By JULIE JOHNSON AND PAUL PAYNE
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Embattled Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo will appear in court Thursday to face potential charges stemming from his weekend arrest
on suspicion of burglary and prowling outside a woman’s home.
Prosecutors are widely expected to request more time to evaluate whether the evidence supports allegations that Carrillo was trying to break into a woman’s residence at about 3:40 a.m. Saturday to commit some kind of sexual assault.
Santa Rosa police delivered their investigation to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office on Monday afternoon. A Napa County deputy district attorney, Cody Hunt, has been appointed special prosecutor to handle the case under the supervision of the state Attorney General’s Office, spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill said.
Gledhill would not say what, if any, charges Hunt would file at the hearing.
Carrillo is required to be present at the 8:30 a.m. hearing in Sonoma County Superior Court, Gledhill said. His defense attorney confirmed the second-term supervisor will attend the hearing before Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite.
Gledhill declined to release the police report Wednesday or comment on any of the allegations.
“The case continues to be investigated,” she said. “Because of that we won’t be giving out a police report nor would we comment on what he was arrested on or any other details of the investigation.”
The 32-year-old supervisor, who represents west Sonoma County, was picked up wearing just underwear and socks by an officer responding to the woman’s 911 calls about a prowler in the area, which was near his west Santa Rosa apartment.
Carrillo’s attorney, Chris Andrian, said he believes the predawn events were “fueled by alcohol” and that Carrillo had no intent to sexually assault the woman. He may have merely wanted to share a drink with her, Andrian said.
Andrian said Carrillo either brought beer over to the home or was expecting to have beer there. He said Carrillo may have had beer with him at some time before police arrived.
“He was maybe hoping he could have some social interaction,” Andrian said. “I believe that to be true. At some point, it was his idea to drink a couple beers with her.”
Carrillo was not carrying beers at the time of his arrest, Santa Rosa Police Lt. Paul Henry said.
Carrillo was released on bail two hours after his 10:10 a.m. Saturday booking into the Sonoma County Jail and was quickly whisked off to an alcohol treatment facility.
Carrillo is on paid medical leave from his job, which paid $150,015 last year, including salary, car and cash allowance. He is expected to be away from his duties for up to a month.
Carrillo has remained mostly silent about his arrest apart from a two-sentence statement sent to the media over the weekend: “My behavior was embarrassing. It involved alcohol and I’m taking immediate steps to seek professional help.”
But police have said the sum of circumstances they found early Saturday in the neighborhood off West Third Street and Stony Point Road appeared more serious than an attempt to share a few drinks.
The woman called 911 at 3:40 a.m. after she awoke to the sound of the window blinds being moved, police said. She reported a shirtless man with a “larger build” had tried to get into her bedroom window, according to a police calls-for-service report.
An officer arrived in the area at 3:46 a.m. and was looking for a prowler when the woman called 911 again four minutes later.
During this call, the woman said the same man had knocked on her front door but then ran away. She told the dispatcher she couldn’t tell if the man was wearing pants, the records show.
Moments later, the officer encountered Carrillo nearby in his underwear and carrying a cellphone.
Dispatch notes from the incident report indicate that officers quickly alerted an on-call lieutenant, asked for an on-call sex crimes detective and requested a technician to process evidence.
Police suspect Carrillo broke through a screen on the woman’s bedroom window. Officers found the window was ripped during their investigation, and the woman told them that it was intact before the incident, officials said.
Police seized Carrillo’s cellphone as evidence in the case. Henry declined to discuss what other evidence officers may have collected during their investigation, such as DNA, fingerprints or anything else found at the scene.
Carrillo appeared intoxicated but not to a degree that would make it unlawful, said Sgt. Terry Anderson, who supervises the domestic violence/sexual assault investigations team. They did not perform a field test or take a blood sample, he said.
Anderson said that although the woman and Carrillo knew each other from the neighborhood and had spoken perhaps two or three times at least one month ago, that she did not seem to recognize him that night.
More than one person witnessed at least some of the night’s events, police said. Officials declined to say where those people were or if they were with the woman.
Officials declined to release a copy of the police report regarding the incident because it is now in the hands of prosecutors.
Police also declined to describe the tone of the woman’s 911 calls.
Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas declined to release Carrillo’s booking photograph. Freitas said the Sheriff’s Office, as policy, does not release mug shots unless an individual is at large and investigators need the public’s help finding the person.
The Attorney General’s Office took over supervision of the case after Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch asked the state to review the potential for conflict. The Board of Supervisors has authority over the District Attorney’s budget. Ravitch has also been a political supporter of Carrillo.