Sabrina Limon did not pull the trigger in the fatal shooting of her husband. Her lover did.
But on Friday, Jonathan Hearn, the man with whom she carried on a years-long affair, testified Limon plotted the killing with him. He said she provided him with directions to and a description of the layout of the railway shop her husband sometimes worked at in Tehachapi, where they decided to kill him.
Before deciding on murder, Hearn said, they briefly discussed her getting a divorce. But he said she told him that didn't appeal to her.
As a mother of two, she didn't want to deal with child custody issues, and she believed she would look "like the bad guy" in the divorce, Hearn said.
Also, she said losing her would figuratively kill her husband, Hearn testified. She said actually killing him would spare him emotional pain, Hearn said.
"She expressed (her husband) would honestly rather be dead than divorced," Hearn told the court.
Hearn admitted earlier this year to shooting Robert Limon, 37. As part of a plea agreement he accepted, he is testifying at Sabrina Limon's trial.
Charged with murder, Sabrina Limon faces a life sentence if convicted. Hearn, who had faced the same punishment, will instead receive 25 years and four months in prison under the terms of the plea agreement.
Prosecutor Eric Smith has told the jury Sabrina Limon and Hearn plotted her husband's death so they could be together, and that she lied to investigators afterward to keep the affair, and her role in the killing, a secret.
Defense attorney Richard Terry has argued the only evidence against his client is Hearn's word, which he said cannot be trusted. He said Hearn, a "cold-blooded, calculating killer," is only implicating Sabrina Limon to spare himself a life sentence.
On Friday, the trial's fifth day, Hearn described how he and Sabrina Limon eventually arrived at the decision to kill her husband. He said they envisioned a future where they would be married together and he'd be raising her children.
Since divorce wasn't an option, they began to discuss other options. They justified killing him by looking at it as something that was inevitable, and they just needed to follow through, Hearn said.
He said Sabrina Limon felt unloved in her marriage, in part because Robert Limon had twice found out about her affair with Hearn yet did nothing to help repair their union. Also, the Limons were in an open marriage, and Sabrina Limon felt objectified by the way her husband would hand her off to other men for sexual gratification, Hearn said.
"Her frustrations with Rob became my frustrations," Hearn testified. "Her demons became my demons."
Smith asked Hearn specifically what Sabrina Limon wanted him to do.
"With respect to Rob, to kill him," Hearn said.
The first attempt on Robert Limon's life came in April 2014 when Hearn said he poisoned banana pudding and Sabrina Limon gave it to her husband to eat as part of his lunch at work. They later aborted the plan over fears of getting caught, Hearn testified.
He said Sabrina Limon called husband and told him to throw out the pudding because the bananas had gone bad.
After waiting a few months, Hearn decided he would confront Robert Limon in person and kill him. He said he told Sabrina Limon about the plan but did not reveal to her the exact method he would use in the killing.
Hearn testified they decided to kill Robert Limon at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway shop in Tehachapi where he was sometimes called to work overtime. He said the shop was in a remote industrial section where he could confront Robert Limon alone.
With directions provided to him by Sabrina Limon, Hearn drove to the shop and conducted surveillance. He took photographs of the facility and noted a surveillance camera to the front of the building.
As to timing, Hearn testified Sabrina Limon told him she and her husband were scheduled to go on a river trip with friends in late August. She'd gone the previous year, and didn't want to do it again. She asked that he kill her husband before then, Hearn said.
In preparing for the killing, Hearn fashioned a silencer out of the barrel of a Maglite. He said he drilled end caps to fit the caliber of the bullet he planned to use, and glued freeze plugs inside the barrel to muffle the gun's sound.
"The firearm was extremely quiet, probably no louder than a pneumatic nail gun you'd use for carpentry," he testified.
Hearn decided to make the attempt on Robert Limon's life on Aug. 17. That morning, he finished his shift at the fire station, stopped at a Walmart to buy ammunition and went home.
He put adhesive flashing on his motorcycle to change the color of its gas tank, exhaust pipes and rear fender. He grabbed two backpacks, a mask designed as the face of an elderly man and wore a long-sleeved shirt and dark baggy pants he'd never worn before.
Hearn testified he drove to the facility, where he saw Robert Limon leaving in a truck. At this point, it was early evening.
After parking across the street, Hearn walked to the building, trying to remember which garage was the one where Robert Limon worked, according to his testimony.
He testified he felt a mix of emotions at this time. He believed it was Robert Limon's fate to die, yet the act itself gave him pause.
"Obviously there was some apprehension in senselessly taking someone's life," he said.
Hearn said he couldn't determine which shop Robert Limon worked in and was about to give up and go home, planning a future date for the shooting. Then Robert Limon returned in his truck and entered the shop's garage.
Entering a breezeway just north of building, Hearn prayed and "recollected myself" for 10 to 15 minutes. Then he entered the garage.
Robert Limon came out of the office, and the two of them briefly spoke, Hearn still wearing the mask, Hearn testified. Robert Limon went to retrieve some items, Hearn said, and at that point Hearn grabbed the gun in his backpack.
He couldn't remove the gun, Hearn testified. The silencer had become stuck in a corner of the backpack.
Hearn said he followed Robert Limon and fired a shot from within the bag.
"He fell seemingly mortally wounded," Hearn testified.
Hearn then entered the office and removed documents and a laptop to make the killing appear to be a robbery gone wrong. He was about to leave, but, unsure if Robert Limon was dead yet, he walked back to the body.
He fired one more shot, the gun aimed at Robert Limon's head, according to his testimony.
Upon returning to his home in Hesperia, Hearn said he noticed a number of missed calls from Limon. He called her, and she asked if he was OK.
Hearn said he told her "I had done it," and everything was about to change.
But in many aspects, it didn't. Hearn said he and Sabrina Limon continued to call each other and sent numerous text messages regarding suspicions friends and law enforcement might hold.
They suspected Jason and Kelly Bernatene, former close friends of the Limons, might be on to them, Hearn testified. They were right.
The Bernatenes spoke with law enforcement regarding their suspicions of Hearn. The couple was the first to inform Kern County sheriff's investigators of the affair between Hearn and Sabrina Limon.
Investigators began conducting surveillance on the couple, and wiretapped their phones, including a "burner" phone Hearn said he bought Sabrina Limon that he prepaid the minutes for and hoped had gone undetected.
Smith played for the jury a recording of a call Hearn identified as between him and Sabrina Limon on Nov. 7, 2014, a week and a half before their arrest. In it, Sabrina Limon talks about hearing that investigators had identified possible suspects.
The two talk for a couple minutes. Then Hearn prays.
"Oh, God, please help us," he says. "Things might be changing here."
On Nov. 18, 2014, Hearn and Sabrina Limon were arrested. Hearn was charged, but Sabrina Limon was released due to insufficient evidence and rearrested in early January after Hearn agreed to testify.
Hearn's testimony resumes Monday.