By Syed Ali
In the afternoon of March 9, 2017, the People v. Elmer David Rodriguez preliminary hearing took place in Department 13.
The People called to the stand “DN,” the former girlfriend of Mr. Rodriguez. According to DN, she had begun dating Mr. Rodriguez at the age of 18 for about a year to a year and a half. When they officially broke up, they still saw each other on and off. When asked if Mr. Rodriguez had at any point become emotionally abusive, she replied by saying yes, however, that was only toward the end of the relationship.
Eventually, however, Mr. Rodriguez also became physically abusive, and was incarcerated because of it. Though they had an on and off relationship from that point on, they remained in a physical relationship. In December of 2016, DN learned she was pregnant, and within a couple weeks she told Mr. Rodriguez, believing it was in fact his baby.
According to DN, the defendant was initially surprised and nervous in response to the news. However, soon becoming suspicious, he asked whether or not she had been physical with anyone else. Furthermore, DN clarified that, although Mr. Rodriguez had physically abused her on occasion, as of January 2017 the violence had escalated, prompting her to speak to a West Sacramento PD detective.
The People then asked about an incident that took place the second week of January. DN stated that they had been at a friend’s place, when they began arguing. Mr. Rodriguez began slapping DN when she refused to answer his questions regarding any other physical relationships.
At this point, DN became emotional on the stand. Seemingly unable to answer, she was dismissed for a 15-minute recess. Afterward, now having maintained her composure, but still speaking hesitantly, she stated that, at the time of the incident, she had been kept from using the toilet and therefore had urinated on herself. She was then forced to clean the mess with her clothes, and was then sodomized.
DN clearly expressed that she had not wanted to perform the act, and that when she verbalized this to Mr. Rodriguez he simply said to be quiet. According to DN, she was on her belly on the bathroom floor while Mr. Rodriguez held himself parallel and above her body, repeatedly sodomizing her from the rear.
When the People asked DN if she had been injured, she asserted he had smacked her on the back of her head, and split her eyebrow, which she did not notice until she saw blood rolling down her face. She took a shower and went to sleep.
The People asked DN if she had her phone at this time, and in reply she revealed an incident when Mr. Rodriguez became annoyed with her talking on her phone while they were driving, grabbing it out of her hand and smashing it.
DN recalled another occasion when Mr. Rodriguez had gotten word from a friend that she had been physical with another guy she had not told him about. They again had an argument over this, to which she responded by saying she didn’t want to tell him the truth and that she knew she was being deceitful. Mr. Rodriguez, in response, forced her to get in the shower, where he proceeded to urinate on her. According to DN, again, she didn’t consent.
When they got out of the shower, DN believes she fell unconscious and woke up recalling Mr. Rodriguez’s body weight over her and feeling drenched. She had also been burned on her thigh and breast with a cigarette lighter. DN also recalled having noticed, in the following days, bruises all over her arms, chest, face and ribs, with a swollen face and hips.
Regarding an incident on February 14, DN recalled expressing she was “freaking out” during an argument that turned physical at Mr. Rodriguez’s place of work.
DN said that, on this occasion, Rodriguez had kicked and slapped her, additionally stomping on her chest despite being asked to stop. He then locked her in the room and came back after a couple of hours with food.
In the backroom of Mr. Rodriguez’s workplace, they would occasionally partake in sexual activity. On this occasion, however, DN recalled not wanting to get physical because she felt “it was bad news that day.” She asserted that Mr. Rodriguez had kicked her arms, ribs and chest, and kneed her in her stomach and thighs. She then went on to claim that he stated he wanted to “break her.”
When the People asked why DN had continued to see Mr. Rodriguez at his work place, she expressed her concerns for her family and friends. She felt he would “go to extremes” to figure out where she was. Therefore, she continued to meet him, and what followed were a number of physical altercations in the backroom of Mr. Rodriguez’s work place.
Additionally, DN expressed her fear for the safety of her family because Mr. Rodriguez had mentioned he had her sister’s social security number. For this reason, and having been talked out of it by her housemate, DN decided not to leave the state, although she contemplated it for awhile.
On another occasion, Mr. Rodriguez, after receiving oral and traditional intercourse from DN, struck her thighs and arms with the head of a hammer, and her head with the handle.
At one point DN said that Mr. Rodgriguez had asked her if she knew anything about sulfuric acid and if she wanted to know how it felt to be burned. She claimed that he had said, “I would only have to get rid of teeth,” alluding to sulfuric acid not being able to break down teeth.
In a brief cross-examination, the defense asked whether or not DN had written down the dates of being sodomized on the calendar when speaking with the detective. DN declared that she had simply circled either the 10th or 11th of January to indicate that the first incident had taken place on one of those dates.
The preliminary hearing for the People v. Rodriguez is set to resume in Department 13 at 9:30am on March 10, 2017.