Jul 26, 2014

SBDC offers workshop Cool Tech Tools for Entrepreneurs

As part of a new professional development series, in August the North Coast Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is launching “Cool Tech Tools for Entrepreneurs”, a series of workshops and one-on-one  professional support designed to help owners of pre-start up, start-up and emerging businesses learn how to use no cost and low cost technologies available on the internet.

Cool Tech Tools for Entrepreneurs is specifically designed to help with one of the biggest issues that we face on a daily basis, which is making better use of our time,” noted Sandy Neal, Operations Manager for the North Coast SBDC“There are so many great opportunities in the “cloud” but it is hard for busy business owners to keep current on all the options available. This specialty series will show business owners how the power of technology can help them be more productive.”
The program will cover technology apps that increase productivity, using social media, website basics and development options, computer and cloud applications like Evernote, Office365, Google Docs and more.  

“We really want to help our local business owners learn new tools that will help them succeed,” added Neal. “Some get to where they are just plugging along  trying to make do,  but we want them to love their business again.” 

Workshops begin in August and will run through November. Pre-registration is required and applications are due August 6. For more information or to download an application, visit www.northcoastsbdc.org or call (707) 445-9720.

Jul 25, 2014

Williams testifies Tree allegedly said, "I am going to beat this shit and get the fuck out of here" and "I am tired of these faggot woods"

Quentin Williams, the inmate who Tree allegedly confessed to about shooting Rhett August and Christina Schwarz and Alan Marcet gave details of how the conversation occurred and said that after this conversation, he looked at his cell mate Losey and they just shook their heads.

Williams testified that he changed his views about Tree after this conversation and remembers thinking, "He (Tree) is crazy. There is something wrong with him."

Williams testified that there were three conversations that occurred between him and Tree and two involved information about the case. That although Tree may have stopped by to say hi to him, sometimes he pretended to be asleep because he did not want to be bothered by Tree.

He told Ms. Firpo that if he said the exact words, there would be a lot of cursing. She told him they needed to hear the exact words in court, so "let it rip."

Williams said there were two conversations that occured. In the first conversation, Tree was outside his cell, and he said he was "going to beat the case against him" and that they had "nothing against him; only hearsay evidence." Williams could not remember for sure if Losey was his cellmate at that time. For the second conversation he remembers Losey being there.

Williams testified that Tree said he would not stay "locally" and go to SoHum to stay with family. Williams said that Tree was drifting back and forth between arguing with Panther (Tyrel Brannon) and talking to him.

He claims Tree said, "I might be getting out of this motherfucking" place and "I am going to beat this shit and get the fuck out of here. I am tired of these faggot woods."

In the second conversation, Williams said he specifically recalls Tree saying, "They don't have nothin on me. I am going to beat this." Then he says Panther yelled something to Tree and Tree told Williams that Panther and his friends jumped him when "I was trying to flirt with this punk ass white bitch. These white boys got jealous. The bitch started talkin shit" and then they jumped him.

Williams said that he heard Tree yell to Panther, "I'm going to shoot you in the motherfuckin head. I am going to get you when I get out."

This is the first time Rhett August's mother has been able to attend the trial. She was sitting in the audience as she heard Williams repeat the threat which has been previously testified to by Brannon and Losey.

Williams said Tree yelled to Panther, "I should have shot him (Rhett) in the head or I wouldn't have been here right now."

Then Mrs. Schwarz, Christina's mother had to hear Williams testify that Tree spoke about the Arcata shooting. According to Williams, Tree said, "Mother fucker white boy tried to be a hero because I was trying to...the fucking white bitch."

Losey had testified yesterday that Tree said some "dude in Arcata with a girl got up in his face."

Williams who is African-American said of Losey that he considers him a leader for dropping out of the white pride gang and that Losey is not a racist. "He just made  some bad decisions in his youth just like we all did."

"Because that is your opinion, not mine" Losey sets Holmquist straight on cross

Jason Losey was questioned on re-direct by Ms. Firpo and re-cross by Ms. Holmquist who is representing Tree with Mr. Russo.

Ms. Holmquist spent an hour today asking Losey about his shower schedule, cell jail layout, if he remembered what books he read and questions completely irrelevant to the testimony he gave about overhearing incriminating conversation that happened between Tree and his cellmate Williams.

Her cross of him ended abruptly after he responded to her ridiculous questions and badgering him on small details which he had explained several times by saying, "You asked me the same questions a week ago and some answers are not the same." Losey had said maybe his memory loss was due to drug use. Holmquist not getting anywhere  pressed by saying he could not respond with just "sure". Losey frustrated that she would not accept his answers and wanted him to say what she wanted to hear, countered back with, "Because that is your opinion, not mine."

Ms. Holmquist brought up on cross that Losey was stressed about being in maximum security and wanted to get out. That he was getting nowhere about getting into a program and getting released. That he got out a month early and is now a program. She also said that Losey told DA investigator Marvin Kirkpatrick that he would not testify from the "inside".

In two days, we heard extensive testimony from Losey about leaving a white supremacist gang, how he had to be placed in protective custody and that now that he is considered a snitch, he has lost more friend. Ms. Firpo reiterated all of this in re-direct.

Losey said that his "name was a wash on the streets." He also said, "sitting in jail for another 30 days and not losing people I know on the street...how do I put it? ...it's just...there's no...I am not benefitting by testifying."

HCSO cites Stockton man for hoarding more than his share of Dungeness crab

On 07-25-14 at about 0245 hours a Humboldt County Sheriff Office deputy conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle on US 101 near Murray Rd, Mckinleyville . While talking to the driver of the vehicle, who was identified as Pae Vang  age 40 from Stockton, California, Vang  told the deputy he had over a hundred crabs in the vehicle.  The deputy could see at least 4 large 80-100 quart coolers in the back of the van. Vang gave the deputy permission to search the coolers.

The deputy located between 300-400 Dungeness crab in the coolers. California State law for the possession limit of crab is 10. Vang claimed to have caught the crabs in Del Norte County. An Officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Services was contacted and responded and took over the investigation.  All of the crab was taken as evidence by the Fish and Wildlife Officer.  Vang was cited and released was a court date on scene by the Fish and Wildlife Officer for over the legal limit of Dungeness crab, which is a misdemeanor.

Jul 24, 2014

Can we afford the Salzman connection?

Just who is Richard Salzman? Little is known about the man personally. Google him and
supposedly, he moved to  Humboldt from the Bay area and in 2002 helped Paul Gallegos run for office.

He is openly associated with Redwood Progressives and Alliance for Ethical Business, both
which he started. He is a political activist, campaign guru for any progressive candidate that
runs for office and an artist’s representative for illustrators, according to Salzman
international website.

He has managed every campaign for Paul Gallegos since he ran for office. He managed Chris
Kerrigan’s campaign when Chris defeated Rex Bohn for Eureka City Council in 2004. He walked
with Chris  in his recent bid for 4th District Supervisor this June. Even though
Natalyne DeLapp was the “campaign manager” for Paul Gallegos’s last election and Mitra
for Chris in June 2014, it was Salzman out front and center walking with these candidates.

In Chris' recent election challenge against Virginia Bass, Rose Welsh posted several posts and past articles on her blog, watchpaul. She asked Chris a LOCO election question in which she said, “ In your recent fundraising letter you claim that Rex Bohn raised “upwards of $150,000” in your 2004 contest for Eureka City Council, suggesting that you were vastly outspent.” She countered that with numbers that showed differently. She went on to say, “It was a big scandal back in 2004 when Richard Salzman sent out a similarly toned letter on your behalf. He was forced to apologize after the Times-Standard and the Eureka Reporter called upon you to denounce these tactics.

The Times-Standard editorial was titled “A vote against the politics of personal attack,” which
noted that “It’s about how we choose our elected leaders, and if we’re willing to support the
politics of personal attack as the nasty new standard in local elections.” The Eureka Reporter
said, “We, as a community, cannot tolerate a campaign based upon smear, vitriol and name-
calling.” Do you agree? Will you send a follow up email to your list, and apologize now for the latest ‘misstatements’?

Chris Kerrigan responded to Rose, “ When referring to my 2004 city council race, I mistakenly mentioned that Rex Bohn spent upwards of $150,000 to defeat me. I apologize for the error.” He never apologized for using the same tactic against Virginia.

Chris cannot even think for himself. He was going to run for Mayor of Eureka but changed last minute to run against Virginia. Was it because that is what Salzman told him to do? The big bad developers and GPU was the smear tactic they used this time and it failed at the ballot. In the November 2014 election, we are waiting to see what, if any office,  Chris Kerrigan will run for; maybe he has not received the Salzman memo on what his future plans are?

Undoing the damage caused by electing an unqualified candidate with Richard Salzman as handler has no time limit and a high price tag. The June 2014 election was a referendum on Salzman.

This is not to take away from the victory of any candidate but in the last election, especially the DA’s race, people said a resounding no to the Paul Gallegos and Richard Salzman legacy. Even Paul’s previous supporters were split between four candidates. People wised up to the 12 year destruction of the DA’s office caused by Salzman pulling the strings behind the scenes.

For 12 years, the local media never ran an article that was not pro-Paul or without a Paul

The crime headlines speak differently .

Taking just the headlines of Lost Coast Outpost or the Times-Standard, even just in the past month, you can see that almost every crime story has a marijuana or drug connection, overwhelmingly people moving out of town to grow. The industrial grows, the environmental impact, the rents skyrocketing even made national headlines. Check out these links from USA Today and Huffington Post and Times-Standard, in which Congressman Jared Huffman asks for more resources against trespass grows and calls them the greatest emerging threat to public safety.




Salzman criticizes law enforcement and used this in past elections to his advantage but it did not work this time.  It was Paul’s increase from 10 to 99 plants and prosecution of trimmers not growers that has led to increase in crime and environmental abuse. It is Paul’s turning the other way and not being aggressive about prosecuting large, out of town growers that has led to cartels and increase in violent crimes associated with marijuana and other drugs.

Remember the My Word by attorneys Eddie Schrock and Jeffrey Schwartz in which they talked about a large grower getting 950 hours of community service in a Hydesville bust with 425 pounds of dried marijuana, more than 400 plants, and $175,00 in cash. This grower posted a $250,000 bail and plead no contest.

Paul went after trimmers not growers. Kym Kemp, in a LOCO post spoke of a two day court hearing which cost an excess of $10,000 to prosecute trimmers in Bridgeville.

Unions that are supposed to watch out for working class, blue collar people are now protecting government white collar employees and are in the business of “organizing weed growers.” When is the last time in a local election, the unions endorsed a pro-business candidate that was not associated with weed or Salzman?

Natalynne De Lapp, executive director of EPIC, was Paul’s campaign manager in the last
election. EPIC’s manager Amber Jamieson was arrested in June 2011 in multi-agency
Fieldbrook bust for approximately $1.5 million worth of processed marijuana and about 300
marijuana plants. Kinda hypocritical for activists and organizations who claim to be for the
environment and the working people.

And what was this money used for, not to hire and retain qualified prosecutors but to pay for expenses such as AR-15 rifles for DA investigators. Instead of  submitting budgets to the Board of Supervisors, Paul was busy screwing up trials of accused child molesters like Timothy Littlefield. Rumor has it while the last case’s mistrial is on appeal, a deal is being considered.

Public Defender budgets and court costs have risen because the courtrooms under Paul’s “management” are clogged with people accused of crimes. Robbery and murder because of marijuana and drugs is a common element. Mental illness further exacerbated by people self-medicating with drugs.

All this money that the supposed underground economy is pouring is not filtering down to
revenue that pays for services, schools or costs associated with crime. It does pay for lavish
alcohol and drug use, it does pay for eating and drinking for some people and the money does
not stay locally. People used to making money under the table are not suddenly going to start paying taxes for the community’s good, they will still use the black market.

Paul is not some brilliant attorney but he is someone Salzman could mold and control
and whose office could be used to further an agenda that is anti-business, anti-crime and anti-

Salzman uses certain themes for his candidates:  Paul is new, give Paul time.
Chris is new, give him time.

Salzman used Paul is for the little people vs Paul’s opponents who are backed by developers;
same tactic with Chris and Virginia. If Chris runs against Frank or Marian, same

Measure T then, Measure R now. Salzman claims to be for the little people yet he supports no growth candidates, always wanting to grow government bureaucracy, with vague ideas and funding that  requires government dole or cost to the taxpayers. Larry Glass, Bonnie Neely , Paul Gallegos all supported Measure T and were all supported by Salzman. Paul was funded by out of town money. The Sacramento Cannabis League held a fundraiser for Paul in 2011. That is just one example of out of town funding for candidates Salzman supports.

Salzman is using Fair Wage Act and GPU in 2014 elections. It failed in the 4th District election this June because these not the issues most people care about.

From his own site votechriskerrigan.com, this is what Chris says his accomplishments
are: two terms on the Eureka City Council from 2000-2008, and was President of the
Redwood  Region Economic Development Commission. His accomplishments:  managing
the campaign and the passage of measures S and T, two Eureka City School infrastructure
bonds. That is it. He brought forth ideas that resulted in nothing  and these ideas did not have
support from his fellow Council  members.

Chris Kerrigan endorsed John Edwards who lied and has no sense of ethics. He left his  position on Eureka City Council to go work on the Edwards campaign. So much for dedication to his actual job and responsibility to the Eureka taxpayers. As councilmembers, Chris Kerrigan and Larry Glass met with city employee Tawnie Hansen before she filed a lawsuit against then city manager David Tyson. They were not very forthcoming with details, even when pressed by  Times-Standard’s Thad Greenson..

Managing a pot dispensary in Arcata with no other real job for years does not qualify one to be a leader in local government. If Chris Kerrigan runs, will we see a government office used again for Salzman’s agenda?

Are we ready for more candidates who are not qualified to think on their own? Can we afford yet another Salzman connection?

Defense tactic on cross of Brannon backfires in Tree case

Many witnesses in the Bodhi Tree trial are not perfect. During jury selection, jurors were questioned at length about expert witnesses and realistic courtroom presentations and not expecting Bones or CSI type crime reconstruction. They were asked how they felt about people with mental illness and addiction, whether they gave more credence to testimony from a law enforcement officer than someone struggling with addiction.

So far based on the evidence, the prosecution has proved their theory. The defense has not been able to discredit prosecution witneses. What they have succeeded in achieving is prolonging the trial by questions and information already covered in direct, having defense witnesses testify that offer nothing conclusive pointing to Tree being innocent.

Their frustration is evident in their agressive questioning and attitude towards prosecution witnesses. This morning during Casey Russo's cross, the Judge ruled in favor of Ms. Firpo's objection that Mr. Russo was being argumentative.

The judge ruled in favor of the prosecution again, when Ms. Firpo said, " this has been asked and answered." On direct, Ms. Firpo brings up any criminal record, details of immunity agreement yet each time the defense tries the same tactic of asking the same question without getting any favorable result. The defense strategy and questioning is so predictable, each cross seems the same.

Today, it seemed a  phone call between Brannon and a "mother figure" in his life may have worked to the defense's advantage but the questioning by defense and strategy backfired because most of it was about an unrelated incident. On redirect, Ms. Firpo was able to rehabilitate her witness.

The attack dog questioning of witnesses who are taking a risk, literally with their lives, coupled with Tree's courtroom attitude are not a winning combo for the defense.

Tree is getting a fair and good trial and he has two attorneys trying their very best for him. Yet, he acts like he is doing us a favor by being in the courtroom. The way he glares at certain witneses is very chilling.

Right now in the courtroom audience, there are no impartial viewers. We have family members, we have people who work as public defenders or worked on the case, we have community members with strong opinions, and some media whose personal views may not be reflected in their coverage.

There is a lot of speculation about how the case and which side is doing well from people who have never been in the courtroom for this trial.

Another jail inmate confirms Tree admission about threat and shooting Rhett August

Jason Losey, who was in custody and a cell mate of  Quentin Wiiliams, who Tyrel Brannon referred to as Q confirmed Brannon's account about Tree bragging he would get out of jail and threatening Brannon.

Losey said that during the half an hour "tier time",  maximum security inmates are allowed to come out of the cell, Tree would say hi to Williams. In June 2014, during one of these chats, Williams asked Tree how his case was going. Losey said Tree's response was, "he thought he had this case beat" and that "they have nothing on him."

Tree went on to say that he got into a fight with "Tyrell over him grabbing a girl on the ass" and that he got "jumped" and came back later and that Tree admitted to shooting Rhett August.

Losey did not know Tree or Brannon or Williams except for being in the same unit in jail although he said he may have seen Williams on the "outside". Losey also testified he had no knowledge of the attempted shooting of Rhett August until Tree told Williams what happened in May 2013.

Losey testified that Tree said, "he should have shot him (Rhett) in the head because he wouldn't be here right now."

Losey also confirmed Brannon's testimony that in between conversing with Williams, Tree argued back and forth with "Panther" aka Brannon. Losey said Tree yelled to Brannon, "If he beat this case, he wasn't going to make the same mistake that he made with Rhett."

Ryan Sundberg Appoints Ben Shepherd to Planning Commission to replace Steve Paine

Humboldt County 5th District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg has appointed Ben Shepherd of McKinleyville to the Humboldt County Planning Commission.  Shepherd will replace Steve Paine, who was temporarily appointed to the position after it was vacated by Susan Masten in June of this year.

“McKinleyville is our largest unincorporated community and has taken seventy-five percent of Humboldt County’s growth in the last ten years,” said Supervisor Sundberg. “The residents deserve to have a representative on the planning commission and it needs to be someone who understands the community’s interests and concerns. After considering many possibilities, I realized that Ben was uniquely qualified to serve in this capacity. He has remained active in McKinleyville community planning efforts and is very invested in our community.”

Shepherd is a long-time resident of McKinleyville, has served on the last two McKinleyville Citizens Advisory Committees for the McKinleyville Community Plan, was recently part of the Ad Hoc Committee that provided input for the General Plan update and is current chair of the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee.  He has spent twenty years on the McKinleyville Community Services District Board, has served on the McKinleyville Chamber Board of Directors and is a past member Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee and past delegate for the California State Democratic Convention.

 “I have enjoyed my community service in the McKinleyville area and look forward to serving the county in another capacity,” Shepherd said. “Those that have worked with me know I don’t fit into any category and am known to seek common ground in contentious issues. It is important to listen to all sides and I find I often learn from people who don’t share my opinion.”

“I selected Ben because he has shown that he will seek out views on both sides of an issue,” Sundberg added. “I expect him to actively seek opinions from a wide variety of viewpoints and consider short and long-term impacts before making important decisions.”

Don't be alarmed by the caution tape at the 5th street Courthouse entrance

It's earthquake damage repair.

Jul 23, 2014

From the "hood" to a business management courses at CR, the journey of one criminal who got "saved" by Christ

Tyrell Brannon said he wants to go to CR for business management when he gets out of prison. When Ms. Firpo asked him why, he said he no longer wants to be a part of his former life with the gang and has changed his life since he got "saved" and became a Christian.

"I am no longer good in the hood," he said.

He was polite, took responsibility for his past actions and very calm as he testified.

There are others like Rhett August and Sean Butler-Smith who have also said how their lives have changed with the incidents in this case. They may not have changed their lives because they found Christ, but just like Brannon, they are young men once on the wrong path, who did the right thing and are looking to better their lives.

Of all the witnesses, Butler-Smith and Brannon have the most to lose. Other witnesses have preferred to stay silent and sit in jail for contempt, refusing to testify. To these young men and all those who were brave to speak up; their courage and character speaks for themselves.

Some have family to help them, some don't.  They may not be rich in their bank accounts, but they are rich and in a more permanent way.

There are people who live in this community complaining every day about others, never taking responsibility, never doing anything to help someone. I wish these young men the very best. They are not waiting for someone else to change their lives, they are doing it themselves, despite great odds.

Problem house on 800 block of O Street in Eureka results in search for suspect with outstanding felony warrants

On 07/22/14 at approximately 5:24 p.m., Problem Oriented Policing (POP) Detectives were conducting an investigation on a “Problem House” in the 800 block of “O” Street.  A detective observed a 1993 blue Dodge van park approximately a half block from the “Problem House.”  When detectives attempted to contact the driver of the vehicle, the driver fled in the vehicle in an aggressive manner.

A nearby officer observed the driver commit a traffic violation and attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle.  The driver briefly yielded but then fled and a pursuit ensued with speeds reported to be approximately 35-55 mph.  As the pursuit approached the Henderson Center area an officer attempted to deploy spike strips but the driver was able to avoid them.

Officers discontinued the pursuit when the suspect drove the wrong way on “H” Street between 10th and 7th Streets.  Officers spotted the vehicle traveling southbound on Myrtle Avenue but eventually lost the vehicle near the Myrtle Avenue Market.  The vehicle was later located and towed near Myrtle and Pennsylvania streets.

The driver has been positively identified as John Wayne Ellis, 34 of Eureka.  Ellis has two outstanding felony warrants for his arrest for possession of a stolen vehicle, misdemeanor warrants for eluding in a vehicle, resisting arrest, and possession of a controlled substance.  Ellis now has an arrest warrant issued by the Eureka Police Department for felony evading and driving on a suspended license from this incident.  If you have any information on the whereabouts of Ellis contact the Eureka Police Department at (707)441-4060.

Rancho Sequoia victim identified, male 57 years old

Scott W. Johnson is the victim that was located on 7/21/14 in the Rancho Sequoia area.

HCSO press release:

On 07-21-2014, at approximately 9:49 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a resident in the Rancho Sequoia area of Humboldt County who reported there had been a shooting and someone was shot. Two Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were in the Rancho Sequoia area at the time, looking for murder suspect Matthew Aaron Brown, 30 years old, who was wanted for the 07-18-2014 shooting homicide of Neil Decker, age 49. The deputies heard several shots at the same time the citizen reported the shots, and were on scene within minutes. The deputies were informed by the citizen that murder suspect Matthew Brown was in the area where the shots had been fired. The deputies were also informed that local residents had gone looking for Brown, and that one of the residents was believed to be shot and had major injuries. Medical personnel were called to the scene, along with additional law enforcement from the California Highway Patrol and Fortuna Police department. Medical personnel staged in the area awaiting law enforcement personnel to secure the scene for their safety.

 The deputies located a deceased person in the roadway.  Due to an armed murder suspect being in the area, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team was called to the scene.

 The SWAT team arrived at approximately 5:00 a.m., 07-22-2014, and located murder suspect Matthew Arron Brown at approximately 6:00 a.m. Brown was arrested and is currently enroute to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.  Humboldt County Sheriff’s Detectives are being assisted by Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office Investigators, Eureka Police Detectives and California Department of Justice .

 A Humboldt County Superior Court Search Warrant has been obtained and investigators have begun searching the property.  The area is still an active crime scene and it is unknown if there are any other victims.

Additional information will be released as it becomes available; investigators are still in the process of determining what happened. This is the fourth homicide in the Rancho Sequoia area in the last 24 months.

Brannon alleges Tree said "I'm going to beat this case" and get out

Brannon testified about a conversation he overheard between Tree and an inmate named Q. Brannon interjected into their conversation.  This was yelling back and forth and Brannon was in his cell. Brannon said he yelled at Tree to "shut up" and stop "bragging."

Brannon said he called Tree a "wierdo" and told Tree "he creeped on girls" and "shoots 17 year old kids." Brannon was referring to Christina Schwarz, as the 17 year old. He found that detail from media and others telling him personally.

Brannon was the young man who challenged Tree to a fight when he was groping Taraya Rives at Rhett August's house. He witnessed Tree "hitting on her" and later overhearing that Tree would not leave her alone. He also said Rhett August told him that he would tell Tree to back off and that he was making Taraya uncomfortable.

Brannon also said that he told Tree that he had "no remorse."

Brannon alleges Tree said to him, "I am not going to make the same mistake I did with Rhett. I 'm going to get you in the head."

A correctional officer intervened and told them to be quiet. Brannon said it was Officer Gilbert Resendez who testified yesterday that he over heard conversations between inmates, including Tree, but could not comment on specifics.

"I got something for you guys, I'll be right back"

"I got something for you guys, I'll be right back". Tyrel Brannon, an inmate currently in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility, who defended  Taraya at Rhett's August house on May 13 said this is what Bodhi Tree yelled at them after he was beat up the third time and left Rhett August's house.

Brannon also testified this morning about a conversation he overheard in jail which involved Tree and why he did not testify about the fight and other information at the Tree preliminary hearing.

Brannon said initially he did not talk to police because he was in a gang and you do not snitch. DDA Elan Firpo questioned him  about the April preliminary hearing and his state of mind at that time. She also asked him about his previous criminal history and why he was in San Quention prison. This was before defense cross-examined him.

Even though Brannon was offered immunity in April, the gang "political structure" was what influenced his decision. Brannon testified that he recently got "saved", became a Christian and got out of the "prison political structure" and had a "change of heart." Reading the Bible, he made a decison to drop out of the gang and wants to change his life.  A cellmate in Humboldt County jail was the one who gave him the Bible, but Brannon said he was already thinking of telling the truth before this and he wrote to the DA's office saying he wanted to cooperate. He also sent a letter addressed to District Attorney Paul Gallegos. This was on April 2014 before the 402 hearings. No one spoke to him until recently he was appointed an attorney.

Brannon did not ask for anything in return for his testimony. "Just wanted a clear mind, " he said. Brannon ater on he signed an immunity agreement for his testimony but that has not made any difference in any jail time he serves. He still has to go to San Quentin after he testifies Humboldt to finish time on a sentence.

Brannon was housed in jail unit 339 when a conversation between him and Bodhi Tree allegedly took place.

Jul 22, 2014

July 3 tip given to only me re Tree makes sense after today's testimony

This morning we were given a list of additional witnesses in the Bodhi Tree case who may testify. Correctional officers and two witnesses who were housed in maximum security last June with Tree.

A reader of my blog who is connected with one of these witnesses emailed me on July 3. I did not print that information because I had no way of verifying it. Today a correctional officer testified about two inmates conversing with Tree. The tip given to me now makes sense and may be be beneficial to the prosecution. This reader said that according to her, Tree may have given incriminating evidence in this case to other inmates housed under max security.

Humboldt County Correctional Officer Gilbert Resendez who testified today was questioned by DDA Elan Firpo at length about the Humboldt County jail layout and housing units and procedures. Officer Resendez said while he observed Bodhi Tree conversing with other inmates, he could not hear the specifics of the conversation. Some of the factors influencing that were noise from the showers and other activity such as the TV on the lower level.

Quentin Williams and Jason Losey are two inmates who were housed with Bodhi Tree last June in unit 339. Other witnesses who may testify are Hans Vedborg, a nurse at tve Humboldt County jail, Humboldt County Correctional  Officer Duane Christian, DA investigators Wayne Cox and Marvin Kirkpatrick.

Bodhi Tree trial estimated to conclude this Friday or by July 28

The Bodhi Tree trial resumed this morning at 9:30 a.m. That is the best estimate Judge Reinholtsen could give. Closing arguments expected July 30 or 31st.

Currently the Judge is speaking to two jurors that may be excused. The hearing is expected to resume shortly.

Two jurors were excused and two alternates appointed in their place.

Jul 21, 2014

Tip to wanted fugitives; breaking and entering may lead to your arrest

On 07-19-2014, at approximately 9:15 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call regarding three suspects observed trying to break into a neighbor’s cabin in the Burr Valley area. The citizen told the dispatcher there were two males and a female involved, and they were in a black BMW.  The citizen believed one of the suspects may be Ronald Snider Sanchez, 26 years old, who was wanted on an escape from custody charge, and violation of parole. Sheriff’s dispatch  ran a DMV registration check and determined the black BMW was registered to Sanchez.

As the deputies were responding, the citizens in the area began calling neighbors and alerting them as to what was occurring. Another citizen called 911, and reported he heard the suspects may have been at his cabin trying to break in. At approximately 10:30 a.m., the Sheriff’s Office received a third 911 call, with the caller advising a citizen had the suspects black 2001 BMW blocked in with vehicles and stopped. A neighbor was now holding the suspects at gunpoint.

Deputies responded and met with the citizens at approximately 12:00 noon. When the deputies interviewed the witnesses, they told the deputies they had been warned by other neighbors about a black BMW driving in the area acting suspicious. When a 48 year old female witness saw the BMW near the Four Corners area of Burr Valley Road, she watched it. She saw the BMW drive to her neighbor’s cabin which was not occupied.  She watched the two male occupants of the BMW, one being Sanchez, exit the BMW, cover their heads with Hoodies and walk towards the cabin. When they saw she was watching them from a hill top nearby, they immediately left the area. As they were driving down Buck Mountain Road, she called the Sheriff’s Office and notified other neighbors, including the unoccupied cabin owner who resides in McKinleyville. She followed the BMW until she and another neighbor met up with it in the roadway and blocked it in with their cars. The other neighbor, a 30 year old male, then brandished a firearm at the suspects and told them he was holding them until law enforcement arrived.

The citizens told the deputy one of the suspects fled after being held at gunpoint for about twenty minutes. The suspect who fled told the citizen with the gun, he was Ronald Sanchez, and was wanted by law enforcement. He told the citizen would have to shoot him in the back if he was going to hold him any longer, because Sanchez did not want to return to jail. Sanchez ran off on foot.

Deputies determined the cabin the suspects approached was not broken into; however the same cabin had been burglarized in the recent past. The cabin owner showed up at the scene and told the deputies he wanted to pursue trespassing charges against the two suspects that were detained by his neighbors. Deputies arrested Mallory Tatum Lagace, 27 years old and Damen Rey Carlson, 19 years old, both from Eureka. They were both transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where they were booked and released on their own recognizance.

Deputies checked the area for Sanchez, but could not locate him.

On 07-21-2014, at approximately 11:30 a.m., the United States Marshals Service , California Department of Corrections and Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies located and arrested Ronald Sanchez at 2505 Garland Street, Eureka. He was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked on arrest warrants. He is being held without bail.

On 07-21-2014, at approximately 1:45 p.m., the United States Marshals Service, California Department of Corrections and Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies drove to the 3300 block of E Street, Eureka and arrested Ronald Sanchez, Sr. 55 years old, on an outstanding arrest warrant for brandishing a weapon and terrorist threats. He was booked into the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $30,000.00.

Vincent Sanchez preliminary continued at request of DA; new date Aug 13

Harris street double murder suspect Vincent Sanchez's preliminary hearing was continued until August 13 at the request of the People. DDA Zach Curtis requested the continuanxe because ADA Kelly Neel who is prosecuting the case has been out sick and "needs time to prepare.

The next hearing is August 11 at 2 p.m. Benjamin Okin, attorney for Rocheleau requested these transcripts be submitted under seal. Jennifer Dixon who represents Nicholas Stoiber and David Lee, who subbed in for Marek Reavis today, attorney for Ferrer joined in with Mr. Okin's request.

Jennifer Dixon who is representing Sanchez did not object because she just received discovery last Friday. Ms. Dixon was also given medical records from Metropolitan State Hospital from the Court today.

Sanchez who has once previously argued with his attorney in court was very cooperative with her and listened to her as she explained to him what the People were asking and said to him that the continuance "would be good for us."

Intervention is on August 11 at 3 p.m. and Preliminary hearing is scheduled on August 13 at 8:30 a.m.

Paul requests two more weeks in Ferrer because all transcripts not ready

The hearing to decide whether the three defendant's cases would be severed in the Juan Ferrer was continued today because District Attorney Paul Gallegos said he only had one modified transcript ready for the Court. That transcript was for Sophie Rocheleau.

In the last hearing, Mr. Gallegos said that he would submit modified transcripts where each defendant's statements  would be presented in such a way that it would not be necessary for the cases to be severed.

The motion to sever has been continued to August 11 at 2 p.m.

Previous posts:



Suspect identified in Alderpoint shooting

The victim in the homicide has been identified as Neil Eugene Decker age 49 from Alderpoint. The suspect has been identified as Matthew Aaron Brown age 30. Brown is described as a white, male adult, 5’-11” in height, weight 200 pounds, with a shaved head and blue eyes.

The homicide occurred in the 2000 block of Rancho Sequoia near Alderpoint. The victim and suspect were acquainted with each other. They got into a verbal argument over personal property on Friday night before the shooting. Shortly after the argument the suspect shot the victim in the chest with a shotgun. The suspect then fled the area on a green motorcycle.

The Sheriff’s Office has issued an alert to other local law enforcement agencies to arrest Brown for homicide. The Sheriff’s Office considers Brown to be armed and dangerous. The Sheriff’s Office is advising the public is they see Matthew Brown to call 9-1-1 and do not approach him.

This homicide is the third homicide in the Rancho Sequoia area of Alderpoint in the last 24 months.

Previous Press Release:

On 07/18/2014 at approximately 10:51 PM, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding a male subject in his fifties that was shot in the chest. The shooting occurred in the Alderpoint area of Southern Humboldt. Deputies responded with assistance from the California Highway Patrol and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. Medical personnel arrived on scene and began life saving efforts. The victim was transported to a landing zone to be flown out by helicopter. The victim succumbed to his injury prior to being transported by helicopter.

The whereabouts of the suspect involved in the shooting is unknown at this time. This incident is currently being investigated by Detectives with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and personnel from the Department of Justice.

Two out of three suspects arrested due to citizen's tips to HCSO

On 07-18-2014, after receiving citizen tips the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was able to identify the three suspects in the photographs that were released to the press. The investigating deputy arrested Mary Elizabeth Cruz, 51 years old of Eureka at her residence. She was booked into the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Correctional Facility on a charge of burglary and forgery. She was booked and released on her own recognizance.

The deputy located the second suspect, Philip Ashley Wormington, 45 years old, at a local hospital emergency room. Wormington was issued a notice to appear in court for forgery and burglary, and released at the emergency room to be treated for health issues he was having.

The third suspect has been identified as Nicholas Paul Boswell, 34 years old. Boswell is wanted for burglary and forgery. He is further described as a white male adult, 5’ 6’’ tall, 145 lbs, has a shaved head and blue eyes. He has a tattoo on his neck of brass knuckles and the words “Hola”.  A “Be-on-the-Lookout” has been broadcast to all local law enforcement agencies for Boswell.