By Donna Westfall – June 23, 2017 – Due to illness, I missed Thursday’s, June 22nd, court session. I understand that the defense had a telephonic expert witness, and Bryan Ranger took the stand. Without being there, I’d have to check the transcripts to find out exactly what was said.
Let’s now backtrack and look at Judy Ranger‘s testimony which started off with her describing her background. This is not for children’s eyes. This is the stuff that books and movies are made of. She lived primarily with her father, an alcohol and drug abuser as well as an abusive man. Her mother faked her own death when Judy was six years old. Judy was in and out of six foster homes and suffered abuse at the hands of several. She was raped multiple times including by Russell Walters, a serial killer rapist. She testified in that case and he was incarcerated for 10 years. When he got out, he proceeded to pick up where he left off. She agreed once more to testify against him in 2016. I know that because I was there when detectives flew up from from Los Angeles and met with Judy in her apartment on “C” Street.
Back to her foster home experience; one was a Christian home. She went back to that home when she was an older teenager and it helped to turn her life around because between being shuttled between her father, foster homes, and running away, her life was a disaster. Barely able to complete the 8th grade, her schooling was incomplete. She battled alcoholism and kicked it. Once she returned to the Christian foster home, they got her on SSI. She completed her high school degree at the age of 24. She swore to herself she would never be abused again.
That’s when she met Bryan Ranger in Santa Cruz. She actually met Bryan on three separate occasions. They had Christianity in common. He drove to Pennsylvania while Judy flew there to spend time in a Mennonite-like community. They liked the values of that community. They got married there in 1995 and she got pregnant right away. She was 26 and he was 44 years old. Their first child, Mercy, was born on December 11, 1995.
In day two of Judy’s testimony, she tried to say that papers were given to Bryan to sign over guardianship of Mercy to Sasha Upton and if he didn’t, then he would go to jail. This is called, in my book anyway, attempted blackmail. But when Judy tried to explain further that Marcus Nash called to demand the same thing, her testimony was cut off by the prosecution.
On April 25, 2017, Judy went before the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors telling of her Orwellian nightmare. I don’t know why this attempted blackmail issue was not brought out in court. I saw documentation in the files including the Declarations by Judy and Bryan Ranger. They were handed to Social Worker, Georgia England, that documented the attempts by friends of Sasha and Earl Upton, Walter Throop, as well as Sasha’s son, Marcus Nash, that if Bryan and Judy did not sign over guardianship of Mercy to Sasha, then Bryan would go to jail. Mercy would make sexual allegations. But if he signed the guardianship paperwork, all charges would be dropped.
I’m wondering WHY none of this made it to trial. There were declarations and witnesses that were willing to come forward but the defense did not request them. Here is Judy’s 3 minute public comment to the Board of Supervisors dated April 25, 2017.
Today, Friday, June 23rd, court starts at 10:30 am. Each side will make their closing arguments. Then the case goes to the jury.