Sacto 9-1-1
June 20, 2012
Placer fugitive captured 15 years after skipping out on trial

A man who fled Placer County during his trial on marijuana and related charges 15 years ago is back in custody.

Lawrence Dewald, 46, of Mendocino County was arrested Thursday by Placer County sheriff's deputies and investigators from the Placer County District Attorney's Office.

Dewald was originally convicted Sept. 2, 1996, of possessing marijuana with the intent to sell and being armed in the commission of that offense. He also was found to have two prior strikes under California's three strikes law, according to a Placer County District Attorney's Office news release.

During the trial, Dewald was out on $12,500 bail. Just before the conclusion of the trial, he failed to appear after lunch and fled the county, officials said. The court issued a warrant for his arrest and continued the trial, which resulted in a conviction.

Placer County law enforcement officers were assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Mendocino County Sheriff's office in capturing Dewald.

Dewald was also arrested on a federal arrest warrant for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. He was booked in the Mendocino County Jail, then extradited to Placer County, where he is being held without bail.

His next court date is June 27.

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