Craig Fetty, 29, and Tiffany Dambrino, 21, will stand trial for the alleged murder of fellow Ahwahnee resident Dennis Dolan, Judge Charles Wieland ruled after a preliminary hearing Thursday in the Bass Lake Division of Madera County Superior Court.
During the hearing, detectives John Grayson and Jeff Noland of the Madera County Sheriff’s Office testified that on the night of Oct. 20, 2016, Fetty and Dambrino went on the hunt for methamphetamine, and the situation quickly turned deadly.
Grayson testified through interviews with Dambrino that she had previous contact with Dolan, 68, as a source for the drug, often using sexual favors as payment.
Fetty and Dambrino, romantically involved, left Fetty’s home on Road 621 around 8:30 p.m. and walked towards Dolan’s home on Road 600, Grayson said. After they arrived, only she went in the house as Fetty hid outside.
“She said she asked (Dolan) for a ride, and a ‘bowl of dope,’” Grayson said. “Which he understood to mean some methamphetamine.”
Dambrino told Grayson that Dolan retrieved a small amount of the narcotic from a wooden chest in his bedroom, put it in a pipe, and gave it to her. She then took it to Fetty, and both smoked the drug.
At some point, Grayson testified, Fetty turned to Dambrino and told her “they were going to beat (Dolan’s) ass for the rest of the meth.”
Dambrino told Grayson that Fetty walked into the garage, where Dolan was at the time. He then punched Dolan in the head, dropping him to the floor.
“(Dambrino’s) belief was that (Dolan) had no idea what was coming,” Grayson said. “Fetty then kept punching Dolan in the head, and kicking him.”
Detective Noland also testified Fetty told him he had “punched and kneed (Dolan),” and “stomped him.”
Grayson said Fetty told Dambrino to go retrieve the rest of Dolan’s methamphetamine, which she did. When she returned, Dambrino then grabbed Fetty, told him she had the drugs, and urged him to stop the beating.
As the pair ran away, Grayson said they heard Dolan making noises, possibly gasping for breath. That caused Fetty to turn back and kneel down over the 68-year-old. When he walked back to Dambrino, Fetty told her he had stabbed Dolan.
Later evidence, including Fetty’s admissions to Detective Noland, indicated he stabbed Dolan in the leg. That, alongside the severe beating by Fetty, may have lead to fatal blood loss through an incision to a large artery. Earlier reports from the sheriff’s office indicated Dolan died from blunt force trauma and stab wounds.
Dambrino didn’t believe Fetty would have actually killed Dolan, testimony showed.
As Fetty and Dambrino walked home, Fetty burned his shirt and sweatpants as a possible attempt to discard evidence, Grayson said.
The next day, Fetty attempted to discard the possible murder weapon, his silver throwing knife, in a trash can inside the men’s bathroom at the Oakhurst Burger King, Grayson said. Authorities later retrieved the knife after both Fetty and Dambrino told their accounts of the incident.
Neither Jennifer Dana or Sam Luton, appointed counsel for Fetty and Dambrino, nor lead prosecutor Brooke Bergman wished to comment on the case.
Also called to the stand Thursday were Fetty’s mother, and Dolan’s female roommate.
Both Fetty and Dambrino face felony charges for murder, first degree burglary and robbery, with special allegations.
The duo’s next court date is scheduled for 9 a.m. April 20 in Bass Lake.
If convicted, the two could face life in prison. Both remain without bail in Madera County Jail.