A Modesto man who three times in the past year has been charged with assaulting family members, each time with a different weapon, is now facing more serious charges after one of those family members died.
Larry Bland, 52, was arrested in May for allegedly hitting his cousin Norman Bland, 47, in the head with a cement brick. Norman Bland was in a coma for several months before dying in hospice care on Sept. 5.
A preliminary hearing for Larry Bland was scheduled for Sept. 9 but the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office filed a motion for a continuance in light of Norman Bland’s passing.
The motion described the May 4 assault on Norman Bland and two others outside a residence on Figaro Avenue in west Modesto.
The cousins were drinking with two other men, Robert White and Ronnie Jones, who live at the property, according to the motion.
They’d been drinking for about four hours when Larry Bland “became suddenly upset and began yelling at White for unknown reasons,” according to the motion.
Larry Bland then punched White in the face, knocking him unconscious, and pushed Jones, causing him to stubble backwards over a planter box and fall.
Jones told investigators he then saw Larry Bland pick up a cement brick, which he used to hit Norman Bland in the head, according to the motion.
He told The Bee on Thursday afternoon he never said that.
Norman Bland suffered a fractured skull and bleeding in the brain.
In addition to this case, Larry Bland twice had been charged in the past year with assaulting family members but charges were dismissed in both.
On Sept. 26, 2018 Larry Bland allegedly attacked another cousin, Spurgeon Bland Jr., with a sword.
Spurgeon Bland was sitting across the street from a home on Donald Street in west Modesto when Larry Bland came toward him screaming and wielding a sword, according to court documents.
Larry Bland stuck his cousin several times in the head with the sword.
Larry Bland resisted arrest when Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived and had to be subdued with a beanbag gun.
Three days after the trial in that case began in December, the District Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges due to “lack of witness,” according to court documents.
Charges were also dismissed against Larry Bland in February, six days after they were filed, for attacking his brother with a knife. Court documents did not list a reason for the dismissal and the District Attorney’s did not respond to a request for information on the case as of Wednesday morning.
The Office also did not respond to questions about whether Larry Bland will be charged with murder in Norman Bland’s death.
In the most current criminal complaint Larry Bland is charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of battery and several enhancements. The complaint also shows he has two prior convictions for attempted murder and child abuse.
He is scheduled to return to court Oct. 10.