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Briefs

A man found dead in his vehicle Saturday night off Highway 174 under the Bear River bridge has been identified as Donald Eugene Elliott, 62, from the Iowa Hill area in Colfax.

Elliott, found by a fisherman, reportedly committed suicide with a gun near his vehicle in a parking area above a popular fishing spot, said Nevada County Sheriff John Trauner.

Trauner said conversations with Elliott’s wife and physical evidence at the scene confirmed the death was a suicide.



A local registered sex offender being held on suspicion of rape pleaded innocent to the charge Monday.

Dino Leal, 40, was arrested Feb. 21 and booked on suspicion of rape and forcible penetration against the victim’s will.




A 48-year-old, partially-disabled woman told police Leal assaulted her while she was sleeping in her home on South Auburn Street.

Leal was previously convicted of committing a lewd act against a child in April 1999. Since then, he has had to register annually in Nevada County as a sex offender.

Leal is scheduled for a felony conference at 1 p.m. March 9 in Nevada County Superior Court.

A North San Juan man arrested after a fight with sheriff’s deputies pleaded innocent to a slew of drug and assault charges Monday.

David Birge, 39, is facing 10 charges in three separate cases in Nevada County Superior Court, including false imprisonment, making criminal threats, two charges of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, vandalism, two charges of failing to appear, transportation of marijuana for sale and possession of marijuana for sale. The most recent charges, stemming the Feb. 23 fight with deputies, include resisting, delaying or obstructing a peace officer.

Birge had been wanted by Nevada County law enforcement since July for three warrants and had failed to appear in court twice to face the charges.

Birge was arrested Feb. 23 in a North San Juan mobile home after a long struggle with four deputies.

Birge is being held at the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility on $50,000 bail.

– Robyn Moormeister

Timothy Brooks will face a jury starting March 6, when his trial begins in the stabbing death of Robert Ash.

Placer County Judge Frances Kearney on Friday pushed the trial back a week to make room for one last hearing on a discovery motion, which was scheduled for today.

Jury selection is scheduled to take two days and then Brooks is expected to have his day in court.

Brooks, who was living in Truckee at the time of the August incident, is accused in the stabbing death of Ash, 47, of Newcastle, outside Syd’s Bagelry in Tahoe City.

The stabbing occurred 30 minutes after Ash allegedly cut off Brooks and his wife while in his vehicle on Highway 89 before Squaw Valley.

Ash, who grew up in Incline Village, Nev., had been working on projects in Truckee the previous year and was spending time in town before his death.

The trial will begin at 8:30 a.m. March 6 in Auburn.

– Swift News Services

The City of Grass Valley has retained an independent public opinion research firm to conduct a telephone survey of local residents.

Surveyors will call a random sample of up to 400 Grass Valley residents during the course of the week. The goal is to survey residents on major issues facing the city. All responses will be kept confidential and will be tabulated and reported to the city and members of the public in April.

Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates will conduct the survey.

For more information, call 274-4310.

– The Union staff


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