By Ryan Gonzales
Judge Dan P. Maguire presided over the preliminary hearing of Kaitlin Vaughn, who is accused of first degree robbery of multiple Davis residences, and charged with the possession of methamphetamine.
The prosecution began the afternoon session with the direct examination of “JR,” one of the victims of the robberies that occurred in Davis. In order to show the court that she did in fact reside at the Davis residence on Rodin Place, the prosecution asked the witness to mark a circle around her house on People’s Exhibit 1.
“When I took out the garbage cans, the sports cart was missing,” testified JR when asked if she noticed anything missing on August 15, 2016.
JR explained that the night prior to the incident, she had left the garage door open, which was where the sports cart was located. Then on the morning of the incident, JR had gone for a jog and, as she came back and went to take out the garbage cans, she noticed the sports cart was missing.
Furthermore, JR’s neighbor Eric Steindorf, who was a Deputy Sheriff with Sacramento County, questioned whether she noticed any items missing that same day.
Once JR indicated to Mr. Steindorf that she was missing a sports cart, Steindorf took her to a car parked on the side of the road and guided her through the back window of the car. When the prosecution asked JR what she noticed in the car, JR testified that her sports cart was in the back of the vehicle.
The prosecution asked JR if there was anything else missing or anything that she deemed to be unusual inside her garage. JR testified that she noticed a cigarette butt lying between her car and her husband’s car, and that the driver’s side door of her car was slightly opened. Thus, she believed that somebody was in the garage, because of the door and because no one in her family smokes.
During the cross-examination, the defense inquired what JR did with the cigarette butt. JR explained that she put on gloves and put the butt in a plastic bag, but when she offered it to the police as evidence, they did not want it.
The defense ended the examination by asking if JR had ever before seen the alleged suspect, who was sitting in the courtroom. JR responded, “No.”
After JR was dismissed, the prosecution brought out their next witness, Officer Richard Squibbs.
Officer Squibbs, who had been a peace officer for six months at the time of the incident, was dispatched to the scene.
Officer Squibbs testified that he arrived at the residence of Eric Steindorf, who had detained Kaitlin Vaughn. When the prosecution asked if he had recognized the suspect, Squibbs testified that, two to three weeks prior to the incident, he had responded to a flat tire incident. At the time, Officer Squibbs had noticed a meth pipe, as well as Ms. Vaughn, in the vehicle. He stated that he did not arrest her, but gave her a citation.
However, in the August 15 incident, when searching the vehicle with the possible stolen item, the officer found a possible controlled substance in the front seat of the car. After performing a NIK (Narcotics Identification Kit) field presumptive test, Officer Squibbs confirmed that the substance was positive for methamphetamine.
The defense inquired whether Officer Squibbs spoke to Ms. Vaughn or noticed her being under the influence. Officer Squibbs responded, “No.” When the defense questioned why one of the participating police officers booked Ms. Vaughn under a drug charge, Officer Squibbs stated that they did not know of the alleged robbery, thus they only booked her according to the drug evidence.
Officer Squibbs was dismissed.