WARSAW — Testimony Monday morning, Aug. 7, in Mark Soto’s trial focused on the defense cross examining state witness Kevin Bronson. His testimony continued to paint a different story than testimony earlier in the trial from Nate McLaurin and David Baker.
Scott Lennox, defense counsel, began his cross examination with potential existing court cases in Elkhart and Allen counties, and an alleged $9,000 judgement against him. Often throughout his questioning, Lennox had to rephrase or reword questions as Bronson said the questions were confusing.
Bronson testified to the resolution of the cases and McLaurin had negotiated with the courts for payments of his child support and to pay an attorney for a collections. Lennox also touched on the purpose behind Bronson’s chemotherapy and radiation treatments, with Bronson noting it was due to getting hepatitus C July 10, 1990, after being beaten by six prison guards. He also testified the county jail refused to continue his mediation for that after his personal insurance expired. The cost was close to $65,000 a month.
During other testimony, Bronson recounted how he met Soto, his relationship with Soto and his father’s involvement. At one point in the testimony Bronson stated he had the ability as a young man to “make you believe what I wanted you to believe.” Additionally Bronson testified while others had given up on him, Soto had never done that.
Bronson’s drug and alcohol use was included in the testimony and how the combination was used to make him disappear and not face realities after doing the tasks required of him by the Aryan Brotherhood.
He continued to testify how McLaurin was in control of the operations of the movie/book deal, the finances and offered to hold the “party” with a Hollywood official at his home, that lasted up to seven hours and included individuals from all walks of his life. He also testified the threat to McLaurin was of his own doing. Additional testimony focused on how Soto sacrificed his own well being and health for his benefit and often was given to walk away but would not.
Toward the close of the morning testimony, Bronson began asking Lennox questions, which the judge admonished him for doing so, and even insinuated threats due to the questions Lennox was asking him. One such threat was insinuated after Lennox asked him about “Sky” driving down from Niles, Mich. “You better watch your mouth,” Bronson said to Lennox adding “Sky doesn’t make his own deliveries .. if he orders something you carry it out. You do what he says period.”
Agitation in Bronson’s tone was apparent when Lennox went over the plea agreement Bronson recently signed and the meaning of “blood in, blood out.” Additionally he testified while at one point he believed Soto never threatened anyone, he no longer believed that based on materials he read, conversations he listened to and those he had spoken to. “Dr. Soto wouldn’t need to threaten any one if I was standing next to him.”
Bronson also testified to several comments made in phone recordings heard Friday, noting the statement of McLaurin or Baker “needing to be shown,” was directed toward legal action, as individuals involved had signed a nondisclosure and confidentiality document.