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Defendant in Grass Valley gun incident sentenced

Matthew Little

One of the two men charged in a February 2018 incident, in which they reportedly lured a theft suspect to a Grass Valley residence and then threatened him, was sentenced Friday to two years and eight months.

Nevada County Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger, however, noted that Matthew Little is just 21 and had no prior criminal record. She also took note of his substantial family support, many of whom had come to court on his behalf.

“This young man has led a relatively exemplary life and then something happened and he took a very wrong turn,” Heidelberger said, calling the incident that shook the quiet neighborhood “aberrant behavior.”

Little, 20-year-old Isaac Williams and a juvenile were arrested Feb. 9, 2018, after reports of several subjects entering a residence on Arcadia Drive, one armed with a shotgun.

The home was quickly surrounded with the help of multiple law enforcement agencies and several subjects were detained at gunpoint as they were seen exiting the house. Several subjects were detained at gunpoint as they were exited the house in the Cypress Hill neighborhood. Surrounding streets were closed for over an hour as law enforcement awaited a K-9 unit to clear a crawl space under the residence.

Investigators subsequently learned that a subject had been lured to the house earlier in the day and then was confronted at gunpoint in regards to a previous theft.

Little and Williams both pleaded no contest last month to charges of assault with a firearm and false imprisonment by violence; charges of first-degree burglary, kidnapping and criminal threats will be dropped. Williams is set for an April 8 sentencing.

Little, who also admitted to personal use of a firearm, had accepted a minimum sentence of two years and eight months, but faced up to 14 years in prison.

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Hotaling argued for a mid-term sentencing of three years and eight months, telling Heidelberger the victim sustained emotional injury from having a gun pointed at him. Little’s defense attorney, David Alkire, however, said that 16 letters of support sent to the court demonstrate a strong support network of relatives “waiting to welcome him back into their family.”

Heidelberger told Little she was recommending a youthful offender program in a lower level facility, adding, “You have to volunteer for the program and I encourage you to do so.”

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

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