Plea agreements could be in the works for three defendants accused of being involved in an assault last year on a Merced police officer, attorneys confirmed Monday.
Nathan Schindler and Michael Stucky, both 25, and Cody Griess, 24, have pleaded not guilty to the Feb. 2, 2014, attack on Merced police Sgt. Curt Gorman, according to Merced Superior Court records.
Schindler and Stucky are accused of assaulting Gorman. Griess is accused of obstructing police at the scene, which essentially created the opportunity for Schindler and Stucky to carry out the beating, according to the Merced County District Attorney’s Office.
Griess is charged with obstructing a peace officer, according to Merced Superior Court records.
Authorities said Griess was arguing with Officer Brian Rinder on West 18th Street in Merced and was taken to the ground. Gorman went to help and got into a struggle with Stucky, who held Gorman’s legs while Schindler got on top of him, repeatedly punching and kicking the officer, investigators said.
Matthew Serratto, the Merced County deputy district attorney prosecuting the case, said authorities are not offering to reduce any of the charges in the case.
“There could be negotiated sentences,” Serratto said Monday. “The judge wants to closely review the case and consider what is best in terms of sentencing, whether it’s prison time or probation, essentially.”
Judge Marc A. Garcia ordered all three defendants to return to court March 17.
Schindler’s attorney, Richard Meyer, said he would ask the judge to indicate the sentence likely to be handed down should his client plead to the charges filed against him. “Then we’ll discuss the options based on what the judge says at that point,” Meyer said.
Meyer has said his client was simply defending himself and his friends.
Serratto said prosecutors offered probation for Griess with no jail time, but likely will seek prison time for Schindler and Stucky.
Stucky’s attorney, David Capron, declined to comment on the case Monday.
Griess’ attorney, Jeffrey Tenenbaum, said his client continues to maintain his innocence, saying Griess was not involved in the attack on Gorman.
If convicted, Schindler could face up to eight years in prison and Stucky up to five. Griess faces a maximum of four years in the county jail, if convicted, prosecutors have said.
There were 22 cases in 2014 of Merced police officers being assaulted, according to statistics released last week by Merced police Chief Norman Andrade.
That number was down significantly compared with the two previous years. In 2013, there were 31 cases in which officers were assaulted and 32 such cases in 2012. The department reported 23 cases in 2011 and 24 in 2010, according to statistics obtained by the Merced Sun-Star.
Sun-Star staff writer Rob Parsons can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or firstname.lastname@example.org.