Husband and wife plead no contest to unrelated charges in Nevada County court
Nevada County authorities initially accused Desiree Hayden of murder in connection with the death of her ex-husband.
Hayden, 38, now faces three years in prison after pleading no contest to a handful of lesser charges.
Hayden on Friday pleaded in Nevada County Superior Court to two felonies: willfully inflicting corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition and assault with a deadly weapon. She also pleaded to two misdemeanors: child abuse and DUI, court records state.
“All things considered, it seemed fair to enter this change of plea, with the understanding she receive three years,” said Larry Montgomery, her defense attorney. “Given her time credits, she’ll have a few months to do.”
Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Hotaling said she was prepared for trial, and that Hayden’s Friday plea was her last chance to accept the deal before facing a jury.
“Ms. Hayden physically assaulted three different people — her mother, her ex-husband, and her minor child — all on the same day, plus she drove while intoxicated with her mother and another minor child in the car,” Hotaling said in an email.
Hayden’s sentencing is scheduled for September 10. She remained Monday in the Nevada County Jail without bond.
Police accused Hayden of murder after the June 2017 death of her ex-husband Brian Sharp. Authorities claimed Hayden assaulted Sharp, 44, at his Sutton Way apartment in Grass Valley and injured one of their children. She was found the next day in a Reno home hiding in a closet.
Prosecutors weeks later opted to drop the murder charge after they said an autopsy showed Sharp could have died from an assault, a heart condition, drugs found in his body or a combination.
Montgomery said the autopsy determined Sharp died of acute methamphetamine toxicity.
“They didn’t have the autopsy report when this case was initially charged,” Montgomery added. “There was an assumption that she did something, when the facts did not support it.”
Hayden’s husband, 43-year-old Michael Hayden, also appeared Friday in court on unrelated accusations. He pleaded no contest to threatening to commit a crime. Prosecutors will drop charges of assault with a deadly weapon, child endangerment and battery as part of the plea deal, court officials said.
Michael Hayden’s sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 7. Micah Pierce, Hayden’s deputy public defender, said the plea deal calls for a four-year sentence.
Michael Hayden remained Monday in jail under $55,000 in bond, officials said.
Authorities accused Michael Hayden in December of trying to punch a 16-year-old skateboarder. Hayden then got inside his car and drove toward the teen, leading him to jump from harm’s way.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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