Before Marlon Alfredo Rodas Gonzalez of St. James, 24, was acquitted of domestic assault and fifth-degree assault, he and his wife, Isabela Rodas of St. James, 22, took to the stand to share their sides of an argument that put Marlon in jail for a month.
During the trial on Friday, Isabela was the first to say the argument began because she said "a bad word," and told Marlon he didn't deserve her cooking for him. Amid the arguing, their 19-month daughter toddled to the bathroom. Marlon and Isabela went after her, but Marlon got to her first. Marlon tried locking himself in the bathroom with their daughter, but Isabela wouldn't let him.
Along with shoving and kicking, "He threatened to kill me," said Isabela, "that he had the devil inside him, he was capable of anything, and he'd give me a beating I'd never gotten before." Isabela quietly wept on the stand.
She later stated the argument began over texts about his family visiting from El Salvador. He was upset she didn't want to go to Valley Fair with his family, and she was upset with him for talking to her "in a bad way."
Public Defender Nicole Lynnette Faas asked the jury, “A beating over Valley Fair?”
Marlon recounted finishing his usual 12-hour shift in construction that day. When he got home, Isabela wasn't there. When she arrived, she asked him to, "Have the balls to tell me what you said over texts." He was confused because all he had said was he wouldn't spend time with her family if she wouldn't spend time with his.
He admitted he was tired from work, and he went on to tell her, "You don't work, you're out on the street, I pay for two cars, and you didn't even cook." She asked, "Why should I cook for you with that mouth of yours?"
Marlon was holding their daughter while they argued. He told Isabela if she was going to argue with him, she could leave. She said okay, but to hand over their daughter. He refused. When he tried to close the bathroom door, he kept telling Isabela, "Please leave, I don't want to hit you with the door." Marlon said he never touched Isabela and never threatened to hurt her.
"The language barrier has caused misinterpretations," said Faas in regards to Marlon's documents threats. “'Move, or I’ll hit you' or 'Please move, I don’t want to hit you.'"
Marlon shot a video while sitting in the bathroom with his daughter after he had gotten the door closed. Isabela's mother arrives and can be heard asking Marlon calmly to open the door to give them the girl. He repeatedly says, "She's fine."
Isabela, at one point, yells, "Let him go with his family."
After Marlon opens the door, Isabela's mother continues to ask for her niece, and Marlon refuses. Isabela's mother eventually tells Isabela to call the cops. Isabela hesitates. Her mother insists again, and then Isabela leaves to make the call.
Deputy Nate Ellis was the first to arrive on the scene, and he couldn't communicate with Marlon. He had the resources to call an interpreter, but he said he was leaving it to the peace officer.
When Officer Eric Wagman arrived on the scene, he told Marlon he was under arrest.
"He didn't even talk to me," said Marlon.
Faas reminded the jury of Wagman’s testimony on the stand. “When he was asked why he interviewed Isabela first, he said, ‘Because she’s the victim,’” said Faas. “He jumped to conclusions.”
An hour later, after being processed through the jail, Wagman collected Marlon's statement.
"It was like he didn't care what I had to say," said Marlon. "If I had had an interpreter [at the scene], I wouldn't have gone to jail for a month."