Donald Eugene Shepherd pled not guilty to Circuit Judge Mark Moseley this morning on a charge of grand theft auto at the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center.
Shepherd, a candidate for city of Gainesville mayor, was appointed a public defender. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 7 at 2 p.m.
The charge came from a dispute with Christina Marie Avalos-Arteaga involving a 1991 Ford F-150 truck. The truck belonged to Avalos-Arteaga’s deceased grandmother, and the granddaughter said she was given ownership of the truck by her uncle who had legal control of the grandmother’s affairs.
Shepherd, who said he knew the grandmother for 20 years, asked Avalos-Arteaga if he could purchase the truck for what it would cost in scrap metal. She said no.
On Aug. 28, 2015, Avalos-Arteaga went to retrieve the truck from her grandmother’s apartment and found that it was gone. The following day, she went to Shepherd’s residence and saw Shepherd with the vehicle. She took a photo of him with the truck and contacted the Gainesville Police Department two days later.
When GPD arrived at the residence, the truck was gone.
Shepherd said he didn’t take the truck, and he does not know where the truck is.
He said Monday after his court appearance he thinks the case is going well but declined to discuss it further until he speaks with an attorney.
Shepherd said he’s still a candidate, along with incumbent Ed Braddy and former city commissioner Lauren Poe, in this year’s election, to be held March 15.