Felony vandalism, assault case proceeds toward trial in Nevada City fracas | TheUnion.com

Felony vandalism, assault case proceeds toward trial in Nevada City fracas

A Newcastle man was held to answer Tuesday in Nevada County Superior Court for formal arraignment on a felony vandalism charge.

However, after a preliminary hearing into the evidence, a judge opted against a felony charge of battery causing serious bodily injury, instead issuing a holding order on a lesser charge of felony assault likely to cause great bodily injury.

Visiting Judge John Behnke also held Andrew Alexander Duarte, 36, to answer on misdemeanor charges of aggravated trespassing and domestic battery after the Tuesday hearing.

Duarte was free Tuesday on his own recognizance, records state.

During the hearing, the victim testified that on Feb. 9, 2019, he was with his girlfriend, Duarte and Duarte’s wife, and they had been drinking at a Nevada City bar.

Duarte had gotten kicked out for being too intoxicated and wanted to go back and fight the doorman, the victim said.

He added that he was giving the Duartes a ride back to their Airbnb when the couple began arguing and he stopped. Duarte dragged his wife out of the vehicle and then the two men got into a physical scuffle in the South Pine Street area.

According to the victim, he was simply trying to keep Duarte from attacking him, describing wrestling him to the ground before Duarte shoved him off a porch.

The victim fell about 7 feet and landed on his face, injuring his nose and lip, he said. He spent a day in the intensive care unit and has continued pain and stiffness, as well as facial scars.

Nevada City Police Officer Chris Lewis testified that he responded to the scene and found a broken door at a residence.

The resident said she had heard screaming outside and gone out to ask if she needed to call the police, then went inside and heard banging on the door. The woman said she called 911 before Duarte broke in through the glass in the door, Lewis said, adding the bill for the door was just over $1,500.

Duarte’s attorney, James Granucci, argued there was not enough evidence to prove felony battery causing serious bodily injury, and asked to reduce any other felony charge to a misdemeanor.

The judge noted the enhancement of serious bodily injury would raise the charge to a strike offense, adding, “Candidly, I’m on the fence regarding if serious bodily injury has been proven.”

Deputy District Attorney Cambria Lisonbee then requested the additional, alternative count of assault likely to cause great bodily injury, which carries a potential sentence of up to four years.

Duarte is scheduled to return March 12 to court on the charges.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.

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