1 of 3 men sentenced in Nevada County marijuana grow murder case | TheUnion.com

1 of 3 men sentenced in Nevada County marijuana grow murder case

A man linked by authorities to the 2014 fatal shooting of a marijuana grow caretaker will testify in advance of a codefendant's trial, a precaution because of his medical condition, prosecutors say.

Daniel Devencenzi, 33, is scheduled for sentencing July 24 on a manslaughter charge in connection with the shooting death of Isaac Zafft. He'll follow that hearing by testifying Aug. 1 in the murder case of Finley Fultz, 28.

Nevada County Superior Court authorities will record Devencenzi's testimony, which will include cross-examination by defense attorneys. Fultz's jury would view that recording during his trial, if Devencenzi were unable to testify because of his medical condition, Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said.

Devencenzi, in past court hearings, would occasionally need to stand in place. His defense attorney, Kenneth Tribby, told the judge during those hearings that his client's medical condition limited his time in court.

Devencenzi and Nathan Philbrook, 34, in April pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with Zafft's death. A condition of their plea deal requires them to testify truthfully in Fultz's September murder trial.

"If for some reason he doesn't, the deal would blow up and he'd be back to square one," Walsh said.

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Philbrook on Thursday was sentenced to 23 years in prison and manslaughter and attempted second-degree robbery charges, he added.

"This was the agreed upon disposition and the defendant is satisfied with the outcome," said defense attorney David Alkire, who represents Philbrook.

Devencenzi is expected to receive an 11-year prison sentence at his sentencing next week.

Authorities allege the three men — Devencenzi, Philbrook and Fultz — intended on July 7, 2014, to rob a Penn Valley marijuana grow. The caretaker of that grow, Zafft, was fatally shot.

Authorities in 2016 accused the men in connection with Zafft's death.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.