By Ganga Nair
SACRAMENTO, CA – While serving time in the Sacramento County Jail for damaging a Target trash compactor, defendant Colton Miles allegedly brutally assaulted another incarcerated individual, choking him multiple times.
Tuesday, Miles faced charges of felony vandalism, attempted murder, resisting arrest and more at a hearing in Sacramento County Superior Court.
Miles was represented by defense attorney Stanley A. Kubochi.
The District Attorney’s Office brought in multiple witnesses, including Officer Lindsey Schock, Officer Adrian Silva, Deputy Amelia Brown, Deputy Michael Hancock and Detective Brandon Wright.
And, as the intense hearing continued, new details of the alleged jail assault were unveiled, depicting an unprovoked assault of one incarcerated person on another.
The saga began, according to Officers Schock and Silva, when they were called to a Target store about someone “messing with a trash compactor” on March 12. Officers spoke to the security at the store, who showed surveillance of a man prying open the door of the trash compactor.
Schock immediately searched the area, eventually finding Miles and arresting him. After detaining the defendant, Schock conducted a further investigation. Defense later pointed out that the officer searched the area only after detaining Miles.
The officers spoke to the maintenance worker, who recalled that two of the compactor’s hydraulic hoses were found disconnected. Repair costs amounted to $2,500.
Silva searched Miles and found what appeared to be methamphetamine in his pocket. The substance was then tested using a presumptive field test, showing that the substance was methamphetamine. Miles was arrested and placed in Sacramento County Jail.
Days after, Miles and his alleged would-be victim were booked under the supervision of Deputy Brown. The victim was placed in a different room, or holding tank from 7:30 a.m. to 9:14 a.m.
After being booked, the victim was moved to the release tank, a separate room. The victim, as highlighted by the prosecution, did not engage in any altercations.
Miles would join the victim in the release tank at around 2:41 p.m. Suddenly, Miles stood behind the victim and choked him, said Deputy Brown, who identified the choke as “kind of like putting him [the victim] in a rear naked choke hold and squeezing his neck.”
The rear naked choke hold is known as a chronic choke hold, used before by police officers as “a last line of defense.” It is no longer allowed, per police protocol, because “it can essentially lead to death.”
According to witnesses, upon being choked, the victim began to kick the defendant’s feet, to which Miles reacted by pushing the victim forward, causing them both to fall to the floor. Miles then wrapped his legs around the victim’s legs.
At one point, Miles stopped choking the victim, but did not loosen his grip, said Deputy Brown, recalling “he looked at the release tank entrance and the security camera.”
Merely seconds later, Miles re-tightened his grip on the victim, choking him again. The victim did regain consciousness at some point and attempted to use his hands to push Miles away, but he “never got off the ground.”
The defendant reacted by using his left knee to apply pressure to the victim’s throat, “applying full body pressure.” The victim’s limbs went fully limp, and the victim’s pale skin turned blue,” said the deputy. Miles then re-mounted him, and proceeded to choke the victim using his hands.
Deputy Hancock outlined the seriousness of the victim’s injury, providing a statement based on Dr. Sonia Sanga’s encounter context report. Dr. Sanga is one of the doctors at Sacramento County Jail.
The doctor said the victim had “agonal breathing,” defined as when someone is gasping for air. The victim’s eyes were closed and “(h)is oxygen levels ranged from the 80’s and 90’s, even with full oxygen” given through an oxygen mask.
Deputy Brown responded to the situation at 3:38 p.m., along with medical staff. Miles was promptly moved to a separate, isolated holding cell, but it would not be long before Miles began to cause commotion.
Brown sent multiple deputies to Miles’ holding cell, but was eventually called to back up the deputies, and to bring her taser. When she arrived, Brown found multiple officers attempting to handcuff the defendant. Despite multiple attempts to give instructions, the defendant did not comply, using his legs to kick the officers.
Brown testified she warned Miles two to three times that she would use her taser, but he did not respond or comply. Even after using her taser, Miles continued to resist. After kicking and punching officers multiple times, the defendant was handcuffed.
Defense argued that the first count for vandalism should be reduced from a felony charge to a misdemeanor, and that the machine was not left inoperable. In addition, he concluded that “a loss is a loss,” but since the defendant has no record, the charges should be reduced.
Prosecution refuted this, stating that the defendant used force on the compactor, resulting in $2,500 of damages.
“If the defendant had graffitied the Sistine Chapel and not destroyed any of the outside walls and there was still a cost to clean up the graffiti that would still constitute a felony if the cost was over $400. Or, if the loss of value is over $400,” said the prosecutor.
Judge James E. McFetridge decided that there is sufficient evidence for all charges including attempted first degree murder, keeping the vandalism charge as a felony, to go to jury trial, concluding, “I don’t know how the guy survived that, but Mr. Miles (you are) very, very fortunate…Thank God.” Next court date: Sept. 14.