By Julie Maruskin
A woman testified that she awoke to her husband speaking aggressively toward their daughter before committing multiple episodes of domestic violence toward his wife.
The defendant, Taylor Scott Williams, pleaded not guilty to committing domestic violence against his wife of seven years. He was charged with two counts of domestic violence. The first count was inflicting corporal injury on a spouse and the other count was assault by means of force. These both allegedly occurred on July 23, 2019, in the mobile home of a “Kampground of America” campground, where Mr. Williams worked.
The prosecuting attorney, Daniele Schlehofer, began her opening statement by explaining the backstory of the domestic violence altercation. She explained that the defendant was yelling at his daughter and woke up the alleged victim. The prosecution claimed that, in response to his wife, Mr. Williams punched the alleged victim in the head. The defendant followed her to the bathroom and then he squeezed his hands around her neck. The alleged victim’s vision got foggy and she passed out. At this moment she fell into the bathtub.
The defendant eventually helped her out of the bathtub and the alleged victim decided that she wanted to lie down, so she went into the bedroom where their daughter was still lying. The prosecution claimed that “words were spoken” between the defendant and victim which led him to straddle her while choking her with a pillow and his hand. She was kicking, trying to get him off of her, and he started to yell which caused her to hit their daughter in the face with her foot. He then got angrier and punched her multiple times, then grabbed their child, led the child away from the mother and called the police.
The police came but the prosecution made it clear that the medical came way later into the evening to assess the wife’s wounds. Ms. Schlehofer explained the jury will see a domestic violence expert testify who can demonstrate how abuse victims react to abuse and about the different types of strangulation. The prosecution explained the alleged victim’s claim, laying the foundation for the possibility of it fitting the description given later by the expert witness. The prosecution then concluded their statement.
The defense attorney, Aram Davtyan, began his opening statement by stating that the alleged victim and his defendant, Mr. Williams, have been married for seven years but have been in a relationship for ten years. He explained that they have a shared daughter who is four years old. When describing the nature of the relationship between Mr. Williams and the alleged victim, he elaborated that the relationship was filled with turmoil and they were only together for the child. The defense said that with whom the child would stay was apparently “a big consideration.”
In relation to the domestic violence incident, the defense explained that the alleged victim kicked the daughter in the head and that she would not take ownership of it, even though it is a truthful statement. In this, he explained that the alleged victim has a motive to fabricate her story on the stand. He also explained that he believed her story would not make sense.
Mr. Davtyan pointed out that in the ten years they have been together she had never reported any violence until last July. He questioned the peculiarity that there is no report of Mr. Williams ever being violent toward his wife, however, she now brings charges against the defendant claiming that he strangled her? The defending attorney closed his statement by reminding the jury that the trial has only one eye-witness, who has to prove her case beyond a reasonable doubt. He explained to the jury it is a high stake for one witness to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The witness began her testimony. She described her relationship with the defendant and clarified that they had been together for ten years, lived together multiple times and had a child together. During the incident, they lived at his place of work in West Sacramento in a trailer.
The prosecution showed the witness images of the trailer and asked if the witness recognized the trailer. The witness responded that she did recognize the trailer, while seeming upset and out of breath by seeing the photo of the crime scene.
The alleged victim explained that she became financially dependent on the defendant after she became pregnant, being a stay-at-home mom. She elaborated that she initially became financially dependent on him after she was instructed to quit her job because they only had one mode of transportation. In response to the questioning, she answered that he was in charge of the finances at home. When asked about help with childcare, she explained that her family was not around to watch the child because they had passed away.
The witness claimed that her husband had physically assaulted her at the location. She claimed that it was in the morning and she was sleeping in the same area where the daughter and father also slept. That day, she recalled waking up to hearing her husband speaking to her daughter in a tone that she did not like, so she responded that he should “be nice.”
She described, in response to the images of the trailer, where she and her husband were lying on the bed during this incident. This followed with her explaining that he had punched her body moderately hard in reaction to her statement of “be nice.”
She described that she got up and went into the bathroom and was facing her clothing basket trying to find clothes for the day when she turned and he put both hands around her neck and strangled her with his thumbs. After this, she described the incident as becoming “blurry,” as she lost consciousness and fell into the bathtub. She supposedly came to consciousness and asked him to help her up twice. Following this, she did not feel well and went to go lie down again, when he jumped on top of her and strangled her while putting a pillow over her face.
The witness described the positioning of their bodies during the incident in response to the trailer photos. The witness said that the defendant claimed she had kicked their daughter while she was struggling. She did not know if she did, but she assumed he did because she said he got angrier and started hitting her harder, with greater force, multiple times.
The court will reconvene on Thursday, October 17, at 8:30 a.m.