California Court of Appeals, Third District, Sacramento
FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION [*]
from a judgment of the Superior Court of Sacramento County,
No. 13F07431 Robert M. Twiss, Judge.
S. Haltom, Retained Counsel for Defendant and Appellant.
Becerra, Attorney General, Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant
Attorney General, Michael P. Farrell, Assistant Attorney
General, Stephen G. Herndon and Carlos A. Martinez,
Supervising Deputies Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and
Jovan Jermaine Felix contends the trial court abused its
discretion in his trial for attempted murder by introducing
evidence of a prior crime and by denying his motions for
retrial and to reopen the evidence. We disagree and affirm
and Legal Proceedings
and his girlfriend went to the Level Up Lounge in midtown
Sacramento late on August 17, 2013. Defendant ordered a Long
Island Iced Tea. The bartender, Daniel Petty, made and served
the drink. Without tasting the drink, defendant refused it,
saying he would not enjoy it. He wanted Petty to make him
another drink. His girlfriend said the drink needed more
alcohol. Petty said he could add more alcohol, but it would
cost more. After the two pushed their drinks away, Petty
asked Scott Nguyen, the other bartender on duty, to take
over, and he went outside.
told Nguyen the drink was too sweet. Nguyen offered to make
it sourer or to make a different drink, but defendant did not
like either suggestion. He and his girlfriend soon left the
Joleen Esquivel, the bar's general manager, was seated
with some friends. Petty was informing her of a conflict in
the bar when defendant came out and interrupted them. He said
Petty had a “bootsy” or messed-up attitude. Petty
explained to Esquivel what had happened, and Esquivel offered
to make defendant another drink. Defendant refused the offer.
He said he came to the bar a lot and was not coming back.
on the customer service, defendant said, “This is how
places get burned down.” Shocked, Esquivel asked,
“Are you threatening us?” Defendant replied,
“No, but I'm just saying that's how stuff like
that happens.” He said his girlfriend was a bartender.
Addressing the girlfriend, Esquivel explained that as a
bartender, she would know that someone who wants more alcohol
in a drink must pay for it. Defendant and his girlfriend
1:30 or 2:00 a.m., Petty and Nguyen began closing the bar
along with another bar employee, Angelo Stowers. The
bar's DJ, Aaron Jacobson, began packing up his equipment.
While they were closing, Stowers had about six ounces of
whiskey but did not appear intoxicated. Jacobson had four to
six drinks that evening.
group was leaving, Nguyen and Stowers noticed defendant
around the corner. He was wearing a fisherman's hat
pulled over his face. Defendant was with another man, later
identified as Cornelius Jones. Jones wore glasses. He
appeared disgruntled and had clenched fists. He peered into
the building's windows. Nguyen heard Jones ask,
“Are these the guys?” Petty heard Jones say,
“They both have glasses.” Nguyen said to the two
men, “What's up?” Stowers told the group to
Nguyen was leaving, Jones punched him in the head from
behind. Nguyen went to the ground. Stowers grabbed Jones with
both arms and body-slammed him to the sidewalk. Jacobson
kicked Jones in the back of the head. Defendant lunged at
Jacobson and tried to hit him with his fist, but Jacobson
kept his distance as defendant chased him.
stood up and brandished a knife. Stowers yelled,
“Knife!” and everyone started to disperse.
Stowers jumped backward into the street and ran to the other
side as Jones chased him. He slipped and lost his footing on
the curb. He landed against a wall of a restaurant. He
turned, and Jones was almost on top of him. He grabbed
Jones's wrist, but Jones stabbed him in the stomach.
Stowers pulled out his own knife and slashed Jones across the
face. Jones put his left hand up to his face, and Stowers
yelled “Cops!” Jones immediately bolted off. A
GMC SUV pulled up. Defendant and Jones got in, and the car
was transported to the hospital, where he underwent surgery
to ligate a small artery that had been cut by the stabbing.
During the surgery, Stowers's heart stopped beating.
Various measures were taken, and his heart restarted within
the crime scene, Nguyen discovered that two of his car's
tires had been slashed. He frequently parked in the same spot
when he worked at the bar. Police recovered a pair of glasses
by where Jones stabbed Stowers.
positively identified Jones in a photo lineup. Police found a
GMC Yukon parked outside Jones's residence. When
authorities contacted Jones, he was not wearing glasses,
although some of his Facebook photos depicted him wearing
and Jones were tried jointly before separate juries. Jones
was convicted of premeditated attempted murder and other
serious crimes. (People v. Jones (2019) 32
Cal.App.5th 267, 269.) However, the court declared a mistrial
in defendant's case.
retrial, a jury found defendant guilty of attempted murder,
assault with a deadly weapon, and assault by means of force
likely to produce great bodily injury. (Pen. Code,
§§ 664/187, subd. (a); 245, subds. (a)(1), (4),
unless otherwise stated, statutory section references that
follow are to the Penal Code.) The court found that defendant
committed the assault by means of force likely to cause great
bodily injury while released from custody on a primary
offense, and that he had a prior strike and serious felony
conviction for assault with a firearm. (§§ 12022.1;
245, subd. (a)(2); 667, subd. (a); 667.5, subd. (b)-(i);
court sentenced defendant to a state prison term of 28 years
four months as follows: a doubled upper term of nine years
for a total of 18 years for the attempted murder; a one-third
consecutive doubled term of two years for the assault with
force; five years for the prior serious felony enhancement,
two years for the released from custody enhancement, and, in
a separate case, a one-third consecutive term of one year,
four months for possession of a firearm by ...