Defendant’s Wife Describes Witnessing the Stabbing, Murder


By Adrian Lopez

Proceedings got extremely emotional and tense on Friday, April 27, in the trial of Heder Leising Migoya, who is charged with murder with a deadly weapon of Dustin “Dusty” Dougherty. The Honorable Timothy L. Fall was presiding.

One of the main witnesses for the prosecution in the case, Mr. Migoya’s wife, testified for several hours about the night of the incident and her relationship with Mr. Migoya. She and Migoya have a son together, and Migoya would often spend time with the son in Southern California.

Allegedly, on September 28, 2017, Mr. Migoya’s wife was spending time in her residence with housemates and her partner “Dusty” Dougherty. It is claimed Mr. Migoya was with the son longer than expected, and the wife was up late waiting for the return of her son. Dougherty and the other housemates had gone to bed, and Mr. Migoya’s wife had done the same about 11:15pm that night. Mr. Migoya’s wife and Mr. Dougherty were sleeping in the same room.

It is claimed that around midnight of September 29, 2017, Mr. Migoya’s wife woke up to her bedroom door being opened and a figure entering the room, who then called her name: she claimed this voice was the voice of her husband, Mr. Migoya. She told him to get out and the bedroom door shut, but as she turned on the bedroom light, she claimed she saw her husband and her son standing by the closed bedroom door, immediately switching off the light thereafter.

Allegedly, Mr. Migoya pushed the son into his wife’s arms in the dark and moved toward the bed, where Mr. Dougherty was fast asleep. The wife caught her son in her arms, opened the bedroom door, and ushered her son out into the living room. The wife claimed Mr. Migoya was on top of the bed on his knees lunging over Dougherty and claimed she heard a “punching sound.”

The wife claimed she rushed toward the bed and grabbed, and later ripped, the shirt collar of Mr. Migoya in an effort to get him off the bed and away from Dougherty. There was no light in the room, and she could not see Dougherty or what was happening. Allegedly, Mr. Migoya rushed out of the room after his shirt collar ripped and supposedly left the premises in his truck.

The wife alleged that as soon as Migoya fled the room, she turned on the bedroom light and sat Dougherty up, who supposedly looked confused and disoriented: he would then fall to his knees onto the floor and say, “He had a knife?” A bloody knife was found lying on the floor of the bedroom, and Mr. Dougherty had sustained a severe knife wound in the chest. Mr. Migoya’s wife alleged that this knife was the same one her husband had once bought at a thrift store.

Migoya’s wife then called 911, and the court heard the entire 911 call recording. Mr. Migoya’s wife was terrified and fearing for Dougherty’s life, and alleged to 911 that her husband, Mr. Migoya, was the man she saw in her room and heard call her name.

In cross-examination, counsel for the defense would question the wife’s recollection of details from the night of the incident and from interviews with police detectives after the incident.

First, defense counsel questioned whether or not Mr. Migoya’s wife saw her husband’s face on the night of the incident, to which she replied she did not, for he was allegedly wearing a baseball cap that covered his face.

Defense counsel pointed out that this baseball cap was not reported or described in any initial interviews with police detectives, and made clear to the court that in fact no real description of clothing was provided to police detectives in interviews because, according to Mr. Migoya’s wife, it was dark in the room on the night of the incident.

Defense counsel also questioned the wife about her dog Camper, who resides at her residence and was there on the night of the incident. According to Mr. Migoya’s wife, the dog is old and does not ever bark. The defense questioned how a dog would not bark if a stranger was entering a residence.

In addition, defense counsel questioned Mr. Migoya’s wife about her front door, which according to her is loud and squeaky when opening or closing. The defense questioned why is it that the wife, or anyone for that matter, did not hear the front door open if it is that Mr. Migoya, or anyone, entered through the front door. Counsel also questioned whether or not the front door was locked, to which the wife testified the front door is never locked.

Defense counsel also questioned the wife about Mr. Dougherty’s sleeping habits. According to her testimony, Mr. Dougherty was a heavy sleeper, but in initial police interviews, she did not make such a claim. Additionally, Mr. Migoya’s wife testified that on the night of the incident, Mr. Dougherty asked, “He had a knife?” to her, but this was not reported to police in initial interviews either.

After several hours of testimony, the court recessed.

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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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