A Palmdale woman pleaded not guilty Wednesday to five felony counts stemming from a sheriff's drug raid Monday during which her husband fatally shot a sheriff's deputy before being killed when deputies returned fire.
In addition to three drug-related counts, Dell M. Nickos, 31, was charged with endangering a child and resisting a police officer and causing that person's death. She faces a maximum sentence of five to six years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Antelope Municipal Court Judge Ian Grant set Nickos' bail at $40,000 and scheduled a May 22 preliminary hearing on the charges. Prosecutors said Nickos, also known as Dell White, was not sufficiently involved in the gun battle to face murder or manslaughter charges.
According to court records, three children were in the couple's mobile home during the Monday morning raid. Nickos allegedly scuffled with at least one sheriff's deputy just before her common-law husband fatally shot Deputy Richard B. Hammack, 31, with a rifle. Her husband, John White, 34, was then killed.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Stephen Cooley, head of the district attorney's Lancaster office, said both White and Nickos apparently had been using the illegal drug methamphetamine hours before the shooting. Cooley described the couple as "nickel-and-dime" drug sellers.
Sheriff's deputies previously had said they recovered a small quantity of what appeared to be methamphetamine and cocaine at the mobile home. Court records Wednesday showed that they also recovered a shotgun, a marijuana pipe and other drug paraphernalia.
Hammack had posed as a drug buyer, knocking on the couple's door trying to get them to open it. But that failed so deputies armed with a search warrant forced their way in.