Judge Warns Defendant with Violent History Not to Re-Offend, or ‘You’re Gonna Be in the Cage’

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By Derrick Pal

SACRAMENTO, CA — Judge Michael Bowman in a bail review here in Sacramento County Superior Court Monday didn’t mince words.

“Mr. Sutton, you know, it could have gone either way today, quite frankly…but if there’s any new offenses, and I mean any new offenses, you’re gonna be in the cage,” warned the judge.

Defendant Vannoy Sutton is charged with great bodily injury, battery inflicting serious bodily injury, and attempting to prevent or dissuade a witness from attending or giving testimony.

In a previous case on Dec. 31, 2020, the defendant was with his then-girlfriend who was taking care of their 10-month-old baby.

According to Deputy District Attorney Mitch Miller, the defendant left home after arguing with the victim, where he “returns intoxicated that evening screaming at her about the fact that she had called the police on him a week earlier because he had been drunk at the home and been a disturbance.

“They argued, he was very upset with that victim over calling the police, he went over to the closet, reached up on to a top shelf, and pulled a shotgun down from the top shelf that the victim, in that case, didn’t even know was in the house,” stated DDA Miller.

“She was crying, she was upset, she was hysterical, asking him to ‘please put the gun down,’ and to not point it at her,” elaborated DDA Miller. “The victim is so overwhelmed from the situation, she pulls a sheet over her and the baby, and she’s just holding the baby and crying, and the defendant puts the shotgun to her head.

“She can feel the barrel up against her head through the sheet, and she hears the click of the trigger, and then she hears the sound of casings dropping onto the ground,” added Miller, noting that the “police when they arrive, do find three live rounds of ammunition in the bedroom and three live rounds of ammunition in the living room area.”

DDA Miller explained that in the current case, which occurred on Dec. 19, 2020, “the defendant and the victim had been dating approximately a year, I’ve reviewed the body-worn camera…and what she relates to the police on the night of in the body-worn camera is they had moved up here to Sacramento very recently.

“But they argued because the defendant received a text message that the victim believed was from another woman, and then a phone call that the victim picked up, and it was another woman,” said DDA Miller.

“So, they argued about breaking up, she basically said she was done, he threw a scooter, this was around Christmas time, so a scooter that was supposed to be a Christmas present for one of the children,” clarified DDA Miller, “and he threw it, it landed on her chest.

“She ended up going into the bathroom and called 911 prior to the strangulation. So, there is no report of strangulation by 911 until when she exits, the defendant grabs her, sits on top of her, she indicates she’s underneath him, and he strangles her.

“She can’t breathe, he’s asking her if she called the cops on him, she manages to croak out that ‘no, I was just playing’…she believes at some point he releases her, but she cannot account for a period of time during the strangulation,” said the DDA.

Judge Bowman stated, “Clearly he has a drinking problem, that I would concede.”

Private defense attorney Charles Pacheco indicated that “the facts of this particular case was that he was in bed with [another woman], he’s been with her [the victim] for a year or so, he does work as a machinist, and he does help her support her kids.”

According to Pacheco, the victim told him that she “went ballistic and was angry” that the defendant was in contact with another woman, and she “went off on Mr. Sutton, and was striking him, and was just enraged.

“Mr. Sutton has done his time…we have made all court appearances, he’s not a danger to the community, he’s not an escape risk, and he does have ties to the community. So, your Honor, I would ask you, that we’re making all court appearances, to not raise the bail,” pleaded PD Pacheco.

Judge Bowman found that there has not been a significant change to the circumstances on the bail set at $50,000, but stated, “I am going to order that Mr. Sutton completely abstain from alcohol, take three AA meetings a week and have proof. Failure to do so, he is to be remanded, I don’t want any excuses why he hasn’t gone to AA. I think he completely has a drinking problem and that needs to be addressed.”

The judge added, “All right, so Mr. Sutton, you know, it could have gone either way today, quite frankly. With the fact that you have not reoffended, and I’m glad to hear you’re in AA, gives me some comfort in my decision, but if there’s any new offenses, and I mean any new offenses, you’re gonna be in the cage communicating with Mr. Pacheco as opposed to in court, so I encourage you to be extremely careful.”

A further proceeding is set for April 26 at 8:30 a.m. in Dept. 9.

Derrick Pal is a fourth-year student at Sacramento State, majoring in Criminal Justice and pursuing a minor in Sociology. He is from Elk Grove, California.


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