HUSBAND-WIFE IN COURT
Two former Turlock Christian School teachers accused of trying to arrange sex with a 16-year-old student by cell phone will be back in Stanislaus County Superior Court on Wednesday. The husband-and- wife defendants. Justin and Amy Northcutt, can choose to take a plea deal from the prosecution or set a date for a preliminary hearing, where a judge will decide if there is enough evidence for the case to go forward to trial. The Northcutts each have been charged with one felony count of "harmful matter sent with intent of seduction of a minor." The Northcutts would have to register as sex offenders if they are convicted of the felony count, Deputy District Attorney Elaine Casillas said. The Northcutts still would have to plead to a felony under the plea deal, Casillas said. They are not in custody.
DRUG SELLER GIVEN SEVEN YEARS
A Modesto man who had drugs or drug-related materials in his possession during three stops by local authorities recently was sentenced to seven years in prison, according to a statement from the Stanislaus County district attorney's office. Enguelbert Rosado, 28, pleaded no contest to two counts of possession of cocaine base for sale and one count of possession of methamphetamine. Prosecutors said Rosado had 26 baggies full of white powder, some of them stuffed in his mouth, when he was stopped near Fifth and I streets in Modesto on April 19, 2008. The powder turned out to be 4.26 grams of cocaine base. Prosecutors said Rosado had two plastic baggies containing 0.28 grams of methamphetamine in his pocket when he was stopped Jan. 2 near Fourth and H streets. Prosecutors said a sheriff's deputy watched Rosado make a drug sale March 19 near Roselawn and Rouse avenues, then found a golf-ball-sized ball of cocaine base, or 5.06 grams, hidden in his shorts. A common sales amount is 0.1 grams or less, according to the authorities.
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KILLER ASKS TO STAY IN PRISON
A senior citizen, formerly of Modesto, doesn't want to leave Corcoran State Prison. Instead of attending a parole hearing last month, Matthew Gooch, 75, asked authorities to deny his release for another five years, according to a statement from the Stanislaus County district attorney's office. Gooch shot and killed Franklin Woods on Jan. 3, 1980, after Woods accused Gooch of stealing $4 in a card game. Gooch claimed self-defense, but a jury convicted him of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to 17 years to life in prison and has served more than 28 years. According to the authorities, Gooch told the parole board that he is not ready to be released. He will be 80 when he gets his next chance at freedom.
CONSEQUENCES CAN BE SUBSTANTIAL
Small crimes can lead to big prison sentences. Need proof? Take a look at some recent convictions announced by the Stanislaus County district attorney's office:
A bottle of booze nipped from Save Mart in Ceres sent Reginald Wayne Gilmore, 50, of Salida to prison for two years because he had a prior theft conviction on his record.
Three baggies of methamphetamine, dropped onto the ground during a routine traffic stop, sent Jerry Doyle Gass, 40, of Modesto to prison for two years. He was convicted of possession of methamphetamine and driving on a suspended license.
Pocketing meat from Save Mart on Paradise Road in Modesto was a bad idea for Vincent William Grant, 47, of Modesto. Grant had been to prison twice before — for theft in 2001 and two robberies in 1994 — so a judge sentenced him to six years in prison.
DRUNK DRIVER GETS FOUR YEARS
A drunk driver who caused two solo wrecks, one in October and another in December, recently was sentenced to four years in prison, according to a statement from the Stanislaus County district attorney's office. In the first wreck, Gerardo Lopez Alcala, 37, of Modesto crashed his car in an orchard and fled on foot but was apprehended two hours later, when his blood alcohol level was 0.17 percent, or more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent. In the second wreck, Alcala hit a fence. When authorities arrived a short time later, Alcala had a blood alcohol level of 0.15 percent.
SEVEN YEARS FOR THEFT, ATTACK
A Modesto man who stole irrigation pipes from a farmer, then punched his girlfriend while he was out on bail awaiting trial, was sentenced to seven years, four months in prison, according to a statement from the Stanislaus County district attorney's office. Garland Roy Williams, 33, pleaded guilty to grand theft and domestic violence.