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California couple charged after shooting inquest

On Dec. 25, a 30-year-old man was discovered shot to death at a home near Upper Lake. According to reports, the homeowner called authorities to let them know that he had shot an intruder after the man tried to force his way into the house. The man who attempted the break-in had previous criminal records for theft, battery, violation of probation, terrorist threats and elder abuse, and police from the Lake County Sheriff's Office said that the man's body was found with a fake gun.

Police also alleged that they found a marijuana grow area on the property and a number of firearms that the homeowner should not have had as a previously convicted felon. After seizing a reported 980 pounds of marijuana, numerous rifles, handguns and a quantity of illegal armor-piercing rounds from multiple properties, they arraigned the couple on a number of drug charges and accused them of illegally possessing firearms.

Due to the quantity of marijuana allegedly discovered, the couple were charged with cultivating and possessing cannabis for sale. The two were taken into custody at Lake County Jail, but they were prohibited from posting their $500,000 bail unless they could demonstrate that the money came from legal sources.

Criminal drug charges may result in significant loss of property through asset forfeiture, and the accused may not be able to recover their possessions without establishing their innocence. Unfortunately, some people automatically assume that people are guilty based on the alleged quantity of drugs seized or their past criminal records. Attorneys may be able to assist the accused by building defenses on their behalf or petitioning courts for a plea bargain of less-severe charges.

Source: Lake County News, "Upper Lake couple in court on drug and weapons charges; investigation into fatal shooting continues", Elizabeth Larson, December 31, 2013

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