COURT WATCH: Judge Denies Bail for Accused in Retrial of Murder Case, Cites Public and Witness Safety

By Holly Werris

WOODLAND, CA – A Yolo County Superior Court judge denied bail for a man awaiting trial for murder here Friday.

Deputy Public Defender Ron Johnson attempted to get bail for the accused, who awaits trial for first degree murder. The accused was previously convicted of the crime based on the theory of natural and probable consequences.

However, new legislation now allows for those convicted under this theory to be resentenced—or, in this case, reversed and retried.

Judge Stephen Mock had previously denied bail for the accused’s retrial, despite the accused doing well in custody.

Judge Samuel McAdam, now presides over the case, and upheld that decision, noting, “There are no new laws or new facts that would change Judge Mock’s ruling.”

McAdam added the jury in the original trial had been presented with, in addition to the natural and probable consequences theory, the aiding and abetting theory. Unlike natural and probable consequences, the aiding and abetting theory still stands.

The original conviction could have been based on either theory, McAdam reasoned, arguing there was enough evidence in the original trial for the jury to conclude that the accused was present at the time of the murder.

What exactly the accused was doing, McAdam said, would be for the new jury to decide.

“There is sufficient evidence to sustain a guilty verdict against the arrestee on the qualifying events,” McAdam said, who said he had concern over “gang crime” and the safety of one of the original witnesses. The testimony of one witness had been foundational to the prosecution’s original argument.

“If the whole case turned (on the witness), she (witness) was at risk,” McAdam said, adding the witness was later given protection following the trial.

McAdam found public safety, and the safety of this key witness may be threatened if the accused were to be released on bail.

The court will reconvene Aug. 30.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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