A look at the year in courts,crime, accidents
December 30, 2003
Among these year in review items, there is lots of bad news. In between the lines, in some of the hard to read spaces, there is some good news.
Johnson Lane resident Lorelle Chorkey, who was shot twice on Feb. 10, 2002, had good news this year, if that’s what it’s called. She lost her husband and half of her vision.
On Aug. 21, however, District Court Judge David Gamble sentenced Christopher Fiegehen, 24, of Carson City, to life in prison for murder, attempted murder and home invasion.
Sometimes some news is good news even on the heels of bad news.
Debbie Miller came to The Record-Courier in June looking for help finding a woman, an angel, a something or someone, who aided her 7-year-old son Shawn just days after he and her older son survived a head-on collision on Highway 88.
Shawn was convinced that an angel came to the accident to help. Turns out the angel had a human shape in the form of a 17-year-old woman named Tina LeClaire.
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Jan. 7: The Frias brothers, James, 11, Josh, 10 and Jacob, 8 of Gardnerville leave home. Search crews are called out to find them.
Twenty hours later they are spotted on Highway 88. They tell deputies they were headed to visit friends in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. They have with them a map, as well as crackers, blankets and a box of Honey Comb cereal.
Jan. 19: Eddie Martinez, 41, dies about 5 a.m. after he is punched in the face on a sidewalk that runs along Highway 395 in Gardnerville. No one is arrested until February.
Jan. 28: Accused murderer Christopher Fiegehen, then 23, of Carson City, has his trial continued to June 23 for the homicide of Johnson Lane resident Al Chorkey and the attempted homicide of Lorelle Chorkey.
Jan. 28: Harley Hook, 18, is sentenced to nine months in jail for his part in 12 arsons committed in four counties in Nov. 2002. All the fires were contained. The count of attempted arson is reduced from a felony to a gross misdemeanor so that Hook can pursue his dream of a military career.
Feb. 3: Daniel Lee Peters, 42, of Gardnerville turns himself in for Eddie Martinez’ January death. He allegedly punched Martinez in the face causing him to fall to the ground where a skull fracture occurred. Peters faces one to 20 years for manslaughter, a class B felony.
Feb. 11: Richard Nafus, 71, survives a 10 p.m. crash into a garage in the Johnson Lane area after experiencing a seizure. His car travels through fields and over ditches in the process, amazing deputies when he is found alive the next day.
The Johnson Lane family is unaware that Nafus sits in a vehicle in their garage until a deputy knocks on the door the following morning. Nafus is taken to Washoe Medical Center in Reno.
Feb. 18: Richard Conte, 54, of Clear Creek is given a 15-year prison sentence for kidnapping his former wife from Salt Lake City in an attempt to save the relationship. His is also fined $20,000.
March 10: Daniel Ryan, 39, of Carson City is given a five year prison sentence for taking a $50 fishing pole from Douglas County’s Wal-Mart. Ryan’s 22-year-criminal history included five felony convictions.
April 12: A rally for children of domestic violence brings more than 50 people to St. Gall Pastoral Center. A video shown at the rally reveals that children of domestic abuse can grow up suppressing emotions.
April 12: Margaret Biggs is named East Fork Fire and Paramedic Districts Firefighter of the Year. Biggs has been a volunteer firefighter for 25 years.
April 21: The Minden AM PM is robbed at gunpoint. Adam Smith, a 19-year-old from the Johnson Lane area, is arrested moments after 5 a.m. in his getaway vehicle.
May 12: Daniel Peters is sentenced to 500 hours of community service for assault with bodily harm on Eddie Martinez. His five year prison sentence is suspended.
June 2: Debbie Miller comes to The Record-Courier office looking for help in finding a woman in a red dress who aided her 7-year-old son. Shawn’s older brother had fallen unconscious into his lap after they turned left into the path of another vehicle on Highway 88, colliding head on.
Shawn describes the woman as an angel.
“She’s there to help everybody, mommy,” he told his mother. “She stands on the side of the road.”
It is DHS’ prom night.
June 5: The 58-year-old owner of Blue Ribbon Kettle Corn, Donald Burton, in Minden is given a one-year suspended jail sentence for providing alcohol to teenagers. He allegedly took a 16-year-old to Los Angeles without her parents’ consent.
June 12: Tina LeClaire comes to The Record-Courier office to meet Shawn Miller, the boy she found in a vehicle collision on June 2.
LeClaire talked about how she helped Miller after she and boyfriend Jonathan Lozano decided to stop at the accident on their way to prom.
LeClaire said Miller was screaming and crying at the time.
“He was really scared,” she said. “I was just saying, ‘Baby, you need to calm down. The paramedics are on the way.’ He was shaking. I was rubbing his shoulder. I was just trying to make sure everything was OK.”
LeClaire is studying to be a nurse.
June 14: A riot breaks out in Gardnerville outside a bar during the beginning of the Carson Valley Days weekend. Two men are arrested and brought up on felony charges.
Wes Duryee later has his charges reduced to misdemeanors for lack of evidence. Jonathan King faces a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon.
No one is seriously hurt in the melee. Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputies report the situation was out of control and one deputy had his nightstick taken from him.
June 25: Testimony beings in the Christopher Fiegehen trial. Lorelle Chorkey identifies him as the person who attacked her in the morning hours of Feb. 10.
She said she heard a noise on the porch that morning, got out of bed to explore and heard her name being called. She said she turned around and heard the sound of gunshot and saw two flashes at the same time she was hit in the head and chest.
“And then Chris Fiegehen appear to me,” she testified.
Fiegehen is on trial for attempted murder, homicide, burglary and home invasion.
June 30: George Bariames received a five year suspended sentence for child neglect and abandonment. The 37-year-old man was arrested at his Stateline apartment after deputies stopped by for a welfare check and found his wife, Debbie, dead, and their son, Nicholas, malnourished.
Bariames initially planned to go to trial in the case. He was not charged with Debbie’s death. He said they were both withdrawing from prescription drugs.
July 8: Janet Tyzbir a manager at the Douglas County Wal-Mart is told to make $27,000 in restitution for embezzlement. She is given a suspended jail sentence.
July 21: Casey Malphus is given a suspended jail sentence for helping her boss, Janet Tyzbir, embezzle money. She is told to make restitution along with Tyzbir.
August 2: In what a sheriff’s office investigator called a “bizarre” incident, a Pinenuts man fatally shoots Walter Hetrick, 40, of Antioch, Calif., who continues to enter the man’s home even when told to stop.
August 21: Christopher Fiegehen is sentenced to two consecutive life sentences without parole for the murder of Al Chorkey, two consecutive sentence of 96 to 240 months for attempted murder with a deadly weapon and two consecutive sentences of 72 to 180 months for home invasion with possession of a firearm. The burglary charge is dismissed.
Lorelle Chorkey describes Fiegehen as “an embarrassment to humanity.”
Sept. 10: The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimands Douglas County Justice of the Peace Jim EnEarl for putting Joseph Manoukian in jail May 21, 2001, without an attorney present.
Manoukian committed suicide that weekend.
Sept. 19: Dennis and Nicole Causing, a father and daughter team selling methamphetamine from a Gardnerville Ranchos home are arrested. Dennis Causing is charged with drug trafficking. His bail is set at $250,000. Nicole Causing is charged with sales and is soon released on house arrest.
Oct. 17: Christopher Fiegehen’s new attorney, Richard Cornell, says he plans to appeal his client’s case.
Oct. 20: Nicole Causing is sent to drug court for her admission to selling methamphetamine. If she successfully completes the year long program, the felony charge will not be entered on her record.
Oct. 24: Richard Mackey, 38, enters the Carson Valley Pharmacy and takes several people hostage.
The SWAT team is called in. The situation becomes tense. Mackey takes his own life.
His mother, Joan, said he was depressed and addicted to Xanax, which he tried to get help for.
“First of all he was not a criminal and he never would have hurt anybody,” she said. “He was trying to get help from various local and state agencies. I reported him suicidal once or twice and had him arrested. The next thing I’d know he’d be out.”
Nov. 24.: Byron Reber, 50, of Carson City, is given a 10 year sentence for burglarizing a Johnson Lane home on Sept. 19 and taking nearly $30,000 worth of items.
Reber maintains his innocence throughout saying he received the stolen goods he wore at the time of his arrest because a man named Tim gave them to him.
Reber has seven previous felony convictions.
Dec. 22: Tracey Lock, 29, of Gardnerville receives a 20 year prison sentence for robbing Hamdogs Restaurant on Sept. 24.
“I let down a lot of people,” he said at his sentencing. “I would give anything in the world to take this back.”
Lock robbed Hamdogs with a gun and shot it near an employee. Another employee of the restaurant called Lock “Tracey” throughout the robbery and told him to stop joking.
Lock previously worked at the restaurant.
– Maggie O’Neill can be reached at mo’firstname.lastname@example.org or (775) 782-5121, ext. 214.