By Pedro Maturana
The trial of Daniel Ples Stallings, Jr., who is charged with exhibiting a deadly weapon, resisting arrest and battery, began today in Department 10 with opening statements. Stallings allegedly waved a blunt object toward a person during an altercation that happened on December 23, 2018.
Deputy District Attorney Jesse Richardson gave opening statements for the People.
Richardson characterized Stallings as a man who does not get along with others when he feels slighted by them. Two incidents occurred involving Stallings. One on December 23, 2018, and another one on February 14, 2019.
The December 23, 2018, incident began when “Ms. M” had family over to her West Sacramento house. “Ms. G” was a tenant who was living in Ms. M’s garage at the time. She also had her mother and father over the house that day.
An argument broke out between Ms. M and Ms. G. At around 9pm, a car came racing down their street. Stallings jumped out of the car yelling, “Anyone can get it!” Stallings approached the house with a stick in his hand. At the door of the garage, he got into a verbal confrontation with the residents inside the house, during which time he was swinging the stick in the air. The police were called and soon arrived at the scene.
Stallings and Ms. G’s father were outside. Stallings was smoking a cigarette when the police arrived. The police asked Ms. G’s father and Stallings to sit down on the bumper of the police car. Ms. G’s father complied, Stallings didn’t.
One of the police officers saw that Stallings had a knife on his hip and he asked him to stop and throw the knife on the ground. Stalling refused to cooperate.
Eventually Stallings threw the knife on the ground, but he still refused to sit down. Stallings allegedly threw his cigarette toward one of the officers. The officer then tackled Stallings to the ground.
Another incident occurred on February 14, 2019. Mr. Stallings was shopping at the Walmart in West Sacramento. As he was leaving, a store clerk who checks the receipts as customers leave the store asked Stallings for his receipt. Stallings told him that his receipt was on his dog, and he kept walking.
The clerk the grabbed Stallings’ cart. Stallings then reached into his cart and grabbed his cane. He held it above the clerk as if he were going to hit him and he shouted racial slurs at him.
Deputy Public Defender Joseph Gocke gave the defense’s opening statements.
Gocke characterized Stallings as a 53-year-old man who has had a hard life. He had been hit by a vehicle and hit on the head in the past. He has an artificial left knee and uses a cane to walk. He lives inside his truck with his service dog. He loves dogs.
Stallings was not present during the initial altercation that happened before the first incident. West Sacramento police were called out for that incident before the incident with Stallings.
During the first argument, Ms. G’s pit bull escaped from her car. She contacted Stallings to help her find the dog. Stallings located the dog and brought him back to Ms. G.
At some point another argument happened where people were yelling at Ms. G. Stallings got mad but he never raised a stick. The police were called again.
When the police arrived, they started yelling contradictory demands at Stallings. He didn’t know what to do, then the police tackled him to the ground, although Stallings was not a threat. The police officers were not patient since they had been called to the same house for the second time.
During the second incident, at the Walmart, the weather was very bad— it was raining. When Mr. Stallings proceeded to exit the store after shopping, he had done nothing wrong. Stallings has no legal obligation to show a receipt. When the clerk grabbed his cart, he then lost his balance and fell. Stallings used colorful language to tell the clerk to leave him alone. He never pushed the clerk or waved his cane as a weapon.
Richardson called “Mr. E” to the stand.
Mr. E is Ms. M’s son. Mr. E spoke about how Ms. G was living in the garage at the time of the incident. At some point, Stallings showed up, speeding in his Ford Explorer and yelling that “anyone can get it.”
Stallings proceeded to the rear of his vehicle. Mr. E saw him and told everyone to get inside because he assumed that Stallings was grabbing a weapon. Mr. E and his family locked all the doors to the house. Mr. E testified that Stallings was very aggravated and aggressive.
Stallings and Ms. G’s father began banging on the door. Stallings then entered through the garage and started demanding that they unlock the door. Mr. E’s grandmother opened the door to the garage through the kitchen.
The grandmother and mother were at the door while Ms. G, her father and Stallings were on the other side in the garage. Both parties were arguing back and forth.
When the police showed up and asked Stallings to sit down, Stallings allegedly yelled at the officers and refused to comply.
Mr. E testified that Stallings did not seem to have difficulty moving or walking.
Richardson called Ms. S to the stand.
Ms. S explained that Ms. G was a roommate with two big dogs. She lived in the house until Ms. S’s mother moved back in and then she was forced to relocate into the garage.
An argument began with Ms. G because her mother was disrespecting other residents in the house. Ms. S told Ms. G’s mother that she should not come back to the house. They ended up in the street, fighting. After the police responded, no charges were filed and both parties went their separate ways.
Twenty minutes later, Ms. G lost her dog. The dog was later found under the trailer that was parked in front of the house next to the driveway. When Stallings arrived, the family went into the house in fear that he had a weapon.
Richardson asked Ms. S to identify People’s Exhibit A. It was a large cylindrical wooden stick. Ms. S testified that this was the stick Stallings was carrying and waving over his head yelling, “Who wants it?” Ms. S testified that Stallings was directing his anger toward her mother. Ms. S testified that Stallings did not seem to have any trouble moving around.
Gocke asked Ms. S how long Ms. G had been living in the garage. She replied two years. Gocke asked if they were having a holiday gathering that day and if they were consuming alcohol. She replied no. There is always family at the house.
Richardson called his next witness, Ms. S’s mother, “Ms. M.”
Ms. M testified that when Stallings was at the door yelling at her family, she was shaking in her boots. Stallings was holding a stick up and yelling “who’s first?”
Ms. M also testified that Stallings was very hostile to the police when they arrived. She also claimed that Stallings did not seem to have trouble walking or standing upright.
Richardson called “Mr. D” to the stand. Mr. D was a neighbor who witnessed the incident happen.
On December 23, 2018, Mr. D saw that his neighbors were having a dispute, so he went outside to make sure that it didn’t spill over onto his property.
Mr. D testified that his neighbors warned him that they were about to evict somebody from the house and that a conflict may break out.
Mr. D saw Stallings pull up. He was in front of the house with another man and they were riling each other up. Mr. D testified that they looked like they were ready for something to happen.
The other male and Ms. G went inside the garage. Then there was yelling. At this point Stallings grabbed something from his car that looked like a two-by-four and went into the garage.
Mr. D called the police and told them that Stallings threw the object in the car. When the police arrived Mr. D said that Stallings looked uneasy and hyper. Mr. D claimed that it took two or three officers to cuff Stallings.
Gocke asked Mr. D if the officers had any guns or Tasers out. Mr. D said no.
Richardson called Officer Nicolas Lewis from the West Sacramento Police Department to the stand.
Lewis was dispatched to the scene of the incident for a physical fight. Lewis claimed that the initial fight occurred because someone disciplined another person’s dog. Then that person was punched in the face.
Lewis also responded to the second incident in which the male that was in the first incident came back and was involved in a verbal altercation. Lewis identified that male as Mr. Stallings .
Lewis testified that Stallings was agitated