Conflicting Testimony between Victim and Peace Officer in Prelim

By Matthew Torres

WOODLAND, CA – The testimony of the alleged victim and a police officer conflicted at a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Yolo County Superior Court, but the judge still ruled there was enough evidence for the case to go to trial.

The hearing was for the accused. who is charged with threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize and inflicting corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant, both felony charges.

The first witness Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin called was the alleged victim in the case, who claims to be the accused’s fiancée, stating they’ve been together for a little over a year.

The victim described the events of that morning—she was on Facetime with her friend when she began having a panic attack, was short of breath and couldn’t even speak, so her friend who saw this called the paramedics.

The victim/witness claimed she began hitting the accused on his face to awake him from a nightmare he was having—at the same time she was having the panic attack.

She then said when the police arrived she had a black eye, buts claimed she doesn’t know how she got it, saying “everything happened so fast and with my panic attack I can’t remember hardly anything.”

As DDA Serafin continued to ask the witness what she discussed with the officer that day, her answers were becoming more difficult. So much so that DDA Serafin would then ask if she was even okay testifying.

A previous domestic violence case regarding the accused was brought up and the witness bluntly stated she lied to the probation officer to get the accused arrested but would later tell the truth and have the charges dropped.

Deputy Public Defender Peter Borruso then asked her some questions regarding the relationship between the accused and her, and she stated they didn’t have prior relationship issues. However, when the accused told her he was going to leave her, she said she told him she’d call the police and have him arrested if he tried.

PD Borruso asked what she feels should happen with the accused and she said she doesn’t feel he should get a third strike, that he shouldn’t be in custody, and that she still plans to get married to the accused.

The next prosecution witness was West Sacramento Officer Scott Farnsworth, who said when he interviewed the victim in the ambulance that she told him she was awoken by the accused yelling accusations of her infidelity, that they began arguing when the defendant climbed on top of her and began punching her with a closed fist multiple times.

She also told the officer, he said, that the accused said he was going to kill her and that she was afraid at that time.

This is when DDA Serafin began asking Officer Farnsworth about the claims the victim had made earlier, that she was having a panic attack and struck the accused to awake him from a nightmare, all of which Officer Farnsworth denies hearing the day of the incident.

After Officer Farnsworth concluded his testimony, PD Borruso asked to have the charges reduced to misdemeanors due to the minor injuries sustained by both parties and the fact the victim is not afraid of the accused.

This request was denied without prejudice by Judge Tom Dyer, who ruled the case should go to trial. He also refused to release the accused on SOR because of the accused’s criminal history.

The arraignment and trial setting is set for June 14. 

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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