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18-year-old woman headed to state prison

An 18-year-old woman was sentenced to three years in state prison Wednesday for her role in a drive-by shooting in Roseville that left a 16-year-old boy wounded  last November.

Kelsey Mariah Brace of Granite Bay was given the sentence by Placer County Superior Court Judge Colleen Nichols, who expressed confidence that the defendant would be able to turn her life around when released from prison.

Nichols, noting that Brace had been a good student in high school and that she has a strong family support system, said the defendant showed genuine remorse in a letter she’d written to the court.

‘It was one of the best letters I have ever received’ from a defendant, Nichols said. ‘It wasn’t (an adult) writing a letter for you. The letter states your responsibilities and the consequences for yourself.’

Brace sparked an argument at a restaurant parking lot that eventually led to the drive-by shooting last Nov. 5, according to Roseville police. 

She entered a plea of no contest to two charges of assault with a firearm, which placed two felony strikes on her criminal record.

In exchange for the plea, she agreed to testify in the trial of a co-defendant who is accused of firing the shot that wounded the 16-year-old boy as the victim was walking on Sierra College Boulevard near Douglas Boulevard.

A second victim, a 17-year-old boy, avoided another shot that was fired by diving out of the way.

Brace’s co-defendant, Justin Mathew Wittkop, 19, of Granite Bay, has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. His trial is set for Jan. 11, 2010.

Prosecutor Garen Horst of the Placer County District Attorney’s Office said Brace has cooperated fully with law enforcement authorities.

‘It appears she has been forthcoming about what happened,’ Horst told the court. ‘She has agreed to testify in January and we expect her to be truthful.’

Nichols noted that Brace has served 357 days in the Placer County Jail as her case has gone through the courts. The judge credited Brace for another 178 days for good behavior, meaning she is credited with 535 days of incarceration.

Brace was 17 at the time of the shooting incident but she was prosecuted as an adult because of the severity of the crime. The 16-year-old boy who was shot recovered from his wound.

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