COURT WATCH: Alleged Theft, Firearm Trial Goes to Jury – No Verdict after Several Days 

By Cheyenne Galloway 

WOODLAND, CA – Jury deliberation is ongoing here Monday after final arguments last week in the weeklong Yolo County Superior Court trial against a homeless man who allegedly robbed a Lowe’s department store with a firearm, later found to be inoperable.

Previous coverage:

The accused faces charges of robbery, carrying a loaded firearm without registration, carrying a concealed firearm while firearm is loaded under an unauthorized owner, and resisting or obstructing a police officer.

Deputy District Attorney Aimee McLeod’s closing argument focused on the robbery aspect of the case and how the accused threatened the Lowe’s employees if they approached him, and asked the jury to find the accused guilty of the firearms charge because the accused testified in court to buying the firearm out of state and failing to register it in the state of California.

DDA McLeod added, relative to Count 3, “You heard the testimony that no one in the Lowe’s saw it until he walked outside and lifted up his shirt. That’s a firearm concealed on your person.”

For Count 4, DDA McLeod argued the accused did delay the officer’s duty because, “There’s no time frame in there because any delay, especially in a case like this could have been deadly.”

Moreover, DDA McLeod contended it was necessary for the police officer to deploy his canine because the accused was fleeing and was too far away for the officer to deploy other nonviolent means of arrest. After the police dog took the accused down, the accused was then ordered to roll over on his stomach, which took him roughly 23 seconds. According to DDA, 23 seconds of refusing to roll over is a long time and further demonstrates the accused’s resistance.

Circling back to the Count 1 robbery facet in this case, the DDA said, “My argument to you is because he walked in with that gun and knew that’s where it was, he was making sure it was at the ready in case he was confronted. All throughout the store, he knew no one was going to mess with him because he had a gun as a deterrent.”

Deputy Public Defender David Muller then presented his closing argument, stating, “Now I’m not going to sit here and try to paint the accused as a saint, but he is not quite the devil that the people are playing him out to be.”

DPD Muller explained the accused testified, even admitting to his wrongdoings, noting, “He admitted to having a loaded firearm, he admitted to bringing it out in public. He purchased it in the state of Idaho, and there he learned that it was basically inoperable, which, if it was truly operable, then you would expect the clip to be full, but it wasn’t, it just had a few rounds in it.”

Muller then referenced the accused’s alcohol condition during the incident, explaining, “There is a type of person that can consume that amount of alcohol and still be able to function—alcoholics—and so is it reasonable that the accused could be an alcoholic? Yes it can; he testified to drinking that much alcohol and he was still functioning walking throughout the Lowe’s. So that argument…fails because we have a reasonable explanation.”

DPD Muller next dove into the accused mindset, that he felt belittled and discriminated against by the Lowe’s employee due to his current lack of permanent residence.

“The accused told you that he felt uncomfortable that (the store employee) was basically stalking him throughout the entire store, and he did admit that the alcohol probably did impact his judgment,” said DPD Muller.

The defense argued the accused carried out this act to be vindictive and get back at Lowe’s and their employees for discriminating against him. DPD Muller summed it up to petty theft rather than robbery, for the accused did not steal property with the use of fear or violence.

Referring to the video footage, the court saw the accused fidgeting with something in his waistband, which was the gun that the accused testified to having.

“The accused told you that he felt the gun slipping down into his pants. He didn’t want it to drop through his pant leg, so he turned around and readjusted it; it was not with any attempt to threaten or use force,” said DPD Muller.

He stated the accused did not commit a robbery, use a firearm, nor did he use a gun in commission of a felony, rather he committed a stupid act of theft.

Then DPD Muller concluded that in regard to Count 4, the officer yelled his command to the accused while still in the patrol vehicle, thus it is reasonable to say that the accused did not hear the officer’s initial command to get on the ground.

“The accused did testify that he did hear stop or I’ll release the dog, but we already know from Officer Gil that it was his whole intent to use a dog to begin with,” argued the defense, adding the officer had to physically pull the dog off the accused.

Muller added the use of a canine resulted in the accused being hospitalized for five days with lasting nerve damage to his arm and various infections.

According to DPD Muller this was not the appropriate performance of an officer, it was an overreaction by law enforcement based on alleged claims by a witness. The officer even admitted in his testimony, added Muller, he did not have the necessary training to address when a canine dog is on someone’s arm.

“This was not impeding an officer in the performance of his duties, there was no robbery. (The store employee) may have felt threatened afterwards, but you saw the video, she was calm, she was cool; she was collected, she was not running in fear nor acting fearful,” contended DPD Muller.

“What I’m asking you to do during the course of your deliberations is to find the accused guilty of those things that he actually did and admitted to, but find him not guilty of impeding an officer’s performance of their duties and definitely find him not guilty of robbery.”

DDA McLeod noted the accused painted himself as the victim to gain sympathy, and that the jurors should not make their decision based on sympathy.

About The Author

Cheyenne Galloway recently graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a double major in Political Science and Italian Studies. Graduating at the top of her class and achieving the distinction Laurea cum laude in her Italian Studies major, she showcases her enthusiasm for knowledge, finding ways to think critically and creatively. She is particularly interested in writing and reporting on social justice and human rights, but as a writing/reporting generalist, she enjoys researching and communicating various topics through written expression.

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