Man pleads not guilty to stalking charges |

Man pleads not guilty to stalking charges

Nevada Appeal Staff Report

A 41-year-old Dayton man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to allegations he threatened a half-dozen people with a machete.

District Judge Dave Gamble set a three-day trial to begin May 10 for James Preston, charged with three counts of felony aggravated stalking.

Gamble denied a request from attorney Kris Brown to release Preston on his own recognizance. He has been in custody in Douglas County Jail on $25,000 since his turned himself in Feb. 1.

Preston was charged with leaving multiple cell phone messages Jan. 9 to potential victims that he was on his way from Dayton, where he lives, to the Centerfield Bar in Gardnerville to kill people with a machete.

When deputies stopped his vehicle at highways 395 and 88 near midnight, they confiscated a machete behind the driver’s seat.

He was jailed on a mental health hold and taken for treatment to West Hills Hospital in Reno for four days. He was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder and began a treatment regimen included medication and therapy.

Brown said her client’s mental health issues and wrong medication led to his aggressive behavior. She said while he’s in jail, Preston is unable to receive the help he needs.

Prosecutor Laurie Trotter said evidence contradicted some of Preston’s version of the facts. She said some of the alleged victims were Preston’s neighbors in Dayton and feared for their safety and that of their families.

Claiming community safety was at risk if Preston were released, Trotter said Preston combined alcohol and prescription drugs and had a conviction from Carson City for disorderly conduct.