By Evie Sun
SACRAMENTO – Even after what appeared to be a poignant and damning victim impact statement read in open court last Friday, a man accused of attempted robbery and car vandalism is being allowed to pursue mental health diversion—with the blessing of the court and victim—instead of being criminally prosecuted.
Sacramento Superior Court Dept. 61 did provide a space for a victim to share her impact statement letter regarding her experience with the attempted robbery and vehicle vandalization.
Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jack requested the court allow defendant Albino Nitollama to pursue mental health diversion, noting it is typically the court’s discretion whether to allow the defendant to pursue that remedy.
Jack said a treatment plan was provided to the court and if the court feels comfortable that the defendant can complete the outpatient treatment in a safe manner within the given period of time, then it is counted for future proof of progress dates for approximately a one year period before charges are dismissed.
The judge stated that the court does not have an objection to allowing the defendant to pursue mental health diversion and would authorize it.
The victim also did not have an objection, but prepared a victim impact statement to be presented in court.
The statement was presented in court by Victim Advocate Kristine Estrada. In the statement, the victim stated that the defendant attempted to steal her car in the parking lot of her son’s daycare. When the attempt proved unsuccessful, the defendant vandalized the victim’s car.
Two years ago, the victim, a single mother to her then two-year-old son, was dropping her son off to his daycare around 6 or 6:30 a.m. when she noticed a car tailgating her into the parking lot of the daycare.
When she got out of the car with her son, the defendant drove to the right side of her car, blocking the entryway to the ramp leading up to the daycare.
“Instead of me going up the ramp, I tried to beat him to the door by going underneath the rails where this man quickly ran up to me and my child, stopping and blocking me from entering the daycare,” the advocate said, reading from the victim statement.
“At this point, I was terrified. I do not know what this man wanted. I didn’t even know what I did wrong. I screamed, ‘I don’t know what you want from me. I don’t even know who you are,’ all shook up and terrified while my two-year-old son was holding my hand, watching, not knowing what’s going on. I do believe the only thing that saved me was having my two-year son staring at him.”
The victim added that, as she and her son entered the daycare, the defendant walked to the driver’s side of the victim’s car and demanded that she open the door. When she refused, he appeared to become increasingly angry.
“My son’s teacher and I had turned our heads for one split second … as he took off, but before you knew it, we heard a loud crash. He thought it was okay to crash his car into the back of my vehicle before taking off,” she said.
In her statement, the victim outlined the mental and financial effects that this event has had on her life, explaining, “Here I am, a single parent, working two jobs and going to school to give a better future to my son and here this man approaches me with the intent to possibly rob me for everything I’ve worked for and, because it was unsuccessful, you vandalized my property?”
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what his man has done to me and the emotions about this has interfered with my life…I still drop my son off at the same daycare which brings me back every time to that specific morning…This man lives in the same area that I do, and every time that I see that vehicle that he was driving, my anxiety shoots through the roof,” she said.
The judge signed the order with progress reports required and the defendant was granted mental health diversion for a period of a year. The court will continue with this matter on Feb. 26 in Dept. 61 at 1:35 p.m.
Evie Sun is a third-year student at UCLA, studying Sociology. She is from the East Bay Area.
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