By Syed Ali
In the afternoon of June 2, 2017, the trial of People v. Timothy Darren Armstrong resumed in Department 13. Deputy District Attorney David Robbins, representing the People, called Yolo County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Stevens to the stand.
The deputy was shown photos from the Woodland Memorial Hospital ER of a female victim of a collision from the night of September 15, 2016, involving a vehicle driven by the defendant. The deputy had reportedly gone back to her residence the day after to check up on her, as per practice, in order to analyze injuries and make sure there weren’t any additional injuries which manifested.
He stated that a scar on her left eyelid had become more apparent, which was one of the many injuries she had sustained from the incident, according to police reports. Injuries included scars or bruising on both biceps, right shoulder blade and wrists, among others. The deputy mentioned that it wasn’t until the next day that the victim had mentioned partaking in occasional rough sex. She then also admitted to methamphetamine use. Two glass meth pipes had been found on Mr. Armstrong, which were turned into evidence on September 15.
The People asked Deputy Stevens to elaborate on the common effects of meth use, to which he replied that the user is typically unable to keep calm and physically still as the heart rate increases rapidly. Still, the deputy assured Mr. Robbins that on September 15 at the hospital the female victim hadn’t mentioned use of any alcohol or methamphetamine, although she stated she had begun feeling the effects of a Valium pill that the nurses gave her to calm down.
The deputy was also asked to look at the victim’s car, as she had reported Mr. Armstrong causing damage to the inside of her vehicle. She reportedly stated that he had been intoxicated in the vehicle and had thrown the alcohol bottle to the front of the vehicle. The deputy immediately observed a strong alcohol odor coming from the vehicle and saw the rear view mirror broken. Additionally, the middle of the front windshield had cracks from the interior side.
During cross-examination, the defense asked if the fact that the deputy didn’t know of the victim’s meth use until the next day detracted him from observing signs that she herself may have been under the influence – such as whether the deputy would have attributed to meth use the rapid speech he had testified to observing. The deputy stated that the victim was very animated, even after having taken the Valium, meant to calm an individual. The deputy stated that the victim had an “agitated demeanor.”
The deputy assured the court that children of the victim were monitored and kept from the interview with the victim – however, they may have known their mother had been assaulted. The defense asked if the deputy was ever shown pictures of text messages by the children or pictures of the mother having been assaulted. The deputy acknowledged that he remembered being shown text messages.
The deputy reportedly was told that the victim hit Mr. Armstrong at one point – however, in self defense. The defense then asked about the deputy’s interaction with Mr. Armstrong at Shadow Inn, a motel in Woodland. Mr. Armstrong was very cooperative and even waived his Miranda rights in order to speak further with the deputy.
Mr. Armstrong denied ever hitting the woman. In fact, he listed out the exact injuries (bruises and bite marks) that the deputy had witnessed and attributed them to aggressive sex. The deputy then testified that Armstrong’s demeanor changed when he was asked about having switched license plates on his motorcycle.
The toggle switch on this bike, according to the deputy who is a motorcycle owner himself, was very visible and therefore the bike was prone to being stolen. All that one would need to do in order to start the bike would be to hit the kill switch. The deputy also clarified that it was very common for stolen property to be passed from doper to doper.
The People then called the second witness, Deputy Miles Torres, an eight-year veteran of the Yolo County Sheriff’s office. He initially contacted Mr. Armstrong at the Shadow Inn. He took Mr. Armstrong outside and searched him, finding a black pouch with two glass methamphetamine pipes. After placing him in handcuffs he didn’t have any more contact with Mr. Armstrong.
Deputy Torres was then instructed to recover a stolen motorcycle and took pictures of the “punched ignition.” The ignition had been forcibly compromised at one point or another. He then documented the license plate.
During cross-examination of Deputy Torres, the defense asserted that there was no telling when the ignition had been punched or who did it, simply that it had happened at one point or another. The deputy agreed.
The court will reconvene on Monday, June 5, at 1:30pm in Department 13.