Co-Defendant Convicted in Grand Theft Case

Note: On Thursday, the jury reached a verdict in this case and both of the co-defendants were convicted on all charges including the main charge, grand theft.

Closing Arguments in People v Marissa Price and Venessa McKee-Salazar

by Makisha Singh

Before the closing arguments began, the prosecution called one more witness, the victim of the vehicle theft, to the stand. The victim recalled the events that took place on November 8, 2014. Upon assessing the situation, the victim claimed to have first attempted to restrain McKee-Salazar and stop the vehicle from moving away. He stated that as he had McKee-Salazar restrained, she kept asking him if she could get into one of Price’s bags because she needed a cigarette and the victim recalled that the police officers who eventually arrived allowed her to have one before arresting her.

As Prop. 47 applies only to theft under $950, the attorney made sure to ask the victim how much he had paid for the car, and the victim claimed that it cost him $2,200 when he bought it about three months prior to the incident. He also admitted there was no body damage to the car, although he took it to the shop afterward because he noticed it “drove different.”

Following this testimony, Deputy District Attorney Kyle Hasapes kicked off the closing arguments by stating that the incident was undoubtedly a case of grand theft because there is sufficient proof that the perpetrators took someone else’s property without the owner’s consent and intended to deprive the owner of that property, or at to least keep it for a time. Concerning McKee-Salazar, Hasapes included that an individual can be guilty by committing the crime directly or by aiding and abetting the perpetrator. He specified that one does not even have to be present for the crime to aid or abet. He went on to claim that McKee-Salazar should be proven guilty for both robbery and carjacking because a reasonable person would understand that a person with their car turned on in their driveway would be out within minutes and that this was why the girls attempted to act so quickly. Lastly, Hasapes added that the victim was nearly run over by his own car.

Deputy Public Defender Lisa Lance was next to deliver her closing argument, and began by arguing that there was no use of force or fear in this case because the girls didn’t push the victim aside or snatch the keys from him or anything like that, since the keys were already in the ignition. She also explained that Price did not use force because the victim said she didn’t look at him or say anything and that the police officer later noted that the windshield was covered with condensation — which all made it seem plausible that she may not have even seen the victim there and, therefore, was not using force on him. She reiterated that there was insufficient evidence that the driver knew the victim was near the car and that speculation is not strong enough for proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Lance concluded her argument by mentioning that, according to another officer, there were three girls involved, indicating that the stories didn’t line up and, lastly, that the incident should not be considered robbery or carjacking, but simply the unauthorized use of a vehicle.

McKee-Salazar’s defense attorney, Jeff Raven, then went on to argue McKee-Salazar’s innocence in the incident by recalling that when the victim came outside, McKee-Salazar immediately admitted that she didn’t want to take part in the theft and said she was trying to get Price to stop. He supported this claim of McKee-Salazar’s innocence by pointing out that if his client were aiding and abetting, it wouldn’t make sense for Price to begin backing out before McKee-Salazar could get in the car — or at least Price would have reached over and unlocked the door for McKee-Salazar, but she did not.

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 Comment

  1. Miwok

     

    arguing that there was no use of force or fear in this case because the girls didn’t push the victim aside or snatch the keys from him or anything like that, since the keys were already in the ignition.

    that the incident should not be considered robbery or carjacking, but simply the unauthorized use of a vehicle.

    What kind of law or social contract says someone can just take something that is not theirs? If you start a car up, and leave it to go to the trunk, for example, someone is allowed to jump in and drive it off? At least they didn’t try to argue they were impaired by drugs or alcohol.

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