Archive | September, 2011

Elko District Court September 18

Posted on 26 September 2011 by Howard Copelan







Mon 9-19

   CR-FP-10-547 Soto, Kelly Anthony (DA/Mierins) Arraignment (Conspiracy to Commit Possession of a Controlled Substance)

   CR-FP-11-207 McKay, Matthew Shane (DA/Mierins) Arraignment (Driving Under the Influence with One or More Prior Felony DUI Convictions)

   CR-FO-11-487 Teele, Derrell (DA/Mierins) Sentencing (Conspiracy to Commit Theft)

   CR-FO-11-341 Richards, Tanna Marie (DA/Kilpatrick) Sentencing (Fraudulent Possession and/or Use of a Credit or Debit Card)

   CR-FP-11-303 Bays, Rosalie Elizabeth (DA/Lee) Arraignment (Possession of a Controlled Substance)

   CR-FO-11-289 Bolding, Michael Anthony (DA/Lee) Sentencing (Embezzlement/Theft)

   CR-FP-11-171 Wiebe, Kristie Mae (DA/Lee) Arraignment (Driving Under the Influence with Two or More Prior Convictions)



   CR-FP-10-2369 Plant, David Jarret (DA/Denney) Arraignment (Possession of a Controlled Substance)

   CR-FO-10-2107 Moye, Albert George (DA/Cavanaugh-Bill) Sentencing  (Attempted Obtaining and Using Personal Indentifying Information of Another for an Unlawful Purpose (Identity Theft))

   CR-FO-10-2033 Esparza, Sergio Jose (DA/Green) Sentencing (Burglary/Invasion of the Home)

   CR-FP-10-2117 Kranovich, Laren Ray (DA/Dunn) Sentencing (Driving Under the Influence With Two or More Prior Convictions)

   CR-FP-10-2161 McDermott, Scott William (DA/Dunn) Arraignment (Driving Under the Influence with One or More Prior Felony DUI Convictions)



















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Fingernail Of Evidence Could ID Girl’s Killer

Posted on 23 September 2011 by Howard Copelan

The fate of two confessed teen murderers could rest on a minute amount of blood and skin found under the fingernail of their victim, 16-year-old Micaela Costanzo.


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Two weeks ago Elko District Attorney Marc Torvinen asked District Judge Dan Papez for permission for permission to submit a tiny piece of blood  and/or skin found beneath one finger nail of Micaela Costanzo for DNA testing.


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The sample is so small Torvinen cautioned the court that it would have to be destroyed without any left over for retesting.


According to court records neither of the defense teams representing kody Patten or Toni Fratto raised any objection to the test provided their own DNA experts be allowed to be present when the testing is done.


“Its a one off thing,” said a source close to the case. “And a lot could be resting on the results.”


The tests are expected to be completed with the month.


Micaela “Mickey” Costanzo was murdered on March 3rd.


Toni Fratto and boyfriend Kody Patten confessed to the murder of but at different times and their statements were at least partially contradictory.


Patten confessed first, three days after the murder and just hours after the Costanzo’s body was found in a gravel pit about three miles west of Wendover.


Patten did not mention Fratto being involved in the crime at all and in fact in a throw away line to detectives interviewing him said he left the crime scene “to go pick up, Toni”. Fratto had been attending a meeting of the West Wendover Recreation District where her mother Cassie is a member of the board.


Patten may have told police that he committed the murder within 30 minutes of abducting Costanzo.


Patten’s time line of the killing is at least superficially at odds with Fratto. In her confession the 19 year old Wendover girl said Costanzo was alive and with Patten  when Patten picked up after the meeting at around 7 pm.


Neither of the two confessed killers admitted that Mickey Costanzo was at any time restrained or bound before they killed her. However police recovered plastic restraints often used instead of handcuffs in the grave with Costanzo’s body.


Where the two confessions agree is in their portrayal of a panic murder when a verbal argument progressed into a physical shoving match that lead to the actual killing.


In Patten’s confession, the young man instead he dealt the killing blow, shovel blade across the neck after Costanzo went into a seizure after striking her head against a rock. In Fratto’s confession, it is she who kills Costanzo by cutting the unconscious girl’s throat with a folding knife.


Police, prosecution and both defense teams have already commented on the tremendous lake of forensic evidence linking either Patten or Fratto to the crime scene or even the SUV.


“You don’t expect that from a so called panic murder by one or two teenagers,” said a source close to the case. “But the car was almost spotless. There was no trace of Fratto at the scene not even a footprint and very slight DNA evidence putting Patten there either. It just doesn’t fit the knocked drag out fight account in their confessions.”


“She was a 16 year old girl, she got out of the shower from track practice,” said a source close to the investigation. “She was in the car for any where from 20 minutes to two hours. It should have been full of her DNA.”


According to as yet substantiated reports the reason for the lack of evidence is that the killers may have had help after the murder but before Patten’s confession to clean up by an adult who may or may not have known about the killing three days before Micaela Costanzo’s body was found.


If true, and that is a big if, that helper could find him or herself facing murder charges. According to Nevada law there is no lesser charge of aiding and/or abetting after the fact.


“If one is a principal before during or after the fact in a murder one is a principal in the murder,” said Fratto’s attorney John Springgate.


However, despite their ages Kody Patten and Toni Fratto may have had enough knowledge on how to clean a crime scene without adult supervision. According to teachers at west Wendover High School Kody Patten’s senior English report was on modern American serial killers.


Patten’s paper has since been seized as evidence by the Elko DA.


Working on a tip that there could be a third person involved in the crime Elko County Detectives were in Wendover earlier this month interviewing potential witnesses about the events on the night of the murder.


Those interviews have since been transcribed and submitted in a report to the Elko DA.


Like the DNA test of the material underneath Mickey Costanzo’s fingernail that report must be shared with both sets of defense attorneys before the trial begins in February.


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Old Mine New Promise For Wendover And Ely

Posted on 23 September 2011 by Howard Copelan

The same people who found a mountain of gold where no one else expected to find one in the Pequops range 30 miles east of Wendover are now looking for more of the yellow stuff just to Wendover’s south.


Animas Resources Ltd. announced that it has signed a letter of intent to sell its interest in the Kinsley Mountain gold project in Nevada to Pilot Gold Inc.


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The Kinsley Mountain Property is located in extreme eastern Nevada in Elko County between the towns of Ely and Wendover.   Nevada Sunrise LLC acquired the property in 2000.


The property consists of 141 unpatented lode mining claims covering an area of approximately 2807 acres.


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Pilot Gold is led by the same management and technical teams that built Fronteer Gold, a strong growth company acquired by Newmont Mining Corporation for approximately $2.3 billion. In 10 years, Fronteer Gold grew from a $2-million venture shell into a well-funded, high profile, development-focused gold company. During this time, Fronteer Gold discovered or advanced seven deposits.


Exploration interest in eastern Nevada is currently elevated due to recent significant gold discoveries in the Pequop Mountains northwest of Kinsley Mountain, in similar Early Paleozoic-age carbonate stratigraphy.


First discovered in 1984, Kinsley went through a handful of owners before being bought for $3 million by Alta Gold in 1994. Alta Gold put the property into production in 1994. Between 1994 and 1999, the property produced over 138,000 ounces of gold, or roughly 30K ounces per year a fairly modest amount by eastern Nevada standards.


The mine was considered all but played out by the late 1990’s and closed with the gold crash of a decade ago but now with the price now hovering near the $2,000 an ounce mark and with geology very similar to the Pequops discovery it has sparked renewed interest.


Pilot Gold has agreed to acquire Animas’ interest in the Option Agreement for a cash payment of $350,000, representing Animas’ expenditures to date on the project, and a total of 150,000 common shares of Pilot Gold to be issued to Animas over a three year period.


Pilot Gold now has the right to earn a 51% interest in the Kinsley Mountain property by spending $1.5 million in exploration expenditures by March 30, 2013, of which approximately $316,000 has been spent to date. A joint venture will be formed when Pilot Gold has earned its 51% interest. Upon earning its initial interest, Pilot Gold may elect to spend a further $3 million in exploration expenditures to earn an additional 14% interest for a total interest of 65%. Pilot Gold also has the right to earn up to 75% interest by paying for and completing a Pre-feasibility Study.


During the option period, Pilot Gold will now be the operator for the Kinsley Mountain Project.


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Wendover’s Son Joins The Few, The Proud

Posted on 23 September 2011 by Howard Copelan

by Sergeant Aaron Mora


USMC Recruiter


Marines are a part of something bigger than a branch of military service; a part of something greater than themselves; a part of something older than the very nation they defend. The Marine Corps is a brotherhood, and a team, unlike any other in the world.


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At a very early age Colton Robert Smith, a proud native of West Wendover, was fascinated by the United States military. But in the summer of 2010, the seventeen year old took a particular interest in the United States Marine Corps. He was drawn to the Marines for numerous reasons but mainly for their ability to overcome both mental and physical obstacles, and for their talent of mastering their own fears. Therefore after a series of initial mental and physical tests Colton enlisted in the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program. He successfully graduated from West Wendover high school in June 2011 and shortly after he reported to Marine Basic Training (Boot Camp).


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The thirteen week long boot camp is the indisputably the longest and toughest training our country provides only to a very few selected number of young men and women from all corners of the Nation.


Some of the many challenges Colton encountered at basic training were sky-towering obstacles, swimming in thirty feet deep water with over seventy pounds of equipment on his body, skillfully and accurately shooting at targets from a distance equal to five football fields away with plain iron sights, and the Crucible which is a three-day culminating event where recruits undergo sleep and food deprivation and are tested in a series of combat courses and obstacles.


Colton successfully endured the physical and mental challenges during the last three months of boot camp.


“I am proud but not really surprized about Colton,” said his track oach at WWHS Tyler Peterson. “I never saw a more dedicated young man. He would come to practice and run with injury and pain all the time.”


Friday, September 23rd he will become a part of the most disciplined and elite military force the world has ever witnessed as he graduates from Marine basic training. He will continue on to a technical career and grow to be a strong leader of men and women. Whether he serves four years actively or retires from the Marine Corps one thing is for sure, he will always proudly carry the title of United States Marine. Semper Fi.


Sergeant Mora can be reached at 775 753.4531 Office 775 340.5709 Cell.


Colton is the son of Donnie and Kris Andersen and Stacy Smith.


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Wendover, UT School Pop. Up, Wendover, NV Down

Posted on 23 September 2011 by Howard Copelan

West Wendover schools saw a slight drop while Wendover, Utah school experienced a significant enrollment increase as the official student counts came in last week.


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According to the Elko County School district there were a total of 1158 students registered as of the official count day last Friday. The total is down 2.0 percent from last year’s total of 1181.


Across the state line in Wendover, Utah schools reported a total enrollment of 454 students up 8.6 percent over last year’s 418.


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This was the first time since the division of the joint school system in 1996 that the Utah schools saw such a healthy increase with a decline on the Nevada side.


For a little more than a decade education was a shared responsibility between the Elko County School District in Nevada and the Tooele County School District in Utah. Children from both sides of Wendover attended elementary school in West Wendover while older children went to the combined Jr./Sr. high school in Wendover, Utah.


When the agreement was sign in the mid 1980’s the population on both sides of the border town were roughly equal. While most of the jobs were located in West Wendover’s rapidly growing casino industry much of the housing was still in Wendover, Utah. But by the late 1980’s West Wendover saw an exponential increase in housing in the form of trailer parks, apartment complexes and single family homes and a doubling of its population.


The added population put pressure on the high school in terms of physical space and political pressure on both school boards. The Elko School Board along with some West Wendover parents began to pressure the Tooele Board to expand their high school and Tooele resisted on the grounds that the increase was mostly caused by Nevada pupils and Tooele County taxpayers should not have foot the bill.


After three years of an increasingly vociferous relationship the two districts parted ways. The Elko School District began building the West Wendover Jr/Sr High in 1995. Meanwhile the Tooele School board saw its first plan to handle the split by turning their high school into a first grade through 12th grade facility shot down by open public revolt of Wendover, Utah parents and by a study which found while there was enough room to house the 350 or so 6 to 18 year olds it was just barely enough. Instead of footing Tooele taxpayers with the bill of expanding the high school the Tooele board to maintain the unified system, the Tooele School district built a brand new elementary school. In the fall of 1996 Wendover, Utah kids and West Wendover, Nevada kids went their separate ways.


Until this recently both sides of town mirrored each other more or less in school enrollment. While the Nevada side’s school population has always been much larger than the Utah side both sides gained or lost students at relatively the same rates as the other.


The StateLine bankruptcy and the Great Recession both had a devastating impact on the population of both sides of town and both sides school enrollments. The West Wendover Elementary school for example lost about 30 students the equivalent of a class every year for five years from 2003 to 2009.


According to the census there are now 4,410 people in Wendover a drop of 6.6 percent from the 4,721 counted in 2000 and more importantly a drop of more than 10 percent from its estimated population of a bout 5,000 from the state demographers office.


West Wendover’s population decline has also spilled across the border into Wendover, Utah. The much smaller sister city also reported a decline of about 10 percent.


In the past five years Wendover, Utah however has shown signs of great resiliency than its larger sister to the west. While no where near a complete recovery Wendover, Utah has logged some notable new development such as the new Nugget RV Park, the expanded Shell Service Center and the Dollar Store. West Wendover, Nevada on the other hand has met with little success apart from the addition of the Smith’s Gas Station the only large project West Wendover has seen in almost a decade was the City Hall and a city paid for industrial park that so far has one tenant.


This greater resiliency may be reflected in this years school population numbers as well.


Another cause for Utah’s increase could be in the easier access to local, state and federal government financial assistance.


While West Wendover, Nevada’s poor must travel to either Elko or Ely to even apply for financial aid Tooele County administers many of the same programs from its offices in Wendover, Utah City Hall.


The full breakdown of Wendover’s student population is

2011: WWES– 654; WWHS– 496; Anna Smith– 261; WHS– 193.


2010: WWES– 685; WWHS– 504; Anna Smith– 241; WHS– 177.


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Sorry, my bad

Posted on 23 September 2011 by Howard Copelan

Back when our oldest son was 16 we yelled at him.

We yelled at him a lot when he was 16 mostly for not doing things we told him to do like taking out the garbage or picking up his little brother from little league.

We forget what exactly he did or more likely did not do that merited our yelling at him this particular time. What we do remember was his response:

“Sorry, my bad.” He said.

Did we mention the fact that we are white? Not only white but Jewish? Not only White and Jewish but live in a town where the population of black people can be counted on one hand and the nearest ghetto is a thousand miles away.

Hearing the words ‘my bad’ from my white teenage son struck me as both incongruous and out right silly.

So we yelled at him some more.

“MY BAD!!!?, MY BAD!!!?”

Did we forget to mention we have a thing about appropriate slang for the appropriate ethnic group?

It drives us nuts when we hear a Yiddishism out of the mouths of an obvious gentile, a French or German phrase from a pseudo-intellectual pretending to be smart with a bad accent and worst of all hearing Latin from a lawyer. We know when a lawyer goes to Latin we are getting screwed.

Now living in a melting pot we do expect some kind of leakage from one culture to another.

English at its best is particularly adaptable and inclusive of all the European languages. Born out of wedlock to a bastard Norman French father and a Saxon mother with a little bit of Celtic in the family tree English has no claim to either being ancient or noble. American English even less so.

But still one has to have standards and while speaking improperly may be okay in the ghetto or in rap, black speech, so called ebonics, has no place coming out of the white mouths twisted with a flat nasally western accent.

It is just wrong.

Which brings us to Snow White and the seven dwarves.

Ever since we saw that movie a million years ago the song “Hi Ho” drifts in and out of our head especially when we are working or walking.

And while Sleepy, Dopey and Doc whistle in our reverie we often greet people with a Hey Ho!! ourselves.

Well we did until last week when a middle aged white woman literally flipped out when we naively said it.

“I am not a ho don’t you dare call me that!” She said.

At first we had no idea what she was talking about. Hearing ho from a middle aged white woman was even more incongruous and silly than hearing ebonics from my son.

It is not the swearing or insulting is foreign to us but ho is something we would never think to call a woman. Zona maybe, sharmuatah definitely, or even heure which is reserve for the deepest contempt, but ho? It simply wasn’t in our vocabulary and we would feel embarrassed about using it. We would be guilty of linguistic theft.

She might of thought we were subtly insulting her. The problem is while we have been accused of many things, subtle ain’t one of them.

Actually we think she was reaching for it. But if she wasn’t then all we can simply:

Sorry, my bad.





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West Wendover Council Goes For Stimulus Cash

Posted on 22 September 2011 by Howard Copelan

[MEDIA not found]

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White Pine County District Court

Posted on 22 September 2011 by Howard Copelan

[MEDIA not found][MEDIA not found]

Monday, September 12, 2011


Department 2


Honorable Dan L Papez


10:00 am


CR-1109062        Caleb Solomon Dutson         Arraignment


CR-0906048        Gene Thompson                  Status Hearing


Monday, September 19, 2011


Department 1


Honorable Steve L Dobrescu


9:30 am


CR-1107045        Joey Lerch                         Sentencing


CR-1107047        Tina Griffin                         Sentencing


CR-1105035        Debra Jo Smith                   Competency Hearing


Department 2


Honorable Dan L Papez


10:00 am


CR-1108051        Mario Gonzalez                    Sentencing


CR-1001006        Michael Nollett                    Change of Plea/Re-Arraignment


CR-1101001        Evelynn Trigos                    Change of Plea/Re-Arraignment



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West Wendover Arraignments & Trials

Posted on 22 September 2011 by Howard Copelan

[MEDIA not found]

[MEDIA not found]




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Holiday Hit & Run Victim Drug Arrests

Posted on 16 September 2011 by Howard Copelan

Just two months before the victim in a fatal Labor Day weekend hit and run Terron Demtices Hooper was killed in West Wendover he was facing legal problems of his own.

cut paste for original booking info:

Hooper was killed in the early morning hours of September 4, almost two months to the day after he was arrested on various drug charges in Salt Lake City.

According to the Salt lake County Jail Hooper was arrested for various drug related charges including public intoxication, possession of drug paraphernalia, misdemeanor possession of marijuana, and a $25,000 outstanding warrant issued by Utah County for a 2008 marijuana charge.

In a telephone interview with the High Desert Advocate Friday, a woman who claimed to be Hooper’s mother said that while her son liked to smoke marijuana he did not deal the drug.

“He was a good kid,” she said. “And the only reason for the $25,000 bail was because he failed to appear in court.”

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According to the Salt Lake County Jail, Hooper spent 20 days behind bars before he was transfered to the Utah County Jail to address the 2008 drug charge and the $25,000 bail warrant.

According to reports West Wendover police last week  impounded a tan 2005 GMC Sierra four door pickup believed to have been involved in the death of Hooper, 22, of West Valley City, Utah.

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West Wendover police sergeant David Wiskerchen said Tuesday that a possible arrest or a request for a warrant could be made by Friday. That prediction came to naught Friday when forensic technicians found no evidence that the impounded vehicle was involved in the crime.

According to reports the investigation is literally back to square one and without a significant amount of luck the chances of finding either the vehicle or the killer are slim.

The White Pine County Sheriff’s Department for example has been looking for a suspect in a hit and run that occurred during the early evening last December that critically injured a pedestrian.

“If the vehicle hasn’t been significantly damaged and can flee the scene you pretty much have to rely on luck,” said Sheriff Dan Watts. “Or on the perp or someone close to the perp turning them in.”

According to the crime scene diagram Hooper was struck while in the middle of Wendover Boulevard by a west bound vehicle near the Va Va Voom adult  video/sexual products store at around 1 am early Sunday morning.

Hooper had been celebrating with friends at a night club in the Crossroads Plaza shopping mall. It was the young man’s 22nd birthday.

According to reports a passerby saw the body of Hooper lying in the street about 1:45 a.m., police wrote in a news release. Hooper appeared to have been hit by a vehicle, police wrote.

Hooper’s body was found in the middle of the road while his belongings were scattered up to 20 feet away.

According to Nevada law even if the death was an accident and even if the deceased was at least partly to blame fleeing after a car accident that results in bodily injury or death is a category B felony. The abridged legal definition of felony “hit and run” in Nevada states that, “The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury to or the death of a person shall immediately stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the accident and exchange information and render aid.”

Penalties for leaving the scene of a car accident that caused death or injury to a third party include: two to fifteen years in prison, and a fine of $2,000 to $5,000, and possible license suspension or revocation.

Investigators are asking the public for help finding the driver. Anyone with information may call police at 775-664-4393.

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