By Emma Phillips
WOODLAND – A defense attorney attempted to undermine the credibility of a victim here in Yolo County Superior Court last week because of her admitted health problems.
Deputy Public Defender Richard Van Zandt said the victim over-exaggerated her health issues, suggesting she was bipolar and therefore not believable, during the preliminary hearing for Raymond Obregon, accused of holding her hostage.
However, Judge David Reed—after the victim denied she was bipolar—excluded the statement by the PD, ruling there is no natural connection between being bipolar and one’s credibility.
The victim testified she was in atrial fibrillation and suffering a seizure for the entirety of the 3.5 hour ride, where defendant Obregon held her hostage and forced her to drive him around Knights Landing in Yolo County.
On the night of Sept. 27, Obregon allegedly abducted, held hostage, and threatened the life of the victim. He is charged with kidnapping, threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize, and preventing/dissuading a witness/victim by threat, all of which are considered felonies.
The alleged victim described her terror during the entire ordeal, saying she has been in fear for her safety since the incident.
She claimed that she regularly visits Knights Landing to take care of 17 colonies of feral cats, which is what she was doing on the night of the incident. She had met Obregon about two weeks before, through mutual friends, and had driven him to Jack in the Box in Woodland about a week earlier after hanging out at a friend’s house.
But on the night of September 27, Obregon got into the victim’s car with a large black backpack and told her where to drive, the entire ordeal lasting about 3.5 hours. He made her go to multiple acquaintances’ houses; the victim said they were picking these men up so that they could participate in the “violence and murder” that later took place at Obregon’s mother’s home.
The victim believes Obregon is part of the Norteños gang, but has never directly seen him with any other self-proclaiming members of this gang, only with meth addicts. The victim had also heard Obregon talk about his guns before, and how he wanted to use them on a group of people who had beat him up, making her fearful that he had a weapon on his person while in the car.
At one point during the drive, Obregon told the victim to stop at a convenience store so he could buy alcohol, and he made the victim come into the store with him. She explained to the court that she was terrified to make a scene in the convenience store or call 911 because she suspected Obregon had a gun in his bulky jacket—however, she never saw a weapon to confirm this suspicion.
After Obregon got out of the victim’s car at his mother’s house, she drove another 10 miles before calling the police, a testament to how frightened she was that Obregon would retaliate if he knew she had gotten the law involved or had any hand in getting him arrested.
The victim recounted how she called her ex-boyfriend, a retired deputy, before calling 911, just so he could talk her through what to do to ensure her safety.
The victim has a myriad of health problems which made the incident even more terrifying for her, she said.
She said her heart was in AFib and she was having a seizure the entire time, despite being on six heart medications, two oral diabetes medications, an anti-anxiety and an anti-seizure medication. Besides these health aiding medications, she said there was no other alcohol or illegal substance in her system—“taking any drug would kill me, I’m a Type I diabetic” she claimed.
The preliminary hearing was continued to a later date. The victim was dismissed as she is not needed for any more testimony at this time.
To sign up for our new newsletter – Everyday Injustice – https://tinyurl.com/yyultcf9
Support our work – to become a sustaining at $5 – $10- $25 per month hit the link: