Despite Some Prosecution Trouble, Judge Sends 4-Count Case on to Trial

By Kathryn Wood

SACRAMENTO – Despite some difficulty in proving a key part of a case, the prosecution here in Sacramento County Superior Court Friday won the judge over enough to have the matter scheduled for trial.

Defendant Casey Weber is being held on four charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, first degree burglary, and a misdemeanor including preventing or discouraging the victim from reporting the crime.

However, although the judge later set trial proceedings on all four counts after the preliminary hearing, the prosecution had problems proving with 100 percent certainty the defendant had a firearm in his possession during the incident.

The first witness was Sacramento Police Officer Jeffrey Thompson, who reported that the victim claimed “he was sleeping with his girlfriend at her residence and was awoken by a male punching him several times in the face and head.”

The victim said he endured 10 to 15 punches, and told the officer he was “bleeding heavily” and had “difficulty seeing.”

Eventually, the male victim was able to push the subject off of him and flee the scene.

Thompson testified that he obtained video surveillance from the neighbor’s house that had a clear view of the house where the incident occurred, which displayed an individual walking away from the residence with an object in his left hand.

Defendant Weber stated that he “went to his girlfriend’s residence and noticed his girlfriend was in bed with another man.” He claimed that it was a “physical fight” and he did not have a weapon.

Defense Attorney Yuri Hill questioned whether Thompson could identify a face or race of the individual pictured in the surveillance video, but Thompson could not. Thompson stated that there were no distinguishable characteristics from the video, aside from the object in the subject’s left hand.

“Could it have been anything else?” Hill questioned. “Could have been anything,” Thompson replied, stating that the video was in night vision, so anything that comes across as black could be any color.

Thompson added that the object “extended well past his hand,” claiming that the way the subject was holding it made it appear as a firearm. “But you can’t say it’s a firearm for certain, correct?” asked Hill.

“It’s my belief that it is… so no I can’t say for certain… but it’s my belief that it was a firearm,” Thompson responded. Additionally, Thompson testified that the defendant denied he had a gun during the incident.

Officer Ricardo Ramirez interviewed the female victim on what had occurred the night of the incident. She stated that “her ex-boyfriend broke into the house … jumped on them and punched [the male victim].”

She also mentioned that the defendant was not living there and did not have permission to be in the house. On her account, she recalled the defendant punching the male victim “approximately six times.”

Initially, she believed that the defendant was armed with a pistol, but later redacted that statement.

When she went to grab her phone to call 911, the defendant took the phone out of her hand, preventing her from calling. According to the female victim, the defendant stated that he was “going to kill anyone who came over to the house.”

The female victim reported that she previously dated the defendant for three years and the relationship ended two months prior.

Ramirez testified that he could not identify the individual “with 100% certainty” based on the surveillance video.

When Ramirez asked the female victim again if the defendant had a firearm, she replied that the “whole incident was a blur” and she “didn’t remember if he had a firearm or not.”

Ramirez reported that she seemed “disconnected, unemotional, and unsurprised that this occurred.”

Hill stated that it was only mentioned that the defendant owned two legally registered firearms. He added that she attempted to break up the fight and attempted to pull the defendant off of the male victim.

“If Mr. Weber had a firearm, at this point, she would have clearly seen it, correct?” Hill asked.

During this time, the defendant accidentally unmuted his microphone on Zoom and stated, “Exactly.”

Hill then questioned if there were “any distinguishable characteristics of this firearm,” to which Ramirez replied “other than the shape, no.” Ramirez commented that he viewed an “L shape black object” but could not see a barrel or the handle of the gun.

Ramirez added that the video was “too dark to obtain actual details of a firearm” besides an actual shape.

Furthermore, Ramirez commented that the female victim stated that “she didn’t know if she saw a firearm.”

“In her first statement to you when you first contacted [the female victim] did she tell you if she saw Mr. Weber hit [the male victim] with a gun?” District Attorney Jennifer Gong asked.

“So initially, which is not on recording… when I initially made contact, she did mention a firearm.” Ramirez claimed.

The defendant accidentally unmuted his microphone a second time, commenting “hmm” and tilting his head.

Furthermore, Ramirez added that in her interview, the female victim stated that she didn’t know if she saw a pistol because it was “too chaotic.”

Hill commented “something like a person breaking into a house and brandishing a weapon, would that seem to be something that would be included in a complete, accurate, and truthful report?”

“Yes,” Ramirez replied. “And we have no mention of that correct?” Hill asserted. “That is correct,” Ramirez declared.

Judge Tami Bogert ruled that the defense made a strong argument and “the court agrees that there might ultimately be some proof problems specifically regarding a pistol.”

But “for the purposes of the low burden that applies at preliminary hearings…the court does find that the evidence is sufficient today for a holding order for Count 1,” Bogert added.

Furthermore, Judge Bogert stated that “likewise it appears to the court today that Counts 2-4 of the complaint have been committed as well… the court finds there is sufficient cause to believe that Mr. Weber is guilty thereof of Counts 1-4 at the level of proof for purposes of a preliminary hearing and therefore he is ordered to be held to answer on all 4 counts.”

Further proceedings are scheduled for March 18 at 1:30 p.m. in Dept. 62 of the Sacramento Superior Court.

Kathryn Wood is a third year at UC Davis, majoring in Political Science-Public Service and minoring in Professional Writing and Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning. She is from Petaluma, California.

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