Hendrix Held to Answer on Murder Charges

YoloCourt-10By Raya Zahdeh

The preliminary hearing in the case against Steven Hendrix resumed on August 15, 2016, in Department 13, Judge Paul Richardson presiding. Hendrix, of West Sacramento, is being charged with second-degree murder, among other charges, for his role in the Second Street collision in February of this year which killed Davis resident Cynthia Jonasen.

The witness to take the stand and give his testimony during this part of the preliminary hearing was West Sacramento Officer Steven Gill.

Officer Gill began by stating that he works closely with the center in Woodland that is in charge of interviewing children and investigating allegations of child sexual abuse cases. The center uses certain techniques such as open-ended questions, as these types of questions statistically result in more accurate answers from minors, especially young children.

The interviews of the children involved in this case took place at this center on June 10, 2016.

According to one of the child witnesses who was a passenger in Hendrix’s car on the day of the accident, Hendrix’s eyes looked red and he seemed tired when he picked the children up from the library in West Sacramento. The witness proceeded to explain that, during the drive to Davis, Hendrix was changing lanes without using his blinkers and was generally not driving like he normally would.

Another child in the vehicle, the first witness’ brother, stated during his interview that he was asleep during the accident, and that he did not see Hendrix smoke marijuana or drink alcohol on the day of the accident.

A third child witness in the vehicle stated that Hendrix was acting differently on the day of the accident. Specifically, he was speeding, was not as talkative, and was not being as responsive as he normally would be, according to the witness.

The witness also stated that she told Hendrix to slow down at one point before the accident occurred, and that he instead turned around, shrugged his shoulders, and sped the car up even more.

After the witness testimony, one of the attorneys for the defense stated that, after the accident occurred, Hendrix ran up to the victim and was really concerned. When he discovered that the victim was killed because of the accident, he was shocked and emotionally disturbed.

The attorney argued that Hendrix’s reaction at the scene was not indicative of influence from drugs – that his reaction was natural, considering what he had just been through. Furthermore, she stated that the child witnesses were not informed enough to accurately determine whether or not Hendrix had red eyes due to drug influence.

The judge noted that the test results indicated that Hendrix had methamphetamine and marijuana in his system at some point, whether it was during or before the day of the accident. The officer also added that, although he could not conduct a field sobriety test due to the nature of the accident, he did notice objective signs of drug influence on Hendrix such as dry mouth, disorientation, red eyes, and the scent of marijuana.

After the witness testimonies and the evidence were presented before the court, Judge Richardson concluded that the defendant would be held to answer on various counts including second degree murder with implied malice, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of drugs causing injury, abusing or endangering minors, and driving with a suspended or revoked license. The case is scheduled for an arraignment hearing on August 30, 2016, at 10 AM in Department 13.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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