Investigator Testimony Continues in Robbery Case


By Teja Dusanapudi

This Thursday, two different law enforcement officials and one other witness testified at the ongoing jury trial for Ricky Gomez Hernandez and Joshua Armond Cadenaz-Lopez, both charged with 2nd degree robbery, use of a firearm and criminal street gang activity. Focusing largely on alleged gang affiliations, Deputy District Attorney Kyle Hasapes presented a variety of testimony in addition to phone records of the co-defendants and videos found online.

The jury trial reconvened with the People calling in Detective Anthony Herrera for a redirect, continuing his testimony from the previous day.

Detective Herrera began by testifying about a police report regarding the vehicle driven by the co-defendants which was seized by the police, confirming statements of a gun wedged under a seat and a silver revolver within arm’s reach.

Also included in Det. Herrera’s testimony was an investigation he was a part of with two other officials, which took him to the apartment complex of Mr. Hernandez. Detective Herrera had arrived on the scene and was speaking to the two managers of the apartment complex, who informed him that Mr. Hernandez was living there, and that he had frequently been the source of commotion in the past. At the apartment, Herrera had also found the neon green gloves and black and grey gloves that a past expert, the criminalist Mr. Jonathan Sewell, had testified on regarding their later DNA testing.

Upon cross-examination, Deputy Public Defender Lisa Lance asked Det. Herrera if he had identified Mr. Hernandez or Mr. Lopez to the apartment managers in the form of picture identification or other forms, and Mr. Herrera responded that he could not recall.

Ms. Lance also asked Mr. Herrera why he chose not to include the dialogue with the managers in his police report, a “unilateral decision” that the other defense attorney, Mr. Jem Martin, also questioned. Det. Herrera responded by stating that he did not deem it necessary, and the information was not immediately pertinent to the original reason he arrived at the complex. The two defense attorneys also pressed Herrera on overall accuracy in police reports, citing a mix-up Herrera had made previously regarding the names of a suspect and his brother during testimony.

Afterwards, with Detective Herrera still on the stand, Mr. Hasapes played a brief video showing Mr. Cadenaz-Lopez shouting, “Stoner gang!” alongside other people shouting the same, with the video panning back and forth to what appeared to be marijuana. Detective Herrera identified one person shown in the video as one Alec Jordan. Ms. Lance questioned Det. Herrera on his attribution of the gloves found at the apartment to Mr. Hernandez, when they could have also been Mr. Jordan’s, to which the detective responded by stating that he’d talked to Mr. Jordan and his parents, and had ruled him out.

Det. Herrera also said that he could not recall evidence that led him to selecting particular suspects. He also stated that he did not have a red light camera picture of Mr. Jordan driving a golden Acura associated with the co-defendants. Detective Herrera said that he could not recall if footage taken from the red light camera changed his mind on suspects or his conclusion on the robberies.

Both Ms. Lance and Mr. Martin also pressed Herrera on his failing to include information regarding the lot number of one of the co-defendant’s seized vehicles, which could be found by reassembling the side view mirror. While Det. Herrera knew this, he did not inform the attorneys of it, who in turn described the difficulty of obtaining a piece of evidence from the police and having to figure out the information for themselves.

During Mr. Hasapes’ brief redirect, he reaffirmed that Det. Herrera’s statements were an accurate representation of his discussion with the managers of the complex and then marked his report to be submitted as evidence.

After Detective Herrera, the People called the witness “LG” to the stand. LG testified that, a few years earlier, she had been walking down by her local high school. She then saw one person spray-painting a wall with “14” and “XIV” as well as other signs associated with the Broderick Boys gang. Two other people were also spray-painting, but then ran away after seeing LG.

The next witness called to the stand was Sergeant Jason Winger, who supervises the Special Investigations Unit with the West Sacramento Police Department. Sergeant Winger is also familiar with Cellebrite technology, which allows for extraction of cellular information. Sgt. Winger then went on to describe some of the SIU assignments, of which multiple prior witnesses were a part of.

Mr. Hasapes then played for Sgt. Winger a series of videos that Winger had originally found and sent to him.

The first video was entitled “Active,” by an artist by the name of Raycito, whom Mr. Winger then identified as Abel Morales, a documented Broderick Boy (referring to the affiliation of individuals residing in the Broderick neighborhood of West Sacramento, often referred to as a street gang with indicia related to the Norteños gang). The video, with music, which showed Mr. Morales
flashing gang signs and posing in front of a sign that said BRODERICK, also depicted Mr. Cadenaz-Lopez in one scene.

Mr. Hasapes then also pulled up other songs, one of which was entitled “Free Ricky,” another song by Abel Morales with Nicholas Lopez, in reference to Ricky Hernandez, also referred to in the song as Ricky Turlock.

Mr. Hasapes then showed the court a picture of Nicholas Lopez holding large amounts of weed and flashing what Sgt. Winger identified as Broderick Boys gang signs.

Afterwards, while the jurors were taking a break, Mr. Hasapes requested an in camera hearing with Judge Rosenberg behind closed doors. He later stated that it would affect nothing.

Once the jurors assembled in the courtroom once again, Mr. Hasapes again played his video of Mr. Cadenaz-Lopez shouting “Stoner gang” in front of marijuana. He then questioned Sgt. Winger as to whether the video prompted him to investigate further, to which Winger replied in the affirmative, stating that there were gang ties between the video and a song called “B.A.N.G,” standing for Broderick Active Norte Gang.

Shortly afterwards, Mr. Hasapes pulled up phone records obtained by Sgt. Winger through Cellebrite to show the court. Of all the massed amount of records, Mr. Hasapes highlighted a few particular sections, many indicating names associated with different numbers to define which co-defendant was talking at the time or was being talked about. When questioned on its relevancy, Mr. Hasapes responded that he was trying to point toward gang affiliations and indicate Mr. Cadenaz-Lopez’s levels of consciousness at different times during the alleged crime.

In one particular stretch of text, a number indicated to be that of Mr. Hernandez’s had a passage that said he had accidentally fired a gun on October 16, in particular stating “that was the .38,” coinciding with the .38 caliber gun found in the seized vehicle of the co-defendants, a point of significant importance in the gun possession charges.

Other points emphasized in the phone records were social media accounts associated with the co-defendants that had names related to the Broderick Boys, the name Turlock referring to Mr. Hernandez, and Mr. Cadenaz-Lopez’s propensity for Swisher Sweets, along with other drug usage – with Mrs. Lance adding during cross-examination that Swishers were commonly smoked in West Sacramento.

The day ended with Mr. Hasapes gearing up to bring still shots of Nicholas Lopez from the interrogation room, and with Mr. Martin waiting to cross-examine Sgt. Winger on another day.

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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