Shooting suspect's ex-girlfriend changes story on witness stand

At his trial, she says she alone robbed Oregon man

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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The former girlfriend of Pedro "Junior" Godinez Jr. changed her story Thursday, testifying that she was solely responsible for robbing a Beaverton, Ore., man in November 2012. She told the courtroom that Godinez had nothing to do with it.

"I pulled a gun on him and told him to empty his pockets out," Joanna Speaks testified Thursday.

Godinez, 20, of Vancouver is on trial in Clark County Superior Court for allegedly kidnapping, robbing and repeatedly shooting Freddie Landstrom, 39, on Nov. 28, 2012, near Vancouver Lake. He is charged with first-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery and first-degree kidnapping.

As part of an agreement with prosecutors, Speaks, 23, pleaded guilty July 10 to participating in the robbery and tampering with a witness in the case. She was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison as part of her plea bargain. In exchange, Deputy Prosecutor Dan Gasperino dismissed charges against her of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree rendering criminal assistance and receiving a bribe.

Speaks admitted in her guilty plea that she had lured Landstrom to her apartment in east Vancouver. At that time, she said that after Landstrom arrived at the apartment about 2 a.m. on Nov. 28, 2012, Godinez entered the residence with a gun and demanded that Landstrom give up his wallet and cellphone. Speaks said the victim didn't know Godinez before that night.

She also stated that Godinez forced her to cooperate with the robbery by holding a gun to her head.

However, on the stand Thursday, Speaks changed her story.

She testified that robbing Landstrom was her idea and said she perpetrated the robbery without Godinez's knowledge. During the robbery, she said, she forced Landstrom to give her his cards, money and keys. She said Landstrom then left her apartment, and she doesn't know where he went after that. His 2012 black Nissan Sentra remained parked in the complex's parking lot.

She said she already had Landstrom's PIN numbers for his ATM cards because he had given the numbers to her when they had a previous sexual tryst a couple of months before the robbery. Landstrom on Wednesday denied under oath both that he'd had sex with Speaks and that he'd given Speaks his PIN numbers.

"But you waited two to three months (to rob Landstrom)?" Gasperino asked.

"Yes," she replied.

Throughout the testimony, Speaks looked at Godinez, who sat with his attorney, Chuck Buckley, at the defense counsel's table.

Gasperino then asked Speaks to explain why surveillance video showed images of Godinez using Landstrom's ATM card at a Vancouver convenience store.

She said that after the robbery, she asked Godinez to withdraw some money for her. She said she gave him Landstrom's cards and PIN numbers to use.

"I didn't tell him who the money belonged to," she said.

"Whose name was on the cards?" Gasperino asked.

"I'm guessing Freddie Landstrom's," Speaks replied.

She said she also let Godinez drive Landstrom's car. She said she told Godinez that the car belonged to a friend and that it wasn't stolen.

After Speaks' testimony, Gasperino called her father, Joseph Speaks, to the stand to refute his daughter's claim that she committed the robbery without Godinez's help.

Her father said that after the crimes, Joanna Speaks asked him to drive her to her apartment to pick up some evidence that she wanted to hide from police. At the time, "she told me she had invited the victim to her apartment and that Junior had come over to her apartment with a gun and took the victim away to a park and shot him and robbed him," Joseph Speaks said.

Landstrom said he escaped by diving into a swamp and walking about a mile to Kadow's Marina, a cluster of houseboats at 10612 N.W. Lower River Road, where a resident called 911.

In other testimony Thursday, Caron Pruiett, a forensic scientist with the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory in Vancouver, said that a DNA profile matching Godinez's was found on the gearshift and steering wheel of Landstrom's Nissan Sentra. Pruiett said the probability that the DNA on the gear shift belongs to someone else in the United States is 1 in 14 quintillion. She said her tests also showed that Godinez was a possible contributor to DNA found on Landstrom's steering wheel.

Godinez's trial is expected to continue into next week in Judge Barbara Johnson's courtroom.