Defense portrays victim as violent

AUBURN, Calif. - The victim in a fatal Tahoe City stabbing had a violent and aggressive past, witnesses in the murder trial of Timothy Brooks testified Monday.

Brooks, 26, is facing a count of open murder in the death of Robert Ash, 48, after Brooks allegedly stabbed Ash following a road rage incident in Tahoe City in August.

On Monday, five defense witnesses told stories of Robert Ash's proclivity for violence in the past 10 years.

In one such instance testified to by John Chavez, Ash and Chavez got into a fight in May 2004 at a Lincoln golf course after Ash accused Chavez of calling his son fat.

He said Ash punched him in the head and kicked him, leaving him with cleat marks on his sternum and a "minor concussion" from the incident.

Although Chavez said he could "not recall" making statements or gestures at Mr. Ash or Ash's teenage son that day, Andrew Shorts, a golf pro at the course who witnessed the fight, testified he saw Chavez "flip off" Ash and call his son a "fat ass."

"I saw two guys shoving each other. I heard a guy say 'You calling my kid fat'," Shorts said. "It didn't seem real. At the time I assumed both guys involved were drunk. I thought it was a mad, drunken rage."

Chavez admitted he drank about 10 beers that day.

A cart girl, Kristie Goucher, who also witnessed the altercation, said Ash grabbed her and slammed her into a vehicle when she tried to break up the fight in the parking lot.

On cross-examination, Deputy District Attorney Tracy Lunardi noted the police report from the incident did not mention Ash touched Goucher.

"That guy didn't do a good report," Goucher countered, looking annoyed.

"When I read the report, I couldn't believe it. It was wrong."

Testimony is expected to resume today.


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