Parolee faces trial for drugs



After a preliminary hearing Friday, a judge ruled a Sonora parolee will stand trial on charges he was making methamphetamine in a shed next to a Big Hill house where a young woman was shot to death.

Jerry Christopher Coey, 31, was arrested Dec. 2 after he took Jennifer Lynn Coons, 21, to Tuolumne General Hospital with a fatal gunshot wound to her chest. She died moments later.

Coey originally told deputies Coons had flagged him down on Sawmill Flat Road as he was driving by that afternoon, and that he didn't know her. He was arrested and booked that day on a parole violation, and sheriff's investigators began to check his story.

Investigators soon learned Coons, Coey and another parolee, Kristopher McDaniel, were living in a mobile home on the 22300 block of Gunsight Road, Sheriff's Sgt. Joe Romeo said at Coey's hearing Friday.

When officers searched the Gunsight Road mobile on Dec. 3, they found chemicals and paraphernalia used for making methamphetamine in the shed about 75 feet from a mobile home, Romeo testified.

Romeo said Coey was living in a loft area of the shed and Coons and McDaniel, 30, were living in the mobile home.

Romeo told the court that state Department of Justice criminalists checked Coey's booking fingerprints against those found on items found in the shed, and they matched. That's when Coey was booked on the drug charge, Romeo said.

On Friday, Tuolumne County Superior Court Judge Doug Boyack told Coey and his defense attorney, Hal Channell of Sonora, there was enough evidence to hold Coey over for trial. He will be re-arraigned March 17, at which time a trial date will be set.

Coey has four felony convictions over the last 12 years, dating back to 1990. Two are for burglary, one is for petty theft with prior convictions and one is for escape from jail. In 1992, he was sent to prison for two years on a burglary conviction.

He also has seven misdemeanor convictions, court records show.

The Union Democrat
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