Wrong Man Almost Arrested at Scuffle by ATM that Led to Fatal Stabbing

By Annette Wong-Toi

SACRAMENTO, CA – When officers responded to a call about an assault with a deadly weapon, they almost arrested the wrong man in January of last year, according the testimony here this week at a preliminary hearing in Sacramento County Superior Court.

Advised by the sheriff’s helicopter, officers began detaining a man who was exiting the scene. However, as they were “in the process of placing handcuffs on him,” other officers were able to locate the real suspect and took him into custody—a man named Roosevelt Hardley.

The victim was found with two cuts on his torso, both of which were actively bleeding when officers arrived on the scene. The details surrounding the victim’s condition were not addressed much during the hearing, which was focused on the scuffle that broke out before the stabbing. 

However, it was made clear that this was investigated as a homicide.

According to the facts presented about the case, the victim last January had been picked up from work by a female friend, and he asked to be taken to a nearby bank to withdraw some cash. 

At some point, the victim returned to his friend in her car and informed her that he had “lost his cell phone.” 

A witness who was inside the bank at the time said that the victim then initiated an argument with the defendant, which turned physical. In their statement to the police, they stated that the victim was on top of the other man, and that they were engaged in a violent confrontation. 

After exchanging blows, the victim’s friend intervened in an attempt to break up the fight. As two were walking away together, the defendant allegedly approached them and attacked him again. This time, the hand he had used to punch him had a six-inch knife in it, according the police report. 

The victim’s friend confronted the defendant, but was then pushed away and threatened with death. She walked away from this encounter shaken and with a six-inch laceration on her leg, describing him as being “mental and outraged.” 

Once officers arrived and correctly identified the alleged suspect in this attack, searching him and finding two weapons in his pockets: a box cutter and a pocket knife. One of the deputies involved stated that, as these items were being removed, the suspect made a spontaneous exclamation. 

“I never hurt anybody like this, please don’t let the youngster die,” according to officers. The defendant allegedly also tried to explain that he “had to do it because [the victim] was all over him.”

The defense established that all statements mentioned during the preliminary hearing were on the record, and that some had even been recorded and made on camera. 

Detectives were able to watch a video of the incident, because the whole thing had been captured by the bank’s security system. 

The case will return on Dec. 6 at 1:30 p.m. in Dept. 9, when Hardley will appear in court for trial. 

About The Author

Annette Wong-Toi is a third-year student at UC Davis studying Psychology and Communication. If she isn't learning how to play a new instrument or taking a nap, she's probably feeding the stray cats outside her apartment. She hopes to develop her listening and communication skills to be a better student, writer, and friend.

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