A lawyer for Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo on Monday suggested the young politician was hoping to share beers with a neighbor around 3a.m. shortly before he was arrested on suspicion of prowling and burglary outside the woman's residence.
The assertion, two days after Carrillo was detained early Saturday in just his socks and underwear, provides a counterpoint to police suspicion that the incident had the marks of an attempted sexual assault.
It came as Santa Rosa police provided additional details from their completed investigation, including finding signs of forced entry at the woman's residence and her report that she saw a shirtless man — later identified as Carrillo — outside.
The state Attorney General's Office took over the case from local prosecutors Monday and must now decide whether to file charges against Carrillo, a rising Latino star in the Democratic Party who had been considering a run for the state Legislature.
Carrillo, 32, was arrested on suspicion of burglary, a felony and prowling, a misdemeanor. If charged and convicted of a felony he would lose his job under a state government code covering elected officials. Gov. Jerry Brown would appoint a replacement.
Carrillo, who represents the west county, has checked into an alcohol treatment facility and is expected to be away from his job for up to a month. In a brief written response Saturday to his arrest, Carrillo said he has a drinking problem. He has not offered any further public comment.
Inside the Sonoma County administration center Monday, employees expressed shock at the arrest. County administrators sought to keep the matter at arm's length.
While Carrillo is a top county official, his arrest and treatment "really doesn't involve us," said County Administrator Veronica Ferguson. "It's a personal issue. It isn't a county business issue."
His supporters and advisers have not denied his involvement in what they've characterized as an embarrassing and "foolish" incident, one they say was fueled by his alcohol problem.
His defense attorney, Chris Andrian, said Carrillo was "carrying a couple of beers," suggesting he might have been seeking to have a drink with the woman shortly before she called 911 at 3:40 a.m.
Andrian said that while outside the woman's home, Carrillo also identified himself as a neighbor.
"People who are going to go and assault someone don't usually say, 'Hi, I'm your neighbor,'" he said.
Police suspect Carrillo of first going to the woman's bedroom window, breaking the screen, reaching in and partially opening a window enough to rustle the blinds — a sound that woke the woman.
She called 911 first to report someone trying to break in to her bedroom, police said. Moments later she called police again to say the person had knocked on her front door, announced that he was a neighbor and then ran away.
Officers arriving to the area of West Third Street and Stony Point Road — within a block of Carrillo's rented Brockhurst Drive apartment — saw him carrying a cellphone and walking toward them wearing only underwear and socks.
Andrian, one of the county's top defense attorneys, would not discuss further Carrillo's behavior, including his reason for being undressed, citing attorney-client privilege.
Carrillo is scheduled to make a first appearance in Sonoma County Superior Court on Thursday but it is unclear what charges, if any, will be filed or whether the supervisor will attend.