Siegfried allegedly threatened ex-girlfriend while verdict read
A judge found enough evidence to hold Jacob Siegfried to answer on charges of making criminal threats and dissuading a witness after he allegedly threatened his ex-girlfriend as the verdict was being read in his domestic violence trial.
Siegfried was found guilty July 2 of depriving a custodial parent of a child, stalking, spousal abuse, one count of making criminal threats, disobeying a court order and disobeying a domestic restraining order, as well as resisting arrest in two separate incidents involving the mother of his child.
Sentencing in that verdict was set for Aug. 26.
But Siegfried reportedly threatened the victim as the verdict was being read, leading Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Ow to file a new complaint on July 5.
During a preliminary hearing into the evidence in Nevada County Superior Court Thursday, conflicting testimony was presented as to what was said in the courtroom.
Nevada County Sheriff’s Det. Dominic LaFountain, the lead investigator during the trial, testified he saw Siegfried turn around to face the victim as the verdicts were being read but didn’t hear what he said.
According to LaFountain, District Attorney Investigator Jeff Burget — who was in court that day to protect Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Ow and Judge Tom Anderson — heard Siegfried say, “I’m gonna get you.” Burget was not able to attend the preliminary hearing.
The victim told LaFountain she saw Siegfried turn around and mouth an obscenity, then say, “I’m going to get you” or “I’m going to cut you.”
Two of her friends who were sitting next to her offered similar accounts, although one said she did not clearly hear what Siegfried said.
Bailiff Tim Highsmith, who was present but not assigned to that courtroom, testified he was sitting two rows behind the victim and heard Siegfried say, “I hate you.”
He stopped short of agreeing with Deputy Public Defender Tamara Zuromskis’ characterization of the complaint as “frivolous,” simply saying he did not hear any specific threat.
Stephen Munkelt, who served as Siegfried’s court-appointed attorney during the trial, also testified after his client waived any attorney-client privilege.
Munkelt said that toward the end of the verdicts relating to the spousal abuse charge, he heard Siegfried say, “I never touched her,” and “Can you show me the reports on that?”
Munkelt added that his primary concentration was on the clerk who was reading the verdicts, but that he did not hear Siegfried make any other statements.
He acknowledged that he uses hearing aids, but said he generally could hear his client when he spoke.
Judge R.M. Smith noted the unique dynamic of a courtroom while a verdict is being read, adding that while most in the room tend to be focused on the person reading the verdict, court security will be more focused on potential threats.
“In evaluating the testimony, I have to look at the (different) roles,” he said, pointing to the fact that Burget was specifically assigned to a protection detail and was focused on Siegfried.
He found sufficient evidence to hold Siegfried over for formal arraignment on both charges, noting that an attempt to dissuade the witness could still be made because Siegfried has yet to be sentenced.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.
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