By Gracy Joslin
WOODLAND, CA – Ruby Torres, after her Yolo County Superior Court preliminary hearing Monday, found she would be going to trial for felony robbery in the second degree with the enhancement of use of a deadly weapon—a second felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon was tossed by the court.
The incident in question took place on July 23, 2020, and the two police officers who reported to the scene took the stand in court to testify.
The first witness was a detective from the Woodland Police Department who was dispatched to a local park and stated on the stand, “I was informed that the victim was assaulted with a baseball bat and a golf club and her cell phone and other items were taken.”
Moreover, in regard to the victim, the detective said that when he arrived, “She told me she was assaulted and told me the individuals that assaulted her were getting a black sedan.”
He said they located the van which allegedly contained Torres, a male (we will refer to as Flores) and a juvenile.
The detective said that the victim told him that she was struck with a bat about three times by Flores and believed Torres struck her with a golf club.
Another witness reported that she saw Flores strike the victim, but did not indicate she saw Torres hit her with the golf club.
Deputy Public Defender Richard Van Zandt questioned the detective, asking for more detail regarding the witness statement.
When asked about the witness who saw Flores strike the victim, the officer said, “I wasn’t able to get a complete statement. She was falling asleep when I spoke to her… it was very difficult to even obtain that statement.”
He did, however, explain that the victim, in gathering her statement, seemed more certain that the male (Flores) hit her with the bat, and less sure of whether Torres did anything.
PD Van Zandt then asked, “What did the victim tell you that led you to believe that she was not really sure about Torres physically assaulting her?”
The officer answered that “she wasn’t able to tell me if Torres struck her or not, and, if so, how many times…”
Eventually, in closing arguments PD Van Zandt stated, “No witness ever described Torres as assaulting (the victim) with or without a weapon… the victim had a belief that Torres may have been involved.”
However, no witness said they saw Torres assaulting the victim and “not even the victim saw Torres assault her.”
Thus, PD Van Zandt asked the court, “Is standing there with a golf club enough for a robbery ? I beg to differ.”
Further he argued, “Flores is the only one who should be held to answer for the assault on the victim… only one person assaulted the victim” and because of this, Torres should only be charged for a petty theft misdemeanor and not felony assault or robbery.
In opposition, Deputy District Attorney Alex Kian stated, “Even if there was an argument and nobody saw her strike, there is a level of suspicion to carry a golf club” and argued that it should be noted the victim was “clearly frightened, clearly hysterical.”
Moreover, he argued the 2nd degree robbery charge was valid “since there was a fear element, coupled with a force element with the facts.”
After hearing both sides and testimonies, Judge Tom Dyer said the second felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon “has not been established… there is too much speculation there… there’s no evidence that Torres hit her.”
However, Judge Dyer added that “being there with the golf club while the assault happened fulfills the requirements of Count 1 (robbery in 2nd degree)” and issued a holding order on this count only.