By Sidney Adebayo
The preliminary hearing of the People v. Michael Hernandez was conducted on Friday, November 4, 2016, in Yolo County Superior Court, Department 12 at 2:00 p.m. The presiding judge for the hearing was Judge Ramona J. Garrett.
The case was brought to court for a preliminary hearing because the defendant Michael Hernandez is charged with sexual assault against a woman with whom he was in an on-again off-again relationship.
For today’s hearing the judge heard the testimony of two police officers who responded to the altercation. The first officer to testify was Detective Matt Jameson, of the Woodland Police Department.
According to Det. Jameson, who gathered statements from various witnesses about the incident that occurred on November 28, 2015, the defendant and the alleged victim had known each other since the tender age of 12. On this date, their relationship was broken up, due to a previous incident that occurred regarding the alleged victim’s house, which has not yet been detailed. It was implied, however, that a history of mental illness on the defendant’s part may have been the cause.
On November 28, both the defendant and the alleged victim got together in a library in order to do some work. The alleged victim, however, noted to police that the defendant, instead of focusing on his task, spent his time watching pornography and (Floyd) Mayweather (boxer turned promoter) boxing matches.
Later, while still at the library, the defendant got up to speak to another woman. The alleged victim claimed to Det. Jameson that she did not pay much attention to this as they were not in a relationship at this time. However, at some point the defendant came back and eventually the woman he was talking to came to their location. The woman, according to the alleged victim’s statements to police, apparently put the defendant in a headlock to get her phone back. After the alleged victim talked to both of them, she got the defendant to return the phone to the woman and the woman left.
The alleged victim decided to take the defendant with her to McDonald’s afterwards, and, while they were walking, the defendant, according to the alleged victim’s statement to police, told her, “I don’t like cuddling, let’s just get straight to the point.” The alleged victim was confused by this statement, due to their not being in a relationship anymore. At some point, the defendant grabbed the alleged victim’s backpack and walked her down to the cemetery.
The defendant appeared to be under the influence, according to the alleged victim’s statements to Det. Jameson, but she was not entirely sure due to the fact that the defendant may have forgotten to take his medication – which could evoke identical symptoms.
According to the alleged victim’s testimony to police, the defendant backed her up further into the cemetery away from view and asked her to pull her shirt down. When she would not, the defendant proceeded to take it off for her and bit her breasts. The defendant attempted kissing the alleged victim, and she bit his lips in defense. The alleged victim struggled to get away but failed. According to the alleged victim’s statement, it was at this time the defendant stated he was not trying to hurt her, and just wanted her. The alleged victim claimed that the defendant then stated he would choke the alleged victim for five seconds to get her to succumb.
The defendant, according to Det. Jameson’s report, pulled the alleged victim further, closer to the mausoleum. The defendant pushed the alleged victim to the ground and attempted to force his penis into the alleged victim’s mouth, threatening that he would “sock” her if she bit his penis. The alleged victim was able to move her head around to prevent the defendant’s penis from entering her mouth. In anger the defendant punched, kicked, and called the defendant a bitch. The defendant threatened to torture her more. To escape, the alleged victim rolled over but the defendant choked her. The alleged victim managed to get out of the chokehold and run away.
The defendant unfortunately caught up to the alleged victim, picked her up over his shoulders, carried her back, ripped her leggings, and went in between her legs attempting to rape her. As the alleged victim felt a rush of blood from her nose she tried harder to get away, only for her efforts to result in more beatings and subsequent failure and injury. The alleged victim said to police that, as this was going on, the defendant claimed he was a pimp.
The alleged victim strategically convinced the defendant that she would go back with him to her place. So the defendant grabbed her by her hair and pulled her down the street. The alleged victim yelled that the defendant was trying to rape her. The defendant told her to shut up, but, upon hearing the sound of police approaching, took off.
According to police testimony the alleged victim was covered in numerous injuries when they found her, including but not limited to concussion, abrasion, head trauma, and a broken nose.
At this time, the defense cross-examined the police officers who had testified to what they heard from witnesses and from the alleged victim. The defense claimed mental illness was a serious concern in the alleged victim’s and the defendant’s relationship with one another.
The defense also pointed out in cross-exam of the police officers that the alleged victim never told officers the context of the reason the defendant stated he likes to go straight for it, when they were in McDonald’s. According to the attorney for the defendant, they were talking about a previous relationship with a prostitute.
Also the defense further pointed out that it was evident from the way the defendant was acting that his behavior was consistent with how the defendant would behave when off of his medication.
The defense also made the important point in the hearing that witnesses never identified the person they saw dragging the alleged victim.
The preliminary hearing went on recess and will resume on Monday, November 7, 2016.