by Elizabeth Griffiths and Bryce Gaston
A “Bloody Beating” or a Spontaneous Nosebleed?
By Elizabeth Griffiths
In the case of People v. Ronnie Earnest, Mr. Earnest is facing charges of abusing a child and placing a child’s health in danger, as the People claim that a child faced a “bloody beating” at the hands of Mr. Earnest.
However, the defense argued that Mr. Earnest was merely trying to control his daughter as she kicked and screamed, and he did nothing outside of what is considered reasonable discipline of a child. The defense also pointed out that Mr. Earnest’s daughter has a documented medical condition where she gets nosebleeds very frequently, thus explaining all the blood.
On March 14, 2018, Mr. Earnest’s daughter was suspended and sent home from school after getting into a physical fight with a friend. Her mother picked her up from school, and, while the principal was walking her out of the school, he did not see any injuries.
After Mr. Earnest’s daughter was picked up from school, Mr. Earnest was picked up, and he was informed about the fight his daughter had just got in. This information sparked a verbal argument between Earnest and his daughter. This argument continued as they arrived at the Sharps & Flats apartment complex.
When Mr. Earnest, the mother, and their daughter arrived at the apartment complex, many residents heard yelling and screaming, prompting them to call 911.
One resident who had called 911 said she and her roommates had heard constant yelling and screaming from some building next to their apartment, and because the yelling went on for so long, they decided to call the police. She said she heard a male and a female yelling, and as time went on the female voice would scream for long periods of time.
Another witness, who also lived at the Sharps & Flats apartment at the time of the incident, called 911 after witnessing the altercations between the father and daughter from her apartment window. While she was studying, she heard lots of yelling and screaming coming from a car parked in the lot by her apartment. At first, she assumed it was just a typical family argument; however, after the screaming continued and she saw Mr. Earnest carrying his daughter from the car, she saw blood on the girl’s face and called 911.
When asked to describe the physical actions of Mr. Earnest and the child, she said it looked like the child did not want to get out of the car and she saw arm movements from Mr. Earnest, but she could not tell if they were punching movements or just arms movements to try and get his daughter out of the car.
She then saw the grandmother come to the car, open the back driver side door and try to to get the child out. Eventually, she saw Mr. Earnest grab ahold of his daughter’s two legs and pull her out of the car. He then carried her with her back to his chest, while her feet were dragging on the ground, into the grandmother’s apartment.
The People claim that Mr. Earnest was punching and abusing the child during this incident; however, this witness claimed she never saw any actual punching or hitting from Mr. Earnest. From the view she had from her apartment she only saw arm movements and blood on the child’s face.
The defense claims that the child had been having issues with frequent nosebleeds since 2010. Medical records indicate she had been to the doctors for “spontaneous nosebleeds” and was even referred to a specialist.
As Mr. Earnest was carrying his daughter to the grandmother’s apartment, the witness saw blood on her face and called 911. When the police arrive they followed the drops of blood on the walkway until they reach the apartment where Mr. Earnest, his daughter, and her grandmother were inside.
Officer Labbe was one of the first officers sent out to the scene. He has been working for the Davis police department since 2004 and has been trained on domestic violence calls. When he first got to the apartment complex, he contacted the 911 caller to locate any victims. He saw what looked like flesh blood and followed that to an apartment that had blood on the door.
He heard yelling and screaming from behind the door, and when he entered the apartment, Mr. Earnest was on the stairs while his daughter was sitting on the floor by the door. Within 30 seconds of being in the apartment, he put Mr. Earnest in handcuffs. Officer Labbe claimed that he put Mr. Earnest in handcuffs because he wanted to make the scene safe. He said because he had received phone calls about screams and he saw blood, he believed he had probable cause to place Mr. Earnest in handcuffs.
The People v. Ronnie Earnest is expected to last two weeks and witness testimonies will continue tomorrow.
15 Year Old Girl Testifies Against Her Father
By Bryce Gaston
On Thursday afternoon, witness testimonies for the case of Ronnie Dwight Earnest continued, with his daughter having to take the stand and recount the events that occurred on March 14, 2018.
Mr. Earnest is facing charges of child abuse and corporal injury on a child for an altercation that occurred about a year ago. The afternoon began with two witnesses testifying that they were in their apartment in Davis when they heard screaming coming from outside. Claiming that the screaming sounded like a female was in danger and not knowing exactly where it was coming from, they decided to call the police.
Afterward, the alleged victim, Mr. Earnest’s daughter, had to come to the stand and describe to the jury what happened to her that day. She was accompanied by a loved one to comfort her while she testified. She said that earlier in the day she had gotten in a fight with another girl after school and was subsequently suspended for one day. Her mom had to come pick her up from school, which is when they went to pick up her dad from a friend’s house nearby.
When he got in the car, the victim moved to the back seat so he could sit in the front passenger seat, and they headed to her grandmother’s apartment where she had been staying for awhile prior to the incident.
While on the way to her grandmother’s, Mr. Earnest was informed about his daughter’s fight at school and began to talk to her about the dangers of fighting. Once they parked the car outside the apartment, Mr. Earnest told his daughter to give her mother her phone, which is when the encounter began to escalate.
The victim claimed that the exact proceedings of the events that night are foggy in her mind, but said that she remembered her father hitting her in her face from inside the car. Her nose then began to bleed all over her sweatshirt and jeans.
Shortly after, he allegedly got out of the car, opened the back door and punched her in the stomach. He then pulled her out of the car, grabbed her from underneath her arms, and dragged her into her grandmother’s apartment. The victim remembers herself screaming throughout this time period while he was hitting her.
Once they got inside her grandmother’s apartment, the victim said he hit her again in the face, causing her to fall down and hit her head on the door. Within minutes, the police arrived on the scene due to the neighbors who heard the screaming and called 911. The police questioned the family and called an ambulance for the daughter, taking her to the hospital where she was treated for minor injuries.
Once she was treated at the hospital, she was taken to the CPS office where her injuries were photographed, including what appears to be bruises and scratches on her face and neck.
The daughter also testified that she had dealt with other acts of violence from her father in the past, including spankings, whippings and seeing her mother hit in front her.
More witness testimonies will continue on Friday. The jury is faced with deciding whether or not Mr. Earnest should be charged with abusing his 15-year-old daughter and causing corporal injuries to her.