Second defendant in violent 2019 confrontation to face trial
A North San Juan man who prosecutors say threw a rock through a car window, causing it to crash and leading to the death of a dog, is set for trial this September.
Derek Brown, 36, has pleaded not guilty to two felonies: assault with a deadly weapon and animal cruelty. His trial is scheduled to occur Sept. 14, according to court records.
Brown faces up to nine years and eight months in state prison if convicted of both felonies, according to Deputy District Attorney Cambria Lisonbee.
There are several other ongoing criminal cases against Brown, including felony charges of false imprisonment, forgery, and a case of a felony while out on probation, records show. He could spend a total of 12 years in prison if convicted of these charges on top of being found guilty for the 2019 incident, Lisonbee said.
While not specifying whether the District Attorney’s Office would seek the maximum penalty for Brown, Lisonbee emphasized that the prosecution would seek a sentence that involved some prison time.
Brown has rejected plea agreement offers from the prosecution, including an offer of six years and four months in prison, Lisonbee said. His defense attorney has indicated that they are not willing to accept any offers that involve time behind bars, she added.
Brown’s defense attorney, Kenneth Tribby, could not be reached for comment.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred in January 2019, involving Brown and another man, Douglas MacDuff II, who was 28 at the time.
Brown allegedly threw a rock at MacDuff’s car, breaking the vehicle’s window and sending it off the road. MacDuff’s girlfriend suffered severe head injuries, and his dog Loki was killed as a result of the crash, reports state.
Brown is said to have then approached the vehicle and thrown a metal pole at MacDuff. MacDuff pulled out a firearm and shot Brown, who suffered an injury to his torso, reports state.
The District Attorney’s Office has gathered evidence in their case against Brown both from witnesses and from a video of the incident from a camera on a nearby house, Lisonbee said.
While it is not entirely clear what provoked the incident, prosecutors believe that the men knew each other and had some adverse history prior to the confrontation, Lisonbee said.
MacDuff was was arrested on multiple charges, including an attempted murder charge that was later dropped after his legal counsel made the case that MacDuff had acted in self-defense.
He later pleaded no contest to charges of felony possession of a firearm by a felon and felony evading an officer, and was sentenced to 16 months in prison, reports state.
Brown was not arrested until August 2019, several months after the incident, and was subsequently jailed for the two felony charges. He remained in custody until November 2019, when he made bail, records show, and eventually pleaded not guilty in June 2020.
Brown’s trial date has been changed multiple times, as Nevada County courts have been unable to operate normally due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stephen Wyer is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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