MENDOCINO Co., 7/03/18 — Negie Fallis, the primary suspect in the disappearance of Khadijah Britton, will go to trial on August 27 for the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. This is the only charge currently being prosecuted against him. Fallis appeared in court on Monday for an arraignment on this charge, after being released from jail on bail on Sunday, where he’d been held since his arrest on February 19.
At a tense court proceeding on Monday, which had been rescheduled from Friday, Britton’s friends and family shuffled into Courtroom A of the Mendocino Superior Court, to watch Fallis’ arraignment. Fallis entered wearing a t-shirt and jeans, and spoke briefly to his family, who were also present. He entered a no guilty plea sat quietly while the judge set the upcoming trial date. In the courthouse on Monday after the proceedings, Britton’s mother and other family members spoke of how much they missed her and that they wished they could have any insight about what happened to her, or where she might be. Wearing pins and shirts adorned with her face, and the slogans “bring her home,” “hope,” and “MMIW,” for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s movement, they expressed hope that someone would come forward with any information to further the investigation, pointing out they were sure someone in Covelo would be able to help find her.
Fallis had previously been charged with domestic violence and assault for a January incident in which he allegedly beat Britton with a hammer — at least two firearms were located during his arrest on these charges. However, those charges have since been dropped and Fallis’ bail reduced based on the firearms charges alone. Previously, during a preliminary hearing, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office deputies and detectives had testified to locating several firearms at a Covelo residence during Fallis’s arrest for the January domestic violence incident, which was supported by another witness at the scene. Fallis and his girlfriend at the time are alleged to have hidden the weapons in that residence. Britton, a 23 year old Round Valley resident who previously dated Fallis, was the primary witness in the domestic violence case, and has been missing since February 7.
Fallis has been out on bail since this weekend, but will be expected to appear in court for his firearms charge on August 27, or face a bench warrant. He is also scheduled to appear in court on two court proceedings prior to the trial. No charges are currently being prosecuted against him for either the January incident or in Britton’s disappearance, although these charges could be brought at any time.
Britton was last seen February 7 by witnesses in Round Valley, who have alleged Fallis forced her from a residence into a vehicle at gunpoint, according to police reports. Since then, multiple searches have been conducted by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and by her family with the assistance of community members. Her disappearance has prompted an outpouring of support from the broader community, with many vigils, fundraisers, and searches being conducted in an effort to find her. Britton’s family and friends have also appeared at all of Fallis’s court dates, including the arraignment held this morning, where some of his family also sat in the courtroom.
So far, no charges have been brought against Fallis related to Britton’s disappearance, although no other suspects have been publicly identified. The investigation is ongoing. Britton’s family is also offering a $50,000 reward to anyone with information leading to her location.
Lt. Shannon Barney, of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), said that his agency plans to conduct another search in parts of Covelo which has been planned for after the “snow had melted.” Barney also said that the investigators are waiting to see if there are fruitful results from certain items currently going through laboratory testing, and that they are following up on any leads as they come in.
Barney emphasized that any detail may assist with the search. “There are people out there who know things and we need that information — it may be a small puzzle piece to them, something someone they know said, but it may be something that breaks the investigation wide open for us,” he said on Monday. “I’m sure there’s people out there with direct knowledge, and we’re looking for those people, also.”
Anyone with any knowledge of Britton’s disappearance contact the anonymous tip line at (707) 234-2100 or email [email protected].
Here’s our previous coverage of Britton’s disappearance.