By Gloria Ho
On the afternoon of February 1, 2017, Judge Paul Richardson presided in Department 13 over the People’s case against defendant Wilfredo Antonio Iraheta. Mr. Iraheta is being represented by Deputy Public Defender Dean Johansson, with Deputy District Attorney Tiffany Susz representing the People.
Defendant Wilfredo Iraheta, 45, is being charged with multiple counts in this case. They include Penal Code section 273.5(a), inflicting corporal injury on cohabitant; Penal Code section 261(a)(2), rape by force and fear; Penal Code section 288(a)(2)(a), oral copulation upon a dependent person by force, violence, duress, menace or fear; Penal Code section 13700, domestic violence incident; and Penal Code section 1203.2, violation of probation. In a separately-charged misdemeanor case, Iraheta faces violations of Health and Safety Code section 11377(a), possession of methamphetamine; and Health and Safety Code section 11364, possession of drug paraphernalia.
On December 12, 2016, Mr. Iraheta allegedly sexually assaulted his unmarried cohabitant in the living of the apartment while their seven-year-old daughter was sleeping in the bedroom. In fear of being assaulted again, the victim, “MH,” called 911 the next day, December 13, 2016. MH said she was hiding from him, having used the pretense to buy milk in a Mexican market with her daughter after MH and the defendant picked the girl up from school.
The preliminary hearing resumed in the afternoon with continuing testimony from the People’s witness, Woodland Police Detective Tamara Pelle. Her testimony details the discovery of how the alleged rape happened and what MH said in their five-hour interview.
“He ordered her to take her clothes off. She tried to plead with him not to do this,” Detective Pelle told the court about what MH shared in the interview.
It was nighttime and their daughter was asleep, MH told the detective. They were in the living room where the defendant repeatedly told MH to take her clothes off, and she only complied when fear sank in. Mr. Iraheta allegedly had MH sit naked in a chair, which he moved around and positioned in the living room. The defendant told MH to do to him what he said she did for her customers, and criticized MH for not actually doing her job as a house cleaner. Mr. Iraheta accused her of giving sexual favors to her customers, and MH thought he was crazy.
“He told her to pose like she does for her customers,” the People’s witness testified.
At some point, he allegedly pulled his pants down and his shirt up, and, while he had MH pinned on the chair, he forcibly had sex with her. MH told the detective that there was no support for her head on the chair, so her head was swinging backward, causing her neck and back to hurt.
“She was terrified,” Detective Pelle said, as she described how MH said she was scared throughout the whole thing.
MH didn’t fight him, she told the detective, but she did fight the position he had her in because of the pain in her neck and back. The defendant stopped at one point, but only to reposition her and pull her closer to him.
“And then he penetrated her again?” DA Susz questioned. The People’s witness gave an affirmative answer. MH told the defendant that she had to go to the bathroom and he threw a blanket at her. She cleaned herself up in the bathroom and he entered, blocking her way to the bedroom. She said she asked Mr. Iraheta if she could go to bed.
“No, we’re not done yet,” the defendant said, according to what MH told Detective Pelle during the interview.
“What might happen to her if she didn’t comply with his request?” the People asked.
“Fear of being killed, fear of something happening to her, fear of leaving her daughter in the house with him,” Detective Pelle responded. The witness went on to describe how the alleged victim broke down a lot during the five-hour interview because she had never had anything like this happen to her in her life, let alone tell it to anyone. Throughout the whole time, she said she told him to stop what he was doing to her, but he didn’t stop.
The defendant allegedly ordered MH back into the chair in the living room, and she complied. MH told the detective that Mr. Iraheta then forcibly orally copulated with her. Detective Pelle described that MH hoped that it would end and asked to go to bed again. Mr. Iraheta, apparently behaving normally again, told MH they could go to bed together. MH went to bed lying close to her daughter, sandwiched between the child and the man who she said had just raped her.
On Tuesday morning, December 13, 2016, MH made it clear to Mr. Iraheta that she didn’t want him in the house anymore and said she wanted her key back. MH’s friend routinely comes by and picks her and her daughter up. They drop her daughter off at school and she and her friend go to work together as house cleaners. After work, MH came home to find the defendant in her apartment, and she told the detective that she created some way to get away from him because she did not want to be in an enclosed space with him. MH made an excuse to go pick up their daughter from school and go buy milk at the Mexican market on East Street. Mr. Iraheta told her he wasn’t going to let her out of his sight, so he drove her and they picked up their daughter. At the market, he went inside to get the milk and MH decided to call her friend and confide in her friend that she didn’t want to go back to the apartment with Mr. Iraheta. MH’s friend told her that she was near the police station anyway and that MH should call the police. Mr. Iraheta returned with the milk but MH said she told him that she wasn’t going to leave with him. He went to wait in the car. After some time, he left the market and she called the police. Mr. Iraheta was arrested and booked the same day.
The defense did not cross-examine the People’s witness and Detective Pelle was excused from the stand.
“Bail will be raised to $1,000,000 in light of allegations of a life sentence,” Judge Richardson stated, after holding the defendant to answer on all counts against him.
Arraignment is set for February 15, 2017, at 9:00am in Department 8 with Judge David W. Reed presiding.