By Ariana Camarena
The defendant allegedly spat multiple times at Woodland police officers, who were called to the scene after a close relative feared for her safety.
The trial resumed in Department 11 as defendant Eric Chmielewski testified, to determine whether he would face up to three years in federal prison for two felony charges of obstructing an officer and two misdemeanor charges of battery on an officer.
The first witness to be called by the defense was a close relative of the defendant. The witness testified that the defendant had been living with her prior to the Aug. 15, 2019, incident in a Woodland home. She testified that, prior to the alleged incident, the defendant was in jail and several psychiatric hospitals. The witness stated that the defendant had suffered from mental health issues since the age of 14.
The witness testified that, after age 14, the defendant’s mental health worsened as he came “delusional.” The defendant allegedly claimed that he had the top 10 songs on the radio, royalties from those songs, and his mom had his money. The witness continued by stating that the defendant allegedly claimed to have fights with Satan through magical powers and does not work but she and the defendant’s father help him financially.
Prior to the alleged incident, a probation officer went to visit the defendant. He also had mental health appointments in which they prescribed medication for his illness. The witness testified that the defendant would not let her buy the medication, as it cost $260. She testified that she offered to buy the medication but he would not allow her to do so.
The witness testified that the defendant does not take any steps to improve his mental health, other than calling domestic abuse and suicide hot-lines. The witness testified that the defendant allegedly claimed to have been sexually abused at age 10.
On Aug. 15, 2019, the witness testified that she woke up around 7 a.m. to the defendant talking to Satan and he told to get out, as he was accusing her of being the devil. At this point, the witness called the police as she feared his anger would escalate. The witness testified that she already had a no harassment order issued prior to this incident and wanted him removed from her home.
She testified that the defendant was verbally abusive to the cop and stated, “I hate the police. I want to kill all police.”
The witness stated she wanted the defendant to seek help and live a good and healthy life. She testified that the defendant was suffering from a mental health crisis but believes he is normal. She claimed he was manipulative and knows exactly what to say to health professionals in order to leave mental health institutions. The witness stated that she tried her best to get him the help he needed, but he had already dropped out of school. She testified that he immediately gets defensive when police are around.
The witness described the defendant’s rough upbringing by explaining how he was hit by a Jeep, which resulted in a broken tibia, fibula and a minor brain injury. She testified that the defendant’s father left home after the defendant turned 17. She described Mr. Chmielewski as learning to play the guitar by himself and becoming a professional tree trimmer after the car accident. She testified that he had multiple suicide attempts.
She concluded her testimony by stating how the defendant is charming, helpful and loving when not suffering from mental issues.
The defendant testified next, stating he had been combating spirits from the spiritual realm and demonic harassment. On the day of the incident, he allegedly needed $20 from his mother the day of the alleged incident and she told him no. He claimed his grandfather had left him money and he gave it to a close relative to hold. He testified that his close relative and the woman testifying had a gambling addiction.
The defendant testified that several of his prior diagnoses had been an acute personality disorder and manic depression, which stemmed from cutting himself and sexual abuse as a child.
He testified that, after witnessing the bodycam footage that was displayed in court days prior, he believed something was wrong with him. He testified to spitting on the officer as a means of self-defense.
Defense Exhibit 5 showed two Yolo County Jail identification cards. In one photo the defendant was wearing a spit mask. He testified that he had these two cards sealed in an envelope with the words “Evidence.”
He testified that officers had taken this envelope away from him.
The defendant concluded his testimony by stating the cops at the alleged incident were all possessed and used demonic magic. The defendant testified that hospitals cannot help him, only he can help himself and control his own anger.
The trial is to reconvene in Department 11.