Two men who had been charged with seven counts each of burglary took a plea agreement that carries a stipulated prison sentence of four years and eight months.
Stephen Madonna and Brent R.D. Wilkins, both 20, were arrested in December 2012 after the red Nissan sedan they were driving was reported as suspicious by a caller in the area of Casa Loma Drive and East Home Place, southeast of Grass Valley.
Nevada County sheriff’s deputies approached the vehicle and allegedly spotted a handgun safe in the back seat that matched the description of one that had been stolen from a home on the 14000 block of Liquidambar Lane. Deputies subsequently obtained a search warrant for Madonna and Wilkins’ residence on the 19000 block of North Home Place, where a stockpile of stolen property allegedly was recovered that linked the men to a number of burglaries.
Among the recovered items at the residence were several bags of jewelry, electronics, another safe, power tools and weapons, including rifles and one pistol from the vehicle.
Ten burglaries Madonna and Wilkins were reportedly tied to occurred during the day at unoccupied homes around Grass Valley and in the Alta Sierra area around Dog Bar Road.
Investigators believe the pair would approach a cased residence and knock on the door.
If someone answered, they would ask directions or act as though they were at the wrong house. If no one was home, doors were kicked in.
The two men were set for a preliminary hearing into the evidence against them Thursday morning. But according to Wilkins’ attorney, Bill Walker, they took a plea agreement in Nevada County Superior Court Wednesday.
The men each pleaded no contest to two counts of first-degree residential burglary and one count of possessing stolen property, according to court records.
The sentence also carries two strikes for each man, Walker said. Sentencing was set for Aug. 2.
Visine poisoning case to proceed
After reviewing the evidence presented at a court hearing and looking at intent, a local judge held an Alta Sierra man to answer on all charges after he allegedly poisoned his girlfriend with Visine.
Shayne Curtis Carpenter, 27, allegedly put the Visine in the woman’s coffee because he thought it would cause vomiting and diarrhea.
But the eye drops contain tetrahydrozoline, which can cause symptoms that include difficulty breathing, blurred vision, changes in blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, tremors or seizures, coma and low body temperature.
The woman sought treatment at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, was treated and released in the early March incident.
Nevada County Deputy Public Defender Tamara Zuromskis said the defendant’s intent was not to cause serious harm during the preliminary hearing June 13.
After taking the matter under submission, Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger found enough evidence to hold Carpenter to answer on charges of spousal abuse and wilful poisoning. He is set for formal arraignment on July 8.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.