Evidentiary hearing set for suspect in Nevada City BLM rally assault | TheUnion.com

Evidentiary hearing set for suspect in Nevada City BLM rally assault

James Smith

A January preliminary hearing into the evidence has been set for a man charged with felony assault during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Nevada City.

James Steven Smith, 40, is one of three suspects charged in connection with an Aug. 9 rally, but is the only one facing a felony. Smith, who is out of custody on a $100,000 bond, previously pleaded not guilty. He appeared in Nevada County Superior Court Thursday and an evidentiary hearing date was set for Jan. 28.

After that hearing, the judge will decide if enough evidence was presented to hold Smith on one count of assault likely to cause great bodily injury and two counts of robbery.

Smith was arrested on allegations that he body slammed one person and threw him to the ground, as well as forcibly took a cell phone from another person during the course of the hour-long demonstration, Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said at the time of Smith’s arrest.

Randy Matheson and Joseph Alves, both 48 and from Grass Valley, each have been charged with misdemeanor battery in connection with the demonstration in Nevada City and have pleaded not guilty.

Matheson is alleged to have sucker punched or slapped a man on the side of the head, while Alves is alleged to have confronted a BLM protester and forcibly ripped a sign away, Walsh has said.

Both men are out of custody on their own recognizance and will return to court Jan. 11, court records state.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.

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