Modesto widower brings wife’s portrait to court
Hanibal Yadegar sat quietly in a Stockton courtroom Monday holding a framed portrait of his wife, Evin Olsen Yadegar, who was shot by Stanislaus County sheriff’s Deputy Justin Wall during a pursuit in Ripon.
Wall is accused of voluntary manslaughter in the Modesto woman’s February 2017 death. Like his first court appearance in late July, the deputy entered the courtroom Monday with a large group of supporters, many of them wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “#StandwithJustin.”
Yadegar said the T-shirts made him feel as if his wife was being forgotten, so he decided to attend Wall’s second court appearance. He sat with his wife’s portrait facing the deputy and some of his supporters on the other side of the courtroom aisle.
“I figured Evin needs to be represented,” Yadegar said after Monday’s brief court hearing. “And they need to know who she, what she looks like.”
Wall is facing the felony charge in San Joaquin County because he shot the woman after a pursuit that ended in Ripon after beginning in Salida.
Wall’s arraignment hearing on Monday was postponed a second time. He did not enter a plea. Judith Odbert, Wall’s Sacramento-based attorney, asked the court to postpone the hearing for another two months.
San Joaquin Superior Court Judge Ronald Northup scheduled Wall to return to court Nov. 8. The deputy remains free on his own recognizance.
Authorities initially said Evin Yadegar did not respond to commands to get out of vehicle and then put it in reverse, driving toward two deputies and a Ripon police officer.
Video footage from a patrol car’s dashboard camera show Yadegar backing up her car a few feet before moving forward to go around a Stanislaus County sheriff’s vehicle that had blocked her. She was shot by Wall not as she’s backing up, but as she’s moving forward again.
The shooting occurred in the early hours of Feb. 26, 2017.
The incident began when Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call at 2:56 a.m. at the Hampton Inn & Suites in the 4900 block of Sisk Road in Salida. Authorities have said a security guard reported that Yadegar had begun an argument and a physical confrontation with him. A deputy arrived at the hotel and saw Yadegar’s vehicle leaving the area.
A pursuit ensued, heading north on Highway 99 into San Joaquin County. At 3:17 a.m., Yadegar’s vehicle left the highway and continued into Ripon, heading south on South Manley Road and stopping near Tornell Circle. By then, Ripon police officers had joined the chase.
San Joaquin County prosecutors say Yadegar stopped her Volkswagen sedan for several moments in the neighborhood off Main Street, before she drove off again. Then, Wall fired four shots at Yadegar.
Yadegar and her husband co-owned the popular Barkin’ Dog eatery in downtown Modesto. Attorney Stewart Tabak has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the Yadegar family.
The civil case, which is scheduled Dec. 18 for a case management conference, is proceeding separately from the criminal case.
Tabak attended Monday’s hearing with his client. He said they wanted to demonstrate there was another side to this deadly shooting.
“You can’t lose sight of the victim in this process, and it was evident from the first hearing with all the T-shirts,” Tabak said shortly after Monday’s hearing. “It was as if there was a one-sided prosecution against Justin Wall without any respect or memory of the person who needlessly got shot and killed.”