A woman and her son accused in the shooting death of a purported pot thief last year refused a plea deal today that would have guaranteed them no worse than a year in county jail.
Instead, Vanna Nomesiri and her son, Chinda Nomesiri, chose to go to trial, which Sacramento Superior Court Judge Raoul M. Thorbourne scheduled for Feb. 12.
Vanna Nomesiri, 52, is accused of involuntary manslaughter in her fatal shooting of Vue Cheng, 29. Her 32-year-old son has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Authorities say he beat Cheng with a shovel after his mother shot the man.
The charges could land them both in prison if they are convicted. The two offenses carry terms of two to four years. After a meeting in the judge's chambers, Deputy District Attorney Charles Gonzalez announced in court that he will amend the complaint on Vanna Nomesiri to include a firearms allegation that could add another year to her term if she is convicted.
According to testimony at the defendants' preliminary hearing in June, Cheng and three other men jumped the fence into the backyard of the Nomesiris' Del Paso Heights home at 3:30 a.m. and started hacking down plants in the pot garden with machetes.
Police testified at the hearing that Vanna Nomesiri warned the intruders from a doorway that she had a gun. One officer testified she told investigators she didn't mean to kill Cheng, that she thought she was firing into the air with her .22 rifle when she shot him in the neck. She also told police she believed Cheng may have been walking toward her when she shot him, according to the testimony at the hearing.