Court Watch Briefs: Coverage of Robbery and Assault with Deadly Weapon Cases


Preliminary Hearing Involving Assault with a Deadly Weapon

By Kelsey Landon

The preliminary hearing for defendant Claudia Marcela Sanchez-Arias began Thursday afternoon. Ms. Sanchez-Arias is charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon, and infliction of corporal injury.

The hearing began with witness testimony from the alleged victim in a car collision that occurred in late June. The witness is a woman who does not live in Yolo County, but claims to have been dating the defendant’s husband, Jose Sanchez-Arias, for about six months at the time of the incident.

According to the witness, both she and Mr. Sanchez-Arias were at her friend’s house in Woodland when the alleged assault occurred.

In her testimony, the witness explained that she and Mr. Sanchez-Arias were standing next to the open driver’s side of his truck talking, when he became distressed that an oncoming black SUV was about to collide into the two of them.

The witness identified the defendant as the person operating the vehicle that caused the collision.

In her testimony, the witness claimed that the oncoming vehicle had accelerated toward her, in an effort to intentionally hit her. The speed she approximated the SUV was driving was somewhere between 25 to 30 miles per hour.

According to the witness, her leg became caught between the SUV and the truck door, and her body came up onto the SUV’s hood as a result. The witness at first refused medical treatment but would
later go to Sutter Davis Hospital in an ambulance to receive treatment for her injuries.

The witness claimed that Ms. Sanchez-Arias, after having hit her with her car, came after her in a further attempt to hit her.

The witness went on to assert that several weeks earlier Ms. Sanchez-Arias had previously attacked her at a bar in Woodland, and she had received a broken nose as a result of the attack. In the cross-examination, the witness testified that she had not called the police after the incident at the bar in Woodland.

Mr. Sanchez-Arias apparently received minor injuries in the collision, and the witness claimed he had to physically stop Ms. Sanchez-Arias from continuing to go after the witness.

The commotion did not stop until two of the friends whom Mr. Sanchez-Arias and the witness had been visiting came outside of the house, and the witness was able to call authorities.

During the cross-examination from defense counsel, it became clear that the witness was not aware that Mr. and Ms. Sanchez-Arias had not yet filed for divorce. The witness was aware that the two had been married for over twenty years, and shared three children together.

According to the 911 recording, the witness had claimed that Ms. Sanchez-Arias ran her over with her SUV.

The witness was then dismissed.

The next witness called to testify was Officer David Shepard, who works for the Woodland Police Department.

Officer Shepard arrived at the scene where Ms. Sanchez-Arias allegedly hit the victim with her car.

According to Shepard, the defendant’s shirt was ripped in several places, enough to expose her undergarments.

In Shepard’s account of the events from interviewing the witnesses, the defendant had told him that Mr. Sanchez-Arias was her husband and father to her children, which is what brought her to go out and find him that evening.  She claimed to have found the two kissing next to her husband’s truck.

The defendant claimed to have caught her husband and the victim several weeks before the collision, and had suspected that her husband and the woman were still having relations.

Officer Shepard then identified the defendant.

The defendant claimed to Shepard that she had driven up and confronted the alleged victim, when the victim started to tear at the defendant’s shirt. The two women then had a verbal altercation, after which the defendant told her husband to get in the car with her.

After her husband refused, the defendant told the officer she got in her car to strike the driver’s side door of his truck, when the victim stepped in front of her SUV.

Officer Shepard ended his testimony by stating that the victim was clearly shaken when giving her statement to police.

The final witness called on to testify at the preliminary hearing Thursday afternoon was Officer Nolan McManus, also from the Woodland Police Department.

Officer McManus was working the night of the incident and could not recall if Officer Shepard was already there when he arrived at the scene.

According to McManus, the SUV appeared to have hit the truck, and consequentially the noses of the two cars were at a point, with the rears of both vehicles at a delta, in a triangular relation to each other.

Officer McManus attempted to contact Mr. Sanchez-Arias to get a statement at the scene of the incident, but the officer claimed Mr. Sanchez-Arias replied something along the lines of “wife caught me with another woman” and “it is what it is.” Mr. Sanchez-Arias seemed agitated and walked away after this statement.

The alleged victim informed Officer McManus at the scene of the incident that she and Mr. Sanchez-Arias had been dating, and that she believed the defendant had intentionally hit her with the SUV. McManus noted several injuries on the victim’s legs.

At the scene, the defendant told Officer McManus that she had attempted to hit her husband. McManus arrested the defendant without taking a statement.

In the cross-examination, Officer McManus reported that the responders had not documented the scene like a normal car collision, but the alleged 25-30 miles per hour at which the victim claimed the SUV was traveling seemed too fast for the collision.

Officer McManus described the driver’s side door of the truck to be opened 180 degrees as a result of the collision, and noted that Mr. Sanchez-Arias appeared to have injuries.

The judge concluded that there was probable cause to believe Ms. Sanchez-Arias was guilty of the charges brought against her, and scheduled an arraignment for November 2, 2017 at 10 am.

Dones Case Goes to Trial

By Teja Dusanapudi

In a rapid preliminary hearing this Thursday afternoon, the case of Lorina Patricia Dones is moving to trial, with charges of robbery and burglary, both in the first degree. Ms. Dones, with three men, allegedly robbed a trailer park in West Sacramento on October 30, 2016. On March 17 of this year, the victim of the aforementioned robbery identified, from a six-pack photo lineup presented by Officer Jason Mahaffey, Ms. Dones as one of the people present during the theft.

The hearing began with the People calling in Officer Tyler Rainey as their first witness. Officer Rainey, prior to his move to the Chico Police Department, served as an officer in West Sacramento. In his testimony, Officer Rainey described receiving a dispatch around 2:44pm on October 30 of 2016 regarding a robbery in West Sacramento. The dispatch identified the criminals as three black male adults and one black female adult, driving an Oldsmobile.

At the trailer park, Officer Rainey spoke to the victim, who had what appeared to be scratch marks. The victim also described damages to the trailer itself, including a fallen fence. The victim also stated that the three black male adults and one black female adult had come to his door, and, upon his opening the door, had pulled him outside of his home, striking him, and the black female adult – whom the victim later identified as Ms. Dones – had stolen his wallet.

The defense had few questions for Officer Rainey, asking for the specifics of the victim’s injuries, to which the officer responded that while he could not verify whether or not the marks on the victim’s skin were scratch marks, the victim certainly had a bloody nose.

The second witness, Officer Jason Mahaffey, testified to the victim’s identification of Ms. Dones from the photo lineup, stating that he singled her out “immediately.”

In closing, Judge Daniel Maguire stated that the case would go to trial, as there was “sufficient evidence to believe a public offense was committed and Ms. Dones committed it.”

Come see the Vanguard Event – “In Search of Gideon” – which highlights some of the key work performed by the Yolo County Public Defender’s Office…


About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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