All criminal defendants have the right to remain silent. Some, however, lack the capacity.
Colusa County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey A. Thompson once again continued the case against Raymond Michael Zapien, 31, of Princeton, and his girlfriend Skye Flores, 34, of Oroville, despite repeated disruptions in court last week.
Zapien and Flores, along with Zapien’s sister, Veronica, 30, are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime in connection to Zapien’s near month on the run to evade capture following a vehicle crash, in Princeton, on May 31.
The three conspiracy cases are being handled in court together, although Zapien is also facing attempted murder and other charges in connection with the vehicle crash that injured a Princeton teen on an ATV and a Good Samaritan, who tried to intervene.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Flores and her 15-year-old son, Silas, were passengers in Zapien’s 2014 Buick LaCross, as he drove northbound on Highway 45 on May 31, when he allegedly veered off the road and struck a stalled ATV, driven by Destiny Sorrels, who was airlifted to Enloe Hospital with neck and other injuries.
The CHP said Zapien and Flores were involved in an argument prior to the ATV collision, and that the crash may have been Zapien’s attempt to kill himself, Flores, and her son. Following the first crash with the ATV, Zapien attempted to drive away from the scene, when a separate vehicle, driven by Kyle Wills, pulled in front of the Buick to block Zapien’s escape. Zapien then crashed into Wills’ vehicle, disabling his own vehicle, and then fled the scene on foot, the CHP said.
According to District Attorney Matthew Beauchamp, Flores and Zapien’s sister later met up with Zapien and helped the hit-and-run driver escape and avoid arrest by driving him from Colusa County.
Zapien was eventually arrested in Yuba City on June 24.
Judge Thompson, on Sept. 9, gave Zapien another four weeks to secure a private attorney, after admonishing him and Flores for disrespectfully speaking directly to the bench.
“This is my life I’m fighting for,” Zapien said, accusing the court of unfair prosecution because he believes the District Attorney doesn’t like him and is making him out to be someone he’s not.
Flores, who has been disruptive in court during each of her appearances, requested a change last week in public defenders, which the judge denied.
“It’s all bullshit, dude,” was her response.
Zapien remains in custody of the Colusa County Jail on whose $1 million bail.
Flores, who is also charged with child endangerment, is in custody at the Colusa County Jail on $75,000 bail.
They are scheduled to enter their pleas on additional information on Oct. 7.
Veronica Zapien, who is not in custody, has pleaded not guilty to the conspiracy charge. ■