By Kristen Tuntland
The preliminary hearing of Jeffery Emmons on four counts – false imprisonment, battery, endangering a child, and resisting arrest – was held on January 16, 2019. The Honorable Dave Reed presided in Department 7. All of these charges occurred from one night the defendant had with the complaining witness, “Ms. CM,” on November 20, 2018. Three witnesses were called to examination: Ms. CM, Deputy Matthew Martin, and Officer David Shepard.
First, Ms. CM testified that she and Mr. Emmons were visiting his family in Vacaville on November 20, 2018. After Mr. Emmons started drinking, she decided to end their relationship. Mr. Emmons told his family that he was going to commit suicide, talked about ways to commit suicide and stated he would fight police officers to commit suicide by cop.
Mr. Emmons tried to walk home intoxicated at night to Woodland from Vacaville, however, Ms. CM convinced Mr. Emmons to get into her car. They drove together to their shared residence.
After both he and Ms. CM walked into their bedroom, he shut and locked the door. Mr. Emmons again threatened suicide and Ms. CM responded that he did not even have a gun. However, he pulled an unknown shotgun from the closet, pointed it under his chin, and pulled the trigger. There was no ammunition in the shotgun but he was holding onto a shotgun shell.
They struggled over the shotgun while he blocked the door and she was pushed into the closet. After hearing shouts, Ms. CM’s child approached outside the bedroom door and begged him to let her out. Mr. Emmons eventually let her out of the bedroom. She took the shotgun and her child to a different bedroom, locked the door and called 911. Mr. Emmons then left their residence. During this altercation, Mr. Emmons stated he had access to guns at a clubhouse where he worked and she believed he would be headed there.
Next, Deputy Martin of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office testified that he responded to a suicide call at 8:55pm on November 20, 2018. After arriving at the residence, he called Mr. Emmons who stated he was at the clubhouse watching television and refused to return to the residence to talk to the officers. Other officers went to the clubhouse but Mr. Emmons was not found. This led to a search on foot of the clubhouse property with a trained canine.
During the search, Deputy Martin assisted Officer Shepard after the canine had apprehended Mr. Emmons in an irrigation waterway. Deputy Martin was unable to see the canine or Mr. Emmons because of thick brush, night-time darkness, and Mr. Emmons’ dark clothing. Deputy Martin confirmed Mr. Emmons sustained injuries to his left bicep from the canine bite.
The third witness called was Officer Shepard, a trained canine officer from the Woodland Police Department. He testified that he responded at 9:25pm on November 20, 2018, for canine assistance for a suicide call. This search had been elevated due to the belief that guns were accessible in the clubhouse on the property.
When the canine had located the area of Mr. Emmons’ suspected presence, Officer Shepard gave four warnings that the canine will bite if Mr. Emmons did not come out of the waterway. After silence, Officer Shepard then gave the command to his canine to apprehend Mr. Emmons. He testified that could not see anything but could feel tension on the leash which is why he instructed Deputy Martin to help pull the leash of the canine back. He also stated the bicep injury sustained by Mr. Emmons was the most extreme bite by his canine and the inside of Mr. Emmons’ bicep muscle was visible.
After examination, the defense attorney argued for the first count of false imprisonment with violence to be moved from a felony to a misdemeanor. However, the prosecuting attorney countered that the level of fear created by the gun, with a child in the house, is enough to support a felony.
The defense attorney also brought up the mental state of Mr. Emmons during the search. He stated Mr. Emmons was passed out in the waterway and not resisting arrest. The prosecuting attorney argued that because it was 45 degrees outside and Mr. Emmons was in the water, being passed out was unlikely.
Ultimately, Judge Reed upheld all four counts and scheduled arraignment at 9 AM on January 31, 2019.