By Christopher Datu and Natasha Feuerstein
SACRAMENTO, CA – Sacramento County Assistant Public Defender Quoc To argued in Sacramento Superior Court Thursday morning that the defendant, Marleice Hyde, acted in her own self-defense when she walked into her roommate’s bedroom and fired her pistol, striking the floor roughly two-feet from the victim’s leg.
Hyde faces a felony conviction for the willful assault with a firearm and the negligent discharge of a weapon. Hyde’s recounting of the incident, as relayed through officer testimony, varied greatly from statements given by the alleged victim.
According to officer testimony, at approximately 10:46 p.m. on the night of Jan. 15, officers responded to a call from Citrus Heights, and Officer Eric Klockenbrink testified that he obtained statements from the victim upon arrival at the scene.
The complaining witness told Klockenbrink that he was the boyfriend of Hyde’s roommate and was invited over. Hyde entered the room, he related, when they were sitting on a mattress on the floor, and told him to “get the f**k out,” to which he responded that his girlfriend was a tenant and he had a right to be there.
The victim attempted to mediate the situation, according to Officer Klockenbrink, stating that Hyde could evict her roommate but could not revoke her rights to have company over.
It was then that Hyde raised her arm and the victim noticed a black semi-automatic pistol in her hand. The victim reported one bullet was fired near his leg before the defendant exited the room.
Klockenbrink’s partner surveyed the roommate’s bedroom and found a single spent shell under the carpet, and a sweep of Hyde’s backyard led to the discovery of a silver gun case with 32-caliber ammunition inside.
Officer Justin Bridges was also called to the stand as the officer who obtained Hyde’s statement, and he said Hyde told him her roommate had a restraining order against the victim, but when confirming with dispatch, Officer Bridges found no such order.
The defendant also claimed to have heard screaming from her roommate’s room and, upon walking in, witnessed the victim with his hands on the roommate, which he quickly removed. Hyde also claimed she engaged in a verbal back and forth with the victim.
Hyde claimed that after telling the victim to leave once more, the victim threatened, “If you’re going to shoot me, you’re going to have to kill me.”
Hyde claimed to have fired the shot only after the victim had stated this and taken a step toward her.
When Officer Bridges initially asked Hyde about the firearm, she said it was a toy gun and she had thrown it over the fence after the shooting. Officer Bridges did not find a gun over the fence but did find a black and silver Beretta, stashed in Hyde’s closet with 32-caliber bullets.
Deputy District Attorney Rainey Jacobson took aim at these discrepancies in Hyde’s statements, asking, “Hyde was walking you through the incident as she recounts it herself, is that fair to say?” she asked. Officer Bridges agreed.
Officer Bridges also recalled that Hyde claimed she did not remember if she had the gun when she first entered her roommate’s room, but later she told him that she entered the room with a firearm.
Public Defender To argued Hyde acted in self-defense regarding the first charge of willful assault with a firearm, and contested the second charge of negligent discharge of a firearm on the grounds that only a single shot was fired in self-defense. A not guilty plea was entered.
Judge Laurie Earl found there to be enough evidence presented at this preliminary hearing to potentially find the Hyde guilty on both counts, and set trial for August 23.
Natasha Feuerstein is a senior at UC Davis, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Global Disease Biology. She is originally from Camden, Delaware.
Christopher Datu is a 4th year Political Science major at UC Davis. He is originally from Corona, California.
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