Day One Dominguez Preliminary Hearing – State Won’t Seek Death

By Bryan Miller

WOODLAND, CA – Accused Davis stabbing suspect Carlos Dominguez appeared for the first day of his preliminary hearing Monday in Yolo County Superior Court to face two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder—earlier in the day, he had been notified the state would not seek the death penalty.

Day one saw the questioning of the prosecution’s witnesses including Sgt. Mathew Muscardini, who was on the team that interviewed Dominguez.

During his cross-examination Deputy Public Defender Daniel Hutchinson argued much of the accused’s behavior mirrored someone suffering from schizophrenia.

Previous Vanguard Coverage:

COURT WATCH: Dominguez Transferred to State Hospital 

Expert Witness Diagnoses Alleged Davis Stabbing Suspect with Schizophrenia

COURT WATCH: Alleged Davis Serial Stabber ‘Most Likely’ to Be Diagnosed with Schizophrenia, but Still Faces Tense, 2-Week Competency Trial

COURT WATCH: Alleged Davis Stabber Deemed ‘Competent’ to Stand Trial; January Court Date Set

The stabbings, which took place in late April 2023 of Davis community member David Breaux and UC Davis student Karim Abou Najm, resulted in their deaths, and the stabbing of Kimberlee Guillory left her in critical condition for some time.

Dominguez, who was initially found to be unfit for trial, has recently been found to be competent to stand trial.

The prosecution team, consisting of Deputy District Attorneys Frits Van der Hoek and Matthew De Moura, called several members of the City of Davis Police department, who had responded to multiple or one of the three incidents within the case.

Prosecutors Van der Hoek and De Moura took turns questioning the witnesses, asking them to identify the locations on a map where the incidents took place. They also asked witnesses how evidence was collected and the steps they took when processing it such as what individuals actually touched the objects. The defense chose to not cross-examine many of the witnesses.

The final witness of the day was Sgt. Muscardini who was asked questions about the apprehension and interview of Dominguez, both of which he was a part of. Muscardini testified he responded to the call of a detained suspect who might match the description given by other witnesses.

He then testified he and a fellow detective began what he said was a “just under seven hours” interview of Dominguez. However, DPD Hutchinson pointed out the interview actually lasted approximately seven hours and 22 minutes.

When questioned by DDA De Moura, Officer Muscardini said throughout the interview Dominguez would contradict himself, answering yes to a question and then no to it later on. He added Dominguez admitted to being in the area of the attacks but he denied attacking any of the victims.

At the end of the questioning, Muscardini confirmed Dominguez said “the knife was a part of him.” This is something DPD Hutchinson claimed Dominguez corrected, immediately stating, “it belongs to me.”

DPD Hutchinson started questioning Sgt. Muscardini, asking if he had any prior training to identify symptoms of schizophrenia, which Muscardini admitted to not having. DPD Hutchinson then asked a series of questions about the mental state of Dominguez, noting throughout the over seven hour interview the accused did not eat or drink anything or ask to use the restroom.

He also stated Dominguez stared straight ahead the whole time in what the officer described as “emotionless,” only making eye contact when the detectives would say “look at me.”

DPD Hutchinson also noted Dominguez, at one point while in the room alone, stood up and put his sweater on and then proceeded to attempt to exit the room to do what he said was “go on a walk,” something DPD Hutchinson said showed the lack of awareness for the situation.

Additional symptoms of schizophrenia DPD Hutchinson claimed were exhibited included the accused’s difficulty with spelling and numbers, and replying “no” when asked if he had any mental health issues. DPD Hutchinson said this denial is one of the most common symptoms of schizophrenia.

The preliminary hearing of Dominguez proceeds in front of Judge Samuel McAdam at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 27.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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