Judge Won’t Pursue Prosecutor Wishes, but Still Sets Alleged Screwdriver Stabbing for Trial


By Silverio Rizo Llamas

SACRAMENTO, CA – A Sacramento County Superior Court judge this week refused to agree with a prosecutor about adding a “great bodily injury enhancement,” but still ruled a man must go to trial early next year for allegedly stabbing someone with a screwdriver, causing a half-inch gash.

Joshua Houston faces felony charges for assault with a deadly weapon and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury (GBI). His trial is set for January 24, 2022.

Houston allegedly stabbed another person with a screwdriver over a dispute regarding a “CD deck.” Houston is also facing a felony charge for being in possession of a loaded “ghost gun” as a convicted felon in a separate case.

Officer Joel McVay testified he had pulled over Houston for driving a vehicle with no rear license plate. Upon searching the vehicle, the officer said he found a “loaded ghost gun” along with a “small mesh pouch with a loose round of ammunition.”

According to Officer McVay, Houston admitted to knowing about the firearm but claimed that it was not his and that he was aware that he could not possess a firearm as a convicted felon.

The judge then presented the case where Houston allegedly stabbed a person with a screwdriver.

District Attorney Intern Brenna Burcell called Officer Christine Lakin of the Sacramento Police Department, who testified that when she arrived at the scene of the crime she spoke with the victim who accused Houston of having stabbed him while the victim was near his car.

Upon further questioning, the officer said the victim had claimed that Houston rushed his car, prompting him to jump out of his car, after which he was stabbed in the upper right shoulder.

Assistant Public Defender Courtney Zane questioned Officer Lakin regarding the events leading up to the stabbing.

Officer Lakin said the victim explained that he and Houston had gotten into an altercation because Houston accused him of having stolen a “CD deck” out of the accused’s car. After returning the CD deck Houston left.

PD Zane questioned Officer Lakin regarding the screwdriver used in the crime, which was on the driver’s floorboard on the victim’s car. The defense said the screwdriver would have been right under the victim.

PD Zane asked Officer Lakin if the victim had stated how far “he went from the front seat” after jumping out. The officer explained that he did not know.

The defense then asked Officer Lakin if the victim had elaborated on how Houston, the accused, got possession of the screwdriver. The officer explained that he did not elaborate, stating that he just “grabbed it.”

The defense asked Officer Lakin if she had seen the screwdriver or the bat. Officer Lakin stated that she did not recover the screwdriver nor had seen the bat.

DA Intern Burcell questioned Officer Tim Strautman of the Sacramento Police Department, who said he found the victim conscious and talking.

Upon arriving at the scene Officer Strautman saw the victim in the back seat of a white Pontiac. The victim had his shirt removed with what appeared to be a stab wound to the upper back. According to the officer the wound appeared to be about half an inch deep.

Prosecution wanted to be heard regarding a GBI enhancement which was not “currently alleged in the complaint but (that) the People would like to ask for a holding order on that… allegation.”

The defense responded by arguing that “other than the testimony about it being a bleeding wound appearing to be a half an inch deep” they did not “think there’s been enough evidence presented to rise to the level of showing great bodily injury.”

PD Zane stressed the fact that they were not in possession of any “medical records” or evidence that “he (the victim) had to see a doctor (or) if there were stitches involved.” The defense argued that there were a “number of questions that have not been asked or answered, that would allow this to the level of GBI.”

The judge stated that it “appeared to the court” that the offense charged in the complaint “had been committed” but declined to support a GBI enhancement based on the evidence presented. The judge added that “there may be sufficient evidence that can be elicited in trial.”

The judge informed the defendant that he remained charged with assault with a deadly weapon and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury.
Houston will stand trial on Jan. 24, 2022.


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