COURT WATCH: Alleged Victim Retracts Accusation Toward Suspect, Prosecution Decides to Go to Trial Anyway

By Nikki Iyer, Steph Lopez and Jillian Rousseau 

ALAMEDA, CA – In an assault and battery preliminary hearing here in Alameda County Superior Court this week, the alleged victim testified under oath the initial allegation they made against the accused was made in distress, recanting their original accusation.

However, the prosecution wants to proceed to trial, and the judge agreed.

The accused continues to be held without bail.

On Aug. 20, at approximately 3 a.m., the alleged victim, who was asleep at the time, was shot through their upper back. The bullets came through their bedroom window, which is on the second story of a four-unit apartment building in Hayward, CA. Moments later, the person shot called 911, and stated he was unaware of who shot him.

Despite initially not having a name for his shooter, deputy body cam footage shows the person stating the accused’s name as the shooter. In the footage, an officer affirmed the accused’s name to the person shot, and the alleged victim said they were “100 percent sure.”

Approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes later while the person shot/alleged victim was in medical care, they continued to maintain their shooter was the accused, according to deputies, who conducted a sequential line-up to verify the suspect.

It included five photos of suspects who met the accused’s description, as well as the actual accused. The alleged victim identified the accused within the randomized line-up.

However, the alleged victim later made attempts to retract the name given as the suspect, contacting the District Attorney’s office and Deputy Public Defender Sarah Caren Spiegel. After multiple efforts by the alleged victim to retract the accused’s name, the alleged victim was compelled to testify.

Deputy District Attorney Laura Andersen advised them to “tell the truth,” but, on the stand, the alleged victim stated, “But I never did see him (the accused) do it.”

According to the testimony, the person shot and accused had been friends for “30 years” with the alleged victim, with the victim stating the accused “used to be my brother.”

However, the pair had a financial dispute months earlier, said the person shot, but testified the accused showered at his home a week before the assault and added the accused had never made a threat on their life before.

The alleged victim stated they have a history of in-patient psychiatric care and take antipsychotic and antidepressant medications. These medications put them in a deep sleep. That night, the person shot took the medication around 11 p.m.

When asked if the medication controls all of their symptoms, the alleged victim said no, agreeing they sometimes hear and see things other people don’t see.

According to their testimony, the alleged victim was dreaming about the accused that night. Thus, when asked who the shooter might have been by the police, the alleged victim used the accused’s name.

“I was so upset. I was mad. I was hurt,” said the alleged victim, maintaining they felt mistreated by the police, who held them by the shoulders, led them 2-3 blocks away from the incident, and had them sit on the curb.

Deputy Zachary Krienke, who was dispatched at the scene, described the wounded person as “shocked,” “upset” and “disheveled.”

The alleged victim stated, “They act like I shot myself,” and the pressure of the questioning led them to misname the accused.

DPD Spiegel contended the alleged victim has blackout curtains, and lives on the second story, creating an incapability for the alleged victim to observe a suspect, or for an assailant to target them in their bedroom. Similarly, the alleged victim said it would not make sense for them to approach the window while shots were actively being fired to investigate who was shooting at them.

When DDA Andersen asked the alleged victim if someone from street level could see a person in their unit, the reply was, “If you can fly up there.”

DDA Andersen, however, argued the curtains may have opened due to the gunshots fired, so it is “plausible” for someone to see into the alleged victim’s second story window, or for the victim to look outside his bedroom to see who was shooting at him.

DDA Andersen’s witness, Deputy Krienke, acknowledged a hesitant potential for someone to be able to see into the window, stating, “I think it’s plausible. I don’t know.”

Currently, the accused remains in custody. Judge Rhonda Burgess set a Nov. 20 trial date.

About The Author

Nikki Iyer is a first-year student at UC Berkeley, passionate about journalism and human rights. As an intern, she aims to help solve injustice in the courts. Down the line, she plans on pursuing a career in media. In her free time, she loves dancing and exploring new cafes.

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