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The People v. Ronald Collins

June 28, 2012


(Super. Ct. No. 09F02180)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Murray , J.

P. v. Collins CA3


California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Following a jury trial, defendant Ronald Collins was convicted of infliction of corporal injury on a cohabitant resulting in a traumatic condition (Pen. Code, § 273.5, subd. (a)),*fn1 elder abuse (§ 368, subd. (b)(1)), false imprisonment (§ 236), criminal threats (§ 422), attempting to dissuade a witness (§ 136.1, subd. (b)(1)), and attempting to induce false testimony by force (§ 137, subd. (b)). The jury found the great bodily injury allegation as to the elder abuse conviction (§ 12022.7, subd. (a)) and the corporal injury conviction (§ 12022.7, subd. (e)) to be true. Defendant later admitted a prior domestic violence conviction (§ 273.5, subd. (e)(1)) and the trial court sentenced him to seven years eight months in state prison.

On appeal, defendant contends there is insufficient evidence to support the criminal threats and false imprisonment convictions. We affirm.


Prosecution Case

The victim here, Katie Mask, who was 67 years old at the time of trial, had had a kidney removed and also had memory problems she associates with dementia.

Mask met defendant when he was a security guard where Mask lived. Defendant, who was 10 years younger than Mask, became her state-paid caretaker in 2000. Even though defendant was married to Wanda Stockman, a woman with whom he had a 33-year relationship, Mask and defendant became romantically involved within six months. During her testimony, Mask referred to defendant variously as her "fiance" and "common law husband."

Defendant controlled Mask's money. She gave her sole source of income, her social security payment, to defendant every month. Mask also supported defendant financially, even though she was not supposed to. Because Mask gave defendant her money, she lost her apartment. Ultimately, in January 2009, Mask moved into a room at a Motel 6 in Sacramento and defendant moved in with her.

According to Mask, defendant had two personalities -- one gentle and sweet and the other cruel. Mask could not anticipate when defendant would change from one personality to the other. Defendant often turned into that other person and assaulted her. Many times, he told Mask that he could get someone who could harm her. He made Mask promise that she would stay with defendant for the rest of her life and not leave him because they loved each other. Defendant often told Mask that if she tried to leave him, he would get someone to do whatever was necessary to stop her. That statement made her afraid because "I didn't know what would happen to me." He also told her to stay away from her adult daughter and son or he would have somebody go to their house. This statement made Mask very uncomfortable. During her relationship with defendant, Mask lived in a state of fear.

While staying at the Motel 6, defendant told Mask that he would harm her if she left through the motel room door. According to Mask, defendant told her "[m]ore than three times" that "he would harm me seriously if I -- if I went out that door." Mask stated that she was not allowed to leave the motel room on her own -- defendant "had to be the one who sent me out in order for me to go." As a result, Mask would never go out of the room because she was afraid to touch the door.

One night in January 2009 at the Motel 6, defendant accused Mask of being unfaithful. Defendant punched Mask, causing her to go numb. The blow knocked her to the bed. Defendant climbed on top of Mask, put his leg into her chest, started "pounding" her, and choked her until she could not breathe as her head hung off the bed. As he choked her, defendant accused Mask of having affairs with other guys and lying about it. Mask begged for help and told defendant she would tell defendant whatever he wanted to know. Defendant also told Mask that she had let him down because he could no longer pay for property he owned in Louisiana.

Defendant stopped his attack and went into the bathroom. Fearing what might happen to her next, Mask used this opportunity to flee from the room. Because she wanted to get out as quickly as possible, she left without putting on her pants. She fled wearing only a T-shirt. When asked what she thought defendant would do to her if he caught her, Mask stated, "He would finish me off."

Mask first went to the motel lobby, but the receptionist said there was nothing she could do for Mask. Mask then ran to a Starbucks across the street for help. There, she was told to go ...

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