Jury Reaches Verdict in Case of Missing California City Boys

A Kern County jury has decided that a California City couple accused of murdering their two adoptive sons are guilty in five of the seven counts against them.

The jury was hung on two counts: second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a crime, charges related to Orson West.

Opening statements in the highly-publicized trial began on March 28, 2023.  Jurors in judge Charles Brehmer’s courtroom heard several weeks of testimony and viewed numerous exhibits in the trial of the adoptive parents accused of killing Orrin, 4, and Orson, 3. Closing arguments were presented Tuesday and the jury spent Wednesday and Thursday deliberating.

Trezell and Jacqueline West each pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder, a charge of involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy, willful cruelty to a child and falsely reporting an emergency in the deaths of the toddlers. The couple were charged on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

According to Bakersfield.com, prosecutors argued Trezell, 36, and Jacqueline West, 33, favored their two biological children over their four adoptive kids and didn’t act to prevent Orrin from dying because their biological children would be snatched away. Prosecutor Eric Smith argued Orson was killed by his adoptive parents because questions would arise once family members realized Orrin wasn’t there.

Defense attorneys claimed there was no evidence to prove the when, why or how behind what happened to Orrin and Orson. Attorneys claimed evidence presented in the case was tainted and numerous missteps by law enforcement failed to allow a prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the kids were murdered by their clients, according to defense attorneys.

Smith asserted no one in the West family saw Orrin and Orson since February 2020 and attempted to show the boys died in September 2020. The Wests reported their boys missing from their California City home on Dec. 21, 2020.  According to Bakersfield.com,  Smith claimed the Wests, who had six children, were abusive to the adopted ones, and in September 2020 Orrin died. They then came up with a plan to kill Orson and dispose of the bodies, he said.

The couple could face life in prison when they are sentenced July 13.

The boys’ bodies have never been found.

Click here for a timeline of events in the case courtesy of KGET.com.

-Posted by Jeff Lemucchi