By Samantha Kancigor
The defense brought six witnesses before the court on Tuesday, June 26, 2019, in order to better paint a picture of the young defendant, for the jury. The defendant is being charged with attempted murder with premeditation and deliberation, along with assault leading to great bodily injury. She has pleaded not guilty.
The defense called a high school teacher, two friends, two coworkers, and a doctor to the stand today. The friends, coworkers, and teacher all commented that The defendant was always very outgoing, kind, hard-working, and honest. None of them could ever imagine the situation that resulted in her arrest. Her friends testified that she was always caring and trustworthy. Her teacher claimed that she was kind and hard-working and her coworkers remarked on her amiability when it came to working with customers at her job. The doctor provided the court with clinical information about his observations from the appointments he had with the defendant. He emphasized how it was evident that she was suffering from panic attacks and severe anxiety after the assault.
However, perhaps the most critical witness from today’s session was one of the defendant’s best friends. Her friend, who claimed that the defendant had written him a glowing reference that landed him a job at Safeway where she worked. The two were very close friends as they spent time together at school, at work, and outside of both. “(The defendant) was a very social person,” her friend said when questioned about her personality. He continued to describe her as a trustworthy and good friend.
It was in front of his house that The defendant had been brutally attacked the night of May 27, 2018. Her friend testified that he and The defendant had made plans to hang out and as he left his home he noticed The defendant was sitting with the light on in her car.
As he got closer, he noticed that she wasn’t wearing her glasses, and saw her reach to the passenger’s side for them. She appeared to be in shock and told him that she had been punched by a stranger in front of the house. She claimed that the man had driven past her car twice before getting out of his car saying, “Hey you got my number?” She told him to go away and it was then that the man punched her in the face and drove off in what she believed to be a Mustang. When telling her friend what happened, she began tearing up and appeared to downplay the incident. He reported that the defendant had a look of confusion on her face for the rest of the evening. Her friend said that there is a security camera in front of his house which caught the entire incident on video. This video was played for the jury this morning during his testimony. He then went on to say that the next day he went with the defendant to the Oakland police station to report the incident.
After the incident, her friend said that The defendant became noticeably less talkative and outgoing. “If she gets a chance to laugh she’ll laugh. She has a very infectious laugh.” Her friend claimed he only saw The defendant twice after the 28th of May when they reported the incident to the police. The last time he saw her, she had asked him to drive because she claimed that she couldn’t. She confided to him later that evening that she didn’t feel safe with him and the other friends they were hanging out with. After that, she began to distance herself and faded out communication with her friends, including this witness.
It was evident that the incident for which the defendant was arrested was a shock to all those who testified today. The strangulation of her grandmother which ultimately led to her death was undeniably linked to the trauma The defendant experienced from the attack a month earlier. The trial of the 19-year-old will resume tomorrow morning where the defense will continue to call witnesses. The defense will continue to attempt to prove that she is not guilty.