By Amy Berberyan
RIVERSIDE, CA – Two of three charges—including attempted murder—were dismissed against Tyler David Augustine by Judge Jorge Herrera here in Riverside County Superior Court Friday after two witnesses gave testimony.
Augustine’s preliminary hearing was for attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to cause great bodily injury, and criminal threats of death or great bodily injury.
The first witness—who was also the alleged victim—was a man who watched the property of Augustine’s father and stepmother in exchange for rent. When the couple went on vacation, he was told to look after their property.
According to this witness, Augustine was not allowed on their property “because of drug abuse.” The witness said that the defendant also suffered from mental health issues and that “he’s a nice guy when he’s not on drugs.”
On May 2, 2021, the witness said he heard Augustine yelling at his brother. The witness said he had “been preparing equipment for three days straight” and was very bleary-eyed as a result. He went back to sleep afterwards.
A few hours later, at 9:30 a.m., he heard a noise in the backyard. Augustine was dropping things and yelling, and the witness claimed Augustine said, “I’m going to defecate on the patio unless I can come into the house.”
The victim said Augustine cursed at the victim, claiming “[the victim was] stealing [his] parent’s money” before throwing a rock at the house.
Augustine then took the victim’s address book—which the victim thought was his wallet—and threw a rock at his car. The victim ran out to see if his wallet was stolen.
Augustine allegedly, said the victim, ran after the victim, who ran back into the house. On the way, the victim said “[Augustine] threw them as he ran by me and they stuck in the door.”
That was the last interaction the victim had with the defendant, because the victim called the police afterwards.
The second witness was a Deputy (no first name listed) Bush, who was dispatched at 9:45 a.m. to the location and arrested Augustine, whom he found “standing outside a vehicle in the front yard.”
Though Augustine was hostile and uncooperative at first, he eventually complied with Bush’s orders and was detained.
When Bush asked Augustine why he wanted to beat the victim, he replied “because I just don’t like him.” He also revealed that he had known the victim for a decade, and bad blood had existed between them for that entire time.
After the deputy asked what Augustine would have done with the victim if he had gotten hold of him, he stated “if I had gotten ahold of him, I would have kicked the shit out of him. If I grabbed ahold of him, I would have done the best to kick the shit out of him but more than likely I wouldn’t have.”
When Bush asked Augustine whether he would have beaten or killed the victim having caught him, Augustine said, “Yeah I would have beaten the f*** out of him or done my best to.”
When asked if he wanted to kill the victim, the defendant replied, “I wanted to, yes.”
Bush then asked him if he felt like he would have tried to kill the victim, and Augustine said, “Yes, I would have wanted to. I wanted to in my heart I wanted to. But I don’t know if I would have actually done it. I might have had some self-control to stop myself.”
Augustine claimed the victim had thrown the shears at him, but would not allow Bush to inspect his foot.
When asked about the shears, Augustine admitted to throwing them, “but I didn’t hit him though.”
Deputy Public Defender Neil Harrison noted how the victim, during his testimony, had mentioned Augustine “could not have hit him” with the shears.
Deputy District Attorney David Chianello argued that “[the defendant] did throw the shears with enough force to impale a metal security screen door.”
“Had the shears been thrown a little bit sooner and a little bit higher,” said Chianello, “it’s very possible that the victim would have been struck in the upper body. Possibly the heart or some other major organ that would have caused him to die.”
Based on what the defendant had admitted to Deputy Bush about wanting to beat the victim rather than kill him, Judge Hernandez believed there was “a lack of evidence with respect to Count 1,” which he dismissed. Count 3 was also dismissed.
Augustine was charged with Count 2—assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to cause great bodily injury—and his case was certified to trial. Arraignment will first take place Dec. 7.