Solano County courtrooms were busy this year with no shortage of criminal cases.
As 2016 comes to an end, there are some more memorable case that took place in Solano County Superior Court.
Just three days before Christmas last year, a young woman was arrested on Travis Air Force Base after an 18-month-old toddler died while under her care. Since her arrest, 25-year-old Gina Nicole Bailey, has appeared in Judge Peter B. Foor’s courtroom numerous times. After lengthy courtroom discussions, multiple hearings and a year spent in jail, the woman’s fate will lie in the hands of a jury in February when the trial begins. Bailey is suspected of shaking the young child and dropping him, ultimately causing his death.
For the City of Fairfield, a popular department store turned into a crime scene in February when a woman was beaten in the parking lot of Macy’s at the Solano Town Center. The suspect in the brutal attack, William D. King, 20, with his attorney by his side, has shuffled in and out of courtrooms and the county jail in the months leading up to next year’s probable cause hearing.
In dispute of the judge’s rulings and at the defense attorney’s request, the case reached the desks of California Court of Appeals officials, in hopes of delaying court proceedings. In November, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of King’s defense team and the man’s probable cause hearing was postponed until the end of January — three months after the original October date.
THEATRE EMPLOYEES FIRED
As the summer season neared its end, disturbing allegations surfaced in July against two former Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre employees, leading to criminal charges that have yet to be detailed in a formal probable cause hearing.
The new year may bring a plea deal for one of the two men, Thomas McPike, 35, who’s facing child pornography and invasion of privacy charges. The other suspect, Donald Wade Jr., 36, has a hearing set for March, where court officials and observers may learn more details on the case that caused concern for community members and city officials alike. Both men have court dates set in February and March.
REAL ESTATE FRAUD
A case that almost concluded in September with a Vacaville man being placed in handcuffs and taken into custody after a guilty verdict by a jury is set to continue in March with a potential new trial.
Richard D. Lamphere, 53, was found guilty by a group of Solano County jurors on multiple real estate fraud and embezzlement-related charges after he swindled two men out of a large sum of money during the course of a decade.
With the impending guilty verdict, the man’s sentencing has since been pushed out until March, when Lamphere may seek an appeal that could lead to a new trial. Equipped with new attorneys, the new year may hold a new fate for the Vacaville man.
A case that captivated national and international audiences alike came to a close in October, when dog-tosser Brandi Chin, of Fairfield, was sentenced to jail time after accepting a plea deal on a felony animal abuse charge. Chin, 31, pleaded no contest to the abuse charge in September, avoiding a trial. The ordeal began in December 2015 when a video surfaced showing a woman, identified as Chin, throwing a dog by the collar toward her boyfriend during an argument. The dog, Benny, then rolled multiple times on the pavement, the video showed. Because of previous time served, the woman remains out of police custody.
SEXUAL PREDATOR RELEASED
The past year brought uncertainty for Solano County residents and former state hospital inmate and convicted sex offender, Fraisure Earl Smith, 52. With an appeal that led to the man’s release in Nov. 2015 from the Coalinga State Hospital and a future filled with instability, communities across the state expressed concern this year regarding the man’s placement in state-provided housing despite his convictions and label as a violent predator. More than one year has gone by since his release from custody and the man still lacks permanent housing and is taking up residency at motels in the local area. Smith will appear next in court in January for a hearing, where the court, the community and Smith may get resolution.
WIFE HELD TO ANSWER
Another twisted case concerning alleged domestic violence and the stabbing death of a woman’s husband at the hand’s of her son is expected to continue in the coming months with a trial. Carissa Aldrich, 39, is facing an involuntary manslaughter charge in connection to her husband’s death, where the woman’s son is alleged to have stabbed the man with a knife during a physical altercation between the man and woman. The trial, originally slated to begin in November, was postponed until the end of January.
A trial filled with emotional testimony from witnesses, including the defendant, ended in November with an acquittal for Vallejo resident Michael David Wilson, who was facing a murder charge in the death of 57-year-old Lillie Mae Christiansen. The prosecution’s argument and witness testimony during the two-week long trial was not enough to convince a Solano County jury of Wilson’s guilt in the woman’s death. The past year brought an end to the case that spanned two years and because of the acquittal, Wilson is now a free man.