Trial ordered for man accused of kidnapping, assaulting girlfriend

Earlier this month Giovanni McKinnis pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was ordered Monday, Jan 27 to stand trial. (TONY CHEVAL)

Earlier this month, Giovanni McKinnis pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was ordered Monday, Jan 27 to stand trial. (TONY CHEVAL)

PALMDALE — The 19-year-old man accused of kidnapping, assaulting and holding the mother of his child captive for more than a week must stand trial.

Giovanni McKinnis was ordered to trial on two counts of corporal injury to child’s parent, kidnapping, false imprisonment by violence, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, making criminal threats, and disobeying a domestic relations court order.

The judge’s ruling came after a preliminary hearing Monday in an Antelope Valley courtroom, where 19-year-old Tiffany P. gave emotional testimony about the alleged abuse she suffered at the hands of McKinnis.

According to Tiffany’s testimony, the first of two incidents began on Dec. 25, 2013, when McKinnis came to her Palmdale home so the two could go to the movies for Christmas. An argument ensued before they left her home, with McKinnis accusing her of having sex with one of her neighbors, Tiffany testified.

The argument got physical once they got into McKinnis’s car, according to Tiffany’s testimony.

“At that point, he was in a heated rage because I broke up with him,” Tiffany said.

McKinnis drove her to various desolate areas around town, arguing and hitting her as he was driving, Tiffany testified.

Breaking into tears, Tiffany described how McKinnis choked her until she was “gasping for air,” with “foam” coming out of her mouth.

“It made me feel like the man that I love is doing this to me and it hurt…” Tiffany said. McKinnis also threatened to kill and bury her, Tiffany testified.

The Dec. 25 attack left her with marks on her chest and neck, Tiffany testified.

The second incident began two days later, on Dec. 27, 2013, according to Tiffany’s testimony. McKinnis called as she was on the bus on her way to work, and he offered to give her a ride, Tiffany testified. She said she got off the bus and went willingly with McKinnis because she wanted him to get help and “therapy.”

McKinnis did not allow her to go to work, because he feared she would tell others about the Dec. 25 attack, Tiffany testified. The couple ended up at McKinnis’s residence, where the physical abuse continued on and off until Jan. 4, according to Tiffany’s testimony.

Tiffany said she was choked and slapped repeatedly; elbowed in the face and chest more than 25 times; and bashed numerous times in the face and neck with the handle of a camping knife.

“Every time I would gasp for air he would choke me and chop at my neck,” Tiffany said.

Her jaw was broken during the abuse, and she also lost a piece of her tooth, which she later found in her food, Tiffany testified.

She said she did not leave because she feared McKinnis, and she tried escaping at least once, but McKinnis stopped her.

At one point, deputies came knocking at the door, Tiffany testified. McKinnis didn’t answer and he turned off all the lights, so the deputies eventually left, Tiffany testified.

On Saturday, Jan. 4, deputies came again, and McKinnis ordered her under the bed, Tiffany testified.

“I stayed under the bed until they rescued me,” Tiffany said.

According to sheriff’s detectives, Tiffany’s father drove from Compton to the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station on January 4 to report his daughter missing, and he provided sporadic details regarding the Christmas day incident. Deputies went to a residence in the 1100 block of East Avenue Q-4, where they arrested McKinnis and found Tiffany cowering in fear, sheriff’s detectives said previously.

In describing her injuries, Tiffany said her face was “gigantic” and she had bruises on her face and across her chest.

“I was unrecognizable,” she said.

Under cross-examination, defense attorney Robert Haberer referenced a protective order issued May 29, 2013, which prohibited McKinnis from being within 100 yards of Tiffany. The defense lawyer asked why Tiffany continued a relationship with McKinnis, despite the protective order.

“I was manipulated and controlled,” Tiffany said. She said she also stuck around for the sake of the couple’s infant son. McKinnis’s grandmother has custody of the child due “to neglect,” Tiffany said. She said “domestic violence was typical” in the couple’s relationship, but she continued to stay because she wanted to be in her child’s life.

Only Tiffany was called to the stand for Monday’s preliminary hearing.

After Tiffany’s testimony, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Christopher Estes denied the defense’s motion to dismiss the case and ordered McKinnis to stand trial on all charges. McKinnis was remanded back to custody on nearly a half a million dollars bail.

The 19-year-old is due back in court Monday, Feb. 10, for a second arraignment. If convicted as charged, McKinnis faces a maximum sentence of 16 years in state prison.

Previous related stories:

Palmdale man pleads not guilty to kidnapping, assaulting girlfriend

Palmdale man accused of abduction, assault

  9 comments for “Trial ordered for man accused of kidnapping, assaulting girlfriend

  1. Libra Diaries
    March 6, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Tiff- You are a beautiful woman and don’t deserve this. However, I see your facebook still says, His last name. Are you planning on going back to him? If you do, it’ll be your death warrant you are signing. That has to be the scariest thing anyone as ever encountered. Being held against your will, choked, probably didn’t allow you to go to the bathroom in peace or even shower. Being raped by someone is horrible, having your lady parts violated and not done out of love or passion. Tiffeny, these are the things murderers and thieves do they go into people’s homes and commit a hostage situation to someone they don’t know or interact with. Most hostage victims experience rape, denial of restrooms, all their items stolen and eventually death. So you were treated like a piece of trash, an animal. I dated someone like that years ago. And I finally left.

  2. Tiffeny peace (victim)
    February 11, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Wow im supprise every bodies views on this matter . I would like to be clear on something I didn’t expect any of this would get like this far we had plans and goals for the future im still in shock this happened like it did I would assumed he knew I loved him enough for him to no I wouldn’t cheat thats the reason that peeked his rage into doing all this .(im not going back to him ive learned my lession you can’t change someone thats stuck in there ways) And for other ppl that thinks its all my fault I wanna say the police came twice ,any smart person would of just let me go the 1st time but he didn’t then the police came again and found me under the bed so please tell me how it was my fault .
    -oh and the grandma lolz she knew gio wasn’t suppose to be living there and she allowed it to happen but its my fault that other got removed for her home thats didn”t have ntn to do with me gio decided to do what he wanted and you and his brothers was caught in the cross fire …. you shouldn’t of let him stay there .
    But im doing well and im an empowered woman now
    (Side note)
    ive humbled my self becuzz I no life is to short to be taking it for granted

    • Joy Joy
      February 11, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      You are not going back to him for another reason I can think of. He’s gonna be in jail for awhile.
      I hope you get counseling so you don’t end up in another abusive relationship. Work toward getting your child back and get an education. Sometimes a girl needs to get out of the area to get a new start in a new environment.
      Break the cycle of abuse. Don’t ever let your child see this again. Your recovery will take at least twice the length of time that you spent with him in your life.
      You deserve better than this. You are young and can have a bright future if you chose to.

  3. KOUI
    January 27, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Sounds like they deserve each other.

    • bill cline
      January 28, 2014 at 4:35 am

      I agree – She knew this guy was violent and crazy.. guys like that never change… she should have left… she is lucky she is not dead.

    • sikntired
      January 28, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Sounds like you two need to read up on domestic violence.
      A man who is a con artist, charmer, knows your weaknesses and lack of family support.
      .A girl who has very low self esteem from a lifetime of dysfunctional family life.( mother who didn’t report her missing.)
      The perfect set up, maybe she can save(fix)him, “he’s so intense he really must love me.”,this is the mindset of a domestic violence victim.
      Yes, she may go back to him, hopefully someone can intervene, but in the end it’s her call.
      Does she deserve it, absolutely not.Shame on you both.

    • tori
      January 28, 2014 at 9:43 pm

      That is total BULL he will get a short term and be back to his old ways! SAME CRAP HAPPENED TO SOMEONE I KNOW AND HE THREATENED TO KILL HIS KIDS! THAT CREEP GOT LESS THEN A YEAR FOR ALL THE ABUSE AND DEATH THREATS! Judges don’t give enough weight to what these manics do to the woman and children….change the system and lets really see this jerk get 16 years! won’t hold my breath cuz it ain’t gonna happen just watch!

  4. TakeBackTheCity
    January 27, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Tiffany P said that she wants him to receive “help and therapy”. Wow. She better wake up and smell the coffee, before she has to feel it. Usually “help and therapy” doesn’t help these types of brutal beastly abusers at ALL. Look at him.. he’s a beast. He’ll be an abuser until he’s no more. Tiffany P very much needs and had better get the “help and therapy” she so wants for her abuser. If she doesn’t, she’ll end up back with him getting choked, chopped, and elbowed, etc., until he one day does her in. If not him, another man like him and worse will be the end of her. Best of luck to you Tiffany P. Hopefully you receive counseling.

    • AV Folk
      January 27, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      People get so twisted up inside. Hopefully she figures it out and doesn’t go back to him. Anymore I just kind of expect irrationality in these kinds of stories.

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