By Lauren Jaech
Conflicting statements abounded in court today during the trial of the People v. Pereida.
David Madrid Pereida is facing charges of firearm possession after a previous felony conviction. The case resumed today with witness testimonies.
The People’s witness, Probation Officer Joseph Rodriguez, was recalled to identify the pictures he took of the shotgun in the tent in which the defendant, Mr. Pereida, was living at the time of his arrest on October 19, 2018.
The defense, represented by Deputy Public Defender James Bradford, then brought in Mr. Pereida’s brother to testify. The brother, who was homeless and living in Sacramento’s Tent City at the time of Mr. Pereida’s arrest, claimed that he had found the dismantled shotgun in a dumpster when he was looking for things to sell. The shotgun was too big to work on in his own tent so he was putting it together in the tent in which the defendant was living, which belonged to Mr. Pereida’s girlfriend.
In response to the prosecution’s questions about Mr. Pereida’s knowledge of the shotgun, Pereida’s brother repeatedly claimed that he did not know if Pereida knew about the shotgun and that the defendant was not helping him fix it. When asked directly if Pereida knew about the firearm in his tent, the witness said “probably not.”
When the defendant was being arrested, the brother told the probation officer that the shotgun was his.
After this testimony, Officer Rodriguez was brought back in and was questioned by the prosecution regarding the brother’s statement at the time of the defendant’s arrest, in October of 2018.
Rodriguez spoke to the brother, who said he had given the shotgun to Mr. Pereida who was going to fix it up and sell it.
The People then brought in Aaron Bohrer, the investigator for the public defender’s office, to confirm that Mr. Pereida was aware of the shotgun in his tent.
Bohrer had talked to the brother in November, a month after the arrest, and he had told him that he found the gun but stored it in the defendant’s girlfriend’s tent. Bohrer stated that the brother had explicitly told him that Mr. Pereida knew that shotgun was being kept in his tent.
After these testimonies, the People, represented by Deputy DA Jesse Richardson, gave their closing statement. Mr. Richardson urged the jury to keep in mind that the legal definition of a firearm includes devices that may not be in working order but are designed to be used as weapons, fitting with the improperly reassembled shotgun found in Mr. Pereida’s tent.
Richardson also reminded the jury that two people can possess an item and that possession entails control over an item, which the defendant had because of the shotgun’s location within his tent.
Lastly, Mr. Richardson emphasized that the defendant told the officer where in the tent the shotgun was and that both the investigator, Mr. Bohrer, and Officer Rodriguez confirmed they had received statements that the defendant knew about the shotgun’s placement in his tent.
Because of these things, Mr. Richardson argued that the only reasonable conclusion is that Mr. Pereida is guilty of firearm possession.
People v. Pereida is set to resume Wednesday afternoon with Mr. Bradford’s closing statement for the defense.