Feb 5, 2014 2:34 PM
Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey unsealed a grand jury indictment on 24 individuals in a 12-hour standoff at the Tyme Maidu Tribal Offices of Gold Country Casino last May. According to court documents, 19 of those individuals were eventually forcibly removed and arrested by Butte County Sheriff’s Deputies at the end of the standoff.
In a Butte County Superior Courtroom this morning, 21 of the 24 individuals were present and were arraigned on charges of trespassing and vandalism. An additional five individuals were charged for aiding and abetting the other 19 in the takeover. Several were represented by private counsel and pled not guilty, 12 were appointed public defenders. Three failed to show for the arraignment this morning and warrants were released for their arrest. The ages of those indicted ranged from 19 to 71.
According to Ramsey’s statement today, the Sheriff’s Office and tribal officials noted over $20,000 in damages to walls, windows, doors, computers and other property as a result of their barricading efforts. Ramsey also included in his report to the grand jury that two-by-fours, chicken wire, bolts, tarps and metal straps were drilled into interior walls, windows, and doors throughout the two buildings.
“Baseball bats, slingshots, bear pepper spray and sleeping bags left behind by the arrestees showed they planned a very long and potentially violent occupation,” Ramsey stated to the grand jury.
The grand jury met last month and heard evidence detailing the circumstances of the takeover of the offices on May 16, 2013. The takeover was a result of a “disenrollment” procedure involving the members of the takeover and tribal officials. In addition to damages to the tribal offices, Ramsey also noted absentee ballots were also removed from ballot boxes inside the offices and were shredded. The ballots were part of the disenrollment vote to take a number of the tribal leaders off the tribal rolls, according to court documents. Of the 24 indicted in this case, 17 were tribal members but only four were up for disenrollment.
Ramsey stated to the grand jury just because someone has a dispute with their “government body”, it does not give individuals the right to damage that government’s property.
“This would be akin to a group of protesters taking over the White House and vandalizing it during their occupation, then claiming they had a right to commit the crime because they had an ownership interest in the White House,” Ramsey said. “They would be wrong under the law.”
Further indictment proceedings and entry of pleas for those appointed public defenders today will continue of February 19, others will be ordered back into court March 5.
The list of those indicted and arraigned today:
JESSE ANTHONY CASON, 19, Oroville
PAUL RENE CASON, 44, Oroville
CHARLENE RENEA DELAGARZA, 42, Oroville
DAVID DONEZ, SR., 52, Magalia
LINDA DONEZ, 46, Magalia
WILLIAM RAYMOND GRIGSBY, 34, Oroville
DONALD LEW HEDRICK, 44, Biggs
MIKEL HEDRICK, JR., 36, Oroville
MIRIA THAAMAI (HEDRICK), 27, Oroville
EMANUEL ADAM LEE, JR., 28, Oroville
TERESA ANN LEE, 50, Oroville
JULIA LEE MEDRANO, 47, Oroville
TASHENA JUANITA MEDRANO, 28, Oroville
ERIC ANTHONY SARGENT, 27, Chico
JESSE RAY SARGENT, 25, Chico
WAYLON ARON SHIPMAN, 38, Paradise
ROBERTHA MARLENA TIMMONS, 71, Oroville
CAROL LYNN WAGNER, 40, Paradise
CRAIG LEON WAGNER, 49, Magalia
GREG EDWARD WAGNER, 49, Paradise
LEON RONALD WAGNER, 71, Sterling City
The list of those indicted and sought by warrant:
DAVID MANUEL DONEZ, JR., 26, Chico -- $130,000 warrant
KATHY ANN FRAZIER, 51, Berry Creek -- $15,000 warrant
ROBERT LEW WAGNER, JR., 36, Orland -- $30,000 warrant