Bail Denied after Judge Considers Past Life Sentence for Setting Girlfriend on Fire

By Mary Magana-Ayala 

SACRAMENTO, CA – Jonathan McCart appeared in court for a preliminary hearing in Sacramento County Superior Court late last week in a domestic violence case against his partner, and when the defense asked to set bail, Judge Alyson Lewis denied it because of McCart’s previous conviction and life sentence for setting his girlfriend on fire. 

In this case, McCart was recently charged in a domestic violence case for causing corporal injury to his girlfriend on Sept. 8. 

Deputy District Defense Attorney Mitch Miller called Deputy Chansavang Oriyavong to testify —the deputy was the respondent to the 911 call that was issued reporting the domestic violence case. 

The deputy explained that the information he received prior to arriving at the scene was that there had been a disturbance between a male and female, and that the female was being followed by a male in a truck. 

Once arriving at the scene, Deputy Oriyavong explained that the victim stated that the argument began a day prior when the couple were at Home Depot. McCart allegedly kicked the victim out of the car, which led the victim to call her male friend for a ride back home. 

Deputy Oriyavong noted that McCart allegedly “told her he would kick her ass for getting a ride home from a male.”

On the day of the incident, Deputy Oriyavong explained that the couple had gotten into another argument and McCart allegedly pushed the victim on the bed and threatened to knock her out. According to the information gathered by Deputy Oriyavong, McCart began choking the victim with both of his hands. 

While with the victim, Deputy Oriyavong noticed the victim had two marks on her neck that looked like fingers. He also noted that the victim had said that she had dug her nails into McCart’s neck and he confirmed he had seen the scratches on McCart’s neck. 

The defense, Attorney Gene Stone, explained that Jonathan McCart at the time of the incident was on parole, worked two jobs, and has a 74-year-old mother who was recently diagnosed with COVID-19. The mother is being taken care of by his sister but she doesn’t drive or have a car. 

Defense Attorney Stone said that McCart was willing to submit to any out-of-custody supervision and testing. The defense asked if he could get out on bail in order to take care of his mother. 

DDA Miller opposed setting any bail, arguing McCart was on parole on a life sentence which also included a domestic violence case. His previous conviction was an assault with a deadly weapon and for lighting his girlfriend on fire. McCart served 18 years and highlighted that the community and victim are not safe if he were to be granted bail. 

Judge Lewis ruled, “As for the request for bail the court is concerned that the prior life sentence was with something girlfriend related and these charges are also girlfriend related.” 

The judge found that there is sufficient evidence to hold the defendant accountable for trial. Judge Lewis also denied bail, considering McCart’s prior conviction that led to a life sentence. 

Jonathan McCart’s next appearance is on Oct. 25.

About The Author

Koda is an incoming senior at UC Berkeley, majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Rhetoric. He is from Ventura, CA.

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