Under heightened courtroom security, two Salinas parents were arraigned Friday in connection with an alleged attempt to sell their 8-month-old daughter.
Patrick Alan Fousek, 38, and Samantha Tomasini, 20, are being held in segregated, lockdown cells at the Monterey County Jail after Fousek was attacked by inmates Thursday night.
Sheriff's Cmdr. Mike Richards said inmates in the open dorm where Fousek had been housed jumped him at 10:15p.m. after the details of his charges were reported on television news.
Richards said the man was transported to Natividad Medical Center, where he was treated for multiple injuries to his face and two cracked ribs before being returned to the jail.
In the courtroom Friday, Fousek had a cut on the bridge of his nose and stitches in his lip, and his right eye was bruised and badly swollen.
Deputies ushered an obviously distressed Tomasini into the courtroom from a closed jury room when the case was called.
Richards said she was housed in a segregated cell when she was booked because the women's dorm was already full.
The two were arrested Tuesday night after Fousek allegedly approached two women in the Walmart parking lot and offered to sell the baby girl he was carrying for $25. Tomasini was reportedly in a parked car nearby.
The women initially believed Fousek was joking, according to Salinas police, but called 911 after he persisted, thrusting his daughter into their arms.
When police arrived, the couple had left with the baby, but the women's description led officers to an apartment in the 700 block of East Romie Lane. They found the baby amid squalor, her parents high on methamphetamine, police said.
Both defendants are charged with felony child endangerment, which carries a four-year maximum sentence, and misdemeanor charges of being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of a methamphetamine pipe.
Tomasini also is charged with dissuading a witness, a charge prosecutor Rolando Mazariegos declined to discuss. The prosecutor said his office elected to charge endangerment, rather than abandonment, because it carries a stiffer penalty upon conviction.
He said the baby girl is in protective custody.
Deputy Public Defender Elizabeth Navarro entered not-guilty pleas for both Fousek and Tomasini. Visiting Judge Stephen Sillman set a preliminary hearing for July 9 to determine if there is sufficient evidence to hold them for trial. They are being held in lieu of $25,000 bail each.
Court records show Fousek has multiple drug-related convictions, including possession and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
"He's a noted frequent flier with our office," Richards said.
Fousek also has served jail terms for domestic violence and violating restraining orders involving his ex-wife.
In 2006, his young son from that relationship was removed from the Fousek family home on Old Stage Road in Salinas after probation officers conducting a routine search on Patrick Fousek found a methamphetamine lab in the bedroom of his twin brother, David Fousek.
Tomasini served a three-month jail term in 2009 for a 2008 arrest for being under the influence of a controlled substance. She was first offered treatment in the "deferred entry of judgment" program, then the Proposition 36 program. She failed both, failing to appear for review hearings and testing positive for marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine.
Outside of court Friday, a man who described himself as being close to her family said Tomasini was a "confused" person who'd become acquainted with Fousek about 18 months ago through a drug deal.
He said Tomasini's mother tried to intervene on behalf of her granddaughter. He said the mother recently threatened to report Tomasini to Child Protective Services if Tomasini did not allow her to see the baby by Wednesday. She learned the day of the deadline that her daughter had been arrested for allegedly trying to sell the child.
The man, who asked not to be identified because he fears retribution, said Tomasini's mother is considering seeking custody of the baby girl.
Tomasini appeared emotionally and physically distressed at Friday's hearing, fidgeting, shaking her head repeatedly and trying to peer around a deputy's shoulder to talk to Fousek.
Richards said the courtroom security measures were designed to prevent such communication. He said he could not discuss any medical care Tomasini may be receiving in the jail, but said jail personnel are trained to deal with the physical symptoms of drug withdrawal.
Fousek's beating is the second attack on a high-profile inmate in a week. On June 17, convicted rapist Thomas Pollacci of Pebble Beach was assaulted by three inmates.
Richards said the Pollacci attack was a "freak of timing." Pollacci had been housed alone but was in a holding cell awaiting transportation for his afternoon sentencing when three inmates were returned from the morning court session and placed in the same cell.
In Fousek's case, he said, his office was not told the details of the charges when Fousek and Tomasini were booked on child-endangerment and drug charges.
"In this case, the charges listed on the booking sheet were not anything indicative of the need to house in a protective ... unit," he said. "We're at a loss, unless the arresting agency tells us, 'Look, this is exactly what the guy did.'"
Richards said the C-pod, where Fousek was housed, is monitored by a deputy, who called for backup and quickly intervened in the assault. ..Source.. by Virginia Hennessey, Monterey County Herald