A 30-year-old former Long Beach police officer was convicted Tuesday of more than a dozen felonies for repeatedly choking, beating and threatening his wife at their Pico Rivera home through January, 2012.
Brandon Preciado was convicted of six felony counts of corporal injury to a spouse, three counts each of assault with a deadly weapon and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and one count of criminal threats.
The eight-woman, four-man jury, which deliberated for about a day, also convicted him of five misdemeanor charges -- three counts of assault and two counts of battery. He was acquitted of resisting, obstructing or delaying a law enforcement officer.
He was scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 29. The prosecutor in the case said Preciado could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for his convictions.
Prosecutors said Preciado's attacks on his wife occurred between Sept. 18, 2011 and Jan. 12 at the couple's Pico Rivera home. She fled to a neighbor, who reached L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. deputies.
``She has been broken down, abused, terrorized by someone she loves,'' Deputy District Attorney Amy Pentz told jurors during her closing argument, recounting alleged assaults with a police baton, metal flashlight, hammer, belt and a broom.
During an earlier preliminary hearing, Preciado's wife Yessenia, the mother of three, testified that during the first attack, Preciado threatened to hit her with a work-issued flashlight and to break her jaw if she didn't tell him the truth, and then wrapped a belt around her neck. She said she suffered bleeding from her nose during an attack Nov. 11 in which her husband put her in a headlock.
She also said he choked her during a New Year's Day run-in, but he told her he wouldn't kill her at the time because her brothers were in the home. The woman testified that her husband pushed her into a tile shower wall, struck her with a closed fist, threatened to hit her with a hammer and break her jaw and then struck her with a broom on Jan. 4.
Preciado hit her repeatedly Jan. 9 with his police-issued baton after ordering in an angry voice for her to get ``on all fours,'' and then woke her up a day later with his forearm against her neck, she testified.
The woman testified that she suffered a swollen left eye and bloody lips during the last alleged attack Jan. 12, saying her spouse repeatedly slapped her across the face, bent her left pinky back, bit her face and threatened that she should ``prepare to die'' before she ran to a neighbor's house to seek help.
Her preliminary hearing testimony was consistent with an earlier interview with police detectives, the prosecutor said, but during the trial, Yessenia repeatedly said she didn't remember what had happened.
``Under oath, she said it didn't happen,'' defense attorney Leo Newton argued. ``My question is, which version of her testimony can you rely on to reach a verdict in this case?'' Newton argued that Yessenia had worked as a 911 operator and ``hears these kinds of stories all the time.'' He stressed that there were no corroborating witnesses to any of the alleged attacks prior to Jan. 12, when she sought help from a neighbor and police were called to the house.
He suggested that her testimony during the preliminary hearing was based on fear that if she didn't cooperate with the prosecution she might lose custody of her children to child welfare authorities. But in rebuttal, Pentz said ``the evidence of the crimes is overwhelming'' because Yessenia's original version of events was corroborated by injuries she was unable to hide from friends and co-workers and by days she missed at work because of those injuries. ``She doesn't want to remember,'' Pentz said of Yessenia's trial testimony. ``That is how we expect a domestic violence victim to react.''
Preciado is no longer employed by the Long Beach Police Department, according to media relations spokeswoman Nancy Pratt.
-City News Service