Attempted Murder Jury Trial Proceeds with Testimony from an Investigating Officer

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By Catherine Hamilton

WOODLAND, CA – The jury trial of Theo Kelso and Isaiah Berkley for attempted murder reconvened here in Yolo County Superior Court Wednesday with testimony from an officer who had been involved in the investigation.

In early Feb. 2019, Kelso and Berkley were charged with multiple crimes, including attempted murder, dissuading a witness, threatening to commit a crime with intent to terrorize, robbery, and attempted robbery. Judge Tom Dyer is overseeing this trial.

Richard Rayls, a current police sergeant with the Woodland Police Dept., was called to the stand by Deputy District Attorney Paul Richardson.

After Rayls reported to a car shootout and headed to the house of one of the car owners, the car owner contacted the police department to say that he was involved in a shootout. At the time, Rayls and the police did not know if he was a potential shooter or a victim.

Initially, the victim said that he was not injured, but Rayls noticed a bullet hole in the victim’s sweatshirt, leading him to see a bullet wound on the victim’s right torso.

Officer Rayls then showed the court on a map the route that he had taken with the victim as the victim showed him where the shootout had taken place.

When the police department went through the first round of the photographic lineup process with the victim, where he was to pick out one of his assailants if he could recognize them, Rayls said that the victim couldn’t identify anyone because the driver had a mask on.

During the second round, one of the potential suspects was Berkley, who had become a suspect because his driver’s license was found in the other car involved in the shootout.

Rayls was familiar with the suspect from an assault and robbery that had happened around the same time, where the victim of that crime had taken about three seconds to identify Berkley.

During the cross-examination from attorney John Brennan, the defense attorney representing Berkley, he asked why the victim of the shootout had reported the crime the following day, rather than right when it happened.

Rayls said that the victim had said he had just wanted to “go home and smoke marijuana and chill.”

During the cross-examination from attorney Benjamin Williams, the defense attorney representing Kelso, he asked Officer Rayls why his report of Kelso’s height didn’t match his partner’s height record. Rayls said it was because he had taken the height from Kelso’s driver’s license, whereas his partner had taken it at the station.

Attorney Williams also noted the victim of the assault and robbery had smoked marijuana two hours before, and drank a beer shortly before the crime. He asked Rayls if that could have affected her perception, which Rayls said was possible but unlikely.

The trial will proceed this week.

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About The Author

Catherine is a freshman at UCLA, double majoring in English and Political Science. She is from Atlanta, Georgia.

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