By Julia Urquizo
RIVERSIDE, CA – A jury trial resumed last week here in Riverside County Superior Court where a man* faces misdemeanor domestic violence charges for allegedly inflicting corporal injury on his spouse in a July 13, 2018, incident in a Montebello grocery store parking lot.
*(NOTE: The Vanguard is not publishing the real name of the accused because this is a misdemeanor case, and to protect the identify of the victim.)
The accused’s significant other, the alleged victim, choked up as she explained on the stand how she is still dating the man and is still living with him. She maintained the charge should be “disturbing the peace” not domestic abuse because she said she was uninjured.
Judge Randall Stamen had to remind the victim to slow down as soon as she began sharing her testimony because she kept on describing the incident as a whole and not scene by scene.
The victim struggled with restraining herself from further explaining her statements throughout the trial. At one point, Judge Stamen had to call the counsel for a sidebar discussion in the middle of the victim’s testimony.
On July 13, 2018, the couple stopped by a grocery store as the defendant and the victim were heading back from a doctor’s appointment. They wanted to buy food for an amateur supercross race for kids the next day.
The dispute unraveled once the victim refused to buy the defendant alcohol. The victim explicitly said that she would not buy alcohol for anybody and that he became argumentative shortly after.
The victim said the accused is “argumentative and gets messed up thoughts in his head, like I’m cheating on him—falsely accusing me of things.”
Afterwards, the victim discussed how the accused was prescribed pain medication in 2018 for an injury to the bone in his hand. She noted how the defendant became more irritable during the time he had prescriptions for his pain and stated, “He was dependent on it so he had anxiety.”
The victim made it clear that there were times where the accused would not drink for months since he knew that the victim did not like it.
After buying groceries, the victim said she asked the accused if he could put a gallon of oil in the car, which further triggered his temper. Once he started arguing with her, the victim walked away toward the laundromat to de-escalate the situation. She insisted that she was not scared of him, despite his trailing behind her shouting, and she denied he ever made any attempt to incur injury upon her.
Once the victim realized that nobody was inside the laundromat, she entered a nearby lingerie shop where the two female workers inside called the police with the victim’s permission.
The victim said, “He never pushed me. I fell down. There’s surveillance footage of that. I walked away. It was not a case of domestic abuse. Maybe disturbing the peace would be appropriate.”
When she was asked about whether the female workers were concerned about her getting back inside the car she answered, “Yes they were concerned. In most cases, the victim protects the abuser. I fully understand why they were concerned.”
The victim was given a transcript of a phone call she had with the police on the way back home from the grocery store parking lot. Yet, the transcript still could not help refresh her recollection of the phone call.
The victim could not recall ever stating over the phone that the accused was looking at her like he was going to kill her, threatening her, and was continuing to act like a “psycho.” When asked about whether she felt safe or not inside the car she said she could not remember.
She also could not remember telling the officer that met her outside her home that the neighbors were moving because they were scared of her spouse.
“My neighbors had called the cops on him before because he throws things around. He’s a different person when he drinks,” the victim said.
The victim said she could tell the defendant had been drinking the day of the incident but could not recall whether he stole her prescription or not.
The victim insisted, “I know he didn’t lay hands on me or hit me or anything of that nature. I know he grabbed my purse. I lost my balance because I was walking away and I caught myself (from falling) and he took the phone. That I do recall, he took his phone out of my purse.”
The victim also stated she was wearing three-inch wedges and a sundress that day, so the bruise she acquired on her wrist was from catching herself from falling along the laundromat’s wall.
The prosecutor asked, “When he took your phone and tried to take your purse, did he have permission to do so?”
The victim responded, “No, but, um, he has my permission to go into my purse pretty much whenever, to be honest, I mean I was walking away from him. I did not know he was going to try to take stuff out of my purse.”
When the victim was shown picture evidence of the bruise on her wrist she stated it was from trying to catch her balance along the laundromat’s wall and not from the defendant actually pushing her.
The jury trial will reconvene Nov. 29.