Alligator owner takes plea deal |

Alligator owner takes plea deal

Joshua Kerley
John Hart | The Union

A man who had been facing domestic violence and weapons charges, as well as one count of the unlawful taking of a wild animal, after an alligator, a number of guns and ammunition were found at his house took a plea agreement that could net him 270 days in jail.

Joshua Michael Kerley, 36, had been charged with corporal injury to a cohabitant, criminal threats, false imprisonment by violence, child abuse, possession of a firearm by a felon, being a person prohibited from owning or possessing ammunition, possession of an assault weapon, unlawful taking of a wild animal, interference with a phone and resisting or obstructing a peace officer.

Kerley, a former semi-pro football player, was arrested June 3 after deputies were dispatched to his residence in the 12000 block of Hallwood Place. Kerley reportedly assaulted a woman while she was holding a 4-month-old child, head-butted her and threatened her.

When deputies attempted to take Kerley into custody, he tried to retreat back into the residence, slamming the door on a deputy.

Deputies returned to Kerley’s residence the following day, armed with a search warrant, and reportedly confiscated eight weapons and a significant amount of ammunition. Among the weapons seized were an AP-9 semi-automatic pistol, a Mini-14 rifle, an AR-10 rifle and a shotgun with a drum magazine that could hold 25 rounds.

Deputies also reportedly found a nearly 5-foot-long alligator inside a jam-packed garage. California Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens used a catchpole to duct-tape its snout and back legs and took it to Wild Things, a rescue organization based in Weimar.

Kerley reportedly had owned the alligator for about five or six years and moved several times with the gator from Montana to California, then to Oregon and back to California. It is illegal to possess an exotic species without a permit or to transport it into the state.

On Oct. 31, Kerley pleaded no contest to spousal abuse and being a felon in possession of a firearm, in return for a potential sentence of 270 days in jail, three years probation and completion of a residential treatment program.

He is set to be sentenced Dec. 23.

In other court news

A man who had been facing multiple drug charges after being arrested in September 2012 has pleaded no contest to a single count of being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Wyatt Yoder will serve 90 days, concurrent with a Sacramento County conviction, according to court records.

Yoder had been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, as well as possessing a controlled substance for sale and possessing drug paraphernalia.

Four other people also had been arrested at the residence, after Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies performing a compliance check allegedly located a total of 44 marijuana plants.

Deputies found Yoder in a locked bedroom after they kicked in the door, and deputies subsequently found two .22-caliber bullets on the bed.

Deputies found a digital scale and a camera bag — containing baggies of meth and a possible “cutting agent” — on the floor. They also found an unloaded .22-caliber pistol in a dresser drawer and more than $800 in cash.

But during a preliminary hearing into the evidence, Yoder’s attorney raised doubts that any of the drugs, paraphernalia or firearm belonged to his client.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4229.

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