By Luke Kyaw
RIVERSIDE, CA – When Deputy District Attorney Jason Armand called the alleged victim of domestic abuse, the ex-fiancée of Nicholas Steve Concha, to the stand here Friday in Riverside County Superior Court, it didn’t go well.
Concha has been charged with a hit-and-run against his ex-fiancée’s car as well as verbally threatening to kill her and her six children.
In the direct examination, the witness/victim denied any incidents of domestic violence in their two-year relationship—contradicting statements she made to responding police officers—but admitted that she would call the police just to make sure she could grab her belongings and leave.
DDA Armand then questioned the victim witness about two incidents related to the case that happened, in April and May respectively, when she called the police.
However, she seemed to not recall either of the incidents and responded she did not remember them. She told the court that she “has been through a lot of trauma [and stress] … and was using drugs heavily” at the time.
When asked about whether she remembers either Concha hitting her car or threatening to kill her and her children, the victim witness also indicated that she did not remember and instead stated that Concha “has been really good to her kids … and (has) done really well.”
Judge Mac Fisher even overruled opposing counsel’s objections that DDA Armand’s questions were leading, after the alleged victim’s inability to remember the two incidents.
The victim’s consistent negative replies evidently flustered DDA Armand in the end, who then proceeded to comment, “Are you going to say that you were on drugs and don’t remember in response to all of my questions today?”
In her cross-examination with Deputy Public Defender Yvonne Hui, the witness victim once clarified that she had been on methamphetamine and Norco at the time so she does not remember much.
She also had a negative response when DPD Hui asked her if she remembers talking to an investigative officer from the public defender’s office in June, which prompted the latter to give her a statement from the investigative officer to refresh her recollection.
The statement showed that the alleged victim had told the investigative officer that all the statements she had made to the police had been lies and she had been high on methamphetamine during the two incidents. After reading the statement, she stated that she does recall “feeling upset” at the time.
However, she still maintained that she doesn’t remember much due to trauma and personal problems. When DPD Hui asked her what problems she has about her mental health, the alleged victim replied that she has severe depression and is currently undergoing an evaluation for more details.
Afterwards, DDA Armand then called his next witness, Priscilla Aguirre, a patrol officer who had responded to the victim’s police calls.
Aguirre testified that she was told by the victim at the time that Concha had hit her car by backing into hers, then he got out of the car to approach her and yelled that “he was going to kill her and her kids.”
The officer said she was told Concha had his hands on his waistband when threatening her and she could see an outline of a gun but never actually saw it in plain view. The victim allegedly told the officer that, when she drove away, Concha proceeded to follow her and hit her car once more on the passenger side before fleeing onto the freeway.
Officer Aguirre also testified that the alleged victim had informed her that she takes different routes back home sometimes because she was “trying to avoid” Concha and that there were “about 30 incidents of domestic violence” in their two-year relationship.
At the end of the hearing, DPD Hui asked that the court find the evidence insufficient to hold the two counts against the defendant because of the inconsistent statements by the victim, and because of her admitted drug influence during the incidents.
On the other hand, DDA Armand asked the court to deny the defense’s request and hold the Concha to answer against both counts.
Judge Fisher ruled there was enough evidence presented to hold Concha and scheduled an arraignment for Sept. 17 as a precursor to a jury trial.