Court Watch: Trial Coverage

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Yolo-Count-Court-Room-600Infant Murder Trial: New Witness Testimonies

by Timothy Chin, Jane Fitzsimmons, and Michelle Yegiyants

The controversial trial involving a possible murder of an infant continued this Wednesday morning. Quentin Stone has been charged with the murder of his three-month-old son, Sam Stone, in what has been believed to potentially be a child abuse case.

Prosecuting attorney Steve Mount remained steadfast in his opening statement, claiming that “nothing but evidence” was conclusive enough to prove that Quentin had possibly physically harmed his son. He also attacked the possibility that Sam might have fallen from his bed because there are no witnesses to the incident.

Martha Sequeira, the attorney for the defendant, argued that the infant had brain damage from a fall occurring on September 5, 2012. Sequeira then discussed Sam’s breathing troubles and his hospital visits prior to his death. She urged the jury to focus their attention on Quentin’s family and their tragedy, rather than on the unlikely possibility that there had been foul play.

The first witness, a doctor at Woodland Memorial Hospital, directly examined Sam and was shocked at what the CT scan revealed. She testified that there were multiple areas of internal bleeding that was abnormal for a child of that age.

“When I see a child like this with the injuries demonstrated, you have to ask yourself how this happened. With no external injuries, in all likelihood this child was shaken.”

However, the defense brought up the possibility that infants with Prenatal Subdural Hematomas can sustain a fatal fall. The defense also brought up the idea that Sam’s projectile vomiting during his seizure may have been a result of intracranial pressure.

Another witness, a Yolo County Paramedic, described Quentin’s demeanor during their encounter following his 911 dispatch call to help with Sam’s seizure. She claimed Quentin was “upset” throughout the ordeal and accompanied Sam on his trip to the hospital. Furthermore, the witness testified that there was nothing unordinary about the family when she arrived to take medical emergency care of Sam during his seizure.

“The other kids didn’t seem distressed or afraid of their father. They were not cowering away from him. The [other] child and dog were inquisitive about Sam, possibly even worried.”

The trial will continue tomorrow morning at the Yolo County Courthouse in Woodland, CA.[divider]

methClosing Arguments in Meth Case

By Justine Joya

On the afternoon of April 23, both parties in the Jorge Magana case met before Judge Mock to present their closing arguments. Deputy District Attorney Michael Vroman presented his argument first, by explicitly stating to the panel of jurors that Jorge Magana was guilty on the charge of possession of drugs with the intent to sell. Deputy Public Defender Teal Dixon followed up the prosecutor’s claim with arguments that poked holes in the evidence that he based his assertion on.

Before beginning his final arguments against Magana, Mr. Vroman made it clear to the jurors that if they believed the defendant fell into one of the three categories of either aiding and abetting the crime, being a co-conspirator of the alleged offense, or being the perpetrator, then the defendant would be found guilty on the charge of possession and intent to sell.

Keeping this notion fresh in jurors’ mind, he explained in great detail how and why all evidence pointed to the conviction of Jorge Magana. He argued that not only was the amount of methamphetamine discovered by the police excessive for someone who was just simply using, but that there was no paraphernalia found in the defendant’s home that would suggest the recreational use of methamphetamine.

The prosecutor also noted that the drugs were precisely divided up into commonly distributed doses and that the defendant was carrying over $500 on his person. Upon the arrest of Magana, Agent Diaz, who participated in the raid, overheard the defendant tell his father in Spanish to claim the drugs as his own; however, in his court testimony the defendant’s father stated that the drugs were not his.

All in all, the prosecutor illustrated to the court that the defendant was aware of the drugs’ presence, understood the nature of the drugs, and had possession of the substance in a significant quantity, proving his initial claim that beyond a reasonable doubt Jorge Magana was guilty of possession with intent to sell.

Specifically targeting the prosecutor’s claim of “possession,” Ms. Dixon opened her argument by defining the meaning of possession in terms of her father’s gun when she was growing up. She stated that, although she resided in the same house that the gun was concealed in, she did not hold possession over it because she did not have the right to control it.

Relating back to her client’s case, the drugs were found in the same household her defendant resided in, but this did not directly prove that they were under his possession. She then went on to state that numerous people were in and out of that same house and could have had access to the methamphetamine.

In regard to the money found on the defendant, she asserted that the money was not proved to be illegally obtained through the selling of methamphetamine, and could have been a result of the recent Christmas holiday that preceded the day of the arrest.

Before concluding her discussion, she reiterated to the jury that her client could only be convicted if and only if there remained no other reasonable explanations.

Judge Mock ordered the court adjourned and the jury was dismissed to deliberate.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch puts 8 to 12 interns into the Yolo County House to monitor and report on what happens. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org

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