Suspect to go to trial in death of elderly woman |

Suspect to go to trial in death of elderly woman

Steve Medlyn, 34, will face trial in Nevada County Superior Court on suspicion of murdering Mariam Spratt, 75, of Grass Valley.

The Penn Valley man’s wife, Dawn Medlyn, 37, was absolved of any guilt in the case and freed after facing a charge of accessory to murder after the fact at a preliminary hearing with visiting Judge R. M. Smith on Thursday.

“They had a crummy case against Dawn,” said her attorney, Gregory Klein of Nevada City, late Friday. “With accessory, you have to do something to further the crime, and mere knowledge is not a crime.”

The defense attorney said he didn’t think the district attorney’s office had a very good case against Mr. Medlyn, either.

“He has every reason to have his prints in (Spratt’s) house,” Klein said, because the Medlyns were frequent social guests at her apartment on Empire Street in Grass Valley.

That’s where neighbors found her on May 3 when they went into the home after finding a door ajar, according to the Grass Valley police. She had been strangled with a cord, police said.

Police arrested Steve Medlyn on July 5 after a search of his home turned up Spratt’s purse with his fingerprints on it. Mrs. Medlyn was arrested Aug. 16 after her fingerprints were found on items that were in the same purse, according to police Sgt. Doug Hren.

Smith ruled there was cause to try Steve Medlyn for the strangulation with a special circumstance of lying in wait and burglary, according to the district attorney’s office.

He will be arraigned on a charge of murder at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 13, Assistant District Attorney Anna Ferguson said.

Attorney Keri Goodrow of the county public defender’s office is representing Medlyn. She declined comment.

“The prosecution looks forward to taking the case to trial against Steve Medlyn,” Ferguson said. “We were disappointed by the judge’s ruling as to Dawn Medlyn, but believe everyone received a fair hearing.”

Smith, a retired judge from Solano County, could not find sufficient evidence to bring Dawn Medlyn to trial, Ferguson’s office said in a statement. The element of Dawn Medlyn’s specific intent as an accessory was not satisfied, according to Ferguson’s statement.

Witnesses included Sgt. Doug Hren and Detective Clint Bates of Grass Valley Police Department; Terry Hamlin, a latent fingerprint analyst from the Department of Justice; Sandra Spratt Eyre, one of the victim’s children; Gloria Caselli, a neighbor of Spratt; and Dr. Sheryl Tomboulian, the physician who treated Spratt prior to her death.


To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail or call 477-4237.

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