By Derrick Pal
SACRAMENTO, CA – A judge in Sacramento County Superior Court here showed little hesitation in imposing strict enforcement of release conditions after hearing a defendant’s violent history of assaults, warning “if any condition of release is violated, you will be remanded to custody and remain in custody until the day of the sentencing, do you understand?”
Defendant Xavier Morgan took a plea bargain last week after being charged with one count of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, one count of assault with a semi-automatic firearm, and one count of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant.
On April 8, 2019, in Sacramento County, the defendant is alleged to have willfully and unlawfully assaulted a victim with a semi-automatic firearm.
“Specifically, during a road rage incident, the victim and defendant were cutting each other off on the freeway. They were strangers to each other,” noted Deputy District Attorney Teal Ericson.
The DDA added, “The victim eventually left the freeway, trying to get away from the defendant. The victim drove into a court, a cul-de-sac, trying to escape the defendant who was following him…the victim turned off his car, turned off his lights, thought he had escaped…when the defendant drove his car into the same cul-de-sac.”
DDA Ericson explained that “while the victim was trying to start his car to drive away, the defendant got out of his own car, walked up to face the windshield of the victim’s car, pulled out a handgun, and fired one round through the windshield toward the victim in his own car.”
“The bullet went through the victim’s windshield and actually lacerated the victim’s ear, causing a cut to the victim’s ear, went through the headrest, and into the backseat of the car. At that point, the defendant left, drove away, and was unidentified at that point in time,” stated DDA Ericson.
“He was identified later through matching the shell casing, or the casing of the firearm and the bullet fragment with a firearm that was recovered on the defendant eight days later who was pulled over driving the matching vehicle,” said DDA Ericson.
The factual basis of the second case against the defendant was that, on July 12, 2020, the defendant did “willfully and unlawfully inflict corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon [the victim], a person who he had previously been dating.
“On that date, he assaulted the victim physically in her car with his hands. When she tried to flee, he grabbed her and threw her in the vehicle and she was afraid to leave, and he drove her to a different location against her will,” argued DDA Ericson.
After hearing these facts, Judge Scott Tedmon read the rights the defendant would be waiving, stating, “These are both felony pleas—in each case, you have a right to a preliminary hearing, at which time a judge would determine if a felony has been committed.”
“Do you understand and give up each of these rights, including your right to a preliminary hearing and jury trial in each case? asked the judge.
After the defendant confirmed he understood, Judge Tedmon stated, “The maximum sentence you could receive…that is the domestic violence case to count one is four years state prison. Under this plea agreement, you will be sentenced to credit for time served and no probation.”
Concerning the other case, Judge Tedmon stated “the maximum penalty is nine years in state prison, and the maximum penalty for the enhancement, use of a firearm to commit a felony…[is] 10 years of state prison, for an aggregate sentence of 19 years in prison.”
Judge Tedmon explained that under the plea agreement, the defendant would plead to an aggregate sentence of 10 years.
“Further, you understand that the…strike under the three-strikes laws, you will be subject, depending on the number of strikes you have if you commit another crime, to a mandatory sentence of twice the term otherwise provided, or 25 years to life. Do you understand?” stated Judge Tedmon.
The judge continued, “I am going to review the probation report and recommendation. If I agree with the plea agreement proposed today, we will proceed to sentencing, and you will not be allowed to withdraw your pleas.
“However, if I determine this is not an appropriate disposition, and I reject this plea agreement, you will be allowed to withdraw your previous entered pleas of no contest, and the matter will be set for preliminary hearing,” stated Judge Tedmon.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Tedmon noted, “Mr. Morgan, you’re ordered to be personally present in court on that date and time. Mr. Morgan will remain out on the current bail posted, pending sentencing on May 7.
“All conditions of release remain in effect, Mr. Morgan, and if any condition of release is violated, you will be remanded at custody and remain in custody until the day of the sentencing, do you understand?” warned Judge Tedmon.
Defendant Morgan is ordered to return for sentencing on May 7, 8:30 a.m. in Dept. 60.
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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