Ac­cused Stanis­laus sher­iff’s deputy pleads not guilty

The Modesto Bee - - Local - BY ROSALIO AHUMADA rahu­mada@mod­bee.com

STOCK­TON

Stanis­laus County sher­iff’s Deputy Justin Wall on Thurs­day pleaded not guilty to vol­un­tary man­slaugh­ter in the Fe­bru­ary 2017 death of Evin Olsen Yade­gar, a Modesto woman who was shot dur­ing a pur­suit in Ripon.

Wall ap­peared in a Stock­ton court­room for his ar­raign­ment hear­ing, which had been post­poned twice as pros­e­cu­tors handed over dis­cov­ery ev­i­dence to the de­fense. Ju­dith Od­bert, Wall’s Sacra­mento-based at­tor­ney, en­tered the not guilty plea on be­half of her client.

Wall is fac­ing the felony charge in San Joaquin County be­cause he shot the woman af­ter a pur­suit that be­gan in Sal­ida and ended in Ripon.

Au­thor­i­ties ini­tially said Yade­gar did not re­spond to com­mands to get out of her ve­hi­cle and then put the ve­hi­cle in re­verse, driv­ing to­ward two deputies and a Ripon po­lice of­fi­cer.

Video footage from a pa­trol car’s dash­board cam­era shows Yade­gar back­ing up her car a few feet be­fore mov­ing for­ward to go around a Stanis­laus County sher­iff’s ve­hi­cle that had blocked her. She was shot by Wall not as she’s back­ing up, but as she’s mov­ing for­ward again.

Like the two pre­vi­ous hear­ings, Wall en­tered the court­room Thurs­day with a large group of sup­port­ers, many of them wear­ing T-shirts em­bla­zoned with “#Stand­with­Justin.”

Hani­bal Yade­gar, the de­ceased woman’s hus­band, re­turned to the court­room hold­ing a large por­trait of his wife. He has told The Modesto Bee that he wants to en­sure his wife is not for­got­ten as the court case un­folds.

Yade­gar and her hus­band co-owned the pop­u­lar Barkin’ Dog eatery in down­town Modesto. The wid­ower sat qui­etly Thurs­day in the au­di­ence with his at­tor­ney, Stew­art Tabak, who has filed a wrong­ful death law­suit in civil court on be­half of the Yade­gar fam­ily.

In the crim­i­nal case, San Joaquin Su­pe­rior Court Judge Ron­ald Northup sched­uled a Jan. 22 pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing in which the court will de­cide whether there’s enough ev­i­dence for Wall to stand trial.

The pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing is ex­pected to last two days. The pros­e­cu­tion and the de­fense will be al­lowed to present ev­i­dence and ques­tion wit­nesses be­fore the judge makes a rul­ing.

Wall re­mains free on his own re­cog­ni­zance. The deputy has been placed on ad­min­is­tra­tive leave, ac­cord­ing to the Stanis­laus County Sher­iff’s Depart­ment.

The shoot­ing oc­curred in the early hours of Feb. 26, 2017. The in­ci­dent be­gan when Stanis­laus County sher­iff’s deputies re­sponded to a call at 2:56 a.m. at the Hamp­ton Inn & Suites in the 4900 block of Sisk Road in Sal­ida.

Au­thor­i­ties have said a se­cu­rity guard re­ported that Yade­gar had be­gun an ar­gu­ment and a phys­i­cal con­fronta­tion with him. A deputy ar­rived at the ho­tel and saw Yade­gar’s ve­hi­cle leav­ing the area.

The pur­suit be­gan and headed north on High­way 99 into San Joaquin County, be­fore leav­ing the high­way. The chase con­tin­ued into Ripon, head­ing south on South Man­ley Road and stop­ping near Tor­nell Cir­cle.

San Joaquin County pros­e­cu­tors say Yade­gar stopped her Volk­swa­gen sedan for sev­eral mo­ments in the neigh­bor­hood off Main Street, be­fore she drove off again. Then, Wall fired four shots at Yade­gar.

JOAN BAR­NETT LEE jlee@mod­bee.com

Stanis­laus County sher­iff’s deputy Justin Wall, sec­ond from right, is shown Sept. 17 with sup­port­ers at the con­clu­sion of a San Joaquin Su­pe­rior Court hear­ing.

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