Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Court of Appeal Declares:
Wife’s Statement Exonerating Spouse Properly Barred
Judge Torribio Upheld in Finding That Extrajudicial Statement of Woman That She, Not Her Husband, Fired Shot at Victim, Was Not ‘Sufficiently Reliable’ to Be Admitted
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Court of Appeal for this district—confronted by a situation, often depicted on television detective shows, where each spouse seeks to exonerate the other by claiming responsibility for a shooting—has ruled that a judge properly excluded an extrajudicial admission by a wife that it was she, not her defendant husband, who pulled the trigger.
Uncertainty persists, in the aftermath of the opinion, filed Friday and not certified for publication, as to whose rendition of the facts was veracious, with multiple versions, at various points, being recited.
According to the prosecution’s evidence at trial: the victim, Darryl Glover, was summoned to a motel room by a woman he knew only as “Sexy”; Victor Mathieu, who apparently wanted to sell her his car, entered the room and asked Glover if had the money for the vehicle and, dumfounded, Glover said that he didn’t; Mathieu’s wife, Kiesha Patterson, entered the room a short time later; Glover and Mathieu quarreled; Mathieu pulled a gun; Glover ran out of the room and was shot in the back, surviving the attack.
Mathieu was convicted of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon. On appeal, he contended that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John A. Torribio prejudicially erred in barring evidence that Patterson had told a defense investigator that she shot Glover.
In her statement to the investigator, she said that she saw Glover pull a gun from his waistband during a confrontation with her husband; that it fell to the ground; and as Glover and her husband struggled, she picked up the weapon and, in defense of her husband and herself, fired at Glover.
During early stages, Patteson was accused of being an accessory after the fact—by whisking her husband from the crime scene in her car—but the charges against her were resolved following a preliminary hearing. Her statement to the investigator came two-and-a-half years after the shooting.
Torribio proclaimed that the circumstance of “the wife of the defendant coming in belatedly saying she’s the shooter” was “highly suspect.”
At an evidentiary hearing, Patterson invoked the Fifth Amendment.
Mathieu testified at trial that he did not pull the trigger, but refused to say whether his wife did.
On appeal, he asserted that Patterson’s statement was against her penal interest and was, as such, admissible under an exception to the hearsay rule, and was erroneously excluded.
In explaining the affirmance, Justice Laurie Zelon said, in an unpublished opinion for Div. Seven:
“Based on the totality of the circumstances presented, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that Patterson’s statement that she shot Glover was not sufficiently reliable to qualify for admission as a declaration against penal interest. Patterson’s relationship with Mathieu and the circumstances surrounding her statement to the defense investigator reasonably could support a finding that her statement was not trustworthy. Patterson had been married to Mathieu for over 20 years, had helped him flee the scene immediately after the shooting, and had a motive to minimize his participation in the crime once he was arrested and charged. Given Mathieu’s prior serious felony convictions that could subject him to an enhanced sentence if he were convicted, Patterson had a strong incentive to fabricate a defense that exculpated Mathieu from any criminal liability.”
The jurist said Patterson’s delay in admitting her role “further supported a finding that [her statement] lacked sufficient indicia of trustworthiness to be admissible.”
Not Admitting Criminality
Zelon questioned whether Patterson’s statement was truly against her penal interest, noting that “to the extent that she admitted to being the shooter…, her statement as a whole reflected that she was claiming the shooting was justified because she was acting in self-defense or in defense of Mathieu.”
She added this factor:
“The physical evidence corroborated Glover’s testimony that the shot came from the area where he last saw Mathieu standing with the gun, rather than the area where he saw Patterson sitting on a bed.”
The case is People v. Mathieu, B271177.
San Diego attorney Heather L. Beugen represented Mathieu. Deputy Attorneys General Scott A. Taryle and Rene Judkiewicz acted for the People.
Copyright 2017, Metropolitan News Company