Father Testifies at His Son’s Trial

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By Leslie Alfonzo

In Department 13 in front of Judge Victor Hwang, Jorge Lahiff was called to testify on day two of his son’s trial. Mr. Lahiff testified that on the night of September 26, 2016, he was just getting off of work when his wife called him. There had been an incident involving his son, David Lahiff, at San Francisco Community College. Mr. Lahiff arrived to find his wife shaken up and alone.  Officers arrived at the scene approximately 20 minutes after Mr. Lahiff’s arrival. At that time, David’s whereabouts were unknown.

During ADA Maszara’s direct, she asked Mr. Lahiff whether he recalled asking the officer for an emergency protective order against their son, David. Mr. Lahiff did not recall requesting a protective order but revealed that his son was schizophrenic, so he’s been afraid for his safety for a long time. Mr. Lahiff testified that a good Samaritan had called him around 2 a.m., hours after the incident, to inform him that David was at a laundromat.

Mr. Lahiff got emotional when discussing how he found his son David that night. Mr. Lahiff stated he found David at the laundromat in a really “messed up” state of mind. He testified that David was not really aware, was mumbling, and was not able to communicate. Mr. Lahiff had to convince David to get in the car to go home. Mr. Lahiff testified that he wanted to take David to the hospital, but his mother wanted him to bring David home. Ms. Lahiff made David some food when he got home, and he went to sleep afterwards.

Mr. Lahiff testified that, on the morning of September 27, 2016, he was in the kitchen making breakfast when he saw David pacing back and forth in the hallway. Mr. Lahiff explained that David pacing was not unusual and it was something he regularly does. However, some time later Mr. Lahiff noticed that David had a knife in his hand while he was pacing. ADA Maszara asked Mr. Lahiff if he remembered David threatening to kill him. Mr. Lahiff testified that David did not threaten to kill him, but he did mention death. Mr. Lahiff explained that David had always talked about death and that in this specific instance David had said “today could be the day you die.”

ADA Maszara persistently continued to ask Mr. Lahiff whether David threatened to kill him the day of the incident, or if ever at all. Mr. Lahiff stuck with his position that his son David has never verbally said, “I am going to kill you.” However, Mr. Lahiff did testify that he was frightened after David had said “today could be the day you die,” because he had a knife in his hand when he made the comment. Mr. Lahiff then went to his bedroom and stated that David never swung at him or immediately followed him. ADA Maszara showed the jury People’s Exhibits 2 through 10, which were pictures of the Lahiff’s home. The exhibits showed the inside of the Lahiff’s home, bedrooms, kitchen, hallways, etc. ADA Maszara asked Mr. Lahiff what David did after he went to his bedroom. and Mr. Lahiff testified that David went to the door of his father’s bedroom.

Mr. Lahiff stated that, after discussing the events of that day with David, he now recalls David walking over to the bedroom to give him the knife. However, in the moment Mr. Lahiff was in a state of fear and thought David was trying to hurt him. Mr. Lahiff stated that he panicked and shut the glass door on David’s left hand, which was holding the knife. Mr. Lahiff indicated that the sharp end of the knife was facing David and the hand was facing Mr. Lahiff. He was then able to take the knife from David but continued to apply pressure to the glass door to keep David from coming in.

Mr. Lahiff testified that he told David to back off, before David broke the glass door. While the father still had the knife in his hand he and David were pushing each other away, at which time David grabbed Mr. Lahiff’s ear and shoved his face. Mr. Lahiff testified that he then used the knife on David, causing David to jump back and run outside the house. Mr. Lahiff then locked David out of the house and called the police. Once the police arrived David was outside in the driveway receiving medical attention from their neighbor, who is a nurse. The officers detained and questioned Mr. Lahiff.

ADA Maszara showed the jury Peoples Exhibits 11 through 19. These exhibits displayed the injuries Mr. Lahiff sustained from the glass door shattering, and an ear injury sustained from David. After almost three hours of Mr. Lahiff’s testimony it was clear that Mr. Lahiff refused to agree with ADA Maszara’s questions and statements that David had in fact threatened to kill him. Mr. Lahiff’s cross-examination by defense attorney Eric Quandt had to be continued to another day due to a conflict.


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The Vanguard Court Watch puts 8 to 12 interns into the Yolo County House to monitor and report on what happens. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org

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