continued Lucy testified on July 23. Her baby could be heard crying in the hallway before she appeared. Now 23 years old, she sat in the witness stand with her hand at her mouth.
She testified that she did not know Armando, Hector Bravo, or anyone named Shadow. Walking over to stand behind Bravo, Logan asked Lucy again if she had ever seen this man before. Bravo was smiling at her.
“I don’t recall him,” she responded. “I don’t know him.”
Logan showed Lucy and the jury an enlarged photo exhibit of Armando lying on his back with his bloody wound exposed. “I don’t know him,” said Lucy.
Logan asked her whom she had talked to on her cell phone that night. She said her cell phone had been stolen.
“I couldn’t find it.”
“Around that time.”
Logan persisted. Was her cell phone stolen October 26, 2007? A Friday? Lucy replied that it had been “stolen weeks before that.” Logan produced cell phone records, and Lucy admitted that she recognized her mother’s phone number in the list.
Between 5:53 and 8:45 on the night of the incident, her mother’s phone number appeared nine times, pointed out the prosecutor.
“You placed those calls, right?”
“No. I don’t recall,” said Lucy.
She testified that she had never been in the Mustang.
“You don’t like telling the truth, do you?” asked Logan.
“What are you trying to say? I’m telling the truth,” she replied.
Logan pointed out a large peace officer sitting in the courtroom. “Do you recognize this detective?”
“Oh, yeah, he came to my house,” said Lucy, looking at Detective Witholt briefly.
“You didn’t tell him your phone had been stolen, did you?”
When Lucy finished testifying, Judge Pressman told her to wait in the witness room until the day’s proceedings were completed. After the jury had been excused, the judge made the unusual move of bringing her back before the court. Lucy stood alone in the center of the room, looking up at the judge. Pressman said to her, “You need to know that I find your testimony incredible. There are laws in this state regarding perjury — that is, lying under oath — and I do not take that lightly.” He paused. “Were you telling the truth?” “Yes,” Lucy immediately replied. Another long pause. “I may well recommend to the district attorney” that charges of perjury be pursued, said Judge Pressman. Before he dismissed her, he added, “You are a bad example for your children and a bad example for this community.”
The next day, Dr. Stephen Kaminski, a trauma and critical care surgeon at Palomar Medical Center, was called to the stand. He testified that when paramedics delivered Armando to the center, he had “what looked like stab wounds on his arm and chest.” The doctor’s first assessment of Armando’s condition was a “high degree of risk for having injured the heart.” Showing the doctor People’s Exhibit Number One, the photograph of Armando lying on his back, chest exposed, with a gaping red wound beside his left nipple, Logan had the doctor confirm that this was the patient he saw that night. The doctor said that scans and X-rays revealed “a pulmonary contusion…injury to the lung directly below the rib.… Had it not struck a rib, it clearly could have killed him.” The doctor also described the dangerous proximity to the stab wound of “aorta vessels” and “pulmonary vessels.” He testified that Armando’s chest puncture was “a potentially fatal, life-threatening injury.”
During the trial, Logan introduced as evidence an envelope addressed to the house on Felicita. The address had been written by Hector Bravo, who’d sent a letter from prison to friends living in the house, the same house where Lucy had told Armando to meet her. In closing arguments, the prosecutor reminded the jury that “the defendant has friends” in the house on Felicita; “he writes letters to people there.”
In the defense’s closing argument, Bravo’s attorney, Daniel Mitts, pointed out that no one had said they’d seen a knife, nor was any weapon recovered. “He invented that,” said Mitts, referring to Armando’s claim of being stabbed. “Maybe [Armando] injured himself on the door,” Mitts said.
Mitts characterized Armando’s wound as a “moderate injury,” which did not warrant a guilty verdict for attempted murder. “It’s a flesh wound,” he said. “What did it take? Four staples.” The victim’s sister “said in three weeks he’s fine.
“This whole case depends on the believability of their victim.… The victim changed his story, making it stronger each time he tells it.”
The judge sent the jury into deliberations just before noon on July 29; it returned with a decision on July 31. The verdict was guilty on three counts: assault with a deadly weapon, carjacking, and car theft. Bravo now had a second strike on his record. The jury also found Bravo guilty of all the allegations, including personally using a deadly weapon and personally inflicting great bodily injury. However, they found him not guilty of the attempted murder charge. One juror who declined to be named stated as she was leaving the courtroom that it was a “problem” that “the only witness was the victim.”
On October 6, before pronouncing sentence, Judge Pressman expressed his thoughts on the case.
“The level of violence that has been shown by this defendant is senseless and egregious…creating great bodily injury,” he said. “This crime was planned in advance. You were using Lucy as bait.… You are a serious danger to this community.”
Bravo was sentenced to 32 years in prison.