By Jose Medina and Zoey Hou
WOODLAND, CA – A jury here in Yolo County Superior Court Friday found William Raymond West guilty of three of five counts of violating protective orders—the victim is the defendant’s ex-wife and mother of his children and has a restraining order filed against West that was granted in October of 2018.
West remains released under his own recognizance and is scheduled to be sentenced July 6.
On April 22, 2019, the victim was at the Yolo County Courthouse picking up visitation custody papers for a family court matter concerning both her and West. While in line to pick up some documents, the defendant stood behind the victim in line where he gave verbal comments addressed toward her.
According to the first witness, former Officer Dana Simpson, who was dispatched to the courthouse after the incident had taken place where she found the victim “scared, shaking at the time I made contact with her.”
Simpson recalled that the victim revealed that she “had been receiving text messages from him that were harassment in nature from both West and his girlfriend.”
Simpson noted that the victim had expressed that “she felt the verbal comments would escalate to something physical.”
During cross-examination the defense asked Simpson if she had seen surveillance footage of the incident.
She replied, “at the time I could not recognize who was in the video, I only recognized the victim but had never seen the defendant before.” Simpson noted that she “could see the movement of body in camera to see someone speaking,” of the person behind the victim. Simpson added that she “did not see lips moving.”
The final witness of the day was the victim herself. She revealed that months prior to the April 22 incident, she had been receiving text messages from the defendant that were demeaning toward her. The court was shown the text messages exchanged between the defendant and victim.
She revealed to the jury that she was becoming irritated with the defendant after being concerned about the living standards of their children while they visited him, overhearing West speak badly about the victim’s mother to their daughter, and failing to take their daughter to the father-daughter dance at her school.
She then sent pictures of their daughter at the dance with texts criticizing him for not being there for their children. The victim stated she sent him those messages “as an indication of me being upset that he left the kids’ life, for six months, and now the court’s allowed him to come back in.”
The jury was then shown West’s response to her texts. They started with “you are truly a horrible, miserable person, you keep bringing other dudes around my kids playing daddy, you are a horrible role model to my daughter” before going into an offensive tirade.
West’s misogynistic text messages graphically mocked the victim’s physical appearance.
As the victim read these messages for the jury to hear she began to break down crying. After reading these messages, the victim revealed that she felt “embarrassed, humiliated, like I can’t get away from him.”
During cross-examination, the defense inquired of the victim about her responses to West’s derogatory messages. The jury was shown the victim’s responses which were, “LOL. lmfao, OMG hella funny!”
When asked why her initial responses do not show signs of embarrassment, the victim stated “that was a defense mechanism, that was me showing that I cannot be humiliated by the things that he said or sent.”
On Feb. 19 at 1:16 p.m., the victim sent a photo of a father-daughter dance to West with the message, “And not that you care but your daughter went home sick today. The more I think about it, the more I think you are capable of a part time position. You will never succeed as a part time parent.”
When West testified, Deputy Public Defender Katie Rogers asked West how he felt after receiving those messages.
He stated, “I felt disgusted because the things she is saying just aren’t true. To say that my daughter doesn’t want to be with me is hurtful.”
When asked by Rogers why he thinks his ex-wife had sent those pictures from the father-daughter dance he responded that “she knows me and I talked about going to a father daughter dance. I’m a great father but I wasn’t invited and knew nothing about this. It just makes no sense and I was very upset.”
In his cross-examination of the defendant, Deputy District Attorney Jordan Greenberg asked if it was clear in the instructions of his restraining order that he was allowed to go to events relating to children, and West affirmed that is true.
“And could you have been notified by the child of the event, yet you didn’t go?” countered Greenberg. West admitted that, while this could have occurred, he only became aware of the father-daughter event through the photo that was sent by the victim.
“I was really upset and cried when I saw those photos,” West emotionally claimed.
PD Rogers continued her questioning of West by asking why he initiated a responding comment on his ex-wife’s appearance over text in the family messaging app. He stated that he felt disrespected and only said hurtful words to get back at her for hurting him.
Continuing, Rogers moved on to a second allegation made that occurred at a family court hearing on April 22. After the hearing, West was instructed to go to the Family Law Advocating Room to file papers. He was told to bring his evidence from the day to the room to get copied/printed, which took him roughly two to three hours completing.
In line at the Advocating Room, the victim and ex-wife of the defendant stood in the queue three to four feet in front of him. West claimed that “she spoke first and I just laughed in response.”
DDA Greenberg responded that “this protective order here would not allow you, in the court house, to say to the restraining party that she is a ‘stupid ugly b***h and everyone is laughing at you’, would it?”
The prosecution’s contention is that he not only violated the 100-yard rule made by the restraining order, but even after the court hearing was finished, verbally harassed the victim.
The public defender argued back that the defendant had no choice to be in the Advocating Room as he was instructed to by the judge in the same way he was instructed to be in the courtroom that day (which was notably less than 100 yards away from the victim).
“Mr. West does not deny that he was in line or that he laughed. Because laughing isn’t a crime nor is standing in line,” retorted Rogers.
She pointedly argued that if the victim was so scared of her ex-husband while standing in line, she could have gone to talk to any of the security guards who stood in front of the courthouse building. But she did not do that and made a report that would hurt West’s reputation.
In the final allegation made against West, details on their son’s soccer game that occurred on September 14 were brought to the court’s attention.
At the child’s soccer game, the defendant’s ex-wife, her new boyfriend, ex-father-in-law, and daughter were all present at the game. The victim and party were allegedly on the opposite side of the field while West stayed across the field.
After the game, West walked across the field and back toward his car, but stopped to approach his ex-father-in-law who he felt “disrespected my girl and told me he was going to beat my ass.”
Approaching the victim’s father, the victim began running toward the duo and put her hands on him. The defendant made it clear that he did not go up to her, but she came “sprinting towards me and pushed me. I didn’t see her coming and just felt the impact on the side of me. There was no way to avoid that.”
PD Rogers asserted that “the evidence shows that not only was he not trying to violate that order, on some occasions, there was no interaction with (the victim) before she interjected herself. [She] and her father were baiting and antagonizing Mr. West.”
After the main allegations had been set forth, DDA Greenberg made the broad argument from these series of events that “[y]ou were given orders to stay 100 yards away from her, her house, her job, and her vehicle. Mr. West, you were not allowed to harass her on that app, correct?”
“Even if the protected person invites or contacts the restraining parties, the orders remain in effect and must be enforced.”
His closing argument asserted that this hearing is not about the victim, rather, the violations and actions that West had enacted against his ex-wife. Greenberg claimed that West’s violation has been proven beyond reasonable doubt and he has violated the court order in multiple ways.
In her responding closing argument, PD Rogers insisted that the matters of this case are vastly complicated and the prosecution’s deliberation to make this a simple one is wrong.
Sustaining multiple instances where the victim has attempted to “piss him off, get him in trouble, and actions like that” has inevitably led the defendant to elicit the responses that the victim wants from him.
She finished, “Did my client intentionally and knowingly violate the order? The answer is no.”