Nevada County judge rules Derek Knill will face 5 drug charges; 2 dismissed in case | TheUnion.com

Nevada County judge rules Derek Knill will face 5 drug charges; 2 dismissed in case

A Grass Valley man who argued that authorities had insufficient probable cause to accuse him of drug possession will have five of his seven charges advance toward trial.

Derek Martin Knill, accused of having methamphetamine and heroin, had two charges against him dropped earlier this month during his preliminary hearing. Judge Robert Tice-Raskin ruled that five other counts — possession a controlled substance with a firearm, manufacturing butane honey oil, possession of an injection device, possession of heroin and possession of heroin for sale — would proceed to trial.

Defense attorney Stephen Munkelt argued at Knill's preliminary hearing that suspected meth was found in a purple backpack along with feminine items, leading prosecutors to drop misdemeanor counts of possession of methamphetamine and possession of meth for sale.

"There's nothing in that (backpack) to connect that to Mr. Knill," Munkelt said.

The judge ruled last week that the other charges would remain.

The case involves Nevada County Sheriff's Office Detective Jason Mackey, who's faced accusations of dishonesty and lack of integrity that have seeped into cases like Knill's. An internal investigation found no misconduct by Mackey.

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"These were unfounded allegations," District Attorney Cliff Newell said. "Everything was rumor, innuendo. There is nothing wrong with this officer and there is nothing wrong with his cases."

Authorities say they found Knill and Autumn Brooke Pearson in August 2015 at a Segsworth Way home after executing a search warrant. Detectives found a 2-year-old child sleeping on a makeshift bed, with Pearson and Knill on a nearby mattress. A loaded pistol was under the mattress. Syringes, along with suspected heroin and meth, was found throughout the home.

Pearson, 23, pleaded no contest in September to possession of a controlled substance and child endangerment, both misdemeanors. She was sentenced to time served in the county jail and three years' probation.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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