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By Autumn Parry / The Californian
BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Marital problems, a history of alleged abuse, booze and a small arsenal of firearms combined for what prosecutors say was the attempted murder by an attorney of his wife and what the attorney claims was "an accident, a complete and total accident," according to police reports filed in the case.
The lengthy, redacted documents that recently became available in the case of DUI attorney Mark Madrigali reveal a host of new details concerning the June 12 shooting of his wife and the issues troubling their marriage long before Madrigali was accused of firing the shotgun that left her with serious injuries.
Madrigali is charged with attempted murder, assault with a gun and spousal abuse. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held on $2 million bail and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 19.
He has declined an interview request from The Californian.
The reports give the following account of what officers saw upon arriving at the house, and what neighbors and others told them.
Police at first only knew that a male caller (later identified as Madrigali) dialed 911 to say his wife had been shot. He hung up on the dispatcher without providing further information.
Officers arrived at the residence in the 1200 block of Telegraph Avenue in northeast Bakersfield at 3:45 a.m. and, as they walked through the yard, saw the front door open. Madrigali walked out of the house, crying, and said, "My wife needs help, she got shot!"
The officers placed him in handcuffs and one of the officers looked through the front door and saw a woman, drenched in blood and motionless, lying face down on the living room floor. As the officer stepped closer, the woman slowly turned over on to her back.
The officer asked where she was injured. She pointed to her chest and stomach.
She said there was no one else inside the house. The officer noticed a spent shotgun shell lying next to her body.
The woman's breathing was slow and labored, and it appeared she was losing consciousness. The officer broadcast on his radio that her injuries appeared moderate to major, and medical aid was cleared to enter.
Paramedics took the woman to Kern Medical Center, where she was listed in critical condition and stabilized for surgery. She'd suffered about 12 wounds to her right upper chest and was bleeding from an injury to her right side.
Doctors told police that her injuries included damage to the right diaphragm and bowels, partial liver removal and a contusion of the right kidney. The woman's family has asked the hospital not to release updates on her condition.
Madrigali wasn't questioned while at the house, and only said that he needed to speak with his lawyer. Officers smelled alcohol on his breath, the reports say.
The reports go on to say a sweep of the house revealed numerous firearms. A 12-gauge shotgun was lying on the floor in the middle office, and a handgun was on a cabinet in the same room.
In the master bedroom, officers found another handgun on a chest of drawers against the east wall. There were three loaded magazines in the nightstand drawer in the room.
The northwest office was where police found a gun safe containing four handguns, three shotguns and two rifles. Boxes of ammunition were on top of the safe, according to the reports.
The safe also contained $4,020 in cash.
Officers searched the kitchen in the northeast corner of the residence and found two empty bottles of wine, two bottles of Absolut vodka -- one empty, the other full -- and a full plastic bottle of white grapefruit juice in a trash can.
Damage on a wall in the living/dining room area appeared to be caused by shotgun pellets. The spread of the pellets on the east wall inside the dining room area was between 4 and 5 feet.
Officers said that, judging from the marks on the wall and a ricochet mark on a table, it appeared the shotgun was fired from the northwest portion of the living room in the direction of the east dining room wall.
Several pools of blood were absorbed into the carpet in the dining room. A blood smudge was on the wall between 6 and 8 inches off the ground directly west of the kitchen doorway.
Reports of abuse
Detectives interviewed neighbors, some of whom slept through the incident and didn't hear a thing, reports say. Others, however, said they heard a couple of loud bangs but didn't realize they were gunshots.
One neighbor said she was awoken by a loud "booming" sound followed by another a minute or two later. She said she didn't hear any yelling or screaming until emergency services arrived.
This neighbor said Madrigali's wife had moved out of the residence for about a month six months ago, according to reports. The neighbor said the wife told her she left Madrigali because he had hit her and she was afraid of him.
The neighbor told officers Madrigali has a drinking problem and she has seen him go into a rage, yelling and breaking bottles in his backyard.
Relatives of the wife also said that Madrigali had an alcohol problem. One of the wife's adult children told detectives that his mother and Madrigali had been married a couple of years and that Madrigali has been an alcoholic throughout the marriage.
The son said Madrigali has been abusive and threatened the life of his mother more than once. He provided detectives with photographs showing bruises on his mother that he said were caused by Madrigali, the documents say.
He said his mother's exact statement to him regarding Madrigali was, "He threatens my life and he beats me when he's got alcohol in his system." The son said Madrigali also threatened his life about four years ago when he was at Madrigali's home.
The son said his mother and Madrigali were in the beginning stages of getting divorced.
One relative described Madrigali as having a "short, very short temper."
The sister of the injured woman said she'd heard several stories about how Madrigali abused her sister. She said the sister told her that Madrigali once put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger.
Madrigali's wife told her sister the gun didn't fire and she's not sure if it's because it was unloaded or he didn't pull the trigger far enough down.
The woman with whom the wife stayed when she briefly left Madrigali said the wife told her about Madrigali putting a gun to her head and in her mouth, reports say. The woman said the wife had been telling her of incidents of assault since 2010.
The woman told detectives that when the wife and Madrigali are in public they "put on a show" and act like a happily married couple.
She told detectives that the wife said she, Madrigali and her son took a trip to San Francisco and were going to attend a Giants game and a 49ers game in the same day. The wife said Madrigali became extremely intoxicated at the first game and, while on their way to the second game, sold her and her son's tickets.
Madrigali continued to the second game without her and the son. The wife rented a car and she and her son drove back to Bakersfield without Madrigali.
Madrigali didn't say much about what happened when interviewed by detectives downtown at the police department, according to the reports. He asked for water, and when left with one detective in the room began asking if his wife was alive.
The detective told Madrigali they'd talk when the other detective returned, but he continued asking questions.
"Did you call anybody for her? Did you call her family?" he asked. "Did you let her sit there by herself?"
The other detective returned to the room and they read Madrigali his Miranda rights. He said he understood, and chose to continue the conversation.
The detectives told Madrigali that his wife was alive but was not conscious. They said her family had been notified.
They then said they wanted to talk to him about what happened.
"I'm just gonna say that it's an accident, and that's all I can say," Madrigali replied.
The detectives twice asked him to explain what happened, but Madrigali refused. He just said it was an accident.
Madrigali began to cry as the conversation ended and said, "That's my little baby." The detectives placed him back in handcuffs and he asked if his wife was still in surgery. They replied that she was.
"I didn't really get a chance to see how she looked," Madrigali said. "I just called 911, I didn't screw around."