By Hannah Grayson
San Francisco – A preliminary hearing was held Monday in Department 12, presided over by Judge Vedica Puri. The case will proceed against the defendant with all charges, despite the defendant’s mental state at the time of the incident.
On October 18 at 3:38 a.m., Officer Arturo Ramirez responded to a call at the Shell gas station on 19th Avenue and Lincoln Way. One of the cashiers at the convenience store located at the gas station had called to report an assault.
The cashier told Officer Ramirez that the defendant had entered the store and began acting erratically, with behavior that included talking to the food. The defendant then brought items up to the cashier and asked if she could take the items. Once told she had to pay, she apparently began yelling obscenities at the cashier. She was then told to leave and, shortly after walking around more, she did. The cashier apparently did not see her take any items from the store when walking out.
A minute after the defendant left the store, the cashier heard yelling from outside. Another employee at the store was taking out the garbage when she came into contact with the defendant. The employee recognized her, as she apparently would come to the store every day, and told her to leave.
The officer then testified that the employee told him the defendant then allegedly began yelling at her before punching her in the face approximately three times. The defendant then apparently hit the victim on the nose with a full Gatorade bottle. This Gatorade bottle, however, was never found by the police, despite their search of the area. Officer Ramirez claimed he saw the employee’s nose cut and bleeding and she was visibly shaken when he responded to the scene.
Officer Ramirez did not come into contact with the defendant until the “cold show” in which the witnesses can view and identify a possible suspect. He took the employee to the cold show, but not the cashier, who had also witnessed the woman.
The officers who arrested the defendant called an ambulance, as she had been displaying signs of an “altered mental state” due to her erratic and strange behavior. They also thought that she was under the influence of drugs, but this was only speculation. At the cold show, the victim identified the defendant as the person who attacked her, based on the shirt she was wearing and their previous interactions.
The prosecution, Assistant District Attorney Sam Beckerman, then called his next witness, Officer Ian Richards. Officer Richards had been assigned that night to watch the mentally ill person at San Francisco General Hospital. While watching her, he witnessed her slap one of the nurses. In the cross-examination, he then clarified that it all happened so fast that he was not sure if the hit was open-handed or closed-fist.
The other nurse there then gave him a statement in which she said that the defendant was making bizarre statements. She also witnessed her hit the first nurse.
The defense, Deputy Public Defender Semuteh Freeman, then argued that, due to her mental state as attested to by the officer, the defendant should not be charged with a felony – as she did not have malicious intent. Ms. Freeman also argued against the charge that the defendant interfered with business, as she left when told to do so and did not steal anything.
Mr. Beckerman then argued that she did interfere with business, as she was yelling at the cashier. He also claimed that the defendant stole the Gatorade, despite the fact that the cashier did not see her leave with anything and the bottle was never found.
Judge Puri then ruled there was satisfactory evidence on all counts for the case to proceed to trial. In terms of intent due to mental state, she found that irrelevant to the charge placed against the defendant. She also claimed that these accusations are of behavior violent enough to ignore the fact that the defendant has no prior convictions. An arraignment is set for November 14 at 9 a.m. in Department 22.