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Allen trial transcript released
Public records released last week give a clearer picture of the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of California Highway Patrolman Earl Scott. The officer, a 36-year-old resident of Hughson, was shot to death during a Feb. 17, 2006 traffic stop on Highway 99 near Hammett Road in the Salida area.

Columbus Allen Jr. II, 31, the man accused of murdering Scott, has insisted his innocence. But evidence - including inconsistent alibis - suggests otherwise, say prosecutors.

He was ordered to stand trial on June 19 by a 16-member grand jury. His charges include first-degree murder. He is expected to begin trial on March 3.

The transcript of his grand jury preliminary trial held in June were released after the California Supreme Court ruled that the documents be made public.

After his arrest Allen called a Sacramento TV station to deny any participation in the killing.

Alan Cassidy, a deputy district attorney with Stanislaus County, asserts that Allen shot Scott because was driving with a suspended license. Because he was illegally carrying a gun, said Cassidy, Allen was staring at more prison time since he was a felon who was convicted of cocaine transportation in 1998 and auto theft in 1999.

The mortally wounded officer was clutching onto the registration papers of a 1990 Nissan Maxima registered in the name of Allen's wife, Bertera Allen. Allen, a Stockton resident who attended Ceres High School in the 1990s, showed up at Stockton Police headquarters less than five hours after the shooting saying his car had been stolen. The car was later found ditched near Lathrop.

Authorities believe Allen ditched the car after the shooting before appearing at the home of friend Christopher Hicks in Stockton.

Shortly after his arrest, swabs were taken from Allen's hands and sweatshirt to determine if there was any gunpowder residue. According to the transcripts made public last week, Allen did have traces of gunshot residue that is consistent with firing a gun toward the right side of the car while being seated behind the wheel. The car's door frame and front passenger seat also contained traces of muzzle powder.

Allen said he fired the weapon three days later after becoming enraged that he couldn't find his dog.

According to San Leandro forensic scientist Elana Foster who spoke during the preliminary trial, gunpowder residue comes off a person and clothing quickly and that traces from three days prior would have not been detected. She noted that typically tests for residue are not made by police after four hours of the firing of a weapon.

Stockton Police seized Allen's cell phone from the pickup that brought him to headquarters. Records which were later obtained showed that Allen was in the Manteca area at 4:42 a.m. on the morning of the shooting. Scott had been shot at approximately 4:40 a.m.

Portia Dagayray, a female friend, said Allen spent the night in her south Modesto home, but that he didn't leave until 5 a.m.

Allen, however, claimed that he spent the prior day dealing drugs before ending up at Hick's residence for the night. Allen told police that he woke up at 6 a.m. and learned that his car was missing. Detectives believe his defense is implausible: Allen claims that he left the keys in the ignitition of the car, where he claims that he stashed a pound of marijuana and a .38-caliber revolver.

Duane Hicks, the 17-year-old son of Christopher Hicks, said Allen showed up at 6 a.m. His first interest was in washing mud off his hands and shoes. Allen asked him to trade his sweatshirt for a coat.

Bertera Allen eventually turned over a computer from the Allen home which contained five songs written and recorded by Allen. The lyrics to the rap song talked about killing cops.

Allen was a student at Ceres High School during the 1991-92 and 1992-93 school years before transferring to Franklin High School in Stockton during his senior year.

The records indicate that the shooting was witnessed by Jose Miranda of Ceres, who happened to be passing by the spot on his way to his Stockton job. He saw the patrol stop, heard a popping sound and saw Scott drop. Miranda told the grand jury that he sensed that he should double back and turned off on the Hammett Road offramp, and heading south. He jumped the fence that separated the freeway and frontage road and saw Scott mortally shot in the face. Miranda called 9-1-1 to report the officer down.

Scott was nearing his fifth anniversary with the CHP upon his death. He had been assigned to the Modesto division of the CHP for three years after starting out in the Santa Cruz area. Scott previously worked for the California Department of Corrections at the Sierra Conservation Center near Jamestown. From June 1996 to August 2000 he was a reserve officer with the Modesto Police Department. At that time Scott, who never married, lived with his best friend and fellow officer Robert Hart on Soda Canyon Drive in Ceres.