Wednesday, May 22, 2013
By Rosalio Ahumada
CHP - Aden Aden, 22, Tempe, AZ, auto theft suspect.
MODESTO -- A judge Tuesday reluctantly suspended a criminal case against a man accused of kidnapping a woman on Highway 99 in Turlock because the defendant says he needs a Somali interpreter.
Aden Aden, 22, has been charged with kidnapping, robbery, vehicle theft and possessing a stolen vehicle. The California Highway Patrol said Aden was driving a car stolen in Tempe, Ariz., where Aden is from, two days before the reported kidnapping on May 10.
A preliminary hearing for Aden started last week, but it was stalled after he told his defense attorney he did not understand everything said in English.
There was only a Somali court interpreter in Southern California, so Stanislaus County Superior Court officials thought an Arabic interpreter would suffice.
On Tuesday morning, the Arabic interpreter spoke with Aden. The interpreter told the judge that Aden seemingly understood Arabic, but responded to her in English. The defendant told the interpreter he doesn't understand Arabic, only Somali, according to the judge.
Judge Thomas Zeff then was forced to schedule a hearing June 21, when the court can bring up the Somali interpreter from Southern California. The judge said he wasn't so sure the defendant doesn't understand English.
When Zeff asked Aden if he agreed to waive his right to a continuous preliminary hearing and a speedy trial, the defendant quickly answered, "Yes."
"If you understand that, I find it very difficult to believe you don't understand English," Zeff told Aden as Tuesday's hearing ended.
The reported kidnapping occurred about 4:15 a.m., when Aden saw the woman walking on the side of the road and offered a ride. When the 18-year-old woman refused, the CHP said that Aden parked the silver Nissan Altima, sneaked up behind the woman, and choked and punched her before dragging her to the car's back seat.
The woman escaped and ran south along the road, but Aden caught up and choked her again, the CHP said. An officer who spotted the parked car stopped and intervened. Aden was taken into custody at gunpoint.