By Connor Kianpour
A transient man from Woodland has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, assault with force likely to commit bodily harm, and with vandalism. Involved in the same case, a transient woman, also from Woodland, has been charged with being an accessory to a felony. On August 29, 2018, in the middle of the day, a man—hereinafter referred to as “JM”—pulled into the parking lot of the 7-Eleven at the intersection of East Street and Main Street in Woodland. Moments later, a man smashed in the windshield of JM’s car with a baseball bat and proceeded hitting JM with both the bat and his fists once JM exited the vehicle. The assailant then got into a gold Cadillac and was driven away from the crime scene by a woman.
The perpetrator of and accessory to the crime have been identified as Tony Deweese, Jr., and Malinda Joy Collins, respectively. In order to understand the motives of the aggressor, one must look to an exchange that took place between Mr. Deweese and JM on Facebook four days prior to the crime. Mr. Deweese posted a status on the social media platform denouncing the act of infidelity. JM commented on said post, remarking on the irony of Mr. Deweese’s post, given the fact that he, Mr. Deweese, had made many unwanted advances on JM’s girlfriend. The two continued to exchange accusatory, derisive words.
On October 1, 2018, the preliminary hearing for Mr. Deweese and Ms. Collins occurred in Department 10, Judge Janene Beronio presiding. Mr. Deweese has been charged with violating PC §245(a)(1), PC §245(a)(4), and PC §594(a)/(b)(1), all of which are felony charges pertaining to assault and destruction of private property. Ms. Collins, on the other hand, has been charged with violating PC §32, a felony charge for being an accessory to a felony. To better understand the circumstances of the case at hand, prosecutor Rachel Raymond called two witnesses to the stand.
The first of the two witnesses was JM himself. JM, also a transient man from Woodland, took the stand and underscored the haphazard nature of the incident in question. JM seemed to have no knowledge that Mr. Deweese would be at the 7-Eleven on East and Main, and was taken aback when his windshield was shattered in one fell swoop by an aluminum baseball bat that he said was being swung by Mr. Deweese. JM testified that, after the window was broken, Mr. Deweese left his position by the passenger-side door of JM’s 2005 Nissan 350Z and was making his way around the back of JM’s car to meet the victim on his side of the car. JM exited the vehicle and met Mr. Deweese behind the car where Mr. Deweese proceeded to club JM with the baseball bat three to four times, at which point JM ended up on the ground. Mr. Deweese proceeded to swing at JM several times before dropping the bat and punching the victim in the face. JM also recalled Mr. Deweese putting his hands around his neck while he was on the ground.
JM’s testimony was corroborated by video evidence that was provided to the peace officer who was the investigator for this crime. Because of Mr. Deweese’s actions, JM incurred approximately $200 in damages as a result of the broken windshield and $150 in damages as a result of the broken rear view mirror. Additionally, JM had one of his teeth knocked loose and his arm injured to the point of immobility because of the incident. The injury he sustained in his arm furthermore resulted in JM’s inability to perform tasks pertinent to his work, rendering him unemployed.
The second witness called to the stand by Ms. Raymond was Stephanie Wilson, a Woodland peace officer and the chief investigative officer of this case. In the video which depicts the crime of August 29, a female can be observed to be watching the assault take place. Once Mr. Deweese drops the baseball bat he used on the ground, the depicted female walks over, grabs the bat off the ground, and puts it in the rear seat of the gold Cadillac in which the assailant fled the scene of the crime. Ms. Wilson identified the female in the video as Ms. Collins. The gold Cadillac that Mr. Deweese and Ms. Collins fled in was registered in Ms. Collins’s name. Furthermore, Ms. Wilson made clear in her testimony that in no way did it seem like Ms. Collins was attempting to deescalate the fight, despite Ms. Collins’s statements provided to the police which suggested that she did just that. In fact, JM in his testimony recalled a female voice shouting, “Stop! We gotta go!” to Mr. Deweese, indicating Ms. Collins’s fear that the police would be arriving at the crime scene soon after.
Jeffrey Raven, the defense attorney representing Ms. Collins, attempted to make the case that Ms. Collins, by removing the baseball bat when Mr. Deweese discarded it, prevented the altercation from escalating further. Judge Beronio, however, ruled that Ms. Collins will indeed have to answer to her felony charges. Mr. Deweese, on the other hand, is being held to answer only for two of the three felony charges he was originally charged with: assault with a deadly weapon and assault with force likely to commit bodily harm. His third felony charge dealing with vandalism was reduced to a misdemeanor. The arraignment for this case is scheduled for October 16, 2018.