Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo told Santa Rosa police he knocked on a female neighbor’s door around 3 a.m. on July 13 to see if she wanted to have a beer, but doesn’t recall knocking on her bedroom window. When he heard a man’s voice inside the woman’s Brockhurst Drive apartment in west Santa Rosa say, ‘What the hell?’, he left immediately, Carrillo told police. The 5th District Supervisor’s account of the events that led to his arrest, wearing only socks and underwear, for prowling and burglary were revealed on three recorded interviews that morning with police.
The recordings were played in Sonoma County Superior Court today at a pre-trial hearing on motions regarding the admissibility of evidence. Carrillo, 33, was eventually charged with misdemeanor peeking. After his arrest in July he admitted having a drinking problem and entered a rehab facility. He returned to his duties as supervisor in August. On the recorded interviews, Carrillo told police his girlfriend gave him a ride home from the Space 25 nightclub in downtown Santa Rosa around 2:30 a.m. on July 13. He said he had two beers and two strong mixed drinks at the nightspot. In the most detailed of the three interviews that was recorded about four hours later, Carrillo said he noticed his neighbor’s living room light was on after he went inside his apartment.
He said he got two bottles of Pliny beers from his fridge and went to his neighbor’s apartment. He said he went to the back of his neighbor’s apartment, then quietly knocked on her front door. His neighbor said, ‘Who is it?’ and Carrillo said he replied, ‘It’s Efren, your neighbor,'” Carrillo told police. When he heard a man say, “What the hell?” he left and dropped the two beers near the front lawn. “When I heard the voice, I bailed,” he told police. The woman, who is being identified as Jane Doe, called police and requested a citizen’s arrest, and Carrillo was handcuffed and questioned in a patrol car, according to the testimony this afternoon of Santa Rosa Officer Timothy Doherty. Santa Rosa police said a screen on the woman’s bedroom window was bent, and the woman said she woke up when she heard the blinds moving.
Pressed during the third interview recorded at police headquarters about whether he knocked on the bedroom window, Carrillo said he didn’t recall, “It would be possible,” and “If she said she heard a knock, I must have.” “I’m being honest with you in everything I’ve said. I don’t recall,” Carrillo told police. Carrillo at one point calls the incident “bad judgment” and tells police he wanted to apologize to his neighbor. “I wish I could say, ‘Hey, my bad judgment,'” he says. Carrillo told police he had no malicious intent, and in retrospect he admits he should have had more clothing on. “I will offer to apologize if I scared her or if she felt threatened,” he said. Carrillo said he encountered his neighbor three or four months earlier in the Space 25 nightclub.
He said she approached him and said she recognized he was her neighbor, and they had a two-minute conversation. He also said he brought the woman a bottle of wine to welcome her to the neighborhood and saw her from time to time as they parked their cars. Carrillo was not read his Miranda rights to remain silent and have an attorney present when he was interviewed in the patrol car, but he was read his rights before the interview at the police station. Judge Gary Medvigy will rule Monday on the Miranda rights issue and whether any or all of the recorded interviews with police can be included as trial evidence.
Jury selection will begin Monday and the trial is expected to last two days. Carrillo faces six months in jail if convicted. The Napa County District Attorney’s Office and the state Attorney General’s Office are prosecution the case to avoid a conflict of interest with the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office. Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch and Carrillo are political allies. The trial is expected to start Wednesday and last two days.
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