Jun 30, 2014

Timothy Littlefield deal in the works?

A reputable source claims that Timothy Littlefield is looking at or has made a deal that would get him a sentence of a four to ten years.

This case is supposed to be under appeal regarding Judge Feeney's decision to declare mistrial.

From several life sentences to a few years in prison, if there is a deal in the works.

Previous plea deal rejected back on table with no victim notification; exact deal

In the Elmy Workman case. Today a pre trial conference was scheduled, there was a change of plea on 6/11. And a conditional plea was entered on 6/25.

Judge Feeney ruled no unusual circumstances. The case was then heard in Judge Reinholtsen's court and the plea can be returned so it isn't a done deal.

This is the exact plea deal rejected by the victim. Allison Jackson, attorney for record was not notified. I told her of the change today. The case had DDA Luke Brownfield prosecuting then Paul Gallegos made an appearance then DDA Zach Curtis in Courtroom 4.

More to be updated...as details are available.

First defense witness testimony in Bodhi Tree case total letdown

No, it was not Bodhi Tree. Today, the defense presented a witness and this was out of order due to the witness' schedule. Whether there will be any other defense witness? Who knows? Hopefully, if there is, one can only hope that there will be some purpose to the testimony.

The prosecution will continue with their case tomorrow. The Bodhi Tree trial which was expected to end June 27 is still going on. No new information has been revealed in the last week and today was no exception.

At least the prosecution's witnesses last week gave information on chain of custody, how evidence was secured, details about the wounds. And the defense theory that purports shoddy investigation has yet to be proven.

There has been no media presence from Times-Standard or Channel 3 all of last week. No one from T-S, Channel 3 or Mad River Union was there today and they made a wise decision. Today's entire morning consisted of questioning of this one defense witness by Ms. Holmquist and Ms. Firpo.

The witness called by the defense was Daniel Schumaker. He is a self-employed, self-defined "crime reconstructionist" who owns a company called Contrast Forensics. He has a B.A. in Fine Arts and 15 years ago decided to use his graphics training in the courtroom. Ms. Holmquist asked him his qualifications, he said he had testified in 57 criminal trials, 21 civil cases. He uses a lot of equipment that other certified crime reconstructionists do not and some of the software he uses has largely been used in gaming.

He said he has worked for attorneys, public defenders and the DOJ but on cross by Ms. Firpo, he said he had only been approached for the DOJ for four years and never testified in court about the work that he did for them. And the work was about "1/2 a dozen trials.'

He name dropped the George Zimmerman trial and said he had worked for Fortune 500 companies.

Ms. Firpo objected to him being designated as an expert, and during the voir dire process, Ms. Firpo questioned him on several issues which were further brought out on cross. Ms. Firpo asked Schumaker that in order to do crime reconstruction, one has to see the original scene. Schumaker did not go to the crime scene. He went to the house in March 2014. There are different people living at the house and Ms. Firpo noted that the furniture, the way things were are not the same.

The diagrams he presented to the defense are based on photos and autopsy reports. He did not specify if they were photos by law enforcement or defense or both.

He was eventually designated an expert but during voir dire and cross, Ms. Firpo had him on the defense, got him to admit that diagrams he constructed had items missing that were present in photos he used to reconstruct the scene.

 When Ms. Holmquist questioned him initially, he had said he uses a lot of equipment no one else uses. When Ms. Firpo asked him that his equipment was not industry standard, he could not counter with anything to refute that statement. He is not a member of any accredited organizations and the one he belongs to, he was unable to provide numbers or any certification. Ms. Firpo questioned him about his work not being verified by any one else, that he had no law enforcement or investigation training or medical training.

Ms. Firpo asked Schumaker that he was not a medical expert and yet he generated diagrams from autopsy. His response was that Dr. Super and a forensic scientist from the DOJ reviewed his work.

Schumaker was paid $5,200 by the defense for two trips and his work on this case, which included today's appearance. All that work and money, and no new information was revealed, no new theory. When Ms. Firpo showed photos, read from testimony and told Schumaker that Dr. Super had mentioned some inaccuaricies in his diagrams, Schumaker reacted by saying, "then he changed his opinion, that is not what he said in our meeting." His response to being asked if he accurately portrayed the bullet trajectories was "that is why I put a skeleton in my diagrams" and people can count to where the 11th vertebrae is but refused to point out where this was on the body despite claiming he understood medical terms and could interpret autopsies.

Little details like missing blankets when recreating crime scene and removing dreadlocks on most diagrams of Mr. Marcet were Schumaker's preogative.

Instead of explaining anything, Schumaker deflected the responsibilty saying Dr. Super had viewed his diagrams. Schumaker insinuated that his computer software and interpretation of the crime scene was more accurate than Dr. Super.

For weeks, when more qualified experts and coroners have testified, Ms. Holmquist has been vigorous in her questioning. Yet when Ms. Firpo was questioning Schumaker, Ms. Holmquist seem annoyed, stood behind Ms. Firpo for quite a while and rolled her eyes when Ms. Firpo was asking questions.

I suppose there would be no need for a trial or the criminal justice system  if we were just to blindly accept the defense theory, and agree with Ms. Holmquist that Bodhi Tree did not do it!

HCSO Monday press releases: Pine school burglary, man assaulting sister's boyfriend and terrorist threats by McKinleyville man

Pine Hill elementary school burglarized

On 06-29-2014, at approximately 10:30 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s was notified of a burglary alarm at Pine Hill Elementary School, Eureka. When deputies arrived at the school, they met with school staff that had also arrived. Deputies and staff saw the suspect(s) broke a window on the northwest wall of the office. The suspects then reached through the window and opened the door allowing entry.  Deputies saw the office area had been ransacked.

With the assistance of school staff, deputies were able to watch a surveillance video of the burglary. Deputies saw the suspects appeared to all be juveniles, two females and a male. The school staff members who were present were able to identify a 14 year old male on the video.

Deputies searched the area for the suspects and located a 14 year old female at the corner of Herrick Avenue and Vance Avenue, Eureka. The female was in possession of food items stolen from the school nurses office. The female was taken home by the deputy and issued a notice to appear in juvenile court, before being released to the custody of family members.

A deputy went to the identified 14 year old male’s residence. The male had a check from the school in his possession.  The male was determined to be under the influence of alcoholic beverages. He was arrested and transported to Juvenile Probation.

Deputies are still seeking the third juvenile involved.

Man assaults sister's boyfriend

On 06-27-2014, at approximately 6:45 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was notified of an assault with a knife and car theft that occurred in the 100 block of Sole Street, King Salmon. When deputies arrived, they met with the 21 year old female victim and her 25 year old boyfriend. They told deputies the brother of the female victim, Patrick Thompkins Rector, 25 years old from Eureka, came to the female’s residence unannounced at 6:00 p.m.  Rector does not reside at the residence. When Rector walked into the residence he was carrying a large hunting knife in a sheath. When Rector saw the 25 year old boyfriend who he has an ongoing dispute with, he immediately got angry and drew the fixed blade knife from the sheath. Rector brandished the knife over his head and lunged at the male victim who was on the couch with his sister. His sister was able to push Rector back with her foot, which allowed the boyfriend to escape through a window.

Rector and his sister argued and Rector stole his sisters white Acura Integra. Deputies searched the area for the Integra and located it on Buhne Drive, King Salmon, with a large fixed blade survival knife in the vehicle. The victims identified the knife as being the knife Rector attempted to stab the boyfriend with. No one was injured.

A be-on-the lookout for Rector was issued to all local law enforcement agencies. He is wanted for brandishing a weapon, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, robbery and car theft.

Patrick Thompkins Rector is further described as a white male, 25 years old, 5’ 5” tall, 165 pounds, brown hair, blue eyes.

Terrorist threats made by McKinleyville man

On 06-28-2014, at approximately 2:30 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call regarding a man who was threatening to shoot people and claimed to be armed with explosives. The suspect, later identified as Bruce Richard Cotherman, 57 years old, from McKinleyville was parked in a green 2002 Subaru in front of Whitethorn Construction Company, 545 Shelter Cove Road, Whitethorn.  A 57 year old male employee of the business walked out to Cotherman’s car when he saw it was backed up to the loading bay area. When the employee asked if Cotherman  needed assistance, Cotherman told the employee if he came any closer he would die. Cotherman motioned towards his right pocket as if he had a gun and told the employee he would be shot if he moved. Cotherman threatened to kill anyone else who came near the employee or Cotherman’s vehicle. Everytime the employee attempted to move , Cotherman got angry and asked the employee if he ever wanted to see his family again. Cotherman yelled to the employee that he had enough C-4 explosives in his vehicle to kill the employee and everyone else in the business and six acres surrounding it. He then told the employee he was going to commit suicide and wanted everyone else to watch. Cotherman then threw his car keys away.

After several minutes of being held hostage, the employee saw Cotherman divert his attention downwards and away from the employee. The employee made a decision to run, leaving Cotherman by himself at the Subaru. A Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy arrived shortly after the employee escaped.  When Cotherman saw the uniformed deputy, he submitted to the deputies commands and was taken into custody.

The deputy was able to determine the boxes and items that Cotherman claimed were explosives in his vehicle were liquid plant fertilizer. The deputy was also did not find any weapons on Cotherman or in his vehicle.

Cotherman later told the deputy he intended to commit suicide by law enforcement, but changed his mind when the deputy arrived.

No one was injured during the incident.

Cotherman was taken to mental health for an evaluation and was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on 6-30-2014. He was booked on charges of false imprisonment and terrorist threats. His bail was set at $50,000.00.

Jun 28, 2014

Stabbing victim Ruth Wortman no stranger to Law Enforcement

From Times-Standard -2012

Fortuna police arrested a Fortuna man and woman after a parole search on Friday.

Officers found John Hanley, 33, in a residence on the 4000 block of South Loop Road standing next to a loaded sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun during the parole search, according to a press release. Officers also located Ruth Wortman, 26, who officials said had a warrant out for her arrest.

Hanley was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a sawed-off shotgun, according to the release. Hanley and Wortman were booked in the Humboldt County jail.

From Napa Valley Crime Stoppers

Ruth Evelyn Wortman, DOB: 2-26-1986, is wanted for Felony failure to appear on a charge of possession of a controlled substance.

From Napa Valley Register:
February 14, 2014 1:33 pm  •  

A Humboldt County resident was arrested Friday morning in Calistoga on suspicion of drug possession, according to the Calistoga Police Department.
An officer checking a vehicle at 4 a.m. in the 900 block of Petrified Forest Road saw a bag of suspected marijuana and drug paraphernalia in plain view, police said. During a search of the vehicle, an officer found an unspecified amount of suspected methamphetamine, police said.
Ruth Wortman, 27, of Fortuna, an occupant in the vehicle, was arrested and booked into the Napa County jail on suspicion of drug possession and drug paraphernalia possession, according to the jail logs.

Original EPD News Release dated 6-20-14
On 06/20/14 at approximately 5:03 a.m., officers responded to a possible stabbing at an apartment building on the 2900 block of California Street.  Upon arrival, officers found a male and a female with stab wounds outside the apartment building. Both victims were transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital and are in stable condition. The male victim is Thomas Frank, 36 of Eureka and the female victim is Ruth Wortman, 28 of Fortuna.  Investigators are looking into whether this was gang motivated.

Upon investigation, the Eureka Police Department has learned that Thomas Frank and Ruth Wortman were trespassing in the California apartments.  The abandoned apartment they were squatting in was in the process of being renovated and had been secured with plywood and screws. The screws had been removed or pulled from the wall and access was made. The two slept on a mattress in the closet.

At about 0500 hours, a small statured man entered the apartment. The male leaned into the closet over Wortman and ambushed Frank, stabbing him repeatedly. There was no warning or provocation. Wortman kicked at the suspect and was stabbed above the knee. She crawled out of the closet to escape the fracas between Frank and his attacker. Frank fought back, and the battle moved into the main room. The two continued fighting. Frank did not have a weapon and the suspect had a small knife. Wortman grabbed a 6’ long piece of 1” X 4” lumber and hit the suspect in the head. This ended the close quarter battle. The suspect fled. The suspect is described as a white male, small in stature, 26 years old, with close cut blond hair and the letters “CWB” in large letters tattooed on his neck.

Frank suffered 15 knife wounds that required surgical procedures and several other superficial knife wounds. The wounds were to the head, back chest and shoulders.  Frank, who knows his assailant, has declined to prosecute or otherwise assist with the investigation. Likewise Wortman.

Frank and his attacker are known local gang members from different gangs. Despite this fact, it is not believed this attack was related to any frictions between the two gangs. EPD investigators believe this was a crime of passion based on a personal issue. EPD investigators are classifying this crime as an attempted murder but are suspending their investigation because of lack of cooperation from the victims.      

Jun 27, 2014

New trial date for Limmie Greg Curry who is accused of murdering William Reid allegedly for marijuana

Limmie Greg Curry trial date of July 28 has been vacated.  Kevin Robinson, who was recently appointed as Curry's attorney filed a motion to continue. Judge John Feeney said that Mr. Robinson "had shown good cause" and the new trial has been scheduled for September 22 at 8:30 a.m. Trial Confirmation is August 18, 2014.

Curry is accused of murdering William Reid on Feb. 3, 2010, at a rural property off State Route 299 near Willow Creek. His last trial resulted in a hung jury,

It was alleged in the previous trial that Curry and Reid's roomate Eddie Lee killed Reid in order to take over his possessions and his marijuana cultivation business. The two allegedely burned Reid's body before burying his charred skeletal remains at the site of an old marijuana grow on Reid's property.

On June 2, Judge John Feeney granted a motion by Curry's attorney Kevin Robinson to try his case separately from Eddie Lee stating that the two had "conflicting defenses."

Lee's trial is scheduled for July 28.

Colin Baldridge denied electronic monitoring; will be transported to East Bay for arraignment

Magistrate Judge Nandor J. Vadas denied electronic monitoring for Colin Baldridge today at a 10.a.m. Detention Hearing held in the Federal Courts in Eureka. He will be transported to East Bay and arraigned in San Francisco. Baldridge is being held at the local jail until he is transported.

Touche Firpo in Bodhi Tree cross vs redirect today

Since Rhett August's slap down of Casey Russo's cross, today was the first time, I wish I could have high-fived the witness and Elan.

Ms. Holmquist questioned evidence tech Leah Christian very aggressively on cross. Why were certain items collected? Why weren't certain items opened and searched?

At one point, she asked Ms. Christian, "Why didn't you collect the processed marijuana?"

Christian responded, "We weren't there to collect marijuana."

Ms. Christian also said she was directed by Detective Sgt. Dokweiler on what to photograph. He is the lead investigator in this case. He is also Christian's supervisor.

On re-direct, Ms. Firpo said, "you have just been asked multiple questions by Ms. Holmquist." She then asked Ms. Christian, "What is your title?" Ms. Christian responded, "Evidence tech."

"Are you a detective?" and "Are you authorised to open and search items" Christian responded she was not. Ms. Firpo also asked Ms. Christian if it was "realistic" to collect every item in the house. She also brought up the fact that Ms. Holmquist asked why a butcher knife in the kitchen was not collected. She asked Ms. Christian if anyone had been stabbed in this double homicide.

The last question is just one example of the completely irrelevant questions by the defense. By now, I can predict the questions and strategy of the defense. I realize they need to present a vigorous defense for their client but only one person has been identified by the witnesses, only one person had a motive. Endless questions that do not prove the defense theory only serve to annoy. I am not required to be present, the jurors are. This trial has been long. The aggressive questioning, particularly by Ms. Holmquist, if it would impeach testimony, would be effective. So far, that has not been the case.

 The only opinion that matters will be that of the 12 jurors who decide this case.

The jurors are made up of ordinary citizens, not lawyers, not law enforcement, and sitting out in the audience, are ordinary citizens who are a part of what makes up a jury pool.

HCSO arrests 3 Long Island residents who moved to Dinsmore to grow and sell marijuana

They were arrested 6/25. That is the nutshell of the HCSO press release. They admitted they moved here for this specific purpose.

HCSO press Release:

On 06-26-2014, at approximately 10:00 a.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies assisted by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, served a Humboldt County Superior Court search warrant on a residence and three properties approximately eight miles out Burr Valley Road, Dinsmore. When deputies arrived they located and detained three people. They were identified as Conor Quinn Rogers, 26 years old, Brooke Ariel Sanders, 23 years old and Amanda Leigh Lasorsa, 24 years old,  all three were from Long Island, New York.  The suspects told the deputies they moved into the area to grow and sell marijuana.

 When deputies searched the property they located 449 growing marijuana plants ranging in size from 3 feet tall to 6 feet tall. They also located three pounds of processed marijuana and $12,750 cash.

All three suspects were arrested for possession and possession for sale of marijuana. They were transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. Their bail was set at $25,000.00 each.

Red spot on Tree's ipod, latex glove among other gloves found on Tree when arrested

A latex glove, a vinyl glove and a pair of Windstopper brown gloves found on Bodhi Tree when he was arrested. This was part of detailed testimony by evidence tech Lea Christian today. In the last two days, Ms. Firpo showed over 100 plus photos to the jury of the interior of the Eye Street house showing the detailed documentation and collection of evidence.

Ms. Christian also testified about the chain of custody and how the evidence was secured.

From the Marilyn Street house where Tree was when he fled and was later arrested nearby, a box of bullets, a single bullet and cell-phone was recovered.

An I-pod charger with a small red spot was found on Tree when arrested.

One clear fingerprint on the front door and the front door of the Eye street house was swabbed for gunshot residue.

Also two neighbors of Rhett August, who testified out of order, since the hearing is in the Arcata phase allegedly heard the 4 gunshots and Rhett yell something like "Get the fuck out of here" and a car backing out of the driveway.

Humboldt's lovey-dovey trio held to answer on first degree residential burglary that happened at the Christie Motel

Yesterday, the trio of Lance, Borgner, Christina Higgins and William Hillegeist were held to answer on some of the charges and they will be arraigned for the jury trial on July 9 in Courtroom 1.
According to Hillegeist's attorney Ben McLaughlin, the victim's entire statement was stricken because he refused to answer some questions.
On the firearm enhancement allegations, Judge Feeney ruled that he did not find sufficient cause to hold Higgins and Borgner to answer on those charges. 
Hillegeist found time during the hearing to whisper "I love you" to his significant other in the audience who left before the preliminary hearing concluded. Borgner did find time to whisper the same to Higgins before they were cuffed and taken into custody.
The incident between the victim and the love trio involved allegations of stolen marijuana. 
Previous info on case:

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.

Jun 26, 2014

Colin Baldridge federal charges take him to Oakland and to be arraigned in San Francisco

Colin Baldridge, who was taken into federal custody on charges of manufacturing with an
 intent to distribute marijuana was in Humboldt County Superior Court today for one case where there was a petition to revoke probation from a 2012 case. The other was a misdemeanor drug offense from May 2014.

His attorney Manny Daskal who also represented him in 2012 said that there is a pre-trial hearing tomorrow on the federal charges and said that he expected Baldridge to be placed on electronic monitoring and asked Judge John Feeney to release the hold on Baldridge.

Based on a conversation with the federal prosecutor, Mr. Daskal said Baldridge will be taken to Oakland and arraigned in San Francisco. His probation was reinstated in the 2012 case and his misdemeanor case was dismissed by Judge Feeney "in the interest of justice."

880 marijuana plants, four greenhouses and a Butane Hash lab

On 06-25-2014, at approximately 10:00 a.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies drove to Mountain View Road, Kneeland in regards to marijuana being grown in large greenhouses. Deputies had obtained a Humboldt County Superior Court search warrant for the greenhouses and a structure on the property. When deputies arrived on scene they served the search warrant. They did not locate any one on the property or in the structure.

 When deputies searched the property they located 880 marijuana plants being grown in four green houses and an outdoor garden. The plants were all approximately 6 feet high.

Deputies searched a metal garage type structure which had been converted into a residence. Deputies located a Butane Hash lab in the metal structure, along with approximately one pound of Butane Hash Honey oil.

Deputies saw water was being diverted from a nearby creek and a large area had been graded and clear cut. They also saw that numerous trees up to two feet tall had been cut down. A  California Fish and Wildlife Warden and Biologist responded to the scene. They determined the diverted water flowed into the Mad River drainage. California Department of Fish And Wildlife is investigating possible California Resource Code violations they located on the property and will possibly seek additional criminal charges.

Deputies have identified several possible suspects in the case, and the investigation is continuing. 

"Pretty quiet, he never said much. Didn't communicate much with anybody."

Yesterday and today, Dale Coultier, a senior criminalist with the CA DOJ, who works at the Eureka lab and is primarily a firearms examiner testified in detail about the process of examining bullets from the Eureka and Arcata crime scenes.

There has been no firearm recovered and he testified that there were similarities in the bullet markings and that it is possible that the same firearm was used but he could not say that definitively because he did not have a firearm to compare and examine.

For two days, Mr. Russo questioned him on cross to no avail.

Testimony in the Bodhi Tree case continued with the resident manager of the 1833 I Street clean and sober house today. Milton Bulau testified that Tree who lived at clean and sober house from April 8, 2013 to May 17, 2013 was "pretty quiet. He never said much. Didn't communicate much with anybody." Tree was a "no show" on May 17, the night before the early a.m. double homicide in Arcata and the manager last saw him on May 14, 2013, a day before the attempting shooting of Rhett August in Eureka.

Tree may have had an pass or an overnight pass but Bulau could not recall. He said Tree's stuff consisting "of, "real nice clothing, shoes and material things" was donated to the Rescue Mission.

Bulau said at that time he was in training, learning what records to keep and does not remember any disciplinary actions or Tree testing positive for alcohol and drugs.

APD evidence technician Leah Christian started her testimony today and Ms. Firpo went through detailed questioning of the photographs she took of the Arcata crime scene and Christina and Sunshine's bodies. She will continue her testimony tomorrow.

Jun 25, 2014

Dinsmore marijuana bust; investigation into possible environmental crimes

On 06-24-2014, at approximately 10:00 a.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies assisted by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, served a Humboldt County Superior Court Search Warrant on a residence in the 42000 block of Highway 36, Dinsmore. When deputies arrived they located and detained four people. They were identified as Andre Kenneth Dodman-Hanwright, 35 years old, a transient and Angel Antonia Glodo, 29 years old, Ivan Stefano Debiase Jr, 27 years old , and Ivan Stefano Debiase Sr., 49 years old, all from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  The suspects told the deputies they moved into the area a few years ago to grow and sell marijuana.

When deputies searched the property and residence they located a Hash lab,  total of 2123 growing marijuana plants ranging in size from 2” to 4’ tall, approximately 15 pounds of processed marijuana, approximately $2,200.00 cash and approximately 3 pounds of concentrated cannabis.  Deputies also saw environmental damage consisting of trees being cut, wetland and habitat destruction for a holding pond and water diversion from a tributary of the Van Duzen River to water tanks for the marijuana grow. There were also signs of unpermitted clearings on the property by heavy equipment.

 California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Cal-Fire was notified of the possible environmental crimes.  A California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden responded to the scene. The warden advised additional charges for violations of 1600 of the Fish and Game Code will be sought for illegal water diversion. The warden also saw signs of potential illegal taking of wildlife which are being investigated.

Cal-Fire told the Investigating Deputy they will be investigating for possible other environmental crimes, but did not have any investigators immediately available to respond.

 All four suspects were arrested for possession and possession for sale of marijuana, possession of concentrated cannabis and manufacturing of drugs. They were transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. Their bail is set at $500,000.00 each.

"They were looking for Mr. Tree, that he had killed some people"

Shane Goodrich's attitude continued this morning with his testimony to both Ms. Firpo and Ms. Holmquist saying he does not recall anything, including what he told police even after he was shown reports.

Goodrich said Sean Butler Smith was just a relative by marriage, he let sleep at his house because he felt sorry for him. He said he was better friends with Ian Henry and Bodhi Tree.

But he did remember being handcuffed and put on ground by law enforcement.  He did mention that Sean Butler-Smith was handcuffed and there on May 18. He didn't see a gun.

He said law enforcement told him they were looking for Bodhi Tree and that he had killed some people.

He said he was drunk from the night before and had taken pain medication for his eye on May 18.

"I don't want anything to do with this stuff, " he said about testifying. "I was arrested, I am in jail. I am sorry for your situation but I want to be home." He would not answer why he did not want to be involved.

Goodrich is the only witness so far that is subject to recall, request made by the defense.

There are more important priorities than press releases, blogs and politics and getting scoops; Rest in Peace Mark

There are not many men that I can say I respect, admire and wish to be like. Mark Sanchez was one of the few men I am proud to call a friend and feel honored to have known.

A great husband, a wonderful father, a successful businessman, a Veteran who gave his life to and for his country and a community member who did so much quietly. I will miss our chats in his store and his smile, among many other happy memories. Mark is the kind of man who was always there for those he cared about and the difference he has made in people's lives will remain forever in our hearts.

Rest in Peace, Mark.

Listed below is a piece by Allan Dollison which speaks about Mark. I had it two days ago but being on the computer was not where my mind or heart was; Mark and his family were. This ran as a My Word in today's T-S:

Through both my personal and military business travels, I have been extremely fortunate to go to Washington DC several times. Most recently earlier this spring. I always seek out the memorials honoring our wars, and did so on my very first trip with my mother in 1985, before I had joined the military.
That year, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall had been constructed the year before. On that trip, I was asked by a childhood high school friend, “Heh find my dad’s name. He is on there somewhere on that wall.” My friend was raised by his grandmother, and I always asked myself why he had not been raised by his parents. With that prophetic request, I now knew why. He had never talked about it.
Like I said from the beginning, I have had the great fortune to go to Washington several times. In 2011, I finally got to see the WWII memorial which had heretofore not existed. There are many people in Humboldt County who have never gone, nor will they be able to go and see that very powerful Vietnam Memorial Wall. Many of those are Vietnam veterans who did survive, and lost their buddies, and would be no doubt brought to tears by seeing those names. (I have visited the grave of a fellow soldier from Afghanistan at Arlington, and I know how this effects you.)
Many communities are full of folks who cannot make it to Washington DC, sometimes for physical reasons, others purely economic. Therefore, countless replica walls have been built and they travel to communities all around America. Humboldt has been visited by one such wall, but it was over 30 years ago. I personally have officiated at countless Vietnam veteran funerals/remembrances in the past year and a half such that it is obvious, we are losing that generation of great heroes at a far earlier point in their lives than the WWII and Korean generation. The power of seeing those names and finally getting respect is truly a cathartic healing process for all those involved. I am 48 years old, so I am too young to know the horrific way our returning Vietnam veterans were treated. I have only read about it in History books, but one thing is clear, that America can and will never do that again to its servicemen and women. They were merely following orders and doing what they were told, and fighting for their country, like my friend’s dad. The Vietnam Memorial Wall is the best healing process to reverse that shameful treatment.
I recently got to participate in the unveiling for the first ever time here in Humboldt, of the Global War on Terror Remembrance Wall, by giving the opening remarks. This wall is inspired by the Vietnam Memorial Wall, and lists all casualties of the GWOT. While there, I stood next to former AMVETS POST 96 Commander  Mark Sanchez, and heard him say that he was committed to bringing the “Wall that Heals” back to Humboldt. Mark tragically had only 12 more days to live when he uttered those words to me and his fellow veteran friends. Mark was proud of the GWOT wall coming here for the first time, but he also knew that we needed to bring the Wall That Heals back. Now that Mark has passed, it will be up to his friends, fellow veterans and veteran’s supporters to make his dream a reality. Mark first made the request of the Honor Guard to participate in the GWOT Wall, when I bumped into him at the Republican of the Year Dinner in March. For more information on the Wall that Heals, please check out the following website: http://www.vvmf.org/. We need to raise approximately $12,000 to bring the Wall That Heals back to Humboldt. To make your donation:

Go to www.giveforward.com In the upper right go to  ‘Find a fundraiser’; Type in ‘Vietnam War Remembrance Wall’; Click on the site set up by Dean Glaser, AMVETS Post 96 Commander OR  go to a direct link at http://gfwd.at/1iv4bLo Information: Dean Glaser: 707 725-3880. Thank you.                         By LTC Allan L. Dollison, USAR

Jun 24, 2014

Unknown suspects setting fires downtown

On 6/24/14 at approximately 12:13 a.m., an officer with the Eureka Police Department located two adjacent trash cans on fire near the 600 block of 6th Street.  Humboldt Bay Fire Department (HBFD) was requested and the fires were soon extinguished. No damage was done to the exterior of the nearby buildings.  The area was checked but no witnesses or suspects were located. 

On 06/22/14 at approximately 4:02 a.m. an officer with EPD found a fully engulfed dumpster on fire near the 700 block of 3rd Street.  At approximately 4:43 a.m. a small dumpster fire was reported by a citizen near the 100 block of 5th Street.  Both locations were searched but no suspects were located.  

Today's testimony in Bodhi Tree could be summed up in one sentence

"I don't recall." Ian Henry who finished testifying today and a HSU police officer Bill K who briefly testified about an adult black male with a grey hoodie walking near the Eye Street house seemed to be kindred spirits.

"I don't want to be here," said Henry. He added, "I'm still upset about people being killed."

Coroner testified about securing bodies. Shane Goodrich, who owns the Marilyn Street house started testimony few minutes before court recessed for the day  was even more reluctant than Henry. The "I don't recall " pattern continued.

Jun 23, 2014

Humboldt's first restitution for non-economic losses in molestation case

Jane Doe was awarded $32,947.00 for past and future medical, dental and counseling expenses as well as $186, 400.00 for general non-economic damages and $76, 528.55 for attorney fees.

"It was less than what we requested, but we think the judge made a well reasoned decision," said Mr. Griego.  "Money damages will never fully make up for the harms caused by the defendant's actions, but it is one way that  we make sure that those who cause harm take some responsibility for their actions.  Hopefully this will help the  victim begin the process of healing and moving forward with her life."  

Previous coverage of this case:

Mr. Patrik Griego, who does both civil litigation and criminal defense, has done it again. Mr. Griego said that in California, a victim of a crime such as rape or murder has to file civil litigation to get restitution for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering. In California, the exception is that if the crime is child molestation, then you can request restitution for non-economic damages in a criminal case which includes emotional distress.

Patrick Griego represents Jane Doe who was molested by her uncle. On behalf of Doe, Mr. Griego is seeking restitution for past and future emotional distress in a criminal case. According to Mr. Griego, this is the first time he is aware that such a request is being made in Humboldt.

The charges against Brian Clark were for a felony: sex offense. Count 1 and 2 Lewd or Lascivious Act with victim under 14 years, Count 3 Indecent Exposure and Count 4 Annoy/Molest a Child under 18 years.

According to Mr. Griego's testimony, the molestation occurred from ages 4 to 14.

The case was heard in Courtroom 1 by Judge John Feeney. Luke Brownfield prosecuted the case. Defendant's attorney is Russ Clanton and Mr. Griego represents the victim.

Today there was a sentencing and restitution hearing and instead of Mr. Brownfield, Jason Sheets was representing the People. The Defense filed a motion today to oppose restitution.

Judge Feeney announced his tentative decision for a 3 year supervised probation and 180 days in jail for Clark.

Then he heard from the attorneys. Mr. Clanton said he did not object to probation; he did object to the incarceration. Mr. Clanton said that Clark made "an error in judgement. He has received significant punishment. He will be a registered sex offender."

Mr. Clanton went on to comment on how this case affected Clark's economic status and that Clark had voluntarily entered the NARUM sex offender program. And that he had offered the victim restitution and needed to be out of custody to earn money. He also asked if Judge Feeney would remove the no alcohol condition that probation recommended.

Mr. Sheets asked the Court to follow the recommendations of probation.

Judge Feeney sentenced Clark to the the 3 year formal supervised probation and a 180 days in jail. Clark received credit for 22 days. Judge Feeney did not remove any conditions of probation. He said that Clark could not "associate with a female under 18 years unless accompanied by an adult. and that he have no contact with Jane Doe and cannot harass her.

Mr. Griego then spoke about how he arrived at the amounts they were seeking for restitution. $600,000 for the 10 years of molestation and another $36,000 for expenses. He cited a case and summarized reasons for the request submitted in writing.

Mr. Clanton countered with a theory that Jane Doe had pre-exisiting problems and that it could not be proven that Jane Doe's problems were directly because of Clark's behavior.

Judge Feeney did not make a final decision on the restitution today. He will issue a written ruling.

Mr. Griego was successful in getting the DA's office to dismiss a case against Adam Laird , who worked for the EPD when the alleged assault occurred. He works for Janssen Malloy LLP, the firm that is well known for successful civil litigation including  the firm’s jury verdict case in 2010, Lavender vs. Skilled Healthcare LLC.

Mr. Griego has been honored by multiple state and national legal organizations, including awards for both California and National Trial Lawyer of the Year. These include : 2011 Public Justice National Trial Lawyer of the Year Award,  2011 Consumer Attorneys of California Attorney of the Year Award, 2010 Northern California Super Lawyer,  2009 California Lawyer of the Year, 2009 Street Fighter of the Year and  a Superb 10/10 RATING from AVVO.

Autopsy on Christina and Sunshine shows no drugs, no sexual assault and two atypical bulllet wounds

Forensic pathologist Dr. Super testified no alcohol or drugs in Christina's blood, no drugs in Sunshine's blood, very low alcohol and two atypical wounds on Sunshine's body, as if the bullets had gone through something else first.

Fingernail clippings, hair, victim's blood was all collected and tested.

Dr. Super also said that based on autopsy alone, he could not comment on where the victims may have been in the room, the positions of their bodies when shot or where the shooter was in the room. He also pointed out inaccuracies in some of the defense exhibits which were different shot diagrams.

Ian Henry, who was at Shane Goodrich's house, the morning law enforcement went looking for Bodhi Tree took the stand before noon, his testimony will continue tomorrow morning. Henry knew Bodhi Tree since "school" in Bridgeville. He was very reluctant and would respond to questions by Ms. Firpo by saying, "I don't recall"; right before noon he started to open up a bit. This was also after his recollection was refreshed by showing him reports of his testimony.

He was cagey, avoiding looking at Tree, who stared at him. He said he drank a lot beer and schnapps on May 17, the night of the shooting and fell asleep. He said he went on a "binge" and when he woke up the next day, he left beer he bought and went into town.

Ms. Firpo asked him why he asked Sgt. Martinez to cuff him before getting in his police car to be interviewed. Henry would not say why. Ms. Firpo reminded him of his statement where he told Sgt. Martinez that he had "concerns about his safety" and she asked him if his fear arose from his experiences in jail where he had seen what happened to "snitches." She also reminded him of a statement that he made to Sgt. Martinez where he said that if he had been at the Eye Street house, he would have taken the gun away from "Bodhi".

Jun 22, 2014

Wishing DDA Christa McKimmy the best; she is leaving the DA's office

DDA Christa McKimmy, who was most recently in the news for the preliminary hearing which resulted in Harbor Commissioner Aaron Newman's poaching allegations proceeding to a jury trial, is leaving the Humboldt County DA's office for greener pastures?

She gave notice so this was her choice. Looks like recruiting attorneys is going to be one of the new DA's top priorities.

Wishing Ms. McKimmy the best in her future career endeavors.

San Francisco woman's 2 year dream for mobile showers for the homeless finally a reality

"With hygiene comes dignity, with dignity comes opportunity." Google Lava-Mae for details. The idea to retrofit old buses and go to the homeless is expensive so besides the one bus which is now a reality, the future holds challenge and hope.

So many people talk, expect others to help. She set up a site, raised the money with donations. Something as basic as a shower is taken for granted. So is wearing clean clothes and being warm.

We need more people like her. With all the negative, divisive news, this article is a welcome change.

Jun 21, 2014

Colin Baldridge booked into HumCo jail same as Tree witness?

A Colin Baldridge booked into the Humboldt County jail yesterday has a federal charge of manufacturing marijuana with an intent to distribute.

Whether this is the same Colin Baldridge who recently testified in the Bodhi Tree case or another person cannot be verified until Monday because no access to spokespeople in custody or the court records until that day.

"Dance needs to become more socially understood and cherished"; North Coast Dance artistic director shares his own journey about being bullied in school

A statewide initiative to incorporate visual arts in the common core curriculum has resulted in a partnership between the Humboldt County Office of Education and North Coast Dance.

Northcoast artistic director Ikolo Griffin said that each region got to decide what art medium to focus on and Humboldt County chose dance. This partnership shows teachers how to incorporate dance into their daily curriculum.

A special show for local students was held during the performances for "Ballet Heritage" as a part of this effort.  NCD Executive Director Kris Beck said that an outreach was made to local schools. Dows  Prairie, Redwood Prep and Winship are the three schools participating in this program.

At Redwood Prep, a gym teacher was show how to include dance so his daily class was not just about athletics. In a science class, Griffin showed how dance can be used to teach about orbits.

"Humboldt has great music and drama programs," said Griffin. "This will help bring arts back into schools. Art is mandatory to graduate."

Beck said that the idea came about when Stacy Young, a liaison form the Humboldt County Office of Education watched rehearsals for Nutcracker and "she liked how Ikolo interacted with the kids."

"School is not all about academics," said Griffin. "Dance needs to become more socially understood and cherished."

Griffin shared his own journey of how he started being interested in dance. "I came from an outreach program. The San Francisco Ballet came to my school."

"In junior high, I had a very hard time, kids teasing me about something kids don't understand.," said Griffin. A boy doing ballet was difficult enough but he is also African-American and he said many stereotypes about boys in ballet were challenging as a young man.

Griffin credits his mother for her love and support in keeping him focused and enrolled in the program. Each year she would tell him, "You like doing the Nutcracker," and when he said yes, she kept encouraging him to continue for one more year.

Jun 20, 2014

Budget, Fee schedule and Measure Q to be discussed at special Eureka City Council meeting

June 24 at Eureka City Hall at 5 p.m.

"Tuesday we adopt an austere city budget-flat revenues and increasing costs meant all departments had to cut back. Hopefully, this year's projected revenues will come in better than anticipated and we can restore cuts." said Councilmember Marian Brady. "User fees support some departments and I'd like to hold the line on increases and study them further. Valid arguments in favor of Measure Q extending a half-cent supplemental sales tax that helps fund public safety will also be finalized."

Gunshot wounds on Tree victims were definitely not contact wounds, DOJ criminalist testifies

Deborah Stonebarger who continued her testimony today said both to Ms. Firpo and Ms. Holmquist that the gunshot wounds on Christina and Sunshine were not contact wounds.

The one blood stain on Bodhi Tree's sweatpants was not the victim's blood said Ms. Stonebarger but given the circumstances, she did not expect any back spatter or cast off blood from the victims on Tree.

"Another explaination could be that he didn't do it," said Ms. Holmquist, who is defending Tree along with Mr. Russo.

There has been no testimony yet about the victim's clothing.

Rebecca Gaxiola, another criminalist with the California Department of Justice who was qualified as a DNA expert for this hearing said that the DNA on the blood stain from Tree's sweatpants matched another blood sample taken from him and also matched the DNA from the "major male contributor" on a Mickey's beer bottle taken from the crime scene.

APD Officers Matthew O'Donovan and Chris Wilson testified about video surveilance from the 76 gas station and the clerk identifying the suspect they were looking for.

Assault on 2900 block of California Street this morning may be gang motivated

On 06/20/14 at approximately 5:03 a.m., officers responded to a possible stabbing at an apartment building on the 2900 block of California Street.  Upon arrival, officers found a male and a female with stab wounds outside the apartment building. Both victims were transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital and are in stable condition. 

The male victim is Thomas Frank, 36 of Eureka and the female victim is Ruth Wortman, 28 of Fortuna.  Investigators are looking into whether this was gang motivated.  

Jun 19, 2014

Dan Johnson meet Stephen Strachan, Roosevelt High principal

Dan Johnson has a twin in Long Island, N.Y. Not identical or fraternal but a plagiarizing twin.

Johnson plagiarized a graduation speech, Strachan a yearbook message to graduating seniors. Unlike Johnson, Strachan did apologize and admit his mistake.

Strachan is correcting his mistake by reprinting the yearbook page at taxpayer's expense, according to media reports.

Randall Miles Cook expected to be released 1st week of August; victim restitution addressed

Randall Miles Cook, who is still in custody, is expected to be released the first week of August. Today in Courtroom 2, the issue of victim restitution was addressed. Currently, a state program is paying for therapy for the victim, Cook's own 7 year old granddaughter. That program has funding limits.

As a part of his probation, Cook was ordered certain payments. There maybe additional victim restitution. Today in court ADA Kelly Neel who prosecuted the case said, "there are no additional requests at this time."

Cook is expected to be released sometime during the first week of August, according to his attorney Michael Robinson. Judge Marilyn Miles set a review date of October 16 at 2 p.m. to give Cook enough time to set up payment arrangements ordered by the Court.

Criminalist with CA DOJ testifies about a human blood stain on front of Bodhi Tree's sweatpants

Deborah Stonebarger testified about her years of experience as a forensic scientist which includes working in Berkley and Redding. She has expertise in blood patterns, crime scene interpretation, specifically in biology.

She has not finished her testimony and will resume tomorrow morning. Ms.Stonebarger did not find "anything of intetest" on Tree's sweatshirt but she saw a visible stain on the front of the sweatpants he was wearing. It was on the right side near the knee and testing determined it to be human blood.

Sexually aggressive behavior by Tree in a house that tried to show him love

That was new information shared by two housemates, Hoyt Cribbs and Chelsea Thompson during this morning's testimony.

Tree was sexually aggressive with Christina, Emma and females in the house. According to testimony, Tree was not one to take no for an answer.  According to Chelsea, he said to Emma, "Can I grab your ass?" and how "fine" Christina's body was and asked her why she would not come into him.

They also described that Christina was disgusted after Tree repeatedly hit on her on May 17, hours before she was shot.

Chelsea said that Zion brought him to the house and asked everyone to "show him love". That they tried to show Bodhi Tree that despite a bad past, there are people in the world who care.

Both Chelsea and Hoyt described Christina as someone very positive and "bubbly" full of dreams and Sunshine as someone who could lift any one's spirits.

Chelsea was crying as she described discovering Christina's body and Sunshine gasping for breath.

The night of the shooting, Tree woke Hoyt and Chelsea up asking for $5 for a pack of ciggarettes. This was sometime between 11 p.m. and when the shooting occurred around 2 a.m. He was pissed that "none of the broke ass people in the house" had five dollars to give him.

Chelsea and Hoyt reiterated the incident of Emma and the sweatshirt on the counter, it being heavy, Tree in two separate incidents being pissed people touched stuff that he left in their room and house, where he was a guest.

Both Hoyt and Chelsea described the Eye Street house and residents as a place where fun-loving people helped each other and were friendly. They said people tried to connect with Tree.

Trim Scene Solutions burglarized; $ 3000 worth of merchandise stolen

On 05-11-2014, a burglary of Trim Scene Solutions, 1911 Barnett Road, Redway was reported to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. The suspect(s) in the case entered the business and stole approximately three thousand dollars’ worth of merchandise. 
After following up several leads in the investigation, some provided by the General Manager  of Trim Scene Solutions, deputies were able to identify one of the suspects in the case.  On 06-18-2014, at approximately 12:00 noon, Everett Thomas Gross, 18 years old from Fortuna came to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office to speak with deputies about the burglary after learning they were looking for him. After being interviewed by the investigating deputies, Gross was arrested for the burglary.  He was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. His bail was set at $50,000.00.

Deputies are still following up leads on identifying at least one other suspect involved in the burglary.


Inside Edition to cover burl poaching sentencing at the Courthouse this afternoon

If it is crime or pot, those national TV shows just love to cover Humboldt.

Jun 18, 2014

It was a Kodak moment, sorta; Maggie Fleming, Elan Firpo and Kathleen Bryson all in 1 courtroom for 1 case

In the Virginia Doolittle case this afternoon, Kathleen Bryson represented the defendant. Ms. Fleming was there on behalf of County Counsel opposing a defense motion for subpoena of probation records and Ms. Firpo is prosecuting the case for the People.

Was refreshing to see three strong and intelligent women attorneys up at the counsel table.

Reluctant witness does not identify Tree from stand, changes what he said mid-testimony

Damian Bradley, who said he was a good friend of Colin Baldridge said that he went to buy a jeep from Katie on May 17. Both with Ms. Firpo and Ms. Holmquist he had an attitude, would not answer questions, was belligerent. He was very reluctant.

He said Sunsine was a good friend and he wanted to see the person who killed Sunshine be brought to justice.

Initially he said he introduced himself to Bodhi Tree and met him in the unattached garage for the first time. He could identify Tree in a photo lineup but he could not in the courtroom. He was only at the house for half an hour. Bodhi Tree has shaved his head for the hearing instead of wavy, long hair he had last year.

After he could not make an identification in court today, the person he saw bragging about a black gun with a wooden handle was referred to as an African-American male.

Resident of Shirley Blvd describes running into Bodhi Tree who said "Peace"

Christopher Hollis, a resident of Shirley Boulevard said after following LOCO and Arcata Eye stories online, he was aware that there was an Eye suspect. He was walking his daughter and a friend home when they ran into Bodhi Tree. Hollis recognized him as the potential suspect from a description. He was wearing grey "sweatgear."

As Tree walked past them, he said "Peace" in a low voice. While Mr. Hollis did not think he was in danger of being shot in broad daylight, he wanted to get the girls to safety and said his fatherly instinct took over.

Tree was walking slowly and as if he was fatigued. Hollis got his daughter and her friend to safety. They locked their door and called the police. Later they saw the police arrest and bring Tree out of the bushes.

Male with dark clothing carrying a bundle in his arms and walking like a tweaker seen night of shooting in Bodhi Tree case

Nicholas Hoyt,  a neighbor who lived across the street from the Eye Street last year testified this morning. He said he got home at 1:30 and went out to smoke a cigarette around 1:30 p.m. and a few minutes later he saw a male with dark clothing, a hoodie, carrying a small bundle in his arms, and he walked slowly as if tired and walked north to 2nd driveway and then to back of house.

Then Hoyt came out and talked to police when he heard sirens an hour later. On cross Ms. Holmquist asked him if he remembered making a statement in the preliminary hearing about this person walking like a tweaker.

Michael Edwards was the second witness to testify this morning. He is another neighbor who saw a person in sweatshirt, possibly with a baseball cap yelling angrily and epithets, having a temper tantrum. One phrase he remembered was, "I hate it when people steal my shit." He said the same thing that Hoyt did which was a cloth object, maybe a bag or blanket on the ground. The person was "backlit by a street light" so he could not see if it was male or female but above average height and slender build which fits Tree's physical description. This was between 1:35 a.m. and 1:45 a.m. He did not call the police because there was no fight and no other person involved. He said he did not find out what happened until the next day when police had knocked on his door. It was graduation, frequently cars or fireworks so he would have dismissed any loud sounds.

This witness was very precise, great memory, details very specific. He was a very strong witness. Lived in the neighborhhod, very knowledgable about the house.

Motion filed in Ferrer case to sever cases

Nicholas Stoiber's attorney, Jennifer Dixon and Sophie Rocheleau's attorney, Benjamin Okin have filed motions to sever cases from Juan Ferrer.

A request was made by the People to reschedule the hearing for two weeks since Paul Gallegos is out of town. DDA Zach Curtis made the request.

Judge Reinholtsen granted the request. The hearung on the motion will be held on July 7 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 4.

Jun 17, 2014

Colin Baldridge testifies about Bodhi Tree showing him a snub nosed revolver

Colin Baldridge also remembers Tree saying something to the effect that no one should mess with him. He said Tree had the revolver in his grey sweatshirt. That Tree was highstrung, not stable and very verbally and sexually aggressive with "females" in the house.

Today is the first time someone has testified that they had seen Tree say coarse and sexual innuendoes to Christina. "Cmon baby you want some" and "You want some of that."

Baldridge said that Christina was assertively dismissive of those advances. Marino and Baldridge both testified Sunshine and Christina were seeing each other. Tree was not getting a positive response from any of the women in the house, Baldridge testified. He said he told Tree to leave Christina alone.

Baldridge lived at the Eye Street house from February 2012 to February 2013 and after he moved, he subleased rooms to other people. "When I resided there, there were rules about people staying at the house, " he said. "After I moved those rules became lax." Baldridge said there were more "travelling people." He said he would stop by the house twice a week.

Baldridge said he had known Bodhi Tree  "on and off" since his teenage years. They both lived in Southern Humboldt until they moved to Arcata.

On the afternoon of May 17, Baldridge said he saw Tree at the Eye Street house. Tree had a black eye. "Looked like he had been hit." Baldridge said Tree told him that he "got in a fight with friends."

He said Tree was "wound up", seemed like Tree needed some sleep, seemed "lost" and had a high level of distress. Baldridge said that Tree brought a couple of 40 ounces of beer and that day while listening to music in Baldridge's car, Tree showed him a snub nosed 38 mm revolver.

He said he took Christina to get some food later that afternoon because there was "tension in the house" with all the partying. She wanted to get out of the house, he dropped her off and went to Willow Creek.

At 2:30 he got a call from someone from the house that contacted him. Baldridge said he "went into shock" and waited to make a decision about going to Arcata and went in the next day when law enforcement asked him to come into town.

Really scary to see my friend lying on the floor, a reluctant Carl Marino testifies

Zari, a German Shepherd, who is a canine with the Arcata Police Department and trained to search outdoors and in suspect apprehension sniffed out Bodhi Tree. Sgt. Ron Sligh said Tree was lying face down in the bushes near the 800 block of Shirley Boulevard.

Marino said "Emma and he went into shock" seeing Christina and Sunshine's body "laying on top of each other". He said their bodies were "mangled". He was reluctant to testify, couldn't identify Tree and said he did not know him. Marino often denied or said he could not remember details he testified about in the preliminary hearing about what he told Sgt. Martinez.

Marino was noncomittal about any detail relating to Tree. Later during direct,  he did admit that Tree was in the house the afternoon and that he was sleeping on the couch in the garage. Marino said he recalled Tree having tatoos.

Marino's attitude continued on cross and when Ms. Firpo questioned him on redirect. He said due to two heavy days of drinking and memory loss, he could not "recall much."

Even after Ms. Holmquist and Ms. Firpo showed him reports to refresh his recollection, he would deny statements he made earlier and in today's hearing either denied or contradicted statements he made or statements other witnesses have testified in this trial.

Jun 16, 2014

Planning Commission asked to give medical marijuana recommendation to Sups by June 19; Susan Matsen steps down and Supervisor Sundberg to appoint Steve Paine

Susan Matsen, one of the Humboldt Planning Commission members has stepped down. In her place, Supervisor Sundberg plans to appoint Steve Paine. Mr. Paine, lives in Willow Creek, is a long-time business owner, who is retired.

He was a Willow Creek Community Services District member for four years, the general manager for the Willow Creek Community Services District for 7 years and on the Board of Directors for Mad River Hospital.

Text of the letter sent by Board of Supervisors to Planning Commission:

June 17, 2014
Robert Morris, Chair
Humboldt County Planning Commission
3015 H Street
Eureka, California 95501

Dear Chair Morris and Planning Commissioners:

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors received an update today from the Medical Marijuana
Subcommittee, composed of Supervisors Sundberg and Lovelace, regarding the draft medical marijuana
outdoor cultivation ordinance on small parcels that is currently before your Commission. This Board is
dismayed at the lack of progress your Commission has made in moving forward on this draft ordinance.
As a result, the Board has decided to send this letter to remind your Commission what your role is in the
adoption of a County land use ordinance and to clearly set out our expectations regarding the
performance of your Commission.
A planning commission is not the decision-making body for adoption of an ordinance and therefore, the
role of a planning commission in this area is advisory only. Your job is to provide 1) are commendation
that the Board adopt the proposed ordinance; 2) a recommendation that the Board not adopt the
proposed ordinance; or 3) a recommendation that the Board adopt the proposed ordinance with
modifications. Although we understand that your Commission has expressed a desire to re-write the
proposed ordinance, it is not a planning commission's responsibility to write or re-write a proposed
ordinance that is before them. That responsibility is vested in planning staff who are charged, as
professional planners and at the Board's direction, with drafting proposed land use ordinances in
consultation with legal counsel. If a majority of your Commission dislikes a proposed ordinance before
you and believes that theCounty should not adopt it as presented, then the appropriate action for your
Commission to take is to recommend that the Board not adopt the proposed ordinance as written.
The Humboldt County Planning Commission is a part of county government and as such, this Board
expects that the Planning Commission will perform its duties competently, professionally, and in an
efficient manner. This Board is frustrated that rather than discussing the proposed ordinance and
making a recommendation to the Board the past several times it has been on your agenda, your
Commission instead chose to spend its time discussing the public process involved in developing the
proposed ordinance. For example, at your June 5,h meeting, you discussed whether sufficient public
comment had been received during the development of the draft ordinance, how town hall meetings
held by members of the Board on this subject had been noticed, and whether additional meetings in
other locations should be held. These matters are outside the purview of your Commission. The Board
is satisfied that the public process leading up to the development of the draft ordinance before you was
Therefore, the Board of Supervisors respectfully requests that the Planning Commission complete its
review of the proposed medical marijuana ordinance currently before it and make a recommendation to
the Board bv the end of its meeting on June 19 . 2014.

Rex Bohn, Chair
Humboldt County Board of Supervisors

Rex is up to his old tricks again!

Supervisor Rex Bohn thought he could get away with keeping his involvement about another good deed behind the scenes. The flagpole outside the Courthouse is getting a recent makeover. Hamanaka Painting and Carbonneau Ceramic Tile were approached by Rex to see what it would cost to jazz up the flagpole. Rex was going to pay for this himself. Both businesses decided to donate the cost for a project that would benefit the community.

The flagpole is old wood.  After two coats of primer and fresh paint, it looks brand new. The photo shows only a small glimpse of the tile work that will be part of the complete project.

When questioned, Rex's only response was to appreciate gratitude and recognize the local businesses that made this possible. Thank you Glenn Hamanaka and Pierre Carbonneau.

Parents of man who stopped breathing in jail have been notified but aunt who lives locally does not know so Coroner's office holding off on releasing identity

The Humboldt County Coroner's Office has notified the deceased man's parents who live out of area. His aunt who lives in Eureka does not know yet and efforts are being made to find her and notify her. The deceased's name is Darren Borges. Autopsy scheduled for this Saturday.

Sea Scouts property stolen after suspect entered building by cutting metal bars

On 06-15-2014, at approximately 8:30 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s was notified of a possible burglary in a commercial building at the End of Depot Road, Fields Landing. Deputies responded and were able to determine the building had been forcibly entered, but were unable to determine what if anything was stolen. The suspect(s) had entered through a window after cutting away metal bars. The Sheriff’s Office learned the building was owned by Humboldt Bay Harbor District, but the contents inside belonged to the Sea Scouts, who are affiliated with the Boy Scouts. A representative of the Sea Scouts was notified what had occurred and agreed to secure the building that evening and determine what was missing.

On 06-16-2014, at approximately 9:00 a.m. the representative contacted the Sheriff’s Office and reported a green, two person, Canoe, CF9437HM , an orange, two person, Kayak with sit on top benches, two black Pelican brand paddles, a 15 Horse Power Motor and a large green inflatable raft were stolen. The representative said the items were last in the building approximately two weeks ago. It appeared the items were removed by a roll up door after the suspects gained entry though the window.

The total estimated loss is estimated to be at least $1,500.00.

Assault with golf club, baseball bats and a stick in McKinleyville

On 06-15-2014, at approximately 1:15 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call regarding a fight with several males involved in the 1600 block of Anderson Road, McKinleyville. Several of the males were reported to be armed with baseball bats, a golf club and a stick.

When deputies arrived in the area they met with a witness who reported two vehicles arrived at his neighbors’ residence, and there was a fight. One of the men had been struck in the head with a golf club. All the men fled the area in the two vehicles they arrived in, before the deputies arrived. Deputies notified Mad River Hospital of the fight and requested contact if any victims showed up at the hospital. Deputies searched the area where the fight occurred and located a baseball bat type object on the ground. While the deputies were checking the area, they were notified a 24 year old McKinleyville man just arrived at Mad River Emergency Room with head trauma. The man had been struck in the head with a golf club.

 Deputies met with the 24 year old victim at the hospital. He told the deputies he and his 26 year old brother were driving on School Road, McKinleyville when they saw a 25 year old man they believed stole their motorcycle about six months ago. They turned their car around and stopped it near the man on Anderson Avenue. The man ran into a home where he and at least six other adult males exited the residence. All the men exiting the home were wielding baseball bats, an axe handle and a golf club. A fight ensued between the men and the two brothers, at some point during the fight; the 24 year old victim was struck in the head with a golf club. After being struck, he lost consciousness and woke up in the hospital. His brother drove him to the hospital where he woke up.  The investigating deputy saw a large laceration on the victims head.

The investigating deputy also spoke with the 24 year old man’s brother, who is 26 years old. The brother told the deputy he was also struck in the back by an object while he was fighting with another man.  A witness later told deputies the 26 year old was struck in the back with a baseball bat.

The investigating deputy saw a red visible lump on the 26 year old brothers back consistent with being struck by a bat or similar blunt object.

The twenty four year old victim has been flown to an out of area hospital for a fractured skull. His current condition is unknown.  The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is actively investigating the case and trying to determine who all the suspects were.

Man under influence of alcohol and drugs stops breathing in jail, dies at the hospital

On 06-13-2014, at about 2:40 pm a 42 year old male, who had been arrested by the Eureka Police Department for being under the influence of alcohol and or drugs, was brought into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. The male was medically cleared by jail staff and was placed into a sobering safety cell by himself. Correctional Officers conducted 15 minute cell checks on the male subject, per their policy. At about 4:00 pm, a Correctional Officer noticed the male was unresponsive and may not be breathing. The Correctional Officer and jail medical staff immediately began life saving measures which included CPR. The Eureka Fire Department and an ambulance were immediately notified and responded to the Correctional Facility.

Once the paramedics arrived on scene they continued efforts on the male. The male was transported to a local hospital by ambulance at about 4:16pm. At the hospital an emergency room Physician pronounced the man deceased. The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office responded to the hospital and took possession of the man

A complete joint investigation into the circumstances of the man’s death is being conducted by Investigators with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Humboldt County Districts Attorney’s Office and the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office.

The victim’s name is not being released at this time until next of kin is notified by the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office. An autopsy is being scheduled for later this week to determine cause of death.

Child abandoned by two women charged with child endangerment, both under influence of drugs

On 06-14-2014, at approximately 12:22 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a citizen who reported finding an infant crying in a vehicle at Redway Beach, Garberville. Deputies responded to Redway Beach and met with the citizen and other witnesses.  A twenty five year old female witness was holding the 18 month old female child in her arms when deputies arrived. The twenty five year old female witness told the deputies she and a friend arrived at the beach approximately 90 minutes prior to the deputies arrival. She was on vacation and was staying at Benbow Campground. She and her friend came to Redway Beach to play in the river. Upon their arrival at the beach, she saw the rear passenger door to the 2001 Silver Mitsubishi Galant was partially open and a pink blanket was sticking out. The Galant was parked in the sun and it was 85 degrees. She and her friend walked to the river bar and did not see anyone around. They stayed at the river for about an hour when they were contacted by another witness who asked if they left a child in their vehicle. When they said they did not, they immediately returned to the Galant and could hear a small child crying. They looked in the car and saw the child was in distress. They were able to open the vehicles door and remove the girl who was crying, hot to the touch and sweating. They initially did not know there was an adult female in the rear seat of the vehicle passed out due to the clutter in the vehicle.

 Deputies looked in the the vehicle and saw a female lying across the rear seat with her head on the child seat, where the child had been. Deputies attempted to wake the female, who was later identified as Corynn Marie Kennedy, 18 years old from Loleta, with verbal commands but she did not wake up. The eventually were able to wake Kennedy up and determined she was under the influence of a controlled substance. When they asked Kennedy about the child she initially denied knowing a child was in the car, but later told the deputies the child’s mother “Devon”, had left the child with her.  Kennedy told the deputies she did not know where Devon was. Kennedy was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance.

 At approximately 1:15 p.m. a male and female walked up to the deputies’ location. The male identified himself as Joshua Marvin Overholt, 29 years old from Fortuna, and the female as Devon Elizabeth Davis, 22 years old from Shelter Cove.  Davis told the deputies she thought Kennedy was watching her child. Davis was arrested for child endangerment.  When deputies searched Davis they located three Hydrocodone pills and a Alprazolam, both narcotics in her possession. She did not have a prescription for them.  Deputies located approximately 0.4 grams of suspected methamphetamine in Kennedy’s possession.  Deputies determined Overholt appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance and was arrested for being under the influence.

Humboldt County Child Welfare Services was called to the scene and took custody of the 18 month old female.

Kennedy, Davis and Overholt were all transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where they were booked. Kennedy was arrested for being under the influence and possession of  illicit drugs. Her bail was set at $25,000.00.  Davis was arrested for child endangerment and possession of a controlled substance, her bail was set at $75,000.00. Overholt was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance. His bail was set at $5,000.00.

17 year stabbed in the chest at McKinleyville gas station

On 06-14-2014, at approximately 11:58 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call with a citizen reporting a stabbing which just occurred at the 76 Gas Station at 2698 Central Avenue, McKinleyville. The citizen reported the suspect left the scene driving a red sedan, and the 17 year old male victim was at the station, needing immediate medical attention from a stab wound to the chest.

Medical personnel and deputies were dispatched to the 76 Gas Station. As deputies were arriving at the scene, they spotted a 1998 Red Audi sedan leaving at a high rate of speed with four occupants in the vehicle.. They initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle in the 2500 block of Central Avenue, McKinleyville and detained the occupants. One of the occupants of the vehicle was later identified by witnesses as the stabbing suspect Luis Manuel Salinas-Gonzalez, 18 years old from McKinleyville. Deputies also responded to the gas station and met with witnesses and the victim.

After interviewing witnesses, deputies learned the victim and suspect had a  verbal confrontation at the gas station. During the confrontation Salinas-Gonzalez started to spin his vehicle around in the middle of Reasor Road, McKinleyville almost striking the 17 year old victim. The 17 year old male victim then punched the rear passenger side window of the Audi shattering it.  Salina-Gonzalez drove away, but returned a short time later with some family members. A fist fight ensued between Salinas-Gonzalez and the victim.  During the fight witnesses saw Salinas-Gonzalez strike the victim with something in his hand. After the victim was struck he fell to the ground. Salinas-Gonzalez then fled the scene.

Deputies located an approximate 2 ¾  inch red folding knife in Salinas-Gonzalez front pocket. Salinas-Gonzalez was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and child abuse. He was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $50,000.00.

The 17 year old victim was transported to a local hospital. His current condition is unknown.

Alternate juror causes recess in Bodhi Tree trial

Right before the hearing for Bodhi Tree started this morning, an alternate juror conveyed that she was in Laytonville and could not be here on time this morning. The Judge decided to recess for today and trial will resume tomorrow.

Judge Reinholtsen also discussed scheduling with jurors because the trial was expected to conclude at the end of June but that date has been moved to beginning of July.

Jun 15, 2014

St. Bernard's intruder kicked out the night before for being high

The intruder who kicked in the door at St. Bernard's rectory was kicked out of the clean and sober house he lived at that night for being "high."  He is still receiving medical care and has not yet been booked into the jail.

Pro active businesses, community and Eureka Main Street form action oriented neighborhood watch

Old Town and Downtown Eureka Neighborhood Watch is in the process of being formed, check out the facebook page. The logo is an eye with the slogan We look out for Each Other. Laura Dubois, whose family owns Alirose Boutique called Eureka Main Street to see if there was a current Neighborhood Watch. EMS Charlotte McDonald executive director  was very supportive and so is the Eureka Police Department.

Two months ago, Dubois created a questionnaire which was passed out to residents and businesses. The Wine Spot created a facebook page. The first meeting is June 25 in the lobby of Vance. Check out facebook or contact Eureka Main Street for times.

The purpose of this neighborhood watch meeting is not just to report and reduce crime but to build a greater sense of community. The purpose of the first meeting is to be action oriented and address the top concerns that have been identified in the questionnaires submitted.

Eureka Main Street is helping set up the meeting and have a central drop off point to drop the questionnaires.

The meeting is to get ideas from the community to deal with top concerns.

Dubois said "Charlotte has been great."

Jun 13, 2014

Witness who called 911 for Sunshine and Christina testified that Bodhi Tree "hit on her" and said he doesn't usually mess with white girls"

Emma Lorenc, who described Sunshine as a close friend, "a 8" to indicate closeness and described Christina Schwarz as a friend she got to know since April 2013. Emma said that Christina and she used to hang out and go to the farmer's market . She said Christina initially came to the house looking for Sunshine, who would stay at the house for a few nights a week, be gone for weeks. Emma said Sunshine and Christina were friends.

Her room was towards the back of the house, next to the kitchen and she said she moved in January 2013 but started paying rent since March. She was also pregnant when the shootings occurred. Emma said that a lot of friends would come through town and "stop by" the house. "I was okay with the parties at first, then it started to bother me because parties were every night."

She described the people who lived and visited the Eye Street house as "very commune like people." Paid rent to Colin, whose nickname is Zion.

When she saw Christina's photo, she became emotional, fighting back tears.

She was very emotional and nervous when she testified and would not look at Bodhi Tree except when she was asked to identify him. The first time she had an encounter with him at the Eye Street house, she was cooking breakfast, did not know who he was and he "hit " on her saying "I don't usually mess with white girls." Emma said she felt "uncomfortable and a little angry" and was wondering "why this person is in my house?" and when she complained to Zion, the guy who she described as a brother and the one who rented the room at the Eye Street house to her, she said that he did not do anything.

After that incident, Bodhi Tree went into her room and sat on her couch. Zion had to come and ask him to leave. Emma said Zion said, "come on bro, she does not want you in there." This was all on May 17.

Another incident was on the same day when Bodhi Tree just walked into Emma's room and it was closed, left his grey hoodie and told her "not to mess with it." She picked it up and said it was heavy and put it on the counter in the kitchen and told him she did not want it in her room.

When she last saw Bodhi Tree the evening of the shooting, he was wearing grey sweatpants and that grey hoodie and when he was arrested, he was in those clothes.

Four gunshots woke her up later that night. "I woke up and said, 'What was that?' I opened my door and said, "Are you guys ok?. It was completely dark. Sunshine answered, 'That was gunshots. Call an ambulance, I'm dying."

Emma said she went and tried to wake up her housemate, CJ but his door was locked. She woke up the other people in the garage and was on the phone dialing 911. She then went into the living room and turned on the light.

"I saw Christina and Sunshine lying on the floor, " Emma said. At this point, she turned to Ms. Firpo and said, "Do I have to say everything?" She then continued, "I checked Christina's pulse and Sunshine was still gasping for air. I was on the phone and "Eeyore", Nicholas was trying to bring Sunshine back."

Page and both Emma said that Tree was not at the house at this time. Emma said that law enforcement put all the people who were taken to the Aracta Police Station in one room and "put a cop in there with us. We wanted to talk about it but we couldn't."

She said when Sgt. Martinez was talking to her, she was "scared and in shock." Both Page and Emma moved out after the shooting.

Sheriff warns public of phone scam alert

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has received at least twenty phone calls from the public within the last week from citizens who are reporting a phone scam. The suspect is telling the potential victims they are an Agent with the Internal Revenue Service or the US Treasury and they owe the IRS Money. The suspect then tells the victim if they fail to immediately pay they will obtain a warrant for the victims arrest. The suspect attempts to get the victim to obtain a money order, cashier’s check or red dot card to pay the overdue bill.
So far none of the potential victim’s has complied with the suspect’s demand.

Below are some helpful websites:

Notes from I.R.S . Press Release:
Other characteristics of this scam include:
Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and   others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:
If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.
If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.
If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.

Notes from the Federal Trade Commission
Signs of a Scam
Often, scammers who operate by phone don’t want to give you time to think about their pitch; they just want you to say "yes." But some are so cunning that, even if you ask for more information, they seem happy to comply. They may direct you to a website or otherwise send information featuring “satisfied customers.” These customers, known as shills, are likely as fake as their praise for the company.
Here are a few red flags to help you spot telemarketing scams. If you hear a line that sounds like this, say "no, thank you," hang up, and file a complaint with the FTC:
You've been specially selected (for this offer).
You'll get a free bonus if you buy our product.
You've won one of five valuable prizes.
You've won big money in a foreign lottery.
This investment is low risk and provides a higher return than you can get anywhere else.
You have to make up your mind right away.
You trust me, right?
You don't need to check our company with anyone.
We'll just put the shipping and handling charges on your credit card.