by Clara Zhao
On Friday, Oct. 13th, a domestic violence trial commenced at the Yolo County Superior Court. The defendant David Rodriguez was charged with physically and sexually assaulting the alleged victim, one of his sexual partners, on several occasions.
In her opening statement, the District Attorney (DA) presented to the members of the jury Rodriguez’s history of violence against a number of different individuals, including the alleged victim, another female partner, a male friend, as well as one of his brothers. These acts of violence spanned from Dec 2012 to Feb 2017.
The DA then presented a series of slides focusing on the abuse of the other female partner, who supposedly moved out of state to be away from Rodriguez. The DA noted that the other female partner suffered similar abuses to the alleged victim, including stomping, kneeing, slapping, and being forced in the shower. She concluded that Rodriguez got angry very easily, and wanted to be treated ‘like a king’ by those around him.
The public defense began her opening statement by discussing the concept of obsession, where she defined the word as “something that continually preoccupies and intrudes on a person’s mind.” She claimed that the alleged victim was very much obsessed with and addicted to Rodriguez.
According to the public defense, the alleged victim offered to pay Rodriguez to continue seeing her when he tried to break up. She often visited him after he went to jail, and they kept a sexual relationship even when Rodriguez had a new girlfriend upon being released from jail in Aug 2016.
Three key witnesses were brought in to present evidence that morning. The first witness, Officer Gee of the West Sacramento Police Department (WSPD), responded to a call from the UC Davis Medical
Centre on February 18, 2017 from the alleged victim’s mother, who claimed that her daughter was assaulted by her boyfriend (the defendant).
According to Gee, he saw visible bruising on the alleged victim’s body when he arrived and noticed that she winced in pain when she moved. Gee took several pictures of her injuries on various parts of her body.
The alleged victim had told Gee that the assault took place on Valentines’ Day of 2017, at Sunstar Laboratories in West Sacramento where Rodriguez worked. Prior information presented by the counsels also noted that the alleged victim and the defendant frequently hung out and engaged in sexual activities at the said laboratories.
The second witness, officer Lombardo of the WSPD, was dispatched to Sunstar Labs to investigate. However, according to his testimony, he did not observe anything broken or disturbed at the site of the alleged assault.
The third witness was the alleged victim herself. In her testimony, she recounted her history with the defendant. She explained that they started dating in her senior year of high school, and that the relationship was pleasant at first.
However, around a year later he started to verbally insult her, and on Dec. 3, 2012 the two of them got into an argument near Rodriguez’s apartment in Woodland where Rodriguez slapped her. The victim emphasized how Rodriguez forced her to get into the shower after the assault to look presentable.
The Woodland Police Department responded to the commotion.
On the stand, the alleged victim was asked to identify a series of photographs of her injuries taken at the time. These injuries included bruising on her face, a bloody nose, and a cut on her back from falling on the stairs.
At noon, the court broke for lunch. The trial will continue in the coming weeks.