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Defendant's Mother Saw Dead Body, Man Testifies

March 28, 2000

VENTURA COUNTY — Beverlee Sue Merriman apparently saw her son and his friend carrying Katrina Montgomery's body from the family home just 45 minutes after her slaying in 1992, a witness testified Monday.

On the stand for a second day, Larry Nicassio told jurors that he was waiting in a truck for Justin Merriman and his friend Ryan Bush to bring out Montgomery's bloody body, which had been wrapped in a pink blanket after she had been fatally stabbed and beaten following a party the four attended in Oxnard.

Bush and Justin Merriman placed the body in the bed of the truck, then climbed into the cab. Nicassio said the men were both excited and upset, and Bush remarked, "I can't believe your mom saw us."

Prosecutors fought to get the statement admitted as evidence in Beverlee Sue Merriman's conspiracy and perjury trial. Defense attorneys said the statement was hearsay.

Prosecutors say Beverlee Sue Merriman lied to a grand jury about her son's whereabouts on the morning Montgomery disappeared, and later participated in a plan to intimidate witnesses by giving their names to gang members.

Judge James P. Cloninger allowed the statement.

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