By Jake Romero
OAKLAND, CA — Closing arguments were made on Monday at the René C. Davidson Courthouse of Alameda County Superior Court in the trial of ****** ********, a 62-year-old defendant facing multiple charges including rape, sexual abuse of a minor and bank robbery.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Vanguard will not use the name of the defendant to protect the identity of the victim.
Defense Attorney Maria Belyi said the jury should evaluate the credibility of one victim — the defendant’s sister — because she had an unclear recollection of an alleged assault.
“What matters is, she’s saying this from memory… She’s coming and she’s saying ‘I remember this,’ and then the next time she’s saying she remembers something different,” said Belyi. She later added, “I want you to consider the inconsistencies in the testimony.”
She also said this victim, after filing a police report in 2011, stayed in contact with the defendant, went over to his home to visit her nieces and even used his credit card to pay her bills.
The defense noted that other alleged victims gave statements to police in which they denied being assaulted.
Defense Attorney Belyi said it was noteworthy that these statements weren’t in evidence, and that some of these women and the police officers who took their statements were not called to testify.
******** previously served prison time years before he was again arrested in December 2018 for the current charges. Belyi concluded her argument with statements about the defendant’s efforts after being released from prison, noting “Mr. ******** worked really, really hard to build a life for himself and his family.”
Deputy District Attorney Nicholas Homer responded to Ms. Belyi’s statements about witness credibility.
“You want to know where you’d see consistency? If someone made up a false story,” DDA Homer said. “But when somebody’s thinking about a trauma, thinking about something that happened to them a long time ago that they’ve been trying to forget… you would expect inconsistencies.”
He referred to a prior hearing where an expert witness, Dr. Carmichael, said this. According to DDA Homer, Dr. Carmichael also said it was not unusual for a victim to stay in contact with an abuser.
The prosecution went on to say that evidence presented in court did not support the defense’s opening statements and closing arguments, such as ******** being “reformed.”
“He was molesting children before prison. He was assaulting children before prison. The evidence showed he continued to assault them. He continued to break the law after prison. He had guns in the home,” Homer said.
He also pointed out the defense’s attempts to create doubt in their closing argument.
“The way that you respond when you don’t like the evidence that’s been presented is you try to distract. You try to encourage a jury to speculate about evidence that wasn’t presented, witnesses that weren’t called — what they might say. That’s not your role, that’s not your job, because they aren’t in evidence,” said DDA Homer.