Third defendant in Grass Valley home invasion takes plea
A third defendant in a brutal Grass Valley home invasion robbery took a plea agreement in court Thursday in return for a potential sentence of four years in prison. Two of the five suspects have already taken pleas, and a fourth is set to accept a plea agreement next week.
Austin Michael Wallace, 17, had been charged as an adult with home invasion robbery, first-degree residential burglary, criminal conspiracy and being an accessory after the fact in the Dec. 6, 2013, robbery, in which a 73-year-old man was beaten and tied up.
Three young men knocked on the man’s door and asked him if they could make an out-of-town phone call, then struck him in the face and head and left him bound and bleeding on the floor while they ransacked and stole several items from the residence before fleeing in his truck.
According to Assistant District Attorney Anna Ferguson, Wallace had acted as the getaway driver following the home invasion robbery.
Wallace was arrested in May after Grass Valley Police officers serving an arrest warrant reportedly found pounds of illegal drugs, thousands in cash and a dozen weapons that included an assault rifle, pistols, throwing stars and metal knuckles.
Investigators reportedly found more than a pound of hallucinogenic mushrooms and more than a pound of marijuana, 6.4 grams of heroin, and prescription medications, as well as $3,000 in cash.
They also reportedly found metal knuckles and 10 firearms, including an assault rifle and an assault-style semi- automatic shotgun, and a bullet-proof vest with high-end ceramic body plates designed to stop rounds from a high-powered rifle.
In Nevada County Superior Court on Thursday, Wallace pleaded no contest to one count of possessing a controlled substance while armed with a firearm, and to one count of being an accessory after the fact. His sentencing was set for Sept. 8.
Two of Wallace’s co-defendants have also taken pleas.
Billy Mecredy, 19, pleaded no contest to robbery in return for a five-year prison sentence and three years parole or post-release community supervision; he is set to be sentenced Aug. 4.
Devin Matthew Thomas, 18, pleaded no contest to one count of conspiracy to commit residential burglary and has been sentenced to one year in jail and five years supervised probation.
Tyler Leal, 17, has been charged as an adult, and previously pleaded not guilty to home invasion robbery, first-degree residential burglary with a person present, criminal conspiracy and possession of stolen property.
His attorney, Larry Montgomery, said he will enter a change of plea on July 31.
Elliott Roberts, 17, also is being tried as an adult. He has been charged with first-degree residential burglary, second-degree robbery and criminal conspiracy and has pleaded not guilty.
A preliminary hearing into the evidence against him was scheduled for Oct. 2.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.
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A man who has been in custody since 2014 for his connection to an alleged Penn Valley murder will withdraw his guilty pleas in the case, throwing the status of the case into doubt.