VISTA, Calif., (KGTV) — The man and woman accused of fatally stabbing a Carlsbad woman in March appeared at their preliminary hearing on Wednesday. Ian Bushee and Malissa James pleaded not guilty to all charges, including murder and burglary.
The District Attorney called several witnesses, playing 911 calls and never-before-seen police body camera footage in the courtroom. The 911 call was from the victim, Marjorie Gawitt.
Dispatcher: 911. What's your emergency?
Marjorie: (inaudible) I've been attacked.
That was the beginning of Gawitt's dying message on the morning of March 11, 2019. The 63-year-old woman was sleeping in her Carlsbad home alone when police said Bushee and James tortured and stabbed her fifty times in the face, neck, and back.
Dispatcher: We've got help sent out to you, Marjorie. Who did this?
Marjorie: I don't know.
It took everything Gawitt had left in her to make that 911 call. The call was so tragic, officers testifying on the stand became choked up while listening to Gawitt's voice. Because of her final act of courage, Officer Randy Noa found her minutes later, still alive. On his body camera video, you can hear him trying to speak to Gawitt.
"You okay ma'am? Oh. Ma'am. Is he still in here or did he leave? (PAUSE) I can't hear you, ma'am," Officer Noa said, breathing heavily.
"It looked like she was trying to say to me that he was gone. But it was hard," Officer Not testified inside the courtroom.
The District Attorney also played a second body camera video, worn by Officer Derek Harvey. On it, you can hear him trying to console the victim.
"Ma'am, you're going to be okay. The paramedics are going to be here, any second, okay?" Officer Harvey said. Minutes later, Harvey's camera recorded him finding what looked to be the weapon on the counter.
"Her eyes were clouded, dilated and fixed," Officer Harvey said. "I knew she was... probably not going to make it."
He was right. Despite the paramedics arriving quickly, Gawitt died at Scripps La Jolla Hospital.
With the only eyewitness now gone, investigators were back at square one. What they did know was that the victim's gold car was missing, so they worked to track that down. Hours later, surveillance video captured the victim's stolen car in San Marcos. The suspects were taped walking around near a masonry warehouse and at a 7-11 store. Investigators said the two later ditched the stolen car in San Marcos, and for some reason, rode a bus back into Carlsbad. The two were later arrested near the original crime scene.
Police said it turns out Gawitt's home was not the first the pair had ransacked that day.
"I looked up, and I said something is missing here," neighbor Patricia Gapik said.
That same morning, Gapik noticed her sewing basket and her daughter's flute were gone. Random items were also scattered near her sliding glass door.
"I then realized that someone was in my house," Gapik testified. "I was scared."
Luckily, Gapik was asleep the entire time, and never confronted the burglars. But investigators later found that the two cases were connected. They found some of Gapik's belongings inside the car left in San Marcos. The suspects, Ian Bushee and Malissa James were the same.
Thursday morning, the Medical Examiner will be giving his testimony on Gawitt's fatal injuries.