35-year-old Raul Aldrete of Barstow was sentenced to 37 years-to-life for shooting his girlfriend in the left shoulder. Aldrete was convicted of Assault with a Firearm on a Person, Inflicting Corporal Injury on a Spouse or Cohabitant and Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. “It’s tragic all around,” said Deputy District Attorney Joel Buckingham, who prosecuted the case. “It’s a long sentence. We would have preferred it not to happen at all. Mr. Aldrete had gotten a number of chances from the system, which included the opportunity to reform, and the sad thing is, it didn’t take.”
45-year-old Carlene Mesidor was sentenced to 4 years in state prison for Corporal Injury to Spouse.
24-year-old Guadalupe Ramirez was sentenced to 15 years and 8 months in state prison for Kidnapping, Corporal Injury to Spouse/Cohabitant and Criminal Threats.
Ryan Barton, 31, of Rancho Cucamonga, was sentenced to 6 years in state prison for Corporal Injury to Spouse/Cohabitant.
Deputy District Attorney
"No person should ever have to live in fear and I believe justice has been served when a victim is empowered to take control of their own life and finally find a peace."
What inspired you to go into this field?
Domestic violence is a serious problem throughout the country and is largely unreported for fear of retaliation. Victims who suffer from domestic violence often feel ashamed by how they have been treated and will minimize the defendant’s conduct. As a prosecutor in the Domestic Violence Unit, I am able to be the voice for victims who may not be able to speak for themselves for fear of retaliation. It allows me to ensure that a victim is safe from harm within their own home. It allows me to potentially bring them peace after suffering from a violent act inflicted on them by a person they love.
For those who may not know, what are some of the types of crimes that you see in the Family Violence Unit?
The Family Violence Unit is comprised of multiple prosecutors who handle different assignments within the unit. Our unit handles Domestic Violence cases, Elder and Dependent Abuse cases, and Crimes Against Children. Domestic violence cases involve violence against a person’s spouse, significant other, or child’s parent. These cases include but are not limited to the following crimes: Corporal Injury to a Spouse, Criminal Threats, Assault with Means likely to Cause Great Bodily Injury, Stalking, False Imprisonment, Kidnapping, and Murder.
What are some of the challenges you face when dealing with the types of crimes you see in the Family Violence Unit?
There are many challenges we face when dealing with crimes involving domestic violence but the most significant challenge is getting a victim to understand the gravity of the offense. Domestic violence is a serious crime that typically occurs in the home resulting in serious injuries to the victims. It is a crime of control. Victims of domestic violence often try to minimize the incident to protect the defendants and ask that the charges be dropped. Victims often shift blame to themselves to justify the defendant’s actions. These crimes are not only violent but can often result in death. I currently have six murders on my case load that arose out of incidents involving domestic violence.
Is there a particular case you tried that stands out? Stays with you? One you’ll never forget? One you would like to forget?
Prior to coming to the Family Violence Unit, I tried the case of People v. Shariff Taylor FSB1205378. Defendant was charged with First Degree Murder and Forcible Rape of the victim, Tamra Tingle. In June of 2012, the victim in this case rented a bedroom at a residence located at 2338 N. Alameda Avenue in the City of San Bernardino.
On October 26, 2012, the defendant and his girlfriend, Stacy Bruemmer, rented a bedroom at the same residence. Shortly after moving into the residence, problems began to occur and the victim feared for her safety. She spoke to the homeowner who ultimately decided to evict the defendant and his girlfriend.
On November 12, 2012, the homeowner served the defendant with eviction paperwork. Later that evening, the defendant brutally raped the victim in the hallway of the residence while his girlfriend watched. He then strangled the victim to death on her bed. The defendant placed the victim’s body in a large green waste trashcan which he used to transport her to a dumpster located at the corner of Newport and Highland Avenue. On November 13, 2012, Tamra Tingle’s body was discovered however there were no leads on potential suspects. On December 4, 2012, Stacy Bruemmer told officers that she witnessed the defendant, Shariff Taylor, rape and murder the victim. The defendant was then arrested and charged with the rape and murder of Tamra Tingle.
The sole witness, Stacy Bruemmer reluctantly testified against the defendant at trial. She took the stand and claimed that she did not witness any of the murder. She feigned having a head injury, claiming that she could not even remember her name. During most of her testimony, she stared at the defendant seated at counsel table in hopes of gaining some sort of approval for lying on the stand to protect him.
During the trial, Stacy Bruemmer’s initial interview at the police station was presented to the jury. In that interview, Stacy Bruemmer provided specific details of the rape and murder of the victim. These details were corroborated by the Forensic Pathologist who also testified at trial. DNA evidence was also presented, identifying the victim’s blood on blades of grass located in the large green waste trashcan at the residence. The same trashcan that was previously identified by Stacy Bruemmer as the trashcan used to transport the victim’s body. In addition, evidence of prior domestic violence between the defendant and Stacy Bruemmer was presented to explain why she was recanting. The jury returned a verdict of guilty on both counts and the defendant was sentenced to 68 years to life.
This case was significant for so many reasons. The victim suffered a horrible death at the hands of cold, calculated killer and it was all witnessed by the defendant’s girlfriend who had been a victim of domestic violence. She was so afraid of the defendant that she failed to report the incident to police. She was so afraid of the defendant that she watched him rape and murder an innocent woman, yet did nothing to stop it. She loved him so much and also feared him so much that she was willing to lie about the brutality of his actions to protect him.
This case opened my eyes to the severity of domestic violence and the lengths some victims will go to protect the person they love.
The Family Violence Unit was initially created to maximize all available resources through a team-centered approach. How does collaboration factor into ensuring that you are successful in the courtroom and that ultimately justice is served?
The Family Violence unit relies heavily on assistance from everyone in the office to ensure successful prosecution. The support staff within the unit, the attorneys within the unit, and our Bureau of Investigation unit are vital in guaranteeing that these cases are prepared, witnesses have been subpoenaed, and discovery has been provided. In addition, the victim advocates assist in maintaining continuous contact with the victims and keeping them updated as to the case proceedings. It is a collaborative effort of many to ensure that justice is served on each case.
As a Deputy DA in the FVU, what has been your biggest success so far?
As the newest member to the Family Violence Unit, my experience here is limited. However, the greatest success I have had is seeing many of the victims in my cases make the difficult decision to leave the violent relationship and start a new life, despite how much they love the defendant. No person should ever have to live in fear and I believe justice has been served when a victim is empowered to take control of their own life and finally find a peace.