Three Set for Trial after ‘Groundhog Day’ Early Morning Capers Lead to Assault and Robbery


By Pavan Potti

SACRAMENTO – Sacramento Sheriff’s Deputy Cody Cotten had a busy night June 22, starting at 12:35 a.m. In fact, it may have felt like “Groundhog Day,” as the officer testified at a preliminary hearing here in Sacramento County Superior Court.

Fernando Zambrano, Ricardo Alvarez and Oseio Rangel all face charges of robbery and assault. After Wednesday’s preliminary hearing, they were bound over for trial Nov. 2.

That early call involved a report of an assault and battery. After arriving on the scene and controlling the situation, he left. But then—Groundhog Day—he soon got a call from the same location.

Four men, who had earlier assaulted a man and stolen some of his possessions, had returned and were banging on the apartment door of the victim’s friend. When one of the four was later identified as the father of the friend’s child, it became clear that the fragments of the night’s events needed to be put together.

According to Cotten, after the first call a half hour past midnight, he arrived at the scene to speak with the victim and his friend. The victim claimed that the two had been out for a walk near their apartment complex when a grey/silver sedan-like van pulled up to them.

The victim saw four or five men get out of the vehicle, all of whom quickly confronted and attacked him. Despite not knowing who they were, the victim faced a harsh beatdown, where the group continued to throw punches and kicks at his face and head. The group subsequently stole the victim’s black and white Jordan 11 shoes as well his Louis Vitton hat.

Cotten further added that when he spoke to the victim, the latter’s face was swollen and dried blood was visible on his face.

Cotten left, but soon received the next call from the same location around 2 am. The victim’s friend was worried as the group of assaulters had returned to her area and were banging on her door.

As Cotten was driving back to the apartment complex, he received information that the group had left the area. Yet, at the same time, he soon saw a grey van, which matched the victim’s vehicle description, driving around.

Cotten stopped the vehicle around two miles away from the apartments. He identified the driver as Fernando Zambrano, the front passenger as Ricardo Alvarez (the father of the friend’s child), and the rear driver passenger as Oseio Rangel, with another unidentified passenger in the remaining seat.

While speaking to the four, Cotten also noticed that Rangel was wearing the same Jordan 11 shoes that the victim earlier said were stolen from him.

Jesse Iniguez, another sheriff’s deputy who reported to the scene on the night of the incident, spoke to the original caller (the 12:35 am call), who said that he had heard continuous commotion from outside of his apartment. When he looked out, he witnessed the assault, which he claimed to have been physical with a lot of punching and kicking.

Iniguez said the victim’s friend told him that she and the victim had gone out for a walk when she suddenly got a call from her father, who warned her that her ex-boyfriend Ricardo and a few other men were banging on the door and were demanding to see her. He warned her not to come home.

Sensing that trouble was about to ensue she told the victim that he had to leave the area immediately as he couldn’t be seen with her. Before any immediate evacuation occurred, she saw a gray van pull up to them with Ricardo and three others stepping out.

According to the friend, Ricardo looked straight at the victim and yelled, “I see you with my girl homie. I knew I’d catch you slipping.”

Realizing that the confrontation was going to turn physical, she and the victim began to run away, but by the time she turned around, the group had already gotten to the victim and was attacking him.

Inguiez added that the victim’s friend was able to identify Alvarez, Rangel, and Zambrano out of the four suspects.

All three defendants entered not guilty pleas. Their trial is, as indicated, set for Nov. 2.

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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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