Liz Kellar

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October 6, 2013
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Visine poisoner takes plea, is sentenced

An Alta Sierra man who poisoned his girlfriend with Visine has been sentenced to 120 days in jail and three years supervised probation after pleading no contest to spousal abuse.

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 into the evidence against him.

Nevada County Sheriff’s Detective Nate Hutson testified that Carpenter admitted to putting two or three squirts of Visine in the woman’s coffee and said “multiple times” that it was just a joke and that he didn’t mean to hurt her.

Carpenter took a plea agreement in July and was sentenced in Nevada County Superior Court Sept. 23. His sentence included attending a 52-week batterer’s program.

In other court news:

The “Hippy Gourmet,” who was arrested more than a year ago on marijuana sales charges, is set to undergo a preliminary hearing into the evidence against him on Nov. 21.

Bruce Murray Brennan, 58, was arrested after narcotics detectives conducting a medical marijuana compliance check allegedly discovered a commercial pot-growing operation.

Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies had gone to Brennan’s home in the 20000 block of Woodbury Drive in response to a complaint but obtained a search warrant when they suspected Brennan was growing for profit.

Deputies reportedly found about eight to 10 pounds of processed cola in packages, as well as scales.

“He also allegedly had 80 plants, fully developed, waiting to be harvested,” Nevada County sheriff’s Lt. Steve Tripp said.

After Brennan was arrested, deputies allegedly found $5,000 in cash hidden in his underwear.

Brennan catered to celebrities such as Ronald Reagan and Francis Ford Coppola in the 1970s, then moved to San Francisco and opened an inn with his sister in the Haight, according to a biography posted on “The Hippy Gourmet” website.

“The Hippy Gourmet” television series began in 2001 on public access cable TV stations in San Francisco and Marin County and started broadcasting on PBS nationally in 2004. Brennan left the show in 2007.

Brennan’s case has dragged on due to multiple motions being filed by his attorney. On Oct. 1, motions to compel discovery, as well as to suppress evidence and quash the search warrant, were withdrawn and the evidentiary hearing date was set; the hearing is expected to last all day.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4229.

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The Union Updated Oct 7, 2013 12:30AM Published Oct 7, 2013 07:28PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.