Fearing police were on to him, confessed murderer Jonathan Hearn had bouts of paranoia and, to avoid wiretapping, began using an internet phone number to make calls to his lover, Sabrina Limon, and bought her a burner phone, according to recordings and testimony heard in court Tuesday, the seventh day of a criminal trial in Kern County Superior Court.

The paranoia took a toll. Hearn suspected detectives were calling Limon and giving her false leads to draw information out of her, that he was being tailed by police, that his phone was tapped, and that he was becoming the center of the investigation because of his affair with Limon.

He was right.

In calls with Hearn, Limon asked him to do her a favor and keep his truck filled with gas, but never alluded more to the possibility of fleeing the area.

Then, when Hearn was supposed to visit Limon at home, he saw a red Nissan Titan out front. He suspected they were undercover cops getting ready to make an arrest, Hearn said.

“There’s a truck definitely keeping eyes on you,” Hearn told Limon in a Nov. 11, 2014, phone call — one of more than a dozen placed between the two that day. “They’re obviously on to us.”

Prosecutors allege that Limon knew about, and helped plan, the murder of her husband, Robert, in August 2014 — but that Hearn carried it out, shooting Robert in a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train yard where he worked in Tehachapi. Hearn pled to a 25-year and four month sentence in exchange for testifying against Limon.

During hours of phone calls recorded by police and played in court this week, Hearn and Limon discussed their worries about the investigation shedding light on their affair, what Limon’s kids might think, Hearn’s sudden commitment to religion in the wake of Robert’s death and their intense paranoia.

Hearn described himself and Limon in mixed metaphors as “vulnerable … spiders dangling from a thread … living in checkmate.”

During a phone call to Limon that he didn’t think was being recorded because it was made from Skype, Hearn described the truck he saw outside of her house and the two people standing outside of it.

“She looks like a cop. Uncomfortable, hair pulled back and just awkward. The guy looks like he’s trying to look the part,” Hearn said. “They both look like typical cops pretending not to be cops.”

“You think we’re paranoid?” Limon asked Hearn.

“I think I might be just a little bit,” Hearn said.

Hearn testified Tuesday that he thought he would be arrested on Nov. 11, 2014.

During the calls, they spoke extensively about religion, praying to God regularly. Hearn spoke about “rapists, murderers and adulterers” as “heroes of the faith in the bible” and idealized King David, who in scripture impregnated his general’s wife, then had him killed to cover up his sins.

“Like David, God — he suffered his own internal punishment for the sins of his adultery and for his life. God was constantly weighing the balances, but you were respectful and loving and caring of his privacy and hushed through, and no one spoke of his adultery,” Hearn said in a prayer with Limon. “God, please don’t make us the theme of our story.”

In a show of what seemed like remorse, Hearn continuously referred to himself and Limon as “dirty rotten people.”

“We were kind of dirtbags about a lot,” Hearn told Limon in a November 2014 phone call. “But God’s a savior, and he likes the dirtbag types.”

Then he prayed to God with Limon.

“Hi, God,” Hearn said. “We’re on our knees for a reason. We’ve been dirtbags. We’ve been sinners.”

Harold Pierce covers education and health for The Californian. He can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter @RoldyPierce

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