APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County. John J. Ryan, Judge. (Retired judge of the Orange Super. Ct. assigned by the Chief Justice pursuant to art. VI, § 6 of the Cal. Const.) (Super.Ct.No. RIF141446)
The opinion of the court was delivered by: McKINSTER J.
CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION*fn1
Defendant and appellant Jon Warren Larson appeals after he was convicted of one count of inflicting corporal injury on a cohabitant. The conviction was a third strike for defendant, who was sentenced to 27 years to life. Defendant contends (1) the trial court erred in admitting evidence of a past uncharged incident, and (2) the admission of records of defendant's prior convictions violated his Sixth Amendment right of confrontation and cross-examination. We are unpersuaded, and affirm the judgment.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Defendant met Deborah Jessen in February of 2007. Both homeless, they spent the next few months together, staying variously at friends' homes; at motels; or sometimes without shelter, camping near a local riverbed. Jessen received about $800 per month in Social Security disability income; Jessen and defendant shared her money, and they panhandled together.
By June 2007, defendant and Jessen had been together for about four months. In the first week of June, they were sharing a room at a motel in Riverside. Neither defendant nor Jessen had any valid identification, so they prevailed upon a friend, Robert Tinsley, to rent the room for them. They used Jessen's money to pay for the room, however.
During the night and early morning hours of June 6-7, 2007, defendant and Jessen quarreled over their last cigarette. Jessen testified that, the next thing she knew, defendant had knocked her down and she was on the floor. Defendant proceeded to punch Jessen with his fists, bit her on the leg and arm, and choked her. Jessen blacked out.
When Jessen regained consciousness, she saw defendant in another part of the room, breaking an ashtray. Jessen seized the opportunity to get away and fled, naked, from the room. She found another resident outside his motel room and asked for help. The man gave Jessen his shirt, and let her inside his room.
Watching through the peephole, Jessen saw defendant leave in a car with one of defendant's relatives. Jessen ran back to her own room, put on some clothes, gathered her belongings, and went to a nearby hospital. Jessen was treated for several injuries, including a swollen right eye, a puffy and swollen face, a cut lip, and bite marks on her arm and leg.
Although defendant did not testify in his own behalf at trial, the defense theory was that Jessen suffered from mental instability, and had inflicted the injuries on herself. Thus, on cross-examination, Jessen testified that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, among other things. She acknowledged having attempted suicide many times in the past, and she had both cut and burned herself in some of these attempts. She had also attempted eating glass or swallowing razor blades. On one occasion, while hospitalized, Jessen had become violent, kicking walls and hurting herself. She had been placed in a five-point restraint on that occasion. Jessen testified, however, that in recent years she had become more stable because she was taking medication.
Riverside Police Officer Gary Hirdler, who responded to the hospital, observed the injuries as described by Jessen: swollen and puffy face, swollen right eye, cut lip, and bite marks on her arm and thigh. Officer Hirdler testified that Jessen's account to him at the hospital was consistent with her trial testimony about the incident.
The trial court, over defendant's objection, permitted the prosecution to present the testimony of Breezy Turnage, a past acquaintance of defendant, about an incident in which he also bit her. In 2002, defendant was living in Turnage's home; they had an intimate relationship. During an incident in April 2002, defendant attacked Turnage; he punched her in the face, and bit her on the chin and ...