By Michael Apfel
MODESTO, CA – A preliminary hearing this week in Stanislaus County Superior Court in front of Judge Shawn Bessey involved a man charged initially with felony domestic violence and misdemeanor child endangerment—the judge ruled there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial after reducing the felony to a misdemeanor.
NOTE: The Vanguard is choosing not to use the full name of the accused because the felony account was reduced by the judge.
Deputy District Attorney Michael Scheid first called the alleged victim to the stand, who testified to her interactions with the accused, leading up to the incident. The alleged victim and the accused were in a relationship for a few years, living together with the accused’s two-year-old daughter.
On Oct. 4, 2021, 4:20 p.m., the alleged victim said she received a phone call that she did not answer, and moments afterward the accused and his former girlfriend entered her home and attacked her.
The alleged victim testified that while she was smoking on her outdoor patio, the accused pushed her outside of the home and tried to keep her outside while he locked the door.
The alleged victim said they fought their way back in, and the accused flipped the alleged victim’s baseball cap over, took her air pods out of her ears and threw them on the floor, and ripped her chain purse off her.
The alleged victim sustained a red mark on her neck from the chain purse, she said, adding two of her hair extensions were ripped out, and some of her real hair had been ripped out as well.
The affected areas on her head have still not grown back to the same length, and the alleged victim said she still struggles to brush her hair. She also sustained scratches on her right hand and sustained a bruise behind her left knee, she added.
After making her way back into the home, the alleged victim testified the accused grabbed her by the back of her neck and threw her across the room. The alleged victim added the accused’s former girlfriend was standing by the sliding door with her hands up with a concerned expression.
Soon after this, the accused and his former girlfriend left the house, but not before the alleged victim kicked him on his behind while he walked away, she said and then called 911 and her family regarding the incident.
The two had been living together for two years, but the alleged victim told the accused not to come home that night after she called him and heard another woman answer the phone the night before.
The accused’s attorney, Tai Bogan, then crossed the alleged victim, first eliciting testimony that she had not initially told the police officer that she kicked the accused. Bogan’s line of questioning then focused on the alleged victim’s anger toward the accused during the night in question.
The alleged victim stated she and the accused had argued over text messages prior to the altercation, but there was no in-person argument that occurred prior to the attack.
Toward the end of the cross-examination, the accused said, while there was no argument leading up to the attack, the accused was asking her to leave the residence.
The defense supplied four letters of support to the court demonstrating a history of nonviolence, including a letter from the accused’s former girlfriend’s mother, and the defense also supplied evidence the accused had no criminal record and received awards for prior military service, in support of his argument that the accused was not the aggressor.
After the end of the preliminary hearing, Judge Bessey found there was sufficient cause for the case to go to trial, but reduced the level of the domestic violence offense from a felony to a misdemeanor.
The judge took particular concern that a two-year-old child was in close vicinity to the altercation.
The defense requested a referral to the veteran’s court following the decision. The next court proceedings are scheduled to occur Nov. 22.