Steve Puterski

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June 13, 2013
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Reno woman pleads guilty to heroin possession

A Reno woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in District Court to one count of possession of heroin.

Melissa Coreen Gillem entered the plea and was released on her own recognizance. Gillem, though, was allowed the OR so she could appear in Washoe County for drug, burglary and failure to appear charges.

As part of the plea agreement, Gillem will apply for Drug Court, although Judge Tom Stockard did not allow for the application to be filed until her case in Washoe County is adjudicated.

On April 11, Gillem was arrested by the North Central Narcotics Task Force and has been in custody on more than $8,000 bond.

Gillem, though, is scheduled to be sentenced July 30, depending on the outcome of the case in Washoe County.

In other court news —

A Fallon man appeared Tuesday in District Court and was held in contempt of court for missing last week’s appearance.

Travis Reed Johnson, 18, was arrested by Fallon police on May 21 on a suspicion of burglary and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released on his own recognizance and failed to appear in court last week.

Stockard ordered a bench warrant for Johnson’s arrest, but quashed the warrant on Tuesday.

Johnson said he had a “mental breakdown,” although his attorney, Dave Neidert, said it was a panic attack.

Stockard was firm with Johnson and said he must appear for all court proceedings. As a result, Stockard gave Johnson a suspended sentence of two days in jail on the condition he complete 24 hours of community service in the next two weeks.

Johnson must appear in court in two weeks or he will be taken into custody. In addition, his plea agreement, which Neidert said was generous, may be rescinded.

Michael Anthony Harris, 31, of Reno appeared on one count of attempt to commit battery by strangulation.

Harris is suspected of attempting to strangle a female on May 20 at a residence on South Bailey Street.

He was expected to enter a guilty plea Tuesday, but his attorney, Paul Drakulich, said his client had concerns about the case and did not enter a plea.

Drakulich said he was not comfortable with his client entering a plea until Harris had an opportunity to read through the case files.

The charge can be either a felony or gross misdemeanor, also known as a wobbler, and carries a prison sentence of one to four years or one year in jail. Harris is also eligible for probation.


An autopsy was conducted on Wednesday for a woman who was found dead in her residence at the Ideal Mobile Home Park.

Fallon Police Chief Kevin Gehman said officers were called to the residence Tuesday afternoon at about 1:15 p.m. When officers entered the home, they found 40-year-old Wendy Kwapich-Mossi.

Gehman would not speculate on her death until all reports come in. The Churchill County Sheriff’s Office and the Washoe County Forensic Team assisted at the scene.

Gehman also said interviews are being conducted, and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Fallon Police Department at 775-423-2111.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jun 13, 2013 07:23PM Published Jun 13, 2013 07:23PM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.