The Acting District Attorney of Tuolumne County Eric Hovatter and Chief of the Sonora Police Department Turu VanderWiel have announced criminal charges have been filed against Joseph Maloney, age 26, and Nicole Sparks, age 23, in the January 2019 death of Koltyn Blackwood, age 23 months. These charges are the result of a lengthy two-year, on-going investigation by the Sonora Police Department and Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office.
Maloney is charged with second degree murder in violation of Penal Code section 187(a), assault on a child causing death in violation of Penal Code section 273ab(a), and child abuse under circumstances likely to cause great bodily injury or death in violation of Penal Code section 273a(a). It is further alleged as to the child abuse charge that Maloney personally inflicted great bodily injury on Koltyn, who was under the age of five years in violation of Penal Code section 12022.7(d). If convicted on all charges, Maloney faces up to a 25 year to life sentence in state prison.
Sparks is charged with child abuse under circumstances likely to cause great bodily injury or death in violation of Penal Code section 273a(a). If convicted, Sparks faces up to 6 years in state prison.
Arrest warrants for Maloney and Sparks issued on January 25, 2021. Maloney was arrested at his home in Sonora on January 25, 2021. His bail is set at $1,000,000. Sparks’ arrest warrant remains outstanding. Her bail is set at $25,000. Maloney should be scheduled for an in-custody, video arraignment on Wednesday, January 26, 2021. An attorney from our Office will be present at the arraignment to argue against his potential release from custody.
Koltyn’s family released the following statement: “We would like to thank everyone that put in countless hours of hard work to make this arrest. Especially the Sonora Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office. We would also like to thank all of the reporters that helped keep us going over the past two years. Now we can move forward and concentrate on Koltyn’s Law.”
Due to the case’s sensitive nature and on-going legal proceedings, the District Attorney’s Office, Sonora Police Department, and Koltyn’s family will not be commenting further on this case.