Jury hardship hearing expected for next spring in Erika Sandoval retrial

Tulare County DA’s office announces they’ll begin jury hard-shipping next March in preparation of retrying Erika Sandoval for the murder of late ex-husband Daniel Green

VISALIA – One of Tulare County’s most surprising retrials will have to wait until next spring to get started.

Erika Sandoval
34 years old

According to the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office, the “jury hard-shipping” date for Erika Sandoval’s murder retrial is set for March 7, 2022.

This is the latest development in Sandoval’s case after her first murder trial in December 2019 was dismissed when a member of the jury refused to vote guilty during deliberations. District attorney Tim Ward said that he was disappointed in the outcome but respected judge Joseph Kalashian’s decision to declare a mistrial.

According to Ward and a profile on 48 Hours that premiered Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 jurors got into a heated confrontation during deliberations. At one point the foreperson of the jury relayed a note to Kalashian about a verbal altercation between jurors. Prosecutor David Alavezos requested to poll the jurors to make sure everyone was cooperating and, not holding up deliberations through intransigence.

Ward said that it is a very rare process to go through, and that he respects Kalashian’s decision denying the request.

The trial in the fall of 2019 centered around Sandoval’s motivation to shoot and kill her ex-husband, Exeter police officer, Daniel Green on Feb. 6, 2015. Sandoval’s defense attorney Daniel Chambers—who is not representing Sandoval for her retrial—said she snapped after discovering pornographic images of “young look” girls while she was in his home when he was not there.

Sandoval said she found them in an open safe when she while searching for medication she suspected Green was giving their son, Aiden.

During cross examination where Chambers questioned Sandoval about the open safe in Green’s bedroom. In addition to other items in the room, she also found a stack of papers regarding the house and his truck in the safe. She said in her experience the safe was customarily open. But among the papers and other items she claims she found two pictures printed on computer paper of young girls in pornographic positions who were 12 to 15 years old.

“I thought, you know, I mean, like, is he watching this kind of stuff around my son? Is he doing anything to my son? I did think about my son,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval claims that was when Green arrived back to the house in his truck. At that point she said that she was in shock and unsure what to do. She went into Aiden’s room and hid in the closet. In response to questions from Alavezos, Sandoval said she sat with the duffel bag she brought with her to the home that had two guns from the house inside of it. Sandoval said that she was scared Green might find her in there but that she was also angry.

“I was just, my mind was really angry. I was just, like, impulsive, I guess, in thinking about everything, just, I was scared, you know what I mean? A lot of stuff was going through my mind,” Sandoval said.

She went on to say that she heard the blender as Green went on to make a drink. Sandoval said she heard Green walk down the hall and was scared that she could have been seen in the closet and noted that she was thinking about the safety of Aiden and how he was being treated when he was with Green.

“I knew he’d take showers with Aiden. I didn’t know if he was doing stuff to Aiden, maybe, or just thinking about, like, the stuff that he had done with me, and what he was thinking when he was doing that stuff with me, what his mind thought,” Sandoval said.

The photos Sandoval claims were the impetus for “snapping” were never entered into evidence. Chambers said he doesn’t know why.

Deputy District Attorney David Alavezos was the lead prosecutor on the case and outlined Sandoval’s suspicious behavior from that day. He pointed out that Sandoval entered Green’s home through a kitchen window, and then left shortly after with a bag full of stolen items. They were later discovered in suspicious roadways near Goshen where Green lived. Alavezos indicated that Sandoval intended to make the shooting look like a robbery.

Alavezos also pointed out that between Feb. 3 and Feb. 6 Sandoval called Green 129 times, coincidentally seven days after Green posted his first picture of a woman he began dating. In the four months prior to her three day calling onslaught, she made just 60 calls to Green.

“So in four months you called maybe around 60 times, and in three days, after seeing a picture, you call 120-some times?… It wasn’t because of the picture,” Alavezos asked.

Sandoval contended that it was not because of the picture.

He noted as well that Sandoval erased several text messages off Green’s phone shortly after the murder. Alavezos charged that they were about how she was promising to treat him better, but that Green rebuffed her and said that he had heard enough, and done with the relationship.

In the week leading up to Green’s death Sandoval had driven by Green’s house at morning and night in addition to the 129 phone calls. Then on Feb. 6 she had broken into Green’s house through the kitchen window while he was at the gym.

The 11-1 hung jury perhaps hit Green’s family the hardest. At the Exeter Police Department, officers were deeply disappointed that the case was not concluded with a guilty verdict. Many of which had even testified through various portions of the trial.

“It is fair to say that there was a mixture of shock and disappointment that that was the end result. We followed the trial closely and are obviously aware of the circumstances in the case. We felt that the DA’s office did a great job of stating the facts of the case,” Exeter chief of police John Hall said.

Hall has a special memory of Green and his identical twin brother Matt from when he was with the Porterville Police Department. Green and his brother were explorers in Porterville with dreams of becoming police officers. While he never worked with Green as a full-fledged officer, his death was still felt writ large.

“When that happened the repercussions of it was felt at law enforcement community throughout the county,” Hall said.

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