Craigslist Nightmare: Victim Assaulted Over Tool Sale

By Zoey Hou 

SACRAMENTO, CA – It might be called a “Craigslist Nightmare”—an unhappy buyer of a tool on Craigslist was in Sacramento County Superior Court Wednesday, accused of felony aggravated assault and battery on the 63-year-old seller of that tool.

On Oct. 23, 2020, a seller/victim on Craigslist received a message from a man, later allegedly identified as Taylor Montgomery Clift, who wanted to purchase the tool. The buyer met the seller—later, he became the alleged victim—at the seller/victim’s residence in Citrus Heights to pick up said tool, then left. 

After an hour passed, the seller/victim got a text message from buyer Clift expressing that the tool wasn’t working properly and wanted to return it. While the seller/victim did not believe that the tool wasn’t not working, he agreed to return the tool and give him his money back. 

The two decided to meet the next day at 9 a.m. to make the exchange again. When defendant Clift did not show up at the suggested meeting time, the elder victim decided to go out for errands. When the victim returned to his home, he stepped outside of his vehicle to meet the approaching buyer.

Very unexpectedly, defendant Clift said the alleged victim walked up, took off his shirt, and then proceeded to attack him. 

The next day, officer Kirk Kaisson was dispatched to Mercy Hospital in Folsom to meet the 63-year-old victim. 

In the statement taken by police from the victim, “he [Clift] just began punching me in the face.” Officer Kaisson said that “due to the surprise attack and the fact that he was pinned against his vehicle” the victim was unable to defend himself. 

“He [victim] was in the emergency room in one of their hospital beds. He had a swollen right eye with stitches going down his side, swelling underneath his chin, bruises on his forehead, and remnants of a bloody nose,” reported Kaisson. 

In his cross-examination, Assistant Public Defender Hubert Chen questioned how the victim had identified defendant Clift. 

Officer Kaisson said fellow Officer Fathy conducted a six pack photo lineup identification test at the victim’s residence a week after the assault occurred, adding, “I believe it was done in the evening when it was dark but there was light coming from his garage.” 

The PD charged, “So you cannot recall verbatim what that [other] officer said that day. You cannot recall what the admonishment form said that day. You’re assuming that that officer relayed that information correctly and verbatim.” 

Kaisson responded that though he does not have the form memorized verbatim, he would be quickly able to retrieve the email if need be. “I wouldn’t say I’m assuming that he did it because I watched him do it. But like I said, I don’t have it in memory because [admonishments] are not required to be memorized.” 

After some back and forth between PD Chen and officer Kaisson about the details of memorization, Chen asked about the details of the victim’s condition.  

Deputy District Attorney Saron Tesfai asked one question: “Did [the victim] tell you whether or not he was able to see how the defendant came or left his home?” 

“No, he did not. His driveway loops through a U-turn driveway so there are two entrances to his residence. The defendant was advancing from the south part of the driveway but the victim did not see what kind of vehicle he arrived in or which direction he left,” said the officer. 

After all matters were submitted, Judge Richard Sueyoshi ruled that itappears that the defense charged in the amended felony complaint has been committed and the enhancement alleged is true.” 

Matters for defendant Clift will resume with a jury trial Aug. 30. 

About The Author

Zoey Hou is a bay area native pursuing English and International Relations at UC Davis. She strongly advocates for criminal justice transparency and institutional change.

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