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Detective Testifies for Defendant

LOS ANGELES

Court: CHP official says Daniel Ray Waring was a valuable police informant. Waring is accused of killing two people over drugs.

September 27, 2001|CAITLIN LIU | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A California Highway Patrol detective testified Wednesday on behalf of a man accused of killing a Hells Angel and the biker's girlfriend, telling San Fernando jurors that the defendant had been a longtime informant who helped solve many crimes.

Det. Randolph Ballin's unusual testimony put him at odds with his law enforcement colleagues in the courtroom, where Daniel Ray Waring is on trial. Waring is accused of killing 450-pound Hells Angel Laurence "Large Larry" Lajeunesse and Tammie Ann Brannigan.

Ballin said Waring, a former tow truck driver, had been a CHP informant for 10 years, and did not seem to have been motivated by money.

In one case, the detective testified, Waring gave the CHP information on a case because the suspect "had taken his 13-year-old daughter on the crime with him, and Danny was very upset with that." Over the years, the CHP paid Waring, 44, a total of $500 for his informant work.

Prosecutors allege that Waring fatally shot Lajeunesse, 45, in December 1998 because the two men had a falling out over methamphetamine dealing. He killed Brannigan, 35, to eliminate her as a witness, according to prosecutors. The two were killed in their Chatsworth home.

Defense attorney Mark Brandt contends that John Kopp, who later killed himself, had committed the two killings, and that Waring was only a witness. However, prosecutors say Kopp was the witness.

On Wednesday, Ballin testified that Waring had graduated at the top of his training class for the CHP's Freeway Service Patrol, which contracts with tow truck companies. "Danny was very proud of that," Ballin said.

Because of Waring's tips, the CHP was able to recover about $500,000 in stolen property, solve two big commercial burglary cases, and capture eight to 10 suspects, Ballin said. The detective added that Waring also provided information in a counterfeiting case.

Ballin said Los Angeles Police Department detectives had asked him to help "set up" Waring after the killings. He said he refused.

"I explained to them that I couldn't in good conscience . . . because Mr. Waring would never trust me again" if he were to be found innocent, Ballin testified.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Jeffrey Jonas accused Ballin of not cooperating fully with the Police Department investigation. When Jonas asked Ballin why he didn't volunteer information that an LAPD detective later sought, Ballin replied, "I don't recall he ever asked me for it."

Highway Patrol officials did not return calls about Ballin's testimony.

The trial, which began in June, was expected to last just five weeks. It is now scheduled to go to the jury next week.

If convicted, Waring could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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