Defendant Deemed Unfit to Stand Trial after Claiming Mother Wanted to Kill Him

By Sophia Barberini

SACRAMENTO, CA – Judge Stephen Acquisto here in Sacramento County Superior Court last Friday confirmed defendant Tristan Cloud was unfit to stand trial after the defendant attacked his mother and her boyfriend, believing that they wanted to kill him.

Acquisto affirmed that Cloud was unfit to stand trial in a probable cause hearing after the defendant attacked his mother and her boyfriend with boiling water and kitchen knives on Sept. 12, 2020.

Prior to the probable cause hearing, criminal proceedings for the defendant’s case had been suspended, as it was “previously concluded” that Cloud was “incompetent to stand trial.”

Before Judge Acquisto imposed his decision, Deputy District Attorney Allison Wieder called Deputy Melanie Edwards, one of the arresting officers, to the stand.

Edwards responded to the scene after receiving a call about an assault with a deadly weapon in which somebody had stabbed their neighbor. When she arrived on scene, she was waved down by a woman in a second story apartment that was holding a towel on her head.

After making contact with the first victim and directing her toward medical attention, Edwards said she noticed another victim, the victim’s boyfriend. She was also informed that the assailant was the victim’s son, who had moved into a different apartment.

Deputy Edwards took the defendant into custody and she maintained he admitted to attacking his mother and her boyfriend by throwing boiling water on them and attacking them with kitchen knives, stabbing his mother “three or four times.”

The defendant asserted that he attacked his mother and her boyfriend because he was “trying to escape.” In Defense Attorney Kimberly Miller’s questioning, Edwards admitted that she did not ask what the defendant was trying to “escape” from.

Edwards also revealed that the defendant believed that his mother and her boyfriend were aiming to evict him, kill him, and “make him become a Nazi,” while also revealing that he had been a victim of emotional and sexual abuse.

The defendant claimed to Edwards that his mother and her boyfriend were planning to shoot him. Despite this assertion, Edwards admitted that they did not actively search the apartment for weapons, though they did not see anything when evaluating the crime scene.

In an attempt to reveal the defendant’s mental state during the assault, defense attorney Miller inquired whether or not the defendant appeared to be under the influence of drugs. Edwards affirmed that, while taking his statement, she “didn’t have reason to believe he was under the influence at that time.”

After Deputy Edwards’ testimony, DDA Wieder called Deputy Melissa Propps to testify, followed by Deputy James Avalos.

Propps, who spoke with the mother’s boyfriend after the incident, revealed that the mother’s boyfriend said he attempted to stop the defendant, first running to a neighbor and asking them to call 911, and then using a blanket to wrap around the defendant.

The defendant, initially getting out of the blanket, tackled the boyfriend and attempted to “gouge his eyes out.” The mother’s boyfriend was eventually able to get out of the defendant’s grasp, running out of the apartment.

According to Propps, the defendant then locked the door, attempting to prevent his mother or her boyfriend from reentering the apartment.

Deputy Avalos met with the defendant’s mother at the hospital to take her statement after the attack. Avalos also spoke with the victim’s nurse, gathering that the mother had second degree burns and “had lacerations to her fingers, spine, and head.”

According to Avalos, the defendant’s mother reaffirmed what her boyfriend and the defendant had stated, claiming that her son threw boiling water on her and stabbed her multiple times.

Considering the witness testimony, Judge Acquisto asserted that it did appear to him that the offenses charged were “sufficiently proven,” and he did “believe that there [was] sufficient cause to believe that [the defendant] was guilty of those offenses.”

Acquisto, therefore, did make “a determination of probable cause.” Judge Acquisto also reaffirmed that the defendant was unable to stand trial.

Cloud will have a hearing on June 15 to determine his placement in a state hospital.

Sophia Barberini, from San Mateo, CA, is a fourth-year student at UC Berkeley. She is double majoring in Political Science and Legal Studies and hopes to pursue a career in law.


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