Jan 9, 2015

Judge Watson flubbed this one; victim still feels like a winner

Two plea deals were rejected by two Judges: Judge John Feeney and Judge Dale Reinholtsen. The case finally went to jury trial. Judge Watson presided over that trial. The jury came back with a guilty verdict.
No one covered the case except me. Once the case was successful, the media ran the press release.

The defendant in the case was Elmy Workman.

Angel, the victim, finally had justice when the jury affirmed it. Judge Watson today flubbed by sentencing Elmy to probation. No jail time. Probation was the outcome of the plea deals that were rejected.

I was at the Vincent Sanchez sentencing at the same time as the Workman sentencing.

According to reports by the victim, her family and others, the defendant Elmy and her supporters clapped and stared at the victim.

Way to go Judge Watson. You let a woman who slashed the mother of her grandchild go free with less than a slap on the wrist.

The original plea deal was approved by Paul. The defense attorney is Neal Sanders, a Paul supporter. The deals were rejected due to the efforts of Allison Jackson on behalf of the victim.

 DDA Zach Curtis spoke briefly, the victim said. He said probation mimimized what happened. This would be in the pre-sentencing report.

So Judge Watson made a decision based on probation's report. That agency screwed up and as a Judge he could have made a different decision.

Saying the crime occurred under great provocation is the exact opposite interpretation of the facts by two other Judges.

The facts didn't change. Hopefully, Elmy Workman won't hurt someone else.

"I still feel like a winner, she has a guilty verdict," Angel said to me after court.

I could not add links to my previous posts but Rose did on her blog with her opinion.

Vincent Sanchez sentenced 40 years to life as stipulated

Dressed in orange and cuffed, Vincent Sanchez stood quietly as Judge Dale Reinholtsen formally pronounced his stipulated sentence. Total sentence is 40 years. For each count of murder, consecutive sentences of 15 years to life and 10 years consecutive sentence for the special allegation. Vincent declined to make a statement, so did family members of the victims present. Since one of the victims was his half brother, the tragedy today for the family was doubled.

ADA Kelly Neel briefly spoke before sentencing. "There is no explaination about what occurred, we will never know...I don't think Mr. Sanchez knows why ...For public safety, this is an appropriate resolution.

There were restitution fees imposed which included a $10,000 fine and two amounts to Reed Storre.

Even though mental health issues played afactor in this case, and if you read my posts on the preliminary hearing, you will see what could have contributed to Vincent's state of mind, I have to commend Ms. Dixon for the way she defended her client. Unlike unrepentant Bodhi Tree and so far unrepentant Gary Lee Bullock, Vincent took responsibility. You saw softness and emotion in his voice when his half brother was mentioned.

Vincent is the kind of defendant you do feel some sympathy for and it is hard to ignore that mental health addressed properly in society could have saved lives.


On October 14 in court,  Vincent Sanchez, the Harris street double murder suspect plead guilty to two counts of second degree murder and one special allegation of personal use of a firearm. All other charges were dismissed.

His stipulated sentence is 40 years to life and he has to serve the entire 40 years before he is even eligible for parole. He got 15 to life for each murder and on the special allegation, Judge Reinholtsen can give him the maximum terms of ten years. Even if he is paroled, he would be on parole the rest of his life and any violation would mean he would then be back in prison and serve the rest of his sentence behind bars.

The case has been referred to Probation for a pre sentencing report so that the victims can present a statement and weigh in if needed, even though the sentence has been negotiated and stipulated.

Previous posts:


Hit and run fatality barely avoided on 5th and E in Eureka

This isn't a press release, but it could have been. One I would not be around to post.

That would be the least of my worries. I would be dead or my body severely damaged, beyond repair.

Around 10:15 this morning, I was crossing the street on the corner of fifth and E in Eureka. I had almost made it across the crosswalk when out of nowhere a big green truck swerved onto fifth street and my life flashed before my eyes. I prepared to be hit. Fortunately, the guy hit the brakes.

This was in broad daylight. It was not a work truck. This is the second time this has happened. The other incident was a woman turning on to 4th street from I near the courthouse. They were not young kids although many daily offenders with similar behavior are.

The guy profusely apologized. The woman just kept speeding.  Both these people were distracted by a pet, cell phone and just not paying attention.

On Christmas Eve, another person in a hurry turned and hit a friend crossing after mass_, near 7th and I. My elderly friend is in Santa Rosa with her ankle broken in 4 places and fluid on her brain.

Why? Because certain people behind the wheel don't care, cannot be bothered to leave in time to get places, and many drivers in Humboldt think they own the streets.

We were not jaywalking. We followed the law. This is Humboldt. What are you rushing to that cannot wait a couple of minutes?

We don't need more traffic lights or laws. We need people to pay attention, be responsible. A couple of minutes of patience can save a life.

Suspect arrested in Cutten incident for homicide

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Detectives arrested, Judson Allen Stiglich age 32 for homicide for the shooting death of the victim, Ryan James Robinson age 22 from Rio Dell. During the investigation Detectives learned that the victim and suspect knew each other. On the day of the homicide the suspect shot the victim after a brief verbal argument with each other.

The female age 32 in this investigation was released by the Detectives after questioning and was not arrested. Judson Stiglich was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for Homicide, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and for possession for stolen property. The firearm used in the homicide was stolen from a victim out of the City of Fortuna. Stiglich’s bail has been set at one million dollars.

An autopsy has been scheduled for this Saturday. If anyone has information in this Homicide please contact Investigator Greg Musson at 707-268-3643.

Alderpoint murder case trial delayed; dates expected to be set next week

The jury trial for Matthew Brown who is accused of the murder of Neil Decker was expected to start January 12. Due to no court being available, dates for that case will now be hopefully  set on January 16.

ADA Kelly Neel and Brown's lawyer Mr. Greg Elvine-Kreiss estimate the trial will take 3 -4 weeks and Judge Timothy Cissna put that on record.



Jan 8, 2015

Talk, Talk and no action, Bergel urges Eureka City Council to be more action oriented; my favorite quotes from the last Eureka Council meeting

Both Councilmembers Natalie Arroyo and Kim Bergel stopped by and said hi to me before the meeting. I congratulated both after their win and I think they are a class act to reach out and return the gesture.

I have only attended one meeting since the new Council members was sworn in. I noticed small differences and wondered how much of that had to do with it being an all woman council. There were strong opinions expressed but any political differences or points of view seemed to be more toned down, at least in expression in front of the public. It was very empowering to see five women on the council.

My two favorite quotes were from Councilmember Bergel. One was during Councilmember reports and she noted  that there were some improvements at the PALCO marsh. She added, "well as long as you focus on the East side." The other was just a spontaneous comment during the medical cannabis ordinance discussion. To paraphrase Councilmemeber Bergel, she said something to the effect, we talk and talk up here, I want to see some action!

The other memorable quotes of the evening were from resident Minnie Wolf. Commenting on the medical cannabis ordinance, she said it was "normalization of unhealthy, risky behavior. " She also felt the current "laws are not strict enough" and "drugs being legally approved does not make them less dangerous."

Public meeting enthusiast Kent Sawatsky said that "people who grow in the hills want to keep cultivation in the black market". He is also the second person I have heard mention the developer and grower marijuana connection.

Probation violation, stolen property and drugs: another typical day in Eureka

On 01/07/15 at about 6:23 p.m., an officer with the Eureka Police Department was dispatched to the 2000 block of Albee Street for a residential burglary report.  The victim said that one of the items stolen was an electronic device with a GPS locate.  The GPS location showed the device was at a motel on the 800 block of Broadway.
Officers responded to the motel and made contact with Cyle Abbott 47 and Jenae Loyd 23 both of Eureka.  Abbott and Loyd were both on searchable probation and a search of the room was made.  Officers located the stolen electronic device and other items from the burglary.  A large amount of other suspected stolen property was also seized.
Abbott and Loyd were booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for probation violation and possession of stolen property.  Loyd was also booked for fresh drug related charges.
Detectives are currently investigating further and are attempting to match seized property with stolen property reports.  Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call the Eureka Police Department at (707) 441-4060.

Firearm located at Cutten Elementary, students return to school

At approximately 8:45 am this morning deputies with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office located the firearm in the field on the north/west corner on Cutten Elementary School property. The firearm was located just north of the baseball fields. The Superintendent for the Cutten Elementary School was notified that the weapon was located. The Superintendent then made the decision to return the students back to their school from the Ridgewood Elementary School, because the school was now safe.


On 1/8/15 at about 3:00 a.m. Humboldt County Sheriff’s Dispatch received several 9-1-1 calls regarding shots fired and screams heard in the area of the 2300 block of Holly Street in Cutten.

Responding units arrived at about 3:10 a.m. and discovered a male gunshot victim laying in the yard near the residence. Deputies requested emergency medical services and secured the scene prior to their arrival. Once EMS arrived they determined that the male victim was deceased. The identity of the victim has not yet been confirmed.

Deputies received information that involved male subject and female had been seen leaving the area of the shooting and where last seen walking in the direction of the Cutten Elementary School.

At about 4:20 a.m. a male subject was located near the scene and he has been detained at this time.

The female subject was also located at a nearby residence and is cooperating with Sheriff’ Detectives at this time. The identities of the male and female are being withheld at this time pending further investigation.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is actively investigating this case at this time.

A Security Alarm at the Cutten Elementary School was activated at about the same time the 9-1-1 calls for the shooting.

Sheriff Detectives have received information that the involved weapon may have been hidden on or near the Cutten School property. Sheriff Deputies are on scene at the school at this time conducting a search for the weapon/

The Cutten School Superintendent has been notified and the school property has been closed pending further notification from the Sheriff’s Office. The School requests that school services will be transferred to Ridgewood Elementary School and any Cutten Elementary Students being driven to school can be dropped off at Ridgewood Elementary School until further notice.

Further information with provided when available.

Stay lifted on Hatchery and EPIC to help secure funds for genetic management plan

Just spoke with Tom Wheeler from EPIC. http://www.wildcalifornia.org/ has the details on EPIC's lawsuit and the background.

EPIC filed a lawsuit because the Mad River Hatchery did not have a genetic management plan and were putting native population of fish at risk. The Hatchery agreed to have one in place by November. They could not meet the deadline. EPIC agreed to help them secure funds so they can achieve that goal.

EPIC fail? Mad River Hatchery stay lifted and they can spawn fish again

According to an interested party, the stay on Mad River Hatchery was lifted and they can spawn smelt again. Did not get a call back from Mad River Hatchery but was able to get hold of EPIC.

Jan 7, 2015

EPIC lawsuit will prevent local hatchery from spawning fishes

The lawsuit is a year old so the relevance today is that EPIC has pissed off some of it's own supporters. And other concerned citizens. Is it a big deal? You decide.

Mad River Hatchery may not comment on a pending lawsuit. The people who contacted me are concerned because there has been a significant reduction in the catch and keep smelt since last year. According to their calculations, by the 2018-2019 season, there will be no catch and keep smelt to fish. Many people come to visit the area to fish, they patronize local businesses.

According to one person, he sees EPIC's lawsuit as wanting to preserve the genetic purity of the fish.

Is Mad River Hatchery concerned?

Jan 6, 2015

Movement on Eureka medical cannabis ordinance delayed until League of Cities meeting in mid January

The vote to postpone action was with Kim Bergel dissenting. Linda Atkins and Kim Bergel wanted to move and give staff direction tonight, Natalie Arroyo had some concerns and did not mind waiting until after mid-January to allay concerns. Marian Brady and Melinda Ciarabellini had some similar concerns and I as well as many people thought the vote was 3 to 1. So, some of us left. However, I heard the original vote and motion was then rejected and anothe another vote was taken. You can watch the entire meeting on the City of Eureka's website or Access Humboldt.

Basically the second vote was 3 to 2 with Melinda Ciarabellini and Marian Brady dissenting. Councilmember Atkins's motion was to direct staff to bring back process to revisit RFQs evey 2 years, declare last group who were invitations as unresponsive, select a committee, and a vote on this will be at a future meeting.

"Normalization of unhealthy risky behavior" or ending years of prohibition? Eureka residents have diverse opinions on medical cannabis ordinance

Public comment was popular at Eureka City Council this evening. Two west side residents Carol Binder and Xandra Manns basically spoke and asked Eureka City Council to care about the needs of people and not just focus on business. Xandra Manns wants less medication, more counseling for homeless Trent Zelanick prayed for peace and prosperity for Eureka. He said prosperity is not money but that of the soul. Kent Sawatsky who attends every Board of Supervisor meeting spoke in favor of rails and trails and in favor of Eel River Disposal when the city of Eureka considers RFQs for garbage disposal. The public comment speakers congratulated newly elected council members Natalie Arroyo and Kim Bergel.

On the agenda tonight was a report on the community development homeless update and direction on a medical cannabis ordinance. Staff report was about process, selection and current request. Due to moratorium on Eureka medical cannabis facilities, staff is stuck.

This was necessary because a few weeks ago, a gentleman asked the Eureka City Council how he could operate a medical cannabis dispensary in Eureka.

Jan 5, 2015

Eddie Lee a free man but his former honey boo booked for fraud and controlled substances and crimes against justice

Eddie Lee, who got a get out of jail card recently is enjoying his freedom. His former honey boo Moriah Foster who was on EPD's most wanted poster for a while was finally booked into jail this weekend, allegedly for fraud, controlled substances and crimes against justice.

Wonder if her prosecution will impact the prosecution of Limmie Curry, Lee's alleged co conspirator in the murder of William Reid?

Key supporters and well wishers pack the room to celebrate Maggie's first day as DA

Attorneys, courthouse staff, community and business members and elected officials packed a reception to honor Maggie Fleming.

"The body has been cremated so there is nothing left to analyze"; Benjamin Carter So Hum murder suspect hearing continued due to possible change of counsel from DA's office

Benjamin Carter, the suspect charged with the murder of Zachary Chapman and who is famous for calling LOCO when he was on the lam instead of his defense attorney was supposed to have dates set for trial today. His wife Belinda pleaded no contest and was sentenced  to 1 year in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility with formal supervised probation for three years.

Carter's attorney said that while there was some discovery outstanding that since there was no body to analyze that they were ready to proceed to trial. DDA Luke Brownfield told Judge John Feeney that there would be a possible change of counsel. He alluded to his change of assignment. With Maggie Fleming being sworn in today as Humboldt's new District Attorney, that news does not come as a surprise.

So the disposition hearing scheduled for today was continued to January 12 at 2 p.m.

Previous posts:

Alderpoint murder suspect Matthew Brown spares us theatrics today while his jury trial date is confirmed

Matthew Aaron Brown is accused of murder of Neil Eugene Decker. Mr. Kaleb Cockrum was present today for Brown's lawyer Mr. Greg Elvine-Kreiss and DDA Jackie Pizzo represented the People today instead of ADA Kelly Neel.

Unlike his last court appearance, Brown sat quietly today in the Courtroom.

Last post:

Dec 17, 2014

Matthew Brown murder case jury trial delayed a week

The jury trial was set for January 5, defense requested it be delayed a week. Defense also pulled the previous time waiver. It is now scheduled for January 12. ADA Kelly Neel is prosecuting the case, Mr. Greg Elvine-Kreis is Brown's lawyer.

I don't know if this was a joke or Matthew Brown was addressing someone else. But as his case was called, he looked towards media seated and mouthed, "No."
Previous posts:


Fieldbrook double murder suspect jury trial set for February 23

This afternoon in Courtroom 1, Fieldbrook double murder suspect Jason Arreaga was arraigned on information. His jury trial is set for Feb 23.

The charges are murder in Count 1 of Harley Wayne Hammers and Count 2 murder of Angel Tully , both felonies. Two special allegations for both counts: personally and intentionally discharging a firearm and personally and intentionally discharging a firearm resulting in great bodily injury or death.

Pre-trial hearing is January 26 at 2 p.m. and Jury Trial is February 9 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 1.

Last post:

Dec 17, 2014

Fieldbrook double murder suspect waives right to preliminary hearing, case to go to trial

Not looking happy but indicating yes to the Judge, Jason Arreaga waived his right to preliminary hearing.

His attorney Heidi Holmquist said that while the preliminary hearing was waived, it was with the condition the only charges against her client would be the one in original complaint.

In a preliminary hearing, which is held after the defendant has been arraigned, the Judge decides whether there is enough evidence provided by the prosecution to hold the defendant accountable on charges to to stand trial. My guess is that by waiving trial, the defense did not want prosecution to be able to amend and add more charges after the preliminary hearing.

Arreaga is charged with murder in Count 1 of Harley Wayne Hammers and Count 2 murder of Angel Tully , both felonies. Two special allegations for both counts: personally and intentionally discharging a firearm and personally and intentionally discharging a firearm resulting in great bodily injury or death.

Ms. Holmquist spoke with Arreaga before his case was called. He was silent and softly answered yes, when Judge Marilyn Miles asked him if he was waiving his right to a preliminary hearing. Then he mumbled, "I don't like...". Some of us covering the case in the court thought he said, I don't like the way this is going but I understand; others thought he said he did not like the way things were worded.

Wanting to make sure, Judge Miles asked him again, if he wanted to waive his right and if he understood what that meant, he indicated yes again.

Arreaga's arraignment of information for jury trial will be on January 5 at 2 pm in Courtroom 1.

Previous posts: