By Crescenzo Vellucci
Vanguard Sacramento Bureau
SACRAMENTO – A scissors plant in the face of the victim sounds like an open and shut case – but after hours of confusing and evasive testimony by the spousal abuse victim at a preliminary hearing Thursday, defense attorney Claire White argued that defendant Andre Lamont Smith should be freed from custody.
However, Sacramento County Superior Judge Maryanne G. Gilliard found – despite the refusal of the only witness to name Smith as the attacker – to bind Smith over for a Feb. 6 trial to face felony spousal abuse and witness tampering charges.
“The (victim) is clearly trying to shield the defendant, but there is more than enough evidence to find the defendant guilty of all charges,” said Gilliard, calling the spouse’s testimony “unbelievable” and “one of the worst recanters” she had ever seen in decades on the bench.
“I believe what she told officers. I believe she is scared to tell the truth,” said Gilliard.
On the stand Thursday, Mikaila (Smith) repeatedly said she could not remember statements made to police in the days following her October stabbing, in effect recanting those statements that landed Andre Smith in jail on $550,000 bail.
Officers, though, said they found the “hysterical” Mikaila stabbed in the face with “blood all over the ground” and inside her apartment.
Officers said Mikaila at first said the attacker was her “ex-boyfriend” and “James” (a boyfriend). But after further questioning in the hospital officers she said the assailant was really her husband Andre Smith.
But Mikaila changed that later, and made that clear Thursday while on the stand.
“No, he wasn’t there. I don’t recall seeing him,” said Mikaila, in reference to that night when people, including her boyfriend “James” and a cousin, were at her apartment. Under questioning by defense attorney White, she admitted she had “physical confrontations” with them in the past not just Andre.
“We were just hanging out, having shots, drinking and stuff. I can’t remember going to the hospital. I can’t remember much,” insisted Mikaila, denying now that her husband was anywhere around the party.
Police reports indicated she said she was afraid to testify because of “retaliation” by Smith. But Mikaila now can’t remember saying that.
When asked by the deputy district attorney about why she agreed with the police reports when interviewed later, Mikaila said “I just went along with it…I was on pain medication.”
In fact, Mikaila bailed out her husband, (Andre), and she said she went to his hearing Dec. 4 to support him, and clear up any miscommunication with prosecutors that would get charges dismissed against Andre.
But that didn’t work out either.
When Mikaila saw Andre with his alleged new girlfriend, sparks apparently flew and the “mystery” girlfriend and Mikaila were kicked out of the courtroom after screaming at each other. Mikaila was handcuffed after being tackled by deputies as she chased the girlfriend down the street in front of the courthouse.
“When I saw my husband with another woman at court, I was mad,” said Mikaila, confirming she was offended and “disrespected” because the man she got out of jail by paying bail had the nerve to show up in court with a girlfriend.
She also wanted Andre’s bail increased – later in December, even though he had been free on the $550,000 arranged for by Mikaila, Andre was taken into custody on $2.75 million bail. He remains in the county jail.
After the court and street fight Dec. 4, it only got more intense.
After being released by deputies, Mikaila – who is on probation for child abuse and robbery convictions – said she was accosted later at her home, beaten and kicked. Police said she told them the assailants were her husband Andre – she didn’t see him but heard his voice – and the mystery girlfriend.
But again, Mikaila Thursday denied the Dec. 4 attacker was her husband, testifying “I don’t recall telling the officers that (it was Andre).”
Reportedly, in between the fight in the morning and Mikaila’s mugging that night, she broke out the windows of a car allegedly owned by the girlfriend.
Defense attorney White questioned officers if they checked to see if she had obvious injuries, but other than a scratch on her hand and possible swelling on her face, they didn’t. Mikaila refused to go to the hospital.
White later said that scratch could have easily come when Mikaila was thrown to the ground officers earlier that day at the courthouse.
White also managed to get Mikaila to admit that the “couple” of shots she had the night of face stabbing was really two half-cups of whiskey – as much as 12-16 ounces.
Police reported, but Mikaila now denies, that she told them when she was attacked Dec. 4, the attackers called her a “snitch” and warned her against testifying. And in a video of her in court earlier that day that was anonymously sent to her, she was again called a “snitch” for cooperating with the DA.
Mikaila, said police, told them she was afraid to testify. She denied that Thursday, adding that “I’m here. I’m not afraid.”
White was direct in her examination of Mikaila on the stand, getting her to admit she didn’t have custody of two children because of child abuse and child endangerment convictions, and that she had “lied to the police before.”
“But I’m cool today. I’m telling the truth,” said Mikaila.
“There is not enough to hold Andre. (Mikaila’s testimony) was compelling. She lied to the police (and) didn’t mention him to police until an officer suggested Andre” was the attacker in October,” said White. “She felt bad enough to bail (Andre) out, although White characterized his decision to bring his girlfriend to court Dec. 4 as “questionable.”
White discounted the mystery video as an attempt to frighten Mikaila, claiming it didn’t have anything to do with Andre, and she said the Dec. 4 attack on Mikaila may have “even happened,” and if it did, Mikaila never saw Andre, and only heard his voice, according to police.
“A trial would be a waste of taxpayer resources,” White told the judge.