Boyfriend not guilty in laundry detergent case
Despite a cogent closing statement by the prosecution, a jury found Anthony D’Andrea not guilty of willful injury on a cohabitant with a special allegation.
Tuesday’s verdict in El Dorado County Superior Court marked an end to a seven-day trial that was only expected to last half as long.
D’Andrea, a small business owner, was arrested when he allegedly injured his live-in girlfriend when he poured a 2-gallon jug of laundry detergent in her eyes then reportedly dragged and threw her outside.
The not guilty decision by the jury, comprised of six women and six men, saved D’Andrea from spending a possible seven years in state prison.
Defense attorney John Castellanos argued during his closing statement that bruises the victim claimed to have suffered during the incident were unfounded. In addition, she was the one throwing the laundry soap all around the room, Castellanos said.
Threaded throughout the closing statement were reminders to the jury to consider inconsistencies in witness testimonies, such as the woman either was thrown or ran out to the deck.
Castellanos could not be reached despite repeated phone calls.
Deputy District Attorney Lisa Serafini said D’Andrea tried to alter the crime scene and called 911 to report the woman drunk and stumbling outside. D’Andrea, painted by the prosecution as a “convicted liar” because of a past felony conviction of lying under oath, called neighbors to help find her outside while he fixed the scene inside, Serafini said.
“The reality of this case is the defendant set all of this in motion,” Serafini told the jury.
Serafini could not be reached by telephone after the verdict. Assistant District Attorney Hans Uthe said his office was disappointed with the verdict.
“Although we disagree by it, we have to abide by it,” Uthe said.
Uthe attributed long opening statements and a jury selection extending into mid-afternoon as contributors to the lengthy trial.
Lois Denowitz, community educator at the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center, was also discouraged. She thinks citizens as potential jurors need to be more educated on domestic violence.
“Just as anyone can be a victim, anyone can be a perpetrator of the crime,” Denowitz said.
— Contact William Ferchland at firstname.lastname@example.org
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