Businessman gives up the fight
June 10, 2003
After nearly six years of legal wranglings, an ending has finally come to the saga of a Carson City businessman charged with shooting at a man he claimed kidnapped and threatened his daughter.
Ron Weddell, 56, pleaded no contest Monday to gross misdemeanor discharging a firearm. He was fined $1,000.
On Oct. 17, 1997, Weddell drew a gun to make a citizen’s arrest on Scotch Pine Drive.
When Jaime Bustamante allegedly moved as if to draw a weapon, Weddell fired several shots at him.
Weddell said Bustamante and his brother Johnny Bustamante kidnapped and threatened Weddell’s daughter Kellie over a drug debt. When he saw a Chevy Blazer enter the parking lot of his Arrowhead Drive business and strike one of his employees, Weddell tracked down the brothers.
As he waited for police to arrive, Jaime Bustamante attempted to leave, and Weddell tried to stop him by firing at him. Weddell was charged, setting off a round of legal challenges.
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After at least 13 civil cases — none of which stayed in Weddell’s favor — appeals to the Supreme Court on both sides and a grand jury investigation into police and district attorney misconduct in which the Bustamantes and a deputy district attorney were indicted, the indictments were tossed out then reinstated against the Bustamantes.
Now, Weddell said, he’s done fighting.
“I’m just glad it’s over,” he said following Monday’s hearing.
He said he needs to tend to a new office he’s opened in the Bahamas.
“We would have won,” said Weddell’s attorney Fred Atcheson, who told Judge Michael Griffin he was tired of the case, as was Weddell, who’d “spent a fortune” fighting it.
“The worst part of this case was lost with a bad Supreme Court ruling,” Weddell said.
In the State vs. Weddell, the Supreme Court ruled a private citizen does not have the right to use the same amount of force as a peace officer.
“I’m glad it’s over. All along, I’d looked at this case as a gross misdemeanor,” said District Attorney Noel Waters.