Kenneth Baldwin, 35, Gracie Baldwin, 36, and Luther Brewer, 49, faced a preliminary hearing in the Manteca branch of San Joaquin County Superior Court, Friday, Nov. 8, on charges of aiding, permitting and training a fighting dog.
Both Baldwins, husband and wife, face additional charges of being present at dogfights, cultivating marijuana and possession of hash oil.
Gracie Baldwin is also charged with being a felon in possession of ammunition, and Brewer is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Detective Brandon Gomez of the Sacramento County Gang Task Force testified officers found equipment related to dog fighting in Brewer’s home at 2105 Elsie Way during a search warrant on April 3.
Deputy District Attorney Ron Indran asked Gomez to identify a few of the items seized from the house. He said they found an alleged dog fighting notebook, dog breaking sticks used to breakup dog fights, bite rope, a dog medical kit, a plaque related to a dog award for “Best of the Best,” and pictures of injured dogs.
Gomez said they also seized two dogs from outdoor kennels and a rolled up green carpet with what appeared to be blood stains found outside the house.
Brewer’s attorney, Jessie Garcia, asked Gomez if the seized dogs appeared malnourished and the detective said one appeared to have just had puppies. He said he couldn’t recall if they were malnourished or dehydrated.
He said they also recovered 8-ounces of what appeared to be marijuana and a .22-caliber long rifle and ammunition at the house on Elsie Way.
Detective Brian Welshons of the Sacramento County Gang Task Force testified about another search warrant performed April 3 at the Baldwin’s residence at 2386 Lighthouse Circle.
Welshons said officers found six puppies in crates in the garage, a dog in a utility room, and in the backyard four more dogs in kennels and a dog chain tied to a pole.
Welshons said none of the dogs had food or water.
Gracie Baldwin’s attorney, Gus Barrera, asked the Welshons about the dogs’ demeanor.
Welshons said the adult dogs appeared aggressive towards the puppies when Tracy animal control officers removed them from the residence.
Indran asked if they found any items used in the treatment of injured dogs, and Welshons said they found a surgical stapler inside the house.
He said they also found 26 – one pound bags of what appeared to be marijuana inside the attic.
During cross examination, attorneys for the three defendants questioned Welshons’ expertise to testify about the recovered drugs.
Welshons said he wasn’t supposed to be the expert witness regarding the drugs, but he was asked by Indran to testify in that capacity.
Kenneth Baldwin’s attorney, Armando Villapudua, asked numerous questions regarding Welshons’ investigative history on marijuana cases and his certifications to do such investigations.
Welshons said he had attended classes in April, May and October on marijuana cultivation and investigated approximately 50 marijuana cases over the course of his career.
Villapudua asked if he ever questioned Kenneth Baldwin on his daily use of the drug, and the detective said no. He said someone using marijuana would consume an average of one and a half grams per day.
When Villapudua asked if they found any evidence the couple was selling the marijuana to a dispensary, Welshons said no.
At the conclusion of the first day of the preliminary hearing, Judge Ron Northup asked the defendants to waive a consecutive preliminary, which would have required the hearing to keep going every business day until it was finished. All three agreed to the request.
Northup scheduled the next court date for 8:30 a.m. on January 8, 2014 in Manteca.
After the hearing, Garcia said outside the court room that the delay was due to the court not being available and that he was scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery.
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.