In Update 26, Elusive Truths, I introduced readers to Detective Barry Jensen of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police. Jensen, with Detective Peter Calos, were the two lead investigators assigned to the July 10, 2010 shooting of Erik Scott. Det. Jensen began berating License To Kill: The Murder Of Erick Scott, which was released only in July of 2018, within a few weeks, and long before he actually read it. In fact, he’s now suggesting on the book’s Facebook page, that he’s not going to read the book, and has taken to name calling. He also notes he has never lied.
As I’ve previously mentioned, it’s difficult to understand police work. The Metro report alone in the Scott case ran nearly 1500 pages. Depositions and interviews ran many hundreds more. In putting together License to Kill, I had to not only read all of that material, but know how to put it all together, how to make connections that are not obvious to those unfamiliar with police work, and many that are. That means remembering something a witness said on page 247, and how it relates to a detective’s report on page 593, and a bit of time data from a form on page 815.
Let us, gentle readers, take Det. Jensen at his word, and see if in fact, he has never lied. We’ll examine a single matter; you are the jury.
The False Arrest of Samantha Sterner:
Whenever a police officer detains someone–that person is not free to go–they have been arrested. There are a few exceptions. In some very specific circumstances, while investigating a crime or potential crime, officers may briefly detain people, but that’s limited to something like 15 minutes. Jensen’s inquest testimony:
Q. 1483 [a written question submitted by interested parties] has two parts. Isn’t it true that Samantha wanted to go to the hospital to check on Erik’s status and Metro did not let her leave?
A [Jensen]. No that’s not true.
Q. Second part of this is, did Samantha repeatedly request information about the condition of Erik but Metro would not advise her of Erik’s derails or many condition she gave a report?
A. That’s not true. She asked us about his condition, and at the time, we didn’t know his condition, and that’s what I told her. And right after that is when we went into a voluntary statement.
Q. Did Samantha ever say to you that she wanted to go to the hospital?
Q. As you did state–and these are my follow-up questions.As you did state Detective Jensen, she did ask you his condition, though?
A. Yes she did.
Q. …the second one is, what time was Samantha allowed to leave? This is 1512.
A. I’ll make this clear. Samantha was never detained or held. From what I understand, she voluntarily went to the office. She voluntarily gave me a statement. After her statement, she asked if she could leave and we said yes. But she wasn’t detained. It wasn’t like she had, you know, people holding her there or telling her she couldn’t leave. She was taken to the office. There was an officer standing by her in case she needed something. She’s in Costco’s office, so I don’t think we would leave her alone, and she voluntarily provided me with a statement.
Costco cashier Arlene Houghton gave a statement to Metro at the Costco nearly three hours after Scott’s death. At the Inquest, she testified:
Q. Okay. So when did you see the female companion [Sterner] in the office? When does that occur?
A. It was after I gave my statement to the inspector, I was getting up to leave, because she told me, ‘You can go now.’
And she was–the female, I don’t know her name, still–she was coming out of the office [the Costco security office where Sterner was detained], and she just kept on saying, ‘I want to go now,’ or, ‘I have to go now.’ Something like, ‘You don’t need to keep me here,’ or, ‘Why are you keeping me here?’ Something. I don’t–
Houghton saw Samantha Sterner, still detained in the Costco Security Office. Let’s hear Sterner’s version of events from an interview by private investigator Robert Lawson on July 26, 2010:
Mr. Lawson: …Then…do they then let [the detectives]…do they take you home or do they let you leave?
Samantha: No…they won’t let me…then they say to me that they want to search the vehicle he was in, and at this point I’m still saying ‘is he alive? I want to know if he’s alive…
Sterner, wracked with grief and shock, never stopped begging to know Scott’s condition, and to go to him:
…No…so here’s what happened…after I get my statement I tell the off–…you know,,,I tell the officers [detectives], I go “look, I can’t concentrate on this right now, this…I need to know if he’s alive, nobody’s telling me anything, I’ve been back here for hours,[emphasis mine] you guys won’t let me leave, you won’t take me to UMC. All’s I want to know is he alive, that’s all I want to know,’ okay, and I said to ‘em, ‘I will cooperate with you guys fully. I will do whatever you want. I just want to know if he’s alive,’ and I’m begging them over and over again to find out the status or to take me to UMC and they can’t seem to accomplish either one.
Every officer working the case knew Scott was dead within a half hour, at the most, of the moment he was shot. That’s one of the first things any competent detective would demand to know. It’s one of the first things officers on the scene would have told any responding detective. Jensen interviewed Sterner nearly two hours after Scott was killed. She also said:
Mr. Lawson: So…so…when do they release you from that…the …the security officer? When do they say you’re free to go?
Samantha: That’s just it, they never said I was free to go. [emphasis mine] After I found out that he wasn’t alive, I lost it, and I became hysterical, and I said, “I’m leaving,’ and the officer said that, ‘You can’t leave.’ I said…I said, ‘No.’ I go, “I’m leaving. I go, ‘You guys just killed my boyfriend,’ and I go, ‘I’m leaving, I’m leaving, I’m leaving…’ I’m hysterical and you know, I said, ‘I’m revoking the right to search my vehicle. I want my vehicle back now, you no longer have my permission. I’m leaving right now. I’m leaving. I’ve done everything you guys have asked. I’ve given you my statement, I’ve been here for hours and now I just found out he’s dead. I’m leaving. I’m not staying here.
Sterner was dragged away from Scott’s bleeding body, immediately after he was shot, at the order of his killer, William Mosher. From that moment, she was detained in the Costco security office until she was finally allowed to leave more than three hours later. She was never alone. A single officer was assigned to keep her there, at one point actually pushing her into a chair when she attempted to leave. She was continually threated with arrest when she tried to watch a video monitor that showed Scott’s body. The officer even followed her to the bathroom. For three hours, she pled to be allowed to leave, to be taken to the hospital, to know Scott’s condition. Jensen knew he was dead, but wanted to trick her into giving a useful, carefully manipulated, statement, and wouldn’t tell her anything, nor allow her to leave.
Jensen also tricked Samantha into giving permission to search her vehicle. There was absolutely no lawful, legitimate reason to search that vehicle, it was in no way involved in Scott’s murder, there was no reason to believe any evidence having anything to do with the case could be found there, but Jensen was desperate to search it (the book explains why). They found nothing, because it wasn’t Sterner’s vehicle. Her vehicle was in the shop, and so was Scott’s. He was the victim of a traffic accident days earlier.
The Metro report and Inquest testimony established the time line:
1) Sterner was forced to the Costco Security Office at about 1250 PM, minutes–perhaps even seconds–after Scott was shot.
2) Jensen testified his interview of Sterner began at 1:45 PM.
3) His own interview transcript reveals Jensen did not begin his interview of Sterner until 2:47 PM, more than an hour after he claimed it began, and nearly two hours after Scott was shot. It ended at 3:10. At only 23 minutes, it was one of the longest interviews that day. Metro’s interview of Mosher took only 15 minutes, an unbelievably short interview for an officer that killed someone.
4) Sterner signed the permission to search form at 3:12, and after receiving a call from a friend telling her Scott was dead, revoked that permission at 3:45.
5) Houghton’s taped statement was done from 3:49 to 3:53 PM. It was only after that statement was done that she saw Sterner, who was still demanding to be allowed to leave, at around 4:00 PM.
They would not allow her to leave until Jensen finished interviewing her, and until she was forced to speak to the Coroner. Samantha Sterner was illegally detained from just before 1:00 PM until just after 4:00 PM–more than three hours.
Jensen also testified Sterner’s car keys were returned to her, and she left in that vehicle. This too, is a lie. Jensen refused to return the keys because she was not the registered owner(!), the keys she gave him only a short time earlier. He had her sign a permission to search form–he knew she had lawful control of the vehicle–and when she revoked permission to search, petulantly refused to give her the keys! She was, by then, too upset to drive. A friend picked her up, and her brothers retrieved the borrowed vehicle the next day.
In order to prove Det. Jensen lied about virtually everything, it was necessary to review not only the transcript of his inquest testimony, but the transcript of the initial interview of Arlene Houghton. That interview proved Sterner was still there long after Jensen testified she was gone, and even then, was begging to be allowed to leave. It also provided the time frame Jensen hoped would be ignored.
It was also necessary to review the transcript of the interview of Samantha Sterner, which proved she constantly begged to leave and for more than three hours, was refused. Jensen personally refused to allow her to leave. He interviewed her nearly two hours after Sterner was dragged into the security office. Can any rational person believe Sterner would have voluntarily stayed there all that time, having no idea of Scott’s condition? It also proved that Jensen was lying when he said an officer was provided for Sterner’s convenience. That officer, who apparently treated her as decently as he could under the circumstances–he was assisting in illegally detaining her–was there to keep her from leaving, and did just that, refusing to allow her to watch video monitors, prevented her from using her cell phone, pushed her into a chair when she tried to rise, and even escorted her to the bathroom and guarded the door. According to Sterner, he repeatedly contacted higher ranking officers–certainly the detectives in charge–to ask if Sterner could leave. They never allowed it.
Sterner’s testimony also proved Jensen lied when he said her keys were returned to her and she left in the vehicle they searched. If this were an actual trial, Sterner’s brothers would confirm they picked up the borrowed vehicle from the Costco lot the following day. Sterner’s friend would also confirm she picked up Sterner that day sometime after 4:00 PM, but those people were never called to testify in the Inquest, because their testimony would have exposed Jensen as a perjurer, and would have damaged the Metro narrative.
Most people wouldn’t have the patience to read the entire case file, and it’s highly doubtful Metro would allow that. Most wouldn’t understand many of the forms, and most wouldn’t be able to piece together all of the bits of data. That’s not to impugn their intelligence, merely to observe one needs to be familiar with police procedure to fully understand it. That’s why Metro has gotten away with so much for so long. They’ve generally been able to keep the right people from getting complete access. Barry Jensen surely knew Metro’s stonewalling policies. He also knew he would never face perjury charges. The very people examining him under oath had to know he was lying, and did nothing about it, a gross violation of legal ethics. They would certainly never file perjury charges against him, or anyone from Metro.
Barry Jensen, Metro, and Metro apologists would have you believe this is all about competing stories, and one should believe Metro’s story because they’re Metro, and Barry Jensen has never lied. I ask only that you read the book, and choose to believe real evidence and hard facts. The rest is up to you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury.
On the count of perjury, how do you find?
The SMM Erik Scott case archive is available here.