Road Rage Incident Leads to Assault/Stabbing Charge
By Armando Alonzo
SACRAMENTO – In-custody defendant Xavier Alston plead no contest to an assault charge on a victim he allegedly punched after the other man honked at his car.
He was accompanied by his defense attorney, Phil Cozens, who was able to convince Judge Michael Savage that Alston should not be charged with a strike because his prior conviction happened when Alston was under the age of 16 at that time. Deputy District Attorney Amanda Sanchez agreed.
In return, Alston would plead no contest Tuesday to a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, with a knife, in a road rage case.
Alston was charged for allegedly willfully and unlawfully committing an assault on the victim with a deadly weapon, a knife, on June 27, 2019.
The victim was dropping off his girlfriend at Cafe Bernardo’s near R Street. As he tried to pull back into traffic, the defendant was apparently in another vehicle blocking his way into the lane traffic. When the victim honked his horn at him, the defendant allegedly came out and punched the victim one time at the driver’s side window.
The victim then grabbed the defendant and tried to fight him off. However, the defendant pulled out a knife approximately four inches long and cut the victim on the left arm. The victim let go, and the defendant returned to his vehicle and drove off. Another witness recorded the incident on video, also recording the license plate of the vehicle which traced back to the defendant.
There was also a secondary count involving a petty theft that happened at Home Depot.
On July 1, 2019, Alston had allegedly gathered a bunch of tools and tried to walk out of the store without paying. The loss prevention officer then tried to stop him. However, the defendant had allegedly raised his fist and started shoving and picking up rocks, throwing them at the victim and threatening that he had a firearm.
After he got in his vehicle, he started driving off toward the victim but avoided actually hitting him. This account led to Alston facing a misdemeanor count for petty theft with the consequence of six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Under a guilty plea, Alston would be sentenced to the low term of two years of state prison. Afterward, he would be placed on parole or PRCS (Post Release Community Supervision) for up to four years. Should he violate the terms of parole or the PRCS, then he will face additional custody time of up to 180 days for each violation.
Because the crime in the first count is considered a felony, it makes it a strike in California’s three-strike law. Because this is a strike, if he were later to commit a felony, he would face even more serious charges in relation to additional strikes being added, the court explained
For this second incident, DDA Sanchez requested a plea for a reasonably-related misdemeanor with restitution to the victim and to Home Depot. The time consequence for this second charge was concurrent to the two years in state prison.
Defense counsel Cozens requested to move sentencing to June 11, and that Alston be released on OR (or on his “own recognizance”).
However, DDA Sanchez opposed an O.R. release, citing the first two cases as a reason for risk from Alston. She was also concerned about a prior case that was not a usable prior strike because it occurred about four days before his 16th birthday.
In that case, a random victim had been attacked by a group of people including the defendant. They essentially jumped the victim, punching him and taking items from his pockets like keys, a cell phone, and a lighter. Somebody had pulled out a firearm during the incident.
Witness statements had tied Alston to the firearm, and all four of the minors who were involved in the crime went to juvenile hall. There was also a 2016 misdemeanor charge in which Alston was supposed to do community service with a promise of not committing any more violent crimes. Because of this, he was given his first adult conviction as a misdemeanor with the firearm in 2016.
DDA Sanchez cited the history of the defendant committing “a lot of random violence (violent acts) against strangers” that include weapons as the reasons behind her concerns and her opposition to an OR release.
After the charges and facts of the case were presented, the defendant entered a “no contest” plea. The defendant was then found guilty based on that plea.
Cozens tried to appeal to the court by saying that Alston is only 23 years old and has two children: one is six years old and the other is one. He is employed with Union 487, which is the Painters and Tapers local union. He does drywall installation and believes to have employment almost immediately upon release.
During the time that he was meant to do community service, he was at Northwest Missouri State University on a baseball scholarship for some period of time. If he were to be released he would live with his mother. His two children would also stay there.
Because Alston owed more custody time due to a prior conviction, Judge Savage proposed keeping the defendant to finish the leftover 73 days that were still on his record for him to complete.
He denied OR release and moved the sentencing date for when Alston’s time has been served.
The court is scheduled to come back on July 23 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 62 for sentencing.
Man Dives Out of Moving Car, Attempts to ‘Buy’ Freedom – Judge Sets June Trial
By Armando Alonzo
SACRAMENTO – Tyrell Cousins tried to buy his escape when he fled from police last May, but his money wasn’t good enough and he was arrested—after diving out of a moving, stolen car, according to testimony at his preliminary hearing Wednesday in Sacramento County Superior Court.
Cousins and a woman surrendered to police officers after being chased for an allegedly driving a stolen vehicle.
Police said Cousins—after a long chase—dove out of a stolen Chevy as it was moving about 10 miles per hour. They chased him on foot after he was seen jumping a fence into a nearby apartment complex.
A resident there who asked to remain anonymous motioned to officers, saying that a man that he described to be black, wearing a grey sweater, tried to offer him $100 in exchange for hiding him.
The resident also apparently heard a nearby door being broken into. Officers who investigated the noise found an apartment door with damages and signs of forced entry.
According to testimony Wednesday at Cousins’ preliminary hearing, officers, after receiving permission from that apartment’s official resident, brought canines and called announcements to the suspect inside. Cousins then surrendered along with a woman, Miyaka Oliphant, whom police officers do not recall seeing during the pursuit.
Cousins, faces seven total charges, including one felony count for willfully evading and driving in traffic the wrong way, a second felony for willfully evading a pursuing police officer, a third for vehicle theft and driving a car valued at more than $950, a felony for “receiving stolen property,” a fifth felony for being in possession of burglary tools, another count for unlawfully resisting or delaying Sacramento police officers, and lastly, a count for trespassing,
Brian Walker, a police officer who has served for Sacramento’s police department for 15 years now, testified at the preliminary hearing as the on-duty officer who was first in pursuit of Cousins.
Walker, on that May 22 evening, said he had responded to a pod hit, which is a notification that occurs when a camera pod detects the license plate of a reportedly stolen vehicle.
Walker said he found the stolen Chevy soon after and followed it as it drove throughout south Sacramento. The car, he said, sped through streets like Luther Drive at speeds between 50 to 75 miles per hour in areas with posted speed limits at 25 miles per hour. It was also driving with its lights off, and at one point seemed to accidentally swerve into a westbound lane going against traffic.
Walker remembered following the Chevy until it slowed to a speed of about 10 miles per hour, when the defendant allegedly dived out. The vehicle collided with an apartment complex metal fence, over which the defendant climbed to escape. Policemen arrived on the scene and set a perimeter around the complex before making the arrest.
A second officer, Andrew Cunningham, testified Wednesday, noting that he had been a part of the perimeter around the complex and had also contacted the registered owner of the stolen Chevy, T. W.. She confirmed that that vehicle was her vehicle. After seeing the defendant, she also confirmed that she did not know him and definitely he should not have been driving it.
After some cross-examination from the defendant’s Assistant Public Defender, Paul Gomez, the witnesses only confirmed that the person they saw before them in the virtual court was the same person they saw that evening. Walker had also reported that the defendant had faced him when his patrol car’s light was on, illuminating his face for the policeman to see.
After neither party had further evidence to submit, Gomez argued that the third felony count should be downgraded to a misdemeanor because, he said, there was no evidence that the car was worth $950 or more at the time.
Deputy District Attorney Gregory Hayes argued that the law still applied because the count was based on the condition of the vehicle at the time it was stolen. After a brief discussion and deliberation, Judge James P. Arguelles decided to strike the language of “and taking a” and “value of $950 or more” in order to charge Cousins instead with unlawful driving of a stolen vehicle belonging to another individual.
The judge ruled there was enough evidence to hold the defendant for trial, set for June.