By Eric J. Trochez
SACRAMENTO- It all started with the alleged victim’s boyfriend pouring chocolate milk on the head of the defendant, who is accused of retaliating by striking the victim with her car. This all led to a trial now set for Nov. 4.
That’s the story recounted in Sacramento County Superior Court Thursday at the preliminary hearing for Audrey Ferrell, also known as China Reed, whose heated argument with the victim’s boyfriend June 26, 2019, led to the ensuring mayhem.
The argument—which, according to later testimony, had something to do with child molestation—escalated when the victim’s boyfriend poured chocolate milk onto Ferrell’s head and proceeded to punch her in the head, allegedly.
The victim de-escalated the situation by convincing the boyfriend to leave and for them both to head to Hillsdale Coin Laundry. However, the situation didn’t end at that point, because Ferrell drove her vehicle to the laundromat and parked near the couple, according to the police report.
The report also said that when they decided to leave, Ferrell put her car into reverse and started accelerating toward the couple. She struck the victim with her car and, in doing so, caused extensive damage to Hillsdale Coin Laundry and the sidewalk.
Det. Brandon Wright spoke to the alleged victim on August 28, 2019. He was told by the victim that he “was hanging out with his boyfriend over there at the Coin Laundry (Hillsdale) … while they were hanging out, a known acquaintance of his who he identified as China Reed used a vehicle to intentionally run into him which caused extensive injuries.”
Wright added, “He stated he witnessed I believe [his boyfriend] poured a, uh, bottle of chocolate milk over China Reed’s head. And I believe they got into a physical confrontation at that point.
Pushing, shoving and possibly punching each other as well. [The victim] convinced [his boyfriend] to leave the property with him, which is why they walked across the street to the coin laundry business. To hang out.”
Wright continued, quoting from the victim statement.
“Once [the victim] and [his boyfriend] began to walk away,” Wright said, “China Reed put the car in reverse, backed out of the parking stall, and accelerated the vehicle directly at both of them, hitting the victim, and the car went halfway into the business itself.”
Wright confirmed the victim discovered at a later date that the defendant’s real name was actually Audrey Farrell, and was later identified by a photo from Facebook.
The prosecutor asked Wright if he watched any surveillance footage from the coin laundry and asked if it was consistent with the victim’s statement. Wright confirmed it was.
She proceeded to ask if Wright went to personally contact the coin laundry owners and if he went to witness the damage first hand. He did not contact the owners, but he did witness the crime scene.
“The entire front of the business is one large window. So, the point of impact for Ms. Ferrell’s vehicle went all the way through that glass wall. Had extensive structural damage,” said Wright, who said the victim also had to seek medical attention.
Assistant Public Defender Corey Thornhill begam his cross-examination of Det. Wright, asking him when he “first arrived on the scene, who did you speak with?”
“I never made it to the crime scene,” admitted Wright, who said he never spoke to the victim, his boyfriend, or the defendant on the day of the incident.
“But you’re aware on the day of the incident [the boyfriend] physically assaulted Ms. Ferrell, is that correct?” asked Thornhill.
Wright responded, “[The victim] told me that he witnessed [his boyfriend] and Ms. Farrell having a physical fight. They were wrestling on the ground in the apartment complex,” and noted that the victim’s boyfriend poured milk on Farrell’s head then punched her in the face and head.
“Just to be clear,” Thornhill stated, “you wrote in your report [the boyfriend] punched Ms. Farrell in her head?” Wright confirmed.
Thornhill asked if Wright spoke to anyone else who witnessed the incident other than the victim.
“I spoke to two other witnesses who were present, at a later date via telephone.” answered Wright.
Thornhill asked if Wright could explain what caused the altercation to take place, Wright agreed that, as the defense attorney suggested, the “argument between [the boyfriend] and Ms. Farrell began because there were allegations of someone being molested.”
“And it was alleged that [the boyfriend]’s nephew had been molested, is that correct?” continued Thornhill. Wright confirmed this to be the case.
Judge Steve White found sufficient cause to hold the defendant to answer to the charges of one count of assault upon the victim, causing great bodily injury with a deadly weapon (her car), and one count of willfully and unlawfully using violence against the victim.
After Ferrell pleaded not guilty, Judge White asked if Ferrell could afford a lawyer. “I hope so,” replied Ferrell. After confirming she couldn’t, Corey Thornhill was appointed as her public defender.
Judge White set the trial for Nov. 23.
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