By Zoey Hou
SACRAMENTO, CA– In a restitution case for defendant Andre Weary, the judge and prosecution here in Sacramento County Superior Court Wednesday debated over the semantics of a water damage charge—Judge Helen R. Gweon told the deputy district attorney that what she calculated was “not a reasonable interpretation” of the evidence.
DDA Kendra Havlick had stated, “I believe the amount should actually be $35,369.11. This is based on a receipt for $615.13 to fix the urinal that was broken and a previous judge showed that the job was started on Nov. 7, 2018—which is the incident of this date.”
She showed that in the evidence provided regarding the victim’s property, a casino bathroom, there was proof of water flooding that required a drying service paid on Nov. 9, 2018. Additionally, the charge of $14,881.94 was added for water damage that required the carpet and baseboard to be torn out and replaced.
Assistant Public Defender Vadim Kobyrya objected—and the judge ultimately agreed—to the $14,881.94 charge, saying that “essentially we have no objection to the original $615.13 that was to replace the pipe that was broken.” He added that they also do not object to the $19,872.04 that was necessary for a drying service after flooding.
But the $14,881.94 charge shown in the receipt made by Service Master Restore Company made the charge “due to previous water losses pre-existing damage is present in the carpet with paneling.”
PD Kobyrya argued that there was no testimony at trial nor an indication that mold was found at the victim’s property as a result of the flooding that was caused by Weary. He claimed that due to the lack of connection between the mold damage and the service that had to be performed to remedy the situation, he was objecting to that cost.
The DDA responded to that argument by saying the defense did not have any other evidence to show that there was already existing damage.
Additionally, Service Master Restore Company did not mention that these water damages were from a separate incident, but were merely the water damages that they had found upon arrival. The victim said it had to use this service to prevent mold and damage to his property because of the burden that was placed on him by the defendant.
The DDA read aloud that “the document is indicating there is water loss and damage prior to their arrival which is consistent with the damage that Mr. Weary has caused…specifically due to water losses, pre-existing damage is present in the carpet pad, wood paneling, baseboards, and drywall, tear out and replacement is advised.”
In Judge Helena R. Gweon’s review of the information, she questioned the DDA’s interpretation of “previous water damage” in the evidence provided.
“I’m not sure how to interpret the words ‘due to previous water loss and pre-existing damage’ when they are called on the same day to address the damage that was caused.” She felt confused because the maker of the receipt used words that were not consistent with the current damages made by Weary.
Havlick responded that had there not been a flood caused by the defendant in the first place, there wouldn’t have been the need to tear out and clean these areas of carpeting. She continued that the victim wanted to prevent any secondary damages from occurring in the future.
But Judge Gweon seemed unchanged in her opinion; she argued again that the evidence seemed to indicate that “pre-existing” was referring to damage that had occurred before Mr. Weary had caused damage.
“They cover additional damages that were pre-existing that were not caused by the defendant but were discovered by the defendant’s conduct—I don’t believe they’re entitled to do that,” maintained the judge, who ordered that the defendant make restitution in the amount of $19,872.04 and $615.13, making the final total $20,487.17.