Suspect in stabbing defers entering plea |

Suspect in stabbing defers entering plea

A man accused of stabbing another man 11 times has been charged with attempted murder but postponed entering a plea until May.

High Loomis Tower, 24, was arrested in mid-March after a party off Banner Lava Cap Road turned violent.

A 19-year-old man, who was not identified, went to the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital emergency room at about 3 a.m. with multiple stab wounds to the torso. He also sustained a cut to the shoulder, as well as a cut to one hand so severe that it severed all of the tendons in the hand.

The victim told Sheriff's deputies he had been at a party in the 11000 block of Wyvan Court when he began arguing with Tower. Several punches allegedly were thrown before the fight broke up. But the fight resumed, and Tower allegedly stabbed the other man with a 3 1/2-inch folding knife before fleeing on foot.

Tower was eventually located walking in the 2300 block of Nevada City Highway and arrested. He has been charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, with enhancements of use of a deadly weapon and assault causing grievous bodily injury. The charges make Tower eligible for a prison sentence, according to court documents.

Tower was arraigned March 20 but deferred entering a plea until May 2.

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In other court news:

— Two men charged with seven counts each of burglary are considering a plea agreement offer that could net them a maximum of 16 years in prison.

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.

Madonna and Wilkins were in Nevada County Superior Court Thursday, where it was indicated they were considering a plea agreement. A preliminary hearing into the evidence remained set for April 25.

— A man arrested in mid-February after being found passed out behind the wheel of a running vehicle with more than 11 grams of heroin took a plea agreement in court Thursday.

Vincent Michael Joseph Nigro, 29, was arrested after Grass Valley Police responding to a report of a man asleep in a running vehicle allegedly found him with a syringe in his hand.

Nigro had been arrested on similar charges in Grass Valley in early October after allegedly being found passed out in a running vehicle that was stopped at a light with a needle in his arm. In that incident, he was charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

He pleaded no contest to possession of a controlled substance and driving under the influence, and was set for sentencing May 17.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail or call 530-477-4229.

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