By Arianna Medina
The ongoing case of the People v. Onteverio, in which the defendant Joseph Onteverio was charged with a misdemeanor count of exhibiting or drawing a firearm, came to a conclusion today after the jury reached a verdict of “not guilty.”
What started as a ordinary neighbor dispute, over rocks thrown at the defendant’s home, led to the defendant being charged with attempted murder. The defendant, Joseph Onteverio, and his neighbor are residents at Casa Mobile Park in West Sacramento and have a history of previous altercations. The first altercation between the two men occurred at the community pool months prior to this case and led to the physical altercation on March 26, 2018, and the vehicle conflict on February 2, 2019, in which a gun was allegedly produced.
During the trial, the defendant himself, the alleged victim, and responding officers all took the stand and recounted the events of March 26 and February 2. They each offered conflicting testimonies about the events that transpired, and among the key pieces of evidence were officer body camera footage. Screenshots from this camera footage reveal the defendant grimacing in pain after the physical altercation on March 26 and injuries sustained to his face. Footage also revealed responding Officer Smith asking the wife of the alleged victim if her son was throwing rocks at Mr. Onteverio’s unit, and the son came forward and admitted to throwing rocks at the unit with his friend.
The defendant’s and alleged victim’s testimonies of the vehicular incidents that occurred February 2 constituted key pieces of evidence during the proceedings and were very conflicting. However, in closing arguments, the defense attorney claimed that the alleged victim’s drawing in his testimony was ridiculous because it did not explain anything that occurred in the intersection. The victim claimed to have stopped in the middle of the intersection rather than trying to get away. Defense stated that the alleged victim’s testimony does not add up because he could not identify the gun correctly – he stated that the gun was chrome, however, the gun found was black with a laser pointer. All these facts taken into account led this multiple-day trial to culminate in an acquittal.
After hours of deliberation, the jury came to a decision around 3:30 p.m. today. When the clerk read the verdict, it stated that the jury finds the defendant, Joseph Adrian Onteverio, not guilty of the charges. There was no opposition or further comments from either counsel, and Judge Janene Beronio excused the jurors, whereupon the proceedings concluded.