Domestic Violence Trial Ends with Defendant Copping a Plea

Yolo-Count-Court-Room-600The trial of Tim Kinser began this week in Department 8 in front of Judge Janet Gaard. Mr. Kinser was accused of inflicting corporal injury upon his wife of the time, and endangering the health of their two young daughters.  The incident occurred on July 31, 2010, at their Woodland residence.

Prior to the trial, Mr. Kinser had informed the Vanguard that his wife was a heavy drinker and had attacked him.  He claimed he was bringing this to trial in an effort to retain visitation rights with his children and keep them away from their drunken mother.

However, during the course of the trial it became readily apparent that his story did not square with the facts of the case, which included testimony from the mother and a recording of the 911 call.

Following the testimony of the mother, Mr. Kinser accepted a plea agreement, ostensibly because he did not want his daughters, who are currently 10 and 13, to have to go through the experience of testifying in court against their father.

In her opening statement, Deputy DA Sara Jacobsen described an evening where the victim had returned home from a party to find her husband and youngest daughter, then nine, asleep in front of the TV.  The older daughter was home with a friend sleeping over, in her bedroom.

The victim tried to wake the nine-year-old, for her to go to her room to sleep. In the process, Mr. Kinser awakened, and was angry and verbally abusive to the victim.

It escalated into an argument which moved to the couple’s bedroom, and Deputy DA Jacobsen claimed that the defendant grabbed his wife in the face, cutting her lip, and shoved her onto the bed, nearly strangling her. Both daughters were awake by then, and one of the girls called 911.

The mother kicked at her husband, left the room, called the two neighbors who had attended the party with her, and everyone ended up running outside.

The defense had a different version of events.  Defense Attorney Richard Lansburgh described a troubled marriage and claimed that the alleged victim was often the aggressor in previous arguments. He said that she had been drinking and Mr. Kinser had not.  Furthermore, he claimed the defendant had been at home taking care of the children and that she punched him first. He said that there was no reason for the mother to waken their daughter, and that she was the one who put the girls in danger.

In the victim’s testimony, she described that they had been married since 1996, had two daughters, but had problems with the marriage on numerous occasions.  She had filed for divorce in 2005, but reconciled as Mr. Kinser had completed anger management classes and their relationship had improved.

She described an incident in 2005, where Mr. Kinser had punched out the windshield of their vehicle in a police station parking lot.

The victim testified that her husband was often angry for random reasons, and regularly quit talking to her “to punish her.”

Earlier on the day of the incident, a Saturday, the victim and her mom had taken the girls clothes shopping.

Upon their return, she reminded her husband, who had not been speaking to her for more than one day, that the family had been invited to a birthday party with family friends. Her husband replied with profanity that he was not interested, and she knew that the girls were tired and were more interested in their new school clothes, so she went on her own.

She testified that she had only three drinks over the course of the six-hour party. Then she returned home, also giving the neighbors a ride home.

While the defense attempted to show that the victim was violent and drinking on the night in question, they were precluded from bringing into the trial as evidence a February DUI. Judge Gaard ruled that this could only be admitted if there were evidence that the victim’s drinking caused her to be aggressive.

The defense also attempted to claim the victim was abusive in her discipline to the daughters, and that Mr. Kinser had sometimes had to defend the girls. The judge, however, ruled that the girls could only testify to fights between the parents, not about discipline.

The most compelling evidence was a 911 call.  Mr. Kinser could be heard yelling and using profanity.  The daughter who called the police was scared by the incident and anxious that her father would be angry with her for calling 911.

The victim had attempted to get the children out of harm’s way by taking them to the neighbors. However, Mr. Kinser could be heard intervening.  The 911 recording appeared to validate the victim’s testimony.

There were photos that showed the extent of the victim’s injuries, which appeared to be superficial, including a bloody lip and red marks on the back of her neck.

The daughters were scheduled to testify after the lunch break on Wednesday, but this did not occur.  Following lunch, Mr. Lansburgh announced that his client was prepared to enter a plea, as he did not want to cause his daughters the trauma of testifying against their father.

Judge Gaard announced that this was a non-negotiated plea (an agreement between the parties, without regard to sentence), the defendant would plead no contest to both charges, but the first charge was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.

In a brief but emotional statement to the defendant, the victim said that she had loved the defendant and would have died for him – that she felt she almost did.

She said that he made her forget who she was, but that she and the girls being in counseling twice a week had helped.

The victim said that she had learned that the defendant needs help. She told him that he had provided a negative model for the girls as to what a boyfriend/spouse should be, and that she thought he would not be happy if they brought someone home who treated them like he had treated her.

The defendant was sentenced to three years probation, a fine, a year-long anger management program and a ten-year firearm prohibition (Mr. Kinser apparently had a large collection of hand guns and other firearms).

The sentence for the second count was stayed, which otherwise would have been 4 years probation, a one-year parenting program and another fine.  Restitution to the victim is to be determined, by the next court date in July.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. E Roberts Musser

    You need to be careful of your use of the word “victim”. At one point you refer to the father as the victim! It got a bit confusing! For instance:
    [quote]Earlier on the day of the incident, a Saturday, the victim and her mom had taken the girls clothes shopping. [/quote]

    The frustrating part of this entire case is I will bet you the mother will go right back to this abusive father. As long as she does, he is not going to even try to get the assistance he requires. By enabling his behavior, she is setting up her daughters to seek out relationships with the same type of men – abusive relationships. This is a typical scenario that plays out over and over again… and why abusive cycles repeat throughout families going from generation to generation… I would even hazard a guess that if this woman would extricate herself from this toxic relationship, she could get help for her own drinking problem and have a much better life for herself and these children…

  2. Ryan Kelly

    It makes perfect sense – the victim and her mom had taken the girls clothes shopping = the mom and grandmother had taken the girls shopping.

    Elaine – He has one year of anger management, probably through the Sexual Assault Center and 3 years probation. I guess you are saying that this is a useless endeavor. The father will be in the picture, even if the mother ends the relationship. This is a family argument. The most abusive the father seems to get, until this incident, is he stops talking to her. The mother and girls are in counseling and the father will be too, if he wants to maintain his relationship with his daughters. You seem to hate men in general, or at least have a bias against them. It shows in your posts.

  3. Phil Coleman

    “You seem to hate men in general, or at least have a bias against them. It shows in your posts.”

    For the record, I a man. I’ve read just about every one of Elaine’s posts and never once did I perceive the vaguest hint to support the above allegation. We certainly have had various males portrayed in a negative light and it follows that criticism could result based on that depiction. But that does not necessarily support the sweeping and “general” condemnation spoken here.

  4. Ryan Kelly

    I based the statement on her comments about this case and also her comments regarding the teenage boy who had sexual relations with another student. The man seems to be always evil.

  5. medwoman

    Ryan Kelly

    I have no direct knowledge of this case, but as reported by David, it would seem that this is not Mr. Kinser’s first episode of violence.
    As reported he had previously completed anger management classes and according to his wife’s account “had punched out the windshield of their vehicle”. This does not make him “evil” but it certainly might make him dangerous. Domestic violence is a complicated issue and it is not unusual for perpetrators to start out with psychological abuse such as shouting, name calling, swearing, or silent ” punishment” and then escalate to physical abuse. It sounds from the information provided here that this sequence might be operative in this case. If so, the wife would be well advised to find a safe location for herself and her daughters until he has completed an intensive course in anger management and demonstrated his ability to refrain from physical expressions of anger.

  6. highbeam

    The “victim” referred to in the article is the mother of the two girls, and the ex-wife of Mr. Kinser. She and her mother (the girls’ grandmother) took the girls clothes shopping. I don’t think the article ever referred to Mr. Kinser as the victim, other than reporting that the defendant was claiming that his wife and not himself had been the aggressor. We apologize for any confusion.

    And their divorce, first filed in 2005, was finalized in Dec 2010. She seems to have “moved on.”

  7. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine: Highbeam hopefully clarifies the situation. At no time did I refer to the defendant as the victim. The victim and her mother did in fact go shopping. The defendant stayed home. And as Highbeam points out, they are divorced and she wants nothing to do with him.

  8. E Roberts Musser

    To highbeam and dmg: Thanks for the clarification. I’m glad to hear the victim in this case has “moved on”; but she now needs to address her own alcholism problem – bc that too will effect her children.

    [quote]You seem to hate men in general, or at least have a bias against them. It shows in your posts. [/quote]

    I have no idea where you would get this notion. Just for the record, I do not “hate men in general”! LOL My dear father and son and my many male friends would be surprised to hear you claim such a thing…

    I do have a problem with people (both men and women – and yes women engage in domestic violence as well as men) who engage in domestic violence. As I pointed out, it is a very destructive cycle, and teaches children to emulate the same sorts of behavior – either extreme aggressiveness or passivity. So that domestic violence often runs in families for generations. Medwoman’s comments are quite accurate about how the mechanism works. And by the way, domestic violence comes in all forms – including severe psychological abuse…

  9. medwoman


    I am completely with you on the pernicious and multigenerational nature of domestic violence.
    I do think a bit of care is warranted in labeling someone as having “alcoholism” on no more evidence than the word of their demonstrably
    hostile ex husband, his girl friend, and her own statement of having three drinks over six hours at a single family party.

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