Family Fight Described in Detail by Combatants in Yolo Jury Trial 

By Gracy Joslin

WOODLAND, CA – In Yolo County Superior Court Wednesday, the trial of a man charged with two felonies—violating a protection order and battery with serious bodily injury—began.

In addition, he was charged with two misdemeanors for contempt of court contacting person/violating a protective order, and battering against a former cohabiting spouse.

The accused has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and now his fate lies in the hands of the jury.

In opening statements, Deputy District Attorney Preston Schaub explained “the facts, in this case, are not so much in dispute…it’s more of the legality and the charges the People are alleging.”

Schaub said the accused and his ex-wife were “married for 25 years, and starting in October of last year they began the process of separating primarily through their religion, not a legal proceeding.”

In addition, prior to the incident in question, his ex-wife obtained a restraining order against the accused.

On Nov. 13, 2022, three family members—the ex-wife of the accused, her sister, and her brother-in-law—were all called to testify about being at the sister’s residence in West Sacramento having dinner and drinking tea leading up to the incident.

DDA Schaub said that during dinner “there was a knock at the door, and believing that the children had come to join them, the brother-in-law opened it, and there at the threshold was the accused.

“He (allegedly) came in through the front door without being invited and began to act hostile towards parties inside… he and the brother-in-law had a confrontation in which he was grabbed by the back of the neck… a tussle develops and he was thrown to the ground… sometime during that exchange he receives an injury to his hand,” added the DDA.

Then, Deputy Public Defender Martha Sequeira proceeded with her opening statements clarifying, “Mr. Schaub pretty much nails the issues and the facts… the facts aren’t really in dispute, but the retelling of what happened might be in dispute.”

The DPD explained, “There’s really just two issues… at the end of the trial, you are going to have to decide, did the government prove what happened in the apartment beyond a reasonable doubt? Second, was there an injury caused? If so, was that injury caused by the accused’s actions, and if so, does that injury rise to the level required by the law for the government to charge?”

She finished by suggesting to the jury, “Keep an open mind” because she and DDA Schaub were not at the scene, and there’s no explicit video evidence.

After a 15-minute break, the brother-in-law was the first witness to come to the stand, and claimed that, after completing his dinner, he went for prayer when he heard a knock on the door and when he opened it halfway, the accused, to his recollection, pushed through the door and went toward the living room.

He said the accused was gesturing to him with his hands up, saying “come on, come on, come on” to which he responded by telling him he was not welcome and needed to leave.

DDA Schaub then asked if he and his wife had a restraining order against the accused, including his being prohibited from their residence, to which he replied no.

The brother-in-law claims to have continued to ask the accused to leave, but he refused and said he was going to hit the in-law, to which he replied, “If you hit me, I’m going to hit you.”

The brother-in-law testified he doesn’t recall 100 percent if the slap by the accused was with an open or closed hand, but he was “80 percent sure it was a slap” to which he admittedly responded with a punch to the accused’s face.

After he threw the punch, he recalled the accused grabbing him and throwing him to the floor during which he said he endured bruising on his neck and injury to his hand, detailing that “my right hand was swelling and in pain,” specifying on a scale of 1-10 it was an 8 and to this day he cannot make a closed fist.

Going back to the retelling of the event, the brother-in-law said all three of them, his wife who’s a sister-in-law, and the accused’s ex-wife, all tried to restrain the accused against the wall to stop. That’s when the 911 call was made and at one point, the accused allegedly struck his ex-wife with a punch, and she also struck back.

The brother-in-law was unsure exactly how many times they went back and forth, but it was more than once before the police arrived.

DPD Sequeira: “Did you ever tell the 911 dispatcher that the accused punched you?” to which the brother-in-law replied, “ I believe not.”

She replied, “But you did tell them about your hand, correct?”

He replied “no” and she clarified, “So you did not tell them that your hand hurt, and you may need an ambulance?” to which he responded “no.”

PD Sequeira: “The 911 operator is asking you questions about what happened, right?” to which he said “yes” and so she said, “That was your opportunity to tell the 911 operator what just occurred correctly?”

The brother-in-law asked her to be more specific so she rephrased her question, “You never mentioned (to the 911 operator) that he punched you when he was in the apartment, correct?”

He then said, “I don’t remember.”

Moving on to questions regarding his conversation once the officers arrived, PD Sequeira asked, “You never told the police officer that (the accused) punched you, correct?” to which he also said he couldn’t remember.

She also asked what he thought the accused meant by allegedly saying “come on, come on, come on” with hand gestures, and he expressed he didn’t know but asked the accused to leave after that.

She clarified, “So he comes back towards you, you are standing in front of the door, he walks towards you and at that point, you guys have the exchange about hitting each other?” to which he agreed and clarified in opposition to his earlier statement that (the accused) hit “100 percent with an open hand.”

PD Sequeira: “And at that point you indicated you punched him, correct?” to which he replied, “Yes”

She then said, “You are right-handed, correct?” to which he explained “normally I’m a left-hand if I have a fight…as a normal reaction, my first hand will go with the left.”

PD Sequeira: “So at the point you punched him…was it your right or left hand that you punched him with?”

He replied, “I’m not sure” but clarified that his injured hand, was, in fact, the right hand.

PD Sequeira: “So when you talked to the hospital did you indicate you punched the accused with either your right or left hand?” to which he said, “Yes.”

PD Sequeira: “When you were at the hospital and they were looking at your right hand, did you tell the doctor you might have punched someone with your right hand?”

The brother-in-law: “No”

PD Sequeira: “Did the doctor ask you what you had been doing with your hands prior to getting hurt?… And did you tell him you punched somebody?”

The brother-in-law said he told the doctor that he hurt his hand falling down.

He also said he did not remember telling the officer he saw his sister-in-law/the accused’s ex-wife, grabbing the accused by the neck.

PD Sequeira: “Do you recall that when he was coming back towards you, and you were standing in front of the door he was saying, ‘move’? ”

The brother-in-law: “No.. the exchange was him saying ‘I will not go, and I will hit you.’”

The accused’s sister-in-law and wife to the first witness took the stand to testify with an interpreter, and her recollection was very similar to her husband’s given in his testimony, with some additional information.

She said that when her husband was repeatedly asking the accused to leave he eventually headed in the direction of the door, so she thought he was going to leave, but that’s when he allegedly threatened to hit her husband.

Once she saw the first hit, she got up from the table to walk over, but by the time she got to them, her husband was on the floor with the accused standing over him but she couldn’t remember if her husband was being struck by the accused at this point.

Once they got the accused on the wall, she said he threatened to hit her sister, his ex-wife.

At that point a 911 phone call was being made and the accused was cursing and threatening them with deportation and, at one point, started spitting on her sister’s face.

She also said the accused intentionally banged the back of his head against the wall 2-3 times so her sister started to record, worried he would blame them if he obtained injuries.

The video was then shown to the jury over Zoom and, with no video, the audio came out scuffed and it was difficult to tell what was happening.

Finally, the ex-wife took the stand, and confirmed that she and the accused are religiously divorced, but legally still married with a restraining order against him prohibiting all contact and a 100-yard stay away.

She had a similar recollection of the event, adding additional information that at one point, noting that while struggling with her ex the accused told her, “I am going to punch you” to which she responded, “You punch me and you’ll see what I’m going to do.”

Then, the accused, she said, allegedly punched her with a closed fist on her face to which she replied with a punch to the back of his head. She said her vision at this point went black for a second, then returned.

Testimony will proceed with the jury expected to get the case by the end of this week.

About The Author

Gracy is a 4th Year at UC Davis studying Political Science and minoring in Communications and Sociology. Post graduation plans include traveling and then eventually attending Law School.

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