By Tanya Decendario and Koda Slingluff
CONTRA COSTA – Defendant Alexis Ayala-Delgado appeared in Contra Costa County Superior Court last week to face seven charges, including robbery, assault, threatened murder, and false imprisonment—all against his own family—after years of growing concerns for his mental state.
One of the witnesses who testified at Ayala-Delgado’s preliminary hearing was his own mother. In response to questions by Deputy District Attorney Natasha Mehta, she recalled two recent incidents that occurred on Nov. 14, 2020, and Dec. 26, 2020, in which she felt threatened by her son.
After repeated issues and concerns, Ayala-Delgado was not welcome in her home. In these two instances, she found him on her property, noting his long-term addiction to drugs, causing him to be in a coma. Then, she indicated that Ayala-Delgado suffers from mental health issues, such as schizophrenia.
“For one hour, he would not let me use my phone, my key, and everywhere I move he kick me not to open the door, not to open anything until he ask me and let me go until I give him $100,” the mother said.
She claimed that she attempted to drive away from the defendant, but he stood behind her vehicle and pressured her to give him the $100. Desperate to get away from him, she gave him the money, and told him to leave.
“I give him the $100. I just threw it by the window and he’s still upset. He says, ‘Let me go in,’ and I said, ‘You have the money you just go and let me free,’ and he’s still angry and he came in front and smashed the windshield,” she explains.
Allegedly, every time the defendant was angry, he would threaten her by asserting that he would chop off her head and kill her.
DDA Mehta questioned the witness: “How do you feel when he says those things to you?”
“I feel like he’s really going to,” she responded, adding, “I’m always so scared of him.”
Ayala-Delgado was in her kitchen, “hitting the stove and everything around,” she said. “He said he blamed me, said I took an alcohol bottle from him. I said no. I said, ‘What do you want?’ and he said, ‘It’s my birthday you don’t even make me dinner.’
“When my daughter came out to see what’s going on, I told her to go inside, lock the door, call the police. He [was] so angry, chasing me around the house.
“I told her to get back but he was forcing to get to her, I don’t know what he was wanting to do, to beat her…” she trailed off. She was then beaten by her son, leaving bruises she said were still on her skin, even as she testified.
“I let him beat me up instead of her,” she told the courtroom.
The defendant’s mother said she grabbed something heavy and turned to face her son.
“He still wanted to beat me but I grabbed a heater, and I said if he beat me one more time I’m going to throw it on his head. It wasn’t my intention to hurt my son but if he hurt anyone in the house I was going to throw it.”
Finally, the defendant fled into the street.
And at some point, Ayala-Delgado had broken down the door of his sister’s room, reaching his arms inside in an attempt to hurt her. She only left her room when the police arrived and helped her out of her mangled doorway.
“[Her] nose was bleeding and swollen but she doesn’t remember what happened to her,” the mother said of her daughter.
Officer Colton Harvey said he observed a man fleeing from a trailer. Harvey confirmed that the man he saw was the defendant, Alexis Ayala-Delgado.
Harvey observed that the top hinge of a door was broken off and items were thrown around, with the blinds from the sliding glass door broken on the ground. “It didn’t appear as though it was normal,” Harvey explained.
The officer went on to add more details about the items that had been stolen that night—a backpack and a cellphone.
“She feared that her brother would cause physical harm to her if she didn’t let go of the phone.” Harvey explained.
Judge Goldstein determined that of the seventh count, robbery, it was clear that the sister’s cellphone had been taken, but the evidence of the backpack being taken was less certain.
Assistant Public Defender Brandon Li objected on all seven counts. Regarding Count 1 of first degree robbery, Li argued that the mother had let Delgado into the house willingly, since she had mentioned offering him food.
Goldstein shut down Li’s argument swiftly, saying there was simply “no evidence she readmitted him into the house in December” and “strong evidence that she was surprised he was in the home”—adding that the evidence “could itself support a separate burglary charge but certainly entering the house in the first place is sufficient for burglary.”
Goldstein continued through the seven counts, saying, “I think the evidence is sufficient to support Counts 1 to 3. There’s evidence he entered without permission, he demanded money, did not permit her to leave, as she’s trapped in her car, she gives him a $100 bill to get him to leave… he entered the home without permission and, with the intent to steal, he robbed his mother.”
As for the backpack, which was part of Count 7, Goldstein noted that the evidence was weaker, but still enough.
“The total evidence does give suspicion that he robbed his mother of the backpack. He was causing commotion, attacking his mother, bashing his sister’s door in, was attacking his mother, and his mother was close to him in this trailer in this entire event… she talks about realizing the backpack being gone, the fact that she witnessed i—she’s identified it with great particularity that she knew what it was,” Judge Goldstein elaborated.
Defense counsel Li, speaking for Delgado, requested release on Delgado’s own reconnaissance.
“I think it’s obvious these issues are based in mental health issues, issues with schizophrenia. He has a place to take his medication and a homeless shelter to stay at,” Li reasoned, “So I can respond to anything the court has concerns about.”
But his request for release was denied almost immediately.
“These are two serious incidents,” Goldstein emphasized in his reply. “He invaded his mother’s property without permission, attacked a minor, and was totally out of control. With the knowledge he has outstanding drug or mental illness issues goes both ways. As he is currently treated he is at risk to be a danger to his family. He is not a good candidate for release.”
His trial will be set later.
Tanya Decendario is a third-year student studying Legal Studies at UC Berkeley. She is originally from Sonoma, CA, but currently resides in Albany, CA.
Koda is a junior at UC Berkeley, majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Rhetoric. He is from Ventura, CA.
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