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Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo blamed a "misperception" for a predawn visit he made last summer to a woman neighbor's home clad only in his socks and underwear.

In police interviews he gave after his July 13 arrest, the 5th District supervisor described a friendly acquaintance with the west Santa Rosa neighbor that included him bringing her a bottle of wine when she moved in and bumping into each other at a downtown nightclub.

The night of his arrest, Carrillo said he returned home from the same club, Space XXV, about 2:30 a.m. after his girlfriend dropped him off. He spotted his neighbor's kitchen light on and decided to go have a drink with her, he said, although he told police he could not remember her name.

Bare-chested and with beers in hand, he told officers he walked over and knocked on a sliding-glass door near her back porch. He knocked again on her front door and identified himself as "Efren, your neighbor," when she asked who it was.

But he heard a man's voice through the door, assumed he wasn't welcome and decided to leave, he said.

Carrillo was stopped by two police officers responding to the woman's 911 calls as he neared his own apartment. When he couldn't explain why he was half-dressed, they detained him. He later was arrested.

He faces a single misdemeanor count of peeking, which carries a maximum six-month jail sentence.

"In retrospect I should have had my pants on," Carrillo told the officers.

The recordings of Carrillo's statements to police were played in open court Friday as prosecutors and his defense lawyer sorted through evidence that could be presented at trial. Testimony is expected to begin next week.

Carrillo, who pleaded not guilty and is rejecting demands to resign from office, listened quietly from the defense table as the recordings were played. He declined to comment as he left the courthouse.

Judge Gary Medvigy postponed a decision until Monday on whether the recordings should be played for jurors. Some of the recordings were made before officers read Carrillo his Miranda rights, which protect against self-incrimination. However, Medvigy said one or more of the tapes did not seem coercive and that it appeared Carrillo "wanted to tell his story."

Medvigy ruled on more than a dozen other matters. In one decision, the judge ruled that any prior police contacts with Carrillo that didn't result in charges could not be shared with the jury.

That prevents prosecutors from presenting evidence from a 2012 fight involving Carrillo outside a downtown San Diego nightclub. Carrillo was arrested by police but prosecutors did not file criminal charges.

Cody Hunt, a prosecutor for the state Attorney General's Office, mentioned "other police reports" involving Carrillo but they also will be excluded. Details of those incidents were not made public.

Medvigy didn't appear to offer an explanation for his ruling.

The judge addressed a room full of about 70 prospective jurors Friday, telling them the name of the case and cautioning them against reading news reports about it. At least a few people seemed to recognize Carrillo, who was standing in the room beside his lawyer, Chris Andrian.

"This case must be judged only by evidence that is presented in trial in open court," he said.

Jury selection was expected to begin Monday. Medvigy estimated the trial would end by Friday.

The woman, identified in court only as Jane Doe, and Carrillo are expected to testify. A number of other witnesses and police officers also will take the stand.

Recordings of the woman's 911 calls likely will be played. Police and prosecutors have rejected requests from The Press Democrat to release the recordings.

If the judge allows it, prosecutors will play Carrillo's recorded statements to police.

Carrillo was arrested after the woman called 911 twice around 3:40 a.m. to report someone outside her bedroom window and later at her front door.

Police said she reported being awakened by the sound of moving window blinds. Officers found a torn window screen.

Carrillo, who was discovered nearby, was booked on felony burglary and prowling. Detectives suspected an attempted sexual assault.

But after a monthslong investigation, prosecutors concluded there wasn't enough evidence and filed the lesser peeking charge.

The two sides argued Friday about what is required to prove peeking, described in the penal code as looking into a building while loitering. The judge said prosecutors were not obligated to prove Carrillo's intent.

Carrillo seemed to explain his motive in police interviews but the reasons for his state of undress remained unclear.

He said he had consumed two beers and two mixed drinks at the downtown club before being driven home to his West Third Street apartment.

Carrillo said he met the neighbor four or five months earlier and had a "great interaction," but insisted they had no romantic relationship.

Still, he said he wanted to socialize. So he told police he grabbed two beers — Pliny the Elders from Russian River Brewing — from his refrigerator, along with his cellphone, and walked to her apartment, which he could see from his own home.

He entered a back porch area first, knocking on the sliding door, and then walked around to the front door to knock again. He said he couldn't remember if he ever went to a bedroom window as reported.

When he knocked on the front door, a woman asked, "Who is it?" he said.

He identified himself but left after hearing a man say, "What the hell?" he said.

"It was a bad read," he told an officer. "A misperception on my part."

Carrillo said he dropped the two beers and his phone when he saw police because he didn't want them to think he had a weapon. He appeared cooperative, telling police that he was a county supervisor when they asked about his occupation.

Police asked him why he wasn't fully clothed but he gave no clear answer. At one point he explained he had been getting ready for bed.

Throughout one of the interviews Carrillo said he was sorry for scaring his neighbor but meant her no harm. In his view, he said, he was "not doing anything criminal."

"I saw her light on and wanted to say hello," he told police.

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com.

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