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Court Hears Admission of Killing on Tape

September 14, 1990|KEVIN JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — During the early morning hours of March 3, Michael Robert Pacewitz quietly told a Fullerton police dispatcher that he had "done too many drugs," and admitted killing a 3-year-old girl just hours before his telephone call.

"Come pick me up because I murdered a little baby girl," Pacewitz said in a tape recording of a 911 call to Fullerton police that was played Thursday in Orange County Superior Court. Pacewitz is charged with the murder of the girl, Marcelline Onick, and the March 2 attempted murders of his mother, Elena Fontaine, and her boyfriend, Juan Martinez Marin.

Pacewitz, who sat virtually expressionless as the recording was played for the jury, has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

In the recording, Pacewitz identified himself to dispatcher Kathleen Thomas and said he was calling from a phone booth near a Fullerton convenience store and was carrying a knife.

"Okay, Mike. Mike, hang on for just a minute," Thomas said in the recording as she dispatched officers to the phone booth. "Mike, is somebody with this girl?"

"No, the girl is dead," Pacewitz said.

"Okay, is this a hallucination or did this really happen?" Thomas continued.

"This really happened," Pacewitz responded.

Later in the recorded conversation, Pacewitz told the dispatcher that he had taken "crystal" methamphetamine a couple of days before but still was "kind of high off it."

Fullerton Police Officer Linda King testified Thursday that she was dispatched by Thomas to the booth at Gilbert Street and Commonwealth Avenue about 6 a.m. and found Pacewitz in his stocking feet. King told the jury that she and her partner recovered a large kitchen knife, partly hidden under his shirt, in his left rear pants pocket.

She testified that Pacewitz told her that he had taken crystal methamphetamine the previous evening and he "felt strange and had done something wrong."

"He told me that he had killed a baby," King said.

The police officer then told the jury that Pacewitz was led into the patrol car and calmly directed officers to the blood-stained apartment about a mile away where Marcelline was found stabbed 44 times. Her 9-month-old half brother, Vasshawn Robinson, was huddled a few feet from the body, unharmed but crying.

Thursday, King identified a series of photographs showing the mutilated body of the little girl, a toy monkey at her side.

Earlier in Thursday's proceedings, prosecution witness Sy Hewitt testified that Joanne Boydston, the mother of the children, had left them in the care of one of Pacewitz's roommates. Hewitt testified that Pacewitz took over the baby-sitting chores in Boydston's upstairs apartment in the early morning hours of March 3 when the roommate became tired.

Hewitt said that later that morning he was awakened by a thumping noise upstairs. He said he went to investigate the noise but his knocks on Boydston's apartment door went unanswered.

During Wednesday's trial proceedings, Fontaine and Marin recounted how an angry Pacewitz entered their Anaheim apartment during the evening of March 2 and attacked them with kitchen knives. Fontaine said she thought her son, whom she described as having a history of mental problems, might have become upset when she took him to a local church after he had come to her earlier that day complaining that his "brain was not feeling right."

Since his arrest, Pacewitz, 21, has told reporters that Satan ordered him to kill the girl.

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