Ex-lawman found not guilty

Former Yuba County sheriff’s deputy cleared of felony assault

A Butte County jury found a former Yuba County sheriff’s deputy not guilty Friday (March 6) of felony charges of battery and assault and dissuading a witness by force.

The case stemmed from a scuffle on St. Patrick’s Day last year in downtown Chico between the then-deputy Nelson Magana and a man—a stranger to Magana—named Felipe Zabala that started in the restroom area of the building at Second Street and Broadway that houses Burgers & Brew. Witnesses gave differing accounts, with some blaming Magana and others blaming Zabala, who was reportedly knocked unconscious. Both men had high levels of alcohol in their bloodstreams.

Magana was laid off from the Yuba County Sheriff’s Office soon after the incident and filed a personal injury lawsuit against Zabala last August. That case is set for consideration March 24.