A woman and her son accused in the shooting death of a purported pot thief last year refused a plea deal Friday 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 then 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 both Nomesiris in prison for two to four years if they are convicted.
After a meeting in the judge's chambers, Deputy District Attorney Charles Gonzalez announced in court he will be amending the complaint on Vanna Nomesiri to include a firearms allegation. It could add another year to her term if she is convicted.
W. Bradley Holmes, the attorney for Vanna Nomesiri, did not say why his client and her son rejected the offer proposed by the judge that also would have included an unspecified probation term.
"Both of them did not want to take the deal," Holmes said. "They wanted a trial."
The Nomesiris declined to comment.
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. Sept. 22, 2011, 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 when she shot him in the neck with her .22 rifle.
She also told police she believed Cheng may have been walking toward her when she shot him, according to testimony at the hearing.
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