By Hannah Skepner
FRESNO – A victim begged Judge Glenda Allen-Hill to drop all charges against her husband, Christopher Wilcox, here Friday in the Fresno County Superior Court, blaming the pandemic, a medication change and her housing burning down.
But the judge still ordered defendant Christopher Wilcox to prepare for a preliminary hearing on one count of “corporal injury on spouse” on May 27.
There was also an awkward moment before that decision by the court when Wilcox approached the stand and was asked about his legal representation. He needed a minute to decide he would accept that counsel from Assistant Public Defender Earl Horner.
Horner entered a plea of not guilty, and said that if the district attorney wished to request a full no contact protective order, that he would object. He wanted, instead, a peaceful contact order.
At this time, Deputy District Attorney Ashley Paulson told the court the victim was present and wished to be heard.
Judge Allen-Hill called the victim to the stand, where she immediately requested that all charges against her husband be dropped.
She explained that Wilcox is not a violent person, and is living with bipolar disorder. At the time of the incident, his doctor had been fluctuating the doses of his medication, and this sent him into a manic episode, she said.
The victim noted that over the past year they, as a family, have been dealing with a lot. They are currently living in a trailer with their two daughters after a fire burned down their house earlier this year.
This, she added, along with the pandemic, and being stuck in such close quarters, created a great deal of stress for the defendant. She concluded by saying that she feels a protective order is unnecessary because she feels safe around her husband.
The judge thanked her for her comments, and proceeded to ask DDA Paulson if she wished to prosecute this matter despite such comments. She said she previously spoke with the victim, but still believed a protective order is in the best interest of the victim and her family.
APD Horner requested a peaceful contact because this is the first domestic violence charge against his client, despite a previous DUI conviction.
DDA Paulson interjected, noting that in her conversation with the victim, it became apparent that this is not the first incident of domestic violence in the Wilcox home, and that there had been numerous other incidents that went unreported.
At this point, Judge Allen-Hill noted the prosecution’s comment drastically changed things, and issued the full no contact protective order. The court set the matter for a pre-preliminary hearing on Aug. 28, and for preliminary hearing on Sept. 4, both in Dept. 11.
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