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Ainsworth trial begins

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 14th, 2012

SANTA CRUZ — The trial for Maurice Ainsworth — accused of a 2009 home-invasion robbery and of assaulting a deputy and escaping custody while awaiting trial — began Friday and is expected to last up to 12 weeks.

Tuesday’s testimony centered on the 2009 home-invasion robbery in which he and an accomplice are accused of breaking into a home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, assaulting a man, threatening to rape his wife and keeping the couple’s 8-year-old son in a closet. The pair also allegedly stole firearms, jewelry and liquor from the house and drove away in their Jeep Grand Cherokee.

In that case, Ainsworth and Raines face charges of robbery, kidnapping, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon and vehicle theft.

Ainsworth is also accused of a November 2010 rampage in Santa Cruz in which he wrestled with a deputy who was escorting him to Dominican Hospital to get an MRI on his shoulder.

As the deputy attempted to put his shackles back on, Ainsworth allegedly attacked her and tried to take her gun.

He also allegedly picked the significantly smaller deputy off the floor slammed her back down several times. After an MRI technician intervened, Ainsworth fled with the deputy in pursuit. Witness accounts vary, but the struggle in the MRI department is estimated to have lasted from 15 seconds to two minutes.

The deputy then chased Ainsworth to a wooded gully near Paul Sweet Road, where he tackled her again, and punched her in the head several times, and also bit her fingers and injured her so severely that she is unable to work.

Ainsworth got the deputy’s Taser and shot her in the side of the head at close range and took her gun, then fired a shot at a witness. He then ran to a preschool, where he demanded a teacher’s car key at gunpoint. His attempt to steal her car was thwarted, however, and he ran to a home in a residential neighborhood where he held a Russian couple at gunpoint for two hours as he ransacked the house.

When Ainsworth was arrested after his escape, Santa Cruz County District Attorney Celia Rowland said that he had a “to-do” list that included the name of the victim family from the burglary case.

Rowland said the note tied the Summit case and the escape together, and in January Superior Court Judge Paul Burdick agreed to combine them, saying that the victims in the home invasion case should not have to testify twice.

Unlike previous hearings in which Ainsworth wore his hair long, his hair was neatly cut and he wore a dress shirt and dark slacks.

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