Nevada County murder suspect arrested in Carson City | NevadaAppeal.com
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Nevada County murder suspect arrested in Carson City

Alan Riquelmy and Adam Trumble
A multi-story log cabin style home on the 22000 block of Highway 20, 10 miles east of Nevada City, sits surrounded by yellow Sheriff's tape as authorities conduct their investigation into the death of Kenneth Pestana who was discovered dead in his home Wednesday night.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com |

A man was arrested Thursday night in Carson City in connection with a homicide in Nevada County, Calif.

Agencies conducted a search near the Bella Lago apartments on Airport Road for the man after finding the victim’s stolen vehicle in the area.

Deputies conducted surveillance and made contact with the man, identified as Joseph Ward, 27, of Douglas County. Ward was arrested without incident at 6:40 p.m. on a murder charge out of Nevada County, according to Sheriff Ken Furlong.

Ward was wanted in the death of Kenneth Pestana, 61. Pestana was found dead in his Nevada County home after deputies responded around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday to the 22000 block of Highway 20, about 10 miles northeast of Nevada City.

Pestana, the victim, served prison time more than 40 years ago for second-degree murder, Nevada County authorities said.

Authorities responded after a caller said they thought someone might be dead in the house, sheriff’s officials said.

“A preliminary investigation indicates foul play suspected in Mr. Pestana’s death,” a release states.

Nevada County Sgt. Robert Jakobs declined to discuss specifics about the death, saying the victim’s wounds led authorities to believe it’s a homicide. It’s unknown if anything was taken from the home, he added.

“We’re just beginning to execute the search warrant in the residence where we hope to collect physical evidence,” Jakobs said.

Jakobs declined to release details about what weapon may have been used or the number of suspects involved.

“It’s a very active, fluid investigation,” he added.

An autopsy is expected either today or early next week, Jakobs said.

Pestana, who spent time in California and Nevada over the years, had a criminal history.

Pestana served time in 1973 in Soledad Prison in California for second-degree murder, Royal said.

According to The Record-Courier, Pestana in 2012 agreed to leave Nevada as part of a no contest plea deal to a drug accusation. His girlfriend had said at that time they were looking at property in Sonoma and Nevada City.

Pestana’s home, a log cabin-style house, had police tape around it on Thursday. A couple of motorcycles and a Corvette were parked outside the home.

The Nevada Division of Investigations, the Nevada City Sheriff’s Department, the Nevada Highway Patrol and the Carson City Sheriff’s Office along with SWAT members were on scene.

When officers made contact, a rottweiler lunged at a deputy and was shot and killed.

The suspect is being held in the Carson City Jail pending extradition.

Alan Riquelmy is a reporter with the Grass Valley Union, a sister paper of the Nevada Appeal. Adam Trumble is editor of the Nevada Appeal. Elias Funez from The Union and Taylor Pettaway from the Nevada Appeal contributed to this report.