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March 6, 2014
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Bail raised for one defendant, second to be tried as adult in Grass Valley brutal home invasion robbery

The lone adult defendant in a home invasion robbery in Grass Valley that seriously injured the elderly resident was handcuffed and taken to jail after his bail was raised to $200,000.

Devin Matthew Thomas, 18, had turned himself in on charges of criminal conspiracy, second-degree robbery and first-degree residential burglary and had been released on his own recognizance.

But in Nevada County Superior Court Thursday afternoon, Judge Linda Sloven agreed with Deputy District Attorney Ray De Jesus on the need for a bail increase, saying she found the facts of the case “quite disturbing.”

The 73-year-old victim was beaten and tied up Dec. 6 by three young men who knocked on his door and asked him if they could make an out-of-town phone call.

He was struck in the face and head by an unidentified weapon and left bound and bleeding on the floor while the trio ransacked and stole several items from the residence before fleeing in his truck.

He was able to crawl to a telephone to call 911; his truck later was recovered on Richardson Street.

The victim has had several surgeries to repair the fractured orbital bone around his right eye and continues to have serious medical issues from the beating.

In court, Thomas’ attorney, David Silber, unsuccessfully argued that his client was not the third suspect that had been sought by Grass Valley Police detectives and that he was tangentially involved at worst.

De Jesus, however, noted that evidence tying Thomas to the robbery was found in his home.

A felony conference was set for March 13, and Sloven noted that a date would need to be scheduled for the preliminary hearing into the evidence against Thomas.

“My son would never hurt anyone,” Thomas’ father said after he was led away. “He’s never been in trouble before.”

A 17-year-old boy reported to have been the primary aggressor was arrested less than a week after the attack.

He was booked into Juvenile Hall on suspicion of kidnapping, robbery, battery with serious bodily injury, residential burglary, theft from an elder and false imprisonment of an elder, as well as violating probation.

A decision on whether to try him as an adult is still pending.

The third suspect, 17-year-old Tyler Leal, was arrested Feb. 13 and originally booked as a juvenile on suspicion of robbery, criminal conspiracy and possession of stolen property.

A felony complaint charging Leal as an adult was filed Feb. 28, and he was arraigned Monday on charges of second- degree robbery, first- degree residential burglary, criminal conspiracy and possession of stolen property.

He will return to court March 13 to enter a plea and is being held in custody in lieu of $150,000 bail.

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

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The Union Updated Mar 7, 2014 09:14AM Published Mar 14, 2014 08:44AM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.