by Gloria Ho
On the morning of March 10, 2017, the preliminary hearing of the People v. Elmer David Rodriguez reconvened in Department 13 with Judge Paul K. Richardson presiding. Deputy District Attorney Tiffany Susz represents the People and Deputy Public Defender Monica Brushia is representing the defendant in the case.
Defendant Rodriguez is currently facing 11 charges. They include Penal Code section 261(a)(2), forcible rape accomplished against a person’s will by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the person or another; Penal Code section 273.5(f)(1), an enhancement of inflicting corporal injury to cohabitant with prior; Penal Code section 273.5(a), inflicting corporal injury on cohabitant; Penal Code section 136.1(c)(1), intimidate and dissuade witness/victim by force or threat; Penal Code section 12022.7(e), an enhancement for personally inflicting great bodily injury under circumstances involving domestic violence in the commission of a felony; Penal Code section 422, threaten to commit crime; Penal Code sections 236/237(a), false imprisonment; Penal Code section 245(a)(1), assault with a deadly weapon; Penal Code section 286(c)(2), acts of sodomy accomplished against the victim’s will by force, violence, duress, menace or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another person; Penal Code section 667(a)(1), sentencing enhancement of 5 years for each such prior conviction on charges brought and tried separately for habitual criminal; and Penal Code sections 667(c)/667(e)(1), enhancement for prior conviction pled or proved, the minimum term for an indeterminate term shall be twice the term otherwise provided as punishment for the current felony conviction.
The People recalled Officer Samuel Gee to the witness stand to testify. He’s been working with West Sacramento Police Department since November 2016 and has been a sworn peace officer for about one and a half years.
On February 18, 2017, Officer Gee was dispatched to UCD Medical Center and arrived at 8:52pm.
“Did you observe significant injury on her entire body?” the People questioned. The witness testified that he did see such, and additionally photographed her injuries, People’s Exhibits 1 to 25, including her private areas after getting permission from the victim. The general colors of all bruises on the victim were either dark blue or black. He observed that she was “visibly wincing with pain” when making any sort of movements. Officer Gee also spoke with the physician treating the victim, Dr. Roche, and “he said she had [multiple] rib fractures on the left side, contusions to her kidneys, and possibility of collapsed lungs.”
Officer Gee also spoke with the victim’s mother, who told him that the defendant came into her life when she was 18 and that her daughter disappears for days at a time in an on and off relationship. Her mother also told Officer Gee that she tried to discourage her daughter to stop seeing her repeated abuser. However, the more she pushed for “DN” to go counseling, the more DN rebelled.
“Did she tell you that she believes Mr. Rodriguez was physically abusing her daughter?” Deputy DA Susz questioned.
“Yes,” the witness testified, and the officer added that that, prior to February 18, 2017, “she said that she’s never seen it that bad before.”
Next, the defense cross-examined the People’s witness.
The officer was questioned about the statement the victim gave him at the medical center. He was with his training officer at the time, Officer Jerry Watson. Her mother was the one who called the police from the hospital. In the victim’s statement, she told Officer Gee that on Valentine’s Day this year, her former sexual partner of approximately six years, Mr. Rodriguez, with whom her relationship was only physical, locked DN in his business office to prevent her from leaving when she visited him.
Mr. Rodriguez and the defendant, according to the victim’s statement, had gotten into an argument and he slapped her in the face with his hands, punched her in the head with closed fists, and she lost consciousness a few times in the front of the office. When she regained her consciousness, he told her to leave through the back of the office after the initial assault.
“From past experiences, I knew this is where he chose to attack me or have sex, because he knew it was dark,” was what the victim said in the statement given to Officer Gee. After a series of questions about the victim’s statement, it was revealed that the victim felt afraid and didn’t know how to stop what was going to happen to her in the back of the office. As soon as she got to the other room, the defendant attacked her, kneed her in the stomach as she fell, injured her thighs with his, struck her and made her fall about four times, and kicked her breast, vagina, thighs, neck, and back while she was on the floor. According to the victim, the assault lasted for about an hour as she begged him to “please stop” because she “couldn’t take it any longer.” However, the defendant told her to shut up and “he said he was going to split her face and break her,” Officer Gee testified.
“She said she was in fear of him and he picked her up by her hair, correct?” the defense asked.
“Yes,” said the witness. Afterwards, the defendant allegedly took her keys, locked her inside the office and left for one to two hours. He then returned with food sometime later and they left to go his mom’s house in Woodland.
On February 17, 2017, a very similar incident allegedly happened after DN drove directly to Mr. Rodriguez’s workplace around 3:30pm and he again attacked, beat, and bruised her up. She said to Officer Gee that she went to the back of the office when Mr. Rodriguez told her to because she wanted to be cooperative and didn’t want to be attacked again and was in fear for her family. She said that she had sex with him because she was afraid to deny him.
They had a verbal argument after he went through her phone. He attacked and kicked her and she was on the floor for 45 minutes. Officer Gee testified that she told him the defendant had struck her with a hammer before on her leg, thighs, and knees.
“She described on 6 occasions in the last two months that she had to have anal sex with him because she was afraid of being attacked, correct?” Deputy PD Brushia questioned.
“Yes,” answered Officer Gee.
The People then continued with redirect examination and asked about the victim’s consciousness when Mr. Rodriguez allegedly brutally attacked and inflicted great bodily injuries on the victim on Valentine’s Day. The witness testified that DN said she was in and out of consciousness as he kept assaulting her for what felt like an hour to the victim.
“When she was talking about forced anal sex…he said, ‘I don’t give a f–‘?” Ms. Susz asked. Officer Gee affirmed and said that Rodriguez also threatened DN with physical violence if she made any more pained noises during the forcible rape on Valentine’s Day.
Officer Gee was then excused and stepped off the witness stand.
The court then recalled the victim, DN, and the defense resumed cross-examination of the People’s witness.
The victim was staying with Mr. Rodriguez in the months of November and December of 2016, even though she was paying rent for a shared apartment in Sacramento. She also testified that the defendant had been seeing another woman, “VM,” for about one and a half years by the month of February of 2017. The defendant spent his weekends with VM so this was the time she usually went back to her apartment in Sacramento.
“Was there emotional abuse in November and December [in 2016]?” the defense asked.
“Yes,” the victim testified. She admitted to previously being possessive of him even though they just had a deal to only have a sexual relationship with each other, but after several years prior to the months of escalated physical abuse, she got tired of it and wanted to break off the relation because she suffered so much physical abuse over the years.
“So you knew he was having sex with VM?” Ms. Brushia questioned.
“He would tell me,” the witness answered.
“David told you that the relationship was for sex?” the defense asked and then continued, “You had to agreed to that? You wanted to break the sexual relationship off?”
“Yes,” the victim answered before continuing, with “You just gotta recognize it’s a sinking ship.” She said that the physical abuse had been going on for so long, she felt it was time that the sexual relationship should come to an end, since Mr. Rodriguez was beginning to consider a serious relationship with VM.
“I’m not trying to stay with him through a child for the rest of my life,” the victim said after the defense asked about DN telling the defendant that she was pretty certain the child she was pregnant with was his.
In addition, the former sexual couple was sneaking around when it came to their relationship and hanging out, because the defendant’s family didn’t want her around and the victim’s mom and roommates did not want her to associate with Mr. Rodriguez. Although the defendant and victim were open to try new sexual things and he introduced the idea of anal sex to her in August of 2016, the People’s witness said that they didn’t actually do it.
The victim then testified that the defendant forced her to have anal sex by force and threat beginning in mid-January of this year. “[There was] no discussion about it. Now you’re saying he forced you?” the defense questioned.
“Yes,” DN testified.
The victim was asked about the physical altercation at the defendant’s house on January 24, 2017 at around 11:30pm. Prior to coming to the defendant’s house, Mr. Rodriguez was at the victim’s apartment and banging on her door. Her roommate and friend, who was also Mr. Rodriguez’s half-brother, answered the door and they had a confrontation. Mr. Rodriguez consequently confronted the victim because his half-brother had told him that the victim had been with other guys too in the time that they had their sexual relationship.
They left her car at her apartment and Mr. Rodriguez drove them to his mom’s house. When they got there, he had her step in the shower and she saw that he was going to urinate on her so she quickly took off her clothes. He peed on her and told her to open her mouth. The victim looked very uneasy and upset on the witness stand and told the court that she was afraid of him so she obeyed and he urinated in her mouth. She testified that he had urinated on her multiple times before.
When the victim told the defendant that she wanted to end their sexual relationship, he told her that he wasn’t going to let her go.