The latest episode of 48 Hours is taking a look at the 2015 killing of a police officer in Exeter, California. Daniel Green was shot dead by his ex-wife Erika Sandoval after a tumultuous five-year relationship. Ahead of the report from CBS News’ Erin Moriarty, here’s what you need to know about Sandoval’s trial and where she is today.
Sandoval’s First Trial Ended in a Hung Jury
Sandoval was arrested and charged with her husband’s murder in 2015, but she didn’t go to trial until 2019. In December 2019, Judge Joseph Kalashian declared her first trial a mistrial because, after four days of deliberation, one holdout left them with a hung jury, according to ABC 30.
According to the jury, 11 members supposed a conviction for first-degree murder, and one opposed the decision to convict. Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward called the mistrial disappointed but not discouraging.
“This is justice delayed in our mind,” Ward said. “We feel that the evidence is strong, and we’re going to proceed with the same theory that we had. This is justice delayed, not denied.”
Sandoval’s attorney Dan Chambers vowed to keep fighting for his client, saying, “I told her, I said, ‘You know, it doesn’t feel like a win right now, but give it a few days, and you’ll see that you’re going to live to fight another day and that’s a win compared to what you were facing.”
At the time of the mistrial, Sandoval was scheduled to be back in court in January 2020 for a trial setting hearing. However, two delays were raised at the time, one from each side of the case, according to ABC 30.
Chambers said he is working on another death penalty case that is scheduled to start in the middle of 2020, while the district attorney said Sandoval’s case may have to wait for the Golden State Killer’s trial to be finished.
Ward told the judge that his Assistant District Attorney David Alavezos, who is also trying the Sandoval case, will be needed in Sacramento, California, this year as part of the trial against Joseph DeAngelo, the alleged Golden State Killer.
“We need to have sufficient time for Dave to prepare and be ready and have a little bit of a break in between the two,” Ward said. “I think the families deserve that.”
“I think between what his office has got going on with the Golden State Killer and then what I have going on in my cases, I think late this year at the earliest would be realistic,” Chambers said.
Sandoval remains in custody while the courts try to find a trial date. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down courts all across the country, there is no word yet as to when her trial will take place.
Green and Sandoval Had a Tumultuous Marriage and One Child Together
According to CBS News, police officer Daniel Green married Erika Sandoval in 2010 in what was a whirlwind romance that quickly soured. Both Green’s siblings, twin brother Matt and younger sister Misty say they feared Daniel was being abused by Sandoval and that they were always fighting.
The couple divorced less than two years later but continued to occasionally spend time together and in 2013, they welcomed their son Aiden. But by August of that year, Daniel told friends that thought Sandoval had cut the brakes on his motorcycle and that she once threatened him with his own service weapon.
In January 2015, the couple got together with family to celebrate Aiden’s second birthday and everything seemed OK, but shortly after the part, Daniel posted a photo to social media of himself and his new girlfriend, Brenda Vela. A few weeks later, Sandoval came to his home and shot him four times, killing him with a fatal shot to the forehead.
Sandoval Claimed She Found Child Pornography in Green’s Home
According to CBS News, when Sandoval was booked for Green’s murder, police found a Post-It note in her purse with the full name and birth year of Green’s new girlfriend written on it. But Sandoval claims she shot Green not out of jealousy over a new girlfriend but because she found child pornography in his home and was worried he was abusing their son.
However, Sandoval didn’t make these claims until her trial while on the stand. DA Ward told CBS News that was “the very first time” they had ever heard about anything like that and he never found any photos to corroborate Sandoval’s story. Prosecutor Alavezos said at trial, “That’s a disgusting lie to make you feel Daniel’s not worth a murder charge, to devalue him as a human being, that is the sole purpose of it.”
48 Hours airs Saturdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.