Orange County Breeze
News of Northwest Orange County, CA





Community

July 22, 2013

Court Room Diary: People vs. Robert Allen Barnhart

Printer-friendly version of this post Printer-friendly version of this post
courtroom-diary

The prosecution and defense gave opening statements today in the matter of The People versus Robert Allen Barnhart, Case Number 11WF2614. Mr. Barnhart is charged with two counts of Assault With a Deadly Weapon and one count of Misdemeanor Battery.

The case is being overseen by Judge Lance P. Jensen, and the jury is composed of seven women and five men.

The charges against Mr. Barnhart stem from an incident that occurred on the morning of November 5, 2011, in which Mr. Barnhart’s Dodge Ram pickup truck was rear-ended by an Isuzu Rodeo driven by then-18-year-old Jesse Ochoa. The initial accident occurred on northbound Bloomfield St., just south of Ball Rd. in the city of Los Alamitos.

Mr. Barnhart, according to Deputy District Attorney Kristin Bracic of the Felony Panel, then stepped out of his vehicle and shouted profanities at Ochoa, who subsequently fled the scene. Mr. Barnhart pursued him to Ball Rd., allegedly striking Ochoa’s vehicle in what was described by multiple witnesses as a “PIT-like maneuver,” referencing a police tactic in which an officer uses his vehicle to strike a fleeing vehicle and cause it to spin around.

Ochoa’s vehicle then spun 180 degrees, and he continued fleeing, now headed westbound in the eastbound lanes of Ball Rd. Mr. Barnhart then allegedly made a U-turn and cut in front of Mr. Ochoa’s vehicle just before the intersection of Ball Rd. and Bloomfield St. Mr. Ochoa’s vehicle then “broadsided” Mr. Barnhart’s pickup truck.

At this point, the prosecution contends that Mr. Barnhart exited his vehicle and attempted to drag Mr. Ochoa from the SUV. Two witnesses then intervened and subdued Mr. Barnhart.

“This is a case about one very heated temper,” Ms. Bracic said in her opening statements, regarding Mr. Barnhart’s behavior during the incident. Multiple witnesses on the stand described the defendant as “very angry” and “agitated” and “swearing a lot”.

Defense attorney Mike Perez emphasized that Mr. Ochoa had no driver’s license or insurance at the time of the accident, and also had prior incidents with the law. He contended that Ochoa was trying to avoid responsibility, and that his client was attempting to stop Mr. Ochoa from fleeing the scene of the accident.

He described the proceedings as “a short trial, but obviously for my client, a very important one.”

Jesse Ochoa was the first witness called, followed by his girlfriend, Cassaundra Coyne, who was in the SUV driven by Ochoa at the time of the incident. The prosecution then called three witnesses to the incident, including the two people who subdued Mr. Barnhart. The final witness called today was Officer Jacob Sorensen of the Los Alamitos Police Department.

Judge Jensen indicated that the proceedings should wrap up tomorrow.

Enhanced by Zemanta


About the Author

Katie
Born and raised in Orange County, I have a B.A. in English from the University of Southern California. I grew up on Star Trek, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Saturday morning PBS reruns of Doctor Who. I am also a proud volunteer with my local police department.




Subscribe to our daily morning email news update!
 
 

 
weather icon, partly cloudy

Today’s weather forecast for Thursday, April 17

Today’s local weather forecast: Cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 70. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon.
by courtesy
0

 
 
Mark Hansberry and Jackson Fortune of Troop 658 in Los Alamitos. Courtesy photo.

Scouts Hansberry and Fortune celebrate their Eagle Court

Mark Hansberry and Jackson Fortune of Troop 658 in Los Alamitos, celebrated their Eagle Court of Honor at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church after they received scouting’s highest honor the rank of Eagle. Family, friends and t...
by courtesy
1

 
 
Johnathan Mendez, a Youth Center member, holds up a vase for appraisal. Courtesy photo.

Los Alamitos Youth Center organizes new antique and collectible events

The Youth Center’s is proud to announce two new events sponsored by Coliseum Antiques. Appraisal Day is scheduled on Saturday April 19 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Come to this event to have your valuables professionally appraised...
by courtesy
0

 

Subscribe to our daily overnight news summary!

 
Orange County District Attorney logo

La Palma man pleads guilty to murdering his uncle

A man was convicted on Monday, April 14, of murdering his uncle and dumping the victim’s body in a remote area of Santa Barbara County after setting it on fire in an attempt to destroy the evidence. Kirk Michael Galvin, 2...
by courtesy
0

 
 
weather icon, partly cloudy

Today’s weather forecast for Wednesday, April 16

Today’s local weather forecast: Patchy fog before 11am. Otherwise, cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 76. Light and variable wind becoming southwest 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.
by courtesy
0