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October 1, 2013
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Hodges found not guilty in alleged jail assault

A jury found a Grass Valley man not guilty of battery causing serious bodily injury after he allegedly broke a cellmate’s jaw in January.

Eric Craig Hodges reportedly had punched the man in the jaw, breaking it in two places. His trial on the battery charge was Sept. 26, and the jury returned a not-guilty verdict.

Hodges has been incarcerated since being arrested the previous November for reportedly trying to kill his aunt and uncle with a hammer. He is set to go to trial in that case in January 2014. Hodges allegedly went to the couple’s residence on Maiden Lane on Nov. 30, 2012.

He allegedly hit his aunt several times in the face with the hammer as she pleaded with him to stop and then told her he was going to kill her.

She reportedly needed 280 stitches due to facial injuries, which included a right eye fracture and left cheekbone fracture, as well as numerous other broken bones.

He allegedly hit his uncle in the back of the head several times with the claw end of the hammer, reportedly sustaining lacerations to his arm and scalp.

In other court news:

— A Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputy arrested last week for allegedly molesting a 14-year-old boy has been set for arraignment on Nov. 4.

Donald Black has worked for Sacramento County for at least 10 years.

Black reportedly had molested the victim, who is now 21, for several years starting when the boy was 14.

Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Ow, who is handling the case, said she is waiting for reports and has not yet filed a complaint outlining the charges. Black has been released from jail on $100,000 bail.

— A Nevada City man who opted for a court trial, rather than a jury trial, was found guilty Tuesday of three misdemeanor counts of possessing an illegal weapon, making a threat against a peace officer, and possessing drug paraphernalia.

Nevada County Superior Court Judge Tom Anderson found insufficient evidence to convict him of a count of being under the influence of a controlled substance.

A charge of possession of ammunition was not upheld after a preliminary hearing into the evidence, and another charge of possession of stolen property, was dismissed in July.

Members of the Nevada County sheriff’s narcotics task force had served a search warrant on a property in the 11000 block of Scotts Valley Road on May 13 that named property owner Robert Johnson.

Deputies reportedly found a safe that contained ammunition for a pistol, as well as an Isleton police badge and a tactical vest with handcuffs, a high-capacity magazine for a Glock, a pepper-spray container and a leg holster for a Glock.

They also located a water pipe, and Johnson reportedly showed multiple signs of being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Deputies also found a homemade weapon during the search that Johnson reportedly said was a lock in a sock — a DIY weapon consisting of a padlock with a bungee cord attached to it, wrapped in surgical tape.

After the trial, Anderson sentenced Johnson to three years summary court probation and 32 days in county jail with credit for time served. He must serve 240 hours of community service, and the weapon is to be destroyed.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email lkellar@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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The Union Updated Oct 2, 2013 12:08AM Published Oct 2, 2013 10:57PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.