The trial of three gang members charged with attempted murder of Anaheim police in 2012 is winding down, but not before a little Brunomania entered the courtroom.
Bruno, you may or may not recall, was a police dog who gained celebrity status last year after being left severely injured by cholo gunfire and forced into early retirement. Bring up the German Shepherd, and immediate brownie points with women, children, and juries are sure to go your way–which is exactly why Senior Deputy District Attorney Gary LoGalbo called Bruno handler R.J. Young to the stand yesterday morning.
Bruno did play a role in the particulars of the current trial because he sniffed out one of the accused after he went on the lam. But yesterday, the prosecution slathered on the Bruno good. During opening statements, LoGalbo name-dropped Bruno just for the hell of it, then mentioned him at least six more times with Young on the stand before the Weekly lost count–and this doesn't count the softballs LoGalbo asked Young which essentially required the officer to respond "Bruno."
The jury learned truly pertinent facts to the case at hand, like that a dog has a superior sense of smell over humans. They have "220 million scent receptors in their nose," according to Young's testimony, all the better to pick up the strong odor people emit when distressed–and especially that of errant cholos.
"When Bruno got an active track, his body would become much more rigid," Young told LoGalbo. He then described how Bruno put his nose down, pointed his ears, stiffened his tail, and got up on his hind legs when finding one of the suspects. "Surrender yourself or you will be bit," Young recounted warning, followed by a Bruno bark.
Meanwhile, LoGalbo basically ignored a security guard who had substantive witness testimony earlier that morning–because why bother with a human when you have Bruno?
OC Superior Court Judge Patrick Donahue told jurors last week not to read any media coverage of the trial. But could the jury, comprised of mostly middle-aged white women, escape the national media sensation that was Brunomania?
Celebrities like John Stamos and Bo Derek tweeted in support of the K-9 when he recovered from multiple surgeries. Just last December, ABC7 Eyewitness News named the police dog the 'most inspirational' animal of the year.
Bruno the police dog did not take the stand.
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2