Editor's note: This article contains graphic descriptions of violence.
A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge on Monday decided that a man accused of stabbing a fellow Buena Vista Mobile Home Park resident to death and beating another one is too dangerous for release.
Isadore Christopher Diaz, who is charged with the murder of Timothy Wood, remained in a cell at the Palo Alto Courthouse and was not brought up to the courtroom for his initial appearance on that charge before Judge Charles E. Wilson. The judge continued Diaz's arraignment to July 12, but he said the facts and substantial evidence showed "a presumption of great bodily harm" and that releasing Diaz would present a "clear threat" of continued great bodily harm to others. The judge also denied bail.
Diaz, 31, has been charged with killing Wood, 63, and the separate assault of Alan Cochran, both of which occurred on the night of June 24. Court records show that Diaz previously served time in prison for assault and other charges stemming from cases in 2007, 2008 and 2012 in Merced County. He has two prior convictions for assault with a deadly weapon and three convictions for participating in a criminal street gang, among other charges.
In the 2012 case, he pleaded no contest to burglary, being a felon who was previously convicted of a violent felony, obstructing or resisting arrest on an executive officer and battery on a peace officer. He received a 40-month sentence in prison.
He lived in Palo Alto with his grandmother, who told the Weekly last week that Diaz had turned his life around, was active in his church and helped the homeless. He was also once shot in the head and continued to suffer medical issues as a result of his injury, she said.
Court documents also show that Diaz allegedly attacked a third man on the night of Wood's death and Cochran's assault; the third man declined to file charges.
Palo Alto police initially responded to Wood's trailer at 3980 El Camino Real at 7:53 p.m. after his roommate called to report finding him on the floor. Wood had left the trailer at about 5 p.m. The roommate left about 10 minutes later to go for a two-hour bike ride. When he returned, he found the door to the trailer locked. He entered using his key and found Wood gravely injured. Police located two knives with blood in Wood's trailer, including one near his body.
Wood died at a local hospital. The Santa Clara County Coroner-Medical Examiner's Office later determined he'd been stabbed several times.
About an hour later, while police were investigating the stabbing, Cochran was in the mobile home park when Diaz allegedly approached and punched him. Diaz then allegedly kicked Cochran, who had fallen, in the face before returning to his apartment. Cochran said the two had never met and he did not know why he was targeted. Cochran needed eight stitches to his lips, he told the Weekly.
As officers talked to Cochran, a police report states, Diaz jumped into a friend's car and allegedly told him, "Let's get out of here."
The man drove away and parked in front of a fence on Los Robles Avenue, which runs along the edge of Buena Vista. When he told Diaz to be careful getting out because the car was close to the fence, Diaz allegedly became angry and asked, "Do you think I'm fake?" the police report states.
Diaz was loud and he could not keep still, the man told police. The two men began walking back toward the mobile home park when Diaz allegedly put his friend in a headlock and punched him in the face three times. The man ran back to a friend's home, where he hid in the living room.
Diaz soon followed and knocked on the door. Entering the residence, he allegedly punched the man once more before exiting.
The victim told police he was afraid of Diaz and didn't want to press charges. He refused medical attention, according to court papers.
Diaz, after being read his Miranda rights, denied that he had struck anyone. But he allegedly told an officer that he made a mistake.
Asked why he struck Cochran, he said that "he just got that feeling and had to do it," the court documents state.
Police arrested Diaz three days later in connection with Wood's murder, based on several pieces of evidence, while he was in custody for alleged assault on Cochran, according to the court documents.
Police are basing their case in part on security camera recordings and blood-stained clothing.
Surveillance recordings show on June 24 a man who appeared to be Diaz walking toward and away from Wood's trailer. Wood is also seen on the video walking to a dumpster to toss out a large bag of trash and walking back toward his trailer. Police believe this was the last time Wood was seen alive.
About 20 minutes later, a person resembling Diaz, who has a distinctive tattoo on his left arm, returned to the area near Wood's trailer, according to the court documents.
The man whom police believe is Diaz was initially wearing a white tank top when he went toward the trailer, but when he left the area he had changed into a black T-shirt with a California logo on the front. All of the other articles of clothing the man wore were the same, the video showed.
Police later found the white shirt with blood on it, and detectives found the same style, brand and size of white tank tops in Diaz's residence with the same batch number. Police also found a white sock with blood in Diaz's bathroom hamper and the same mismatched shoes — a white one and a black one — that were the mates of the shoes Diaz was wearing at the time of his arrest for assaulting Cochran.
Diaz has been charged in Wood's killing with one count of murder, one count of using a deadly weapon and five counts of committing the crimes while having prior convictions for a violent or serious felony.
In the alleged assault on Cochran, he also faces charges of felony battery with serious bodily injury, felony assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to produce great bodily injury, an enhancement of causing great bodily injury, misdemeanor battery on a person and five counts of having a prior conviction of a violent or serious felony.
He is scheduled to return to court in the Cochran case on July 19.