As families of both the victims and the defendant looked on tearfully, District Attorney Patrick McKinley showed a packed courtroom footage of the aftermath of the incident for which David Attias stands trial.
Attias, who is charged with four counts of second degree murder and five other felonies for the Feb. 23, 2001 crash on Sabado Tarde Road, did not look up on Thursday afternoon as the approximately 15-minute video played.
The IVTV footage was shown at the end of a long day of testimony, during which witnesses of the tragedy, as well as IVTV creators Greg Shields and Sevan Matossian, took the stand.
The video included about seven and a half minutes of unedited footage from the incident, as well as previous shots of the Isla Vista party scene, which were also uncut.
Witnesses testified Thursday that on Feb. 23, 2001, Attias sped down Sabado Tarde Road at approximately 50-60 miles per hour, ran a stop sign on the corner of Camino Pescadero and Sabado Tarde Road, and then collided with five victims and nine cars.
Nicholas Bourdakis, Christopher Divis, Elie Israel and Ruth Levy were all killed in the crash. Ruth’s brother, Albert Levy, was seriously injured but has almost fully recovered.
Defense attorneys Jack Earley and Nancy Haydt decided before the trial began that they wanted the jury to view the entire tape, with sound, in order to give the jury a “flavor of Isla Vista.” The jury will also visit the scene of the crash during the approximately 10-week trial.
Shields said the first portion of the film, during which he interviewed numerous people on Del Playa Drive, was “pretty wild.” One portion showed two different men telling raunchy jokes about bestiality, while another showed a female pulling down her pants to show the camera her thong underwear.
“If I recall, there was some pretty extreme stuff on that tape,” Shields testified. “I’m not sure it’s completely representative of the show … There’s definitely some wild stuff on there.”
Shields and Matossian both said they came upon the scene after cutting through Little Acorn Park on their way to Del Playa Drive that Friday evening.
“We saw smoke and figured it was a couch fire, which is not too uncommon in I.V., so we started filming,” Shields said. “Instead of being a couch, it was a car smoking … Five or 10 seconds later it started sinking in.”
The IVTV creators also said despite the graphic nature of the video – which shows the defendant running around and fighting people in the crowd, as well as several shots of the victims – they both saw a lot more than the camera was able to capture.
Shields said after the crash people were mostly standing at the sides of the street, but some were also milling around in shock; some were trying to help the victims and others were attempting to detain the defendant.
“There were people yelling, people crying, no one knowing what to do. Mr. Attias was running around the scene … kind of flailing his arms around, nothing really malicious … he seemed completely with it to me,” Shields said.
Kelly Brandli, who lived at 6572 Sabado Tarde Road at time of incident, was the only person on the witness stand who could remember what Attias was saying at the scene of the crash.
“I remember [Attias saying] something like ‘This is a joke, don’t believe this, it’s the government’s plan to teach society about something,'” Brandli said. “He was saying something along the lines of ‘This is a statement.'”
Brian Glassco, who was attending a party on Sabado Tarde Road at the time of the incident, said Attias was “picking a fight with a lot of people.”
“I remember him taking off his hooded sweatshirt … and he was trying to egg people on – ‘Bring it on. What are you going to do?’ He came swinging at another individual I was standing next to, and then he swung at me and I ducked out of the way. Then the first Highway Patrol [officer] showed up,” Glassco said.
The trial will continue today at 10 a.m. in Dept. 2 of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.