By Alexander Pleitez
SACRAMENTO, CA – In a bail hearing July 22, defense and prosecution argued whether or not alleged kidnapper Ronald James’ actions are concerning enough to limit bail—the judge, however, made it clear that no bail amount would be enough to protect the public safety.
The Sacramento County Superior Court bail hearing, overseen by Judge Patrick Marlette, involved gripping arguments of Deputy District Attorney Scott Schweibish and Assistant Public Defender Pamela Domminisee.
Defendant James is charged with kidnapping a woman on the road with the alleged purpose of rape. He has been in court for this numerous time, going back and forth from being self-represented to being represented by a public defender.
Although he was present this time, he was forced out of the courtroom because of his refusal to put up his mask.
DDA Schweibish reviewed the prosecution’s facts and noted why the defendant posed a flight risk and a risk to the public, and why he should be held in jail on no bail.
The DDA said the victim was a woman who was pulled over to the side of the road by the suspect and, after he pulled in after her he ordered her to get in his car. The victim mistook the defendant as one of her friends and entered the vehicle, as he began driving around Sacramento.
However, soon after entering, the victim had realized her mistake and reached for the door attempting to escape but was restrained by the defendant in the process. He then locked the doors and physically kept her from exiting the vehicle.
The victim responded in panic, she said, and began to cry to which the defendant would only say, “You’re making me nervous.”
Amid the victim’s panic and while he was driving, the suspect also played “graphic pornographic videos on the center of the car’s console” and began touching himself, making comments to the victim such as, “It’s not as fun playing by yourself.”
He then began talking about different places he could take her, directing the car to a parking lot where the defendant said they could “have some fun.”
While driving, a camera on the road caught the same car the victim described as well as the defendant himself driving a similar route to what the victim had described.
The suspect pulled over to the side of the freeway where the terrified victim swiftly unlocked the vehicle and jumped out and over a fence, making her way to a Lowe’s where she then contacted law enforcement.
“There is sufficient evidence to believe what had taken place,” adding the situation was “incredibly concerning especially considering a similar pending case” the defendant is facing, said the DDA.
He then described another pending kidnapping case for the same defendant where the victim, also a woman, was a hitchhiker in Kansas, who was allegedly picked up by James and voluntarily entered the vehicle. Once she had entered, the defendant allegedly began smoking crack from a pipe and starting acting erratically while making sexually explicit comments to her.
As she became overwhelmed by fear, the victim opened the door and jumped out of the moving vehicle at “highway speeds” to get away from the defendant. She later stated that she would press charges and is willing to testify for the court.
DDA Schweibish added he did not recognize this as a normal kidnapping but as a “kidnapping for the purpose of rape” due to the illicit statements.
In a quick response, PD Domminisee said she would “object to all added information,” stating, “I don’t have any record of any conviction in 2014 nor have I received any supplemental statements from any alleged victim.”
To that Schweibish would confirm he got his information from an out-of-state rap sheet (criminal record) which has this information, although not fully detailed, with a variety of police reports.
In addition, the defendant has been charged with evading justice in Kansas said the DDA, who said the defendant clearly poses a flight risk: “If he had the ability and the means to escape I believe he would.”
He concluded by saying, “It cannot be understated the potential harm to the community he poses when we talk about the nature of the allegations of this case and the fact he’s being accused of almost identical conduct.”
PD Domminisee argued, “I don’t believe that there’s any evidence to suggest that he’s in any way a flight risk” and asked the court for $100,000 bail. She added that he did not pose a risk to the public because his criminal history “was not recent” with the last occurrence 2014.
In addition, she stated the defendant would agree to GPS monitoring and said, “He would abide by any conditions of subject abuse counseling and testing.”
However, Judge Marlette said, “If there was a GPS we would be able to find him if there was a problem, but would not preclude a problem.”
Lastly, she noted that in both cases the victims “voluntarily got into the vehicle.”
Marlette decided to hold James without bail, stating, “I cannot think of a condition that would give this community confidence that Mr. James would not do next week what he’s accused to have done in this case…there is no less restrictive condition effective to protect the public’s safety.”