Six men charged in connection with the fatal shooting of a Nevada County woman during a drug trade are now facing allegations of gang activity that could result in life sentences.
Dakari Mondell Harris, 22, of Shreveport, Louisiana; and Trey Rondal Richard, 22; Devon Deontae Jennings, 21; William Rynell Levise, 31; Ronney Turner, 31; and Laderrick Timothy Wynn, 20, from Dallas, were accused of being a member of a criminal conspiracy to use false deception to haul marijuana out of the state and shoot at a squat.
Richard, the alleged gunman, faces a murder charge with the special circumstances of shooting from a vehicle and enhancement of personal use of a firearm that causes serious injury and death.
Allegations of previous serious criminal convictions have already been added to the allegations against Jennings, Levise and Turner. Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh added the gang enhancements for each defendant last week.
Richard appeared in person before the Nevada County Supreme Court on Monday while his co-defendants appeared on Zoom, a move previously challenged by Walsh.
On Monday, Judge Linda Sloven ruled that due to COVID-19 regulations and because five of the co-defendants are not facing murder charges, they may appear for some remote hearings.
Walsh urged Slovenian to increase bail to 400,000% for Harris and Wynn and to $ 550,000 for Jennings, Levise and Turner due to gang improvements.
“People claim the defendants belong to a sophisticated drug trafficking organization,” Walsh said, adding that this is legally considered a gang in California. “You came here to commit these crimes in association with a gang.”
According to Walsh, shooting at an occupied motor vehicle is a designated “gang crime” and entitles the accused to life imprisonment.
The bail increase was objected to by the defense attorney’s cadre, who called it a “serious violation of due process” and “bad will of the prosecutor”.
Noting that she hadn’t seen a gang case in Nevada County in her eight years on the bench, Sloven said to Walsh, “I don’t want to rule something I don’t know much about, willy-nilly.”
She chose to set up a bail verification hearing, which will be heard at the same time as a preliminary evidence hearing, and scheduled to do so on January 5th.
According to the authorities, on November 7th, the suspects attempted to buy a “substantial” amount of marijuana with fake money and a confrontation ensued. The potential buyers fled in an unspecified number of vehicles, and two people began chasing them down the Rough and Ready Highway into Grass Valley. Shots were fired and one hit Shanta Olsen, who was the passenger in the chasing vehicle. Grass Valley police tracked the suspects at a Davis hotel and arrested them three days later.
Richard is being held with no bail. Harris and Wynn have been released from custody on a $ 100,000 bond, while Jennings, Levise, and Turner each have a $ 150,000 bond on deposit.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or email [email protected]