Defendant Not Held To Answer on Assault Charges

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YoloCourt-23By Tiffany Yeh

Sebastian Campbell is charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon. Deputy Public Defender Richard Van Zandt is representing Mr. Campbell and Deputy District Attorney Larry Eichele is representing the prosecution.

Judge Samuel McAdam ruled that no holding order will be carried out. There is insufficient evidence to fulfill the elements of PC section 245(a)(1) assault with a deadly weapon. However, the judge ruled for a non-holding order, and the prosecution will likely amend the charge to PC section 417(a)(1), which is a violation for brandishing a weapon, which would be a violation of probation for the defendant, for which the judge stated that there is sufficient probable cause.

The preliminary hearing featured one witness, the mother of the defendant (and the alleged victim in this case.)

Mr. Campbell (20 years old) and his mother live in an apartment complex in Davis, and have lived in that apartment since 2008. Up until a year ago, Sebastian had been living at the apartment with his mother (and also two younger sisters) but recently began staying over at different friends’ houses for a couple nights at a time.

Sebastian’s mom had told Sebastian, through text and Facebook message, that he had to move out. According to her, he was upset that she had asked him to move out of the apartment.

He had come home on April 21, 2016, in the evening to get his clothes to move out, and he was agitated. He yelled at his mom and was saying that he might as well kill himself. He grabbed a knife and put it to his wrist, and attempted to cut his wrist. This occurred in his (Sebastian’s) room.

Sebastian knew that his sister was in the ICU for attempted suicide within 24 hours of his trying to cut himself (and the alleged assault). The family had been called about the sister in the ICU around 6pm and, around 11pm, Sebastian knew about it.

On April 21, during the alleged assault, Sebastian’s mother was in the doorway. She saw him getting angry at himself that the knife did not do damage to his wrist (his mom testified that it was not a sharp knife). He got angry and threw the knife at the wall while his mom was in front of him.

Later, DDA Eichele stated that the account of the Davis officer who took the statement from the mom agreed with her account of the events, only stating that the distance the officer remembers hearing related was larger. The officer said that she remembered the mom stating that the distance between her and Sebastian was more than three to five feet.

The blade was out and the knife hit the wall. The mom did not want to leave the knife with her son. Next, he grabbed some clothes, packed a bag, and said he was going to sleep on the railroad tracks. He then left the house.

The alleged victim called the Davis Police Department and filed a missing persons report with an officer. She thought that her son had intent to harm himself. She stated that the knife wasn’t aimed at her. He did not get a chance to say how he felt about her telling him to move away. She also stated that he had said something like, might as well kill myself.

When asked by Mr. Eichele why she let him leave the apartment, she responded that she was afraid he was going to harm himself and that she could not physically stop him. Later during the preliminary examination, Eichele disagreed with her statement that her son is bigger in stature than she.

The mom stated that Davis police had more resources to find her son and that maybe they could help him get back on medication.

From DPD Van Zandt’s cross-examination, the witness stated that she called police because her son was suicidal, that she believes she called the police only once that night, and that her son had not assaulted her and that she did not think he had tried to throw the knife at her.

The mom stated that her son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was little.

Sebastian was supposed to be on Abilify and lithium. He took them briefly from September to November, and then he took himself off the medications. His mother explained that, since he’s an adult now, she can’t make appointments with psychiatrists for him.

His general medical practitioner recommended he go to a psychiatrist, but finding a psychiatrist with openings was hard and Sebastian gave up after awhile.

Sebastian’s mother spoke afterwards, through Marsy’s Law on victims’ rights, to the court. She made a plea for leniency for her son. Her son was a danger to himself. She asked for as much help as possible for her son.

Judge McAdam acknowledged that the defendant was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was fairly young and that the officer indicated that the distance between the mother and her son was more than three to five feet. He stated that Yolo County is one of the few counties that implements Laura’s Law, where a family member can petition for their family member to gain treatment, into an controlled monitored program. The judge also cited that, because of Nevada City and Santa Barbara events involving the mentally ill, Laura’s Law ought to be considered.

He ruled that no holding order will be carried out. There is insufficient evidence to fulfill the elements of PC 245(a)(1) assault with a deadly weapon. The mother was not threatened, not in fear for her life, and the dominant circumstance was that he was suicidal. The knife was thrown at a distance and stuck in the wall. The defendant was at wit’s end, his sister was at the hospital, and his life was crumbling.

However, the judge ruled for a non-holding order. DDA Eichele stated that he will amend the charge to the PC section 417 charge, a pending violation of probation for brandishing a weapon. The judge said there is sufficient probable cause for the PC 417.

The judge recommended the defendant to mental health court but, first, a mental health assessment needs to be done, and the defendant has to be found suitable for mental health court. He stated that public safety is his #1 consideration and that he was concerned about releasing the defendant on supervised OR (own recognizance).

The defendant will stay in custody and on May 20, at 9am, there will be a violation of probation admit or deny hearing and a review of the mental health court assessment, and hopefully the mental health court assessment will be conducted before then.

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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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One thought on “Defendant Not Held To Answer on Assault Charges”

  1. quielo

    Having had a mentally ill relative I understand the powerlessness of our current system. A succession of three day holds is not a program of recovery.

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