LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A judge Monday dismissed all but one charge against a man accused of slipping ecstacy, a hallucinogen, also known as the “love pill,” into his date’s drink at a Santa Monica hotel bar.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Upinder S. Kalra dropped 18 counts against Michael Roe Chien Hsu due to a bad warrant. The defendant was ordered to stand trial on the remaining one count – felony poisoning.
The defendant’s bail was reduced from $350,000 to $50,000 Monday.
He had pleaded not guilty to all those charges.
Police arrested Hsu in May 2016 after three women, who said they witnessed the alleged attempted poisoning, posted about the incident on Facebook.
They said Hsu tried to spike his date’s drink while she was in the restroom at Fig restaurant located in the Fairmont Miramar hotel.
Two of those witnesses took the stand at the defendant’s preliminary hearing Monday. “I can see he had something concealed in his hand. I kept watching and saw something fall from his hand into the wine glass,” Monica Kenyon told CBS2’s Kristine Lazar after her testimony.
Kenyon said Hsu appeared nervous before slipping something into his date’s wine glass and turned bright red when he saw Kenyon staring at him.
Sonya Ulrich, who was also there at the time, said she went to the restroom and alerted Hsu’s date. Ulrich added that Hsu’s date told her that he was one of her best friends.
Security video captured Hsu pouring an unknown substance into the woman’s wine glass, according to a statement of probable cause filed by a Santa Monica police officer.
“Felony poisoning requires some sort of intent – a specific intent – to either harm, injure or kill the person,” defense attorney Joshua Ritter explained. “I am confident the DA is not going to able to prove that.”
Ritter added that prosecutors overcharged his client, who is the alleged victim’s former coworker and had a sexual relationship with her for more than a year.
“I think the evidence is going to prove require that she have some sort of security clearance that she could not knowingly take any kind of narcotics,” Ritter stated.
But on the stand, a drug expert testified that the victim told police she may have been drugged before, saying she felt unexplained eurphoria when she went out with Hsu, even seeing photos of herself being uncharacteristically affectionate with him.
If convicted, Hsu could face up to six years in prison.