Forensic phone and computer examiner testifies during first day of Griego trial

2014-04-07T12:20:00Z 2014-04-08T16:14:06Z Forensic phone and computer examiner testifies during first day of Griego trialGazette Staff The Billings Gazette

5:30 p.m. update: The attorneys in the trial of suspected serial rapist Toby Eugene Griego finished their opening statements early Monday afternoon, and the state's first witness, a police detective, finished his testimony at about 5 p.m.

Griego, 42, is being tried on 27 charges in connection with a string of home-invasion robberies, sexual assaults, kidnappings and an attempted sexual assault last year. He is alleged to have attacked four victims on Jan. 27, April 25, May 27 and July 2.

After Griego became a suspect, investigators obtained his phone, which prosecutors say contained images he took during each attack.

In one of the videos “… you will see the defendant, Toby Griego, turn his phone — with the video recorder running — on his face and you will see his face,” Chief Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Rod Souza told the jury during opening statements.

“The defendant was arrested on Aug. 23, 2013, after the contents of that phone were found,” Souza said. “And after he was arrested, the home invasions of young women here in Billings has stopped.”

After opening statements, the state called its first witness, Billings Police Detective Jim Woog, who is a forensic phone and computer examiner.

He testified at length about the videos and photos he recovered from the phone investigators took from Griego. 

"In your opinion, Detective Woog, is it possible that the images and videos from this phone arrived on this phone in any other way than being taken or recorded with this phone?" Chief Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Juli M. Pierce asked.

"I don’t believe that was possible, looking at the totality of the circumstances," Woog said.

He concluded his testimony at about 5 p.m. and court went into recess for the day.

The trial will resume Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. with testimony from additional witnesses. 


Opening statements in the trial of suspected serial rapist Toby Eugene Griego are scheduled to start at 1:15 p.m. Monday.

Griego, 42, will be tried on 27 charges in connection with a string of home-invasion robberies, sexual assaults, kidnappings and an attempted sexual assault last year between the end of January and beginning of July.

Four victims who Griego is alleged to have attacked are among the nearly 30 witnesses scheduled to testify on behalf of the state.

Legal counsel spent Monday morning going through the final stage of selecting a jury. Seven women and five men, with three male alternate jurors, were chosen from a pool of 80 people who made it through three days of jury selection last week.

Defense counsel and the prosecution each had one hour to question members of the jury pool.

The jurors were sworn in shortly before noon, after which presiding judge Russell C. Fagg read them the jury instructions.

The jury is tasked with reaching a unanimous verdict of guilty or not guilty at the end of the trial. 

Jury members are not allowed to discuss the case while the trial is ongoing, and they are not allowed to view any media coverage or any other information about the case.

The trial is scheduled to begin each day at 9 a.m. in the Yellowstone County Courthouse.

Chief Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Rod Souza and Chief Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Juli M. Pierce are prosecuting the case.

Griego is represented by Regional Deputy Public Defender David Duke, head of the Billings public defender’s office, and J. Thomas Bartleson of the major-crimes unit of the office of the state public defender.

Court records indicate that if convicted of the rape, kidnapping or robbery charges, Griego faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole because of his criminal history in New Mexico.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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