By Lois Yoo
ALAMEDA, CA – An Alameda County Superior Court judge dismissed two of three charges this week against Kevin Vera, who was accused of shooting his girlfriend’s child’s father while their child was in the vehicle.
The defendant claimed self-defense because the victim had tasered him first in the head. He’ll still stand trial for felony battery.
According to the prosecution’s reading, on May 5, 2019, defendant Vera got into an argument with his partner’s child’s father. He was originally charged with five counts, including willful cruelty to child/possible injury, great bodily injury, use of a firearm, assault with a semiautomatic firearm, and carrying a loaded firearm.
The blowout reportedly arose when the victim was dropping off his son as part of their custody exchange agreement. But, in the parking lot, the victim and Vera got into a heated exchange.
According to Deputy Donovan Frazer, a witness told him that they were “taunting each other,” and Vera allegedly punched the victim’s vehicle as the altercation escalated.
The victim, who was in court to testify, was unable to fully answer defense attorney Brian David Kazmin’s questions because “for the past two years, I’ve been trying to forget this. I try not to go out too often. And if I do, I go to places maybe he won’t be there.”
The victim even admitted, “Both of us were having arguments back and forth. I wasn’t challenging him to fight, sir. It didn’t have to reach a physical fight.”
The victim said he pulled out a taser from his vehicle and tasered Vera in the head. He claimed he pulled out his taser because he was scared for his life and for his son, who was in the backseat of the car at the time of the altercation.
After Vera was tasered in the head, Vera pulled out a gun, and defense attorney Kazmin noted that Vera had “pointed a gun at your head for 20 seconds and then at your leg for 15.”
At that point, the victim managed to get into his vehicle and drove away from Vera.
The defense emphasized that Vera and Gomez had both acknowledged Vera punched the victim’s vehicle. “It’s not great behavior but it certainly doesn’t allow for the person who owns the car to bring out a deadly weapon and use it on the side of their head.”
Referring to the victim, Kazmin also said, “He was trying to provoke a fight so he could use the baton taser on Mr. Vera.”
He stated Vera only used his firearm “for purposes of stopping the assault.”
Attorney Kazmin also highlighted that the taser held one million volts and that it was used on Vera’s head. “This was not self-defense.”
Deputy District Attorney Christa Alyse Hall reiterated that it “felt like a lifetime for the victim” when Vera had his gun pointed at the victim’s head.
She added on that the child was in the car only a few feet away. She stated that Vera “could’ve killed the child.”
Attorney Kazmin responded with arguing that the child was in the backseat on the passenger side while Vera fired at the driver’s side toward the front where the victim was.
He emphasized that it was one shot and that “the child’s father was instigating a fight and using a deadly weapon on Mr. Vera.”
In the end, Judge David Pereda denied Kazmin’s request to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor, noting, “I appreciate everything you’re saying Mr. Kazmin, but based on the evidence that he did fire, the court is not inclined to grant the motion.”
Judge Pereda continued, “The overall situation is extremely troubling. This altercation in somewhat proximity to the child, a use of a taser in proximity to the child and use of a gun in the proximity to the child was all very troubling.”
Adding, “But I don’t think the evidence supports this charge, as low as the standard is, given where the child was sitting and the one shot away from the car. It didn’t shoot into the car. It didn’t shoot across the car. I just don’t think there’s enough for holding order on this count.”
The judge ruled, as to count two, “there is insufficient evidence to find that the offense was committed. As to count three, the court finds there is very sufficient evidence and that Mr. Vera committed it. In summary, the courts hold Mr. Vera to answer to the violation of penal code 245(A)(2) with special allegation of great bodily injury that is different as per in count one. The court discharges count one and count two.”