By Avalon Amaral
SACRAMENTO, CA – A jealous rage led Joshua Cross to Sacramento County Superior Court last week, accused of willful and unlawful assault with a firearm that could have resulted in the death of his year-long romantic partner.
Referred to in court as “Ms. Doe,” Cross’s partner had contacted the police after a violent altercation erupted at a Petro Sacramento gas station Nov. 16, 2020.
While stopping at the gas station with then-boyfriend Cross to put air in her tires, Ms. Doe went inside the convenience store and was approached by a man who asked her for a dollar.
Cross saw the two communicating and became enraged. He confronted Ms. Doe inside the store, stating he was going to “beat her ass.” She then retreated to her car with Cross in close pursuit.
Once in the car with Ms. Doe, Cross reached into his rear waistband and retrieved a handgun that he then used to strike Ms. Doe on the right side of her head. He then proceeded to aim the firearm at her head in close enough distance that it resulted in scratches upon her.
Cross began to jerk her head back and forth, using her hair for grip. Ms. Doe, afraid for her life, defended herself by pushing the gun away. Unknown if it was because of this change in movement or potentially right timing, a single shot was fired through the front windshield of her vehicle—no one was harmed.
Ms. Doe noticed that Cross began fiddling with the firearm as if he were reloading the chamber when a woman came over to ask Ms. Doe if she needed assistance. While the woman was assisting Ms. Doe, Cross took this opportunity to leave the vehicle.
Once Ms. Doe reassured the woman that she was all right, she noticed Cross returning to the car. In fear of being shot or facing potential death from her boyfriend, Ms. Doe urinated on herself. Before Cross was able to reach the car, Ms. Doe pulled out of the gas station and sped to another one nearby.
In shock due to this interaction, Ms. Doe proceeded to attend to her car, unbothered by the urine stain on her tan dress. Witnesses noticed her odd behavior and appearance and continued to ask her if she was all right. It wasn’t until she was safe in a residential location that she contacted the police.
In regard to the second allegation against Cross, that he engaged in acts which could have killed a person, Assistant Public Defender Brooks Partiff argued that when Cross stated he was going to “beat her ass” he didn’t intend actual harm.
Partiff added that “beating somebody’s ass, that’s not a threat to do great bodily injury or kill somebody. This is the sort of thing you would say often to your child or something like that. If you don’t clean your room I’ll beat your ass.”
Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Maroun responded to this, saying “when I heard Mr. Partiff say “that’s a threat parents routinely make to their children” my eyes got very large. I don’t think that’s a threat parents usually make to their children because of a messy room, that is absolutely a threat…and then you add the fact that he did beat her up, he did cause pain with a gun, he hit her with it and then pointed it at her.”
Maroun continued to push for a third charge of intentionally firing a handgun. To this Judge James P. Arguelles stated it may very well be “Ms. Doe’s movement” that caused the firearm to go off, and because of this they will not pursue the third charge.
Judge Arguelles concluded that Cross will be charged with willfully and unlawfully assaulting another person with a firearm, and engaging in acts that could have resulted in death. An arraignment date is set for March 10 at 1:30 p.m. in Sacramento Dept. 60.
Avalon Amaral, originally from Livermore, CA, is a junior at UC Davis. She is pursuing a degree in Sociology Emphasizing in Law and Society, and minoring in Psychology.
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