FALLON - A 17-year-old Fallon girl is being charged as an adult in the shooting death of her stepmother following an argument Monday.
Joanna Marie Plants appeared in Churchill County Justice Court on Tuesday where she told Justice of the Peace Mike Richards she understood the charges she is facing - open murder with the use of a firearm, first degree felony murder with the use of a firearm and being a user of controlled substances in possession of a firearm.
A criminal complaint accuses the teen of using a .380 cal. Taurus semi-automatic handgun to shoot and kill Ginger Plants, 42, at their home at 2350 Schurz Highway.
The document alleges the teen entered the residence with the intent to commit assault or battery or another felony crime. While in the home, she used the gun to shoot and kill her stepmother, the complaint states.
The document states Joanna was a methamphetamine user at the time of the alleged murder.
She is being held in the Churchill County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
"When we file murder charges, the defendant is automatically transferred to adult status," said Deputy District Attorney Tom Stockard.
For less serious offenses, a hearing must be held to determine if a minor should face charges as an adult.
Churchill County Sheriff Richard Ingram said in a prepared statement that deputies were called to a shooting on the Schurz Highway at 11:10 a.m. Monday.
When they arrived, deputies found Ginger Plants dead inside the home. An autopsy was conducted Tuesday morning on the victim. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head. A detailed autopsy report is pending.
A neighbor reportedly told investigators that Joanna Plants asked the neighbor for a ride to a church the family attends on Crook Road at about 10:45 a.m.
The neighbor told police she noticed the teen had a pistol during the drive to the church and was able to convince Joanna to leave the weapon in the vehicle.
The girl reportedly got out of the car and ran to the rear of the church. She was later found hiding in tall weeds inside a corral at the back of the property, the sheriff stated. She was arrested without incident.
Joanna Plants will appear in court March 16 for a preliminary hearing.