Preliminary Hearing for Man Who Allegedly Struck Ex-Girlfriend in Face Multiple Times

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By Matthew Torres & Eliza Hernandez

WOODLAND, CA – Joseph Turner’s preliminary hearing began Wednesday in Yolo County Superior Court—he is being charged with inflicting corporal injury on a spouse and assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury, both felonies.

Deputy District Attorney David Wilson called Officer Sergio Jacobo to testify as to the events that occurred between the defendant and the victim, who had a six-year relationship they ended two years prior to the incident.

According to the testimony Turner allegedly punched and slapped the victim in the face, and kicked her several times in the back, spine and ribs. He also allegedly strangled her with two hands. leading the victim to momentarily lose consciousness.

She then said she regained consciousness and slipped away onto the motel balcony where she was staying, which was corroborated by security camera footage that was also presented.

Photo evidence was presented where marks on the victim’s neck, back, and sides were present, allegedly from the incident.

Deputy Public Defender Peter Borruso focused on the markings left on the victim.

Officer Jacobo said when he was questioning the witness, there was no active bleeding and no redness on her body or face. He stated that his report initially indicated that there appeared to be old scars, something he identified by their darker color.

DDA Wilson called an expert witness to the stand, Officer Joshua Helton, who has had advanced training on both domestic violence investigations and strangulation cases.

His testimony was to show the seriousness of the defendant’s actions and that the injuries the victim obtained are consistent with the assaults that occurred that day by Turner.

Officer Helton acknowledged strangulation can lead to a wide range of injuries and can lead to great bodily injury or death. An individual could have experienced strangulation and still not present any physical injuries on their body, he said.

According to the officer, unconsciousness could occur within five to 10 seconds of strangulation with as little as 4.4 pounds of pressure applied to the neck. 

To specify the amount of pressure needed for an individual to lose consciousness by strangulation Officer Helton stated that “opening a can of soda is about 20 pounds of pressure, many people when they give a firm handshake is about 60 pounds.”

Although he noted that it takes five to 10 seconds to lose consciousness, he also described circumstances that arise when someone is being suffocated, adding people who are being choked are moving around and the pressure is not immediately applied so strangulation can take longer.

Unconsciousness after the pressure is released is not reasonable, he said.

DDA Wilson motioned to include medical records as evidence to the injuries allegedly caused to the victim by Turner. The medical record showed that the victim went to the hospital two days after the incident occurred and had a fractured wrist.

DPD Borruso attempted to reduce Counts 1 and 2 to misdemeanors, suggesting although Officer Helton’s testimony did present multiple consequences of strangulation, none of them were present in this case.

DDA Wilson asked the case to be modified to include strangulation.

Judge Rosenberg ruled there is sufficient evidence to hold Turner responsible for the charges, including strangulation and fracture of the victim’s wrist.

A trial-setting hearing is May 25.

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About The Author

Matthew Torres is a fourth year Criminal Justice major at California State University, Sacramento expecting to graduate in Spring 2022. After graduation he will be continuing his studies in law school.

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