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The People v. Vernon Karl Medler

September 19, 2012


(Super. Ct. No. 10F03544)

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

P. v. Medler



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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.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 Vernon Karl Medler was convicted of two counts of rape (Pen. Code, § 261, subd. (a)(2)),*fn1 two counts of criminal threats (§ 422), corporal injury to a cohabitant (§ 273.5, subd. (a)), false imprisonment (§ 236), assault with a deadly weapon (§ 245, subd. (a)(1)), and child endangerment (§ 273a, subd. (a)), with enhancements for personally using a deadly weapon (former § 12022, subd. (b)(1)). After initially sentencing defendant to 17 years in state prison, the trial court recalled the sentence to impose a 14-year term.

On appeal, defendant contends the suppression of a police video denied him a fair trial, and concurrent sentences on the corporal injury to a cohabitant, false imprisonment, and assault with a deadly weapon counts violated section 654. We shall affirm.


G.P. began a romantic relationship with defendant in February 2010. The couple, both in their 20's, had consensual sex after the second date, and defendant moved in with G.P. at her mother's house shortly thereafter. G.P. shared the house with her two children, ages two and four, her sister, her mother and her 20-year-old brother.

In May 2010, defendant told G.P. he was in love with her. To show his love, defendant got her name tattooed on the back of his neck for her birthday. G.P. did not share the feeling, as she had known defendant for only a few months.

On several occasions, defendant made threats to kill both G.P. and then himself if she ever left him. He made one such threat in early May, when G.P. was paying a traffic ticket at the courthouse on Power Inn Road. When she returned to the car, defendant had her cell phone, and displayed messages to G.P. from her ex-boyfriend Chris, the father of her two-year-old daughter.

Defendant was upset because he did not want G.P. seeing the man. He first punched the car radio and knocked the knob off. Defendant then put his hands around G.P.'s neck, pushed her up against the window, and shoved her full force in the chest. G.P.'s children, who were in the back seat of the car, cried and screamed. When G.P. asked if he wanted to do this in front of her children, defendant replied that he did not care about their feelings since she did not care about his. He then tossed G.P.'s new cell phone across the street, breaking it. Defendant said that he would snap her neck or cave in her face if she told anyone about the incident.

Another incident took place at a Wal-Mart parking lot about one to two weeks later. Defendant got very upset with G.P., grabbed her by the hair, hit her on the head, and slammed her head against the side window. He kept yelling at G.P. to shut up and stop crying or he would leave her black and blue and bloody all over the parking lot.

Defendant made similar threats at their home between the Wal-Mart incident and May 28, 2010. G.P. did not tell the authorities about these incidents because defendant had threatened to kill her, or himself, if she told. G.P. talked to defendant about having him move out, but defendant said he would kill G.P. or himself if she ever tried to make him leave.

On the evening of Friday, May 28, 2010, defendant confronted G.P. in the living room after finding an old Valentine's card from Chris in her bedroom drawer. After G.P. told defendant she had forgotten it was there, he took a step back, balled up his fists, and took a swing at G.P., just missing her head, and then walked out of the house for a few minutes. On his return, defendant grabbed G.P. by the hair and threw her to the ground. Defendant told G.P. he would snap her neck in two if she was lying or cheating. He also told G.P. that he wanted her to acknowledge having sex with the man or he would cave her face in. G.P., crying, repeatedly begged defendant not to hurt her, and told him over and over that she had not cheated.

Defendant and G.P. walked to their bedroom after G.P.'s sister came out and asked what they were doing. The argument continued in the bedroom's bathroom while G.P.'s two-year-old daughter slept on their bed. Defendant reiterated his threats, and asked G.P. whether she cheated on him.

When defendant left the bathroom, he told G.P. that he wanted to have sex with her. When G.P. said "no," defendant replied he was going to have sex with her no matter what she said. G.P. repeatedly told defendant "no," and resisted as he pulled off her pants and underpants. G.P. covered herself with her hand, but defendant pushed her hand away, forced her onto the bed, and had intercourse with her. G.P. was crying and tried to cover herself, but defendant put his hands around her throat and threatened to snap her neck in two if she did not shut up.*fn2

Defendant stopped when G.P. said her stomach hurt and she needed to use the bathroom. He allowed her to get up and go to the bathroom; when she was done, defendant ordered G.P. back to bed after which he continued the ...

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