The jury trial for John David Yoder, a suspect in a Desert Hot Springs child pornography ring, was delayed on Monday after allegations that Yoder attempted to hire a fellow inmate to kill a teenage witness that was set to testify against him.
The revelations came as Yoder’s attorney, John Patrick Dolan, asked that the start of testimony be delayed until Jan. 11 so that defense attorneys could have enough time to go through 70 hours of audio and video evidence, 500 pages of emails, and thousands of pages of transcripts.
There was also the matter of an inmate who claims that he was asked by Yoder to “get rid of” a witness. Via some solid reporting from The Desert Sun:
The informant, a thrice-convicted felon, has told prosecutors that he gained Yoder’s trust during a series of conversations in the Riverside jail’s recreation room. Eventually, the informant claims, Yoder confessed his guilt in the porn case, then said he wanted to “get rid of” a key witness, according to Riverside County Superior Court documents.
Yoder allegedly confirmed this plan in several jailhouse notes — often called “kites” — and the two men even discussed an $8,000 price tag for the killing, documents state.
The Desert Sun – who also claims to have received a jailhouse letter from the informant (!) – got a hold of the trial brief before it could be sealed and it is pretty wild:
When the (informant) asked what he wanted done to (the witness,) Mr. Yoder supposedly responded with various quotes from the Bible, which the inmate took as being a desire to have him killed,” according to court documents. “Supposedly Mr. Yoder wrote the words K.K.K. on another kite, which the (informant) interpreted as meaning Kill Kill Kill. The (informant) claims that Mr. Yoder asked him how much it would cost to have (the witness) killed.”
Yoder’s attorney, John Patrick Dolan, claims that the informant is nothing more than a “jailhouse snitch” who just “made this stuff up”.
Yoder, a foster parent, is accused of using his children to introduce three other suspects to young boys at a skate park near his house in Desert Hot Springs. Yoder is also accused of molesting a special needs child.
A teenage witness, the one who Yoder allegedly tried to have killed, has previously testified that Yoder slept in the same bed as a special needs child, and treated the child “like a boyfriend”, reports The Desert Sun.
Yoder has denied all allegations, claiming that he is is being targeted by prosecutors because he is gay. His attorney says that he was fooled by the other suspects in the case into believing that the porn ring was a legitimate modeling agency.
The other suspects are William Thompson, of Las Vegas; Erick Monsivais, of Los Angeles; and Noland Harper, of Virginia. Harper confessed and was sentenced to 24 years in federal prison. He is expected to testify against the other suspects.