Sonora, CA – A Tuolumne County man convicted in a domestic abuse case of causing great bodily harm and making criminal threats to his wife was sentenced to six years in state prison.
John Arrowood received his sentence today after being convicted by a jury in early March. The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Novelli, who shares, post-sentencing, “It can be bittersweet. You know that justice has been done so I feel confident about that. But it is always hard for victims to come forward to go through, reliving the trauma. So having to go through a trial when a defendant will not accept responsibility for his actions – and you always hope that they will accept responsibility – in this case, he continues to deny that he had anything to do with causing her injuries.”
Back in January of last year, Tuolumne County sheriff’s deputies responded to his victim’s 911 call. According to the case, she was able to mouth the words “help me” in the background as Arrowood, who had been drinking, belligerently answered the door. She later testified that he threatened to kill her, grabbed her by the hair and neck and threw her in to the kitchen wall, where her head struck first and caused a hole in the wall after which she lost consciousness and fell to the ground, causing further injury.
A Serial Abuser In Denial
According to the DA’s office, Arrowood has multiple misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence related charges out of Nevada, two of which were against his spouse. During the trial, she and a family member described years of physical and emotional abuse she had endured at his hands.
Novelli commends the jury for seeing through the defendant’s lies as he testified. Further commenting, she confides, “It is pretty uncommon for someone who reports abuse — when it has been going on for so long — to actually stick with it.” Longterm abuse victims who reach out to 911 because they need help often recant, according to Novelli. “Afterwards, if there is an apology — or a ‘it was your fault’ — or an ‘I still love you’ — they want to help that individual because they love them so much,” she explains.
As the attorney who handles many of the county’s domestic violence cases, Novelli says in this one, the victim, who had been through so much, also had crucial family support as well as early and ongoing contact with the Victim Witness staff. Commending the woman, she states, “She was onboard the whole time…so hats off to her for…remaining strong and being able to tell the truth of what really happened.”