COURT WATCH: Trial Proceeds in Burglary Incident Turned Felony Assault Case Likely to Produce Great Bodily Harm 

By Cheyenne Galloway 

WOODLAND, CA – A jury trial proceeded this week in Yolo County Superior Court for a felony case, assault likely to produce significant bodily injury, for an accused who was apparently attempting to burglarize a residence.

On June 8, 2021, according to the court reading, the victims reported an alleged burglar in their residence; while waiting for officers, the male victim allegedly struck the accused on the head with a Maglite flashlight several times. The two got into an altercation, resulting in bodily injury for both parties before the accused eventually left the premises.

The trial started with the defense calling the victim in this incident to the witness stand. DPD Daniel Andrew Hutchinson asked him questions on the victim’s injuries, appointments and interactions with the victim’s physician assistant following the injuries, critical items in the situation, and the location of the dispute between the accused and victim, which was outside near the victim’s pool walkway and set symmetry, near a bed of grass and flowers.

“Given that, when the person (accused) was charging you and struck you by the door. How was it that you were not driven back down this walkway but instead made this 90-degree turn onto the pool deck?” asked DPD Hutchinson—the victim could not recall why.

“When the man was on the patio, and you saw what you believed to be a metal rod at the time. You did not recognize that rod as your personal property at that time. You didn’t believe it was a metal rod that belonged to you. It was only after the officers arrived that you first saw the screwdriver on the ground?” asked DPD Hutchinson, to which the victim agreed.

The victim then admitted that he never saw or heard the accused drop the metal rod, later identified as a screwdriver.

Accordingly, the victim did not make note of the object until the screwdriver was on the ground. “So, given that, why did you testify at the preliminary hearing that you knocked the screwdriver out of the man’s hand?” inquired DPD Hutchinson.

“Because we were fighting vigorously, and I was defending myself,” replied the victim. The defense responded, “Given that you didn’t see him drop it and didn’t hear it, why did you testify that you knocked it out of his hand when it’s also possible he could have dropped it? That is my question.”

“What I first saw and believed was a silver metal rod, which was used in an attempt to stab me; it was a successful attempt to stab me; we were fighting. I was defending myself, and suddenly, the metal rod was no longer in his hand. And I don’t think it was a stretch for me to say I knocked it out because I don’t think he would have voluntarily dropped it in the middle of the fight,” said the victim.

The defense then questioned the victim on his motives behind striking the accused with a Maglite flashlight multiple times. The victim responded that his goal was to hit the accused enough that he would remain there and also want to leave.

“If I could have encouraged him to sit on the patio and stay there until the police arrived, that would have been a happy camper. If he wanted to leave, I wasn’t going to block that; I was going to watch him leave and just make certain that he wasn’t going to crouch behind another tree or bush and come out and attack me again,” explained the victim.

DPD Hutchinson then went into the nature of the attack, in which both he and the victim agreed that the accused made a stabbing motion and refrained from swinging vertically and horizontally.

“Then why did you tell Detective Muscardini that this man was both swinging and stabbing you with the object,” questioned DPD Hutchinson. To which the victim replied, “I guess I didn’t make the fine distinction between swinging and stabbing. The motion that he made was stabbing, and I’ve been clear about that.”

DPD Hutchinson continued questioning the victim on other details, such as the sling he wore on June 24, 2022, at the preliminary hearing and his tone of voice during questioning at this first hearing.

Following DPD Hutchinson, Deputy District Attorney David Lawrence Wilson asked the victim a few questions, including, “Mr. Hutchinson asked you about statements that you were hurting the suspect. Did you know if he (suspect) was telling the truth about that?”

The victim replied that he ignored the suspect’s comments. “Well, if he wanted to stop being hurt, all he had to do was turn around and run,” the victim said.

After the examinations with the victim in this case, DDA Wilson called Detective Matthew Muscardini, an officer with the Davis Police Department for 17 years, to the stand for questioning.

However, after reviewing the police report, Muscardini said he noticed information in the report that was missing, which led him to review the bodycam footage. The glitching body camera video and a confusing report led Muscardini, he said, to investigate the situation further.

In the body cam footage, the court witnesses the incident from the victim’s perspective as he tells Detective Muscardini. During the body cam video, the court saw the victim explain through bouts of laughter that he hit the accused over the head with a flashlight to defend himself and his wife.

After watching the evidence, DPD Hutchinson questioned Detective Muscardini on the victim’s flashlight use, suggesting how its use on someone’s head can cause great bodily harm and even death.

Detective Muscardini agreed.

DPD Hutchinson then questioned the officer’s motives when meeting with the victims, and whether the officer on the case asked the victims leading questions.

According to DPD Hutchinson, the detective asked what other feelings the victim felt other than outrage. “Why did you feel the need to ask a follow-up question about what other feelings he was experiencing? Were you trying to give the victim an opportunity to say that he was in fear for his life,” asked DPD Hutchinson.

DPD Hutchinson then noted it was the victim’s wife who commented on being fearful and how protective the male victim is towards her, adding, “the victim didn’t say that he was fearful of his wife; instead, he responded, ‘Well, I didn’t want to give him the impression that he had some license and could just walk off without consequences. I was going to try to restrain him until you guys were here.’”

The trial is ongoing.

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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