Nevada County jury hung on two counts, acquits on third in assault case |

Nevada County jury hung on two counts, acquits on third in assault case

Paul Switzer

The trial of a Nevada City man on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism and criminal threats ended Thursday with a not guilty verdict on one count and a hung jury on two remaining counts.

Paul Warde Switzer, 55, was facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism, and criminal threats in connection with an incident on Jan. 2. 2019. Authorities claimed Switzer used a splitting maul to repeatedly hit another man’s truck, smashing the windows, hitting him in the back and threatening to kill him. But Nevada County Deputy Public Defender Tamara Zuromskis argued during trial that Switzer was acting in self-defense and was in legitimate fear of his life.

After nearly three days of deliberations, the jury found Switzer not guilty of making criminal threats. The jury was hung on the two other charges, Deputy District Attorney Casey Ayer said.

Ayer said she will re-try Switzer on the assault and vandalism charges. An offer for Switzer to plead guilty to the assault charge, with no agreed-upon sentence, remains open, she said.

A pre-trial conference is set for March 6, followed by the trial on March 17.

Switzer remained jailed Thursday under $35,000 in bond.

Switzer’s case had been on hold for several months after he was found incompetent to stand trial. However, his case returned to court late last year, when a judge found enough evidence to advance it to trial.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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