2017-12-07 / Front Page

Judges raises bond in case against Willey

By Gazette staff

Luke Willey Luke Willey A man who is accused of severely beating another man and threatening a woman with a gun had his bond increased last week in Mariposa County Superior Court.

Luke Willey, 38, appeared before Mariposa County Superior Court Judge Michael Fagalde last week after he was arrested in Fresno and then transported back to Mariposa County.

He faces 10 felony counts along with enhanced allegations because he is a prior felon, according to court documents filed by the Mariposa County District Attorney’s Office.

Fagalde raised Willey’s bond to $150,000 after it was set at $100,000 following his arrest recently in Fresno.

According to the court documents, the incidents took place on Sept. 22 and Sept. 23 in Mariposa County. Willey had been on the run since that time until he was arrested by the Fresno Police Department on Nov. 22.

Willey was then transported back to Mariposa County and made his appearance on Thursday, Nov. 30.

His attorney, Linden Lindahl of Fresno, who said he was “retained by the family,” asked the court to let Willey be released on his own recognizance.

Lindahl said Willey has “substantial ties to the community.” He also said Willey now lives in Fresno County.

The defense attorney also said Willey had planned on turning himself in before he was arrested.

“He had intended to turn himself in after the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Lindahl.

The attorney did not explain why Willey had not turned himself in during the three months he was wanted by authorities following the alleged incident.

Mariposa County Deputy District Attorney Philip Dodgen opposed letting Willey out.

Dodgen pointed to a “prior serious felony” and asked the judge to raise the bond to $150,000.

Fagalde, who told the court he could be impartial in the case even though he represented Willey in a previous matter several years ago, said he had reviewed the court documents.

The judge said is main concern is “public safety” and agreed with the state in raising the bond amount.

In addition, the court agreed to allow the three alleged victims in the case to be granted a protective order. Fagalde said there were two adult victims and one minor victim.

Fagalde ordered that Willey cannot have any contact with the victims, can’t be within 200 yards of them and cannot possess a firearm.

He set a pre-preliminary hearing for 9 a.m. on Dec. 19 and a preliminary hearing for the matter at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 9.

According to the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to a residence on Harris Road on Sept. 23 where they were told Willey broke into the house and severely assaulted a man inside the house.

Deputies also reported a juvenile was in the home and witnessed the assault. It further stated that Willey allegedly vandalized the vehicle of the man he assaulted.

During the investigation, a woman occupant of the home told deputies Willey had physically assaulted her and pointed a gun at her the day before. The court documents say both adults were age 22 but does not state the age of the juvenile.

The sheriff’s office statement said Willey, after the alleged incident, was driven to Fresno by another Mariposa County resident.

Here are the charges Willey faces:

• First degree residential burglary, a felony, and a special allegation of a prior serious felony. That felony was listed as an assault with a deadly weapon charge for which Willey was convicted on July 29, 1999. He was 18 at the time.

• Assault with a semiautomatic firearm, a felony, in addition to the same enhancement.

• Dissuading a witness by force or threat, a felony, with two enhancement charges related to the prior assault with a deadly weapon charge.

• Three counts of possession of a firearm by a felon with two prior convictions, a felony. In this charge, it lists the prior assault with a deadly weapons conviction, but also lists an Aug. 4, 2005 conviction, another felony. That charge is for cutting or damaging a cable or television line to prevent someone from getting assistance. It is listed in all three counts.

• Possession of ammunition, a felony, with an enhancement also listing the two previous convictions.

• Domestic battery, a misdemeanor. This charge alleges that Willey used force or violence on the 22-year-old woman, who court documents say is a “former cohabitant.”

• First degree residential burglary, a felony. This charge also lists two enhancements based on the previous conviction of assault with a deadly weapon.

• Assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, a felony. This charge also lists three enhancements, including a special allegation of “great bodily injury.”

• Battery with serious bodily injury, a felony. This count carries two enhancement charges.

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