Social Media Plays a Key Role in Stalking Case

By Nathan Yanez

In Department 7, screenshots of Instagram messages were the topic of discussion.

Defendant Jose Alfredo Rodriguez was present for his preliminary hearing set for July 17. Deputy District Attorney Daniele Schlehofer and Deputy Public Defender Aram Davtyan questioned two witnesses during the hearing.

The first witness to take the stand was “JV,” the father of the alleged victim. In his testimony, JV began to recount the night of June 19, 2019, when the defendant showed up at JV’s home a little past midnight. JV heard the knocking, saw a man at the door and proceeded to open it.

Once he opened the door, Jose Rodriguez questioned JV about his daughter, “NV.” JV proceeded to tell Mr. Rodriguez that he could not give him any information about NV. Mr. Rodriguez also asked about the alleged victim’s boyfriend. JV then asked who he was and the defendant responded with “Jose Rodriguez.” JV told Mr. Rodriguez to leave, and he listened. JV noticed that Mr. Rodriguez walked back to what looked like a white pick-up truck.

In cross-examination, Mr. Davtyan confirmed with JV that Mr. Rodriguez made no threats to his daughter and left the residence when he was asked. JV confirmed this for Mr. Davtyan. There were no further questions.

The second person called to the stand was the alleged victim herself, NV. In her testimony, she revealed that she has been consistently receiving calls and messages since 2015 from someone who was later revealed to be the defendant, Jose Rodriguez.

Most of the messages came to her through Instagram, a popular social media application, as well as calls to her cell phone, home phone, and work phone. It was revealed that the number contacting NV was from the 209 area code, which includes Stockton.

The only person that NV knows from Stockton is a former co-worker, whose graduation NV attended in summer 2015, and calls and messages from the defendant came in the fall of 2015. The messages that NV received came from private accounts which gave no indication they belonged to Mr. Rodriguez.

NV’s sister also began receiving messages from the same account, the messagea referencing NV. The content of the calls and messages became the next topic of questioning for the prosecution. The calls were always from either a private number or the 209 number mentioned earlier, and a voicemail was almost never left, except for the one instance of a song played on a voicemail.

The Instagram messages, however, had much more content in them. The messages often referenced intimate details about NV that only her Facebook friends would know. Things about her family, boyfriend, work, and her Facebook activity. NV contacts an officer in 2017 who advised her to tell the individual calling her that their calls are not welcome and not to call back. Calls and messages continued throughout 2018 and became more frequent in 2019. In March 2019, Mr. Rodriguez regularly visited the alleged victim’s uncle’s tattoo shop.

One day Mr. Rodriguez left a note for NV with his, name, number, and a gold ring. The number on the note matched the number that has been continuously calling her since 2015. In June 2019 NV went on a business trip at the same time that Mr. Rodriguez came to the residence of NV and her parents.

The following Tuesday at work NV received a message from building security that someone was asking for her at the front desk. It was revealed to be Mr. Rodriguez. NV contacted CHP officers00—while the officers were being contacted, Mr. Rodriguez left the building and went to his car.

Building security camera footage revealed that Mr. Rodriguez went back to his car, a white pick-up truck, and there was another male present in the vehicle. CHP interviewed NV and advised her to contact Woodland Police Department and she got a restraining order against Mr. Rodriguez.

In cross-examination, Mr. Davtyan questioned AV about the number of calls she was receiving and it was revealed that recently it had been a minimum of around 10 calls a month. Mr. Davtyan also asked AV whether or not she or family members have ever been or felt physically harmed by Mr. Rodriguez to which she replied no—however, she did state that she felt harassed.

The prosecution started to call Officer Richard Wright to testify but, due to time constraints, the testimony could not continue. The preliminary hearing will resume on Thursday, July 18, 2019 8:30 am and will include Officer Richard Wright’s testimony as well as the court’s decision if the case will move to arraignment.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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