Preliminary Hearing of Man Charged with Serious Bodily Injury Causing an Eyebrow Scar

By Danielle Silva

A Woodland man will be held to a battery with serious bodily injury charge after the complaining witness received an eyebrow scar from an altercation with the defendant.

James Patrick Vorhees will be brought to trial with the charges of a felony count of battery with serious bodily injury and a misdemeanor count of resisting a public officer. On Nov. 25, 2019, Mr. Vorhees allegedly had been yelling and cursing in a Golden 1 Credit Union in Woodland before leaving the building. He and another man then got into an altercation, from which the defendant allegedly appeared to be fleeing from as officers arrived at the scene. Once restrained, Mr. Vorhees allegedly resisted arrest.

The alleged victim, K.G., testified first.

K.G. stated that on Nov. 25, 2019, he had gone to Golden 1 to deposit a check. As he entered through the doors, the witness allegedly saw the defendant cursing, yelling, and displaying rude gestures at the bank tellers.

The defendant allegedly left the bank at one point and the witness, who observed that the bank had mostly women, placed himself near the door in case the defendant attempted to return inside.

Deputy District Attorney Kyle Hasapes played a video during the witness’s testimony, referencing it further. The witness testified that he allowed another patron to enter but held the door shut as the defendant tried to get inside. The manager locked the door soon after.

Several minutes after the door had been locked, the video showed the defendant next to K.G.’s car for several minutes. Another individual appeared to be present next to his motorcycle. During this time, the witness stated that he had been turning in his check and withdrawing money when he noticed the defendant near his vehicle.

K.G. noted that he had brought his girlfriend with him and she had been sitting in the passenger seat of his car with the passenger-side window rolled down. The witness testified that the defendant allegedly stuck his hands into the car and his girlfriend was now in the driver’s seat.

The witness asked the manager to let him out and the staff informed him to go through the back door. K.G. hurried toward the defendant, telling him to “not put his hands on my car.” The witness was unclear if he grabbed the defendant or how close he was to Mr. Vorhees when the defendant pushed him up against a pillar.

The video shows the defendant pushing the complaining witness down after pinning him to the pillar. The two wrestled on the ground for a moment before the defendant is again shown pinning the witness to the ground. After this, the defendant stands, walks down and out of sight of the screen, and then comes back up to pick up his skateboard which was put to the side by a bystander. By the time the altercation ends, several bystanders are present.

K.G. testified that the defendant choked him, punched him in the face and cut his eyebrow open with an elbow jab.

He claimed when the defendant was holding him down, he also had a hold on the defendant’s neck. The defendant allegedly told the witness if he let go, the defendant would also let go. The witness allegedly let go but the defendant then used that moment to elbow the other’s eyebrow.

The eyebrow wound allegedly spilled blood drops next to the bank door. This wound needed five stitches and five hours of treatment. The witness also needed to return to have the stitches removed.

“I used to have perfect eyebrows and now I don’t,” the witness said.

Continuing the video from the end of the altercation, the defendant starts to move up the screen before an officer tackles him to the ground, another officer following soon after.

The witness claimed he never punched the defendant. He also noted that the eyebrow scar was the only injury from the incident.

Officer Nolan McManus testified next. He stated dispatch had directed him and Officer Black to Golden 1 on Nov. 25, 2019. Dispatch stated a man had been yelling and cussing inside of the bank.

When the officer arrived at the scene, he noticed the end of an altercation with a man with a bleeding head injury. Customers inside of the bank pointed to Mr. Vorhees as the aggressor and Officer McManus believed the man was attempting to flee. The prosecution phrased it as “gently took him to the ground” as the officer tackled the defendant.

The defendant allegedly continued to flex his arms, to put his arms in front of him, to curse and to scream, despite the officer’s demands to stop resisting. Officer McManus needed a second officer’s help to put the defendant in handcuffs. They also called for additional assistance.

The last witness of the preliminary hearing was Officer Joseph Nott. Around 3:40 pm on Nov. 25, 2019, he had taken a statement from the individual with the motorcycle.

The motorcyclist allegedly stated that the defendant had approached him and threatened to take the motorcycle but did nothing to do that. The defendant then allegedly turned to the woman in the car to his right and said he wanted to take her phone, reaching into the car. At that point, the first witness allegedly came and told the defendant not to touch his wife.

The motorcyclist stated there was no further engagement.

The court found there was enough evidence for the defendant to go to trial. The defense, represented by Supervisor Team One Monica Brushia, filed a Penal Code section 1368 motion concerning doubt over the defendant’s mental competency. The proceedings were pushed back to allow a specialist to examine the defendant.

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