By Christopher Datu
WOODLAND, CA- After a nearly 20-year history of alleged harassment, Robert Husted found himself this week in a pretrial conference in Yolo County Superior Court, charged with misdemeanor stalking and contempt of court.
The victim had been granted a protective order against Husted back in 2018, after a few physical assaults, which he allegedly violated on the night of Jan. 29 this year when he showed up at the victim’s trailer shouting and banging on the windows.
Prosecutor Alex Kian called the alleged victim to the stand to hear her account of the incident.
Kian asked how the victim had met Husted, which she recalled happened about 20 years earlier when she was transient. According to her, she had “gotten to know some people that were homeless and they introduced me to Robert Husted” and “he invited me into his house.”
Husted was living with his grandfather at the time, according to the victim, who offered her room and board with them “as long as I went and looked for a job and paid whatever I could for rent.”
Kian asked if the victim “had contact with Husted that was unwelcoming.” The victim quickly asserted she had, claiming Husted had “called me on the phone yelling and screaming, coming on the property yelling and screaming” with “unwanted assaults verbally, and sometimes physically.”
Taking a step back, Kian inquired if the victim had ever secured a protective order against Husted. The victim asserted she sought and received a protective order in 2018 set to expire June 2021, but was extended recently to 2024.
When asked about the content of the calls, the victim specifically remembered being threatened by Husted that “if his grandpa doesn’t meet me I’m going to beat you with a baseball bat.”
Deputy District Attorney Kian went further, asking if the victim took the threats seriously. Without hesitation she responded she did, citing “he has assaulted me before,” allegedly three times. The victim claimed she reported only one, with the responding officer “noticing the redness on her neck” from where Husted had choked her with his hands.
Touching back on the phone calls the victim received, Kian asked the victim to estimate how many phone calls she had received between April 2020 to May 2021. At first, the victim responded “about 10 or 15, I still have them on my phone.”
Kian then asked if looking at the email she sent to the D.A.’s office about the calls she had been receiving from April 27 to May 2021 would help refresh her memory.
This provoked an objection from defense counsel Richard Van Damme that prompted a flurry of overlapping discussion. Van Damme believed the document irrelevant, asking, “Are we trying to decipher the precise amount or the approximate amount?”
Judge David Reed found the witness had already answered Kian’s request to the approximate, and asked, “What’s the relevance of knowing the precise number?” to which Kian responded, “It is significantly higher.”
Eventually the victim was able to look over her email and when asked what she had reported to the D.A.’s office, she found the number was “around 40-50.”
Van Damme probed the victim about the relationship between Husted and his grandfather, mentioning his grandfather “is the only family member who looks after Husted” and, “It’s been that way for 20 years or more, with his parents not being in his life?” which the victim affirmed.
The victim also established that Husted had been receiving care from the Alta California Regional Center mental facility while he was living with his grandfather and the victim.
Van Damme went on to try and clarify what the victim made of the threatening phone calls, specifically, whether or not she believed “Husted would follow through on the physical harm and death threats.”
The victim stated “I think that he could and he would for the physical harm but not for the murder and killing,” adding that “when he’s in a rage I’m not sure what he’s capable of.”
The victim was then excused and Officer Guillermo Zuniga was brought to the stand by Kian.
Zuniga was one of the initial responding officers on Jan. 29 and took the victim’s statement.
Kian asked about Zuniga’s interaction with the victim shortly after arriving on scene for the reported protective order violation. When asked if there was a wheelchair involved, Zuniga reported that when he checked the surroundings “I found a shopping cart and a wheelchair behind the trailer” and that the victim “said those belong to Husted.”
When he made contact with Husted, Zuniga alleged Husted “recalled leaving those there earlier in the day.”
Van Damme questioned if Zuniga had spoken to the grandfather, who owned the trailer and was there at the time of the alleged crime. Zuniga responded, “I did not, I believe he was inside and only [the victim] came out.”
Van Damme probed, “Why not?” adding, “You’re trained at the academy that if there is a witness to a crime, you want to interview all the relevant witnesses.”
The pretrial conference ended there and Judge Reed set the continuation for July 13, where Kian said he would call the primary investigative officer to the stand.
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