A Ventura woman testified Thursday that she and her boyfriend had enjoyed a relaxing couple of days together at his San Luis Obispo home when “out of nowhere” her boyfriend turned on her, leading to three hours of torture with masking tape, a pool cue, golf balls, a metal ruler and a heated Hibachi knife.
But a defense attorney, through his cross-examination, suggested the alleged victim was under the influence of cocaine that day, into sexual bondage and motivated by money.
Timothy John Hayes, 33, of San Luis Obispo, faces a possible life sentence for multiple charges, including attempted murder and torture. On Thursday, Hayes appeared in San Luis Obispo Superior Court for what turned out to be a sensational preliminary hearing in which the alleged victim accused Hayes of inflicting a night of terror.
“I was absolutely terrified for my life,” said the woman, identified in court only as “Jane Doe.”
The 27-year-old woman said she and Hayes had been dating for about three months and seeing each other five or six times a week when they spent a couple of days together at Hayes’ home in San Luis Obispo, beginning Sept. 7.
The visit went well for most of the first two days, she said. But on the second night, the two lay in bed when “things started to turn bad.” “A song came on,” she said. “I don’t know if it triggered him.”
While they had nearly dozed off before then, once the song came on, she said, Hayes immediately became belligerent, calling her “whore,” “bitch” and “liar.”
“It was like a light switch. It was like —” she snapped her fingers, “out of nowhere.”
During her testimony, the woman, a skin care specialist and former beauty salon owner, rarely looked at the defendant. Supporters, who appeared to be family members, sat in the audience as she offered a harrowing account.
After assaulting her verbally, she said, Hayes pushed her out of bed, then dragged her by her hair to an office. At that point, she said, Hayes was talking “almost like a conversation with himself but out loud, which was absolutely terrifying.”
Then, she said, the following occurred:
Hayes, who accused her of seeing other men, taped her hands together in front of her chest, then used tape to connect her hands, collarbone and head — “almost like a mummy.”
“It turned into a lot of punching and kicking with full force, as if like a male-on-male fight,” she said. “I was thrown against a wall and kicked as hard as a soccer ball.”
During the three-hour beating, she said, Hayes hit her with a pool cue and a metal ruler. He stuffed golf balls into her mouth, tried to suffocate her and burned her with a heated knife, she said.
Meanwhile, she testified, Hayes taunted her, describing different ways he planned to kill her, including burying her alive and injecting her with an overdose of drugs.
“It was very methodical,” she said. “It was very, very, very devious and slowly showing authority, power and possession. … There were multiple conversations about, ‘This has gone too far’ — he has to kill me now.”
Hayes would vacillate from telling her he loved her to threatening harm, she said. At one point, she testified, he threatened to cut off her breasts with a pair of 12-inch scissors, saying, “Babe, I need these for myself.” “I just kept telling him, ‘We don’t have to do this,’” she said, occasionally wiping tears.
Eventually, she told the court, she convinced Hayes that he needed to clean the house — getting rid of incriminating evidence — and that she would help him. He cut the tape on her wrists, accidentally cutting her wrist in the process, and she managed to sneak out when he was in another room.
When he discovered she had left the house, she said, he stood at the front door, naked, waving the knife.
After the hearing, however, Hayes’ attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu, told The Tribune the witness’ testimony wasn’t accurate.
“I believe a fact finder will not believe this witness,” he said. “The relationship as described by the witness is completely inconsistent with the relationship as I understand it based on my investigation so far.”
During cross-examination by Funke-Bilu, the woman said Hayes typically had cocaine. “Cocaine was a regular part of your relationship, is that correct?” Funke-Bilu asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
“Was bondage a part of your sex life?” he asked later.
“Um ... explain,” she answered.
“You don’t know what bondage is?”
“What do you mean by that?” she said, eventually adding, “There was an occasion where he had a fetish for my chest. He had a rope and tied it in a bikini style. So if that’s considered bondage, then yes.”
Funke-Bilu also asked the woman if she and Hayes had used tape for sexual pleasure in the past.
“It was explored once, and it was no more than five minutes,” she said, adding it was a “quick release” tape.
Trying to establish a motive for why she might fabricate events, Funke-Bilu at one point asked the witness if she was having money problems. But Deputy District Attorney Julie Antos objected.
Although Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy sustained the objection, after the hearing Funke-Bilu suggested the issue of money will likely re-surface.
“Bondage, cocaine use and alcohol is not the entire defense,” he said.
Antos will present more evidence when the case resumes Oct. 8.