By Maia Surendra
SANTA BARBARA, CA – In the jury trial of Scott Fleming, four witnesses were called to the stand to testify Tuesday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court Dept. 1, presided over by Judge Thomas Adams.
Fleming is accused of voluntary manslaughter, as well as enhancements for second strike and previous conviction.
The incident occurred on the night of July 19, 2019, on 9th Street in Carpinteria. A fight broke out between a group of men, including Fleming and the victim. It is believed that there was a group of about eight men who were walking from one bar to another, when the fight broke out.
Two onlookers observed two men fighting, who will be called Witnesses W and D, but Witness D eventually walked off, according to the Santa Barbara News-Press in 2020.
Then, Witness W began to fight with the defendant. It is thought that the fight between Fleming and Witness W occurred because an allegation was made that Fleming had a relationship with the ex-girlfriend of Witness W.
After Witness W walked off, it appeared that the victim was attempting to calm down the defendant, but the defendant became aggravated and threw multiple punches at the victim, according to news reports.
The final punch which Fleming directed at the victim allegedly knocked him to the ground. Police responded to reports of a fight that night, and subsequently found the victim on the ground. The victim was transported to Cottage Hospital with critical injuries, and was removed from life support on July 23, 2019, as related in a story in the Santa-Barbara News-Press in 2020.
The first witness called was Senior Deputy Wayne Flick, who was purported by the prosecuting attorney, Deputy District Attorney Kevin Weichbrod, to “have done a lot of work on this case.”
The defense, led by Public Defender Matthew Speredelozzi, asked to play a recording of an interview Deputy Flick had with a Witness S, and asked him questions about the interview.
During the interview, when Witness S was asked about what he observed on the night of July 19, he said his memories were fuzzy due to his intoxication. The defense questioned Deputy Flick about whether Witness S seemed to recognize Fleming when shown a photo of him by Deputy Flick; Deputy Flick said he did not think Witness S had recognized Fleming.
The prosecution also questioned Deputy Flick, asking if the defense could have requested DNA testing on evidence, which Deputy Flick said was possible. The defense then asked Deputy Flick if he knew how much testing evidence for DNA cost; Deputy Flick said he did not know.
The defense then called another witness, who will be called Witness R, who worked at Cottage Hospital at the time, in security, and testified that he showed detectives tapes of people entering Cottage Hospital at certain time windows, after the victim had been admitted.
The security videos were played for the courtroom as well, however at the time of the original request Witness R testified that detectives did not ask him to hand over the videos.
The defense then called a witness who will be called Witness U. Witness U was called to the scene of the incident as an evidence technician. Witness U said he arrived on the scene at 12:20 p.m., and collected swabs of the bloodstains on the street.
He testified he only collected one swab of each stain, as he did not know multiple people were bleeding. He said he then went to visit the hospital, and was given some of the victim’s clothing.
The fourth witness called by the defense will be called Witness K, who testified that his son is Witness W, who was involved in the fight. Witness K testified about the morning that he first learned about the fight, and said all his son told him was that he had been beat up by the defendant.
Witness K then learned about the victim being in critical condition from an employee of his business; the victim and defendant were also both former employees of Witness K’s business in Carpinteria.
Witness K said that when he found out the victim was in the hospital due to a fight and that there was an investigation, he urged his son to go to the police. Witness K said that he didn’t believe that the victim or Witness W would get into a fight with the defendant, and that it was unlikely the victim would get into an altercation at all.
The prosecution asked Witness K if he had concocted a story with his son for Witness W to tell the police, which Witness K said he did not. Witness K also expressed that Witness W did not mention to him that Witness D had physically fought him during the incident.
The trial is ongoing.