Trial date set for Penn Valley child molest suspect
August 7, 2018
The trial of a Penn Valley man accused of child molestation and rape has been set for November, and is expected to take two to three weeks.
Matthew Thomas Bell, 34, was arrested in May and has been charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious acts and one count of rape by force or fear, as well as special allegations of having substantial sexual contact and multiple victims.
Authorities have accused Bell of molesting a girl younger than 14 years old between November 2012 and November 2014, and of raping a different girl, who was between 14 and 17 years old, between May 2014 and May 2016.
On Monday, Bell appeared in Nevada County Superior Court, pleading not guilty to the charges and denying the special allegations.
He is set to return to court for a trial readiness conference on Oct. 5 and the trial was scheduled to start Nov. 6.
Bell would face 15 to 45 years, or life, in prison if convicted, Deputy District Attorney Jesse Wilson has said.
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Vandalism suspect declared not competent
A man charged with vandalism and resisting arrest, along with drug charges, has been declared not competent to stand trial.
Kyle Lorence Estes, 27, was arrested in Penn Valley in April after Nevada County Sheriff's deputies contacted him and reportedly found he had violated his probation terms by drinking.
Deputies handcuffed Estes and walked him to a patrol car, then reportedly discovered he had something in his waistline that was later identified as suspected methamphetamine and syringes. When they tried to take the item, he allegedly became combative. After Estes was placed in the patrol car, he reportedly kicked the window and bent the door.
Estes' attorney, Bill Walker, has said his client was asking for mental health help and deputies deliberately provoked him and used excessive force during his arrest.
Nevada County Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger suspended criminal proceedings in June after Estes' attorney, Bill Walker, said he had not been able to work with his client on preparing for trial because he could not focus on the facts.
Estes returned to court for a competency hearing Friday and was determined to be incompetent to stand trial. He is set to return on Aug. 24.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.