Prosecution’s Witnesses Testify in Attempted Murder Case

YoloCourt-26by Ryan Gonzales

The trial of Alamar Cyril Houston, 39, resumed with Judge David Rosenberg presiding. Mr. Houston is charged with two counts of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and driving under the influence of a controlled substance on June 30, 2015.

Roxanne Bland was the prosecution’s first witness to take the stand. Ms. Bland, a forensic toxicologist employed by Valley Toxicology, testified that she had tested Mr. Houston’s blood for the presence of drugs and/or alcohol on September 11, 2015.

Deputy District Attorney Garrett Hamilton inquired if Ms. Bland found anything significant in the blood testing, and she stated that there was no presence of any drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, Ms. Bland testified that the most recent analysis, conducted in March 2016, remained conclusive with the earlier report. However, Mr. Hamilton suggested the possibility that methamphetamine would dissipate when left in storage, but Ms. Bland stated, “No we would find meth.”

Then the prosecution examined the science of how drugs like methamphetamine degrade in the blood. Ms. Bland offered some testimony in the science of “pharmacokinetics,” which is a branch of pharmacology that focuses on the movement and influence a drug has within the body.

After Ms. Bland’s testimony, Mr. Hamilton suggested that the court consider her an expert in the field of pharmacology. Judge Rosenberg allowed Deputy Public Defender Dean Johansson to question the witness before making a final ruling on the matter of Ms. Bland being deemed an expert in pharmacokinetics.

Ms. Bland testified that she did not receive any additional training for this field, nor did she obtain a certificate. Therefore, Judge Rosenberg determined that Ms. Bland cannot be considered an expert in the pharmacokinetics field, but her previous testimony will remain.

During the cross-examination, Mr. Johansson showed the court and Ms. Bland the Defense Exhibits D and E, which Ms. Bland testified to being the results of the blood test. The defense inquired if Ms. Bland sees any result showing a clear indication that Mr. Houston’s blood contained meth or any alcoholic substance, to which she responded no.

The witness was dismissed, subject to recall.

The People’s next witness was Jennifer Bi, a registered nurse who conducted an examination of Mr. Houston in the Yolo County Jail on July 1, 2015. Ms. Bi explained to the court that her duties were to identify any concerning medical issues before an inmate is admitted to the jail.

The prosecution brought out People’s Exhibit 58, a copy of the questionnaire form that Ms. Bi filled out during her medical examination of Mr. Houston at the jail. In the form, Ms. Bi indicated that Mr. Houston was unresponsive and uncooperative during her questioning. Although, in the drug/alcohol section, Ms. Bi indicated that Mr. Houston was under the influence of meth, she stated that it was either a subjective statement said by Mr. Houston or a report given by Sutter General Hospital.

The prosecution ended the examination by showing the court a 30-minute video of Mr. Houston being examined. In the video, Mr. Houston was incomprehensible at times when speaking to the police and Ms. Bi. However, he never seemed hostile toward the parties.

Mr. Johansson conducted a short cross-examination, questioning only a few topics on the inmate questionnaire. Mr. Johansson asked if Ms. Bi conducted any further examination of Mr. Houston when he stated that he was under the influence of meth, such as checking to see if his pupils were dilated, but she stated no.

Mr. Johansson made the observation that Mr. Houston was making unintelligible remarks in the video, but Ms. Bi still indicated that he was clear during the examination. Ms. Bi simply replied, “Correct.” When Mr. Johansson questioned why Ms. Bi indicated that Houston did not answer questions, when most of the form was filled out, Ms. Bi testified that she didn’t remember the statements made by Mr. Houston.

The cross-examination ended and the witness was dismissed.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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