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Novato woman is 3rd arrest in August stabbing at Santa Rosa McDonald's

A Novato woman who avoided arrest for four months in the wake of what Santa Rosa police say was a violent hate crime is being held at the Sonoma County Jail on $1 million bail, authorities said.

Vanessa Michaels, 25, was arrested last week and has been charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, as well as intimidating a witness, commission of a hate crime and gang enhancements, authorities said.

She has been wanted since an Aug. 26 stabbing at a Santa Rosa Avenue McDonald's in which two African-American men were attacked by two white men shouting racial slurs, police said. One of the victims was stabbed multiple times in the shoulder and leg before the suspects drove off in a pickup with a woman later identified as Michaels.

She is accused of threatening and assaulting one of the victims before leaving when he tried to use a cellphone to call for help, authorities said.

The two male suspects in the case were unknown to the victims but were identified through distinctive tattoos and were known to law enforcement.

Defendants Salvatore Bordessa, 32, of Windsor and Aaron Welch, 26, of Clearlake were arrested Oct. 26 during raids on their homes and remain in custody, with bail of $1 million each.

An arrest warrant was issued for Michaels, who was picked up in Marin County on Dec. 22 and brought to Sonoma County for prosecution.

Her bail was initially set at $240,000, but was raised Thursday to $1 million, the District Attorney's Office said.

She has pleaded not guilty.


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