Nettles to face 8 counts
Citing insufficient evidence, a judge ruled Monday a Camptonville man will face eight of the 11 original charges filed against him, stemming from a brawl at a North San Juan birthday party in August.
Nevada County Superior Court Judge Robert Tamietti heard hearsay testimony Monday of six Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies, called by Deputy District Attorney Charles O’Rourke.
The deputies interviewed several girls who attended the Aug. 27 birthday party on Cherokee Road, reportedly crashed by Buck Nettles, Sr. of Camptonville. Nettles, originally charged with attacking seven girls, will now face charges for allegedly assaulting five victims.
Deputies testified that several partygoers told them Nettles used a bar stool to assault at least two girls, one who suffered convulsions after being hit in the head.
“The victim was laying unconscious and wasn’t moving,” said Neil Kestler, one of the first two deputies to respond to dispatch’s report of a brawl. “She was laying there bleeding. She was hit above the right eye and she was incoherent.”
The girl was flown by helicopter to Sutter Roseville Medical Center and later recovered from her injuries. She was sitting next to another alleged victim in the courtroom Monday.
Another 17-year-old girl told deputies she was hit a total of three times in the face by Nettles; once with his fist and twice with a baseball bat. Detective Guy Selleck said he saw bruising on the girl’s hips and thighs, and scratches on her back during an interview at the sheriff’s office three days after the party.
Detective Jeff Pettitt said a third 17-year-old girl claimed Nettles hit her in the head with a bar stool. Pettitt took photographs of the girl, who he said had “light bruising and puffiness” three days after the party. He said a fourth victim who turned 18 the day after the party told him she was “socked in the face” by Nettles, and she fell to the ground.
Evidence of a misdemeanor charge of battery against another 17-year-old girl was also sufficient, Tamietti ruled. The girl was interviewed in a separate court examination Dec. 16.
The judge threw out three charges involving two girls, including 19-year-old Talia Chiaffino. The charges were for assault with a deadly weapon by means likely to cause great bodily injury, child abuse and battery with serious bodily injury.
Chiaffino told deputies, including one who interviewed her at UC Davis medical center, that Nettles punched her in the face three times. Chiaffino’s wrists were broken, she said, when she fell to the ground and braced herself with her hands.
Chiaffino, a former volunteer firefighter with aspirations to be a paid firefighter, has appeared in court several times with casts on her wrists. On Monday, she said her left wrist – still in a cast – is permanently damaged.
“I won’t be able to haul hose anymore,” she said, crying. “I won’t be able to lift people like the (paramedics) lifted (one of the victims) that night.”
Tamietti threw out the charge because testimony given by Deputy Alicia Milhous did not corroborate Chiaffino’s statements to other deputies. Milhous, one of two deputies to arrive first on scene, testified that she escorted Chiaffino to her patrol car after Chiaffino asked to be separated from Nettles, his sons and his girlfriend.
She said she put her in the back of the car, closed the door behind her and interviewed the Nettles family.
“I didn’t note any injuries,” Milhous said. “She refused medical treatment.”
She said when she returned to her car, Chiaffino was gone.
Tamietti said he was not going to charge Nettles with Chiaffino’s assault because of doubts raised by Milhous’ testimony.
Outside the courtroom, Chiaffino said she was let out of the patrol car by a man wearing a blue jacket whom she assumed was a “rookie,” because he arrived with the deputies and was “watching everything they did.” She said she had to make noise to gain the man’s attention, and that he handed her a tissue for blood from her broken nose.
She said she went to a nearby friend’s house after the man opened the door, and her mother took her to the hospital the following morning.
No testimony was heard concerning the seventh girl who claimed to be hurt.
Nettles is scheduled to enter a plea on the amended set of eight charges at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 14 in Nevada County Superior Court.
To contact staff writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4236.
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