Lawrence "Mikey" Partida was nervous Friday.
He sat on a hard wooden bench in a Woodland courtroom, an aunt on either side of him offering quiet support. Stitches still closed a wound under his right eye from the brutal beating he absorbed in March.
Partida watched as a photo projected on a screen showed him slumped and bloodied outside the Davis home where he had just celebrated his 33rd birthday.
"I thought he was dead," his cousin Melanie Bravo said from the witness stand at the preliminary hearing for Partida's alleged attacker, Clayton Daniel Garzon, 20, of Davis, in Yolo Superior Court. "He was covered in blood all over his face. I couldn't even see where his mouth was."
Testimony began Friday in Garzon's preliminary hearing. Garzon faces three felony counts connected to the attack on Partida early March 10 near Third and I streets in Davis as Partida walked home from a house party.
Charges include battery with great bodily injury, assault likely to produce great bodily injury and threats to cause death or great bodily injury, along with hate crime enhancements for anti-gay slurs Garzon is accused of using during the alleged attack.
Testimony is expected to conclude May 20.
Garzon, free on bail and wearing a dark suit and burgundy tie, sat quietly next to his attorney, Linda Parisi, occasionally jotting notes. He offered a wan smile to family members seated together for the hearing and sat briefly with them during a court recess.
Attorneys on Friday reconstructed the night at a house party at Bravo's Davis home leading up to the attack on Partida, including a chance meeting between Garzon and Partida's cousin Vanessa Turner in the hours before the attack.
Turner was upset. She and her boyfriend had been arguing outside the party late March 9. Turner's boyfriend had left when Garzon, who lives across the street, showed up and found her alone. Turner didn't know his name, but he was nice, she said.
"He was trying to comfort me. He had his arm around my shoulder," Turner told Jonathan Raven, chief assistant district attorney, from the witness stand. "He told me it was going to be OK."
In the early morning hours of March 10, their paths crossed again as Turner and Partida were walking back to Partida's Davis home.
"He was calling my name, asking me to stop. We kept walking," Turner testified. When Partida asked Garzon to leave them alone, she said, Garzon "became very angry instantly" and let loose with a burst of profanity and slurs aimed at Partida.
Still, Turner said, when Partida left her at Third and I streets to retrieve house keys he had left at the party, she wasn't worried.
The next time Turner saw Partida, he was in a hospital bed at Sacramento's UC Davis Medical Center.
"I never thought something like that would happen," she said.
Call The Bee's Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.