By Leslie Ortiz, Eshita Seshadri, and Stacie Guevara
SACRAMENTO, CA – Michael Martz appeared for his preliminary hearing Tuesday here in Sacramento County Superior Court on charges of assault and battery stemming from an incident in a gym in November 2019.
This preliminary hearing was issued originally for March 30, 2020, but was pushed back several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This had some impact—Officer William Maslak, who testified Tuesday, had trouble recalling what exactly happened during the incident almost two years ago.
On Nov. 19, 2019, Martz allegedly punched a victim at a Life Time Fitness in Folsom. Another police officer identified as “Officer Dorris” was actually at the scene, but not in court Tuesday.
Officer Maslak was not at the scene himself, but on Nov. 21, 2019, Maslak visited the location in response to the incident. Maslak said he contacted one of the managers of the Life Time Fitness, who showed Maslak surveillance footage of the incident.
Maslak took a video of the surveillance footage on his cell phone, making it a video of a video. Maslak’s police report and Dorris’ police report were Maslak’s points of recollection in court Tuesday.
Maslak said he got in touch with the victim just a few days ago, who gave him descriptive details of the injuries. According to Maslak, the punch broke the victim’s orbital bone and caused nerve damage on the victim’s face, which resulted in difficulty breathing through the nostrils.
Maslak added the incident was “mentally damaging” for the victim because time became a blur both before and after the injury.
As Deputy District Attorney Douglas Caballeros was questioning Maslak, defense attorney Daniel Karalash objected on hearsay grounds and lack of foundation concerning a conversation the officer had with the victim’s girlfriend (who watched the incident occur).
Officer Maslak kept asking to refer to his report when asked about the girlfriend’s statement and the way Maslak phrased things sounded like hearsay, according to Karalash.
Caballeros often rephrased questions and Maslak said he shared a conversation with the victim’s girlfriend, who confirmed to Maslak that her statement to Dorris was correct.
Maslak continued to repeat what was mentioned in the report rather than the video of the monitor recording on his cell phone, stating, “One subject was seated on the wall. I’m not sure if anything was said because there was no audio. The subject hit the victim in the face.”
No other witnesses were called following Maslak’s statements to the court.
Ultimately, Judge Shelleyanne Chang determined Martz must stand trial for assault and battery. Further proceedings and arraignment were set for Oct. 12 at 8:30 a.m. in Dept. 63.