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Suspect could face more charges

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

A judge said he will decide today whether there is enough evidence to bind a South Lake Tahoe man for trial on the charge of being an ex-felon in possession of a shotgun.

Last August, David Bayless, 71, used a shotgun to blast his grandson, Joshua Stone, in the back. The wound paralyzed Stone from the waist down.

During a hearing at El Dorado County Superior Court on Friday, Judge Jerald Lasarow said he must check Nevada law before he determines whether Bayless was convicted of a felony in that state.

Bayless, his gray hair matted, sat slouched in a chair wearing thick brown-framed glasses and a white goatee. He often shook his head from side-to-side during the hearing.

Prison records submitted as evidence indicate Bayless served time for two crimes. In 1977, Bayless was convicted of a lewd act with a minor in Reno and sentenced to five years in prison. In 1989, he was convicted of statutory rape in Washoe County and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Lasarow did not make any rulings on the case Friday, but did indicate there may be evidence to hold Bayless answerable for additional charges, such as assault with a deadly weapon or attempted murder.

Anthony Sears, the El Dorado deputy district attorney prosecuting Bayless, did not say if he intends to file more charges against the defendant.

Facts about the shooting are sparse. Bayless and Stone, 28, of Champaign, Ill., had been drinking alcohol the night Stone was shot just above his right hip.

Bayless told detectives he shot Stone to prevent him from hurting a woman in his apartment. Stone said he was not attacking the woman but did lift her out of a kitchen chair and led her out the front door of Bayless’ apartment on Pentagon Road at South Lake Tahoe.

Testimony given by investigators in court Friday revealed Bayless and Stone had listened to a phone message recorded on Bayless’ answering machine on Aug. 15. The message came hours before the shooting, which occurred Aug. 16 around 1:30 a.m.

In the message, an unknown man said there was a $3,000 contract out for Stone’s life. After hearing the recording, Bayless said Stone was an idiot and deserved to die, according to the investigators’ testimony. After Sears mentioned the statement in court, Bayless said aloud “I never said that.”

Bayless has been in jail since his arrest April 25. If convicted of the weapon charge, he could be sentenced to a maximum of six years in prison.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or at

gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com


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