Bail is denied in road-rage homicide
October 18, 2005
TAHOE CITY – The Truckee man accused of a road-rage murder was denied bail Tuesday after a judge declined to rule on the matter. Timothy Brooks, 26, is being held in Placer County Jail in Auburn while facing murder charges in the alleged stabbing death of Robert Ash on Aug. 17 in Tahoe City. Judge James Dawson also ruled to quash two of the 27 subpoenas that the defense filed with various law enforcement agencies, substance abuse treatment centers and other agencies seeking police reports and information on Ash. Dawson ruled that any reports connected with the current case from the Truckee Police Department or the Placer County Sheriff’s Office could not be used, but that subpoenas were allowed for prior cases involving Ash. Dawson also declined the defense’s request to see Ash’s rap sheet. A representative with Community Recovery Resources, an alcohol and drug treatment facility in Truckee, said he needed a judge’s orders before releasing any of their records on Ash, which Dawson granted. Defense attorney Marcus Topel said he was seeking the information to show that Ash had a violent past and that Brooks stabbed Ash in self defense. While arguing for bail for Brooks, Topel said that Brooks had no previous criminal record and described the defendant as “a good, young man” who “was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Topel said Brooks was a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, had just married his German wife in May and was living in his parents second home in Truckee waiting to go to graduate school in Monterey at the time of the stabbing. He also noted that Brooks was close with his family, who attended the hearing, and that his parents would post bail for him and he would live with them at their home in the Bay Area.Placer County Deputy Attorney Chris Cattran objected to the bail request, stating that bail is not granted in first or second degree murder charges, that Brooks is a threat to the public’s safety because “a relatively minor traffic infraction drove him to murder,” and he is a flight risk because he has no prior criminal record and is facing 25 years to life in prison. He also said that since Brooks wife is a German citizen he could flee to Germany and not be tried. Both Topel and Cattran each went through the events that lead to Ash’s death on Aug. 17. Topel noted that Ash, who had a second home in Truckee, was “driving fast in an Aston Martin” and passed Brooks on Highway 89 before Squaw Valley. He said Brooks went searching for Ash in Squaw Valley to get his name, and when they couldn’t find him they continued to Tahoe City to “go to a sale.” Topel said Brooks’ wife saw Ash’s car in front of Syd’s Bagelry in Tahoe City and ran across the street to “have words.” Brooks then ran across the street and he and Ash got into a fight. Topel and Cattran had varying accounts on what happened next, but Cattran said an off-duty Tuolumne Sheriff’s deputy and his off-duty medical examiner wife witnessed the incident. The out-of-town deputy ran after Brooks and his wife when they fled the scene. Topel contends that Ash started the fight and Brooks allegedly pulled out his knife in self defense after the fight started. However, Cattran said Brooks was the alleged aggressor and the autopsy revealed that a one-inch segment of Ash’s rib was hit, as was his renal artery and liver, showing that it was an aggressive stabbing. “To make a ruling (on the bail motion) would be premature,” Dawson told Topel and Cattran.Brook’s wife, who was at the crime scene but was not arrested, is still under investigation for any involvement she may have had in the alleged stabbing, according to Cattran. No charges are pending against her at this time.A preliminary hearing for Brooks is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 10 a.m. in Tahoe City.