Scott Nichols, who is the alleged victim in the case against four young Hispanic males, reluctantly testified on Wednesday afternoon, but not before going back and forth with prosecutor Robin Johnson and the defense.
It was made known even in the previous trial that Nichols and his girlfriend were not wiling witnesses. Nichols told Deputy District Attorney Johnson he wanted to exercise his right to plead the 5th Amendment.
But, after a brief voir dire examination, Nichols would agree to take the stand.
The defense attorney for Jose Jimenez, Jeff Raven, would ask Nichols if he had been threatened or beaten up since the last trial, and Nichols told Raven he had not.
During questioning by DDA Robin Johnson, Nichols would often speak so low that Judge Rosenberg would have to repeatedly ask him to speak up. At one point, he asked Nichols to use a bigger microphone.
In her questioning, Ms. Johnson would go over Nichols’ statement to police on the night of June 19, 2013. Johnson’s attempt to get Nichols to admit to what he told cops that night was exhaustive, but finally fished out the statements Nichols had made to cops in relation to gang slurs. However, most of Nichols’ answers were very brief.
What Nichols did make clear, for the second time, was that he called Officer Lara a liar.
Nichols said he never described the perpetrators or said he knew for sure which kids hit him. Nichols asserted, “I was fighting, couldn’t see much, just that they were Hispanic, young.”
He said, “I don’t really give a beep about the gang slurs…”
He said, in very forced tempo, “I just want this to be over, man…”
Johnson asked him about his meth use and criminal record. Nichols stated he used on occasion, and sold a few times, but was just trying to get on with his life now.
In cross, Keith Staten, attorney for Justin Gonzales, asked about the identification he gave to cops. Nichols stated, “I don’t really know anything more than that they were young Hispanic kids, one called my lady a c—, and one asked her for a dollar, afterwards they said something like Scrap.”
Nichols said he doesn’t back down and he was mad. He said it was after a few exchanged words that the fight broke out.
Nichols told Staten that he dropped his groceries during the fight, along with his bike.
Staten asked him to look at the receipt. Nichols said he couldn’t recall all the items he purchased but thought he told Officer Lara that he bought a burrito and a sandwich, along with a bag of Cheetos and a Pepsi.
Nichols read the items on the receipt and noted he was incorrect and had never bought Cheetos or a burrito, or a sandwich.
Attorney Jeff Raven began his cross asking Nichols if he wanted to testify, and his reply was, “No,”
“And why is that?” Raven asked. Nichols replied, “Because I have other things going on in my life, just want this to be over.”
Raven asked, “Is it because someone threatened you or because you’ve been jumped?”
“I don’t want to be a snitch, no one threatened me and I told the cops I couldn’t be sure who it was,” Nichols replied.
Raven asked Nichols, “Do you remember talking to the cops, that they asked you if you banged?”
“I think I told them. But I think I said last time Officer Lara was a liar. They took me to three locations but only for seconds.”
Nichols said he could only see the kids through the police car window and doesn’t recall a light on the alleged perpetrators. He said he never told officers he could be sure of either the kid in the black shirt or the one who pulled up his shirt, stating, “should we shoot this n—-?”
Raven asked Nichols about an SOS. Nichols said it is a term meaning to “smash on site” to gang members. Nichols said he found out he had been labeled a snitch and had an SOS put out on him. He told the court that he had to be put in “ad seg (Administrative Segregation),” which is higher security while incarcerated.
Nichols says there were two different groups out that night and he believed the ages were from 16 to 30.
Raven asked Nichols if any of the men ever identified themselves before attacking him after the incident on June 19. He replied, “Yea, I think the last time I was jumped, one asked my name.”
Attorney Keith Staten then asked Nichols why he told Officer Lara he bought a burrito, sandwich and cigarettes that night if they were not on the receipt. Nichols stated, “I can’t recall, think I may have bought them afterwards.”