News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Legal Matters

Ansted restored to competency

A Lyons man is returning to court after being found fit to stand trial for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from an elderly victim.

On Jan. 10, a psychological evaluation filed with Linn County Circuit Court said David Lee Ansted, 66, was restored to competency and able to assist in his own defense.

Ansted was returned to the Linn County Jail and is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail. Future court proceedings had yet to be scheduled as of press time.

Ansted was arrested June 29, 2023, for allegedly stealing more than $13,000 from a female victim age 65 or older. He was charged with first-degree aggravated theft and three counts of first-degree theft including alleged credit card fraud, computer crimes and mishandling of entrusted property.

On Aug. 2, 2023, Ansted was found unable to assist in his own defense and he was committed to the care of Oregon State Hospital with the goal of restoring him to competency. Details of what led to this ruling and the Jan. 10 evaluation of restored competency were both confidential.

Probation for firearm discharge

A Mill City man has been sentenced to two years of probation after pleading no-contest to firing a shotgun in the city limits last fall.

Alberto Negron Jr., 40, pleaded no-contest Dec. 27, 2023, in Linn County Circuit Court to unlawful use of a weapon. A related charge of unlawful possession of a firearm was dismissed.

Negron allegedly discharged a 12-gauge shotgun within the Mill City city limits Sept. 24, 2023. There was no indication in court records he was attempting to harm others.

While on probation, Negron must undergo mental health evaluation and treatment. He was also required to surrender the shotgun in question, and as a result of the felony conviction may be restricted from possessing weapons in the future.

Probation for 200 illegal pot plants

A Scio man has been sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to growing an illegal amount of marijuana last year.

Chaowen Zhen, 46, pleaded guilty Dec. 27, 2023, in Linn County Circuit Court to unlawful manufacture of a marijuana item. 

Additional charges of unlawful possession of a marijuana item and unlawful production of marijuana were dismissed.

As a condition of probation Zhen was sentenced to 10 days in the Linn County Jail with credit for time served. He was allowed to serve this time through alternative programs such as home detention or community service at the discretion of the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.

Zhen was arrested April 4, 2023, for possessing nearly 200 marijuana plants, well above the 12 plants allowed for an individual under state law.

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