Officer Robert Craig said at a court hearing on January 21 that he was called to speak with a distraught woman on the evening of November 3 of last year.
Twenty-seven-year-old Catalina Botello said she was afraid to return home to her Escondido apartment after a fight with her boyfriend, Joaquin Martinez, 28. She met police in the parking lot of a nearby 7-Eleven.
Botello said a fight began after she found emails to her boyfriend, described as messages from women saying, “I miss your hugs and I miss your kisses.” Botello said she was upset and “I was yelling.”
Botello said her boyfriend called her “sneaky” and “the B word.”
“We were arguing and there were a lot of cuss words and it was kinda loud,” Botello said. She knew her boyfriend was on misdemeanor probation for previous incidents, including the time he showed up at her workplace and pulled her hair (Botello currently works as a dispatcher for a trash company, she said.)
The woman told police Martinez had prevented her from leaving her apartment for several minutes that night, plus he damaged two doors in the apartment during their confrontation.
Officer Craig said he went to an apartment at 250 East El Norte Parkway and heard a man inside speaking loudly. The officer said he knocked on the door and identified himself, and then the man went quiet and the interior lights went off.
Officer Craig said he phoned a number provided by Botello, and Martinez identified himself when he answered. Martinez asked for time to get dressed and then he wanted more time to use the bathroom; after multiple calls and about ten minutes, Martinez stopped answering his phone; he never did come to the door as requested, the officer said.
More Escondido police officers arrived. One officer brought a canine and one had a “ballistic shield.” Police entered the apartment using a key provided by Botello. Martinez was found inside a locked bathroom.
“Mr. Martinez was agitated,” Officer Craig remembered. After the suspect was placed in the back of a patrol car, he began to kick the interior of the car and leg restraints were applied, the officer said.
Evidence photos were taken of a fist-sized hole in the bathroom door and a bedroom door that had been wrenched from its frame. Officer Craig said that Botello signed an agreement for a citizen’s arrest.
At the court hearing yesterday, Botello remarked, “This is just a waste of my time.” Botello was asked by a prosecutor how she felt about coming to court after Botello failed to remember important facts during testimony.
For example, Botello denied her previous statements that her boyfriend had broken her cell phone and taken away her car keys and prevented her leaving through the front door of her apartment. “I think Joaquin needs some serious counseling,” Botello said from the witness box.
When prosecutor Susan Gust asked Botello if she still loved her boyfriend, who is the father of their eight-year-old daughter, Botello replied, “I do.”
“Although victims seek the assistance of law enforcement at the time a crime occurs, it is quite common in domestic violence cases for victims to recant their initial statement to police,” Gust commented after the hearing.
The deputy district attorney declined comment on any particular case, but made general observations.
“Factors that we see affecting how a victim testifies include having children together, financial constraints, and the continued emotional connection to the person who has hurt them.”
Judge Harry Elias commented on the tenuous status of the evidence at the conclusion of the hearing but did hold defendant Martinez to answer five criminal counts; these included one felony charge of false imprisonment and a misdemeanor charge for failure to obey a previous court order to stay away from the alleged victim.
Martinez pleads not guilty to all charges. He is held in lieu of $100,000 bail and has a trial date in San Diego County Superior Court on March 12, 2014.