Testimony begins in murder trial

Aug. 18—Witness testimony began Tuesday afternoon in the trial of a Yuba City woman charged with the murder of a 13-year-old boy in October 2019.

The Sutter County District Attorney's Office played a recording of a 911 call made shortly after Alec Flores, of Yuba City, was struck by an SUV from behind. The man who called 911, Zachary Gomer, took the stand Tuesday afternoon.

"He's out cold ... bleeding badly out of his head," Gomer was heard telling a dispatcher.

Constance Addison was arrested on Oct. 7, 2019, after allegedly hitting Flores with her car in a drunken driving incident while Flores walked to school on Franklin Road. Flores suffered a broken ankle, broken pelvis girdle, lacerated liver and severe head trauma. Addison's children were in the car with her when she allegedly struck Flores.

Addison is being tried for murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run resulting in death or permanent serious injury, and misdemeanor child endangerment. Jury selection began Monday in Butte County Superior Court and a jury was selected by Tuesday afternoon. The trial is being held in Butte County after Addison's attorney, Roberto Marquez, filed a change of venue motion. Sutter County Superior Court Judge Laura Davis granted the motion on Jan. 12 despite opposition from the district attorney's office.

Family and friends of Flores and Addison's husband filed into the courtroom at around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Addison sat beside Marquez at the attorney table. After Davis provided instructions to the jury, Deputy District Attorney Diego Heimlich made his opening argument.

He started by describing the morning Flores was walking to school around 8 a.m. on Oct. 7, 2019.

"Unfortunately, he didn't make it to school that morning," Heimlich said of Flores.

He described an SUV hitting Flores and only stopping about 100 yards down the road before leaving the scene. Heimlich said a witness of the incident followed the SUV and took a photo of the vehicle's license plate. Law enforcement used that information to locate Addison and take her into custody later that day.

He said Addison's blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit three and a half hours after the incident when a blood sample was taken at the hospital.

"The facts of this case are relatively simple," Heimlich said.

The fact that Addison knew that driving while impaired could cause harm to those around her was the the key to Addison facing a charge of murder, according to Heimlich. He asked the jury to find her guilty as charged.

"She knew she should not have been driving that morning," Heimlich said.

Marquez told the jury that this trial would come down to the question of malice. He said the jury would not be presented with any evidence that Addison acted with "malice aforethought."

"You're not going to find that in this case," Marquez said.

He said the most the jury could find was that Addison committed gross vehicular manslaughter.

Witness testimony began with Gomer — a parent of two children who attend the same school Flores did. Gomer was driving on Franklin Road on Oct. 7 with his wife in the passenger seat and his infant child in the car.

He described seeing a white or silver SUV driving in the bike lane for approximately seven or eight seconds. He saw a minor walking on the side of the road and heard the SUV strike someone who he later found out was Flores.

"It was a loud, deep thud," Gomer said.

Testimony will continue in Butte County Superior Court today starting around 9 a.m.