A local man accused of firing shots inside a house on West Street in April had those charges dropped but accepted a plea deal on two separate firearm possession charges.
Jesse Cota of Hollister faces up to 10 years in prison for the two possession of firearm charges, confirmed his attorney, public defender Art Cantu. Cota is set for a court hearing on the plea matter Oct. 25 at 9 a.m. and he remains in custody at the San Benito County Jail.
Cota, of Hollister, initially faced 11 charges after his arrest April 5 on suspicion of shooting into a home. Some of those charges by the San Benito County District Attorney’s Office include possession of a controlled substance, carrying a concealed weapon, carrying a loaded firearm in a public place, person prohibited in possession of ammunition and possession of a stolen vehicle, according to court records.
He had a trial set for Oct. 29, but that has been canceled.
Cantu said there were “insufficient grounds” to charge him on the allegations related to firing into a home, but that Cota “accepted responsibility for the weapons charges.”
According to the Hollister Police Department press release after the initial report of shots fired into a home, for which charges were dropped against Cota.
On April 6, 2018, Hollister Police Officers arrested a suspect for several felony charges.
On the night of April 5, 2018, Hollister Police Officers responded to the 900 block of West Street regarding a report of shots being fired into a house. When officers arrived they determined the single shot to the residence had originated from inside the home not from outside. The suspect responsible for the shooting fled the scene in a newer white Toyota Camry. The scene was processed and no weapons were recovered during the investigation.
On April 6, 2018, United Narcotics Enforcement Team (UNET) agents had received information regarding the location of the weapon used in the shooting. UNET agents and Hollister Police Officers returned to the location to continue the investigation. After a search was conducted a firearm was located hidden on the property.
While Police Officers and UNET agents were still on scene, a white Toyota Camry matching the suspect vehicle from the night prior drove by the residence. An agent from UNET and a Hollister Police Officer conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle in the 300 block of Swope alley.
The front passenger of the vehicle Jesse Cota (38) was identified as being present when the shooting occurred the previous night. As officers spoke to Cota they located a loaded handgun near him. Cota was immediately taken into custody.
Further search of Jesse Cota and the vehicle revealed watches, jewelry and narcotics. The gun and several jewelry items were identified as being recently stolen from a home in Hollister.
Cota was booked into San Benito County Jail for child endangerment (there was a child in the car he was riding in), carrying a concealed weapon inside a vehicle, possession of a loaded firearm, person with a previous felony conviction in possession of a loaded firearm, possession of a stolen firearm, committing a felony while on bail for a felony charge, possession of stolen property, felon in possession of ammunition, possession of controlled substance, attempting to destroy/ conceal evidence, and possession of controlled substance while armed with a firearm.
On April 7, 2018, the same agent from UNET and Hollister Police Officer were conducting follow up on this case in the area of Bridge and Bridgevale. Officers located a previously stolen gray Honda Civic matching the description of a vehicle Cota had been previously driving. Officers later returned the vehicle to the registered owner.
Officers were able to obtain evidence connecting Cota to the stolen car and the firearm found on the home on West Street. Officers responded to the San Benito County Jail and added the charges of possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of a shortened barreled shotgun to Cota’s booking.