Conner Milkey accused in 2016 death of Nevada County Jail inmate |

Conner Milkey accused in 2016 death of Nevada County Jail inmate

Nevada County authorities say they charged a Grass Valley man with involuntary manslaughter after they allegedly tied him to a fatal jailhouse drug overdose.

Conner Edwin Milkey, 25, faces the manslaughter charge and an accusation of bringing drugs into a jail. Held on $65,000 in bond, Milkey remained Friday, Aug. 18, in the Nevada County Jail, records state.

The accusations against Milkey stem from the May 2016 death of Joshua Hightower-Malta, said Chris Walsh, assistant district attorney.

According to court records, Milkey was arrested last year and taken to the local jail on a drug charge.

“He did smuggle 11 grams of heroin into jail, and then he shared it with a bunch of his friends in the jail,” Walsh added.

Hightower-Malta died, though Walsh said authorities at the time didn’t have enough evidence to charge Milkey.

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Two of Hightower-Malta’s children have since sued the county over his death. The civil suit remains pending, records show.

Authorities in July arrested Milkey again, this time for giving a false name to police. Authorities drove him to Auburn, where police have body scanning equipment. On the trip, Milkey took suspected drugs hidden on him and ate them, leading him to grow sick and require a hospital trip, Walsh said.

Once in jail, Milkey made a phone call, he added.

“He ended up making a jail call this year where we got him admitting smuggling drugs into the jail last year,” Walsh said.

Prosecutors on Monday filed the charges against Milkey, who was booked Thursday, Aug. 17, into jail.