New evidence has risen in the case of Mohamed Mohamed, the 22-year-old DUI driver who severed a man’s legs on April 11, which has led the defense to rethink a plea of not guilty.
On Tuesday in Department 17 of the South County Justice Center, with Judge Michael B. Sheltzer presiding, Mohamed sat in his designated seat wearing a navy top, green pants, orange shoes and shackled at the wrists and ankles. He was speaking to his lawyer in hushed tones.
His victim, Geronimo Gonzales, 37, was present in court for the first time since being released from the hospital. Gonzales, sporting a black and white plaid shirt paired with black shorts and fresh bandages on his legs, sat in the center of the courtroom in his wheelchair, ready to speak if the judge asked him to.
Once Sheltzer called the case, Mohamed’s lawyer, John K. Jackson, requested to approach the bench for a private conference with Gonzales’ attorney, Deputy District Attorney Brittany Knotts, and the judge. Once the conference was over, Knotts led Gonzales and his family out of the room for a private discussion.
After several moments, Knotts returned to the courtroom with Gonzales and his family, and Sheltzer began to hear the case.
Jackson revealed that a load of new evidence, specifically a new 25 page police report, had been submitted and the information it contains is pertinent to the case. Jackson stated he needed time to review the report, and Mohamed has waived his right to a speedy trial.
According to Gonzales’ family, the report that had been recently submitted to the case lists Mohamed’s speed at 156 mph, before braking three and a half seconds before the impact with Gonzales at 93 mph. The family also stated there’s video evidence and a possible confession, as the arresting officers have footage of Mohamed speaking to a family member in his native language. The prosecution is working towards getting the audio translated.
If Mohamed changes his plea from not guilty to guilty on all of his charges, he’s facing a prison sentence of anywhere between six years and four months to seven years.
If Mohamed keeps his not guilty plea and pushes for a trial, he could face a maximum of nine years in prison.
At his next hearing, Mohamed will enter his plea, and Gonzales and his family will have the opportunity to address the court. If he enters a not guilty, a trial will be set. If he changes his plea to guilty on all counts, he will receive his sentence.
Mohamed’s next court date is July 30 beginning at 8:30 a.m. in Department 17 of the South County Justice Center.