Mercedes Carrera case update: Bizarre recorded interview with alleged victim played; gun charges dropped

The evidence presented at today’s preliminary hearing in the Mercedes Carrera case was astonishing, according to published reports and comments made to by a source who sat inside the San Bernardino County courtroom Thursday.

Carrera and her husband, Daemon Cins, were arrested February 5th at their home in Rancho Cucamonga, California, on complaints of sexual acts with a child under the age of 10, as well as drug possession and gun charges.

Before we get to what Carrera and her husband ended up being charged with, let’s note what they will not be charged with: firearms violations.

The gun charges were dismissed because the detective who led the raid on the couple’s home today confirmed that the two guns found there were not loaded at the time.

Why is the important? Well, the unusual press announcement by the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department about the arrest trumpeted the gun charges (in addition to publishing the wrong stage name for the adult industry photographer they called Carrera’s husband). The couple were also initially charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance While Armed with a Handgun. We know know that no one was really “armed” at the time of the arrest; there were simply unloaded (registered) firearms stored somewhere in the home.

However, in court today, Judge Ingrid Adamson Uhler ruled that enough evidence of criminality did exist (under the lower evidentiary standard for preliminary hearings) for a criminal case against Carrera and her husband, Daemon Cins, to be placed in front of a jury.

Carrera and her husband are now charged with child molestation, incidents of oral copulation, aiding and abetting each other in the above, and possession of a controlled substance — which was visually identified by the investigating officer as small containers of methamphetamine. The counts number 16 in all.

And incidentally, no lab report was introduced in court demonstrating that the powder was indeed a controlled substance. I’m not saying that I don’t believe one exists, but I can think of no legitimate reason to not at least mention its result (if it came back positive) because all such evidence must be turned over to the defense before trial.

The first casualty is the truth

Despite the police department’s earlier claim that the search of Carrera’s residence turned up “a large amount of evidence corroborating the victim’s statement,” in this case there is actually no known physical evidence of any crime against the child, who has been identified as Carrera’s daughter — nine years old at the time she was questioned by a police officer. There appears to be only the child’s testimony.

This reality stands in marked contrast to statements made by police to media, including adult media, in the days and weeks following the couple’s arrest. In other words, the plaice fed disinformation to media for public dissemination.

The interview with the young girl, conducted days before Carrera and Cins’ arrest was recorded, as they all should be.

A procedural note: The District Attorney decided to not produce the child as a witness in court today; there was no need to when prosecutors are entitled to pursue what is known as a Prop 115 hearing.

Proposition 115, a.k.a. the “Crime Victims Justice Reform Act,” makes it possible for prosecutors to admit hearsay evidence — i.e., out of court statements introduced to prove the truth of what was being stated — at preliminary hearings. Pre-recorded testimony represents an example of hearsay evidence.

And so, a January 31 recorded interview between a police officer Officer Theis and Carrera’s daughter, which was, as Gustavo Turner reports at XBIZ, conducted at the home of the girl’s father, who was “‘present during the interrogation, sitting behind her, for support,’ Theis testified, without apparent supervision of child psychologists or child services professionals” was played in open court.

Carrera has maintained that the molestation charges are baseless and the result of a custody dispute with the girl’s father.

The recorded interview

At XBIZ, Turner recounts what he heard in court:

After a brief chit-chat where the policeman talked to the girl about her iPad games and YouTube viewing habits, Officer Thais switched to a series of probing, sexually explicit questions prefaced by statements that he, like all cops, “was a good guy” and that her father “cares about you and loves you and as your daddy he needs to protect you.”

Immediately after that, Theis began asking about “things that go on at your mother’s house.” Carreras’ daughter described several instances of what she and the officer called “cuddles,” where the minor claimed both Carreras and her “stepdad,” Jason Whitney [a.k.a. Daemon Cins], had sexually molested her.

The minor identified about 5 or 6 instances over a period of about 4 months, “before Christmas,” of fondling of her private parts by Carrera and Whitney and of their making her fondle them.

When pressed for specific details by Theis, however, the minor appeared to be confused, allowing Theis to guide the conversation. At several times, Theis had the minor demonstrate details from the conversation by using the aperture on a tissue box as a model for the child’s vagina.

According to AVN‘s Michael French, the recording also featured the child giving “a detailed description of how to use a Hitachi vibrator, which she said that Carrera would use on herself during the ‘cuddle’ sessions. At another point in the interview, the alleged victim said that her mother on occasion would ‘suck on my clit.’

Cins, sitting behind his attorney Nicola Fitzgerald, was seen to laugh slightly when the alleged victim . . . described his penis as looking “like any other penis.”

In an update to his XBIZ report this afternoon, Turner adds:

The most shocking allegation was the minor’s claim that she had “fisted” her mother, although there was some debate as to what officer Theis was describing as “a back and forth motion” and the child’s explanation of what “fisting” was.

This is awful stuff to be sure. But when I first read all of this, I immediately flashed back to the 1995 movie Indictment: The McMartin Trial, Andrew Jarecki’s brilliant 1993 documentary Capturing the Friedmans . . .

. . . as well as a recent documentary on the Oxygen channel about The McMartin Family Trials.


By invoking the Friedman and McMartin cases I am not meaning to state that I believe the charges in Carrera’s case are false because of the claims on the recording played in court today; I am simply stating the reality that this kind of testimony — lurid and headline-grabbing as it might be — is notoriously unreliable.

And the fact that the interrogation was conducted by a police officer, with the only other person present being the man who would benefit if Carrera and Cins were disgraced, is troubling.

Another claim made by the minor on the recording was that Carrera had recorded a video of her performing oral sex on her “stepdad”, Cins. However no mention was ever made of any such recording having been found. It is reasonable to assume that, had any such recordings actually been found, the charges against Carrera and Cins would have included the creation of child pornography.

But they have not been so charged.

I can predict this much: when the prosecution puts this little girl on the stand, if her testimony does not track her earlier testimony very very closely, this case is in serious trouble. And should be.

No-one knows what evidence might yet be uncovered, but based on what we have now, if the molestation claims turn out to be bogus, or are debunked as having been suggested to an impressionable nine-year-old by her father and/or the police interviewer . . . or if the recorded testimony is excluded for any reason . . .  the couple might end up with a simple drug possession charge to plea to (that is, if a lab report can establish that the substance was illegal drugs). And then this would tawdry, humiliating, life-ruining spectacle will have been for naught.

Side note: the McMartin case was the longest and most expensive criminal trial in U.S. history, and in the end all charges were dismissed.

Carrera and Cins are due back in court August 19 for formal arraignment.

494430cookie-checkMercedes Carrera case update: Bizarre recorded interview with alleged victim played; gun charges dropped

Mercedes Carrera case update: Bizarre recorded interview with alleged victim played; gun charges dropped

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5 Responses

  1. In cases like this D.A.s like to pile on charges and see what sticks with the Jury/Judge. Sixteen charges but they will end up getting dinged on 3-4 of the most serious ones when its all said and done.

  2. You’re absolutely correct, but here we also have the police putting out false information — not just incorrect information — to the public and to reporters. That is reprehensible. Both the cops and the prosecutors are playing dirty here, and if — IF — there’s anything wrong with the girl’s testimony, this will end up one huge mess for them, as it did in Friedman and McMartin.

  3. Meth heads who have guns in their houses who also repeatedly molest their own daughter? Yep, this is where the porn world is nowadays: Trashy A F

  4. Ah, it’s a rare mind that can come up with such a comment.

    These defendants have no known criminal records — if they had prior convictions then the “Mayberry” police would have surely announced it to the media. There has also been no evidence made public about either of them having drugs in their system. We simply do not know enough to make the ugly assertions you just attempted to make. Which brings me to my next point…

    They stand ACCUSED of crimes; they are FACTUALLY not meth heads who have molested anyone. People are presumed innocent until proven guilty. They have been ACCUSED of crimes.

    These are people involved in the adult business who live in a conservative podunk; a rational person must take these accusations with a grain of salt ESPECIALLY when 1) there is zero physical evidence, and 2) the police have already provided — and let’s be generous here — misinformation to the media and the public.

    Finally, it is not a crime to have an unloaded gun stored in a locked container in one’s house. If they had a loaded gun within reach of the child I would second your revulsion, but it is not the case.

    Thank you for your comment.

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