Ward pleads not guilty in Ranchos murder case

A 21-year-old Gardnerville man accused in the June 24 slaying of a Markleeville father of four formally denied the charges on Monday.

Michael Ward pleaded not guilty Monday to battery with a deadly weapon causing substantial bodily harm, battery causing substantial bodily harm and involuntary manslaughter. A trial is set to begin Oct. 4.

Ward is accused of causing the death of 24-year-old Jeffrey John by cutting, hitting and kicking him in a late-night brawl at a Gardnerville Ranchos home.

Kevin Walsh, Ward's attorney, asked Douglas County District Judge Michael Gibbons to reduce Ward's bail from $100,000 to $50,000.

"Then he can go back to work, if he can make bail," Walsh said to Gibbons as some of Ward's family members watched in the courtroom.

Prosecutor Dina Salvucci said $100,000 was an appropriate amount for bail.

"Mr. Ward is not supervisable, and he doesn't follow rules," Salvucci said. "His job was clearly temporary."

Gibbons denied the request.

Walsh said self-defense will be a part of the defense's case during the trial.

"As for involuntary manslaughter, (the prosecution) is not sure what killed (John)," he said. "I think we do have a good case that needs to go to trial."

Each charge against Ward carries penalties up to 10-15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.


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