Jun 6, 2014

Guy who took Dave Silverbrand's car had factory issued key

Friday night. Dave is at home. Car goes missing. Sunday night, his car is recovered. "They cleaned it out,"Dave told me. Took the oyster calling contest prizes.

The guy who took the car had a factory issued key and was spotted driving it by a Sheriff's Deputy.

Dave was not carless for two days. He had someone loan him a car.

People could take a lesson in class from Casey Russo

I have been covering the Bodhi Tree trial. Casey Russo is representing Bodhi Tree along with Heidi Holmquist.

In some of my posts, I have written my observations of the trial. And my take on the defense strategy, so far, could be misinterpreted by some who want to judge my motives.

I have known Casey for a couple of years. I like him. He did not take my coverage of the Bodhi Tree  personally, because it isn't. He is always friendly and consistent. And clearly secure.

A blog is not the way to win friends and be popular, especially if you take on a system and insiders and expose the public to the truth. There are those like Casey Russo that have nothing to hide and serve the community well in their profession.

Even though I supported Elan for District Attorney, I  pointed out issues with Paul.  That benefitted all the candidates running for DA. 

To her credit, not once did Elan ask me to be anyone but myself. I wrote the first piece analyzing all four candidates chances running for DA. What was I wrong about? Arnie garnered 5 percent. In that piece, I pointed out that Allan's state bar record would be used against him. 

I am interested in the truth, interested in seeing that office be better, interested in justice and not special deals for some, regardless of who is DA.

Melvin Matthew's sentencing delayed due to his contempt in Bodhi Tree case

Melvin Matthews, who was held in contempt of court yesterday for not testifying in the Bodhi trial had his sentencing postponed today. This was a request by his attorney Ben McLaughlin and sentencing is now set for June 27 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 4.

Not only does he not show up for the Warren hearing; Paul throws Curtis under the bus for what may be a possible violation of a court order

Today in Courtroom 4, Paul Gallegos did not show up for the Jason Warren hearing. DDA Zach Curtis, who covers that Courtroom for the hearing was representing the People today.

At the last hearing,  Glenn Brown who is representing Warren, along with Kevin Robinson, had requested an emergency motion prohibiting destruction of evidence. This was because there was a small sample of DNA to be tested, and they did not want that sample destroyed and so requested that it not be tested unless a defense expert was there to observe the testing. Paul gave his word, did not feel a court order was necessary. Judge Reinholtsen granted the defense motion.

Mr. Robinson in court today said that after he received funding for the defense expert and that defense expert contacted the DOJ, he was informed that testing had already been conducted.  Mr. Brown was talking to jurors in Courtroom 2 where a jury trial he was a part of just concluded and was not in court.

Mr. Robinson said that he was not sure what occurred and why the process and court order was not followed but if evidence was destroyed in violation of a court order, he would have to file appropriate paperwork.

Mr. Curtis said, "That there is nothing left to test is news to me." He added that Mr. Gallegos had told him he was trying to coordinate testing with the defense expert.

Mr. Robinson said that his communication with Mr. Gallegos was similar but that was not what his defense expert told him and that "hopefully the sample had not be destroyed."

Jun 5, 2014

"Ballet Heritage" by North Coast Dance to include pre-ballet program performers for the first time

North Coast Dance presents “Ballet Heritage” on June 6, 7 and 8 at the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts at 412 G Street in Eureka.  

“Ballet Heritage” will showcase the talents of North Coast Dance school and company members.  The performance features classical ballet with “Etudes” and “Les Sylphides” and showcases ballet Americana with “Rodeo” and “Stars and Stripes.”

This performance includes an outreach show for local elementary school children through a partnership with the Humboldt County Office of Education.  Local schools are invited to a special performance at 10am on June 6 through this newly created “Schools to Dance” program.  

Tickets are $15/adults and $12/children and may be purchased at North Coast Dance, 426 F Street, Eureka, by calling (707) 442-7779 or online at www.northcoastdance.org.

North Coast Dance is a non-profit organization under the artistic direction of Ikolo Griffin and Nancy Call, the talents behind the holiday tradition of The Nutcracker.

Video clips and photos from “Ballet Heritage” may be found on North Coast Dance’s Facebook page.

Kris Beck, Executive Director for North Coast Dance said, "This is the first time the pre-ballet program will be performing with the other members and students. Griffin added, "This is very important because it shows the progress of students and different levels of skills." He also said that this show will highlight American ballet and educate the public about the history of this performance dance.

Clarke Museum Grand Opening of new Fire Memorabilia Exhibit

On June 7, 2014 from 3:00- 8:00 pm., join Old Town Steam Fire Engine No. 2 at the Clarke Historic Museum for the Grand Opening of the new Fire Memorabilia Exhibit celebrating 150 years of organized fire service to the city of Eureka and surrounding communities.

On February 16, 1864 the City of Eureka organized the first fire company. The city’s fire department started as all-volunteer department until it hired its first paid fire personnel in 1946.  Humboldt Fire District #1 formed in 1929 to serve the surrounding area not covered by the city.  In 2011 after decades of talk, the City of Eureka Fire Department and Humboldt Fire District #1 consolidated to form Humboldt Bay Fire.

Now serving over 50,000 citizens in 57 square miles in the communities of Eureka, Bell Hill, Cutten, Elk River, Fields Landing, Freshwater, Greenwood Heights, Humboldt Hill, Indianola, King Salmon, Pine Hill, Ridgewood, Rosewood, Ryan's Slough, Worthington, and College of the Redwoods.

Come out and see Eureka’s Historic 1904 Steam Fire engine, “Old Town Steam Engine No. 2” as it is demonstrated alongside of today’s fire apparatus. The state of the art then and now. Enjoy the opportunity to meet today’s firefighters.

Escaped inmate Ronald Sanchez still on the loose


Ronald Snyder Sanchez, 26 years old is still at large and is wanted for escape from custody. Please correct his weight to approximately 200 pounds, not 300 pounds.


On 06-04-2014, at approximately 10:00 a.m., Ronald Snyder Sanchez Jr., 26 years old, walked away from a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office work crew. Sanchez was being held in custody for 120 days on a California State Parole Violation. The originating charge was burglary.

A Humboldt County Correctional Officer was supervising Sanchez and nine other inmates at the time Sanchez left the work crew. The inmates were working on the side of US 101 at Sunset Blvd, Arcata. When other inmates were interviewed, they told the Correctional Officer that Sanchez suddenly dropped his equipment and fled the work crew. A be-on-the-lookout to all law enforcement has been issued for Sanchez who is now wanted for escape, besides the originating charge.

Sanchez is described as follows:  26 years old, Hispanic male, approximately 5’ 8” tall,
 Approximately 300 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes.   He was last seen wearing blue denim pants and a blue denim shirt.

 Sanchez is known to frequent the 1400 block of Rohnerville Road, Fortuna 600 block of Summer Street Fortuna, 700 block of P street, Eureka, and 2500 of Garland Avenue, Eureka.  If anyone see’s Sanchez they should 911.

Upton held in contempt, Matthews refuses to testify in Bodhi Tree case

Despite Judge Reinholtsen ordering him to testify, Steve Upton refused and was held in contempt. Melvin Matthews refused to come to court and Judge ordered him brought to court. Matthews also refused to testify. Judge also held him in contempt. Both had immunity agreements.

Heard shots, Rhett scream and " run upstairs into my arms"

Rhett August's friend Jonathan Buhne testified today about hearing the shooting, dabbing up blood, seeing Bodhi Tree grab Taraya Rives "butt" from behind and he affirmed Rives account.

He also said marijuana in August's apartment belonged to Steve Upton and that August did not smoke marijuana but he did heroin.

He said they were eating dinner, watching movies, playing video games when shots were fired, they heard "Rhett scream" and "run upstairs into his arms."

On cross, Buhne also said that they carried Rhett August to the car not ducking and walking to the car as previously testified by other prosecution witnesses.

Buhne said August "is a good friend of mine." and that in May 2013 he spent approximately one or two weeks staying at August's. He said besides Steve Upton, who he described is "like my brother", he met all the other people at the May 13 party for the first time, including Bodhi Tree.

He said he was not in the apartment when the "conflict between Taraya Rives and Bodhi Tree occurred but he was smoking downstairs and witnessed the incident on the stairs.

"Bodhi was standing up and he blocked Taraya's path. He had his arms out, if she went one way, he would go that way, he said if she would give him a hug, he would let hr past. He reached behind her and grabbed her butt from behind." When pressed for details, he said, "He reached underneath and grabbed her twat." He said then Tree followed her upstairs.

"Tyrell swung on him, kept missing and then we tried to get him to leave, he wouldn't leave, he came back to get items, wouldn't leave," and that is when "I grabbed him by the hair and held him down." There was a yellow truck and Buhne said that he slammed Bodhi Tree against it, "I pretty much brought him to his knees."

"We tried to get him to leave numerous ways, he wouldn't leave," said Buhne.

The night of the shooting, Buhne said that they were "watching movies, eating dinner, Steve and me palying video games".

"The doorbell rang, few shots, Rhett screamed, ran upstairs. Rhett said he had been shot. I said, 'Are you playing?' Then Rhett showed wounds. We made a decision to take him to the hospital and we carried him to the car."

A few minutes later when he heard banging on the door, he was afraid because his friend had just been shot. No one identified themselves and until he peeked out the window later and saw that it was law enforcement that he went downstairs.

He said he dabbed up the blood drops with toilet paper and threw it in the trash can because the dog was licking the drops and "it was gross."

Bloody clothing, bullet strikes and Upton's demeanor as "nervous, upset"

On Tuesday, June 3, Detective Ron Harpham finished testifying for the prosecution and Mr. Russo finished his cross.

Today, EPD's Sgt. Stephen Watson is testifying. His testimony was about that he assisted in collecting evidence, helped secure crime scene. He was both at the hospital and 1936 J Street and pointed out bullet strike to Officer Cosetti, the evidence tech on side of building where the garbage can was located.

When he was at the hospital, he was told by Officer Wilson who Steve Upton was and why he was there. He observed Rhett August lying on the stretcher in the hospital, he was the one who collected the bloody clothing. Sgt. Watson described Upton's demeanor as "nervous, upset and back and forth."

Mr. Russo's cross is mostly about timeline and time frames. Sgt. Watson's testimony was brief.

Jun 4, 2014

Elections are over; it is time to come together and support the winners for the good of the community

A friend who saw me today said, "Two out of three" is not bad. Last night was one of mixed emotions for me. Virginia and Ryan won. I spent most of the night at the Oberon with Elan.

Virginia and Ryan know how I feel about them. I have supported and celebrated with them many times. I thank Virginia and Matthew for being gracious in understanding and realizing that my heart was with all 3 candidates I supported.

When I decided to support Elan, it was a surprise to many people but those who know me well are aware that I do not support based on party or one issue. I support the candidate I believe is the best for that position and community.

Some of my friends and political acquaintances supported Maggie. Most were very respectful of my choice. Others chose to make their own conclusions and judge me.

I still believe in Elan and feel very lucky to have worked on her campaign with many wonderful people. I have enjoyed getting to know Allan better this past few months.

I have known Maggie longer than any of the other 3 DA candidates. I want to congratulate Maggie and I will again when I see her at the Courthouse. Maggie, in the middle of this campaign one day at church, I told you, "Emotions and certain supporters have gotten out of hand. I have talked to you before this election and I will after this election."

Fixing the office will not be easy. Like Elan said, "I wish you the best." In time, I hope you and I will talk like old times.

Virginia, Ryan, Maggie want the best for this community. They won these elections and it is time now, for the supporters, the community, to stop the sniping on the blogs and take a cue from all candidates and wish the winners well.

It hurts to have someone you support lose; it feels great to have your candidate win. I have experienced both emotions. I am ready to move on and focus on the good for this community.

Jun 2, 2014

"Because of my situation, I felt I had no control over what my body was doing; it was David's decision."

Currently California Evidence Code 402 hearings are being conducted in Courtroom 1 for the David Anderson case. Ben McLaughlin, defense attorney; Luke Brownfield for the People. Judge John Feeney is trial judge. These hearings are happening at the same time the Bodhi Tree trial is going on so I was only able to attend one morning of testimony.

The day I sat in Courtroom 1, Jane Doe resumed her testimony. She would not look at Anderson, with her head down and just listening to the attorneys question her, Doe gave her testimony.

She worked at the Cat house for four months and then started working independently. "I posted ads. You make more money. You don't have to pay the 40 percent." Doe said that "David" told her to post the ads.

"You go online, you go to certain websites, put picture on the website, write an ad for yourself, then you get a phone call, meet up with a client in a hotel room." Doe just stated this matter-of- factly. She said Anderson took pictures of her, a guy who knew him took pictures of her, and a "professional who takes pictures of girls like me."

Doe said she was with Anderson for six months and during that time period, she was sexually active with him.

Mr. Brownfield: How often?

Doe: Pretty frequently."

Mr. Brownfield: Did you want to be sexually active with Mr. Anderson?

Doe: "Ummm, I am going to have to say...yeah, there were times."

Mr. Brownfield: "Were their times you did not want to be sexually active with Mr. Anderson?"

Doe: I didn't want any of this."

Mr. Brownfield: "There were times you did not want to be sexually active and yet you did so anyway. Why?"

Doe: "I felt I had no choice."

Mr. Brownfield : "Why did you feel that way?"

Doe: "Because of my situation, I felt I had no control over what my body was doing; it was David's decision."

She continued, "Because I was forced feeling a threat to my life, forced to do with my body what I didn't want to do...by bringing me to the CAT house."

Mr. Brownfield: "Did you feel you were forced to have sex with Mr. Anderson?"

Doe: "Physically or mentally?"

Mr. Brownfield: "Were you forced physically?"

Doe: " Sex is a physical act."

Then with her head down, she paused and added, "I wasn't fighting back."

Mr. Brownfield: "You were not fighting back but you were forced?"

Doe: "I guess I was forced."

Mr. Brownfield: "Were you forced mentally?"

Doe: "Absolutely. There were times I didn't want to because of my long day with everyone else. But he wants it. He says I want to and so I do it."

Mr. Brownfield asked her about threats and Doe replied that he threatened her family, he threatened to go after her 14 year old daughter. When Mr. Brownfield asked about specific times she felt threatened, Doe responded, "Every minute that I was there."

Mr. Brownfield: "Before you met Mr. Anderson, had you engaged in prostitution?

Doe: "No."

Mr. Brownfield: "Had you been exposed to prostitution?"

Doe: "On TV. On the street saw drug addicts. No personal exposure."

Mr. Brownfield asked Doe if she used drugs when she was with Anderson. She said she used ecstacy three times a week. She did not do any other drugs and she drank "a couple of times a week."

Doe then went into details about the three times she tried to run away. Once just escaping in a cab, going to a hotel, ending up calling him that first time in two weeks because she had run out of money. Her mom was going to be homeless and she needed to help her mother. She said she thought of jumping over the balcony. "I decided to give up. I had nowhere to go."

She then described what happened when he came to her hotel.

"When he got there, he slapped me. Said I should have run when I had the chance. Then we went straight to bed and we had sex."

The second time she escaped, he found her because she posted ads on the internet. He called her and said he had "slit her tires" and that he was "going to kill her" or have "someone kill me" and that "he owned me; I was never going to get away."

On cross, Mr. McLaughlin asked her why she never called law enforcement. He was able to get her to admit some inconsistencies in times.

She was working at Sbarro's in the mall when she first met Anderson. he would stop by and "hit on her". She was living with her mom. Mr. McLaughlin said, "expenses were tight?" She said she did not really get to know Anderson until one night at Club West, and that night she hooked up with him, "We had sex."

He left to go to Sacramento and they had a relationship over the phone. She mentioned to him about trouble with finances. She ended up going there with him. She told Mr. McLaughlin that Anderson never left her alone physically; that there was always someone watching her. She also said that she did not run away in the beginning because as a white girl she did not feel safe in the neighborhood. Anderson is African-American.

An offer was made before this hearing to Anderson that he rejected. That offer would not have required him to register on the sex offender registry but it would have been a registrable sex offense and law enforcement would be aware of his status. Friends and family that have been attending the court hearing wanted him to take the offer.

Previous info on this case:

In addition to the charges from the first case, an additional count added: human trafficking involving a minor. This is Count 8. Penal code 236.1 (c)
Also added were two counts of special allegation of felony sex offense and serious sex offense have been added to the charges. Bail that was set at $850,00 has not yet been posted.

Judge Miles presided over the preliminary hearing in the case that had been refiled. Anderson was arraigned for jury trial. Ben McLaughlin, defense attorney; Luke Brownfield for the People. Judge John Feeney is trial judge.

A previous case involving David Anderson, a felony with charges of kidnapping, rape by force, forcible copulation of a minor victim, sexual battery, unlawful sexual intercourse, threats to commit crime resulting in death and false imprisonment was prosecuted by Luke Brownfield for the People with Ben McLaughlin representing the defendant was dismissed on 2/24/14 by Judge Feeney. The defense had filed a motion that there was failure to provide adequate discovery. Count 1 of kidnapping and Count 6 threats to commit crime resulting in death were dismissed earlier in the case. The case was dismissed the day jury trial was to proceed.

Humboldt Court presents the Love Connection with a side of how to rack up cases while in custody

Remember Lance Borgner, half of Humboldt's Most Wanted duo? He is in custody with his partner in crime, Christina Higgins. Remember William Hillegeist who along with Sara Balke, is the duo who allegedly fired shots in Freshwater Park. Well after the splashy headlines, Blake is out of custody; Hillegeist is still in jail.

I have seen Borgner and Hillegeist so often on the calendar and for so many different cases, I have given up updating the status of arraignments and dates being set.

Hillegeist and Balke have a preliminary hearing next week. Borgner and Higgins just racked up another case with Hillegeist. They did not teleport themselves while in custody to commit this alleged crime. It's just one of those Humboldt criminals bonding moments.

While waiting to be arraigned on this case; Higgins and Borgner seemed to think they were on the Love Connection. Despite the baliff's warnings, Higgins and Borgner kept whispering "I love you" back and forth and occasionally deigned to listen to their attorneys. Borgner seemed more concerned about Higgins and spent more time asking his lawyer Kaleb Cockrum about Higgins' fate than his own case. Higgins is being represented by Glenn Brown and Hillegeist by Heidi Holmquist.

Since the taxpayers are footing the bill for their public defenders; Higgins and Borgner were not too concerned with minor details, like the charges against them.

Borgner is charged with first degree residential burglary and special allegations of two firearm enhancements; Higgins the same charges; Hillegeist same charges with the additional charge of attempted, willful, premeditated murder. The murder charge was listed as a misdemeanor and Judge Feeney pointed that out to Mr. Brownfield who  said the complaint would be corrected to charge it as a felony.

Cut n paste snafu or someone else assisting the DDA with preparing documents?

Borgner in this case has a bail of $175,000 and Hillegeist $650,000.

Luke Brownfield compared to Wes Keat; Rhett August back on probation;

In Courtroom 1 today, after DDA Luke Brownfield stated a factual basis for a case, Judge John Feeney said he had a flashback and compared Mr. Brownfield to former ADA Wes Keat. According to Judge Feeney, Mr. Keat always got to the point.

Rhett August who was sentenced on May 28, was back in Courtroom 1 briefly today where the petition to revoke his probation was withdrawn. He still remains on probation. As always he was accompanied by his mother and attorney Russ Clanton.

Benjamin Carter finally in jail; maybe this time he will listen to his lawyer Michael Acosta instead of calling LOCO as a defense strategy

On 06-01-2014, at approximately 5:20 p.m., Benjamin Jasper Carter, 33 years old was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on an arrest warrant for murder and arson. His bail is set at $1,250,000.00.  

Eddie Lee and Limmie Greg Curry cases to be tried separately; Robinson filed opposition by People to join cases

Limmie Greg Curry's attorney, Kevin Robinson had filed an opposition to People's joinder. Eddie Lee's attorney had requested the court waive his personal appearance when he was here for the last court hearing. He was not available by phone either today. District Attorney Paul Gallegos who is prosecuting the case was MIA in court today.

DDA Luke Brownfield who is in Courtroom 1 told Judge John Feeney that if the Court wanted input from the People, he would have to get Mr. Gallegos since he is not familiar with the case. The Court did not ask Mr. Brownfield

The Judge granted Mr. Robinson's motion. "Mr. Lee and Mr. Curry have conflicting defenses. People's motion is denied."

Trial Confirmation is July 14 and Jury Trial is scheduled for July 28.

joinder :the joining together of several lawsuits or several parties all in one lawsuit, provided that the legal issues and the factual situation are the same for all plaintiffs and defendants. Joinder requires a) that one of the parties to one of the lawsuits make a motion to join the suits and the parties in a single case; b) notice must be made to all parties; c) there must be a hearing before a judge to show why joinder will not cause prejudice (hurt) to any of the parties to the existing lawsuits; and d) an order of the judge permitting joinder. Joinder may be mandatory if a person necessary to a fair result was not included in the original lawsuit, or it may be permissive if joining the cases together is only a matter of convenience or economy.

Redwood Coast Cellular is now New Trend Wireless

Corky retired yesterday. The stores in Eureka, Fortuna and McKinleyville are under new ownership.

Just met the new managers and crew of New Trend Wireless. Excellent customer service and they have some new accessories.

Locally owned businesses that provide exceptional customer service get loyal customers.

Detective Ron Harpham testifies about extensive training in Bodhi Tree case

Today's testimony in the Bodhi Tree case started with Detective Ron Harpham, a 23 year veteran of the EPD. He described his extensive training that includes processing crime scenes, SWAT and sniper training, fingerprint training, evidence tech collection, processing  outdoor crime scenes, drive-by shootings, close combat training and specialized training in how human body responds under stress.

Det. Harpham said drive by shootings are very difficult to prosecute. "You have to link the casings to the gun and yhen put the suspect to the scene."

Det. Harpham also said the EPD does not have a crime reconstructionist because there is no neccessity. Crime scene reconstructionists are expensive and the DA's office has not requested one in any case so far.

Det. Harpham was assigned by Detective Peter Cress on May 15 to go to the hospital. He searched Steve Upton's car. He found no gun or anything associated with drugs. He testified why he did this and why he did not fingerprint the car.

There was blood in the front passenger seat of the car. Steve Upton had driven Rhett August to the hospital. All clothing worn by Rhett August had been collected and put in evidence.

Det. Harpham testified about his assistance in the 2122 Spring Street when law enforcement searched the house where Melvin Matthew was listed as staying. Testimony included that Matthew's vehicle was searched.

Due to Det. Harpham's training, his testimony is about why and what evidence was collected, why fingerprinting and gun shot residue was or was not conducted.

Det. Harpham said Melvin Matthews was very compliant and talked "easily " to police. Melvin Matthews is known to law enforcement. Det. Harpham said that Matthew's demeanor is normally like Snoop Dog.

Ms. Firpo is still questioning Detective Harpham. His testimony is expected to continue tomorrow morning.

Ex girlfriend of Bodhi Tree who also knew David Anderson provides a human side to these two men

I attended a 402 hearing last Friday for the Anderson case and jury selection is expected to start soon. A group of close friends were there to support Anderson.

Shaqeya saw Bodhi Tree a couple of days before Rhett August was shot and she confirmed he did have black eyes. She also said "it seems he has mental issues". Shaqeya said even after they broke up, they remained good friends. She said Bodhi is "kinda slow, takes him a while to process things." Both Anderson and Tree are having hearings and she is in the courtroom supporting Anderson but stopped in briefly to check on the Tree trial.

She said Bodhi was never violent with her but did confirm that at the time of Rhett August's shooting and Christina and Sunsine's murder, Tree was doing drugs.

Regarding David Anderson who has some serious charges including human trafficking, she and other friends present a different picture. She has known him since they "were kids" and are just friends. Shaqeya said she does not know if Anderson is responsible for what he has been accused of but regarding the violent charges, she said she does not believe those because he never displayed such behavior. "He was always very respectful."

Jun 1, 2014

One juvenile victim shot in Weitchpec; two juvenile suspects involved

On Saturday 05/31/2014 at approximately 2:45 PM, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding a gunshot victim that was being transported by a citizen to the Willow Creek area for medical assistance. The shooting occurred in the area of Upper Cappel RD in Weitchpec. A Deputy arrived and discovered that a juvenile male had a gunshot wound to the abdominal area and was currently being prepped by medical personnel to be transported by helicopter to an out of the area hospital for treatment. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that two juvenile males were in possession of a 9MM semi-auto handgun and an accidental discharge of the firearm occurred. The juvenile victim is currently in stable condition.