A 70-year-old Rough and Ready man who stabbed another man during a March 2000 road-rage incident was convicted of assault and mayhem Thursday by a Nevada County Superior Court jury.
Dennis W. Rathburn is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 30. Before trial he was offered a plea bargain sentence of probation and time already served in jail. He rejected the deal and now faces possible prison, and each of his convictions poses a strike under the state’s three strikes law, Deputy District Attorney Oliver Pong said.
On March 3, 2000, Rathburn stabbed another motorist with a folding knife after the two pulled over on West Main Street in Grass Valley. The other man, 37 at the time, suffered facial cuts, including one that runs from near his nose to his jaw.
The victim reported that Rathburn, unprovoked, began tailgating him on Rough and Ready Highway. Rathburn also yelled and made lewd gestures before crossing the double yellow line and passing him. The victim, who remains scarred, didn’t know Rathburn had a knife. Rathburn, who didn’t testify, said at the time that he acted in self-defense.
In other cases:
— Michael D. Voight, 36, of Peardale pleaded innocent Aug. 26 to cruelty to another’s animal. He’s accused of shooting his neighbor’s dog, Donner, on Aug. 5 for allegedly getting into his garbage. He later apologized for the shooting and offered to pay veterinary costs, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
— Eddie W. Geer, 30, and Heather K. Bandy, 20, each pleaded no contest Tuesday to burglary. The pair are accused of stealing mail, a gun and other items from a south county woman on Aug. 11 before asking her for assistance after their vehicle broke down and she arrived home. Sentencing is Sept. 30.
— John D. Link, 24, of Grass Valley was arraigned Aug. 26 on two counts of burglary and a single count of illegal possession of a prescription drug. Link is accused of repeatedly stealing a Grass Valley man’s painkiller, hydrocodone, from the man’s home. The alleged victim caught Link stealing his pills by setting up a surveillance camera, according to Grass Valley police. Link is scheduled to enter a plea Sept. 12.
— Daniel P. Rooney, 43, of the town of Washington, was sentenced Aug. 26 to three years’ probation and 150 days in jail for his assault conviction. On April 15, 2001, he tried to break up a fight but ended up punching a man who fell and hit his head. The victim suffered a broken jaw and skull fracture, court records say.
— Julie L. Clark, 44, of Grass Valley was sentenced Aug. 26 to three years’ probation and 120 days in jail for receiving stolen property and check fraud, convictions stemming from two cases. She also must get treatment.
— Lenard A. Williams, 41, of San Juan Ridge was sentenced Thursday to three years’ probation and 45 days in jail for trespassing with threat to cause serious bodily injury, a misdemeanor. He faced felony stalking and threats charges after trying to break into a San Juan Ridge woman’s home by busting her window Aug. 21.
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