Questions about alcohol consumption — how much and what? — and the ability to remember details — what happened when and where? — were the common thread running through extensive testimony Thursday during the fifth day of the Solano County Superior Court murder trial of a 35-year-old Vacaville man accused of fatally stabbing another man in October 2018 before a rural house in Vacaville.
Late morning at Fairfield Department 11, Gary Nofuentes, the father of a young girl and her disputed custody status who goes to the heart of the case against Kristofer Michael Wiliams, testified that he drank “three or four beers and a couple of whiskeys” at a reception after the funeral of a friend who died on October 23 in Vacaville.
Nofuentes, 34, told Assistant District Attorney Ilana Shapiro that he then returned to his home in the 5800 block of Fry Road, where Williams confronted Nofuentes’ roommate and longtime friend Jonathan “Jonny.” Russell, 30, and, in an attempt to rip the girl out of her arms, allegedly stabbed Russell in the neck.
But before Russell suffered an injury that would later prove fatal, Williams allegedly confronted Nofuentes inside the house by “punching” him in the stomach, but Nofuentes, who was drunk according to previous accounts, could not remember from being hit or Williams even being inside the house.
He told Shapiro he remembered “a big figure” in the house but did not identify that person as Williams. Nofuentes told Shapiro he was feeling “sharp pain” in his stomach and was then taken to Kaiser Permanente Vacaville Medical Center later that evening, where he underwent surgery for a stab wound and spent 10 days in recovery.
Still on the witness stand at the start of the afternoon session, Nofuentes called Williams “angry” in the house and that’s when “I felt a sharp pain in my side “.
“Did you see Mr. Williams with a knife?” Shapiro asked.
“No, I didn’t,” replied Nofuentes.
But Shapiro reminded him that he told a social worker he told Williams to ‘calm down’ before he was ‘kicked’, with Nofuentes telling the prosecutor he ‘couldn’t breathe’, was in a lot of pain , “then I passed out.”
The next thing he remembered was “running into a police car” and “waking up in the back of a police car”.
“I woke up feeling like I was in an oven,” Nofuentes told Shapiro, adding that the pain “was ‘the most severe’ he had ever felt in his life.” “I saw everything coming out of my stomach,” then he shouted, with a sheriff’s deputy standing nearby wondering what was going on.
Nofuentes suspected he had been stabbed and testified that he woke up in the hospital but did not know, he told Shapiro, that Russell had been stabbed or where his then-elderly daughter was. 9 years old.
Nofuentes recounted some of his physical rehabilitation during his 10-day hospital stay, including remembering a nurse asking him if he ‘wanted to say goodbye’ to Russell, an allusion to Russell being retired. life support and succumbing to his neck injury. Nofuentes also recalled his surgery last May to remove scar tissue wrapped around his small intestine, requiring a seven-day hospitalization.
His testimony was cut short for about 20 minutes while Dr Arnold Josselson, a medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Russell, testified that Russell died of a “stab wound to the right side of the neck”.
Shapiro showed graphic autopsy photos of Russell’s upper torso, neck and head, then asked Josselson if he was able to determine the depth of the stab wound, and the doctor said that ‘he could not.
When Nofuentes returned to the witness box, Williams’ attorney Daniel Russo de Vallejo conceded during cross-examination that October 23, 2018 was “the worst day” of Nofuentes’ life, which he had lost his best friend and his daughter was traumatized by what happened.
Alluding to a question from Shapiro that, on a scale of 1 to 10, his level of intoxication was “a 6”, Russo asked Nofuentes, “Is it possible that you are more intoxicated than you are? did you think?”
“No,” replied Nofuentes.
At that point, Russo looked into his Nofuentes’ actions and questioned his level of intoxication, asking if he was capable of taking care of his daughter, showed photos of bottles of liquor on top of a home fridge and a carton of beer or beer containers in another location in the same photo.
Russo also suggested that Nofuentes went drinking at Williams’ home to drink some more, which drew a strong objection from Shapiro, who called it “speculation”.
The defense attorney further asked Nofuentes about his food purchases that day (none), when he last bought food (no memory), and if he had “any concern” that his daughter sees him “at level 6” of intoxication (no).
Nofuentes admitted to not remembering being stabbed “until I woke up in the back of a police car,” which happened around 10 p.m., according to Wednesday testimony.
“Did you tell your daughter about what happened that night?” asked Russo.
“No, I didn’t,” Nofuentes said.
Court records show Solano County Sheriff’s investigators said Williams was disturbed by an ongoing custody battle and believed Nofuentes’ daughter belonged to her mother, Kailyn Scarlett Gibson, who at the time was a friend of Williams and was seeking custody rights in Solano County. Family Court. Williams drove to the house to try to catch the girl.
Thursday’s proceedings followed equally dramatic testimony on Wednesday, when a witness told Shapiro he heard Williams, who was 32 at the time, say to Russell, “Do you want to be shot or stabbed? “
And on Sept. 30, Solano County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Demarest, the trial’s first witness, testified during cross-examination by Russo that a frightened young girl inside the house told him that the men were “drunk and mad”.
Judge William J. Pendergast previously halted trials of people connected to the crime.
Gibson, 31, was initially charged with dissuading a witness; cruelty to a child by inflicting injury; and eavesdropping by recording confidential information. After her arrest on November 16, 2018, she posted $75,000 bond and was released. She is represented by Fairfield criminal defense attorney Denis Honeychurch. If found guilty at trial, Gibson, who returns to court at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 8 to set up a preliminary hearing, faces up to three years in prison.
Jessica Anne Weirich, 30, is also accused of driving Williams to the home in Fry Road, just south of Elmira. She was first accused of being an accomplice after the fact. After her arrest, also on November 16, she posted $25,000 bond and was released. She is represented by defense attorney Barry K. Newman. If found guilty at trial, Weirich, who also returns to court on December 8 for the same proceedings, also faces up to three years in prison.
In addition to the murder charge, Williams faces four related felony charges. They include the abduction of a minor under the age of 14; assault with a deadly weapon; endangerment of children; and burglary of an inhabited dwelling. He remains without bond in Stanton Correctional Center in Fairfield.
At an arraignment held to answer in late October 2019, Williams pleaded not guilty to all charges. If found guilty of all at trial, however, he faces more than 50 years in state prison.
The trial resumes at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Department 11 of the Fairfield Justice Center.