Judge hears opposition to SVP placement; driver held

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Statue of justice

A judge heard from approximately 40 East County residents who are in opposition to the placement of Douglas Badger, a 78-year-old sexually violent predator, in a Mount Helix house just outside of El Cajon city limits.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Theodore Weathers took the matter under submission after the public hearing that was conducted via Zoom on computers.

Only one person and Badger’s attorney, Amy Hoffman, urged Weathers to release Badger under strict conditions with GPS monitoring and oversight from Liberty Healthcare, an agency contracted with the state.

Badger, who has been convicted of sexually assaulting young male adults who were hitchhiking, has finished his prison term and is receiving treatment at Coalinga State Hospital.

Weathers said he had driven out to the property site and reviewed the area before the hearing. He described it as “a beautiful neighborhood.”

Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle told the judge Badger’s last criminal offense was in 1991.

“We believe he is a danger to the community,” said Doyle. “We urge the court to look elsewhere, adding that this site “is so different, so outside the norm” than other placements, which have been in Jacumba or Campo with low population.

Hoffman said her client has been receiving treatment for 20 years. “All experts agree he is safe to be released,” said Hoffman.

Kym Caudle, a representative of Liberty Healthcare, said Badger had no criminal history with children, something that others in the hearing disputed. She said there were 16 pages of rules that Badger has agreed to and that he can never leave the house without Liberty personnel with him.

Representatives of County Supervisor Joel Anderson and four other elected leaders spoke out against the placement.

One woman who lives near the proposed site said “I have been paralyzed with fear” since the announcement was made about the site at 10957 Horizon Hills Drive.

Kelley DeReimer said she operates a small daycare service nearby that includes her grandchildren several days a week. “I have no appetite for being a guinea pig,” said Tsuba Tsugi.

One woman said the homeowner offering to rent the house to the state “was not an ethical businessman.” Shoshana Dennis told Weathers “these people are never cured.”

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El Cajon Police officer Nicholas Cirello described to a judge April 22 how he was dragged by a car and suffered brain injuries in a Dec. 14 incident in the 100 block of W. Washington.

Cirello, 28, who has returned to light duty, described his skull fracture and broken bones in the 8:30 a.m. incident in the preliminary hearing.

El Cajon Superior Court Judge John Thompson ordered the driver, David Cepeda Pangilinan, 41, and passenger, Keani Isalyn Flores, 28, to stand trial for assault with a deadly weapon, which was a stolen Volkswagen Atlas.

They were also ordered to trial on charges of possession of an apparatus to make counterfeit credit cards, and another assault count. They will return to court on May 5 to schedule a trial date.

Police responded to a call from someone who said the Volkswagen was blocking the roadway and the occupants appeared to be asleep. Cirello testified he woke them up, but he thought the passenger might be in danger because she didn’t look at him.

Cirello testified he jumped into the car through the window, but the driver took off, dragging him down the street until another vehicle struck him. “I fell out of the car. I woke up in the hospital,” said Cirello.

The stolen car was found abandoned. Flores was arrested Dec. 21 in Oakhurst, and Pangilinan was arrested Jan. 8 in Los Angeles.

The couple have pleaded not guilty. Pangilinan is in jail on $2 million bail while Flores is being held on $200,000 bail.

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