Man Faces Multiple Domestic Violence-Related Charges after Allegedly Pointing Gun


By Neha Malhi and Daniella Espinoza

MODESTO, CA – John XXX* was here late Friday in Stanislaus County Superior Court, facing five charges—child endangerment, criminal threat related to a victim’s and her family’s safety, unsecured firearms, possession of cocaine, and violating the Health and Safety Code.

*NOTE: The Vanguard is not using the real name of the accused to preserve the identity of the victim(s).

The prosecution called multiple officers for testimony. The first officer (name not available) testified that he arrived at the house two hours after the complaint. According to testimony, he was the first one to arrive there and, on inspection, he found one loaded firearm on the property.

The officer stated his superior and he made a call to contact the accused later that day, as per the victim’s report the accused was making suicidal threats while pointing a gun at her daughter and the department didn’t have the proper resources to handle the situation at that time.

Officer Andrew Walker, who was the assistant on the search warrant, testified that he found the other two loaded firearms on the property. During his search, he was also informed that a baggie (packet of cocaine) had also been found in the garage.

The defense questioned Officer Walker about whether the firearms were registered, to which he answered, “Yes.” On questioning whether he knew how long the baggie was there and who used the substance, the officer replied, “No.”

Officer Walker also admitted that he had no prior knowledge of the case and he was brought in as an assistant in a warrant search, which was six days after the incident.

The third officer to testify in court was Nicole Brum—she was the one who had previously talked to the victim on phone and also advised her on how to handle the situation. She was also the one who was present at the time the victim filed a report at the police station.

She testified as to the victim’s fear for her family and her safety as “John has mentioned if she ever contacted law enforcement when he bails out, he would go after her and her family.”

On questioning by the defense regarding the nature of the victim’s call with the victim, the officer stated that the victim’s voice appears normal during the previous call, but she had spoken to her in person.

However, Officer Brum stated that when the victim appeared at the police station she seemed to be afraid or in fear of her life.

The defense questioned why Officer Brum waited days and did not take action on previous calls. In her response, officer Brum stated that she contacted CPS (Child Protective Services) about the matter but did not take action as there were no accident circumstances and, just because the accused made suicide threats, they were not going to just rush in.

Much of the focus of the hearing was the accused’s past incident regarding firearms and drugs found on the scene. On Feb. 18, authorities were called when he pointed a gun at his wife’s daughter. According to reports in court, this (as well as a history of conflict) was enough to make the victims’ fear for their lives.

Moreover, in regard to Count 5 (H & S Code violation), lawyers argue that, based on the testimony of all parties involved and the lag time between the arrest and the actual incident (six days), there cannot be a quality determination on whether the found firearms were loaded or operable at the time of the incident.

In terms of other counts, lawyers argue that, at most, the threat with a firearm cannot be proven to be a serious or isolated incident. Instead, it should be viewed as a “generalized threat that has been done in the past.”

The defense added that “there’s no information directly from the victim that the defendant threatened to kill her directly or indirectly…all she (victim) stated that she went to the police station right after they had an argument and she was very upset and angry about the conversion, she was tired of him talking about infidelity and all the money issues.”

In response, the prosecuting attorney detailed that in order for a charge of firearms, the law does not require the weapon to be operable. Instead, only a threat of such is required.

After hearing both sides and the officers’ testimonies, the judge decided that the accused will face trial for all the five counts, and allowed the prosecution to amend the charges, adding one additional charge related to the child’s safety—previously the defense has argued that the victim and her children’s safety should be counted as one charge.

The next hearing will be on April 22.


About The Author

Neha Malhi is graduating from UCLA this summer with BA in Economics. she is from LA, California.

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