Friends, co-workers testify on Carlevato’s behalf |

Friends, co-workers testify on Carlevato’s behalf

With his wife in attendance, Edwin Carlevato listened Tuesday as friends and co-workers testifed in his behalf in El Dorado County Superior Court.

Carlevato, a former resident of Pioneer, Calif., is accused of the kidnap and sexual assault of two women in 1999, and the attempted kidnap of another in 1998. Each crime allegedly occurred at gunpoint.

If convicted of the 11 felony counts he is charged with, he could be imprisoned for life.

First to take the stand was the owner of a West Pioneer inn and restaurant who is also a former policeman. He’s known Carlevato for 17 years and testified that he’s never seen the 47-year-old behave inappropriately around women.

“I was quite surprised when I heard about his problems,” said Gordon Grimes. “He didn’t fit the mold.”

Grimes said that when Carlevato came by they mostly talked football, adding that Carlevato was “very good” at gambling on sport events.

Peter O’Hara, El Dorado County deputy district attorney, cross-examined Grimes asking whether the DNA evidence in this case – semen found on two alleged victims matches the DNA of Carlevato – colored his opinion of the defendant.

“I think you have excellent evidence,” Grimes said, “I gave you my opinion of the man over the years.”

Court-appointed defense attorney Donald Heape countered asking the witness, “If you considered the fact that people had consensual sex without protection, wouldn’t you expect there to be bodily fluids left behind?”

Grimes replied, “I expect there would be.”

As the trial went through the morning, a string of employees from Jackson Rancheria Casino, the gaming hall where Carlevato worked as a poker room supervisor, testified that the defendant was very professional at work and had never been accused of improprieties with women.

After lunch, Heape called to the stand a professor of psychology from Sacramento who is an expert in the field of eyewitness memory. With his testimony the defense wanted to discredit the charges Carlevato is facing for the attempted kidnap of a 21-year-old woman on Shepherds Drive in 1998.

The woman did not identify the defendant in a photos, but did identify Carlevato as her attacker in a physical lineup. The expert witness testified that “delay,” or the passage of time, which in the case of the 21-year-old was more than a year, makes identification less reliable.

Tuesday, Nancy Carlevato, the defendant’s wife of 26 years with whom he has two children, sat in court. She last came to watch the trial of her husband in December. According to testimony, Nancy, at one point, made arrangements for a witness to testify in her husband’s defense.

After the trial recessed for lunch Tuesday, Nancy Carlevato refused to discuss the trial with the Tribune.

“No comment,” she said. “You guys misinterpret what people say.”

Edwin Carlevato is expected to testify when the trial resumes today at 9 a.m. He has been in El Dorado County Jail since his arrest Nov. 4, 1999.

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