By Julia Martinez
WOODLAND- A woman that called the cops on her boyfriend for allegedly assaulting her now denies claims in court that he inflicted these injuries on her.
The defendant, Anthony Mendoza, is being charged with two felony counts of infliction of corporal injury to his cohabitant, for two different incidents after a preliminary hearing.
The alleged victim and the defendant got into an altercation after she drove back from the laundromat in Mr. Mendoza’s truck to give him back his keys to get inside their residence. The defendant allegedly threw an empty laundry basket at the girlfriend and later hit her multiple times after she did not want to give him the keys and threw a beer can at him. Following this, the girlfriend called the police.
The first witness called to the stand in the preliminary hearing was the alleged victim, Mr. Mendoza’s girlfriend and cohabitant, B.P. The victim testified that she and Mr. Mendoza were dating and living together intermittently for about four years.
B.P. testified that she and Mr. Mendoza were arguing over the keys after she got back from the laundromat. She stated that she was impaired due to drinking beforehand and that they were arguing because the defendant was angry at her for driving under the influence.
The alleged victim recalled throwing a beer at the defendant after running away from him when he tried to retrieve the keys from her. However, she testified that he never hit or threw a laundry basket at her.
B.P. stated she did not know why she called the police—because she had been drunk. She informed the court that she drinks daily and acknowledged that she had been previously convicted of four felonies.
The woman had multiple injuries: a scratch on her forehead, scratches on her arms, and a swollen lip. She testified that she got these injuries from doing a side job with Mr. Mendoza a couple of days prior, dissembling a chicken coop.
During the defense’s cross-examination, B.P. stated that Mr. Mendoza was only running after her so she could no longer drive under the influence of alcohol. She also emphasized that the scratches she had, caused by her alleged side job, were minor. She did not recall telling the police these injuries were from Mr. Mendoza.
The second witness called to the stand was Officer Guillermo Zuniga from West Sacramento. Officer Zuniga was the first to respond to the scene on the night of the incident.
He testified that when he arrived the victim stated the altercation between her and Mr. Mendoza started because she asked him to go back to the laundromat with her and he did not want to because he was tired from work.
Officer Zuniga testified that B.P. did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or exhibit any of those symptoms, so they had no reason to believe she had been drinking.
He stated that the alleged victim told the police that Mr. Mendoza threw the empty laundry basket at her and ran after her after she fled the truck. She then threw the beer can and the defendant allegedly began hitting her multiple times on the head and arms when she raised them to protect herself.
The officer testified to B.P. having visible scratches on her forehead and forearms, and a swollen lip at the time of arrival. He testified the alleged victim stated that the arm scratches were from a previous argument with Mr. Mendoza from days prior. The blood from those scratches was dried.
Officer Zuniga testified that she told the police she did not want Mr. Mendoza to go to jail and cried throughout the interview.
During the cross-examination, Officer Zuniga stated that Mr. Mendoza mentioned the chicken coop side job the night of the incident, and that overall he was cooperative.
In the final arguments before a ruling was made, the defense argued that the evidence in showing the woman’s forehead scratches and how they were inflicted was too vague. She argued that, although Mr. Mendoza had a criminal history, he was doing very well in regard to rehabilitation and has completed his anger management program.
The prosecution argued that the evidence does in fact show injury by physical force due to the strikes at the woman’s face and head area. They also argued that Mr. Mendoza has a concerning history of domestic violence in the criminal justice system already.
Judge Dave Rosenberg ruled that there was sufficient evidence for Count 1, the incident described, to be brought to trial, but to be reduced to a misdemeanor.
He ruled the second count, the altercation that allegedly occurred two days prior, did not have sufficient evidence due to the compromised credibility of the alleged victim as a witness.
The pre-trial conference is to be held on March 30.
To sign up for our new newsletter – Everyday Injustice – https://tinyurl.com/yyultcf9