By Ariella Seidman-Parra
MERCED – In an altercation about whether she should take medication prescribed for the procedures she had just undergone, the alleged victim in a domestic violence case confessed she had grown so frustrated that she called the police, and created a false narrative about her boyfriend that resulted in his arrest.
The report the victim made to the police that night greatly disagrees with the statements that she made in court on here in Merced County Superior Court Monday.
In a preliminary hearing, the alleged victim apologized to her ex-boyfriend before noting that they were not together any longer after he was jailed based on her false charges.
When telling Deputy District Attorney Kayla Boyer about her relationship with the defendant, the “victim” said she has been going through procedures and medicating herself to prevent pain and stress. She said that former boyfriend David Tanner took care of her and managed her medicine, and that she needed him to take care of her.
When recounting what happened on June 17, 2020, the night of Tanner’s arrest, the victim said that she was arguing with Tanner because he wouldn’t let her take her medication. She threatened that if he didn’t let her take the medication, she would call the police and lie about him so that he would be incarcerated and feel the pain and stress that she felt.
After this argument had ended, the alleged victim then left her house, got in her car, and drove around the corner to where she made the phone call to 911.
Just before the police arrived, Tanner came out of the house and asked her for his unemployment card that he claimed she had. In the moment she said she didn’t have it, but in court she said she lied about that and that she did have it.
Tanner was holding the alleged victim’s small dog throughout this conversation about the card, and she told him not to kill her dog, that the way he was holding the dog was harmful. She told the court, in questioning by Boyer, that her dog’s life was never actually threatened, and that she had lied about this.
The night of the incident, instead of telling the police that they were arguing over her medication, the said-victim told them that he had accused her of cheating, though in court she clarified the nature of the argument. She told the court that she lied to the police, saying that the defendant had choked her and hit her, just to get him in trouble.
When questioned by Deputy Public Defender Lauri Partin, the “victim” said that she had completed a drop charges memo regarding the case of Tanner.
Officer Peter Villarreal said that the claimed victim told him that she and her boyfriend were planning a trip and had an argument when Tanner accused her of cheating. She told the officers that after their argument, Tanner grabbed her, pinned her down on the bed and punched her left eye. She also told officers that she believed Tanner was under the influence of meth, cocaine, and/or alcohol.
Officer Villarreal told the court that he has training and experience with people under the influence, and that Tanner appeared calm. When the officer spoke with the supposed victim at her house, he said that there was nothing out of the ordinary. He spoke with her for at least half an hour and her responses to his questions made clear sense, he said, noting that she told him that there was no past history of domestic violence with Tanner.
The officer, now under cross-examination by defense counsel Lori Partin, said that he did not see any redness on the witness’ neck from the alleged choking. The officer said that he did not ask how much pressure was applied to her neck, nor how long the defendant had made contact with her neck.
Once the police officer and the victim/witness had been questioned by both prosecution and defense, the judge ruled that there was insufficient cause to say that the defendant was guilty.
The judge said the photographs taken by Officer Villarreal of the victim’s left eye that had allegedly been punched showed redness, but he has also seen that in people who have not been punched. He also said that the victim was wearing a lot of makeup in the photo and there was no photo of her right eye to compare swelling.
The judge also said there was insufficient cause because the officer had said that the defendant was calm and did not appear to be under the influence.
Judge Steven Slocum stated that there was insufficient cause to say the defendant is guilty and that was releasing Tanner from custody and reinstating him on the same terms of probation. The alleged victim was brought back into the courtroom and notified of the decision.
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