Grass Valley machete-wielding case of Dennis Bryson ends in plea | TheUnion.com

Grass Valley machete-wielding case of Dennis Bryson ends in plea

A man accused of refusing police orders while wielding a machete has pleaded no contest and been ordered to attend mental health court, a Nevada County prosecutor said.

Dennis Bryson, 57, pleaded no contest on March 2 to two felony counts of criminal threats and was sentenced to seven years, eight months in prison, Deputy District Attorney Ed Grubaugh said.

The sentence, imposed by visiting Superior Court Judge Jane York Punneo, was suspended. Bryson will proceed to mental health court, where authorities will create a treatment program for him. If he fails that program, Bryson would go to state prison, Grubaugh added.

"For me, it was a really close call," Grubaugh said of the plea deal. "I thought it was worth taking a chance on."

Defense attorney Jennifer Granger, who represents Bryson, couldn't be reached for comment.

Grass Valley police have said that Bryson in early December threatened people behind the Holbrooke Hotel. Passersby then happened to walk through the area, and Bryson's attention shifted to them.

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At some point Bryson held a machete above his head, cornering the passersby. Officers arrived and began speaking to him. Bryson ignored police commands, and an officer had his weapon trained on him for 10 to 20 seconds, police have said.

Moments later Bryson dropped his weapon and an officer took him into custody, reports state.

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