By Taite Trautwein
Defendants Joshua Armond Cadenaz-Lopez and Ricky Gomez Hernandez returned to Yolo County Superior Court once again Friday morning to hear another set of witnesses testify to their involvement in charges brought against the pair from 2016.
Cadenaz-Lopez and Hernandez are charged with 2nd degree robbery, enhancement for use of firearms, attempted assault with a firearm, and involvement with street gang activity.
The first witness called by Deputy District Attorney Kyle Hasapes of the prosecution was in relation to the street gang activity charge and detailed a fight that took place on May 1, 2014, outside Poplar Food & Liquor in West Sacramento. Mr. Hasapes asked the witness questions based on a police report filed about the incident, but the witness found it difficult to recall much of the details.
According to the statement the witness gave the night of the fight, Jesus Baeza, another person implicated in the robbery crimes and a known associate of Cadenaz- Lopez and Hernandez, struck the witness from behind while he was pumping gas, punching him five or six times, kicking him three or four times, and spitting on him twice. When the witness was asked to recall this information, his responded, “I don’t remember.”
The only definitive statement the witness did give while he was on the stand came during the cross-examination period conducted by defense attorney Jem Martin and Deputy Public Defender Lisa Lance, the representation for Cadenaz-Lopez and Hernandez, respectively.
In his line of questioning, Mr. Martin asked the witness what the cause of the fight was, to which the witness claimed it was due to his dating Baeza’s sister and getting her pregnant. The witness
did not believe the fight was a result of gang activity.
The next witness called was Detective Andrea King of the West Sacramento Police Department. At the time of the incident, King was a patrolling officer and responded to the fight. King was not present to see the actual fight take place, but was able to confirm that she received the statements from the previous witness detailing the extent to which he was attacked. She also stated that there were multiple witnesses at the scene, including one taking a video on a cell phone.
In the cross-examination, Ms. Lance pointed out that none of the witnesses were ever identified in the report written by Detective King. She also stressed that no other reason for the fight was given by either witness other than it being over Baeza’s sister.
The third witness of the morning was Louis Cameron, a detective with the West Sacramento Police Department, specifically focusing on violent crimes. Det. Cameron was one of the officers seeking to locate the vehicle involved in the alleged robbery by Cadenaz-Lopez and Hernandez on October 20, 2016. On the night of the incident, Cameron searched up along Simon Terrace in West Sacramento, seeking to locate a gold Acura that had left the scene of the crime. Cameron himself did not assist with any arrests that took place that night, but he did log multiple pieces of recovered evidence into the system, including cell phones owned by the two defendants, both of which were present in the courtroom and were identified by the witness.
In addition to the gold Acura, Cameron also located a blue Honda Accord, owned by the alleged girlfriend of Cadenaz-Lopez, which was believed to have been involved in the robbery. The car was concealed under a blue tarp at the household of the owner, but Cameron was able to identify it as the vehicle they were seeking due to it’s missing a side-view mirror that was recovered the night of the crime. Within the car were several empty containers of Swisher Sweets cigars, which Cameron claimed was consistent with evidence found at the crime scene.
The vehicle was towed to the West Sacramento Police Department and searched, but according to Cameron nothing of significance was found within it.
Cameron was also involved with the logging of evidence collected within a Chevy Colorado that was allegedly involved in the crime. Within this vehicle, a digital scale was found that Cameron checked into evidence. The scale was present in the courtroom, and Cameron claimed it would typically be used for the sale of marijuana.
Cameron himself searched the gold Acura, which he was originally seeking, on the night of the incident after it was located. Within this vehicle, multiple pairs of mechanic’s gloves were found, which could potentially have been used during the robbery of a Denny’s that the defendants are accused of being involved in. Additionally, more Swisher Sweets wrappers were found.
It was at this point that Mr. Martin and Ms. Lance began their cross-examination of the witness. Initially, Martin confirmed that nothing illegal had been found within the blue Honda. He also pointed out that Swisher Sweets are the most popular brand of cigars used by youth with marijuana habits, questioning the wrappers’ relevance to the implication of his clients. He also brought up that there was no specific evidence that his clients intended to sell marijuana.
Martin also confirmed that the scale Cameron had logged into evidence had never been searched for fingerprints, and pointed out that the gold Acura was not actually owned by either of the defendants, as it was registered to Hernandez’s girlfriend.
Officer Cameron was not able to finish his testimony on Friday and is expected to return to the stand when the trial resumes on October 23.