Charges filed against 6 men in Nevada County drug deal shooting
The Nevada County District Attorney’s Office has opted against filing a murder charge against the primary suspect in a drug deal-related shooting that left a woman brain dead.
That decision could change, however, Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said Friday.
Dakari Mondell Harris, 22, of Shreveport, Louisiana; and Trey Rondal Richard, 22; Devon Deontae Jennings, 21; William Rynell Levise, 31; Ronney Turner, 31; and Laderrick Timothy Wynn, 20, all of Dallas, have been charged with being members of a criminal conspiracy with the intent to transport marijuana out of state and theft by false pretenses, and with shooting at an occupied motor vehicle.
The alleged shooter, Trey Richard, also faces an enhancement of personal use of a firearm causing great bodily injury and death.
The men face charges in connection with the shooting of 36-year-old Shanta Olsen, of Nevada County, authorities said.
Walsh said changes in California law mean his office cannot file murder charges against anyone other than the actual shooter in this case.
“We are alleging conspiracy,” he said, adding that while only Richard shot at the occupied vehicle, the other five men were part of the conspiracy and the shooting was a foreseeable action. Under the law, he added, they are all liable for the crimes committed, other than murder.
Richard faces a potential sentence of 34 years to life if convicted on those counts and the enhancement, Walsh said. The other five men could face as much as nine years in prison, or more if evidence of prior offenses is uncovered.
A seventh suspect, Juan Jerome McHenry, 31, was not charged after investigators concluded there was enough evidence to show his involvement, Walsh said.
Walsh did not rule out amending his filing to include a murder charge against Richard.
“The victim was still on life support at the time we charged,” he said Friday afternoon. “Even though she is not expected to recover, we made the decision to hold off on (a) homicide charge.”
Grass Valley police had arrested the seven men Tuesday in the wake of a drug deal gone bad, Capt. Steve Johnson has said.
The suspects had tried to purchase a “significant” amount of marijuana with fake money on Nov. 7, Johnson said. During the course of the transaction at a residence on South Ponderosa Way, a confrontation ensued. The would-be buyers fled in an undetermined number of vehicles and two people began chasing them up Rough and Ready Highway into Grass Valley, Johnson said. Shots were fired and one struck the passenger in the pursuing vehicle, Olsen, in the head, Johnson said.
Detectives tracked the suspects to a Davis hotel and arrested them on suspicion of murder. During the search of the suspects’ hotel rooms, they located a semi-automatic pistol consistent with what might have been used in the shooting, more than 30 pounds of processed marijuana and a large stockpile of fake currency, Johnson said.
All six defendants appeared in Nevada County Superior Court Friday and were arraigned, Walsh said. They will next appear in court to enter pleas Nov. 20.
Richard is being held on a $1 million bond, while the others’ bonds ere set at $100,000 each, Walsh said.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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