Erika Sandoval takes the stand and says that she shot Exeter police officer Daniel Green in February 2015
By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
VISALIA – Erika Sandoval admitted shooting and killing her ex-husband, Exeter police officer Daniel Green when she took the stand in her murder trial.
Sandoval indicated that her actions were impulsive on Feb. 6, 2015, when she admittedly shot and killed Green. A phantom piece of evidence mentioned only by Sandoval and her attorney Dan Chamber, Sandoval says she discovered two photographs of child porn in Green’s open safe when she entered the home while he was not there.
During cross examination where Chambers questioned Sandoval about the open safe in Green’s bedroom, she said the entire room was cluttered. In addition to other times in the room, she also found a stack of papers regarding the house and his truck in the open safe. She said in her experience the safe was customarily open. But among the papers and other items she claims that 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 is 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 her and their son Aiden’s room and hid in the closet. In response to questions from prosecutor David Alavezos with the District Attorney’s office, 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 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.
Sandoval admittedly hit her “boiling point” and “snapped.” She testified that she had stepped out of the closet and into the hallway with the gun that she got from the bag and approached the bathroom where Green was.
“I stepped out of Aiden’s room. I stood right there in front of Daniel when he was on the toilet… As soon as he saw me, he said, ‘I’m going to [expletive] kill you,’ And he started getting up as soon as I started raising my arm, and I shot,” Sandoval said.
After Chambers rested, Alavezos pointed out that no child porn report has been filed into evidence. He went on to say that Sandoval has been telling friends that she is the “boss” of this case and has been working hard on her defense during phone calls made from jail.
“You’ve gone through the reports. You’ve been active, talked about how hard you have been working on your defense, haven’t you?… So you know that no report exists of any such photographs being in that house,” Alavezos said.
Alavezos asked how she was able to overlook that a report of child pornography photos was never entered, and didn’t exist, after she testified that she was waiting for the report to come out.
“I’m just meeting with my attorney and going over stuff, but I don’t look at all the reports. That’s his job,” Sandoval said.
Alavezos noted that Sandoval had not mentioned that she feared Aiden had been abused during a lengthy custody battle between Sandoval and Green’s twin brother Matthew.
“Wouldn’t somebody who is a really concerned mother, who really thinks this is possible, tell somebody so their son could get help?,” Alavezos asked.
Sandoval said that she would check in with her mother from jail when Aiden was given back to family to make sure he was not abused in anyway. But she never specifically asked anyone to check Aiden for any signs of abuse from Green, or asked for Aiden to get any counseling over her concerns.
Alavezos went on to note the interaction Green and Sandoval had shortly before he was murdered in 2015. 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.
Alavezos hearkened back to Sandoval’s confession days after Green’s murder when detectives Rodney Klassen and Mark Zamora questioned her. Zamora asked why she decided to kill Green. She said that it was because he would talk down to her and call her stupid, a slut and a whore in addition to other expletives. Zamora then asked why she would go an wait for him and then leave. She replied, “why not?”
Sandoval said that she was concerned about the welfare of Aiden if Green was seeing another woman.
“I was, like, man, if he’s talking to somebody else, he’s going to definitely not pay attention to Aiden and, like, be less careless with him, and I started worrying a lot,” Sandoval said.
Alavezos ended his questioning when he pointed out that in her confession with Klassen, Sandoval said that she decided to go over to Green’s house while she was still at work.