Judge won’t cut $1M bail in boating deaths case | TheUnion.com

Judge won’t cut $1M bail in boating deaths case

Rob Parsons
Special to the Union

Describing Jeffrey J. Sandow as "a threat to the community," a Yuba County judge on Wednesday refused to lower bail for the Auburn man charged with murder in a drunken boating collision last year.

A defense attorney had asked the defendant's $1 million bail be reduced to $250,000. "(Sandow) is profoundly remorseful and he and his family have been devastated, as has the family of the victims," defense attorney Rick Worrell said.

Penn Valley residents Sophie Peterlin, 12, and her mother, Cynthia, died Sept. 15 in the two-boat collision on Lake Englebright. Paul Peterlin, the father and husband, suffered major injuries but survived. Donna Niskern, a passenger in Sandow's boat, was also injured.

According to the bail report, Sandow was traveling on the wrong side of the lake at about 60 mph and appeared to be "cutting the corner" in the area of the lake referred to as "The Narrows."

Sandow's boat struck the Peterlins' craft. Sophie and Cynthia Peterlin suffered major head and neck injuries and died in their boat, the report said.

Yuba County sheriff's deputies described Sandow as "belligerent and impatient" at the scene, the report said.

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Worrell disputed many portions of the bail report, particularly statements attributed to Sandow. His blood-alcohol level was .18 percent, more than twice the legal limit, three hours after the crash, the Yuba County District Attorney's Office said.

In his arguments, Worrell noted Sandow has no prior criminal record and has made all court appearances since his release from custody in September with no attempt to flee.

"In this matter, two people are dead, one of them 12, and two others suffered hospital stays as a result of the intentional actions of (the) defendant," Deputy District Attorney Mechele Cook wrote.

Judge Julia L. Scrogin agreed with prosecutors, saying Sandow's alleged behavior fell "in the category of malice."

Prosecutors filed felony murder charges against Sandow last week.

Paul Peterlin filed a wrongful death suit against Sandow in December. Defense attorneys plan to ask the civil case be suspended pending the criminal proceedings.

A hearing is set June 24 in Yuba County Superior Court. Sandow remains in custody at the Yuba County Jail. He is due back in court July 31.

Rob Parsons is a staff writer at the Marysville Appeal-Democrat.

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