Trial: Day 6 – Addison Testified & Closing Arguments
Constance Addison took the stand first thing this morning, providing her personal account of the accident on October 7, 2021. This was followed by rebuttal testimony from Officer Krause regarding the collision scene and evidence following the traffic accident reconstruction expert testimony presented yesterday. This concluded the presentation of evidence.
Following the lunch break closing arguments were presented by the Prosecution and Defense and the jurors were excused to deliberate around 3:45 p.m. Deliberations will continue tomorrow, beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Pictured above are family and friends waiting to hear updates on jury deliberations.
From the Appeal Democrat website tonight:
Defendant recounts striking 13-year-old with her car
By David Wilson / email@example.com
The Yuba City woman charged with the murder of a 13-year-old boy in October 2019 took the stand Wednesday and described the morning she struck the boy with her SUV in an alleged drunken driving incident.
Constance Addison, 38, took the stand on the final day of testimony in a jury trial where she faces charges of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run resulting in death or permanent serious injury, and misdemeanor child endangerment. Her 2013 Ford Explorer struck Alec Flores as Flores walked to school along Franklin Road on Oct. 7, 2019. Addison’s three children were in the car with her when she struck Flores. She was arrested near her home after leaving the scene and posted bail the next day.
Addison described drinking throughout the day on Oct. 6, which included drinks at a family outing, at dinner and once she returned home. She said her husband drove that night and her last drink was approximately one hour before she went to sleep -- around 11 p.m. She estimated that she had approximately 10 drinks in total on Oct. 6. The next day, Addison said her husband went to work in Sacramento and she drove her children, aged 10, 6 and 5 at the time, to school.
She testified that she didn’t feel impaired and did not feel like she was putting her children in danger.
“They’re my life,” Addison said of her children.
While driving on Franklin Road and talking with her children in the car, Addison said that in a “split second” someone jumped into her lane and she collided with that individual. While describing the collision, Addison became emotional and started to cry. She said she pulled over down the road to check on the well-being of her children and to collect herself. She then continued driving and headed for home on Gurdas Court.
“I decided to take my children to safety,” Addison said.
During cross-examination, Sutter County Deputy District Attorney Diego Heimlich asked Addison about her previous training as an emergency medical technician. Addison said she was an EMT for less than a year when she was 18 years old. When asked by Heimlich why she did not stop, assist or check on Flores, Addison said her children’s safety was her priority. She said that if she had felt any impairment she would have had someone else take her children to school.
After the defense rested, Heimlich recalled Yuba City Police Department Officer David Krause to the stand as a rebuttal witness. Krause had listened to the testimony of defense expert accident reconstructionist Chris Kauderer and disagreed with his opinion that the evidence pointed to Flores being struck while he walked in the roadway.
Krause said that there was no evidence that supported that Flores was walking on the roadway when he was struck. Krause pointed to the debris field from the accident being consistent with Flores being struck where one of his shoes was found and not further back as Kauderer had said on Tuesday.
Heimlich asked Krause if he took into account eyewitness statements when investigating a collision. Kauderer testified on Tuesday that he focuses almost exclusively on the physical evidence.
“You can’t discount that evidence,” Krause said. “... I do not disregard witness statements.”
On cross-examination, defense attorney Roberto Marquez pressed Krause about witness statements that went against Krause’s opinion that Flores was not projected into the air. Krause said the witness in question could have believed to have seen Flores in the air based on seeing Flores’ hands being raised and debris from the SUV flying in the air.
After lunch, both attorneys provided closing arguments. Heimlich began by recapping what took place the morning of Oct. 7. He said Flores’ death could have and should have been avoided.
“There’s no question that Alec was hit from behind,” Heimlich said. “... She left a 13-year-old boy to die on the pavement.”
During his argument, Heimlich projected videos and pictures previously admitted into evidence. He also replayed body camera footage of Addison being questioned by police as well as a recording of a 911 call from a witness on the scene.
Heimlich held up Flores’ red backpack and asked how someone who was not impaired could have not seen someone walking in front of them wearing the bag on their back. He said that Addison had to have known she was impaired based on the fact that a blood sample taken from her more than three hours after the collision came back with a .24 blood alcohol level (the legal limit in California is .08 BAC).
“A reasonable person would know better,” Heimlich said.
He explained how the jury could find Addison guilty of second-degree murder. To convict, the jury must find that Addison committed an act that resulted in the death of Flores and that she acted with malice aforethought. Heimlich conceded that Addison did not intend to kill Flores but based on the second way to prove malice, implied malice, Addison’s actions met that burden. He said Addison acted with disregard for human life and knew her actions were dangerous to human life.
“Anyone who values human life would have stayed and helped,” Heimlich said.
Marquez started his closing argument by reminding the jury that they must follow the law and not reach a verdict based on emotion. He said the prosecution had not provided enough evidence to prove any of the charges except the charge of hit-and-run.
Marquez defended his expert witness by saying that Kauderer relied on the physical evidence that has no motive or bias. He questioned the credibility of Krause as an expert in accident reconstruction pointing to Krause saying Flores was not projected into the air when he was struck.
“His interpretations are nonsensical,” Marquez said.
He said Addison did not believe she was impaired and did not intend to put her children or others in danger.
“She didn’t look impaired,” Marquez said of Addison in the body cam footage.
Marquez reminded the jury of the testimony of Brian Hopper who said he saw an individual walking on Franklin Road straddling the bike lane and the roadway on Oct. 7. After Hopper heard someone had been struck he believed it to be the person he saw on Franklin Road.
The jury began deliberating around 3:45 p.m., and as of late Wednesday had not returned with a verdict.
“We are here because we love and miss Alec,” Megan Repka, Flores’ aunt, said. “He was amazing, passionate, so full of life, and taken from us too soon. I hope that the jury considers all the evidence they were provided and delivers a just verdict.”
The jury will continue deliberating today in Butte County Superior Court. Since Tuesday, family and friends of both sides had been viewing a livestream of the trial from another courtroom due to the jury being socially distanced in the courtroom where the trial was taking place.
“Being here to remember Alec and support his family is important,” Xavier Butler, Flores’ friend and youth football teammate, said. “I hope the jury uses common sense when reviewing the evidence. We want justice for Alec.”
The trial is being held in Butte County after Sutter County Superior Court Judge Laura Davis granted a defense motion to change the venue of the trial.
“To get to trial has been a painful two-year wait, but I’m glad we’re finally here,” Roman Jimenez, Flores’ former football coach, said. “The DA said it best, ‘it’s a simple case.’ I pray the jury sees it the same way.”
Marquez declined to comment after the proceedings on Wednesday.
And, in case you missed this yesterday in the the Appeal Democrat: Defense expert testifies in murder trial