Despite complaining that she felt "nauseated" by a prosecutor's questions, the wife of a man accused of robbing and shooting an armored car guard reluctantly testified last week that her husband told her how he committed the crime.
Kimberly Giordano, however, also retracted some of the incriminating testimony that she gave in the first trial of her husband, Alfred Giordano, and implied that she had been pressured and coerced by police investigators to testify against him.
"There are things done when you're not on the stand, then they get you on the stand and say, 'Oh, what happened?' " Kimberly Giordano, 28, said Monday in Pasadena Superior Court, referring to police investigators and prosecutors, after two days on the witness stand. "It makes you want to spit on them."
Her testimony came during the second trial of Alfred Giordano, 27, who is accused of shooting security guard Howard White on Dec. 31, 1987, outside a check-cashing business on San Fernando Road in Glendale.
Giordano's 33-year-old brother, Peter Giordano, was accused of driving the getaway car in the incident, which left White, now 34, paralyzed from the waist down.
Both Giordano brothers were charged with attempted murder and attempted robbery. But in a trial last May, Peter was acquitted and a mistrial was declared on the charges against Alfred after jurors deadlocked 11 to 1 in favor of conviction.
Since the second trial began Feb. 15, Deputy Dist. Atty. Jo Ann B. Glidden has presented eyewitnesses who testified that they saw Alfred Giordano shoot White, search the canvas bag the guard was carrying, then flee after finding it empty.
Under questioning by Glidden, Kimberly Giordano, her chin resting in her hand and her eyes cast downward, reluctantly corroborated some of her testimony from the preliminary hearing and the first trial: that shortly after the robbery attempt, during an argument, her husband told her that he shot the guard and described to her what had happened.
But in contrast to earlier testimony, she said she did not see Alfred Giordano bury in her back yard the machine gun he allegedly used. She also denied seeing him try to alter the appearance of Peter Giordano's Chevrolet Nova, which witnesses have identified as the car that was used in the getaway.
Kimberly Giordano told Glidden that she could remember few details about conversations with her husband after the robbery and at times offered sarcastic and flip answers in response to the prosecutor's questions.
The witness also testified that she had had a sexual relationship with the main investigator in the case, Glendale Police Officer Joseph Jimenez, and that he helped her receive advance reward money for testifying against her husband.
Jimenez in the past admitted that he arranged the payments but has denied allegations of a sexual relationship.
When his sobbing wife left the courtroom last week after a day of testimony, Alfred Giordano broke into a broad grin and applauded. The jury already had stepped out.
"I wouldn't say this has been easy," Glidden said Tuesday. "We would have preferred that she not waffle back and forth, but I believe the substance was clear."
Defense attorney Robert Swanson said he believed that Kimberly Giordano's testimony and behavior showed that she had been pressured into testifying against her husband, and that her recounting of his alleged confession was not credible. He said she had been "fed" information from Jimenez and others and had mistaken it as her own observations.
"Can you separate fact from fiction in this case?" Swanson repeatedly asked her in cross-examination.
"Everything that's happened--no, I can't," she replied.
Swanson told jurors last week that Alfred Giordano was in Orange County at the time of the shooting. It was Peter Giordano, Swanson has contended, who gunned down the security guard.
On Tuesday, Lawrence Davis, a nurse at Lake Memorial Hospital, testified that in late 1987 he gave Alfred Giordano a semiautomatic machine gun because Davis' girlfriend demanded that he remove the gun from her house.
And Jesus Alvarez, a Mexican immigrant, testified that three or four days after the attempted robbery, Alfred Giordano asked him to paint Peter Giordano's car, the vehicle allegedly used in the crime.