Court testimony recounts fatal stabbing near Hollywood Walk of Fame
Robert Harden didn’t know his co-worker had been stabbed until they ran away from the fight on Hollywood Boulevard.
Christine Calderon, 23, pulled up her white shirt to reveal a wound. Blood covered her right side.
“It was really, really bad,” Harden said Wednesday, the first day of the trial of Dustin James Kinnear, 27, who faces one count of murder with the use of a knife in the June 2013 killing of Calderon.
Calderon's death prompted city officials to increase patrols in the tourist-packed area. In addition to Kinnear, two men were charged. Jason Joel Wolstone, 34, pleaded no contest in April to one count of assault. Brian Joseph Widdows, 35, also pleaded no contest to being an accessory after the fact. Both of the men were sentenced to two years in state prison.
On June 18, 2013, Harden and Calderon met up about 1 p.m. They had a margarita and went to the Grove shopping center. Later, they made their way to Hollywood. Their goal that Tuesday was simply to “have a good time,” Harden said.
The two were walking along Hollywood Boulevard about 8 p.m., when, Harden said, he pointed out a funny sign.
The sign, held up by Widdows, had an expletive and asked for money, Harden said. Harden and Calderon took photos with their cellphones.
Widdows and Wolstone, who was nearby, then demanded cash, Harden testified. Kinnear, also nearby, also demanded money. Harden and Calderon replied with an expletive, and a fight broke out, Harden said.
Wolstone, a Michigan native who was couch-surfing at the time of the incident, denied asking for money. He testified that Kinnear, also known as "Red," had come out from an alcove and had gotten “nose-to-nose pretty much” with Calderon.
Wolstone said he was tackled from behind by Calderon and then put her in a headlock. When Widdows told him that Calderon was a woman, Wolstone said he released her and noticed blood on his arm.
After the fight, Calderon was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Wolstone and Widdows, meanwhile, went to McDonald’s, where they saw Kinnear, who said, “I stuck somebody,” Wolstone testified.
Wolstone and Widdows then returned to the scene of the stabbing and were arrested.
Tracy Breeding, an acquaintance of Kinnear, also saw Kinnear at the McDonald's.
"He told me, 'I just stabbed someone,'" Breeding said. "'Come with me.'"
In brief opening statements, Lowynn Young, Kinnear's public defender, told the jury that the case rested on physical evidence and credibility.
Young said there was blood on Wolstone and Widdows, but not on Kinnear, raising doubts about his responsibility for the stabbing.
Prosecutor Ian Phan assured jurors the trial would move quickly. “The case is not complicated," he said.
The trial resumes Thursday.
Photo: A friend memorializes Christine Calderon at a candlelight vigil on June 24, 2013. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times
Correction: A previous version of this story said that Widdows had pleaded not guilty to two counts of accessory after the fact. Widdows changed his plea to no contest and was sentenced to two years in state prison.