Police Stymied by Man at Student Complex, Found Incompetent to Stand Trial

By Kalen Abe

SACRAMENTO – A defendant, who was found to be incompetent to stand trial for burglary at his probable cause hearing here in Sacramento County Superior Court, nonetheless made life difficult for police trying to enter an apartment in which he was illegally barricaded during an escapade last year.

“One of the witness roommates said that my client was rambling, introduced himself as T.K., was friendly, (and) said he lived there,” said Assistant Public Defender Karri Iyama, adding, “Obviously there was some kind of mental health episode occurring at the time he was inside the apartment.”

On Tuesday morning at Sacramento Superior Court, Iyama served as the defense for Tyler Kruse, a 27-year-old man suspected of harassing students at the Upper Eastside Lofts apartment complex. Kruse has been in custody since his arrest last September when the crime occurred.

According to a report made by the Sacramento police, authorities received a call about the defendant, Kruse, wandering the halls and harassing residents. After security asked the defendant to leave, allegedly, Kruse refused to do so. Officers responded, but the defendant refused to cooperate with officers and allegedly became aggressive.

Police arrested Kruse and booked him into the Sacramento County Main Jail for a probation violation, an outstanding warrant, and resisting/obstructing an officer. The defendant was committed to a state mental hospital in June, and was found incompetent shortly afterwards.

Judge Steve White presided over the defendant’s probable cause hearing.

Deputy District Attorney Alexandra Sanders’ police witness said officers learned that an unidentified male entered the residence of two Sacramento State University students. Upon the officers’ arrival, the students called police, and then locked themselves in the bedroom.

When police arrived, they didn’t find it easy to get in the apartment.

After the students dropped the keys to their apartment out the window, the officers couldn’t unlock the door because defendant Kruse kept re-locking it, said police, noting “as officers tried to unlock the deadbolt, each time, the deadbolt would get locked again.”

Police finally gained entry—after they tried kicking the door in—by taking a run at the door and knocking it down. Kruse was subsequently detained after being apprehended by a K-9 unit.

Inside the apartment, police found a jacket with a glass pipe in it—the kind of pipe commonly used for meth, said the officers. The students claimed it wasn’t their jacket.

Officers said the students told them Kruse introduced himself as their “new roommate.” That’s when they called 911.

APD Iyama cross-examined the officers, who said a student in the apartment encountered Kruse, who shook his hand and introduced himself as T.K., his initials. According to the witness, the student said that Kruse was “talking, but not making sense.”

After the student’s roommate arrived home and entered the apartment (the roommate does not recall whether he did or did not lock the door upon entering), the roommate received a call informing him that there was someone they did not know in the apartment.

According to the witness, Kruse began to tell the second student “random names” he was unfamiliar with. In addition, Kruse repeatedly claimed that he knew the students, saying, “Do you recognize me, we know each other,” though they had never seen Kruse before.

For her last question, Iyama asked whether the apartment complex was gated. The witness affirmed this question and that a gate code or key fob was needed for entry into the complex.

Following Iyama’s cross-examination of the People’s first witness, Judge White asked the witness if he could recall whether the students asked Kruse to leave. The witness said he couldn’t recall if the students mentioned doing this, but he remembers their saying that, while they were locked in the bedroom, they could hear Kruse rummaging through the drawers in the kitchen, and they were afraid that he might be arming himself with kitchen knives or other kitchen tools.

A second police witness said Kruse didn’t resist them once they made physical contact with him, and they found “several sets of keys” on Kruse’s person, including a key fob. According to the witness, the second student claimed one of the sets of keys. Though the witness did not confirm that these keys were the apartment keys, he stated that “the key was the same key as (the other student’s key).”

Additionally, the witness stated that the roommate did not state the last time he had the keys, but, when asked, he immediately located the key chain on a lanyard, and stated that the keys were missing. The witness also stated that he did not recall asking Kruse why he possessed the key and key fob.

After Iyama’s cross-examination of the second witness, Judge White asked, “Did you identify yourself, and if so, how?” The witness answered that they shouted to Kruse that they were Sacramento Police, and asked for the door to be peacefully opened.

In her final words, DDA Sanders claimed that the burden of proof was sufficient at this level of hearing, and that “one does not need to complete the theft for burglary to occur.”

In her final words, defense counsel Iyama argued that for a first degree burglary count, intent has to be formed prior to entering. She described how in Kruse’s case, besides the key fob, the officers noted that nothing else was taken, and it would “not make sense” for him to steal the key fob alone. “Kruse clearly thought that he lived there,” said Iyama.

Ultimately, Judge White sided with the prosecution, ruling, “The People have met their burden for a probable cause hearing.”

However, White also acknowledged Kruse’s incapacitated state, noting an officer report filing Kruse’s commitment to the custody of state hospitals to restore Kruse to competency, and that a sheriff’s order was made to commit Kruse to an available bed.

At the close of the case, White told Kruse, “I hope that you get treatment and are restored to competency and these things can be addressed further when you get back.”

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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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