Nicole Agriesti and Charles Peralta entered a plea of not guilty
Tuesday to charges of assaulting a pregnant woman in the parking
lot of her Morgan Hill apartment complex in July.
It was the couple’s fourth appearance in Santa Clara County
Superior Court in San Martin.
Morgan Hill – Nicole Agriesti and Charles Peralta entered a plea of not guilty Tuesday to charges of assaulting a pregnant woman in the parking lot of her Morgan Hill apartment complex in July.
It was the couple’s fourth appearance in Santa Clara County Superior Court in San Martin.
Peralta, 29, and Agriesti, 21, are accused of assaulting 32-year-old Morgan Hill resident Xochitl Calderon after she allegedly kicked their car when they ran over her groceries. They also face a hate crime enhancement for allegedly yelling racial epithets while they attacked Calderon, according to witnesses.
Both are free on $100,000 bail.
Superior Court Judge Susan Bernardini set Dec. 1 as the date for the preliminary hearing, when the court will decide if there is sufficient evidence to go ahead with a trial.
“The truth will come out,” Agriesti’s defense attorney Mark Arnold said after the plea hearing. “There has been a lot of misleading information and conclusions here. The truth will be compelling when it comes out, either during the trial or the preliminary hearing.”
Peralta is represented by a public defender.
Arnold said people who know Calderon have come forward and will testify on behalf of Peralta and Agriesti.
Agriesti and Peralta refused to comment outside of the courtroom Tuesday. When asked to make a statement, Peralta said, “No, not now, but we will.”
Assistant District Attorney Mark Hood said Tuesday that he had no response to Arnold’s statements.
“I will respond to actual evidence, not to a statement made to the press,” Hood said. “If he has evidence he wants to provide to me, otherwise I really can’t respond.”
The assault occurred on July 21 in the parking lot of the Cochrane Village Apartments, where Calderon lives. According to Calderon and witnesses at the scene, she had left a bag of groceries on the pavement in the parking lot as she took other groceries inside. She said Peralta and Agriesti ran over the bag of groceries in a vehicle Peralta was driving, and when Calderon began yelling at them to give her money for the food, Peralta threw a penny at her and used racial slurs.
Peralta told police Calderon kicked the car on the passenger side, and then he and Agriesti got out of the vehicle.
Calderon and witnesses told police the couple, who have been described by Arnold as being in a “dating relationship,” began beating Calderon, even though she told them she was pregnant. Doctors gave Calderon a grim diagnosis after the attack, but she did not lose her baby. The District Attorney’s office said they would have filed murder charges if the child had died.
Anyone with any knowledge of the case may contact Morgan Hill Police Detective David Swing at 779-2101.
Marilyn Dubil covers education and law enforcement for The Times. Reach her at 779-4106 Ext. 202 or at [email protected]