Victim Provides Testimony in Stalking and Assault Case, Presenting History of Abuse

By Ramneet Singh

WOODLAND, CA – Judge Daniel Maguire presided over a preliminary hearing in Yolo County Superior Court Friday, where the victim detailed the injury she sustained and her experience with the man accused of stalking and assaulting.

The accused is charged with felony stalking, felony infliction of “corporal injury,” felony “assault likely to produce great bodily injury,” felony “threaten crime,” with two other felonies, six misdemeanors, and a few enhancements.

The judge determined at the end of prelim enough evidence was presented for the case to go to trial, and wouldn’t release the accused pending trial just yet.

Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens prefaced potential overlap between the two incidents.

The first testimony was from the alleged victim of the case. Couzens opened with questions about an incident with the accused on June 10 in the evening.

The victim said the two had broken up but tried “to maintain a friendship.” According to the victim, the accused did not want to hang out that night and requested the victim leave his possessions outside the apartment.

Once there, the accused was persistent in trying to have contact with her, partly through knocking on the door and texting. The victim did not want to contact him, but when she opened the door “he pushed it in,” she said.

The victim testified that the accused attempted to search the house and stated the accused “was acting weird.” He also questioned who was on the victim’s “close friends list” on Instagram.

When she did not answer, the accused “twisted” her arm, she said, and wanted to search her phone to get that information.

Couzens asked, “At some point, did he ask you who the f**k have you been talking to on Instagram?” The victim corroborated this.

The victim replied that the accused did not know the passcode to her phone. Once he realized that, he started yelling and questioning her.

He also threatened to damage the phone and harm her cat if she did not tell her, the victim said. The victim noted this occurred before “the physical altercation.”

The victim responded that the accused slapped her and backed her into a kitchen corner. He also, she alleged, broke a bowl and threatened “to carve his name in [her] back” with a shard; he also spat on her.

The victim responded that the accused never touched her with the shard, but DDA Couzens noted she told the police that she feared he would cut her face.

The victim verified she was afraid but was concerned about potential retaliation if the accused saw certain information on her phone.

The victim wanted the accused to call a friend to come and reduce the tensions. Meanwhile, she would use a separate phone to call someone else.

Couzens tried to clarify potential attempts to exit the apartment. She noted two instances where she tried to “unlock and open the door.”

At some point, the victim noted she did not want to leave her cat and possessions alone in the apartment with the accused.

After the first attempt, the victim stated that the accused physically moved her away from the door.

The victim clarified that she had asked the person she called to contact the police. She stated “they told me they would come to pick him up. So when those calls had ended, he had pulled my hair.”

That friend called the accused and said she was at the location, but the victim responded that he said “he wanted to clean up before he was leaving.” She recorded the scene because she didn’t want him to claim the incident never occurred.

The victim responded that the accused choked her after the hair-pulling, adding he had hit her.

The victim affirmed physical marks and bruises as a result of this incident.

The victim stated he eventually left, and she admitted she had said she did not want to press charges because she didn’t want him to get in trouble.

Referring to early June 11, the victim responded she spent that night at a friend’s place. The victim stated when she returned the apartment was still in the state it was the night before but noted that someone cleaned her apartment by midday.

The victim said she could not find her keys after the altercation, but found a note in the cleaned apartment from the accused asking her to contact him.

The line of questioning now focused on June 13. The victim described various attempts by the accused to contact her, but she did not reply.

After some confusion on the date, the victim confirmed there was another confrontation with the accused.

In response to a question, the victim stated that the accused entered the apartment while she slept and entered her bedroom wanting to talk. The victim’s friend was in the apartment at the time.

The victim said she eventually contacted the police.

DDA Couzens asked, “At some point did he tell you, do you remember telling an officer, you’re not getting out of this relationship unless I’m dead or you’re dead?” The victim confirmed this.

The victim referred to that statement as “common rhetoric.” She affirmed that “it was always a threat” and noted it had prevented her from ending the relationship earlier.

Through questioning, the victim affirmed that she had thought of self-harm.

Couzens inquired “do you remember explaining to an officer that you rationalized if you hurt yourself that you wouldn’t be able to (inaudible)?” She answered yes.

DDA Couzens moved to an April incident after the accused’s jail release. The victim responded that there was a discussion about ending the relationship, which he did not want.

The victim replied that threats were made, including strangulation.

Deputy Public Defender Joseph Gocke noted the time range of June 10 to 13. Gocke asked questions about the relationship and the initial interaction on June 10, and the different aspects of the time range as well as inquiries about the apartment complex.

Gocke presented evidence of a picture of a bleeding hand, which the victim seemed to recognize. He would have to rephrase questions related to this.

The victim was confused about whether it was the accused’s hand.

Moving to the April incident, Gocke asked questions about the bail and who paid, with a potentially intimate relationship.

The victim stated that the accused had cheated on her with others and she did not want to continue that relationship.

Gocke attempted to clarify their relationship, and the victim responded, “I think you’re missing the point, I wanted to be left alone.” She referenced “disrespect” and “abuse.”

Gocke moved to the altercation and the calls during the June 10 incident. The victim responded that the friend who was called told the accused to leave her alone and he hung up.

The victim affirmed there was yelling, and “the one time I did yell at him he was trying to take my suicide note with him when he left and I didn’t feel like that was fair for him to do.”

The questioning moved toward the victim’s mental health. She responded that “it’s directly correlated to the fact that he was abusing me and he would not leave me alone.”

The victim commented that she wrote the note that day because she felt trapped. She stated, “I didn’t feel like my parents deserved to find me dead at the hands of someone I used to be in a relationship with. So I’d rather have taken my life.”

The victim noted that she had written the note and crushed up medication under the bowl that was later broken. She noted the accused’s disregard for her mental health.

Gocke asked about the type of medication but there was an objection.

Gocke asked more questions about her mental health. The victim clarified that she had talked to her mother and was not contemplating self-harm when the accused arrived.

Couzens brought in UC Davis police officer Jenny Choc. Couzens asked questions about the June 13 incident and her response to “a suspected restraining order violation.”

Choc responded that the accused managed to escape.

Moving to June 20, Choc replied she wanted to “follow up” and noted the accused had a warrant. The police detained him, but he was able to escape.

The audio for her testimony was somewhat difficult to hear.

DDA Couzens wanted an April 1 CPO for a separate felony case to be on record. He also wanted “to take judicial notice” on information on separate cases.

Judge Maguire clarified that what they were “taking judicial notice of is essentially six minute orders.”

Maguire said there to be enough evidence for each of the case counts and the enhancements to move the case to trial.

PD Gocke said,“[The accused] has applied for the mental health diversion court” and there was a request for supervised own recognizance (no bail) release.

But DDA Couzens wanted to hear from probation on the matter. He expressed a desire to help the accused but noted the nature of the alleged offenses.

Judge Maguire confirmed there would be a decision for SOR on July 13 and a preliminary hearing on July 21 for the other cases. The accused remains in custody until then.

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