Nevada City man takes plea in 2015 shooting |

Nevada City man takes plea in 2015 shooting

A Nevada City man who initially was found incompetent to stand trial in a shooting case pleaded no contest to charges of mayhem and assault with a firearm Friday.

Robert Asa Johnson, 55, was arrested in October 2015 after he reportedly shot a man in the arm.

Nevada City Police officers had responded to a residence in the 500 block of Uren Street and arrived to find a man with a gunshot wound. The victim said he was at the property to split some wood when he began arguing with Johnson — the owners’ son — over money he owed him.

Johnson began yelling at the victim to get off the property, then leveled a double-barreled 12-gauge shotgun at him before swinging it away and firing, hitting him in the left elbow.

The victim reportedly underwent several surgeries but told Johnson’s attorney, Greg Klein, the shooting was “an accident.”

At a hearing shortly after his arrest, Klein questioned Johnson’s mental competency, and added that the suspect’s parents shared his concerns.

Johnson was ruled not competent to stand trial in December 2015 after a psychological evaluation, according to court records. He was sent to Napa State Hospital and eventually found to be competent in December 2017.

Johnson was set for trial next week, but on Friday entered an open plea, meaning there was no agreement on his potential sentence. He pleaded no contest to mayhem with a special allegation of personal use of firearm, as well as assault with a firearm with a great bodily injury enhancement.

Judge Candace Heidelberger noted that both charges are considered serious and violent felonies, but added that he probably would only be sentenced on one charge since they stem from the same facts and circumstances.

Johnson’s sentencing was set for Oct. 19.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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