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Criminal Case Update & Review for the week of 1/11/17

Thank you all for your support and efforts in making Plumas County a safe and just place to live, work and play in 2016. From a public safety perspective, we find ourselves in a changing and challenging time.

As we enter 2017, we find California to have undergone a “sea change” in the area of criminal law: in 2011 AB109 was enacted shifting traditional state prison responsibilities to our counties; in 2014 Proposition 47 converted many traditional felonies, primarily those involving drug and theft offenses, to misdemeanors; this past year saw Proposition 57 pass allowing for the potential early release of many felons convicted of serious crimes.

At a local level we continue to wrestle with methamphetamine and prescription drug crimes as well as recognizing the relatively new, to our area, inclusion of heroin as a drug of choice.

Despite these challenges we are exceptionally fortunate to have a dedicated and highly competent law enforcement community.

In particular, the daily efforts of Sheriff Greg Hagwood and CHP Commanders Sarah Richards (Quincy area) and Joe Micheletti (Susanville area) and their staffs are crucial in maintaining a safe and just Plumas County.

While some larger counties have seemingly given up on enforcing many quality of life laws, Plumas County continues to hold the line. We continue to investigate and prosecute property and substance abuse crimes in an effort to maintain the level of safety and security Plumas County has come to expect.

To this end, we have also recognized the necessity to 10 years.

Tanah Braswell joined our staff this year on a part-time basis and has worked effectively to meet our goal of maintaining the important and necessary contact with victims of crime so they can be apprised of the status of their case and its results.

During the summer we were also delighted to be joined by recent Quincy High School graduates Daniel Haygood and Abby Edwards in our internship program with each demonstrating a keen intellect and promising legal future while providing support to our office in an important and complicated case.

In navigating the changing landscape with minimal resources, it is crucial we effectively work to lower the recidivism rate and address the underlying factors giving rise to an individual’s criminality — particularly with regard to the lower level crimes involving substance abuse or mental health issues.

To this end 2016 saw truly exceptional work from the Community Justice Services (formerly Alternative Sentencing) team of Lori Beatley, Samantha Rick, and Marisha Hermann as led by Stephanie Tanaka.

Stephanie’s group initially served as the liaison between county resources and the criminal justice system. As gaps were identified Stephanie and her group repeatedly stepped up to meet ever-changing needs, including directing an evolving community justice court, a vibrant day reporting center, outstanding vocational programs, a pretrial release program crucial to the health of Plumas County as well as our efforts to secure funding for a new jail.

As we move forward into what appears to be an exciting and challenging 2017, I am particularly grateful for the tremendous support of our community in making Plumas County a safe and just place to live, work and play.

Below is a sampling of some recent cases and investigations in Plumas County. Again, thank you for your continued support in making Plumas County safe and just.

People v. Branden Espindola

On Nov. 18, Branden James Espindola, age 29 of Chester, was convicted of felony commercial burglary. Espindola is scheduled to be sentenced Jan 13.

Espindola was found to have burglarized an auto dismantling business in the Chester area this past November with a friend. “Cold burglaries” can be very difficult to solve for law enforcement to such an extent some counties have opted not to expend resources in these types of cases. I am very thankful Plumas County continues to vigorously pursue justice in situations where our citizens’ property comes under attack.

I want to extend my appreciation for the quick and thorough investigative work of Plumas County Sheriff’s Deputies Bjorn Berg and Rob Gott in this case.

People v. John Henry Lee III

On Nov. 18, John Henry Lee III, age 20 of Quincy, was convicted of a felony violation of deterring an officer by force or threat. At sentencing on Dec. 16, Lee was placed on three years of formal probation, the terms of which included he served 230 days in county jail.

Lee was arrested on Sept. 3, after getting into a physical altercation with his girlfriend. Upon contact by a deputy, Lee resisted arrest and had to be physically taken into custody. During the arrest Lee suffered cuts to his face and was taken to Plumas District Hospital. At the hospital, Lee attempted to fight officers for approximately 25 minutes before finally being subdued.

I want to thank Deputy Tyler Hermann and Officer Chris Holland for their efforts in assuring this situation came to as peaceful end as possible as well as the staff at PDH for their patience and cooperation.

People v. Adam Harned

On Nov. 18, Adam Kent Harned, age 32 of Live Oak, was sentenced to 16 months in county jail and ordered to pay restitution. Harned, on Oct. 7, had been convicted of felony unlawful taking of a vehicle.

Harned was arrested on Sept. 26, after deputies responded to a call for service concerning a suspicious male walking in the Lake Almanor with a gas can.

Upon contact deputies found Harned near a truck that had been stolen from a casino in Oroville earlier that day.

Additionally, deputies found the truck displayed a license plate that had been stolen from Greenville a few hours earlier.

I want to thank Deputies Wilber and Driscoll for their efforts in quickly solving this crime.

People v. Howard Bagby

On Dec. 9, Howard David Bagby, age 65 of Los Molinos, was convicted of felony grand theft. Sentencing has been set for Jan. 27.

Bagby was arrested after getting into an argument, which turned physical, with his girlfriend. When the victim attempted to call the police Bagby took her cell phone, broke it and threw in into a nearby river.

I want to thank Deputies Hermann and Wilber for their efforts during this investigation.

People v. Chad Greenwood and Phillip Mays

On Dec. 9, Phillip Virgel Mays, age 38 of Lincoln, and Chad James Greenwood, age 32 of Sheridan, were convicted of first degree residential burglary and ordered to appear for sentencing on Jan. 20, when it is expected each will be sentenced to two years in state prison.

Greenwood and Mays were arrested after a contact by a CHP Officer in the Feather River Canyon on Highway 70. Greenwood and Mays were in a vehicle towing a trailer, both holding a great deal of property.

A subsequent investigation revealed the property had been stolen from a currently unoccupied residence in the Greenville area.

I want to thank CHP Officer McAllister for his prompt and diligent investigation as well as CHP Officer Cahill and Sheriff’s Detective Hendrickson and Deputy Gott for their assistance in the investigation.

This investigation was complicated and involved a large amount of stolen property. It is heartening to see the high level of dedication by our law enforcement professionals in assuring those who victimize our property owners are brought to justice.

People v. Brock Herritt

On Dec. 9, Brock Gregory Herritt, age 40 of Paradise, was convicted of felony driving under the influence with prior convictions. Herritt’s sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 9, when it is expected he would receive a sentence of 16 months in state prison.

Herritt was arrested on Nov. 26, after an officer observed him driving erratically on Highway 70, east of Quincy.

A subsequent investigation found Herritt to have a blood alcohol level of .18, more than twice the legal limit.

I want to thank CHP Officer Logan for his efforts during this investigation and arrest.

In Plumas County our roads can be challenging and unforgiving, particularly in the winter months. Adding an impaired driver to such an equation creates an unacceptable level of danger.

Cases of Interest

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

People v. Corder and Payne (Assault on Officers) Jan. 30, jury trial.

People v. Nazira Maria Cross (Homicide case) extradition pending from Peru.

People v. Sheldon Steward (Homicide case) April 3, jury trial.

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.

Respectfully yours,

David Hollister

District Attorney

One thought on “Criminal Case Update & Review for the week of 1/11/17

  • Thank you David Hollister.

    My hat is off and both thumbs up to all the dedicated men and women who serve this county in law enforcement and going further, to those who staff our jails and prosecute crimes committed within Plumas County. Kindest regards, you make Plumas County an amazing place to live!

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