Man pleads not guilty in Lockwood beating death
February 19, 2010
VIRGINIA CITY – A Lockwood man pleaded not guilty Friday to the October beating death of Eileen Pruitt.
Ryan Bonnett, 22, entered not guilty pleas to both open murder and felony battery on a peace officer causing substantial bodily harm in the First Judicial District Court in Virginia City.
According to police, Bonnett beat Pruitt, 47, after she rebuffed a request for a cigarette and the two argued outside the Rainbow Bend Community Center in Lockwood on Oct. 18.
Bonnett’s girlfriend, Nicole Martinez, said she ran inside her home to get her father, Storey County Commissioner Bob Kershaw, to break up the fight.
By the time they got back outside, Pruitt was lying motionless in the street, said Martinez during Bonnett’s preliminary hearing in January.
Bonnett, whom Martinez said was very drunk, wandered away from the scene and was stopped by a deputy a short time later.
He allegedly fought with
the officer before being arrested.
Assistant District Attorney Laura Grant and Bonnett’s attorney Public Defender Diane Crow both agreed the trial would take about two weeks.
Judge Todd Russell questioned the battery charge, saying he didn’t see any evidence in either the preliminary hearing testimony or court filings that the officer suffered substantial bodily harm. Russell suggested Grant look at the statute and perhaps refile the charge as a gross misdemeanor.
A murder conviction carries one of three sentences: life without parole, life with parole after 20 years, or a definite sentence of 20 to 50 years in prison. Gross misdemeanor battery on a peace officer carries a penalty of one year in jail. Felony battery on a peace officer with substantial bodily harm carries a penalty of 24 to 120 months.
The trial was set for
Bonnett is being held without bail in the Storey County Jail.
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