By Leila Katibah and Aryal Aglugub
SANTA BARBARA, CA – During a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, Judge Thomas Adams decided to proceedwith a jury trial in an attempted murder case involving great bodily injury.
Investigating Officer Davina Valerio testified Vanessa Beatriz Alverez was accused by a male victim of stabbing him in the upper back, near the right shoulder blade with an eight-inch-long knife.
The officer described the laceration as being approximately three inches wide and two inches deep, based on how much blood covered the knife.
According to the victim and witnesses, Alvarez’ attack was unprovoked, and the victim did not know her. Video footage of the incident was retrieved from the nearby 99 Cents Only store and the Auto Fuels Gas Station as well as photos of the injury taken by the police.
The investigating officer described the footage, stating she saw the accused, wearing a red tank top and jean shorts, walk up behind the victim and witness, and remove plastic from the kitchen knife. Alvarez allegedly stabbed him once in the upper back and then walked away with the knife in her possession.
As a result of the stabbing, the victim had to get three staples after being taken to a Santa Barbara Health Clinic. He communicated his injuries to the police through an interpreter, as neither he nor the alleged assailant spoke English.
Assistant Public Defender Mindi Lynn Boulet asked the investigating officer if Alvarez appeared to have attempted to stab the victim a second or third time, to which she replied Alvarez did not.
The APD also argued against the allegation of great bodily injury, citing that, beyond three staples, there was no evidence of the depth of the wound or the pain he may have endured afterwards. Boulet also said that if great bodily injury was inflicted, there would have been extensive suturing rather than a few staples.
Deputy District Attorney Heather Diane Trapnell noted any injury resulting in a hospital visit requiring a medical professional to close a wound with stitches is a deep wound, and in a preliminary hearing even a bruise is a great bodily injury.
Judge Adams determined there is probable cause to believe at least some of the allegations against Alvarez are true, and she will answer to the felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon with force likely to produce great bodily injury at her next hearing July 12.