By Adam Ruthenbeck
The “feisty” 97-year-old complaining witness was not present in the courtroom today. Her son-in-law and caretaker took the stand as witnesses, but inconsistencies in their testimonies bring up some important questions.
Deputy Assistant District Attorney Dane Reinstedt began by asking the complaining witnesses’ caretaker about the incident. She testified that she and the complaining witness were going for a walk when they saw four people outside one of her properties. The complaining witness approached them and asked them to leave.
After a verbal altercation, the defendant pushed the complaining witness in her face, which allegedly resulted in bruising and blurry vision. However, the caretaker could not remember which side of the face was bruised, and there were no pictures taken of any injuries sustained from the incident. The complaining witness also has a history of eye problems and it would be hard to know if her vision was actually affected.
Reinstedt then had the complaining witness’ son-in-law, who lives two houses down, take the stand. He testified that he heard commotion in the alley and opened up the garage to see what was going on. He saw the complaining witness and her caretaker in a verbal confrontation with the defendant. The defendant refused to leave, and allegedly struck the complaining witness and threw a glass bottle, hitting the caretaker in the chest.
Deputy Public Defender Niki Solis proceeded to compare his testimony to what was stated in the police report and caught on video.
In the police report, the witness told the officer that he saw the defendant and three other people drinking in the alley. In his testimony, he stated that he never actually saw them drinking. He also told the officers that his mother-in-law “confronted” the defendant, which is something she does often when people are near her property. But in his testimony, he denied that his mother-in-law confronted the defendant, asserting that it was the defendant who confronted her. He testified that he does not remember the defendant crossing the street and leaving, but told the police that they started to walk away when confronted.
He also stated in his testimony that he was not present outside when the police showed up. However, footage from the incident shows that he was outside when the police arrived, and proceeded to talk to them. The video also revealed that the complaining witness’ caretaker was hit on her back, not her chest.
The stark contrast between what was in the police report and what was said during testimony brings up obvious questions about the credibility of the witnesses. The case will resume on Monday, September 23, at 9:30 am.