Sep 30, 2014

Will Judge Feeney grant defense motion in Bullock case to continue the trial again?

The defense has filed a motion to request a continuance for the jury trial in the Fr. Eric Freed case.

Again. Gary Lee Bullock is charged with the brutal murder of Fr. Eric, former pastor of St. Bernard's church. A pre trial is scheduled tomorrow afternoon so we will find out the People's position tomorrow.

Attempted burglary and battery but victim denies medical attention

Who opens the door in the middle of the night without checking unless they are expecting someone or know them? Then she doesn't slam the door but fights with the intruder and after locking the door calls the police. Then denies medical attention.

Does not sound like a random occurrence. Why didn't she check who was outside and call the police if she believed she was in danger and keep the front door closed?

This sounds as plausible as the victim who claimed he was stabbed in the middle of the street but had no idea why.

If you want the police to investigate, tell them the whole truth.

"Jury trials cannot be made perfect..."; U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments about juror statements and motions for a new trial

"On October 8, in Warger v. Shauers, the Court will hear oral arguments on whether, in support of a motion for a new trial, a juror may testify about statements made during deliberations which show that another juror gave misleading answers to questions asked on voir dire."

This is the first paragraph in the link from the U.S. Supreme Justice blog below.

This is another quote from the same post;

"Thus, testimony about statements during deliberations that show a juror’s irrationality, preconceptions, or misunderstanding of the law is banned. Jury trial cannot be made perfect, and the rule’s drafters opted to protect jurors from embarrassment and preserve the stability of verdicts."

Private defense attorney Allan Dollison sent me this link. he further commented on the relevance of the decision in this case and how it may affect the Timothy Littlefield case. A mistrial was declared by Judge John Feeney for the second trial in which Littlefield was found guilty of eight life sentences for charges of child molestation. A third trial is on hold while the DA's office appeals the decision in the second trial.

This is a different case scheduled for US Supreme Court argument. Now from the outset it is interpreting a Federal Rule, so it might not be exactly on point. Most states typically adopt their standards from federal decisions or rules. It appears that the issues that the court will be grappling with are at the heart of the Littlefield case in terms of what is allowed. The rule decidedly prohibits what our Court did."

Sep 26, 2014

Clarification about the prayer lawsuit that was not clear from the Times-Standard article

I sent an email out to all City Council members  and the City manager. I would like to thank Council members Mike Newman and Marian Brady for getting back to me and the clarification provided.

Mike Newman:We did not settle on the invocation issue, we are free to continue our policy. What was settled was the matter about the Mayor involving City Personnel in a Prayer breakfast several years ago.

City Attorney clarification (via Councilmember Marian Brady):

The US Supreme Court in the Town of Greece case held that invocations at city council meetings were lawful.  That decision, however, does not prevent Ms. Beaton from appealing the decision issued by the trial court in Humboldt County in favor of the City.  By settling this issue now, it saves the City a substantial amount because we have all agreed that Ms. Beaton has to pay for the cost of the appeal and her attorneys’ fees even if her appeal is successful.

I addition, the cost of a trial would have been substantial and while the City felt it was on solid legal ground there is always a risk.  By settling it before trial, the City will not incur substantial attorneys’ fees and costs to defend and will not have the risk of paying Ms. Beaton monetary damages and her attorneys’ fees and costs at the conclusion of a trial.

As is true with any unfounded claim or lawsuit against the City, the City has to make decisions about the costs to defend and the risk the claim poses.  In this case, it was decided to pay Ms. Beaton a portion of her attorneys’ fees (no monetary damages were paid to her) and permit her to go forward with her appeal, without further cost to the City, to end the matter.

Is Peter Martin hurting for actual clients because he sure has a lot of free time to collect attorney fees on behalf of "causes"

Read a local headline with a government agency or non-profit and then lawsuit on behalf of (insert name here), most likely it will have attorney Peter Martin's name.

Now the self appointed media that loves to talk about conflict of interests, is just fine with Peter Martin's advocacy on behalf of his clients because "it is his job."

The prayer lawsuit filed by Carole Beaton is just one example of selective tolerance on the part of most liberals. If you do not believe as they do, they will sue. Trying to talk and find compromise in a calm manner is not profitable for the likes of Peter Martin.

Or for that matter, Richard Salzman or BayKeeper. Do these liberal activists/attorneys ever earn money that is not made by suing someone?

Freedom of speech and separation of religion to the sue happy liberals outweighs the rights of those who do believe, especially Christianity.

While people are being beheaded in the Middle East and fleeing from their homes, locally some people are threatened by prayer. Most of these people probably voted for Obama who has shown no leadership in the recent Mid-East crisis. After all, Christian lives are not worth the same as any other life.

In  liberal world that some of these sue happy liberals live in, as long as you believe and think exactly they way they want you to, you are a good person. The recent settlement of the prayer lawsuit by the City of Eureka proves only one thing. When you cannot win or convince people of your cause by reason, you bully and sue.

Let the attacks begin. Of course, they won't be on my blog. The truth is very inconvenient for the local blowhards.

Each time an atheist or non-believer sues, it is good in a way. They sure spend a lot of time trying to fight someone they do not believe exists. They are sure threatened by some words.

In addition to Humboldt's underground economy, we should add another economy, the sue happy economy.

As for city resources, if this would be something that the liberal community believed in, there would be no outcry.

Previous post:
Those who can do, do; those who cannot sue

Sep 24, 2014

Another high profile jury trial continued; Benjamin Carter discovery leads to motion to continue

On October 20, three jury trials were scheduled. Timothy Littlefield, Benjamin Carter and Vincent Sanchez.

Only dates for the Vincent Sanchez jury trial, who is the suspect in the double murder on Harris Street, were confirmed today.

In the Carter case, DDA Luke Brownfield gave 29 CDS to defense attorney Michael Acosta in court today. Judge John Feeney granted Mr. Acosta's oral motion to continue trial. A disposition/reset hearing is scheduled for Nov 12 at 2 p.m.

DA's office files response to defense motion for a new trial for Bodhi Tree

Just some excerpts from the DA's response to the defense motion that sum up some key points.

"Defense Counsel states correctly that a new trial may be granted when the criteria of Penal Code §1181.8 have been met.  However, those criteria have not been met.  Defense Counsel refers to information which was discovered during jury deliberations and immediately provided to defense counsel.  This discovery consists entirely of training and performance issues with one of the People’s experts.   That expert was Ms. Deborah Stonebarger, a Department of Justice Criminalist.  Ms. Stonebarger testified as to blood stain analysis of the Defendant’s clothing.  She was not the People’s primary expert, and her testimony was limited in scope."

"The information regarding Ms. Stonebarger’s performance issues are merely cumulative and would not have impacted her ability to testify as to her particular assignment in this matter.

The People’s primary Department of Justice Criminalist expert was Mr. Dale Cloutier.  The
People also provided testimony by a third Department of Justice Criminalists,  Ms. Rebecca Gaxiolla."

The DA's response also states that "Ms. Stonebarger's casework limitations have no impact on her  assignment as to this case. Ms. Stonebarger did not provide any testimony as to firearms, nor as to blood alcohol analysis, which are the two disciplines that have been removed from her casework."

The response points out that Dale Cloutier was the People's primary Department of Justice expert and the information about Ms. Stonebarger's casework limitations would not likely result in a different verdict upon retrial.

After 7,000 pounds of marijuana, a 21 pound bust is just par for the course in Humboldt

On 09-23-2014, at approximately midnight, a Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputy stopped a 2014 black Lexus on Redwood Drive at Sprowel Creek Road, Garberville for a traffic violation.

When the deputy spoke with the driver identified as Anthony Coutain, 42 years old from Concord, he smelled the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle.  When the deputy asked Courtain about the marijuana smell in his vehicle Coutain told the deputy he had a small amount in a marijuana pipe, which he handed to the deputy.

The deputy had Coutain step from the vehicle and the deputy searched the inside of the vehicle. The deputy removed a large black duffel bag which contained 21 one pound bags of marijuana bud .  Coutain was arrested for possession of marijuana for sale, driving unlicensed and transportation of marijuana.

He was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked on the charges. His bail was set at $25,000.00

$1,500 of water stolen from Shelter Cove residence

On 09-19-2014, at approximately 9:00 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a citizen who wanted to report a water theft. The citizen told the dispatcher over $1,500.00 of water was stolen from a residence they owned.

A deputy contacted the homeowner by telephone, who told the deputy she and her husband owned a summer home in Shelter Cove in the 700 block of Spring Road, Shelter Cove. The homeowner told the deputy between July 29, 2014 and August 28, 2014 someone stole 146,802 gallons of water ( 20,000 cu feet)  from their residence.  The homeowner had received a call from the water company, the Shelter Cove Resort Improvement District, who informed them their water usage was abnormal. The homeowner who lives in Napa County had not been at the residence since June 2014.

The homeowner requested the water district check their residence for leaks or breaks in the water line, and to make sure the water meter was correct. The district checked the meter and residence and determined it was all in good working order.

The investigating deputy spoke with a neighbor who reported seeing a water trucks in the area. A spokesman with the water district reported they have had other water thefts from vacant summer homes, but not to this extent. They have also had thefts from hydrants.  The spokesman said the water stolen in this case was approximately enough water to sustain a family of four for two years.

No suspect(s) have been identified at this time, the investigation is ongoing. The value of the water stolen is $1,513.21.

The Sheriff’s Office and water district would like to remind the public that due to the drought, water thefts are increasing in frequency. Absentee homeowners should have neighbors watching their residence and take steps to prevent theft of water.

Sep 23, 2014

Help EPD locate 14 year old runaway

14 year old Annalise Copeland left home angry on 9-17 in Eureka. White female 5'6 blue eyes , brown hair wearing grey HSU sweatshirt and brown Uggs. Call EPD at 441-4060.

Picture on EPD facebook page.

Will he won't he go to trial for the third time?

Timothy Floyd Littlefield's victim will have to keep waiting to see if there will be yet another trial or if appeals court will uphold the second trial jury verdict.

Dates keep getting continued but the third jury trial is still set for October 20. After hearing that the second trial is being appealed, today Littlefield's attorney said the appellate court "appointed counsel" for Littlefield.

ADA Kelly Neel represented the People and Russ Clanton is Littlefield's attorney. Judge Marilyn Miles would preside over the third trial.

Instead of District Attorney Paul Gallegos, who prosecuted the last two trials, DDA Luke Brownfield will prosecute the case.

ADA Kelly Neel said that because Mr. Brownfield is currently in jury trial for another high profile case, the David Anderson human trafficking case, expected to end late October and because the appeal is pending, the People will file a motion to continue.

Sep 22, 2014

Tree motion for new trial missing crucial information not provided to the Court;

The defense strategy of character assassination and selective information continues in the Bodhi Tree case.

So the big to do about asking for a new trial comes down to the defense motion basically character assasinating prosecution expert witness Deborah Stonebarger. That strategy worked really well for them in the trial didn't it?

Compared to the defense experts, the prosecution experts were far more qualified and unshakeable. I was very impressed with Ms. Stonebarger. When we got the copy of the motion, another media colleague and I just shook our head and said the same word, "desperation."

I ran into Ms. Stonebarger's husband, Kevin, this morning, who is an investigator and currently at the Courthouse for another case and asked him about something I noticed in the motion. There is an employee response referred to in the evaluation documents attached in the motion but there is no such response. At first, he was a bit hesitant but then he answered my questions.

"There are 10 to 12 pages of documents missing, "  he said. "There are only two options: either Heidi is witholding that information from the Court or Toby Baxter did not give that information to Heidi and in that case he perjured himself."

Toby Baxter is Ms. Stonebarger's former supervisor. In defense exihibit 1, there is a QAIF test refered to that does not have a three page report Ms. Stonebarger wrote. There are 5 to 6 pages response to her evaluation referred to in Exihibit 2 that is not included. In February 2012, Ms. Stonebarger got an excellent evaluation but that was replaced by the evaluation that is attached in the defense motion.


Shoddy work was alleged by the defense and used a lot to attack the prosecution and law enforcement in the trial by the defense. Perhaps they need to work on dotting their i's and crossing their t's.

Sep 19, 2014

First KFC, then Church's, now it's home to Humboldt Soup Company which offers biodegradable packaging and healthy food

The opening is supposed to be on Nov 1, according to their Facebook page. The 603 E Street location will open later as the E Street Cafe.  Soups, sandwiches and signature dishes and a drive-thru!

Just minor details like Design Review Committee and Health Department inspections standing between us and another new  Humboldt entrepreneur!

I walk past the Myrtle location every day on my way to work and it is nice to see some productive activity.

Potential juror who googles and reads about human trafficking suspect on my blog is excused from jury duty

For a few days, I sat in to watch individual jurors being questioned in the David Anderson human trafficking case, which is being tried for the third time. Potential jurors went through answering hardship, now those that indicated issues with the nature of the charges in the case are being questioned individually and next week, pre-trial motions will be heard. According to DDA Luke Brownfield who is prosecuting the case and Ben McLaughlin, who is representing Anderson, jury selection is expected to start the week of September 29.

Judge Dale Reinholtsen is the trial judge for the third trial.

Yesterday, I watched Mr. McLaughlin do an excellent job of questioning potential jurors. One woman who expressed discomfort with the sexual nature and the fact that Anderson is charged with forciple copulation of a minor victim. Mr.Mclaughlin was very sensitive in the way he questioned this juror and others about subjects that are not easy to talk about in front of strangers. In his questioning, he was also able to draw out racial feelings that most people are reluctant to admit. Anderson is African-American and the victims testifying in this case are all white women.

Another juror who had a few reasons to be excused for cause, admitted that she googled the case and read several posts on my blog and knew Anderson was being tried for the third time. She was honest that this might influence her feelings.

Having watched voir dire in this case and the Tree case, in the latter I was there every day for the process, I have to compliment all the attorneys involved. Both were high profile cases with several emotionally charged issues, and the process has not been rushed.

voir dire:

 the questioning of prospective jurors by a judge and attorneys in court. Voir dire is used to determine if any juror is biased and/or cannot deal with the issues fairly, or if there is cause not to allow a juror to serve (knowledge of the facts; acquaintanceship with parties, witnesses or attorneys; occupation which might lead to bias; prejudice against the death penalty; or previous experiences such as having been sued in a similar case).

Some jurors may be dismissed for cause by the judge, and the attorneys may excuse others in "peremptory" challenges without stating any reason. 2) questions asked to determine the competence of an alleged expert witness. 3) any hearing outside the presence of the jury held during trial.

Sep 18, 2014

Stacio "chicken wings" Kopiej arrested in Rio Dell

Stacio Kopiej,was arrested today by Rio Dell police. The code in the jail report provides no information.  Stacio Kopej is the father of Stanislaus Kopiej, famous for the 400 marijuana bust in Hydesville and who got community service,

Stacio Kopiej was arrested in 2011 for claiming the pot he had was chicken wings he was mailing to Florida.

Eureka Natural Foods underwrites the Waterfront Walk and Run to fund trails

The 10th annual Waterfront Walk and Run will take place on September 28.  Every entry will fund trails along the Bay, through Humboldt Trails Council, and Six Rivers Running Club’s Youth Running Shoe Fund. Funding trails is new this year and organizers believe its time to engage the community and “put their feet to work” in support of trails. Each entry will also be entered in a drawing for fun prizes like an inflatable kayak, gift certificates or other items.

Eureka Natural Foods is the Waterfront Walk & Run’s underwriter with the event beginning and ending in their 15th Street parking lot. To celebrate the Run’s 10th Anniversary organizers are planning a post-race Fitness Festival from 11 3 p.m. at the finish line area. This “After Party” will feature fun, body-rocking activities, such as music, booths, fun activities, prize drawings, food and demonstrations.

The two-mile event starts at 10 a.m., heading towards the Waterfront Drive then north to turn-around by the Wharfinger Building. The five-mile event starts at 10:30 a.m. and follows the 2-mile course continuing north to turn-around at the Samoa Bridgeboat ramp.

New this year is online registration at Paper entries are available at Eureka Natural Foods on 15th and Broadway and The Jogg’N Shoppe on 11th and G Street in Arcata. An entry can be downloaded . A registration event will be held on Friday, September 26th at the store from 4-7 p.m. On race day, registration is open from 8:30-9:30 a.m.

The following businesses are partnering with Eureka Natural Foods to make the Waterfront Run possible: Soloray, Nature’s Way, Bien Padre, Blue Sky, Amy & Brian’s, Runa, Six Rivers Running Club, Cypress Grove, Eel River Organic Beef, Wild Planet, The Perfect Foods Bar, Coast Central Credit Union, KINS, KISS-FM, KSLG, and KFMI.

For more information contact Karen Brooks, Race Director, at 822-7736.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarm recall

Humboldt Bay Fire has learned that Kidde United Technologies, in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), announced a voluntary recall to replace certain Kidde AC/DC smoke alarms and combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms. This recall is focused on only hardwired units as they may not function properly during a power outage.

The recall involves Kidde residential smoke alarms with model number i1201010S manufactured between December 18, 2013 and May 13, 2014, and combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms with model number i120120SCO manufactured between December 30, 2013 and May 13, 2014, and model number KN-COSM-IBA manufactured between October 22, 2013, and May 13, 2014.

The information needed to determine if the alarm is in question can be found on the back of the unit on the information label. To facilitate replacement of units contact Kidde toll free at 1-844-553-9011 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday or online at and click on “Recalls” for more information.

Humboldt Bay Fire wants to remind everyone of the importance of having a functioning smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm. Both are life savers and both are required by California Fire Code.

Sep 17, 2014

"Every week we come back and hear the same excuse"; attorneys in Ferrer case express frustration with delays by Gallegos

Today in Courtroom 4, the Ferrer case was scheduled for status of discovery and a motion to dismiss the case against Sophie Rocheleau. Paul Gallegos, who is prosecuting the case, has missed several court dates and hearings have been continued several times.

That happened again today. ADA Kelly Neel told the court when the hearing was underway that Mr. Gallegos is ill and that decisions regarding issues brought up by Mr. Marek Reavis, who represents Juan Ferrer, and Mr. Benjamin Okin, who represents Rocheleau, be discussed when Mr. Gallegos is back next week.

The next hearing is scheduled for October 6 at 2 p.m. due to scheduling and having everyone present.

"Every week we come back and hear the same excuse," was Mr. Reavis' response and frustration when Ms. Neel responded to his statements.

Several times, Mr. Reavis and the co-defendants' attorneys have requested X-rays and information on autopsy essential to their case, and finally today, only Mr. Reavis received two CDS, both which he said were duplicates. There were two dozen "images that had never been discovered before, according to Mr. Reavis." He told the Judge that "this is material that should have been discovered the first week."

 He told Judge Reinholtsen he renews his request for sanctions. Mr.Okin and Ms. Jennifer Dixon who represents Nicholas Stoiber did not even get these CDS.

Ms. Neel said that she contacted Deputy Coroner Roy Horton and there are two CDS, one from Mad River Hospital, one with Dr. Super. She said she was not prepared to "address discovery issues."

When Ms, Neel requested that the 995 motion to dismiss the case against Sophie Rocheleau be put off until Mr. Gallegos is present., Mr. Okin said he objected. "I have a history of no response. We kept coming back several times for severance of the cases, now twice for the 995 motion. We sit around for two hours every time."

Judge Reinholtsen responded with, "Mr. Gallegos is ill." Judge Reinholtsen also refused the oral request for sanctions stating that he needed both sides to have written statements.

Mr. Gallegos is currently prosecuting the Eddie Lee case which is dark as of today until next Tuesday. He may indeed be ill, but as of yesterday, he seemed fine in Courtroom 1. A search of the posts covering this case on this blog will show that Mr. Okin and Mr. Reavis are correct. Ms. Neel is a trooper but first Mr. Gallegos "hung DDA Zach Curtis" out to dry. Now he puts Ms. Neel in an awkward position at the last minute. He knew this date and the issues that needed to be addressed. He is ill-prepared for a trial he is currently prosecuting. When he does show up for the Ferrer case, he isn't prepared. He has not been ill for the past few months since he first took on the case.

The victim deserves better. The defendants deserve better. The People deserve better.

Some of the previous posts:

Sympathies to victim's family and to the officer's family in the Allard Avenue incident

The investigation is still ongoing. The title is my only comment.

Press Release:

Members of the multi-agency officer involved shooting investigative team are investigating an officer involved shooting in Eureka.

On September 16, 2014 at about 11:00 p.m., officers from the Eureka Police Department were in the area of 1600 Allard Street looking for two subjects wanted on felony warrants. A short time later an officer observed two men arguing on 1600 Allard Street. During the argument one of the men appeared have a handgun. Fearing the argument was escalating he summoned additional officers who then confronted the man with the gun.

As officers gave commands to the man with the gun which was now visible, the subject grabbed for the gun. A Eureka Police officer fired his weapon striking the subject. The wounded man was transported to Saint Joseph’s Hospital by paramedics where he was pronounced dead. His name is being withheld pending notification of family members.

The officer’s name will be released at a later time. He has been a police officer for 13 years.

Anyone with information about this shooting should call EPD investigators at (707) 441-4060.

Community leaders say yes on Z

The Yes on Measure Z campaign, a coalition of emergency responders, community leaders, and citizens working for a safer and stronger Humboldt County released a second advertisement today with the campaign’s theme: “We’re All In This Together.”
“There is no doubt that Measure Z will improve public safety and vital emergency services in Humboldt County,” said Humboldt County Undersheriff Bill Honsal.  “A safer and stronger community benefits everyone who calls Humboldt County home.  When it comes to public safety and essential services, we really are all in this together.”
The advertisement urging support for Measure Z entitled, “We’re All In This Together” can be seen along with the other Yes on Z videos at the official Yes on Z webpage here:
A direct link to “We’re All In This Together” video is here:
More about Measure Z:
Humboldt County’s budget has been hard hit by the recession, and Sacramento politicians have taken $286 million dollars from Humboldt County over the past 22 years.  Measure Z keeps local tax dollars here in Humboldt County.

Measure Z was created in response to the public’s concern regarding the lack of funding available for public safety and other essential services.  In June of 2014, a countywide poll by respected California-based public opinion research firm, Fairbank, Maslin, Maulin, Metz & Associates showed nearly two-thirds of Humboldt County voters support supported the county pursuing Measure Z.   The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors agreed, and with a unanimous 5-0 vote they placed Measure Z on the November 4, 2014 General Election ballot for public consideration.
Measure Z - Improves emergency response times.  Today, in neighborhoods across the county it can take over an hour for law enforcement to arrive in an emergency.  Measure Z will help us reduce 9-1-1 response times by bringing back 24-hour patrols, ensuring a more timely response to calls about violent or property crimes.

Measure Z - Helps address Humboldt County’s growing meth and hard drug problem by fighting drug-related crimes, targeting meth labs, and providing drug prevention and rehabilitation services.

Measure Z - Restores funding to rural ambulance services to provide life-saving care and emergency transportation throughout the County.

Measure Z - helps our volunteer fire departments work to protect life and property in Humboldt County, by supporting volunteers and providing the resources and training they need to better protect us.

Measure Z – helps victims and witnesses of child abuse by restoring protective and counseling services that have been severely reduced in recent years.

Measure Z – expires in 5 years and includes strong fiscal accountability, by requiring annual financial audits and public citizen oversight—ensuring funds are spent responsibly.

Measure Z will appear on the November 4, 2014 ballot as:

Measure Z, 
Humboldt County Public Safety/Essential Services Measure.

To maintain / improve essential services, such as: 24-hour Sheriff's patrols; 9-1-1 emergency response; crime investigation / prosecution; drug / illegal marijuana growhouse enforcement / prevention; services for abused children / mentally ill; rural fire protection; road repairs and other County services, shall County of Humboldt pursuant to County Ordinance No. 2517 enact a 1/2 % sales tax, for five years, all revenue for the County, none for the State of California, with annual audits and public review?

Thank you to Court Services management

I would like to thank the I Street management staff for their prompt response and resolution regarding my complaint yesterday.

Sep 16, 2014

DA elect Maggie Fleming and Probation's Bill Damiano make an excellent case for Measure Z

DA elect Maggie Fleming and Probation's Bill Damiano gave a presentation on Measure Z at today's Eureka City Council meeting.

Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills, Maggie and Mr. Damiano before the meeting exchanged brief pleasantries. Supervisors Virginia Bass and Rex Bohn attended the Council meeting to support Maggie and Mr. Damiano.

This was the best presentation I have attended at any government meeting. Maggie passed out a handout to the audience and at the conclusion of their joint presentation, Maggie said that she and Mr. Damiano would be glad to speak to any group interested in learning more about Measure Z.

Measure Z is on the November ballot and it is one half cent sales tax that expires in 5 years and "it will maintain and improve essential Humboldt County Services."

Maggie and Mr. Damiano took turns reading highlights from their presentation, giving key points on why Measure Z is needed.

Mr. Damiano said that these funds are to be used locally and cannot be taken away by the State. In the past 22 years, Sacramento has taken significant revenue from Humboldt County, decreasing public safety and essential services.

Due to budget constraints, Sheriff's patrols have been greatly reduced and this means when someone calls, it can take several hours for  Deputy to respond. Maggie used the example of Sohum saying when someone calls, they want to know when a Deputy can get there. Measure Z would help with response times.

Mr. Damiano said these funds could be used to deal with eradicating meth labs and cleaning up large marijuana grows that harm the environment. Treatment and prevention programs for people suffering from drug addiction could be funded as well as assistance for child abuse and elder abuse victims.

A Citizen's Advisory Board would advise the Board of Supervisors on usage of the funds, said Mr. Damiano.

Councilmember Marian Brady brought up that the City has a  measure on the November ballot, Measure Q with the same amount of tax. The City estimates a total of 4 million in revenue. She said the County estimates 6 million. Will spending be proportional to what Eureka contributes with prosecution and increase in jail space? She brought this up stating it seems Eureka would provide the bulk of revenue for Measure Z.

Mr. Damiano said the County already provides services to Eureka such as the jail, fire services in the greater Eureka area and the Coroner. "60 per cent of the offenders in my
department have Eureka listed as their residence. You are already getting those services."
He added that it would be the Board of Supervisors who will decide how the money is spent."

In 30 days, it will be a misdemeanor to steal shopping carts in Eureka

Today was the second reading of the abandoned shopping cart ordinance. Since August 5, City Attorney Cyndi Day Wilson and City Manager Greg Sparks met with many of the retailers which included Grocery Outlet, Eureka Natural Foods, Winco, Costco. The retailers are in support of the ordinance.

It passed with an unanimous vote. Mayor Jager was absent today so Mayor Pro Tem Melinda Ciarabellini presided over the meeting.

3,500 plants found in marijuana bust on Salmon Creek Road

On 9-15-14 at about 0900 hrs. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit served a Humboldt County Superior Court search warrant on a parcel of land on Salmon Creek Road. At that location Deputies located (5) five large greenhouse with growing marijuana. The (2) two larger commercial size greenhouse measure 200 ft. in length by 50 ft. wide. All five of greenhouses contained growing marijuana that later totaled 3,500 plants.

Also, located on the property and later arrested for cultivation of Marijuana and Cultivation for the purposes of sales was a 61 year old male, Joseph Collier. Collier had been living on the property in a travel trailer. Deputies also located and seized over $37,000.00 in cash that was found in the Collier’s travel trailer. During their search, Deputies discovered 283 lbs of processed marijuana buds packaged in one pound oven bags.  Collier’s last known address was in the Monterey area.

Further investigations into environmental damages on the large grow site were conducted by California Fish and Wildlife, California State Air Quality and the County Building Department.

What you get with no accountability; complaints are ignored

I have a request in for an appointment with Kerri Keenan who is in charge of the Humboldt County Superior Court staff. There are some good people that work in court staff but there are numerous problems in two areas. I have written about the court tech department whose incompetence continues.

The other problem area is the criminal clerks at 4th and I street. The civil clerks are great, the family law clerks are great. Ms. Keenan reports to no one locally so going to the Board of Supervisors or anyone to get resolution is not an option. I heard the Judges can have some say but they are busy with court and try getting a request in to have a Judge look at which is unrelated to a case.

The only person who has been helpful and responsive is Sara Biasca.

This morning, when I saw that there was a motion for a new trial in the Bodhi Tree case, I wanted to look at the documents for the reason. Sometimes you can access documents on the public computers. I went to the I street office and was told they could not locate the file. It did not say it was with court staff or Judge in the computer and the clerk verified that. They also told me they could not print the document. I had the case number, the date, the name of the document. This was approximately around 9 a.m. I went back and asked them for the file and I also told them that in the past they had printed documents. Now I was told that the file is with the Judge and they do not scan documents. This was at 10:19a.m. Since they can update the system whenever they like, they could change it to reflect anything after the post.

The clerk also told me that the Judge had the file because the case was on yesterday. The 9/15 date was vacated at the last court hearing on September 5 when the new sentencing date of October 10 was scheduled. There was no court date for the Bodhi Tree case and if there was, the computer system and calendar did not reflect that. What the clerk said was the date was in the computer.

The clerk argued with me that the case was heard yesterday. I went back and checked the computer even though I know that was not true. So she flat out lied. The only reason she even answered her window was no one else was waiting in line, which is rare.

This particular criminal clerk has an attitude. I know they are over worked and not properly trained but this kind of behavior is normal on I street. This is what you get when you tenure people who know that they can "just get by" with incompetence; this is what you get when you have a person in charge not accountable to anyone who can ignore citizen complaints.

I am not the only one who has problems with this, attorneys have, other citizens do. I had to go through security three times to check stuff, even though I knew she was lying and then go back out. Fortunately a public computer was available.

Jobs are scarce in this County. Not all government workers can be painted with the same brush but this tenure mentality breeds an attitude. I am safe unless someone can spends time and money proving egregious behavior.

Being in public service is hard. The Humboldt County Superior Court gives worse customer service than a fast food joint.  These jobs pay well. The fault is not of the staff but the person in charge who allows this kind of behavior to go on.

I think department heads that do not give a damn about the public do not deserve a job paid for by tax dollars.

Public defender files motion for new trial in Tree case

Bodhi Tree is set to be sentenced on October 10. There is still a gag order on the case. However, according to court records, the Public Defender has filed a motion for a new trial to be heard on October 6.

Sep 15, 2014

Key Tree witness Sean Butler Smith denied OR release and has on a no bail hold

Sean Butler-Smith was arraigned today in Courtroom 1 and was represented by Conflict Counsel's Kaleb Cockrum.  DDA Jason Sheets told Judge John Feeney that the People object to Butler-Smith's release because "his performance has been marginal, he left the treatment program without authorization and he admitted to using heroin and tested positive for marijuana."

Smith, dressed in orange, looked gaunt and has lost weight since testifying in the Bodhi Tree trial. He was requesting he be released so he could enter another treatment program and because he was recently the victim of a stabbing and had stitches coming out in a week.

The probation department filed a petition to revoke his probation. After listening to the People's remarks, Judge Feeney denied Butler-Smith's release on OR and he is on a no bail hold.

Sohum murder suspect's wife Belinda Carter pleads no contest; gets 3 years formal supervised probation

Sohum murder suspect Benjamin Carter's wife, Belinda was sentenced to 1 year in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility with formal supervised probation for three years. With credit of 300 days toward her sentence, she will serve the remainder of the time in jail. With good time credit, that time could be cut in half.

Judge John Feeney said that a statement of mitigation provided by the defense changed his tentative decision in sentencing Belinda Carter. Judge Feeney said she had no prior record and this influenced his decision. She was charged with accessory to homicide. Judge Feeney said he was going to "deviate" from probation's recommendation and reduce victim restitution from $600 to $300.

Kevin Robinson from the Public Defender's office was in court with Belinda Carter and DDA Jason Sheets represented the People. Mr. Sheets provided the court with a victim impact statement.

Belinda Carter was not happy with the 1 year jail sentence and had considered withdrawing her plea but after discussion with Mr. Robinsion, she reluctantly accepted the decision.

It is interesting that Belinda Carter who drove the victim's car was charged yet her sister Margaret, who testified for the prosecution at Benjamin Carter's preliminary hearing, helped dispose the victim's body.  Margaret, who is BelindaCarter's sister also took a shower while her ex boyfriend Zachary 's bloody body was laying on the floor in the trailer.

Sep 12, 2014

Key witness in Bodhi Tree case on booked for attempted robbery

According to jail records, Sean Butler-Smith has a bench warrant issued yesterday for california pc 664/211 which is attempted robbery. I hope there is more to the story and I will try and find out more.

He made a sincere effort to change his life around. It would be unfortunate if this step would set him back further in his effort to change his life around.

Bench warrant could simply mean he did not show up for an old case. Which was one of his old cases. There should be a separate report titled Bench Warrants, booked is misleading.

Not showing up for court happens frequently for many different reasons. One of which is not having your court date listed accurately in the computer or court calendars. Attorneys and public defenders usually ask for a hold on the warrant so they can check with the client.

Updated: Just spoke with a family member. He did indeed not show up for court which is a violation of probation, this is not a new charge.

Redwood Acres executive director recognized by Humboldt County Office of Education for youth focus

The Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE) recently recognized Redwood Acres and Executive Director Cindy Bedingfield as an official “Rising Stars Partner” for their support of the Rising Stars Foundation’s Industrial Technology Fair (ITF).

“We were very pleased to be able to recognize Cindy and Redwood Acres for their wonderful focus on our community’s talented youth,” said Colleen Toste, Managing Director of the Rising Stars Foundation. “Because the Foundation no longer receives federal funding, community support is vital, which is why we were delighted and appreciative when Redwood Acres invited our middle and high school students to be part of the Fair.”

According to Bedingfield, Redwood Acres offered to host the student technology expo as part of an increased emphasis on supporting local youth activities.  The organization provided the Home Ec Building at no cost during the annual fair, providing the youth with a built-in audience of thousands.  During the event, approximately two hundred students presented hundreds of projects in categories such as wood, metal, drafting, and machinery.  Most projects were individually crafted, like furniture, cutting boards, and bowls, but many student groups also worked together to create trailers, folding chairs, and BBQ grills.

“Prior to this year, the (ITF) has been at Bayshore Mall but the event was unmanned, didn’t offer significant interaction with the community or the opportunity for students to sell their products,” noted Toste.  “This new venue was a resounding success on all levels. Teachers and students had the opportunity to share their projects directly with the community, fairgoers had the pleasure of viewing the kids’ craftsmanship, and without exception, fairgoers walked out of the building overwhelmed and impressed with the quality of the students’ work.  Students gained confidence and skills regarding displays, pricing, and interaction with potential customers. During the fair, students sold nearly $3,000 of handcrafted merchandise, with one hundred percent of the proceeds going directly to the students.”

According to Bedingfield, approximately one hundred and fifty youth aged nine to nineteen also participated in the junior livestock sale, where they earned over $90,000 selling everything from rabbits and poultry to beef and swine.

“All these activities offer a wonderful opportunity for our youth to work hard and see the rewards,” Bedingfield observed. “Many use their proceeds to help fund a college education, purchase first cars or even help them save to buy a house.  Our focus on youth also gives the community a chance to see how poised, confident, productive and professional our young people can be and we plan to increase our focus on youth moving forward.”

For more information, visit

"California Cannabis Legalization" forum hosted by Eureka Rotary to include DA elect, Sheriff, EPIC and Bay area attorney

Sheriff Mike Downey, DA Elect Maggie Fleming, EPIC's Natalynne DeLapp, Matt Kumin who is a Bay area attorney specializing in cannabis and Luke, who identifies himself as a SoHum grower.

This forum will take place September 15 at the Elks Lodge at noon and is hosted by the Eureka 's Rotary club. Call Matthew Owen at (707) 599-9110 for more information.

Please help locate Holly Ann Dickens who is missing

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance with any information about a missing adult reported to this Office.

 On September 11, 2014 at 7:12 PM, a Deputy received information about a missing person that was believed to be traveling through Humboldt County and possibly in the Shelter Cover area.

Holly Ann Dickens left the Washington State area and was going to travel to the San Diego area of California, to stay with her sister.  Dickens last called her sister on Monday, September 9, 2014 and reported that she was going to be camping in the Shelter Cove area for the next couple of days.  That was the last telephone communications from Dickens, which is out of character.

 Dickens is traveling in a black, 1992, Toyota, 4 Runner with Washington license plate AEU3042   Dickens is described as a white female, 20 years old, 5-06, 120, strawberry blond hair and blue eyes.

If anyone has information about Dickens, please call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251.

Sep 11, 2014

Chet Albin and business community get on board to make Eureka a destination for cruise ships

Let's get a basic fact out of the way. I am supporting and endorsing Chet Albin. I have known Chet since I moved here. I knew him as a person and businessman caring about his community long before he was appointed to Eureka City Council.

Ships and harbor seem to be a theme this week. Chet has been busy for two days meeting with local officials and business people. They have been meeting and inquiring with a man who has 10 years experience in marketing cruise ships. He may be hired as a consultant to get cruise ships to Eureka and Humboldt Bay.

Invincible from Kodiak, Alaska visits Eureka

Before visions of a Hulk Hogan look alike cross your mind, let me clarify. City Manager Greg Sparks along with Linda Hildebrand and Ken Bates were looking at an squid seiner that is docked in Humboldt for a couple of days.

The crew is from Kodiak, Alaska. Thank you to Council member Marian Brady for her help. I will be posting an update with more information on why this is relevant to Eureka and the economy.

Homeless man starts dumpster fire in Redway in effort to stay warm

On Thursday, September 11, 2014 at about 3:51 AM, CalFire responded to a dumpster fire reported in the area of Redwood Drive and Empire Lane, Redway.  The fire had spread from the dumpster to a stack of wood pallets that were adjacent to the dumpster.  There was also reported to be a single male subject in the area trying to extinguish the fire.

Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to the fire and were notified while responding that an off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer had a suspect detained as possibly being responsible for setting the fire.  Deputies from the Sheriff's Office arrived at approximately 5:05 AM and began an investigation into the cause of the fire.  The Deputy met with the subject detained, Dylan Sky Baker (33, homeless), who admitted to starting the fire in the dumpster in an effort to stay warm.

Property damage was limited to the pallets adjacent to the dumpster with the fire being contained to prevent further damage.  Baker was arrested for violations of PC 452(d), unlawful fire, PC 1203.2(a), violations of terms of probation and H&S 11364(a), possession of drug paraphernalia.  Baker was booked on the above charges at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility, where he remains in custody.

Sep 10, 2014

Thanks to Jon and HCDCC members but Linda Atkins needs to learn basic civility

I took Jon Yalcinkaya up on his invitation to attend a HCDCC meeting. I had expressed some concern to him in my comments that he might want to check with his fellow HCDCC members about me attending. The HCDCC, like the local Republican group, has by laws.

The HCDCC meeting is only open to Democrats. I found this out last election cycle. At that time, the rest of the HCDCC members were polite, it was Linda Atkins who pitched a fit. I was registered as independent at that time. I left voluntarily.

Fast forward to today. The members politely inquired whether I was a registered Democrat. Jon invited me, stood up for me, explained I was his guest and he just wanted me to observe a meeting. He wasn't aware I am a registered Republican. I was there as his guest, not for political purposes. The members graciously agreed to let me stay for this one meeting. I checked before I went into the meeting. Linda Atkins raised objections after the meeting had started. When she did not get her way to get others to get me to leave, she stomped out and threw a hissy fit. Rather than cause a scene, I left.

I was planning to leave but Linda had to press the issue and cause dissension.

I have barely said a few sentences to Linda over the years. Whatever her beef is with me has to do more because I do not fit in her little box and I support people in elected office she opposes due to her own issues.

This is the same woman who has screeched at fellow Council members at public events for no reason. Until now Linda, I haven't called you out. You deserve to be exposed for the prejudiced, petty drama queen you are.

 What you are Linda is a bully. On a technicality, you tried to exert power.

You have attacked me in print when I have expressed my opinion. Nothing personal against you. You chose to make a scene today because you did not get your way.  You break rules. As Lisa Ollivier's treasurer, you had a My Word published yet I have been told I cannot on any topic just for the appearance of neutrality. The local media has double standards when it comes to publishing views.

Linda, you disrespected your fellow Democrats today. This would have been a entire post on how today the HCDCC showed real democracy. They did. It is you Linda and your personal agenda of exclusion and vindictive actions where you have used the local Democratic party for your personal gain.

It is tainted only by your self centered actions, Linda.  I am more Democratic than you. Unlike you, I am not afraid of diversity and I do not box people into labels I define and approve.

I have volunteered on many Democratic campaigns because I liked the candidate as a person. Today, I got to see some of the people who supported Susan Adams.

I gained respect today for Jon Yalcinkaya and a few other HCDCC members. The local elections could have been different Linda, if you would let true Democrats and progressives in the local parties be the voice.

Other than sound bytes against the Chamber of Commerce, what have you done Linda that had a practical impact for the poor or working people? You blew off many events for the Betty Kwann Chinn Center until a photo opportunity was conducive. I had an acquaintance, a business client in your Ward, whose calls you did not return for months until I emailed and cced the entire City Council. Other council members responded before you. That is one example.

Since the local media gives you a pass, Linda, from now on, every opportunity to show your true colors that I let go because of decency, I will provide that information and example to the public. You complain about being outnumbered at City Council? Isn't stacking up opponents to run against your fellow City Council members and working on their campaigns, the pot calling the kettle black?

And let those reading see how you will respond. Will you now attack or do you have the manners Linda and the maturity to apologize and admit you were wrong. You like to point out other's flaws. Look in the mirror.

Ben McLaughlin collapses in courtroom but regains consciousness

Medical personnel and ambulance were heading to the elevator from Courtroom 2 this afternoon with ADA Kelly Neel and DDA Luke Brownfield accompanying them. Ben McLaughlin, who is prosecuting the David Anderson case  and Silverio Sanchez case, among other high-profile cases and recently moved to a new office,collapsed in a courtroom, according to reports. He did not collapse, Ben said, just sat down and felt poorly.

 He was walking to the elevator on his own, minutes later. He walked out of the courthouse on his own.

Hoping some fresh air and rest today will work wonders.  Ben looking forward to seeing you tomorrow and wishing a healthy and speedy recovery from today's temporary and minor mishap.

I have spoken briefly with Ben. Many people were concerned and so I did decide to post, Ben is well-liked.

Ferrer cases joined back again!

Judge Reinholtsen granted the People's request to join all three cases citing Penal Code 1098 as the reason. "The risk is being taken by the DA's office" of trying the cases together if certain statements and evidence will not be admissible at trial.

Issues with discovery, motion to dismiss the case against Sophie Rocheleau will be heard Dept 17 at 2 p.m. The case has been scheduled and there has been back and forth about joining the case or severing it with Mr. Gallegos not being present at hearings. He is still making excuses for discovery that has been requested several times.

Defense attorneys brought up several points including that before this case can go trial, there will be several arguments before the trial Judge to revisit these issues.

Mr. Gallegos referenced a Supreme court ruling and citing Penal Code 1098, argued that the motion to sever should be undone and the cases need to be consolidated. He acknowledged that he had only provided the Court with "bulk of the redacted transcripts and not all the transcripts."

"All three individuals engaged in one incident and all witnesses were identical," said Mr. Gallegos. He said all three defendants were together.

"We will subject the witnesses and the (victim's) family  to three different trials because of speculation of time, " said Mr. Gallegos. This was in response to Rocheleau's attorney Benjamin Okin saying that the edited statements cannot be "adequately redactedand we are going to spend time arguing what is and what is not admissible before the trial can even start in order to protect the defendant's rights."

Mr. Okin said that the Court had previously granted the motion to sever. "Primarily we are at this point because of the defendants' right to confront evidence accurately. What is interesting is the DA's
theory that Ms. Rocheleau is charged with assault and great bodily injury because of what other people did."

He also said there are issues with the redacted statements because with consolidation, certain statements put his client in a position of "confrontation" with Nicholas Stoiber and Juan Ferrer.

He said that the one statement that Mr. Gallegos had not submitted was Stoiber's statement at the Arcata Police Department. Both Mr. Okin and Ms. Jennifer Dixon, Stoiber's attorney said that "if the DA would say he would not introduce that statement," that they would withdraw their objecdtion to consolidation.

Mr. Gallegos dismissed this requestn and said that defense counsel is bringing this up "at the last minute" and they should have told him this before.

Mr. Reavis called the redacted statements "hurriedly and haphazardly " prepared. He also called Mr. Gallegos out on still not providing X-rays of the autopsy, despsite several requests made and which he needs to provide to his expert witness.

Sidebar conversation heard between Paul and Juan Ferrer's attorney

Will they reconsolidate? Has all discovery finally been provided?

How many times do the defendants have to go on a roller coaster for the case to be tried?

Typical busy court afternoon. While waiting for the Ferrer case to be called, attorneys for Nicholas Stoiber and Sophie Rocheleau were tied up in other courtrooms. Paul Gallegos was in Courtroom $ and Ferrer's attorney Marek Reavis was present. They had a brief impromptu and passionate discussion, privately.

 I oveheard Mr. Reavis say to Mr. Gallegos, "How scared do you have to be to defend yourself? How many punches do you have to take before you can defend yourself?"

Paul in his typical fashion, grinned and whispered something unintelligible.

Silverio Sanchez preliminary hearing for murder case set

October 14 at 8: 30 a.m., Intervention on October 8 at 3 p.m. This preliminary hearing is only for the attempted murder case.

Transient drives away with vehicle in Trinidad; arrested later for heroin

On September 9, 2014 at about 6:17 PM a Deputy with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office noted a male subject acting suspiciously at the City of Trinidad Chevron Station.  The male subject entered a vehicle that had been parked at that business and drove away from the service station with noted mechanical defects to the vehicle, a 1999, blue, Volkswagen, 4 door, CA#5DJN531.  The Deputy conducted a vehicle stop on the vehicle near the Ocean Grove Bar, Patrick’s Point Drive, and determined the driver to be Michael David Waters (31 year old, transient) who was accompanied by an female passenger.  Waters was determined to be an unlicensed driver and upon search of the vehicle, several items were located that the Deputy suspected might be stolen but were not verifiable as stolen by serial numbers or known thefts (laptop in case, jewelry and an iPad, among other items).  Also located in the vehicle was a small amount of loose leaf marijuana (less than 26 grams) and three key ring sets.

A search of Waters person resulted in locating small amount of suspected tar heroin.  The vehicle was towed and stored due to the unlicensed status of Waters.  Waters was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked for violations of being an unlicensed driver, possession of less than 28.5 grams of marijuana, possession of a suspected controlled substance (heroin) and driving a motor vehicle with an obstructed front windshield.

Attached is the booking photo of Waters and the three key ring sets found in the vehicle.  The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is seeking identification of these three unique looking key rings for possible identification as stolen and/or lost.  Anyone that may have information about these key rings is asked to call Deputy Dennis Gagnon at 707-445-7251.

Most of us already treat Maggie as DA; buzz of excitement in the air at the Courthouse every time Maggie is on the second floor

Nothing much to report on the Eddie Lee trial. While Paul is prosecuting that case in Courtroom 1, today there were smiling faces on the second floor hallway and outside Coutroom 2.

Since the June election, every time Maggie is on the second floor, there is buzz of excitement among the various departments that work with the Humboldt County District Attorney's office. Maggie is still in courtrooms doing her work for County Counsel but most of us are already treating her as our DA.

Today from what I could gather, there was a mental health competency hearing in Courtroom 2. Maggie was talking to a DHHS representative who had invited CR students, and from their conversations, it seemed like there were social workers or students preparing to work in the mental health field.

They got to observe this proceeding. The DHHS employee and the student's trainer were gushing about Maggie. One of them said, "This is the first time I know someone who is a DA that I feel positive about." Maggie came out greeted the students and took them into the courtroom herself after checking if they could observe.

Such training is a preview of Maggie's term, the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office is already seeing positive changes. Many people are anticipating Maggie taking over, with the exception of criminals and some defense attorneys.

Billing scam by company representing themselves as Humboldt fire department service

Humboldt Bay Fire has learned that various communities throughout Northern California have experienced a billing scam by a company representing themselves as the community’s fire department billing service. The company is “RMZ Fire Safety” and has been distributing false invoices for inspections to businesses. The invoice indicates “Annual State Required Fire Safety Equipment Inspection” and bills for the amount of $413.11. So far this scam has been reported in Napa, Sonoma, and Redding. None have been reported in Humboldt County.

Humboldt Bay Fire and the City of Eureka do not bill for inspections of commercial businesses, nor do they use billing services. The only billing associated with Humboldt Bay Fire is related to false alarms and mandated multi-unit apartment complex inspections. Any invoice received on anything other than City of Eureka letterhead should be questioned. If in doubt, please contact the Humboldt Bay Fire Department at (707) 441-4000.

Sep 9, 2014

Shane Goodrich, "Bodhi Tree's bud" busted again for drugs in Arcata

The meth heroin bust in Arcata today had a familiar name. Shane Goodrich owned the Marilyn Street house where Bodhi Tree was hanging out the morning he fled from law enforcement. Later that day Tree was arrested.

Goodrich was one of the witnesses who had an attitude on the stand, could not recall much, because in his words, he had taken pain medication. Currently on probation, Goodrich was busted.

Maybe he could claim memory loss again? This is how his interview could go :Officer, I have no idea how these drugs and paraphenelia ended up with me? The five people I am busted with, I don't recall how they got here? Who they are?

Public invited to 911 tribute on Thursday

Humboldt Bay Fire and the Eureka Police Department will be holding a joint tribute to honor those who were lost, the heroes, the families left behind, and the survivors of the events of that fateful day in September 2001. There will be a bell ceremony at 12:00 P.M. at Humboldt Bay Fire Station #1 on September 11, 2014.

The public is encouraged to attend and show respect for the fallen. On that day, thirteen years ago 2,996 persons lost their lives in the attacks. Of the lives that were lost at the World Trade Center, 343 were firefighters, 60 were police officers, and 2 were paramedics. They were killed in the line of duty as they tried to rescue thousands of civilians from the towers that collapsed.

We ask that everyone keep the memory alive of those lost on 9-11-01 in New York City, the Pentagon, Shanksville, Pennsylvania and the military service members that have been killed in action defending our freedom and way of life.

Thumbs up to Sheriff Downey for dedicated patrol strategy

Good development. Will the naysayers quit whining and give Sheriff Downey a well-deserved thumbs up?

Press Release:

On August 17, 2014, the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office began a new and unique deployment strategy for its patrol resources.  Utilizing a "compressed schedule" that consists of a combination of 12 and 10 hour shifts, the staffing levels allowed for an "overlap day" in which all patrol shifts are scheduled for the same day.  The result is an increase in the number of Deputy Sheriff's that can be deployed for that day and still allow for the normal staffing of assigned beats during the 24 hour period of time.

This overlap day has allowed Sheriff Downey to address certain geographical areas within the County of Humboldt that require a dedicated presence and enforcement action.  The most recent dedicated enforcement occurred on Monday, September 8, 2014.  Between 6:00 AM and 2:00 PM; seven (7) Deputy Sheriff's, one (1) California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden, one (1) Humboldt County Animal Control Officer and two (2) Program Workers with the Department of Health and Human Services were in the Garberville and Redway areas of Humboldt County.  The group spent the listed hours walking the sidewalks of Garberville and encampments of the Redway and Garberville areas, for the purpose of addressing an increase in vagrancy, illegal camping and general loitering in those areas.  The Department of Health and Human Services assisted in providing information on services that were available to those in need.

Approximately six (6) citations were issued to dog owners for various violations of rabies license needs and general dog licensing violations.  There were no arrests made during the contacts, but in excess of thirty (30) people were spoken to and admonished of vagrancy and trespassing issues.  Multiple warnings were issued with notice of the Sheriff's Office returning to the area at a later date with possible arrests being made if continued violations were noted.  The persons contacted were interviewed by the Deputies and they discovered the majority of those persons were in the Southern Humboldt area for the purpose of seeking employment in the processing of cultivated marijuana.

Sheriff Downey is committed to continuing these random and regular additional patrols in all areas of the County of Humboldt to address specific needs that normally cannot be addressed with daily dedicated Deputy Sheriff Deployment strategies.

False alarm or something up in the Eddie Lee trial?

Courtroom 1 was supposed to open at 9 for the Eddie Lee trial to resume. The baliff just came out and said, "it will be a while." Each juror is being called in one by one.

Trial resumed. Nothing to add.

Sep 8, 2014

Attorney for human trafficking suspect opens his own practice; from prosecutor to defense attorney, Ben has a winning record

Ben McLaughlin, who has his own private practice near the Courthouse, is currently defending David Anderson, the defendant in the alleged human trafficking case, which is being tried for the third time.

Ben has experience with federal case, he worked at the Humboldt County District Attorney office, then joined a local law firm and now has his own practice.

I wanted to do a post on Ben because there are a handful of lawyers I admire as attorneys and people and whether he is a prosecutor or a defense attorney, Ben works very hard for his clients. Attorneys who branch out on their own, in a very competitive field, locally and build a business are to be commended.

Cases Ben McLaughlin successfully as a Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney:

People v. Kevin Scott Walker - Rape

People v. Rodney Groh - Murder

People v. Juan Pedro Guevara - 3-strike case

People v. Michael Woody - Drug sales and eluding

Federal case that Ben prosecuted United States vs. Combs.

Ben's client was looking for a sentence anywhere from 5 to 40 years.

Post from Apr 16, 2014:

From DA's office to Clanton Law Firm, now Ben McLaughlin has his own practice
Ben McLaughlin just started his own practice about a month ago. He will be taking cases as a criminal defense attorney as well as family law and some personal injury in the future.

Congratulations Ben!

Contact information:

McLaughlin Law Office
1036 Fifth Street, Suite B
Toll free:  888-242-6998

Fieldbrook homicide suspect arraigned today; special circumstance affects penalty

Fieldbrook homicide suspect Jason Michael Arreaga was  arraigned in Courtroom 2 today. Due to the three special allegations added to the murder charges, it can affect his penalty. People have not made a decision yet about what penalty to seek.

Visiting Judge William Lamb read the charges against Arreaga.

DDA Roger Rees was present for the People for arraignment and from the Public Defender's office Heidi Holmquist represented Arreaga.

Arreaga with glasses, dressed in orange and cuffed sat and listened to Ms. Holmquist as she talked to him before the arraignment. The 10 day waiver for preliminary hearing was waived and when Judge Lamb asked Arreaga if this was with his consent, he said, "Yeah."

When the Judge was reading the charges, Arreaga looked down at the floor. Arreaga is charged with two counts of murder, CA Penal Code 187 (a) with special allegations of personally and intentionally discharging a firearm; great bodily injury/death; and a special circumstances under 190.2 (a) which if proven true would result in life without parole or the death penalty being sought.

Ms. Holmquist, on behalf of Arreaga said, OR bail hearing is waived without prejudice." Mr. Rees said the Peoplde request no bail.

Press release on case:

On 09-03-2014, at approximately 5:07 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call regarding shots fired and a deceased female at a residence in the 4400 block of Fieldbrook Road, Fieldbrook. Deputies and medical personnel were dispatched to the scene. While deputies were enroute the Sheriff’s Office received additional calls with the callers saying the female was deceased near a trailer on the property and there was a male yelling for help in the driveway.

The first deputy arrived on scene at 5:17 p.m. The deputy immediately learned there were two victims, an adult male, later identified as Harley Wayne Hammers Jr. 37 years old, from Eureka and an adult female, later identified as Angel Robin Tully, 37 years old, from Eureka, both whom had been shot. Hammers was located by the deputy across the street from where the shooting had occurred. Medical personnel treated Hammers for gunshot wound injuries and transported him Mad River Community Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.  Tully was declared deceased at the scene.

Sheriff’s Office Detectives responded to the scene, and the California Highway Patrol, and Humboldt County Public Works assisted with closing Fieldbrook Road, from Anker Lane to Wagle Lane, which had become part of the crime scene.

EPD shooting at Del Norte and St. Joseph's is not gang related

EPD is investigating if there is any connection between Billy Rutherford and Eugene Fulton, both who were shot today, with minor injuries. The victims are not cooperating. Chief Mills said "it is definitely not gang related."

Press Release:

September 6, 2014, the Eureka Police Department (EPD) received a citizens report of shots fired in the green belt just south of the foot of Del Norte.  Officers went to that location and found Billy Rutherford with a head wound.  Rutherford refused medical help and would not cooperate with investigating officers.

A short time later officer's were dispatched to Saint Joseph's Hospital where Eugene Fulton reported being shot in the leg.  He too reported being shot while in the green belt area and refused to cooperate with investigating officers.  Neither of the wounds was life threatening. Police are investigating if the two shootings are related.

Anyone with information about these shootings should call EPD at (707) 441-4060.

Sep 5, 2014

Released and rebooked! Trespasser Dan Dobbs arrested again


Dan, malicious mischief or vandalism or graffitti?

Dan Dobbs, realignment poster boy.

What judge's ruling means about Tree special allegation not applying

PC190.2(a)(3) would have applied if Bodhi had been found guilty of more than one count of 1st degree murder. That was one of the options they had. They ruled 2nd degree for the murders of Christina and Sunshine.

So today, the judge ruled that the special allegation of PC 190.2 (a) (3) was not "found true" because of the 2nd degree verdict. If it had been true, sentencing would be life without parole.

This jury did not rule first degree because they did not feel it was premeditated on Tree's part. They found him guilty of 2nd degree murder and for Rhett August guilty of attempted murder. This jury was dedicated, did a good job.

And the defense wants to use legalities to request their client get probation! Bodhi Tree has a criminal past, he killed 2 people and almost killed another. Justice is not always served by laws. Tree still has no remorse. He sat in court today with his "bad ass stare."

Inaccurate court calendar and computers cause confusion; Tree hearing occurs despite incompetence

The hearing today occurred despite confusion caused by a wrong date of September 15 in the court computer system. The court staff, attorneys and everyone present at the last hearing had September 5. Prior to today, members of the media and jurors were calling to see if the September 5 court date was still happening. A couple jurors emailed me. The court calendar is inaccurate most of the time and this isn't the first time the court dates have been messed up in the system. The same source of information the clerk's on I street rely on. The court personnel responsible for both needs an overhaul.

I have written previous posts on the errors and yet no changes.

Cardelli sentence stands, Marsden motion denied

The public defender's office had been appointed for Dino Cardelli while his Marsden motion was being heard. Casey Russo appeared last time and today, Kevin Robinson stood by Cardelli who is in custody.

ADA Kelly Neel represented the People.  Judge Bruce Watson's ruling was to deny Marsden motion and let the sentence stand. He said Cardelli's previous attorney M. C. Bruce represented Cardelli "agressively" and addressed the substantive issues.

Tree sentencing continued until October 10

Citing the second jury verdict, Bodhi Tree's lawyer Heidi Holmquist argued that the special allegation be thrown out and requested probation for Tree.

The matter has been referred to probation for a pre sentencing report and sentencing has been set for October 10 at 2 p.m. Ms. Holmquist requested the October date since she will be away on vacation and to give probation adequate time to prepare their report.

DDA Elan Firpo came from another courtroom. While she submitted on the special allegation, she requested definite date for sentencing and no more continuances mainly because the victim's families are flying in from out of town. Other community members and jurors want to be present.

Members of the jury and friends of Christina and Sunshine were present for sentencing and said they "would be disappointed" if Tree got probation.

Mr. Russo and Ms. Holmquist did not even acknowledge the two jurors who wished them a nice weekend after today's hearing.

Judge Reinholtsen stated on record the penal code that Ms. Holmquist stated asking for a ruling special allegations "are not true."

I am still updating this post about the special allegation and ruling ...please check back later...

Sep 4, 2014

Berkley Council votes to require dispensaries to donate 2% of pot

LOCO is the source for local news

I check LOCO often just like every one else. They get news, updates, information out faster than any one else. They are the one stop where you can click and check what other media and blogs have posted.

When something happens or you hear of an incident, inquiring minds ask, "Is it up on LOCO?"

Hank, one request, with all the crime, deaths, busts, LOCO readers need more Goff. A weekly column titled Goff'd.

Witness and DA in Eddie Lee case make an oops in Lee case; Judge has to fix it

The most exciting part of the Eddie Lee trial was before testimony started today. Yesterday, retired Deputy Troy Garry was testifying. District Attorney Paul Gallegos who is prosecuting Eddie Lee for the murder of William Reid in 2010 and Mr. Gary made a reference to a prior felony conviction.

Judge John Feeney had to clarify to the jury that Lee had no prior felony conviction in "this jurisdiction".  The case that Mr. Gallegos and Mr. Gary referred to was not in California but Oregon and Lee was granted probation.

This is only the second day of testimony after opening arguments and we have had two clarifications. As for the probation/conviction snafu, Lee's attorney, Mr. Darryl Stallworth mentioned the Oregon probation and what it was for in opening statements.

Was Mr. Gallegos not paying attention to his opposing counsel's statements or did he not fact check his witnesses' testimony?

Rest in peace Bill

This next Arts Alive and future events and when I walk around Old Town, there will be a void left by you. We didn't agree on much except anonymous blogs and bloggers. Who knows if we had talked more, what else we would find in common.

I enjoyed your shout out and critique of me because it was honest and genuine. You were a passionate advocate who made a difference in your community and spoke out.

One person can make a difference. Rest in peace, Bill.

Reduction in Humboldt County Superior Court Clerk's office hours, again due to budget cuts

From the Superior Court website:

As a result of the unprecedented budgets cuts to the Judicial Branch, the Superior Court of
California, County of Humboldt, finds it necessary to reduce the hours the Clerks’ Office is
available to the public.
• Beginning Monday, November 3, 2014, the Court Clerks’ Office hours will be 9:00 a.m.
to 2:00 p.m., (reduced from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) Monday through Friday, excluding
court holidays. This also applies to answering telephone inquiries.
• A public drop box is available at the 421 “I” Street location for same day filings during
normal business hours up to 4:00 p.m. Please do not put cash in the drop box.
The new office hours will continue indefinitely.
The Court finds the above actions are necessary due to the significant and continuing budget cuts
to the State Judicial Branch Budget. Since 2009, state funding for the judicial branch has been
significantly reduced, with those reductions impacting the budgets of individual superior courts.
Our projected deficit for FY 2014-15 is $70,784. The limited amount of funding restored in FY
2014-15 does not make it fiscally feasible for the Clerks’ Office hours to remain open until 4:00
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you would like to submit comments
about the proposed reduction in the Clerks’ Office hours, please send them to Kerri Keenan,
Court Executive Officer, 825 Fifth Street, Room 231, Eureka, CA 95501.
Pursuant to Government Code section 68106, this proposal has been published for public
comment. The sixty day comment period is August 29, 2014 through October 28, 2014.

Sep 3, 2014

Father-son like relationship triumphed over Lee's past heroin use, victim's past cocaine use

Angela Luizzi, the woman who last communicated with William Reid testified today about "my good friend Billy Reid." They grew up in East Chester, N.Y. , went to grammar school and high school together. The families knew each other. Then they lost touch with each for 20 years until they reconnected on Facebook.

Luizzi described Reid as an "animal lover" who adored his dogs Eli and Sadie. He loved Humboldt and on Feb 3, 2010 told her he had won $700 at Blue Lake Casino and was planning to visit her.

Reid told her Eddie and Moriah lived with him. She identified photos she posted for Reid on Facebook. They spoke and texted daily. There was no romantic relationship. She said they were "best friends". She knew he grew and sold pot.

On cross, Lee's attorney Mr. Stallworth asked her about Billy who she described as a "fun, loving and outgoing person." Luizzi told Mr. Stallworth Reid told her Moriah helped him set up a facebook account. She did not know details about his marijuana business. She was surprised when Mr. Stallworth told her that Reid had visited family over Christmas holidays in 2009. She confirmed that Reid told her he did not have a license and she was aware of his drug and alcohol issues.

She admitted he never spoke "badly" about Eddie and Moriah. She had no knowledge if Eddie drove him around. On February 3 when he called from the car, she assumed the person in the car was Eddie because "Eddie was always with him."

He was supposed to call Feb 4 and when he did not respond to text or facebook messages, she contacted his family.

Marilyn Reid, Billy's sister, testified that the last time she saw him was New Year's Day 2010. She said Reid and Colorado, then L.A. then moved to Humboldt. Her brother told her that he was caretaking/fixing the house he lived in for an elderly gentleman. She knew he "was growing pot." In response to Mr. Gallegos's question, she said, "He did not have lawful work."

Billy Reid's father has been in the courtroom. Ms. Reid, Billy's father and Angela Luizzi were accompanied by Victim Witness Representatives.  Ms. Reid confirmed some of the statements  Luizzi made. Her brother loved the home, the views from his house, Eddie and Moriah lived with him.

She identified Lee from and said her brother had shown her a photograph on his cell-phone of Eddie and Moriah at the beach and that she overheard him authorize Eddie to purchase a Pathfinder and pay $3,000.This was during the visit at Christmas. Ms. Reid said he never mentioned Jessica or Limmie.

She went into details about how the family got alerted, reported him missing and that she had texted a photo of her brother and the dogs to "ADA Dollison."

"I knew he was growing and selling pot, I never asked why." She paused and said, "He always smoked pot." Ms. Reid seemed uncomfortable discussing pot or drug use by her brother. She was very stoic but at times you could see her fighting back her tears.

On cross, Mr. Stallworth started by expressing condolences. He asked about Billy, the family. Answering his questions, Ms. Reid said that her brother worked for Verizon in New York state, he left in his 30s to go to Florida. At this point, Mr. Stallworth asked her and she confirmed that Reid was in Florida for long term rehab for cocaine use. He then moved to Colorado and finally California.

Mr. Stallworth asked Ms. Reid if she knew if "Billy was doing cocaine." She answered, "As far as she knew, "just marijuana."

Reid told his sister he made "$85,000 gross" in 2009 selling marijuana. Mr. Stallworth asked if he sent any money home or if Reid's younger brother, also named Eddie was "in the business" and if Reid sold any marijuana in N.Y. She answered no to all questions. She said she knew Eddie and Moriah were assisting him but not specifics.

Reid told his sister he took Eddie and Moriah in "off the streets because they were strung on heroin and he did not want them to have the problems he had."

Mr. Stallworth asked about her brother trusting Eddie, brought up that he authorized Eddie to buy the Pathfinder with $3,000 in cash. "Eddie was like a son to him," said Ms. Reid.

Judge Feeney clarifies sexual penetration charge in Lee case

This morning before the Eddie Lee trial resumed, Judge John Feeney said he wanted to make a clarification. He said when he read the charging document, he read statutory language.

"There is no allegation in this case that Mr. Lee had any sexual contact with the remains."

The words in yesterday's post were exactly as Judge Feeney read them from the document under the charges of "mutilation of grave".

PC 69 is resisting arrest, mutilation of graves and sexual penetration of human remains. When writing statutory language in California, were they smoking Humboldt's famous cash crop?

Scotia Renner burglarized; water heater taken

On 09-03-2014, at approximately 8:00 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office was notified of a burglary by an employee of Renner Petroleum. The employee reported at approximately 1:10 a.m. this morning, two suspects walked onto the Renner Petroleum card lock property in Scotia. The suspects then gained access to a bathroom on the site. The bathroom lock is supposed to only accept Renner gas cards or credit cards. One of the suspects removed a water heater from the bathroom. The water heater is designed for a sink and only weighs five pounds. The employee told the deputy the suspect who stole the water heater appeared to have electrical experience, because he did not damage the wall and he taped off the wires like an electrician.

 The employee told the investigating deputy he reviewed a video tape of the crime and watched the suspects steal the water heater. He provided still photos to the deputy in hopes someone could identify the suspects.

The suspects are described as follows:

1. White, male adult, with a goatee and a tattoo on his right shoulder, wearing a white tank top with a baseball hat worn backwards.

2. White male adult, wearing camouflaged colored pants, and a camouflaged colored jacket, with a shaved head.

Limmie Greg Curry trial set for November 10; defense requests daily transcripts of Lee trial

Limmie Curry is accused of murdering William Reid along with Eddie Lee. Curry's attorney Mr. Kevin Robinson requested that Curry's trial "follow " shortly after Lee's trial concludes which is expected to end late October.

Mr. Robinson also requested today that Mr. Casey Russo who works with him be allowed to prepare for the Curry case, in case "he is hung up in other trials." Mr. Gallegos had an objection but he said "they could cross that bridge" later. Mr. Robinson is the defense attorney in the Jason Warren case, which is taking up a lot of time and while he does not expect it to go to trial this year, it may. Mr. Gallegos is currently tge one prosecuting the case.

Sep 2, 2014

St. Bernard intruder Prochnau arrested for PC69

Sherman Ross Prochnau was arrested in Arcata today for PC69. Previously, Prochnau broke into St. Bernard's and was sniffed and drawn out after the police canine bit his leg.

He had to be sent out of the area for medical care. The Eureka incident did not result in jail time but from Fortuna to Eureka and now in Arcata, Prochnau got arrested again.

Part of PC69 is resisting arrest. Wonder if he tried to bite the officer this time? Resisting arrest seems to be a pattern for Prochnau. When he broke into St. Bernard's rectory in Eureka, he had been kicked out of a clean and sober house for being high.

Husband asks wife to shoot him and she complies with his request

 On 08-31-2014, at approximately 7:30 p.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from a man who reported his wife was armed with a .44 caliber handgun and just shot at him. Deputies and California Highway Patrol (C.H.P.) Officers responded to the 600 block of Oakridge Drive, Redway where they met with the male victim outside the residence.  The investigating deputy spoke with the 44 year old male husband, while C.H.P. Officers watched the couple's residence, where the victim said his wife was located. The victim told the deputies at approximately 5:00 p.m. his wife Kim Aileen Peterson, 44 years old, came home intoxicated, and they got into a verbal argument which lasted almost two hours. At one point during the argument, the victim asked Peterson why she doesn't just shoot him.  Peterson walked into the couple's master bedroom while the victim stood in the kitchen. The victim heard a gunshot and immediately retreated from the home. He called law enforcement from a neighbor's residence. The victim was not injured.

 While the deputy was speaking with the victim, Peterson walked out of the residence unarmed and surrendered. Peterson told the deputy the weapon she used was cocked and loaded, and was located underneath a vehicle in the driveway of the residence. She later told the deputy she fired the weapon outside the home, never at the victim. Deputies searched the residence and did not locate any bullet holes in the residence.

 Peterson was arrested for negligently discharging a firearm, and was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where she was booked.  Her bail was set at $100,000.00.

Eddie Lee "fell in love with this area" and chose HSU over other options; the story of a dreamer who ended up accused as a murderer

Eddie Lee has been in custody while waiting for this case to go to trial.

Mr. Stallworth ended his opening statments by telling the story of Eddie Lee. A young child of bi-racial parents with blue eyes and wavy black hair that everyone loved. A kid and a young man who never got in trouble, even being raised in Michigan, in a city of crime. Lee was recruited into a mentor program, "I had a Dream" as a youth, got great grades. Lee chose HSU instead of UC Davis or Sacramento State and pre-med major in biology because he "fell in love with this area."

Lee had a job in 2007. He came from a family that always worked, great work ethic. "He doesn't rob people," said Mr. Stallworth. In 2008, Lee took a break from school. In 2009, he was finding it hard to keep up with his chosen major and wanted to change his career path. He had problems finding affordable housing in Arcata. Mr. Stallworth said that at this point he met Moriah Foster, a cocaine user who "smoked a lot of marijuana" and "she changed his life." Lee was in love for the first time.

After he met her, he got kicked out of school. Moriah and Eddie did odd jobs to pay the bills and Lee ended up meeting Reid through Moriah. Mr. Stallworth said Reid was 45-46 years old and it was his "first time cultivating marijuana." Someone in SoCal told Reid about an empty, abandoned house.

Eddie and Moriah became trimmers, Reid liked Lee's work ethic. "Billy Reid loved my client like a son." He had them move in, trim marijuana, help around the house. According to Mr. Stallworth, Reid "drank a lot of alcohol and didn't have a license so he paid Lee to drive him around." Referring to why Lee did not declare this income, Mr. Stallworth said "he could not claim it because it was illegal."

Lee was on probation in 2009 because he was given a pound of marijuana to sell and transport to Oregon and got busted for a broken taillight. While Reid was in New York in Fall of 2009, Moriah and Eddie invited Eddie's sister Jessica and her boyfriend Curry for Thanksgiving.

Mr. Stallworth described Curry as "a bad boyfriend and an Oakland thug." Eddie was worried about his sister and knew Curry was "robbing people." He proposed a deal to Curry that the four of them purchase clones from Reid and harvest 400 pounds of marijuana in 2010 and spilt the profits.

Mr. Stallworth said that Lee needed Reid's connections to sell marijuana and he stood to gain a lot more money from the larger grow than the alleged $10,000 he spent.

On Feb 3, Lee brought Curry to meet Reid. Lee was hoping Curry would work as a trimmer and then they could propose the clone idea. Reid was "suspicious" of Curry but since he knew Lee, he invited them into the house. The generator broke down, Lee and Reid went to fix it. Reid returned to the house before Lee and then Lee saw Curry shoot Reid "six times."

Curry then pointing the gun at Lee tells him to help him dispose of the body. Mr. Stallworth concluded by referring to alleged conversations between inmate Quentin Williams and Lee. He called Williams a snitch, an older African American man who befriended Lee and "advised" Lee while he was in prison. Mr. Stallworth said because Lee is biracial, he had some problems in jail.

Mr. Stallworth ended his remarks asking the jury to find his client not guilty.

Eddie Lee to "take the stand" ; "He has waited 41/2 years to tell you what happened and he will tell you what happened"

Mr. Stallworth started his opening remarks with, "My condolences to the family of William Reid."

"The prosecutor's opening statement was powerful. It provided you with a lot of information. What it failed to do was tell you what you are supposed to do and I will cut to the chase."

"This is not a ID case. Limmie Curry killed William Reid. Eddie Lee was present. My question to you is did Eddie Lee know? Did he aid and abet? That is your task."

"The prosecution theory is weak, it is based on circumstanstial evidence." Mr. Stallworth referred to the movie, "My Cousin Vinny" and quoted "Does the prosecutor's case hold water?"

Mr. Stallworth used the analogy of a walkthrough when he was buying his first house. He said when he was so excited to buy the house  that even as a lawyer, he ignored the hairline cracks and door that would not close. The problems worsened a few weeks after he moved into the house. "The house had the same problem the prosecutor has in this case, the house was built on poor foundation."

"Evidence comes to you through direct, physical and circumstansial evidence. There will be no direct evidence in this case that Eddie knew what Limmie planned to do. No physical evidence. Just phone conversations."

Mr. Stallworth said that the prosecutors had nothing to show that "Eddie had any knowledge; any intention of doing anything with Limmie."

"You cannot convict a man of murder based on receipts of purchases."

"Any good defense attorney can stop now and ask you to find their client not guilty based on reasonable doubt," said Mr. Stallworth. He said he was going to go further.

"Eddie was 21 years old when he was arrested and charged. He has been waiting 4 1/2 years to come and tell you what happened. He will fill in the gaps in this case; everything else is conjecture."

"In a society where personal worth is equated with economic growth and guns are readily available, it is surprising we don't have more violence"

District Attorney Paul Gallegos started his opening argument to the jury by saying, "Many of you watch legal shows. On TV, legal shows are for 30 minutes, this is not at all like TV. This trial will take several days, weeks. We will have gaps and delays."

"In a society where personal worth is equated with economic growth and guns are readily available, it is surprising we don't have more violence. I bring this up because this case is about these issues. Young people equate personal worth with economic worth so they engage in criminal activity to amass wealth."

"Mr. Lee is charged with the murder of Billy Reid."

Using a presentation on the screen with timelines, photos of exhibits and the crime scene, Mr. Gallegos outlined the prosecution's theory about what happened to Reid and why the People believe Lee murdered him.

Mr. Gallegos said that in 2009 Reid went home to New York to visit family and during that visit "struck up a relationship with Angela Ruizzi", someone he had known since high school. This relationship continued long distance via texts and facebook. Mr. Gallegos said that Reid was "engaged in the unlawful cultivation  of marijuana in California."

On Feb 3, 2010, the night prosecutors believe that Reid was murdered, there were conversations between Ruizzi and Reid on cell-phones and facebook. The last conversation Ruizzi had with Reid was at 9:34 p.m.

"Absent Eddie Lee and Limmie Curry, Angela Ruizzi was the last person to talk to Billy Reid."

Starting at 11:42 p.m. that night and until 11:59 p.m., there were phone calls between Eddie Lee, Reid and Moriah Foster, Lee's girlfriend.

Prosecutors believe that Reid was murdered sometime between 11:59 p.m. and 3 a.m by Eddie Lee and Limmie Curry. Foster and Lee's sister Jessica  were at the L.K. wood apartment and Mr. Gallegos said that Lee and Curry returned to that apartment after 3. a.m.

Mr. Gallegos said that Lee and Curry killed Reid, took over his marijuana grow and burnt his body and property in a burn pile behind the house. They emptied his bedroom.

Mr. Gallegos referred to people involved in his argument but the relationship between the people was clarified when Mr. Stallworth gave his opening statement.

Mr. Gallegos said that after murdering Reid, Lee and Fister moved onto Reid's property and into his bedroom. All four of them between Feb 3, 2010 and February 18, 2010, when Lee was arrested, went on a lavish shopping spree.

Mr. Gallegos showed receipts of flat screen TV's, large payments of cash, videos from Target that the People will introduce to back up these claims.

On February 15, Marilyn Reid, William's sister called the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office because she had not heard from her brother. The HCSO deputies went up to the Three Creek Road residence and when they arrived there, they were told by Foster and Lee that Reid went back east.  Mr. Gallegos added at this point that Lee and Foster were trimmers for Reid.

When the deputies went to look for Lee who was in the house, they saw firearms, Reid's dogs were nowhere to be found and that Lee "took off running" when he saw law enforcement. "The flight of Eddie Lee is evidence of his subconcious guilt and so are his lies to law enforcement," said Mr. Gallegos.

Mr. Gallegos posted statements made by Lee on Feb 16, 18 and 19 in which he changed his story about where Reid was and when Foster and he last saw Reid. Mr. Gallegos told the jury Lee's fingerprints were on the burnt property which was not completely destroyed. He showed evidence where Lee claimed to have no monthly income in January 2010 yet 12 days later once the murder occurred, he spent approximately $10,000 in shopping and "4Gs" he claimed to have deposited in Moriah's account even when he was in jail. Some of this information is from phone recordings in jail. Prosecutors showed evidence of Lee wiring amounts of cash to Curry via Western Union.

There was a map found on the coffee table in the L.K. wood apartment with three cars parked just the way law enforcement found when they went to Reid's house, Reid's residence marked on the map, a "smoking burn pile", receipts of ammo purchased in January 2009 "which showed "premeditation of murder," according to Mr. Gallegos.

When Lee was questioned in front of Foster with inconsistencies in his statement pointed out, Mr. Gallegos said Curry killed Reid. "The only connection between Limmie Curry and Billy Reid is Eddie Lee"

"Some people say greed is the root of all evil, whether it is or not; it is a powerful motivator. People submit greed as a motive for murder."

Mr. Gallegos concluded by saying that once the jury will hear all the evidence, the only verdict they will come back with is guilty.