Defendant Held on $1 Million Bail for “Family Squabble” Involving Threats to Hit Cousin with his Car

By Kelly Moran

SACRAMENTO – Assistant Public Defender Daniel Jovel came to a Sacramento County Superior Court hearing late last week with a goal of reducing his client’s bail from $1 million to $25,000, the highest amount the defendant could afford to pay.

The judge didn’t agree. And now the “family squabble” Jovel described is set for trial.

Antwan Knight is accused of threatening and attempting to hit his cousin with his car after an argument broke out between the two of them. Both sides of the incident called 911 on each other, with Knight’s reason being the cousin had used a metal pipe to hit and shatter some of the windows in his vehicle.

According to PD Jovel, the incident was a “family squabble” and a “family dispute”, and “[the victim] was never hurt, we know he didn’t get hit right?” Jovel confirmed with prosecution witness, officer Katherine Nishimura.

“Obviously, one million is way, way too high,” stated Jovel, “We are aware that public safety is an issue, he would abide by any stay away orders from [the victim], And we believe that a million dollars is just outrageous.”

“This is not a troublesome guy,” Jovel argued, “he’s had trouble in the past, this is a troublesome case, I agree, but it was within the family confines, and I believe that the bail would ensure that he would come to court, and any stay away orders I believe he would adhere to.”

Jovel continued, highlighting the fact that the victim was not injured by the actions of his client.

“Nobody got hurt,” he said, “it was at the family house, we don’t have much information regarding this incident except that the victim here had a pole, my client was, by witnesses, chasing him with the car, but how close he got to hitting him, was he trying to hit him, scare him?”

PD Jovel also drew attention to the timing of the incident with the cousin’s pipe.

While cross examining officer Nishimura, he asked, “walk this through with me, he’s at his trunk, he grabs the pipe from his car, he has the pipe in his hand when he’s being chased by the vehicle, correct? Did you ever inquire to him why he had a pipe in his hand while he’s being chased as opposed to being chased and then going to grab the pipe?”

Nishimura admitted that she did not.

Both Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gong, and Judge Kevin J. McCormack disagreed with Jovel’s attempt to lessen the severity of the allegations against Knight.

Gong detailed a case from 2009 that saw Knight charged with two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and one felony count of willfully inflicting inhuman corporal punishment upon a child.

In that case, said DDA Gong, an argument ensued between Knight and another adult male at a friend’s house, causing the two to start physically fighting in the hallway. One of the children in the house tried to protect the adult victim from Knight by telling him to run into her room.

The defendant, who Gong mentioned was “highly intoxicated” proceeded to kick down the door and “cut the male victim adult once on the face… and during this fight, that eight year old girl was cut twice in the face, each cut was about an inch long, on her cheek and face.”

Defense counsel Jovel pointed out that this incident occurred “approximately 11 years ago, when my client was under 20 years old.”

“That was one occasion as a young man, he was intoxicated, obviously that was not a good situation,” he continued, “…he has had this one theft case since then, so he hasn’t been in a violent incident over the last 12 years until he gets in this one incident with a family member.”

Despite Jovel’s defense, Judge McCormack was taken aback by Knight’s behavior from 2009, noting, “I am really, really uncomfortable with you out in the public,” he said, “that conduct, in addition to the prior one, would suggest that you are a danger to the community.”

“Maybe you’re not,” the judge said to the defendant, adding “you’re shaking your head no, I understand that, okay. But I’ve got to make this decision based on the information I heard. [Jovel] kept mentioning that nobody got hurt, it wasn’t for a lack of effort it would appear, It was at least two attempts to hit [the victim], that’s the information in front of me now.”

The judge ruled there was enough evidence for Knight to be held at trial. He’ll return to court for his jury trial on Jan. 25, 2021.

Kelly Moran is currently a senior at Santa Clara University, though originally from Connecticut. She is majoring in English, with a focus on British Literature and Professional Writing, and is also minoring in Journalism.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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