Nevada County district attorney files gang enhancements, seeks higher bail in fatal shooting case
Six men charged in connection with the fatal shooting of a Nevada County woman during a drug deal gone bad now are facing allegations of gang activity that could net them life sentences.
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.
Richard, the alleged shooter, faces a murder accusation with special circumstances of firing from a vehicle, as well as an enhancement of personal use of a firearm causing great bodily injury and death.
Allegations of prior serious felony convictions were previously added to the charges facing Jennings, Levise and Turner. Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh last week added the gang enhancements for each defendant.
Richard on Monday appeared in Nevada County Superior Court in person, while his co-defendants appeared via Zoom, a move that had been contested previously by Walsh.
On Monday, Judge Linda Sloven ruled that because of COVID-19 regulations and because five of the co-defendants are not facing a murder charge, they would be allowed to appear remotely for some hearings.
Walsh asked Sloven to increase the bail to %400,000 for Harris and Wynn, and to $550,000 for Jennings, Levise and Turner due to the gang enhancements.
“The people allege the defendants belong to a sophisticated drug trafficking organization,” Walsh said, adding that legally qualifies as a gang in California. “They traveled here to commit these crimes in association with a gang.”
According to Walsh, shooting at an inhabited motor vehicle is a designated “gang felony” and makes the defendants eligible for a life sentence.
The bail increase was objected to by the cadre of defense attorneys, who called it a “serious violation of due process” and “bad faith on the part of the prosecution.”
Sloven noted she had not seen a gang case in Nevada County during her eight years on the bench, telling Walsh, “I don’t want to rule willy-nilly on something I don’t know much about.”
She opted to set a bail review hearing to be heard at the same time as a preliminary hearing into the evidence, and scheduled that for Jan. 5.
According to authorities, the suspects tried to purchase a “significant” amount of marijuana with fake money on Nov. 7 and 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. Shots were fired and one struck Shanta Olsen, who was the passenger in the pursuing vehicle. Grass Valley police detectives tracked the suspects to a Davis hotel and arrested them three days later.
Richard is being held without possibility of bail. Harris and Wynn are out of custody on a $100,000 bond each, while Jennings, Levise and Turner each have posted a $150,000 bond.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at email@example.com.
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