Just before repeatedly shooting Freddie Landstrom near Vancouver Lake Park, Pedro “Junior” Godinez Jr. forced him to his knees and made the sign of the cross, according to a Clark County prosecutor.
Godinez, 20, of Vancouver then shot the Beaverton, Ore., man five times with a .25-caliber handgun early Nov. 28, 2012, according to Deputy Prosecutor Dan Gasperino. Landstrom was struck in the head, chest, arm, clavicle (collarbone) and hand
“Why won’t you die?” Godinez said, according to Gasperino.
Gasperino described the scene during opening arguments Tuesday in Godinez’s attempted murder trial in Clark County Superior Court. The trial is expected to continue during the next several days in Judge Barbara Johnson’s courtroom.
A jury of 12 has been asked to decide whether Godinez committed first-degree attempted murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery.
Gasperino said Landstrom’s account of the attack, along with other evidence to be presented at the trial, will show that Godinez was trying to murder Landstrom.
However, Godinez’ defense attorney, Chuck Buckley, told the jury that the state lacks proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Godinez was the assailant in the robbery and shooting. He also questioned whether the assailant intended to murder Landstrom. Landstrom’s story about what occurred was inconsistent, Buckley said.
“On numerous occasions, the assailant said, ‘I’m not going to kill you,’ ” Buckley said.
Before the shooting, the assailant also forced Landstrom to drive around Vancouver in Landstrom’s 2012 black Nissan Sentra, apparently so that Landstrom wouldn’t know his whereabouts, Buckley said.
During the trial, about 40 witnesses are slated to testify, Gasperino said. Landstrom is scheduled to testify Wednesday, the deputy prosecutor said.
Other witnesses include a DNA expert who will testify that Godinez’s DNA profile matches samples taken from the steering wheel and gear shift in Landstrom’s car, Gasperino said.
Landstrom told police that a woman named Joanna K. Speaks, 23, lured him to her residence at the Fishers Mill Apartments in east Vancouver, according to a court affidavit. Once Landstrom was inside the apartment, Godinez, whom Landstrom had never met, walked through the front door and kidnapped him at gunpoint, court records say. Godinez allegedly forced Landstrom to drive him around Vancouver in Landstrom’s car for about 45 to 90 minutes and took his wallet and the PIN for his ATM card.
During the drive, Landstrom used his skills as a used-car salesman to try to talk Godinez into letting him go, Gasperino said.
“Then, he essentially starts to bargain for his life,” Gasperino said.
Despite Landstrom’s efforts, Godinez ordered Landstrom to drive to an area on Lower River Road, where he shot Landstrom, court records say.
Landstrom escaped by fleeing on foot west through a field and swamp to Kadow’s Marina, a cluster of houseboats at 10612 N.W. Lower River Road. He lost his shoes and his left sock in the mud and trailed blood along the marina’s dock, Vancouver police Sgt. Jay Alie testified Tuesday.
He banged on the doors of houseboats until someone answered a door and called 911. After police arrived, “he kept repeating, ‘I don’t want to die. Am I going to die?’ ” Alie said.
Gasperino said he would play surveillance videos for the jury that showed Godinez at two different ATMs withdrawing money from Landstrom’s credit union account. At an AM/PM convenience store near Speaks’ home, Godinez made three consecutive withdrawals of $500 each, Gasperino said.
Godinez’s attorney, Buckley, said that Landstrom had given his PINs to Speaks several weeks before the shooting but did not elaborate on how that played into the case.
Speaks, who is a mother of two, hid a holster for a small caliber handgun and Landstrom’s wallet inside dirty baby diapers, Gasperino said. Although Vancouver police searched Speaks’ garbage when they served a search warrant on her residence, they didn’t open up the diapers, Gasperino said. They later found the holster and wallet after Speaks’ father reported to Portland police that some items had been missed during the search and directed police to a trash bin, Gasperino said. A gun has not been located in the case, he said.
Speaks ultimately admitted to playing a role in the attack and pleaded guilty July 10 to first-degree robbery and tampering with a witness as part of a plea bargain. In exchange, Gasperino dismissed charges of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree rendering criminal assistance and receiving a bribe. Judge Barbara Johnson sentenced her to 42 months in prison. She is scheduled to testify in Godinez’ trial this week.