By Michelle Luu
WOODLAND, CA — A Yolo County man was recently charged with two counts of assault, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of domestic violence that was enhanced by the use of a deadly weapon, according to the prosecutor in Yolo County Superior Court this week.
On June 18, Nathaniel Sullivan reportedly assaulted the domestic violence victim by hitting her on the side of the head with a baseball bat and stabbing her with a knife.
Allegedly, Sullivan stabbed the victim four times. One stab wound was on the right hip, one on the left hip, one on the thigh, and one on the arm.
The police report also claimed that the victim had been physically abused in the past by the defendant, with acts such as being punched, bitten, kneed, kicked, and stabbed. However, these instances were previously unreported.
Sullivan pleaded not guilty to the four counts and denied the enhancement.
Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Palumbo said, “She had injuries consistent with those particular acts by the defendant. Acts of violence.”
However, Deputy Public Defender Jose Gonzalez argued at the arraignment, “When I read these allegations of what the alleged injuries are, I would expect someone who wouldn’t even be in a state to be able to make a statement. I have a hard time believing the…extent of these injuries.”
Despite understanding what had been alleged and the charges of assault and violence against the defendant, Gonzalez reported that the victim is in support of the defendant’s release.
The victim appeared to the court through Zoom to give her statements and heavily defended the defendant several times.
“I’m not scared of him at all,” she said, “and nothing like this has ever happened before, and…he doesn’t deserve to be in there.”
Judge Tom Dyer stated that he had information that the abuse had gone on for the past three years, and, upon questioning the victim, she denied those accusations.
However, when he asked her why that information was present, and whether or not the last three years of abuse were “made that up out of thin air,” she denied making up the reported abuse herself.
In response to Judge Dyer, she said that the reason why long-term abuse appeared on the report was because she had been personally upset. “It was probably based off the fact of how upset I was at the moment,” she reiterated.
Both Gonzalez and the victim cited that Sullivan never had extreme criminal allegations against him in the past, other than a theft charge.
Gonzalez initially asked the court to release him with a restraining order to keep him and the victim apart, and said that he wouldn’t be a danger to the community.
The victim supported Sullivan’s character by saying, “He’s always really good and nice and always tries very, very hard to be like, the best person he can.”
Although the victim’s statements favored the defendant and his release, the judge and DDA Palumbo disagreed.
“Anyone who has prosecuted domestic violence cases…sees a consistent pattern in domestic violence cases where oftentimes victims of domestic violence recant, minimize, change their stories for any number of reasons,” Palumbo said.
She listed some of these reasons, including fear, unwillingness to show the fear, situations where the abuser is the financial support, or where the abuser apologized after contacting.
It was reported that Sullivan had three minor children, and, with an alleged full-time job, the court found that it might be probable he was the family’s financial support.
The victim’s advocate also prepared an anti-harassment order because the victim specifically wanted contact with the abuser.
DDA Palumbo stated that this case did not appear to be any different from past domestic abuse cases, noting the victim’s safety is a large concern, despite the victim’s words, and requested that Sullivan should remain in custody despite the protective order being issued.
In response to Palumbo’s words, Gonzalez said that cases shouldn’t be generalized and that Sullivan’s case should be assessed individually from prior domestic violence cases.
However, Judge Dyer stated that he did not find that the victim was credible.
After finding high-level violence in the case, he deemed that Sullivan could be deemed a public safety risk. The bail was set at $30,000 and the court set an anti-harassment order against Sullivan.
The next preliminary hearing is set for July 14.