After more than an hour of grueling cross-examination by a defense attorney, witness Maria Morales Juares began telling him that his questions were “stupid” and she was “bored” of his repeated questions on the same point and she finally told the judge “I can’t stand being here any longer” and “I can’t stand this abuse.”
On August 23, a preliminary hearing began for David Christopher Herbert, 36, who pleads not guilty to burglarizing the home of his Oceanside neighbors, abusing their dogs, and slashing the tires of their vehicles.
Juares told the judge that starting in February of this year, she began to find the tires slashed on her Lexus, which was parked in the driveway of her home on Carino Way. This happened at least four times in February, March, and April. Sometimes she found three tires slashed, sometimes it was two tires, on both her and her husband’s cars. Juarez produced receipts from a tire store to show the court.
On cross-examination, defense attorney James Weintre seemed to suggest that the tires may have been worn and ready for replacement. He also asked pointed questions about how closely she had inspected the tires and questioned if she had actually seen any punctures.
Juares testified that she had purchased her two pet husky dogs when they were small puppies and that now Estrella and Cocuyo are about 18 months old. Juares tearfully described the multiple occasions last spring when she would return home to find her dogs missing, burned with acid, or acting strangely and “drunk.” Finally, on April 28, she arrived home to find Cocuyo on the floor unable to stand and drooling out of his mouth; Estrella was upstairs with one eye gouged out and bleeding and crying. Both animals had been doused with some kind of caustic liquid and their skin was burnt, red, and peeling, Juares said between sobs.
In his cross-examination, attorney Weintre seemed to suggest that her dogs may have already been damaged before she acquired them, but she was unable to see it because of their dense fur. That was when Juares was heard to exclaim, “Oh, my God” and “That is a stupid question” and she told the judge she couldn’t take it any longer. Juares testified with the assistance of a Spanish-speaking interpreter.
After judge Robert Dahlquist excused all the witnesses for the day, prosecutor Teresa Pham asked the court to order defendant Herbert to stay away from the alleged victims of his crimes, all of whom are his neighbors. The prosecutor stated that “everyone” was surprised when the suspect was able to produce a million-dollar cashier’s check to bail out of custody two days ago, and Pham claimed that “The whole entire neighborhood is terrified of the defendant.”
Judge Dahlquist declined to grant any restraining orders but said he will reconsider the matter when the preliminary hearing resumed today (August 24) at 10 a.m. in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse in Vista.