Tuesday, 16 July 2024

Preliminary hearing in Lakeport assault case postponed to next month

LAKEPORT – A preliminary hearing for two suspects allegedly involved in the October shooting and hogtying of a Lakeport man has been rescheduled to February.

Joshua Isaac Wandrey Sr., 35, and Deborah Ann James, 47, were in court Friday for a preliminary hearing on charges that they were involved in the Oct. 20 attack on 49-year-old Ronald Greiner, who told officials that his attackers tried to steal his medical marijuana, as Lake County News has reported.

Wandrey is charged with premeditated attempted murder, aggravated mayhem, torture, home invasion robbery in concert with another, first degree burglary with a person at home, assault with a firearm, assault with a blunt force object, assault likely to cause great bodily injury and serious battery, and special allegations of use of a firearm, according to court records. James is charged with attempted murder, robbery and burglary.

District Attorney Jon Hopkins also filed new charges against Wandrey and James, alleging they are members of the Misfits motorcycle gang, along with co-defendant, Thomas Loyd Dudney, 59.

Defense attorneys Stephen Carter and Komnith Moth, representing Wandrey and James, respectively, entered not guilty to all charges, including the new allegations.

Judge Richard Martin decided to grant the request for a continuance from Moth, who said he wasn't prepared to move forward with the preliminary hearing after receiving 700 pages of discovery evidence that morning from Hopkins. He said Hopkins had told him Thursday that the materials were coming.

“I'm protesting the late discovery in this case, your honor,” said Moth.

He said that at the last appearance in December he also received late discovery, which at that time was about 50 pages.

Some of the new information came from a warrant search of James' house, Moth said.

Carter said he picked up approximately 982 pages of new discovery from Hopkins Friday morning, and thought it was “odd” that the District Attorney's Office would pass on so much discovery right before the preliminary hearing was set to begin.

Following a quick review of the information, Carter said he found a lot of duplication of materials he had previously received, including police reports. The final 347 pages had to do with the alleged gang violations, which he said appeared to do mostly with Dudney, who already has had his preliminary hearing and been ordered to stand trial.

Judge Martin asked what materials specifically related to Dudney. Carter said that material included a packet of information that he said Hopkins had received Dec. 1 and which had been sitting in his office ever since.

He said the amended complaint, which included the gang allegations, wasn't filed in a proper manner, and he alleged that Hopkins was building a delay into the case and didn't want the preliminary hearing held Friday.

“I think it's unacceptable to have this sort of discovery literally dumped on the defense the day before the preliminary hearing,” said Carter, who opposed the amended complaint with the additional charges and objected to delaying the preliminary hearing.

Martin asked if any of the discovery evidence indicated that Wandrey was associated with, or a member of, a criminal street gang. “I haven't seen any in there,” said Carter.

Hopkins told the court that some of the discovery was late due to one of his staffers being out ill. He said he didn't feel the information he received about Dudney – which came from officials in Sonoma, San Joaquin and Tulare counties – was a part of the case against Wandrey and James, but decided out of “an abundance of caution” that he should make the evidence available to Carter and Moth.

Phone records that his office is receiving are helping to create the connection between the defendants in order to move forward on the gang allegations, said Hopkins.

Martin asked him when he got evidence relating to the gang enhancement charge he filed. Hopkins said he received a stack of reports this week and began going through it.

“They're pretty serious charges and I wanted to make sure we had what we need to prove them,” he said.

Carter said the allegation that Wandrey is associated with the Misfits motorcycle gang in Sonoma County is not new to the discovery. “We don't admit that by any stretch,” said Carter, who added that the evidence is “weak.”

Martin told Carter that he made a very effective argument, but said it shouldn't have come as a surprise to him that the evidence or the charges were coming.

Carter said he wasn't surprised, but pointed out that last week Martin had expressed serious concern about the District Attorney's Office putting out 80 pages of discovery late in another case. He said it caused him grave concern when individuals' rights to time in a preliminary hearing are toyed with in such a way.

“I don't want this to turn into a personal battle between you and Mr. Hopkins,” said Martin.

Martin explained that the previous week he had chewed out someone else in Hopkins' office over the late discovery issue, but the situation with Hopkins appeared to be different.

“It's not personal, it's professional,” Carter said about his concerns in the case, which he said were based on his duty to Wandrey.

“I'm not questioning what your duty is,” said Martin, adding that when one party or another makes a comment about the other side, it becomes personal and isn't appropriate.

Moth said he agreed with Carter's position, and reiterated his request for a continuance.

Martin, in ruling on the amended complaint, found that they were “very serious charges,” and they create challenges from both the standpoints of sentencing and the difficulty of the trial. The defense needs to determine the best defense to set forth and the sooner the better, he said.

During the hearing, Martin also told the two sides that they needed to get together to work out some of their concerns. “It's not my job to help either side with the case.”

Martin found good cause for the discovery being presented as it was.

Carter said it still hadn't been explained what documents had led Hopkins to file the additional charges. “I'll be happy to show them to him,” said Hopkins.

Martin said he wasn't going to spend the day holding the hearing – which lasted close to 40 minutes – and he said if that evidence doesn't exist in the documents they can take it up later and he can sanction Hopkins.

“Now that takes us to the next step,” which was determining whether to proceed with the preliminary hearing, said Martin.

With Moth saying he wasn't ready to proceed because he needed to study the information that came from the search of James' home, Martin said it seemed to be a waste of resources to do two separate preliminary hearings. He found good cause to push the hearing back based on Moth's concerns.

Carter remained opposed. “I think I've made my arguments very clear,” he said.

Martin granted Moth's request, and ruled that Wandrey's hearing also would be rescheduled over Carter's objection. Wandrey waived time to allow the hearing to be rescheduled.

The preliminary hearing was continued to 9 a.m. Feb. 19 in Martin's Department 1 courtroom. A pre-preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. Feb. 5 will be held for the purposes of getting the two sides together so they can sort their issues out, Martin said.

“All I'm asking is a mere communication between the parties so we can avoid these types of problems,” he said.

Carter also asked the court to correct the spelling of Wandrey's last name, which previously had been given as Wandry. It also was noted that his full name was Joshua Isaac Wandrey Sr. Hopkins asked that the name be changed in the record.

On Friday, the Lake County Sheriff's Office reported that two more people were arrested in the case. Joseph Henri Deshetres, 62, of Santa Rosa and Cheryl Ann Reese, 56, of Lakeport were both booked on felony charges of preventing or dissuading a witness with threats.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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