An update on criminal court cases in Plumas County

Thank you all for your support and efforts in making Plumas County a safe and just place to live, work and play. I am incredibly thankful for the hard work of local law enforcement and the tremendous support of public safety by our community.The last decade has witnessed California undertake drastic changes to our criminal laws, often with less than desirable results — especially in California’s larger cities. I continue to be proud of Plumas County’s response in implementing these laws while requiring accountability by the offender and maintaining the public’s safety as the paramount consideration.

This December will mark the retirement of Sheriff Greg Hagwood. Greg has done an incredible job as our Sheriff, often during the most challenging of times. Greg has demonstrated a level of leadership, attention and pursuit of justice which has made Plumas County a better place.

Our community has every reason to be optimistic Greg’s excellent work will be continued with the appointment of Patrol Commander Todd Johns as Sheriff. Todd, who has demonstrated himself to be an adept problem-solver, brings an experience and respect worthy of his appointment. I have no reservation Todd and the outstanding men and women of the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office will continue to serve our community in a dignified, fair and safety-minded manner.

Below is a sampling of recent cases. Space and resources prevent coverage of all cases, but we have tried our best to follow-up on those cases which have previously been covered by Feather Publishing or have been the subject of inquiry by the public.

People v. Jose Nunes

(F18-00897)

On Sept. 6, Jose Nunes, age 31 of Portola, was convicted of felony domestic violence with a “strike” prior conviction. Nunes was subsequently sentenced to six years in state prison Oct. 18.

Nunes’ conviction stemmed from an Oct. 28, 2018, incident outside of the Bank Club in Portola where Nunes attacked his girlfriend. I want to thank Deputy Bjorn Berg for his efforts during this investigation as well as the numerous citizens who assisted law enforcement the evening of the attack and prevented further harm to the victim.

People v. Katrisa Jones

(F19-00244)

On Oct. 31, following a two-day trial, a jury found Katrisa Jones, age 49 of Greenville, guilty of transportation of methamphetamine for sale and possession of methamphetamine for sale, both felonies. Jones, on Dec. 6, and based on a lengthy criminal record, was sentenced to four years in county jail by the Honorable Janet Hilde.

On March 12, Jones was arrested following a traffic stop during which over one ounce of methamphetamine was found under Jones’s seat. I want to thank DDA Kelly Styger for her efforts during the trial as well Deputy Juan Cervantes and Detective Chris Hendrickson for their work during this investigation.

People v. Daniel Vincent

(F18-00168)

On Aug. 14, Daniel James Vincent, age 51 of Chester, was convicted by a jury of felony crimes of possessing methamphetamine while armed with a loaded and operable firearm, transporting methamphetamine for sale, being a felon in possession of a firearm and a misdemeanor count of driving with a suspended license.

Vincent was sentenced Sept. 13 to 4 years and 8 months in state prison by the Honorable Douglas Prouty. Vincent was originally arrested March 4, 2018, for driving on a suspended license. A search of Vincent found over an ounce of methamphetamine hidden in his pants as well as a loaded revolver, scale, cell phone and scanner in a backpack in the truck Vincent was driving. I wish to extend my appreciation to Deputy Juan Cervantes and the PCSO Investigations unit for their work on the case as well as the jury for their patience, consideration and service during the trial.

People v. Vance Terry

(F19-00435)

On Aug. 2, Vance Charles Terry, age 72 of Quincy, was convicted of a felony violation of failing to register as a sex offender. Terry was subsequently sentenced Aug. 30, to two years in state prison. Terry had been the subject of numerous “suspicious circumstance” complaints concerning his conduct in Quincy leading to an investigation concerning his actual residence and level of registration compliance. I wish to thank Detective John Fatheree and the numerous law enforcement officers for their efforts during this investigation.

People v. John Butcher

(F19-00114)

On Aug. 16, John Benjamin Butcher Jr., age 39 of Chester, was convicted of residential burglary with a great bodily injury enhancement. Butcher was sentenced Sept. 27, and received a term of 5 years in state prison.

Butcher was arrested Feb. 12, following an incident the day prior where Butcher forced his way into the residence of his daughter’s 14-year-old ex-boyfriend. Butcher then struck the 14-year-old before being forced out of the residence by the 14-year-old and the 14-year-old’s father. Once on the porch the altercation continued, culminating with Butcher stabbing the 14-year-old’s father in the face with a screwdriver. While not life-threatening the attack caused great bodily injury with the screwdriver plunging nearly 3 inches into the victim’s head — entering below the eye and traveling into the roof of the mouth. I want to thank the victims and the Seneca Hospital staff for their patience and perseverance during this prosecution as well as Deputy Juan Cervantes for his thorough work during the investigation.

People v. Jeffery Kelley

(F19-00520 and F19-00395)

On Dec. 6, Jeffery Lee Kelley, age 41 of Graeagle, was convicted of felony counts of possessing stolen property and auto theft. Kelley is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 31, when it is expected he will receive a sentence of 2 years and 8 months in county jail.

Kelley was prosecuted based on an investigation concerning a series of thefts in the Graeagle/Blairsden area. I want to thank Deputy Chandler Peay for his diligent efforts investigating this complex case.

People v. Aaron Walter

(F19-00560)

On Oct. 25, Aaron Jacob Walter, age 41 of Meadow Valley, was convicted of felony domestic violence with great bodily injury and was found to have suffered a “strike” prior conviction. Walter was sentenced to nine years in state prison Dec. 6.

Walter was originally arrested Aug. 6, following a July 28 assault which left his girlfriend with a broken nose. Walter was taken into custody in Loyalton with the assistance of the Plumas County SWAT team. I want to thank the victim for her patience and assistance during the prosecution as well as members from the Plumas and Sierra County Sheriff’s Offices for their work in the investigation and apprehension of Walter.

Cases of interest

There are a number of upcoming cases of interest. Some include:

People v. Karen Schwamb (triple homicide DUI incident on Hwy. 70; April 20, 2020 jury trial);

People v. Eugene Hill (DUI with injury involving highway construction flagger; Jan. 10, 2020, set hearing);

People v. Nicholas Phillips (arson/homicide; Dec. 20 Arraignment on Information).

Thank you, again for your support and efforts. Should you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact me at the DA’s Office.

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