Judge Reduces Charge for Defendant Who Flung Beer Bottle at Employees

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By Linhchi Nguyen

SACRAMENTO – A defendant is charged with stealing alcohol from a local Target and throwing one of the glass beer bottles at an employee—the prosecutor and defense attorney argued at Thursday’s preliminary hearing in Sacramento County Superior Court if the action counts as an assault with a deadly weapon.

Deputy District Attorney Nick Karp and Assistant Public Defender Karri Iyama presented conflicting evidence as to what actually happened when the defendant, Michael Perkins, entered a Target store on April 27.

Karp brought forward three Sacramento County police officers as witnesses, who arrived at the scene by the time the defendant was exiting the store.

One of the police officers, Officer Tianna Camous, testified that she heard from others about the defendant entering the Target while “threatening the business and customers.” Almost immediately after, a loss prevention security worker walked over to the defendant and attempted to escort him out of the store.

In response, Perkins told the lost prevention worker to “f*** off,” and that “he would end his life.” After that, as shown on the surveillance video, the defendant made his way to the alcohol aisle of the store, where he picked up one wine bottle and a 6-pack of beer.

The loss prevention security worker, as well as one of the store managers, continued to trail behind Perkins throughout the store. Finally, when Perkins was near the exit, past the point of sales, Officer Camous testified that Perkins swung one of the glass beer bottles in the security worker’s direction.

“He said he would fight him if he had to,” Camous said. “He was just about six feet away, and the bottle just barely missed [the security worker].”

Officer Morgan Becker added the defendant even said, “I will kill you,” while raising the wine bottle above his head. At this point, the Target employees did not stop Perkins as he left the store, which DA Karp argued was circumstantial evidence of their fear.

“The fact that the LPO and then the manager allowed the defendant to leave the store with his property is circumstantial evidence of the fact that they…were scared of suffering bodily injury to such a degree that they allowed the defendant to take the property,” Karp said.

Following Perkin’s exit, he was met with Officer Frederick Osmond, who eventually detained him.

Despite the violent allegations, Osmond testified, “When I contacted him, he was cooperative and calm, from what I can remember.” The defendant did not cause an incident nor resist arrest.

In cross-examination, Officer Camous admitted that Perkin’s threatening language mainly happened in the beginning when Perkins just entered the store. And the loss prevention security worker told the police that “he wasn’t afraid of him” at that time.

Iyama argued that the foul language was merely “nonsensical” jargon and that Perkins did not actually intend to harm anyone.

In the security tapes, Perkins seemed to only be walking calmly down the aisles without making any eye or physical contact with anybody. He was shown swinging his arms while mindlessly looking around the aisles as the security worker stayed a couple feet behind him.

The security worker also didn’t seem to exhibit any alarming expressions in response to Perkin’s behavior.

Unfortunately, the tapes did not clearly reveal the scene when Perkins threw the beer bottle at the workers. Instead, the security footage ended with Perkins exiting the store with all his alcoholic beverages in hand.

Yet, Karp insisted that “you can see an overhand swing of the bottle” through the video surveillance .

He also added, “I don’t think there’s any dispute that a glass beer bottle can be a deadly weapon. The force applied was such that it could have caused injury to either the LPO (loss prevention officer) or the manager.”

Iyama contested that: “I don’t see the overhand. It seems more of a…flinging…of a bottle.” And she didn’t believe the beer bottle should count as a “deadly weapon,” as it would not have caused substantial harm to the workers.

Judge Kristina B. Lindquist agreed with Iyama that the court would need further evidence to prove the likelihood of causing great bodily injury by the defendant’s throw.

Karp responded by re-emphasizing that the “heavy” glass beer bottle landed within a foot of the Target employees, according to the testimonies. If the bottle actually struck any of the workers, Karp believed “maybe it causes a bruise, maybe it breaks on the head, maybe it goes in their eye…maybe it causes significant bodily damage.

“This is something that can produce injuries sufficient to satisfy the GBI prong,” the DDA argued.

But in the end, Judge Lindquist decided that “the evidence presented today did not show the GBI element,” and, therefore, she is no longer holding Perkins to answer on that count.

However, she was also not yet inclined to shorten Perkins’s robbery and threats to misdemeanors, as Iyama suggested. Lindquist encouraged the attorneys to talk it through with each other first, before the next court date.

Perkins will be in custody with bail and is expected to return to court for an arraignment on October 1 on 1:35 p.m.


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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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