SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — “Let me understand the connection between a burglary of a dirty bookstore and a homicide,” Deputy Public Defender Douglas R. Hayes pretrial in Santa Barbara County on the morning of September 21 During the questioning of Judge Brian Hill to the higher court.
Later in the proceedings, Judge Hill dismissed PD Hayes’ pretrial request for a separate jury trial on the different charges, citing “judicial economy.”
A pretrial conference is scheduled for Oct. 1, and the jury will begin the trial of Isaiah Ramirez Alexander, charged with five counts, within 60 days of Oct. 5. Felonies, including first-degree murder in the fatal shooting at the Pacifica Suites in Goleta. February 10.
His defense has filed a pretrial motion for separate trials on the different charges because of possible jury bias during the upcoming trial.
Alexander is also charged with two counts of burglary, one count of commercial burglary, firing a gun into an occupied home and vehicle, and multiple counts of bail due to previous convictions.
Investigators allege the homicide was not random because the defendants and victims were familiar with each other, and an emergency alert was sent to UCSB students to avoid the area because the hotel had been used to accommodate an excess of student housing.
The crimes occurred over a five-day period, starting with the residential theft on February 9 and ending with Alexander’s arrest by law enforcement during the business theft on February 14.
“Do you really think that commercial burglary will bias your client in terms of homicide charges, which is more serious?” Judge Hill asked DPD Hayes.
Hayes argued that the homicide was an act of self-defense, saying “my client did not commit a crime” and that including commercial burglary charges in the same trial as the homicide charges would “make my client ugly” ,” and fueled prejudice among the jury, noting that the burglary “has nothing to do with other crimes.”
Deputy District Attorney Kevin J. Weichbrod argued that “there is evidence that Mr. Alexander was arrested at the scene in connection with residential burglary and commercial burglary, and he also made a statement at the scene following his arrest by police,” and he will testify for the jury trial witnesses during the period.
DDA Weichbrod also cited issues of judicial economics, referring to the efficiency with which courts operate because “the cross-admissibility of evidence and on-the-spot testimony for both crimes” means that if Judge Hill were appointed, the same witnesses would be used to allow for different charges in a separate trial.
Judge Hill chimed in that “the fact of commercial burglary is unacceptable” making it irrelevant to the homicide.
“It doesn’t matter unless the defense suggests they will continue to argue in self-defense,” DDA Weichbrod responded. He said the self-defense argument prompted an assessment of the defendant’s mental state.
DDA Weichbrod continued, “Mr. Alexander murdered a man allegedly in self-defense while also committing a crime outside.”
He argued that the defendant could have “went to law enforcement and said, ‘I fear for my life'” rather than committing the burglary days after the homicide.
Judge Hill held that the cross-admissibility of evidence was still limited, telling DPD Hayes, “However, I don’t think there is any prejudice against your client linking this relatively innocuous charge of business theft to homicide. .”
DPD Hayes countered that this would be “another crime that the jury will be looking at,” prompting them to think, “Is this a crime spree?”
DPD Hayes continued, noting that he and his client “opposed any reference to a dirty bookstore,” prompting Judge Hill to conclude that his concerns about bias relied on the fact that the commercial robbery took place at an adult bookstore.
Judge Hill claimed that the close correlation to the timing of the alleged crime “eliminates any possibility that your client was in a different jurisdiction or was not present” and countered that the adult bookstore burglary was linked to the homicide because it It was the same defendant, who placed them in the same jurisdiction as the burglary occurred four days after the alleged killing.
DDA Weichbrod added that after his arrest for business theft, the arresting officers obtained items related to the residential burglary, specifically the clothing he wore during the February 10 residential burglary and homicide.