By Roselyn Poommai
SACRAMENTO, CA – Defendant Marlon Thomas faces an assault with intent to commit a felony after allegedly approaching a homeless victim on the sidewalk and repeatedly punching her after she refused his lewd request.
According to the facts presented to the court from the prosecution, at around 9 p.m. on December 8, 2020, at the Salvation Army on 1200 North B St., Sacramento police Officer Jonathan Reinosa responded to a call regarding a physical assault.
The disheveled victim, who “appeared homeless,” was visibly distraught as she struggled to articulate her interaction, said the officer, who said he observed what appeared to be a bloody abrasion among her matted hair on top of her head.
Earlier, she told the officer, she had been sitting on a sidewalk when a male wearing a black sweater and sweatpants approached her. He threatened to punch her if she did not orally copulate him and then proceeded to expose his private part to her before striking her “four to five times in the head” with his fist.
The victim was able to escape by running away to the nearby Salvation Army, where an on-shift staff member contacted 911 on her behalf.
Shortly after her statement, a different responding officer detained a male matching the victim’s description of the suspect, who was later identified as defendant Marlon Thomas.
According to Deputy District Attorney Scott Schweibish, Thomas has an extensive history of charges, including domestic violence, and is “most likely homeless.” Since 2001, the defendant has failed to face his charges in court approximately 20 times prior to this incident.
The night of the incident, the alleged victim visibly confirmed the defendant’s identity as the perpetrator at the infield show-up.
However, during the defense’s cross-examination, Assistant Public Defender Rodney Simpson questioned the accuracy of the victim’s infield identification.
He noted that the victim’s description of the suspect was not specific enough, which prompted Officer Reinosa to “fill in the blanks” in his police report with Thomas’s obvious characteristics after his detention that night.
PD Simpson additionally raised the point that Officer Reinosa failed to observe any injuries on the defendant’s hand that resembled the described assault.
“He’s the only person presented to her, is that right? Not a single other Black person was presented to her that night, correct?” PD Simpson asked.
With the officer’s confirmation, Simpson continued, “And what was her race, by the way?”
“[The victim] was white,” the officer responded.
He further pressed, “Okay, so she’s a white female adult?”
“Correct,” Reinosa replied. The officer also affirmed the public defender’s claim that “[the victim] specifically said, ‘I don’t know what I recognize about him, but yeah that’s the guy.’”
PD Simpson ultimately concluded by noting a minute discrepancy, claiming that his client was detained wearing black work pants rather than black sweatpants described by the victim that night.
Despite the defense’s attempt to plant a seed of doubt, Judge Laurie Earl concluded that there was enough reason to move forward with the case because the bar is very low in a preliminary hearing. She additionally reduced the defendant’s bail from $250,000 to $100,000 upon the Humphrey reasonable bail motion.
Defendant Thomas will appear at his next hearing on June 23.
Roselyn is a second-year undergraduate double-majoring in Psychological Science and Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine. A native of Los Angeles, California, she is passionate about the role of human behavior in the criminal justice system.
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