Rough and Ready man held on assault, firearm charges |

Rough and Ready man held on assault, firearm charges

Michael Mozzetti

After a preliminary hearing in Nevada County Superior Court, a judge found enough evidence to hold a Rough and Ready man on charges stemming from a shooting incident that injured another man in January.

Michael Henry Mozzetti, 61, will be formally arraigned on the charges on June 3.

During the hearing Thursday, Nevada County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Liller testified that he responded to the hospital on Jan. 31 to interview the victim of a gunshot wound to the ankle.

The alleged victim, Bradley Blieden, had what appeared to be a through and through gunshot wound, Liller said. Blieden said he had gone to a property belonging to Mozzetti, in the 10000 block of La Sierra Drive, to speak to a tenant who lived in a trailer there about an ATV.

Blieden told Liller that he had knocked on the trailer door, and after no one answered the door, he went to the main residence and spoke to Mozzetti, who was “unhappy” he was there and who told him to go back to the trailer.

Blieden said the tenant of the trailer came out and they were outside talking when he felt “something jump up and bite him,” and simultaneously heard a gunshot. Blieden said he assumed Mozzetti shot him.

Blieden then left the scene with a friend, who gave him a ride to a Grass Valley apartment so he could change his soiled clothes and then to the emergency room.

Sheriff’s Det. Rhiannon King also testified, saying she interviewed Mozzetti and he denied shooting the victim. She said a search of his residence uncovered a .22 rifle leaning against the wall outside the residence, on the deck; a shot had been fired, but the casing had not expended. They also found a small .25-caliber handgun, King said.

Mozzetti told King he had been robbed previously by Blieden, who had hit him in the head with a stick or a rock, and that he had not been scared off by a warning shot fired by Gabrielle Massey, Mozzetti’s former girlfriend. Mozzetti had repeatedly told Blieden — a prior tenant on the property — not to come back to the property without a Sheriff’s deputy.

King testified that she interviewed Massey, who was at the residence in the kitchen at the time of the shooting.

Massey reportedly told King that she heard arguing from the trailer, and saw Mozzetti go out on the deck, then come back inside with the rifle in one hand and a beer in the other. Massey told King she heard the shot and assumed Mozzetti had fired as a warning, but that he told her he shot Brad in the leg.

Mozzetti then asked Massey if she was “in on it” with him,” King testified.

Massey subsequently set up a “pretext call” with Mozzetti, but he said that he had been joking, King said.

King also interviewed Larry, the tenant of the trailer, who said that Blieden had pounded on the trailer door repeatedly for about 20 minutes, and threatened to slash the tires. The two men were in a dispute over money Blieden owed Larry, and the fact that Larry was holding the ATV as collateral.

At one point, Blieden reportedly tried to force entry into the trailer with a pocket knife, and broke a light on the trailer. The two men eventually got into a heated verbal argument outside the trailer, with Larry reportedly holding an unloaded pellet gun. Larry told King that he “lunged” at Blieden, and that he thought Blieden stepped back and rolled his ankle because he began screaming and hobbling. He told King he did not hear a gunshot.

Mozzetti’s public defender, Tamara Zuromskis, argued that the shooting was a clear case of defense of a another person, telling Judge Linda Sloven that if Mozzetti hadn’t shot Blieden in the ankle, there could have been a far worse outcome. The escalating situation “was over once that happened,” she said.

Deputy District Attorney Jesse Wilson, however, told Sloven there was no evidence to support that contention, calling it pure speculation.

Sloven held Mozzetti to answer on charges of assault with a firearm, causing great bodily injury, as well as discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4229.

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