UKIAH, 1/11/19 — Antontia Bautista-Dalson, the 21 year old Covelo woman charged with aiding felon Negie Fallis in hiding several firearms, was sentenced to one and a half years in Mendocino County Jail, to be followed by one and a half years of supervised probation, at her judgement and sentencing, by Judge Ann Moorman in Mendocino Superior Court on Thursday morning. The sentence came with a number of additional requirements, including six months of mandated residential drug treatment, to be served after her jail time, and no contact with Fallis either directly, through technology, or through a third party.
Bautista-Dalson was potentially not going to be sentenced with any jail time, after she previously pled no contest to the accomplice charges in October, 2018, but she failed to appear for her first scheduled judgement and sentencing hearing in mid Dec. The charges against both Bautista-Dalson and Fallis stem from Fallis’ arrest, in Feb. of 2018, on a warrant related to missing Covelo woman Khadijah Britton, and Fallis was sentenced for his part in the incident on December 4. However, Bautista-Dalson, who has been romantically linked to Fallis, did not show for her initial sentencing, although law enforcement gave testimony that day as to her involvement in the case, and “no-bail warrant” was issued. She turned herself in to Round Valley Tribal Police several days later, and has been in jail since.
Judge Moorman sentenced Bautista-Dawson to a split sentence of three years: half to be served in county jail, and the subsequent half as mandatory probation, including a six month stint in residential drug treatment, which cannot be completed in jail. She is also required to complete 100 hours of community service, forbidden from possessing a firearm, and from any further contact with Fallis, be it directly, electronically, or through a third party.
At least 15 family members and friends of Khadijah Britton, who remains missing, sat in the courtroom on Thursday; only one woman appeared to be present to support Bautista-Dalson. Falls remains the primary suspect in Britton’s disappearance, and the charges against him and Bautista-Dalson stem from Fallis’ arrest for an alleged violent incident involving Britton. As of now, no charges have been brought related to Britton’s disappearance. However, Britton’s friends and family thanked Eyster after the hearing. An $85,000 reward is being offered for any information leading to finding Britton, with an additional $25,000 offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in her case (more details below).
District Attorney David Eyster, who has been personally prosecuting the cases against both Bautista-Dalson and Fallis, requested an aggressive sentence, stating that this was a more serious case of assisting a felon possessing a firearms than the average. Eyster argued that Bautista-Dalson had not only taken a leadership role in the events but also helped plan the crime and in doing so repeatedly lied to law enforcement and interfered with an ongoing investigation, facts which can be considered aggravated factors in sentencing. Eyster added that the at least one deputy had advised Bautista-Dalson during the incident that she could be charged as an accomplice, yet she continued to withhold information during the investigation. He also stated that she could have been charged with possession of the firearm, and that failing to show in court after accepting a plea deal demonstrated a lack of willingness to cooperate with law enforcement.
In addition, Eyster highlighted that Baustista-Dalson continued to assist Fallis during phone calls to jail, while he was awaiting trial, and that she promised to assist him in acquiring a firearm once released, so he could “come out like a motherf—-ker,” in order to find someone who was called “a leak in their team.” Eyster charged this indicated Bautista-Dalson’s ongoing leadership role in aiding Fallis’ plans for violent activity, and that if she had fulfilled her promise, she could have been contributing to further violence in Covelo. In contrast, her attorney posited this conversation referred to the sale of cannabis, and not a beating in retribution for someone informing on Fallis.
Eyster also stated that he wanted to send a message that “there’s a problem in Covelo,” elaborating that “people believe it’s ok to lie to police, help felons, hide guns,” and he wanted to send a message that “that is not ok,” both to Bautista-Dalson and the people outside the courtroom.
Baultita-Dalson’s attorney, Sergio Fuentes, submitted a one page statement from his client to the judge on Thursday, appealing for leniency, and noted that as she is the mother of two very young children, and that she is currently involved in a family court case to retain custody. Fuentes also noted that his client is very young, has no history of criminal charges, and has been the victim of several incidents of domestic violence, including one case of attempted murder progressing through the courts — facts which are sometimes considered mitigating factors in sentencing hearings. Fuentes also stated that his client took responsibility for her involvement in the case, and had been attending Alcoholic Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings and parenting classes while in jail. However, when questioned by the judge, Fuentes could not provide more specifics concerning what actions Bautista-Dalson had claimed responsibility for. Fuentes also requested leniency by saying that what he believed was one of the primary causes of Bautista-Dalson’s decisions, her relationship with Fallis, was now over.
Bautista-Dalson also appeared in court on January 4 for a previous sentencing hearing, but Fuentes did not, and another attorney appeared in his place. As Fuentes was not present, Judge Moorman delayed the sentencing until January 10, and refused to consider any requests for bail for Bautista-Dalson.
Khadijah Britton remains missing after nearly a year; she was last seen in Covelo allegedly being forced into a vehicle at gunpoint by Fallis on February 7, 2018. Her disappearance has caused widespread concern throughout the county and the search effort for her has attracted support around the country. Anyone with information about her disappearance can contact the MCSO tip line at (707) 463- 4086 or the tip line (707) 234-2100, or the anonymous WeTip service at 1-800-78-CRIME.
You can read The Mendocino Voice’s complete coverage of Britton’s disappearance, and Bautista-Dawson and Fallis' legal proceedings here.