By Amber Thatcher, Simran Chahal, and Fiona Davis
SACRAMENTO, CA – A victim found beaten outside of a bar earlier this year testified at an assault and battery preliminary hearing Monday in Sacramento County Superior Court, vividly describing a “straight, constant beating.”
James Ashwood has been charged with assault and battery resulting in great bodily injury after the victim was assaulted outside of a Sacramento bar in late July of this year. Ashwood has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
After the preliminary hearing, the judge ruled Ashwood would stand trial for the assault/battery charges.
When questioned Monday, the alleged victim described the attack he sustained in detail, explaining he had gone to the bar a short time after he quit his job. He began to drink large quantities of alcohol over the course of several hours, admitting he had felt unhappy due to his new unemployment.
“I was depressed, I ended up quitting, and I was trying to figure out what to do next for a job,” the victim told the court. He relayed memories of venting to others inside the bar, subsequently voicing feelings of hopelessness and anger.
“Everyone talks about their problems at the bar,” he reasoned.
Later, the victim told the court he went outside to smoke a cigarette when he saw a vehicle which he believed was sent by his previous employer.
When asked why he thought this, the victim stated that, while he was leaving his previous job, he had felt like several employees had been “watching” him, and believed that he heard one of the individuals in the car mention the name of the company in question.
The victim also noted that he had been “paranoid” and “emotional” at the time.
He said he approached the vehicle and tapped on the window before questioning the men about whether they worked for his previous employer. The men stepped outside of their vehicle and started to walk toward the victim.
The victim noted he started to slowly back away and expressed that “[he] felt threatened.” He stated, “I threw the first defense jab because I thought that they were going to swing at me.”
The victim had a hard time remembering the altercation, but stated that “the attackers” swung about two to three times at the victim before one of the men tripped him, causing him to fall to the ground.
He then recalled the two men attacking him in what he described as a “straight constant beating,” stating that the assault occurred for approximately 30-45 minutes.
“All I felt was constant hitting, and when the hitting stopped, all I heard was the ambulance next to me,” stated the victim. When the ambulance arrived at the scene, the victim was “unresponsive” and appeared to be unconscious, according to the police report.
The victim was admitted and stayed overnight at a hospital, then left the following morning.
While he has received no further treatment for his injuries, the victim stated that he had suffered from internal bleeding, and said, “My eyes were bloodshot yellow, I was bruised everywhere, my face was f***ed up, my head was in knots.”
The victim noted that he continues to be impacted by the assault, specifically noting that he now suffers from anxiety attacks, and that he felt that his brain function had been majorly impacted by the physical trauma he sustained.
“I can’t remember s*** no more,” he bluntly expressed.
When asked by the prosecution if he could identify any of the attackers, the victim stated that he could not.
The court moved onto the next witness testimony from peace Officer Mark Hampton. He was dispatched by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office to the scene after receiving a call from a local resident about an assault in progress.
When Hampton arrived on scene, he said he saw the victim “lying face down” and was found “with blood around the mouth and nose, [he] observed laceration on the lip and arm.”
According to Hampton, a resident who lives nearby claims to have been standing in her driveway during the time of the altercation. When speaking with Hampton she said she initially heard a commotion before noticing a crowd of people surrounding the victim.
The resident then observed three attackers who managed to get the victim on the ground before eventually dispersing. She noted that they tripped him and threw him against their car before he fell, and proceeded to hit the victim “several times.”
She confirmed Ashwood to be a suspect after viewing him from the same location during the day. The witness is also said to have listed Ashwood as the victim’s primary attacker.
After both the victim and Officer Hampton testified, Judge Stephen Acquisto—who oversaw Ashwood’s hearing—stated that there was sufficient evidence to find the defendant guilty of the crimes alleged.