Minden robbery case moves ahead

Staff Reports

DNA testing in the case of a man accused of robbing the Minden Bank of America is back and his attorney is seeking a preliminary hearing.

Steven J. Simmons, 27, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., will appear in East Fork Justice Court on Wednesday to set a date for the hearing at which prosecutors will have to present evidence that a crime was committed and that Simmons is a viable suspect.

Defense attorney Terri Roeser said she had received the 60-page report on items found when Simmons was arrested.

Among the materials were money recovered from the bank, clothes resembling those worn in the Nov. 22, 2005, robbery and the weapon.

Simmons had previously waived the hearing on the condition that when the tests came back, the case could be remanded back to justice court.

Simmons has been in custody since the day of the robbery.

n A Ruhenstroth woman admitted she took $130,062.59 in Douglas County District Court on Monday.

Ginger Lee Johnston, 52, pleaded guilty to felony theft and told District Judge Michael Gibbons she understood that the amount of restitution could be higher than that listed in court documents.

Johnston faces a 1-5 year sentence in Nevada State Prison and a fine of up to $20,000 in addition to making restitution.

Defense attorney Tod Young told Gibbons that Johnston is in the process of refinancing her house. Because a civil judgment has been recorded against the property, the victim, James C. Ray, should be reimbursed.

According to the court files, Johnston was arrested Dec. 28 for writing checks to herself on the accounts of James C. Ray Associates and Tango Corp. between November 2001 and August 2005. Johnston was a bookkeeper for the firm. She told Gibbons that she gambled the money away.

A June 12 sentencing date was set.

n A Gardnerville Ranchos man pleaded guilty to attempting to run over his ex-girlfriend's father after a dispute at the home he was sharing with her and her mother.

Christopher P. Vigneau, 21, admitted to a gross misdemeanor to Judge Michael Gibbons on Monday.

Vigneau, who was on bail in the charge and another matter in justice court, was taken into custody after a drug test revealed he had marijuana and methamphetamine in his system. His bail was revoked and he was ordered to appear May 1 to decide whether his plea agreement would stand.

The incident occurred on Jan. 29. According to the police report, the victim in the case had to leap out of the way of a Ford Explorer Vigneau was driving.

Vigneau is scheduled to appear for sentencing on June 5.


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