Felony Vandalism Case Advances to Trial on Question of Whether Crashed into Garage on Purpose or Accidentally

By Allison Hodge

SACRAMENTO, CA – It was a busy morning in Sacramento County Superior Court, Dept. 26 Thursday when, following a preliminary hearing, Montreal Curry’s felony vandalism case was advanced to jury trial.

Judge Curtis M. Fiorini concluded that there was substantial evidence to believe the defendant’s actions did cause significant property damage and may have been done purposely.

The defendant faces one count of felony vandalism for crashing his vehicle into the front garage of a named victim, who is the mother of Curry’s current girlfriend. Curry also has several prior convictions, including a domestic violence case from 2020, in which the defendant’s current girlfriend was the victim.

The question for the jury, suggested the judge, is not whether the crash happened, but whether Curry did it on purpose.

Deputy District Attorney Alexandra Sanders called Officer Joshua Gardner, who made the initial arrest on May 27 after Curry rammed into the victim’s house.

While on the scene, the victim told Officer Gardner that earlier that day she and the defendant got into an argument. She stated that he left after the argument, but she said he came back later that night and rammed into the front area of the house around the garage.

Officer Gardner told the court, “[The victim] advised that the accident was so loud, that she thought they were gunshots, so she got down on the ground.”

Her daughter, who was in the house with her, allegedly went outside and told Curry that he needed to leave. The defendant then allegedly drove away from the scene and returned around 12:43 a.m.

When Curry returned, the victim proclaimed, “That’s him,” as the car pulled into the driveway. Officer Gardner arrested the defendant and was later able to confirm his identity as Montreal Curry.

Defense counsel Benjamin Williams then cross-examined the witness, focusing on the integrity of the car and any potential defects in its mechanical design.

When asked about any problems with the vehicle, Officer Gardner stated that he did not thoroughly inspect for any faulty equipment, and only observed some minor scrapes on the front of the vehicle.

In his closing argument, Williams maintained that the charges should be dismissed for lack of evidence. He stated that there was certainly evidence that an accident occurred, but no real evidence that Curry did so intentionally.

The prosecution then reminded the court that, for purposes of a prelim, the argument that occurred before the accident could have led to a purposeful “ramming” into the house. Sanders argued that there was sufficient evidence at this stage in the preliminary hearing to send the case to a jury trial.

Following both attorneys’ arguments, Judge Fiorini ruled that there was indeed significant damage on the house, and it may have been purposeful. He believes that this was, “…something a jury should have a right to decide.”

Judge Fiorini, therefore, held that there was sufficient evidence to hold Curry to answer, and advanced the case to jury trial to begin on Oct. 18.

Before closing, however, defense counsel Williams requested a custody status review and asked for a bail reduction or to release him on his own recognizance. Williams asserted that with a stay-away order from the house and other appropriate conditions, Curry did not pose a significant threat to the community.

In response, DDA Sanders stated that she was a bit more concerned about the public safety risk due to the possible purposeful nature of the accident.

Sanders also reminded the court of the 2020 domestic violence that involved Curry’s current girlfriend, who was pregnant at the time. The two allegedly had an argument which resulted in the defendant repeatedly hitting her in the stomach, throwing a weighted plate at her, and slapping her, among many other physical actions.

Judge Fiorini, however, ruled, “On a case like this, I am going to want to hear from the alleged victim in this case…they do have a right to weigh in on bail…”

Prosecutor Sanders was tasked with contacting the victim to let her know that she could be heard on the matter if she chooses.

About The Author

Allison is a rising senior at UC Davis, majoring in History and Political Science. She is originally from Clovis, CA, and is pursuing a career in civil rights and/or constitutional law.

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