By Samantha Brill
In Department 13 on November 8, 2016, Judge Paul K. Richardson presided over the preliminary hearing of the People’s case against Izell David Fairley. Mr. Fairley is charged with two counts, one for possession and discharge of a zip gun (a homemade or improvised gun) on October 17, 2016, and the other for possession of a firearm after previously being convicted of a felony.
The defense moved to exclude witnesses. Then the People started introducing their evidence by calling Yolo County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Mez to the stand. Deputy Mez explained how he was the first officer to arrive at the defendant’s trailer around 5:25 pm, in response to a call about a firing of a gun. When Dep. Mez arrived, medical aid was already there, tending to Mr. Fairley’s bleeding nose.
Deputy Mez explained to the court that he had been called to this residence in the past, so he was already familiar with Mr. Fairley and his criminal history. The witness was also aware that Mr. Fairley’s girlfriend was living with him.
After approaching the defendant, Deputy Mez did a quick search of the trailer. He explained that he was looking for any other people on the premises, but found no one. After securing the trailer he went back outside and did a search of the defendant, along with speaking to a neighbor who stated that they hadn’t seen the defendant’s girlfriend at the trailer in about two days.
The defense, on cross-examination, clarified that no one else was found in the trailer, and then the witness was excused.
The People then called their last witness, Deputy Kurt Zeiler, also from the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, who was the officer who obtained the warrant and conducted a search of the trailer. Deputy Zeiler testified that inside the trailer he found a lot of blood on the floor, along with an expended 12-gauge shotgun shell, wadding, and a 14-inch section of a pipe. These items found were consistent with the materials needed to assemble a zip gun.
The People then asked Deputy Zeiler to put the materials found in the trailer together to demonstrate to the court that they indeed could be used to make a zip gun. While doing so, the witness explained that he suspected the zip gun had backfired, shooting the defendant in the nose.
The defense cross-examined this witness by clarifying that only one shell was found in the trailer.
Deputy Zeiler was then excused, concluding the People’s evidence. The defense did not wish to introduce any evidence and moved to ask the court to reduce one of the counts from a felony to a misdemeanor, on the grounds that only one round was found in the search. The defense also asked that the defendant be released, pending trial.
The judge did not grant with this request, due to the defendant’s criminal background and because of Mr. Fairley’s difficulty with officers when being detained and arrested for the incident in question.
Judge Richardson ruled that bail is to stay the same, and the trial will begin November 21 at 10 am in Department 13.