Three sentenced in burglary of long-vacant South County residence
The prosecutor and the defense attorneys traded insults and accusations during the Thursday sentencing of three defendants in a burglary case that amounted to the theft of three bookcases, a shop vacuum and a potted palm tree.
Darcie Roxanne Blalock, 39; Dawn Nicole Strong, 42; and Clay Dossa, 34, were arrested in February on felony charges of first-degree residential burglary after being linked to a burglary of “the castle” — a long-vacant residence in the 17000 block of River Ranch Road. A fourth suspect, Ralph Anthony Nash, 47, was subsequently charged as well.
For several months, residents in the area had been reporting numerous concerns of suspicious activity, thefts and burglaries, and requested extra patrols, a Nevada County sheriff’s spokesman said at the time of the arrest. In January, the Special Investigations Unit was able to identify four suspects who had burglarized the residence.
After a preliminary hearing into the evidence in August, a Nevada County Superior Court judge held the defendants to answer on misdemeanor second-degree burglary because the residence was not occupied. That dropped the possible penalty from between two to six years in state prison to a maximum of one year in county jail, according to the state penal code.
Blalock, Strong and Dossa later pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor. Nash pleaded not guilty and is set to return to court for a pre-trial conference.
At Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Deputy District Attorney Patrick Beauchamp disputed assertions made by defense counsel that he misused and violated sentencing rules. According to Beauchamp, the three defendants had pointed fingers at each other and refused to take responsibility for their actions — and now, their attorneys were pointing fingers at him.
“This molehill has turned into a snow-capped mountain,” said Strong’s defense attorney, Ken Tribby, later calling Beauchamp’s arguments “one of the silliest presentations I’ve heard in years from a prosecutor.”
One major issue of contention was Beauchamp’s use of part of the initial arrest report in his sentencing memorandum. That initial report overstated the value of the stolen items, the defense attorneys said.
“It’s unreliable information,” argued Blalock’s defense attorney, Stephen Munkelt.
Judge Thomas Anderson, after listening to arguments on both sides, noted the value of the items was not relevant for sentencing purposes.
The “castle” property had once contained items of value, but there was no indication they had anything to do with prior instances of theft and vandalism that stripped the property, argued Bill Walker, Dossa’s defense attorney.
The residence had been boarded up for years, Walker said, calling it an “attractive nuisance.”
Anderson retorted that was no excuse, later telling the three defendants, “The most important fact is this was private property, you went on private property and you took stuff that wasn’t yours. You all participated.”
Dossa, Strong and Blalock each were sentenced to 105 days in county jail, with 45 days to be served in custody and the balance on work release. They then would be on probation for three years.
“I want you on probation so you’re under supervision, so the community has some oversight,” Anderson said.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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