occurrences of the week. Q Okay. Now, would those be available to us to see? /
A. Well, let me say this -- hell, I don't know. Oh, hell, I don't know. I had a system where I would do a report and then the next week it would purge the previous week's report.
Q. Okay. And who did they go to?
A. My -- my superior.
Q. Which was Paul Kellerhals?
A. Yeah, yeah.
A. And the people would be infoed on it as well who were security related or interested in security, and I would do what we'd call a weekly report, and situations -- for example, break-ins and so forth, if they occurred, would be in such a report. -
Q. Okay. All right. And you wouldn't know who I would contact to get those?
Q. I notice that you -- you've written one report here, information from a caretaker, and then
you've made a note on another report which is, I think, sometime later.
A. This is the 26th, right?
Q. That's the 26th of November and that's the 11th or 22nd, I'm1 sorry DARKEN: 22nd. THE WITNESS: 2 2nd. BY
Q. 22nd. What were the -- what was your idea of what was happening to Lisa and what the caretakers were telling you?
A. What was my idea?
Q. Yeah. What was happening? I mean, could you give me an idea about what they were telling you about her condition or what she was doing?
A. Oh, boy, how do I answer that? My -- okay. My idea. I hope she's getting better.
A. Hope she's resting, hope she gets better. mean, that was my idea.
Q. That's what -- that's what you were hoping for?
Q. What I'm looking for, what were the caretakers telling you? Was that falling in line with
what the caretakers were telling you, that she was getting better?
A. Let me think for a minute so I can remember what they were telling me. I mean -- I was told here she's doing better. I'd have to say this, to be honest with you I think what I was getting from the -- from the attendants was that she was calming down. I don't remember exactly what I was being told.
Q. Okay. And the reason I bring that up is that it's been testified to that there's a possibility that -- that security when they were pulled from that detail was not just because she was getting better, that she actually was getting quieter because she was weaker. Were you ever informed of that as security?
A. No, not that I remember. The only reason that we would have decided to have security come of f was because there was no need security-wise to be there. She seemed to be doing -- I don't know, doing better or she was resting, or there's no -- no particular --
A. (Nodding head.)
Q. If the information to Alain Kartuzinski is that she's getting so weak that she's not a threat any longer, she can't get out of bed and they relay that to Paul Kellerhals, would you also pull security?
A. Boy, that's a tricky one. That's kind of hypothetical.
Q. Yeah, it is. What I'm saying to you is that, you know, there has been some indication that your reason that you were being told that you were pulling security is that she was getting better. Some of the other supposition was that she wasn't getting better, she was getting weaker and no longer a threat to the caretakers --
A. Right, okay.
Q. -- therefore security's no longer needed.
A. I could say this: The only reason we would pull security is that she didn't seem to be a particular danger to herself or anybody else. No danger.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: I got it. I don't have anything further. EXAMINATION BY DETECTIVE CARRASQUILLO:
Q. Did you say your date of birth was 9-21-57?
A. 21 September, yeah.
Q. Because it was kind of quick. You said you took some college courses?
A. I went to college in Australia.
Q. Did you graduate?
Q. Two-year degree?
A. No. I got a scholarship -- I was a good academic. I got a scholarship and decided to end and join staff.
Q. Any of those courses medically oriented?
A. Chemistry. Med -- I mean, I was into chemistry and I would have become like a geologist or something, see.
Q. You said you created that report after speaking to --
A. This one (indicating,) yeah.
Q. Okay. We're calling them care givers, you're calling them attendant. Is that the same person?
A. Yeah, I'm sure.
Q. An attendant was somebody that was in the room with Lisa?
Q. Okay. Who gave you the information for you to create that report?
A. I don't honestly remember. I don't remember.
What I remember is this: I went back to the room. One of the girls was outside and I asked what happened.
Q. Wouldn't it have been better just to have her write the report? A I could have done that, either/pr
Q. But you created it, though, you see?
Q. You created that.
A. I wrote this. Alain called me asking me for some information, and so I went back and wrote a report as to what I was told.
Q. If there was any quarantine of any individuals in the Fort Harrison, would security be involved?
A. How do you mean, like somebody had --
Q. People being quarantined, segregated, separated to make sure they didn't mix with the general population, would security be involved?
A. I think so.
Q. Okay. That meeting that Mr. -- that Marcus had that was referenced to possibly a contagious disease and they quarantine individuals, would you have been involved in that? Does that ring a bell with you?
A. It rings a bell. There was a -- I remember there was a concern for possible -- something --
disease or something. I don't know. Being involved in it -- oh, I see what you're saying. No. Like setting up rooms and setting up places for people, no.
Q. Making sure they didn't break the quarantine, because if somebody breaks the quarantine, you can infect the rest of the popu'ation.
A. That's right. It's -- boy. I'd have to say depending on the severity of the situation, like if somebody had hepatitis or some horrific disease. I mean, I don't know. We would definitely -- let me say this: We would be involved from the -- from the aspect of -- we'd definitely keep informed about the matter, absolutely.
Q. So were you informed on this December 5th meeting that they had?
A. I knew that a meeting had occurred. DETECTIVE CARRASQUILLO: No more questions. THE WITNESS: I wasn't at that meeting.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: I just had a quick one. FURTHER EXAMINATION BY
Q. While you were outside Lisa's room or in that vicinity, did you ever see Janice Johnson visit?
A. Oh, boy. It's possible. It's possible.
Q. As far as you remember, what was her responsibility?
A. To the best of my knowledge, she had some medical training and she was, to the best of my knowledge, in -- in communication with Alain Kartuzinski. I honestly don't know what her medical standing is.
Q. Okay. I just want you to quickly look at 138, FSO 138, which seems to be some type of questions.
A. 20th of November?
Q. Yeah. Is any of this your handwriting here (indicating?)
A. Yes, that's mine, that's mine, that's mine, that's mine, that's mine (indicating.)
Q. Okay. It appears that you're answering questions. Do you know who wrote the questions up?
A. "How much has she slept?" Is there any other pages on this thing or not?
Q. I don't think so. It just goes on "Start new with Valerie."
MR. MCGARRY: What number is that? THE WITNESS: This is 138.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: 138.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: ~ There's a possibility we've been informed that these may be scattered around, and we're getting some more, but -- this is all that the church has supplied us so far, but it appears you're answering questions here again about her care on the 20th and --
A. This handwriting, I honestly don't know who that could have been. Now -- boy. I don't know what to tell you. I don't remember whose handwriting that is.
Q. Okay. 11-20-95 you've written here, and my opinion, reading through that, is we have somebody whose -- according to when she showed up, the 18th, two days after her stay at the Fort Harrison --
Q. -- two days after her stay at the Fort Harrison she's not eating or drinking anything.
A. "Bite of apple, bite of banana."
Q. "Spits it out. Two sips." Is that what I'm to infer from your report, that she's not eating or drinking on the 20th of November?
A. I guess you can. "Drank half a glass of water."
Q. Now, to your knowledge, did this condition ever improve? Were you ever informed whether it
improved from what you wrote on the 2 0th?
A. Well, I think so, because I think the other one - -
A. Because it says here she asked for protein shake, she slept four or five hours. What does it say here? She -- looks like no sleep. Whoever told me this says it looks like she hasn't slept. Here she's got four or five hours sleep, so she slept better here (indicating.) She's asking for a drink, so, yeah, there's improvement. What date is this, the 22nd?
Q. 22nd, two days later. Now, I'm just a little confused. Now, you're filling this report in but not filling it in from personal observation?
Q. You're again being told by somebody?
A. That's right.
Q. So somebody gives you a report with questions on it and then you ask someone else --
A. (Nodding head.)
Q. -- the questions and then you fill it in?
A. I can tell you how this may have occurred. may have gone down to the -- to the room and just asked one of the attendants the information, or somebody may have called me from a room nearby or whatever and told
me over the telephone, but --
Q. Okay. So the questions are not your writing?
A. No, they're not my writing.
Q. Are they Alain Kartuzinski's handwriting?
A. I would have to see Alain's to actually tell.
Q. Well, who gave you the form?
A. I don't remember. I think that's Alain's handwriting.
Q. So this was right in about the time that Alain was asking questions anyway, because he wrote this report?
Q. He apparently wasn't getting reports on Lisa's condition, so that would fall into line, the 22nd, because Alain was asking you about her condition?
Q. And this looks like he may have given you a report to fill out asking about her condition?
A. I don't know if that's his handwriting.
Q. We'll have to find that out.
A. Let me say something else. He may have called somebody with some questions, wrote em down, and then this is given to me or somebody else to get the information.
Q. Were you ever aware at any time, as the
security chief, that Lisa was being given prescription drugs?
A. No. No. I don't know what she had, actually.
Q. If it came to your knowledge, would that be somebody else's responsibility?
A. (Nodding head.)
Q. Who would that be?
A. I'd go back to Alain on that.
Q. Okay. You would tell him --
A. I would tell --
Q. -- that she was getting prescription drugs, what's going on, or did he know that or --
A. Let me back that up on this matter. In regards to had she been given prescription drugs or taken before she came into the hotel or what?
Q. No, being administered prescription drugs at the hotel.
Q. I've read some of your articles -- the church's articles on.the drugs and the anti drugs and everything, and I found it kind of unusual that we would be giving a public member who's staying in a motel room with security outside the door prescription drugs.
A. I wouldn't necessarily know, you see. Alain
would be the person that would have --
Q. Well, if you were told that or you saw the prescription drugs, you would report to Alain? What I'm trying to get at, as security chief --
Q. -- you know, as a policeman -- and I'm using both of us here, because that's all I know for 25 years, if someone -- if I was guarding someone and I saw prescription drugs there, I would report to my superior --
Q. -- and say, "Hey, they're giving prescription drugs to this prisoner." I'm asking for your policy or what you would do.
A. If I saw somebody giving her --
MR. MCGARRY: Can I interject? I think his trouble with the answer here is he's thinking that maybe those drugs weren't prescribed for her. If you clarify the question and -- this is drugs -- are you asking about drugs that --.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: Well, yeah.
MR. MCGARRY: -- were not prescribed for her or drugs that were prescribed for her?
SERGEANT ANDREWS: Actually, both.
MR. MCGARRY: I think that's a
distinction he needs to know about. BY
Q. Yeah. There were some drugs that were prescribed to her by a doctor, and then there's a drug that wasn't prescribed My question is if you, as security chief, became aware she was given -- being given prescription drugs, who's responsible for that? You are not, I guess, as security?
A. This is -- this is a bit of a hypothetical, I guess, but if knowledge came to me about it, I'd tell Alain.
Q. Okay. That's basically what I was looking for.
Q. Alain or Janice Johnson who was her medical liaison or something?
A. I'd tell Alain.
SERGEANT ANDREWS: All right. I have no more.
MR. MCGARRY: Thank you, Arthur. (Whereupon, sworn statement was concluded.)
STATE OF FLORIDA ) COUNTY OF PINELLAS ) I, the undersigned authority, certify that MICHAEL ARTHUR STUART BAXTER 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 MICHAEL ARTHUR STUART BAXTER; 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]