No contest plea entered in Layla Callahan kidnapping case
Layla Callahan, facing kidnapping accusations for two years, ended her case this week with a plea.
Callahan, 24, was scheduled Wednesday for a hearing about evidence she wanted withheld from a jury. Instead she pleaded no contest to a felony count of kidnapping less than a week before her trial. Prosecutors in turn dismissed charges of false imprisonment and robbery, Nevada County Superior Court records state.
Callahan’s sentencing is scheduled for March 22. Judge Candace Heidelberger has said she’d likely sentence Callahan to probation, regardless of whether she pleaded or was convicted at trial.
Both Walsh and defense attorney Zenia Gilg, who represents Callahan, said they expect Callahan will receive probation.
“It’s not completely unusual,” said Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh of the judge signalling the expected sentence. “I don’t personally like it because I would rather the judge hear all the evidence.”
Callahan faces a sentence range of probation to eight years in prison on the kidnapping charge, Walsh added.
Authorities had accused Callahan and David Munoz, 27, of holding a former boyfriend of Callahan’s over a drug debt. Munoz pleaded no contest in October to second-degree robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment. Heidelberger sentenced him the following month to five years’ probation.
Gilg, who represents Callahan, said her client is relieved to have the case resolved.
Gilg said she was prepared to take the case to trial. However, trials bring risk.
“There’s always a risk,” Gilg said. “Who would have said what at trial?”
Callahan’s attorney said she hopes Nevada County starts to look at her client as a productive member of the community.
“I do hope that people will give her a chance,” Gilg added.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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