Suspect admits she has no money for lawyer

After a lengthy explanation of her rights by East Fork Justice Jim EnEarl, a 20-year-old Gardnerville Ranchos woman finally admitted Wednesday she lied when she claimed to have $5,000 saved up but wanted to defend herself against felony charges.

Lea Jaramillo is charged with felony possession of stolen property following a series of vehicle burglaries in the Gardnerville Ranchos earlier this month.

At her arraignment May 12, EnEarl refused to appoint a free attorney for Jaramillo when she claimed to have $5,000 saved for her education and refused to hire an attorney.

On Wednesday, she continued to insist that she was going to represent herself even though she had $5,000 and had earned $500 a week as a babysitter.

"I don't need any defense in this case at all," Jaramillo said. "I don't have any defense. I'm going to plead guilty."

EnEarl silenced her from further admissions, but she continued to say she wouldn't pay for a lawyer.

"I'm not going to win," Jaramillo said. "I was watched by police officers doing what I did."

Jaramillo, who said she was six months pregnant, told EnEarl she had a 10th grade education.

Prosecutor Erik Levin asked the judge to inquire whether Jaramillo would want an attorney if she didn't have to pay for it.

At that point, she admitted lying to the judge, and said she had about $100 to her name.

"I thought it was better to lie in court to say I was doing something and not just sitting around doing nothing," Jaramillo said.

EnEarl appointed Derrick Lopez to represent Jaramillo.

He ordered her to complete a financial disclosure statement and warned her she would face perjury charges if she is dishonest.

"Quit lying and making foolish decisions. Be honest with your attorney," EnEarl said.

Levin said Jaramillo's mother was skeptical about her daughter's claims and said she made up the story hoping that if she "looked better," it would enhance her ability to be released on her own recognizance.

She is being held on $10,800 bail.

Her codefendant, Michelle Howard, 21, was released last May 19 on her own recognizance with an ankle monitor and under the supervision of the Department of Alternative Sentencing. Howard is represented by attorney Tod Young.

Both women are set for a preliminary hearing Friday to determine if there is probable cause to believe the crime was committed and that they were responsible.

They were charged with felony possession of stolen property after they were arrested in a car at Howard's home loaded with the property reported missing after a series of weekend vehicle burglaries.

Recovered items included hundreds of compact disks, backpacks, and a camera.

Officers also found a stolen wallet that included Nevada and California identification cards, Social Security cards and credit cards.

Sheriff's Investigator James Booth said the recovered goods included several electronic items believed stolen in the burglaries.

Residents are asked to call Booth at 782-6299 to identify any missing property.


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