CHICO, Calif. - On Friday morning, Nelson Magana was in the Butte County courthouse. The 31-year-old Yuba County deputy faces two charges of assault and another of witness intimidation stemming from an altercation that took place in the early morning hours following Saint Patrick's Day.
Magana is accused of beating a 30-year-old Chico man at Burgers and Brew restaurant. At least one witness said Magana, who was off-duty at the time, chased the man through the restaurant into a stairwell where he allegedly beat him even though he was unconscious.
According to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, that man is still recovering. "He has some residual aggravated back and neck aches, soft tissue damage," Ramsey said.
Magana is also accused of threatening to rough up a witness who was calling police to report the incident. Ramsey says there is no surveillance video of the alleged attack, but there are witnesses.
If convicted, Magana could face up to seven years in prison. He will return to court on Thursday, May 1, when he is expected to enter a plea. Magana is out on bail and remains on administrative leave with the Yuba County Sheriff's Office.