Conner Milkey, linked by authorities to jail death, could enter treatment facility |

Conner Milkey, linked by authorities to jail death, could enter treatment facility

Conner Milkey

A Grass Valley man accused of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a jail inmate could be released without bond, if a Nevada County judge allows him to enter an in-patient drug treatment facility.

Conner E. Milkey, 25, is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, when a probation officer is expected to discuss details about the case. Superior Court Judge Robert Tice-Raskin could then allow Milkey to enter a 10- to 18-month treatment program in Santa Rosa.

Milkey, who would be released on his own recognizance, cannot leave the facility while in treatment, though he’ll return to Nevada County for court appearances.

“We’re doing this instead of setting bail, instead of keeping him in custody,” Deputy District Attorney James Morris said.

Milkey is accused in the May 2016 jailhouse death of Joshua Hightower-Malta. Morris at a Thursday hearing said Milkey brought drugs into jail and shared them with other inmates, leading to Hightower-Malta’s death.

Jennifer Granger, Milkey’s attorney, told the judge on Thursday that a Santa Rosa treatment facility has accepted her client. The treatment includes both work and therapeutic components.

“He has everything to lose and nothing to gain,” she said of Milkey’s likelihood of leaving that facility.

Tice-Raskin said he wanted to hear from a probation officer before making a decision on Milkey entering the program. He noted that the probation office typically doesn’t supervise people outside the county. Additionally, a probation report lists Milkey as a high risk.

Granger argued that Nevada County has no similar treatment program. She also said that prosecutors waited over a year from the jail death to file charges in the case.

Morris said he’s seen many defendants enter a treatment facility and then leave. However, he’d agree to the program if a local probation officer checked daily on Milkey.

The judge then said he’d hear from a probation officer on Tuesday about the case.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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