Bail raised on suspects in case of assault on Merced police officers

rparsons@mercedsunstar.comMarch 6, 2014 

— Two men charged with assaulting Merced police officers last month returned to jail Thursday after a judge increased their bail at a hearing in Merced County Superior Court.

Judge Marc A. Garcia on Thursday raised bail from $76,000 to $250,000 for Nathan Schindler and Michael Stucky, both 24, according to the court clerk’s office.

David Elgin, the supervising deputy district attorney prosecuting the case, said the judge believed the two defendants posed a significant risk after the Feb. 2 assault against police officers on West 18th Street in Merced.

“Public safety is the most important consideration when setting a bail,” he said.

The judge declined to increase bail for the third defendant in the case, 23-year-old Cody Griess, the clerk’s office reported.

All three defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges including obstructing peace officers and being drunk in public, court records show.

Griess’ attorney, Jeffrey Tenenbaum, said the judge believed his client was “the least culpable” of the three defendants. Griess is the only defendant not specifically charged with assaulting a peace officer. He remained free on the bail set initially, court records show. Attorneys for the two other defendants could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Stucky posted his $250,000 bail and was released from the Merced County Jail shortly after Thursday’s hearing. Schindler was still in custody Thursday night, authorities confirmed.

Two officers suffered injuries while they were trying to break up an alcohol-fueled fight downtown, police said.

Officer Brian Rinder was speaking with Schindler and Stucky, authorities said, when Griess tried to physically intervene. Griess was taken to the ground by officers, police said, and Sgt. Curt Gorman began to assist. Schindler then kicked and punched Gorman in the face and head, the department said.

Elgin said attorneys and the judge discussed Schindler’s mixed martial arts training during Thursday’s hearing.

Gorman suffered a broken nose and has yet to be medically cleared for duty. Capt. Tom Trindad said Thursday that Rinder and a police dog were also assaulted but returned to duty the next day.

All three defendants are due in court April 1 for further hearings.

Staff writer Rob Parsons can be reached at rparsons@mercedsunstar.com or (209) 385-2482.

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