Nevada state authorities say homicide suspect has a criminal past
Joseph Ward, the 31-year-old Nevada state man facing murder accusations in the death of Kenneth Pestana, has a lengthy criminal history, authorities said.
Ward, arrested late Thursday in Carson City, has faced charges numerous times over the past 14 years in neighboring Douglas County, according to Mark Jackson, that county’s district attorney.
“Joseph Ward has had numerous prosecutions in Douglas County,” the Nevada state prosecutor said, noting that not all Ward’s cases ended in convictions. “It spanned property offenses, drug offenses and violent offenses.”
Held in the Carson City Jail, Ward hasn’t yet been extradited to Nevada County.
“It could be days,” said Nevada County Sheriff’s Capt. Paul Schmidt about Ward’s extradition, which depends on Ward waiving his return here. “It could be weeks. It could be months.”
Pestana — found dead late Wednesday in his Nevada County home, about 10 miles northeast of Nevada City — lived for years in Douglas County and also had a criminal record there. He agreed to leave the state in 2012 as part of a no contest plea agreement to a drug charge.
It’s unknown if the two men knew each other.
Authorities said they arrested Ward after linking him to the theft of a vehicle and dog from Pestana’s house. Detectives used witness statements to determine Ward was a person of interest in the slaying, a release states.
Local sheriff and district attorney investigators, along with Nevada state authorities, created a surveillance team. The team found Ward with Pestana’s vehicle and dog — leading them to determine Ward was, in fact, a suspect in the death, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office said.
Authorities said they tried to take Ward into custody, leading him to release the dog on them. Officers were forced to kill the dog before taking Ward into custody.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4239.
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