By Eshita Seshadri
SACRAMENTO, CA – Folsom Police Officer Paul Rice and Detective John Triplett testified at a preliminary hearing Friday in Sacramento County Superior Court, describing how Karie Marie Hughes was found with various drugs, paraphernalia, a stun gun, a switchblade, and identifications belonging to other individuals.
Hughes was charged with 11 different counts, including three felonies and seven misdemeanors.
At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, the judge ruled that Hughes would stand trial for these charges.
During the direct examination, Rice described his encounter with the defendant on Sept. 4, 2019, when he was dispatched after a call regarding suspicious activity of individuals looking through a car in an apartment complex parking lot.
Officer Rice noted he eventually spotted a male and a female, and when he questioned the female at the scene, which was Hughes, she stated that her name was Kristen Peterson.
“Just the way she stated her name didn’t seem right. It didn’t appear right,” he explained.
He then stated that he proceeded to search the vehicle, where he found multiple credit cards with the name Karen Hughes and cards under other names.
After continually needing to refer to his report, Officer Rice also stated that he had found a self-printed check made out to Hughes, a glass smoking pipe in the center console, a switchblade knife in the passenger side floorboard, brass knuckles, a stun gun in the center console, different pharmaceutical pills in individual bags labelled with amounts and a bag of meth evaluated by criminalist Melissa Suarez.
During cross-examination, Rice was asked if he could identify the other male, to which he said it was Joseph Koutsis.
He was then asked if Koutsis claimed ownership of the switchblade, to which he said yes.
Officer Rice had to refer to the report for details regarding the narcotics, and did not recall who had called him to the scene. He also mentioned that another officer had found a $100 counterfeit bill in the vehicle.
Det. Triplett was called by Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jack, who said he spoke with more than 10 identity theft victims on the phone who were also confirmed to be real people through name and date of birth.
According to Triplett, “Hand-written notes with names, date of births, social security numbers, access card numbers, checks, drivers’ license, social security card and social security numbers” were all included in the investigation.
Following these testimonies, Judge Curtis M. Fiorini concluded there was sufficient evidence on all counts—except for Count 5 for the switchblade knife, since it was on the passenger side of the vehicle.