By PAUL PAYNE
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo is expected to testify in his own defense Thursday in a trial to determine whether he peeked into a Santa Rosa woman’s apartment while lurking outside before dawn in just his underwear and socks.
The move comes after a judge on Wednesday rejected his bid to throw out the case at the end of about two days of prosecution testimony. Carrillo’s attorney, Chris Andrian, argued there was no evidence that his client actually looked into his neighbor’s door or window, other than Carrillo’s own statements to police that he went to the woman’s home to ask her to have a drink.
Andrian said Carrillo, 33, tried to get her attention by knocking on her bedroom window and front door and going around to a back sliding door, but all her blinds were closed and no witnesses saw him peering inside.
“The status of the house was peek-free,” Andrian said in argument held outside the presence of the 10-woman, two-man jury. “You couldn’t peek into it.”
But prosecutor Cody Hunt said the circumstantial evidence was adequate, including a torn window screen and the woman’s testimony that she was awakened by the sound of rustling blinds. He asked Judge Gary Medvigy to let the jury decide.
Medvigy agreed, saying it was clear from the evidence that Carrillo was trespassing and could have moved the blinds aside. The woman’s bedroom window was open at the time, according to testimony.
“He certainly had ample opportunity to peek inside,” Medvigy said.
However, Medvigy said jury instructions would include the optional charge of attempted peeking, which carries a lesser three-month maximum jail sentence. As charged, Carrillo faces up to six months in jail.
Carrillo, who maintains his innocence, is expected to take the witness stand after the trial resumes at 10:30 a.m.
He listened to testimony Wednesday from the defense table as supporters, critics and other curious people looked on from the gallery.
The criminal case stems from his July 13 arrest outside a west Santa Rosa apartment complex on Brockhurst Drive.
His across-the-alley neighbor called 911 twice, starting at about 3:40 a.m., to report a bare-chested man outside her bedroom window and front door. The woman, identified in court only as Jane Doe, testified she heard a tearing sound at her open window before hearing a knock at the front door from someone identifying himself as her neighbor.
At one point, she said she looked out her living room window blinds to see a “muscular” man with his hands on his hips. She testified she and two female houseguests armed themselves with kitchen knives while waiting for officers.
Police found Carrillo, the 5th District supervisor, nearly naked outside. He was arrested when he couldn’t explain what he was doing there.
On Wednesday, the arresting officers recounted finding Carrillo and talking to him about the incident. Recordings of his statements were played to jurors.
Carrillo said he met the woman a few months earlier when she moved in, brought her some wine as a welcome gift and saw her again at a Santa Rosa nightclub.
He was drinking the night of the incident and thought she would be receptive to sharing an early morning drink. He told police he saw a light on at her apartment, walked over and knocked lightly on her front door before going into a back yard and trying to get her attention through a sliding glass door. Some of his words on the recording were inaudible but it appeared he said he wanted to “peek” in her back slider to see if she was home.
When that didn’t work, he said he went back to the front door and knocked again. He testified that he left after he heard a man’s voice inside, calling it a “misread” on his part.
Carrillo told officers he could not recall if he knocked on her bedroom window, which was to the right of the front door. Later in the interview he conceded it would be possible.
“It’s not at all what it looks like,” he told police Sgt. David Boettger.
Prosecutors showed jurors numerous photos of the bedroom window with its screen pulled away from the frame. In some pictures, the screen looked like it was pushed in. Boettger, who testified in court Wednesday, explained a pushed-in screen can flex back out.