COURT WATCH: Defense Attorney Points Out Witness-Victim Inconsistencies from Previous Testimony during Attempted Murder Trial

By Ruby Mota-Garcia

FRESNO, CA – Deputy Public Defender Deidra Adams noted to the court and jury changes in a witness/victim testimony during an attempted murder and attempted assault with a deadly weapon jury trial late last week at the Fresno County Superior Court.

DPD Adams noted that on May 7, 2022, a shooting occurred in a room at Motel 6 in Fresno, adding, the accused was a truck driver and made a stop in Fresno, and, since she and her ex-girlfriend were waiting to be notified about their load, the accused booked a room at Motel 6.

DPD Adams told the court both adults were registered to occupy the room. Later in the room, an argument allegedly sparked between the accused and her ex.

The accused allegedly received a call from a man who the defense claims did not identify himself and used profanity while telling the accused to quiet down. The prosecution states otherwise and claims the man identified as the general manager and kindly asked the accused to quiet down.

Afterward, the defense claims, the man on the phone knocked on the door and repeated what he had previously said on the phone, and told the accused he was evicting her because she had an unauthorized guest in the room. The accused said she had paid for the room and if she was getting evicted, it had to be done the legal way.

The accused said she attempted to close the door, but the manager prevented the door from shutting, grabbed a couple of the accused’s personal articles, and tossed them out of the room. The accused tried closing her door a second time, and the manager stuck his foot in the doorway and “scoop[ed] out” the accused outside onto a parked vehicle.

The accused said she tried to get up, and the manager pushed her down. She then drew her handgun and shot the manager in the lower part of the leg and lower side of the left buttock.

The manager then made his way inside the room to take cover. He opened his fanny pack and drew his gun, holding it between his legs pointing toward the accused when she walked into the room, according to the defense.

The manager allegedly tried shooting at the accused’s head but missed. He attempted to shoot again but his gun jammed. The accused shot at the manager after he fired and shot the manager in the lower abdomen. Both the accused and the manager went to the hospital for their injuries.

After opening statements, Deputy District Attorney Danielle Padilla called the victim, who said he was the general manager but also had a security guard certificate.

When asked about what had happened, the victim stated he had received a complaint by the maintenance man about a “violent disturbance,” and “looked at the registry and saw [the accused’s name] and no other guest.”

He said he called the accused’s room, identified himself as the general manager, and that he had received a complaint that the accused was being noisy, to which, according to the victim, the accused stated, “That’s because we’re arguing.”

The victim told DDA Padilla that, once in person, he re-introduced himself and offered the accused to take a walk with him, but the accused appeared agitated to him.

He said he then told the accused she had violated two policies: customers must register all guests, and allow the right for a manager to enter the room when necessary. The victim asked if she would come to the front desk, but the accused refused.

The victim said he told the accused that she had no other choice, and then decided to evict the accused, who the victim claimed responded with, “I’m not leaving with no f***ing money.”

DDA Padilla asked the victim, “Why did you throw [out] her stuff?” and the victim answered, “Because normally people chase after their stuff.”

At the time when the accused was “scooped out,” the victim confirmed he still was not armed, and only after he was shot, “in the room, I retrieved my gun from my fanny pack.”

When DDA Padilla asked the victim where he pointed his gun when lying on the bed, the victim stated, “I aimed at the head to neutralize the threat.”

The victim told DDA Padilla he carried his conceal to carry license and weapon, medication, and his phone in his fanny pack. On his person, he stated he only had keys to the rooms and nothing else.

DDA Padilla asked the victim what his uniform was as general manager and the victim stated that it consisted of a polo shirt with black slacks with a name tag on the left side of his shirt.

During DPD Adam’s cross-examination, she reiterated that his position was general manager to which the accused agreed. She also confirmed with the victim that there was no security guard at the location to which he affirmed.

“You were not employed as a security guard, correct?” asked DPD Adams. But the victim would not give a “yes” or “no” answer and kept stating that he acted on his own license. DPD Adams then asked, “On your own, you took it upon yourself to be a security guard?” “Yes,” replied the victim.

DPD Adams presented an exhibit where it showed the names of two adults on the registry which the victim confirmed seeing on the exhibit.

Then, DPD Adams began demonstrating the inconsistencies of the victim’s testimony from the preliminary hearings. She stated that the victim testified the accused “reserved the room 7 days prior” and “today he said ‘3 days prior.’”

She pointed out from the preliminary hearing transcripts that the victim stated, “I didn’t introduce myself as a general manager.” “But today he says he identified himself,” stated DPD Adams.

DPD Adams proceeded to display a photograph of the keys the victim had on his person during the incident and pointed out the knife he stated he never had.

She then showed a still image of the accused holding an item in his hand. “What is the dark item hanging from the side of your pinky,” asked DPD Adams. At first, the victim stated he did not know and that he did not see anything in his hand, to which DPD Adams asked if he was truly sure.

Then the victim responded satirically, “That’s my other hand. Ma’am, I’m Black. That could be my hand.” DPD Adams, now a tad irritated, stated, “Sir, I am also Black,” demonstrating that she knew the item could not be mistaken for the color of the victim’s skin.

When addressing the uniform the victim was required to use as general manager, DPD Adams read a policy where the general manager was required to wear a polo shirt with the motel logo on it.

The victim said it was more optional than mandatory. “You said you would have had your name tag on the left side,” asked DPD Adams. “Yes,” replied the victim. “But it is not depicted in the picture, correct?” questioned DPD Adams.

The victim stated that all one could see were two holes in his left pocket, but he did not know where they had placed the tag before the picture. DPD Adams then showed a body cam still image where it showed the victim lying down in the motel room, and she pointed out that no name tag was in sight.

When DPD Adams was addressing policies from Motel 6, she stated, “It is never permissible to argue with a customer…but to you that is optional.”

DPD Adams would refer to the accused as a tenant, but the victim would quickly interrupt and say, “She is not a tenant, she is a guest. I did not have to go downtown to get an eviction notice. She was there less than 24 hours, never mind 30 days.”

DPD Adams asked the victim where he was getting those policies from, but he never answered the question and kept repeating the same statements he had made prior.

The trial is ongoing this week.

About The Author

Ruby is a UC Berkeley graduate with a Double Bachelor's in Political Science and Legal Studies. She is a first-generation Mexican-American Latina who's goal is to attend law school and become and immigration attorney. She has worked for non-profit organizations that provide immigration services for low-income communities. She returned to the Central Valley with a goal to give back and hopes to help her community throughout her practice. Ruby speaks both English and Spanish fluently.

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