By Roxanna Jarvis
SACRAMENTO – It’s safe to say these two aren’t friends anymore—a Sacramento man is accused of slashing his friend with a pocketknife outside of a liquor store during an argument about the victim’s mother.
In a preliminary hearing in Sacramento late this week, Yamisia Mitchell was accused of assault with a deadly weapon and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury after he allegedly slashed his friend on both arms outside a liquor store on June 18.
Deputy Jose Villanueva, along with four other officers, was dispatched to the Power Mart on Folsom Blvd. where the assault had occurred to investigate the scene.
When Deputy Villanueva arrived at the Power Mart, he noticed droplets of blood on the sidewalk area in front of the store. Other deputies tracked the droplets while Villanueva cleared the inside of the Power Mart to make sure the suspect was not inside.
Villanueva drove to the victim’s apartment complex where a second deputy was there questioning the victim. Inside, Villanueva saw the victim sitting on the kitchen table being tended to by medical personnel. Both of his arms were wrapped in white bandages, going from his forearms down to his wrists.
Villanueva recollected that the bandages were moderately covered in blood.
According to the victim, both he and Mitchell (whom he identified as “Mitch”) were hanging out outside of the Power Mart when Mitchell began to “talk s***” about the victim’s mother.
The victim then confronted Mitchell, leaning forward and saying, “Don’t talk s*** about my mom.” At this point, Mitchell allegedly took out a 4-inch pocketknife and began to stab the victim, slashing him on both of his forearms.
After the stabbing, Mitchell fled on foot from the scene while the victim went to his apartment and received help from medical personnel.
Mitchell was found with the use of the sheriff’s helicopter, STAR, in the immediate area of the attack. Mitchell was searched and a 4-inch pocketknife was found in his right rear pocket. The knife had dried blood on it.
The victim was transported by ambulance to UC Davis Medical Center, but not before being driven to a gas station to identify Mitchell, whom he identified as the one who slashed him.
When asked to identify Mitchell through the web application Zoom, Deputy Villanueva named the defendant sitting in the courtroom, although Mitchell’s face was barely discernible with the camera located some distance away.
Mitchell’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Jennifer Cerri, made note of this issue and asked Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jack to take a screenshot. “This can become an issue later on as far as the witness’ credibility when he says he could see his face from that distance,” said Cerri.
In closing arguments, PD Cerri made her case that great bodily injury was not established in the proceeding.
“There is no indication that this was treated with more than gauze pads and Tylenol, so we don’t have any indication suggesting this was a great bodily injury that was inflicted,” argued Cerri. “Simply showing the blood cannot be enough to push us over that hump that would turn any other non-strike felony into a strike.”
Mitchell currently has two strikes from two previous felonies, and this case could give him his third strike, violating California’s “Three Strikes Law.” According to the law, Mitchell could receive a prison sentence of 25 years to life for committing a third felony offense, even if the offense is minor.
Cerri also concluded that DDA Jack failed to disprove the possibility that Mitchell was acting in self-defense. “Mr. Mitchell does not hurt any other part of the body except the two forearms closest to the wrist, as in that’s what’s going to be reaching for you as one is lunging at you to hurt you,” said Cerri.
Jack responded, saying the testimony shows that the victim was never physical with Mitchell, and only leaned toward him. Jack said there is no justification to slice someone on the forearms.
“The injuries are apparent lacerations. As to the extent of the injuries, I believe there is sufficient evidence with regard to great bodily injury,” explained DDA Jack.
The Judge, Delbert W. Oros, found sufficient evidence that Mitchell is guilty of assault with a deadly weapon and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury.
With regard to the victim’s injuries, Judge Oros believed they constitute as producing great bodily injury: “These are deep cuts based upon the evidence given. The size and the shape of them are more than what the law considers minor and moderate harm.”
Judge Oros also noted there was insufficient evidence to suggest Mitchell was acting in self-defense, as the victim only leaned forward, according to testimony.
Mitchell will be put on trial in front of a jury on October 1 at 8:45 a.m. in Department 9.
Mitchell is currently in custody at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center, with his bail set at $1,000,542.
To sign up for our new newsletter – Everyday Injustice – https://tinyurl.com/yyultcf9