Man Accused of Assault with Deadly Weapon, but Did Not Possess Weapon – Still Set for Trial

By Catherine Potente

RIVERSIDE, CA — No weapon was found in Roger Espinoza’s possession after he was taken into custody for felony assault with a deadly weapon, a Riverside County Superior Court was told here this week—in the end, though, Espinoza was held for trial.

Officer Malessa Gutierrez was dispatched to a KFC located in Corona on Jan. 13, 2021, and testified to seeing two females and two males present at the scene, including Espinoza, pacing at the scene with an angry and stressed demeanor.

The officer stated Espinoza was “extremely agitated, angry, yelling, cursing.”

Officer Gutierrez said she told Espinoza to sit down multiple times, but he refused to comply, and the officer claimed he began to walk toward her in an angry manner, causing Officer Gutierrez to use her Taser.

“I tased him…because he wasn’t listening to my orders and he continued to walk towards me,” said the officer, who said he seemed to be intoxicated, she noted, because of an odor of alcohol and uncooperative demeanor.

“Dealing with him, his demeanor appeared like he was intoxicated, based on my experience. His eyes were glossy and red and even after being detained he still wasn’t cooperative…He wouldn’t get in the back of the police car,” the officer testified.

Two 911 phone calls were made that night, one from the alleged victim and one from Espinoza, who had reported being hit on the head.

The victim was present on the scene when the officer arrived. The victim, said the officer, was very involved in the Espinoza’s life and was familiar with his background.

Espinoza had called his mother and the victim and asked them for a ride, said the officer, who reported she was informed Espinoza told his friend to get in the car, but the victim refused to give a ride to Espinoza’s friend, which angered Espinoza.

The victim reported to the officer, “He spit on [the victim] and stated he was going to shoot [her].”

The victim then reportedly got out of the car and Espinoza allegedly punched her on the left side of her face, creating a contusion. The victim grabbed a metal pipe from the trunk of the car and swung at Espinoza in self-defense.

In the past, Espinoza had attacked the victim before on a couple of occasions, leaving the victim black and blue after the physical incidents, the officer testified, adding, as the victim told her, “He’s had domestic violence incidents, that he is gang affiliated and that she knew about him stomping a man almost to death in Riverside.”

Deputy Public Defender Arlene Carrillo argued even if Espinoza threatened to shoot the victim, but did not possess a gun at the time, it would make it impossible for him to go through with the threat.

Deputy District Attorney Katie Gonzales argued the victim had no way of knowing if Espinoza possessed a gun, but retrieved the metal pipe in self-defense, knowing his history and witnessing his current demeanor.

Judge Mac Fisher found Espinoza is most likely guilty and scheduled an arraignment on March 14 prior to setting a trial.

About The Author

Catherine is a fourth year undergraduate student at UC Davis, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Communications. She plans to graduate in 2022 and is interested in studying law.

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