STOCKTON -- The teenager who said he was abused and held captive in a Tracy home for more than a year may be called to testify against one of his alleged captors.
The teen, known only in court records as Kyle R., is one of 25 people on the witness list for the trial of Anthony Waiters, 31, of Tracy. Waiters is charged with torture, kidnapping, false imprisonment and assault. Jury selection resumes today.
The list of potential witnesses also includes Waiters' mother, Alice Waiters, an employee of the Tracy gym where a ragged, bruised and emaciated Kyle went for help, and the two young daughters of Michael Schumacher, 36, and Kelly Lau, 32, who have already pleaded guilty in this case in a deal with the District Attorney's Office.
Like Schumacher and Lau, 45-year-old Caren Ramirez, Kyle's caretaker, also accepted a plea deal that took the most serious charge, of torture, off the table, thus avoiding a life sentence. The three are each scheduled to be sentenced to 30 years or more in prison on Dec. 6.
Waiters was the neighbor of Schumacher and Lau, who shared their Tennis Lane home with Ramirez and Kyle R. He is the only one of the four going forward with a trial.
Ed Steinman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, said it is not unusual for co-defendants to take a plea deal and then testify against the person on trial. It is unusual, he said, that neither Lau, Schumacher nor Ramirez are on the potential witness
Last week, potential jurors filled out a 16-page survey that asked what they knew about the case or of Waiters, what their thoughts are on disciplining children, on child abuse and their feelings toward law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
The prosecution hopes to find an unbiased and impartial jury to try the case, which shocked Tracy and garnered national attention when on Dec. 1, 2008, a 16-year-old Kyle showed up at a Tracy gym wearing nothing but boxer shorts and a chain around his ankle, begging for help.
Waiters' attorney, Allan Jose, last month asked the court for more time to poll San Joaquin County residents to see if a change of venue was necessary.
Superior Court Judge Terrence Van Oss denied the request for additional time, but said it an impartial jury cannot be found during jury selection, that he would consider a change of venue.
Donna Shestowsky, a UC Davis law school professor, said the state penal code clearly allows a judge to consider a change of venue during jury selection. Shestowsky said it is interesting that Waiters is going forth with a trial, given that his co-defendants have pleaded guilty.
"That is in fact his right," Shestowsky said. "It is interesting, certainly risky business. On the other hand, maybe he knows something we don't know."
Contact Sophia Kazmi at 925-847-2122. Follow her at Twitter.com/sophiakazmi.
To see the list of questions asked of potential jurors in this case, go to InsideBayArea.com