Dec 30, 2014

Vatican to honor Fr. Eric Freed among those who died for Christ

January 2015 key month for several high profile homicide cases; others like Ferrer and Warren will they actually make it to trial?

If you look through the dates of these high profile trials, you will see that on January 12 and January 26, it will be a busy day for the Humboldt County courts.

These are not even all the cases in 2014 and others that are going through the process starting in 2014 into 2015. They are some of the cases that made headlines.

Each case has been covered in detail on this blog and a search will get you to all the links. I am listing key dates, not listing courtrooms in this post since some will change because of judges being moved. How many of these cases will make it to trial? How many will be plead out? How many have been botched by Paul?

Vincent Sanchez: Suspect in Harris Street double murder. Pleaded guilty. Sentencing continued to 1/9/15 at 2 p.m. Stipulated sentence.

Gary Lee Bullock: charged with several charges including murder and torture of Fr. Eric Freed. Trial Conformation is 1/14/15 at 2 p.m. and Jury Trial is scheduled on 1/26/15.

Matthew Brown: Charged with the murder of Neil Decker. 1/5/15 Trail Readiness Conference; 1/9/15 Trial Assignment and 1/12/15 scheduled for Jury Trial.

Jason Arreaga: charged with two murders he committed in Fieldbrook. 1/5/15 he will be arraigned on information for a jury trial.

Juan Ferrer: charged with the stabbing of Arcata chef Douglas Anderson-Jordet. 1/26/15  Pre-Trial Conference at 2 p.m., Trial Confirmation at 2  p.m. on 3/23/15 and Jury Trial scheduled for 4/6/15.

Jason Warren: 3/4/15 is the date for trial setting for one case and disposition/reset hearing for another case. Warren is charged  with killing  Dorothy Ulrich, on the morning of Sept. 26, 2012 before allegedly taking a car from her residence and driving to Eureka, where he allegedly intentionally hit three runners, killing Suzanne Seemann and seriously injuring Jessica Hunt and Terri Vroman-Little.

Limmie Curry: charged with the murder of William Reid. His co-defendant Eddie Lee is a free man. His case was dismissed on a oral motion by his defense attorney citing Penal Code 1118. That decision cannot be appealed. The case was prosecuted by Paul.Trial Confirmation 1/12/15 at 2 p.m. and Jury Trial on 1/26/15.

Judge Hinrichs presiding judge for 2014; Judge Wilson asst presiding judge and a few other changes in Humboldt Superior Court

Judge Joyce Hinrichs will be the presiding judge starting next year, Judge Christopher Wilson will be the assistant presiding judge. He has been hearing family law cases and will now be back as a Judge for the courts overseeing criminal cases.

Judge Timothy Cissna will be hearing criminal cases. Judge Dale Reinholtsen, one of my favorite judges is going to be moving to the civil courts.

This is routine but most of my time is spent covering the criminal court cases, when certain judges are no longer overseeing criminal cases, I wish they didn't have to switch around.

We are very fortunate to have excellent judges, all of them.

Very often, I point out the flaws of court management. I just found out that one of the court managers, Sara Biasca's last day is January 9. All I can say is that this is a loss. Sara is very helpful, very professional and will be an asset wherever she ends up in the future.

"The courtroom won't have two defense attorneys anymore"; District Attorney Maggie Fleming swearing-in-ceremony on January 5 at noon

The above quote is by someone who has worked with Maggie for years. All I will say this is someone who works in the criminal justice system. This person's sentiment is echoed by many people who are looking forward to defense attorneys not running the courtroom anymore.

If you read my blog regularly, the evidence is there. I also did a post in March:

The swear-in-ceremony information is well-known internally and maybe there is a press release circulating?

I know the Board of Chambers will be packed at noon when Maggie will officially be sworn in as Humboldt's District Attorney on January 5, 2015.

I cannot be there because that is the same time as  weekday mass. I do not miss mass  for business, press conferences or any reason or I would be there in person. I will be praying for Maggie and her staff. They have challenges ahead, the consequences of the last administration. I wish Maggie the best.

Dec 29, 2014

A year later, a prayer for Fr. Eric sends a message: "My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath."

In two days, people will gather to eat, drink, kick-off the New Year at midnight with their loved ones. So will the community at St. Bernard’s as we have every year with a vigil mass and then on New Year’s day with mass.

2014 New Year’s Day began for many of us who knew Fr. Eric in an unexpected way. This entire year, since then, others I know and loved have passed from this life. Losing Fr. Eric made international headlines yet each loss in my life was just as significant.

I am not going to talk about loss or grieving, not because it is not important but because those are not the feelings that consume me. In the last year, the focus has not been on Fr. Eric and in this post, it will be on his life, him and not on his death and why and how he went home to God.

I am looking forward to New Year’s as I did Christmas as I did Easter, as I do each year. With gratitude, with faith, with joy.

Often before mass ended, especially on Sunday, Fr. Eric would say that when we left church, he wanted us to reflect the joy we felt in our attitudes and actions so people would wonder and want to share in what we Catholics had and what made us so happy.

"May our faith be measured by our capacity for Joy in community” is a strenna Fr. Eric wrote. He also wrote, “ To be Happy be Thankful, To be Thankful, have Faith. Faith is Understanding that All is God's."

Since Jan 1, 2014, those of us that knew Fr. Eric, in the Catholic community and other communities he was a part of have had life’s challenges and losses yet you would not be able to tell unless we shared. It is our faith, Fr. Eric’s own words when he comforted many who had lost loved ones that soothe us in moments we need that comforting touch.  Especially at funerals, Fr. Eric, reminded us that each person in our life was a gift from God and that we should be grateful for the time we got to spend with them. Fr. Eric would talk about our life on earth as parentheses in the chapter of our life. This year, our current pastor, Fr. Tom picked a passage from scripture for All Souls Day,  “For those who sleep in Christ, life has not ended, it has changed.”

As Christians, we believe in eternal life.  I know and hope to see Fr. Eric again. As Catholics, we believe in the communion of saints, I can still communicate with Fr. Eric, just in a different way. God’s love, God’s hope and God’s light is ever present.

This Christmas when I heard the midnight reading from Isaiah: “The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom, a light has shone”, it reminded me that darkness never prevails over light. Our faith, our love, our community, our memories, the legacy of our loved ones  is stronger than any act of hate, desperation.

The readings that continue into the New Year fit the theme St. Bernard’s  will chose to remember and honor God and Fr. Eric going home to God in two days: “Illuminate the Darkness with Joy.”

When I think of many people who suffer loss and tragedy alone, I feel so blessed to know I am never alone for God is always with me and that I experience his love every day through others. There are no words to adequately thank our Bishop, to thank Fr. Loren, Fr. Tom and Deacon Frank who have been our anchors in a very difficult year.  God loves us so much and we have felt that love from our former pastor Fr. Loren who came without hesitation  as a temporary administrator to help us through the first few months of this year knowing that his presence was vital for us to heal and keep moving forward ; from our current pastor Fr. Tom, who came to shepherd us and continue as a parish and to help us move through into this New Year with joy and faith, while he silently withstood the reactions of our grief, our pain and stayed strong for us; from our Deacon Frank who from the morning of Jan 1, 2014 until now put his own needs aside to be there for each and every one of us with his calm and comforting presence that soothed our broken hearts.

My faith has grown even stronger this year. I love God more each day and am even more committed to serve God. That is the thought and wish I asked for my birthday last year, which is only a couple of days after the New Year. As Fr. Eric always taught us, and as we believe in our faith, we should focus on God, above all else.

I would like to share a prayer with you which was written by St. John Vianney, the patron saint of priests. It is how I feel and it is the prayer that I found a few weeks ago, while remembering Fr. Eric.

"I love You, O my God, and my only desire is to love You until the last breath of my life.
I love You, O my infinitely lovable God, and I would rather die loving You, than live without loving You.
I love You, Lord and the only grace I ask is to love You eternally,
My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath.”

Michael Dayvid performing, champagne specials, drawings for prizes, and a midnight a midnight champagne toast to kick off the New Year at the Wine Spot

The Wine Spot, located at 234 F Street, in Eureka plans to make your evening bubbly and fun. Local favorite Michael Dayvid will be performing, there will be drawings for prizes all night long, champagne specials and a midnight champagne toast to kick off the New Year.

Previous posts:

Encore! Encore at Studio S for January Arts Alive; Susan Strope featured artist at the Wine Spot

Just call Susan Strope, the Arts Alive Double Feature artist for 2015. For January 2015, Studio S, located at 717 Third St, in Eureka will have an encore presentation of Susan's work and other local artists.

The Wine Spot, located at 234 F Street in Eureka, will showcase Susan's  oil paintings for the month of January and February for Arts Alive. In January, come see her "large colorful florals" and in February come check out her "moody seascapes." These are her descriptions, not mine!

Long awaited opening of Thien Long in downtown Eureka: authentic, freshly made Vietnamese sandwiches

Pho Thien Long, which was originally located across from the Eureka Theater on F Street and is now located at 4th and D is expanding. The owners will have a grand opening on January 12, 2015 for Thien Long Sandwiches. This second location will feature authentic Vietnamese sandwiches, freshly prepared on a french baguette that will be baked fresh daily. Choices of freshly sliced meat and vegetables with shredded carrots, sliced daikon, cilantro, jalapeno and vietnamese mayonnaise.

Vegetarian options will be available. This location will offer some other dishes to go such as fried rice, rice plate and Boba drinks.

There are plans to offer traditional Vietnamese breakfast in the future. The restaurant will open six days a week, from 9 am to 6 p.m. and closed on Tuesdays. The only Tuesday it will be open is the grand-opening.

For more information, until Thien Long is open, please call Pho Thien Long at (707) 445-4735.

Dec 23, 2014

William Lorenzen resisting arrest in Ferndale same as the one who is top recipient of farm subsidy?

The reference is to a guy in a LOCO post who allegedly violently resisted arrest by Ferndale police.

Belgian protestors use fries and mayo; would Humboldt use weed to pelt elected officials?

A perfectly good waste of mayo and fries. It would be like throwing weed or GMO free, organic produce at our local elected officials.

Miracle on 2nd Street; the Spirit of Christmas is alive in Humboldt

Apologies to George Seaton, but Miracle on 34th Street would not make sense in Humboldt. If you have not seen this Christmas classic, I would suggest renting it on a Humboldt rainy day and it will warm your heart.

Yesterday, something happened that touched me deeply. The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in Humboldt County. Santa, you know who you are. Thank you for the gift of hope and faith which is priceless.

Humboldt Made has a new executive director

Humboldt Made has named T. Aaron Carter, a local marketing consultant and former Director of Marketing for Pacific Outfitters, as its new Executive Director. Carter is a long-standing member of the Humboldt Made Marketing Committee and joins the group as Executive Director with close to a decade's experience in brand development, brand strategy and statistics systems.

Speaking about his new position, Carter said that he believes it's “going to be fun!”

“There is a long road ahead of us, but I have zero doubt that we will succeed,” says Carter, “We have an outstanding team of board and committee members, business members and partners.We will continue to grow our programs and seek innovative ways to serve our members and our community. We really have something special here and it is time we take it to the next level.”

Humboldt Made is a group dedicated to helping local businesses expand from “behind the redwood curtain” into regional markets through marketing, buyers tours, trade shows and mentorship opportunities.

Dec 20, 2014

NYPD police officers assasinated by a coward

The coward then committed suicide.

Rest in peace officers.

EPD, Fire Department and Target shoppers get the true meaning of the holiday spirit

Wtg EPD, Fire Department and shoppers. You get the true meaning of Christmas!

EPD Press Release:

On Saturday, December 20, 2014, Chief Andrew Mills and a dozen members of the Eureka Police and Humboldt Bay Fire Departments had the great privilege of taking 12 underprivileged children to “Shop with a Cop” at Target in Eureka.  The event began at 8:00 AM at the Betty Kwan Chinn Day Center where the participating officers, firefighters, and children shared donuts, milk and juice. The children were then transported to Target via a motorcade of police and fire emergency vehicles.

Each child was partnered up with a police officer or firefighter and given an allowance of over $100.00 to shop for Christmas presents.  Betty Chinn and staff members from her Day Center were also on hand.  Funding for this event was obtained through donations and ticket sales from the EPD/HBF cornhole fundraising match held earlier in the week.  In all, over $1,200.00 was raised toward the event. Target also offered the children a 20% discount on their purchases.

Several shoppers caught up in the holiday spirit spontaneously gave money to the event.  One customer paid for the entire contents of the cart of a child behind him in the checkout line. Another gave all the money left in his wallet and then returned and bought a Target gift card for the children as well.
After returning to the Betty Kwan Chinn Day Center, one of the children led the others in singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” to the cops and firefighters before they parted ways.  There were a lot of hugs and smiles around.

9 members of EPD and a 3 person HBF engine company participated in the event. One officer later described the experience as being, “One of the biggest highlights of my year.”

Dec 19, 2014

Prime example of Humboldt's finest criminals: Booked and rebooked

On the above date at 9:55 AM, Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were called to a business at the 2100 block of Central Avenue, in McKinleyville, regarding a disturbance and trespassing.

When deputies arrived they contacted a male matching the description of the subject causing the disturbance, who was identified as Jason Edward Balke, a 34 year old resident of McKinleyville. Deputies approached Balke to take him into custody for being under the influence of narcotics. Balke physically resisted and started struggling with the arresting deputies. During the struggle he attempted to strike one of the deputies with a closed fist and was unsuccessful. Balke pulled on the hair of one of the arresting deputies and ripped the deputy’s shirt.

As Balke continued to fight, one of the deputies deployed their Taser (electronic control device) at Balke. After it was deployed, the other deputies were able to place Balke in handcuffs.

Balke was then transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked for assault on a peace officer, resisting arrest, public intoxication, trespassing, and violation of terms of probation. Balke is currently in custody with a bail amount set at $50,000.

Protect and serve should be look out and duck

Protect and serve should be changed to look out and duck. Especially, here in Humboldt.

Multiple offenders, not taking the law seriously, laughing in courts, shooting and attacking law enforcement without provocation.

Realignment, another failure by out of touch California legislators; Prop 47 another mistake by touchy feely voters who cannot be bothered to read before they vote.

I am so fed up of crime and the headlines of stabbing and shootings. What is worse are the idiots blogging away in the comment section with no clue, just a keyboard addiction.

Look in the mirror.

Are you a part of illegal money? Are you the lynch mob inciting hate against law enforcement? Are you a bleeding heart lawyer or voter that thinks every criminal needs to be coddled or is innocent?

Law abiding, working citizens are being run over by career criminals and those that assist and enable them.

This isn't a Democrat or Republican problem. A rich or poor problem. It is a you problem. Rights come with responsibilities. Your right doesn't come at the expense of someone else.

How many of you would watch out for someone constantly belittling and blaming you?

Some of the public have way too much time on their hands, filming and questioning every law enforcement encounter on their cell phone. Life is not a video game fantasy.

Get off your butt, take care of your business and if you have extra time, do something to make this a better community.

Be grateful they still protect and serve.

Burglarly suspect admits to EPD that he intended to break into vehicles

On December 19, 2014, at approximately 4:45 a.m., Officers from the Eureka Police Department were dispatched to the 4900 block of Lundblade Drive on a report of a suspicious subject seen in the area.  A resident, on their way to work, observed a male subject with a backpack walking in the neighborhood.  The resident notified our dispatch center and stayed on scene to assist officers in locating the subject.  Officers located the subject and detain him.  The subject was identified as Jerrad Rishard Lafayette, (26 years old Eureka resident).  Lafayette was found to be on searchable probation for narcotic and theft related offenses.

Officers conducted a search of Lafayette’s person and the backpack he was carrying.  The Officers located three (3) screwdrivers in his pant’s pockets and located a pair of bolt cutters, a glass punch, wire cutters, a file kit with files, crowbars and other various tools in the backpack.

Lafayette admitted to the Officers that he went to this neighborhood to break into vehicles.  At this time Officers are unable to determine if Lafayette actually broke into any vehicles in this neighborhood.  It appears his intended criminal behavior was thwarted by the observant resident.

Lafayette was arrested for possession of burglary tools, public intoxication, and probation violation.  Lafayette was transported and booked at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.

Dec 18, 2014

Attorney General files opening brief in Timothy Littlefield child molestation case

Why is this relevant?

The first step in an appeal is to file a brief. That trigger the defendant to file a responding brief. The People are appealing and they have the burden to file a reply to the defendant's brief and what the defendant is arguing. This means the appeal will not be dismissed because of a default.

Paul would have struck a plea deal with his buddy, the defendant's attorney Russ Clanton, and the so called local media would have sat by and reported nothing.

The scrutiny on this blog and Rose's linking the posts did make a difference. Children and victims matter.

Nov 25, 2014

Attorney General to default on Littlefield molestation case? Will Paul do his job?

Listed below is a link to the Attorney General's office. It is regarding the Timothy Littlefield child molestation case.

Does it look like the The Attorney General's office is about to default on the Littlefield Appeal?

I believe the DA's has 15 days from 11/18 notice. Does Paul intend to dispose of this case  inappropriately? Kamala Harris is Paul's buddy as is Littlefield's defense attorney Russ Clanton. Rathercthan appeal Judge John Feeney's decision, it would have been better to try take the case to trial. Twice the jury believed the victim, despite who prosecuted the case.

Previous links:

This is yet another case where the local media did not start covering the appeal or the case until I reported on possible plea deals and the case. When they do, they write what Paul spins.

And I will keep pointing this out occasionally until the media does it's job and reports the whole story and gives proper credit when they cover cases they had no previous interest in  and include information that they did not have access to because it came from history and research they did not know about.

Cocaine, meth, marijuana and illegal drug connection from Mexico?

On 12/17/14 at about 10:00 a.m. Humboldt County Drug Task Force Agents served a search warrant on a residence at the 300 block of Loleta Drive, in Loleta. Task Force Agents had the house under surveillance and several agents were in position behind the residence. As the Task Force Agents made the approach on the residence, a male subject standing at the rear of residence spotted the approaching agents and fled on foot toward his parked vehicle at rear alley area. That suspect was later identified as Rolondo Coneuo-Beccerra (age 24). Coneuo- Becerra refused to stop and ran south toward the alley, but was quickly apprehended by the surveillance team. Coneuo-Becerra was found to be in possession of over $9,000.00 in cash and 58 grams of suspected cocaine that he had dropped while fleeing from the approaching search team. Coneuo- Becerra’s vehicle was later searched and agents more than ¾ lbs of bulk packaged methamphetamine and Hydrocodone pills hidden within the vehicles engine frame.

A complete search of the residence was conducted and five (5) additional subjects were located inside the two story home. The five subjects were detained and interviewed regarding  four (4) pounds of processed and packaged marijuana, 10 additional grams of suspected cocaine. These items were found during the evidence search.  A pistol gripped 12 gauge shotgun  was found hidden in the ceiling tiles of the laundry room.

In addition to Rolondo Coneuo- Becerra arrest for possession of Methamphetamine for sales, transportation of controlled substance for sales, Possession of cocaine for sales and resisting arrest. Heriberto Galvan-Rosiles  (42) was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance. Antonio Galvan-Rosiles (46) was arrested and charged possession of marijuana and cocaine for the purpose of sales. Ernesto Corneuo-Garcia (24) was arrested and charged possession of false identification cards.  The two other adult males found in the residence were questioned and released at the scene.  Pending further investigation, additional charges may be added.

Evidence in the residence included items possibly connecting suspects to illegal drug connections in Mexico. Photographs of”Jesus Malverde”, pendants of “Santa Muerta” and gold colored emblems with
“EL CARTEL” engravings.

California-China Trade and Investment Office Hires Ken Petrilla as New Executive Director

Positioning California to attract a growing share of China’s massive foreign investment pool and bolstering California-China trade, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and the Bay Area Council today announced the hiring of Ken Petrilla as the new Executive Director of the California-China Office of Trade and Investment.  Petrilla was previously the head of the China Desk for Wells Fargo, the largest bank in the United States by market cap.
“The hiring of Ken Petrilla, one of the most experienced international banking executives in California, shows how serious California is about its trade relationship with China,” said Mike Rossi, Governor Brown’s Senior Jobs Advisor.
The California-China Office of Trade and Investment was established by Governor Brown in 2013 to serve as a hub for California companies interested in entering or expanding in China – the world’s second largest economy – and Chinese companies seeking investment opportunities in California – the world’s eighth largest economy by GDP. California exported $24.2 billion to mainland China and Hong Kong in 2013, as the combined China region became the state's number one export market.
"It is hard to imagine a more exciting job than straddling two of the world's most dynamic economies and lending my expertise to helping them both grow more intertwined," Petrilla said.  "The people of California and China have so much to gain as trade shifts into what many people have called the Century of the Pacific.  I hope in this role I can give back to California as much as this state has given to me."
Prior to becoming Executive Director of the California-China Office, Petrilla was an executive vice president and head of the China Desk at Wells Fargo.  He worked to facilitate and capture China-related business in the United States, both inbound and outbound.  Petrilla has held many positions within Wells Fargo, including responsibilities for all Wells Fargo business and activities within Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
“There is a Chinese expression that opportunities multiply as they are seized, and Ken Petrilla is just the person California needs to seize these opportunities,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council, which manages the Trade Office for the state.
The California-China Office of Trade and Investment is California’s vehicle for cultivating transpacific trade and investment relations between the state and the People’s Republic of China, California’s third largest trade partner.  It officially was opened by California Governor Jerry Brown in Shanghai during his Gubernatorial Trade Mission to China in April 2013.

Dec 17, 2014

Matthew Brown murder case jury trial delayed a week

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

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

Original post:

Arcata chef stabbing jury trial scheduled April 6

Juan Ferrer, who is charged with the stabbing of Arcata chef Douglas Anderson-Jordet, was in court today. DA Paul Gallegos was present. There is a status hearing in January and the jury trial is scheduled for April 6.

I talked with Ferrer's attorney Mr. Mark Reavis later and asked him about the motion to compel attendance of certain witnesses. That could not be heard since some witnesses are avoiding subpoena.

Some previous posts:

Bullock whispers "I love you" to supporters in audience; Fr. Freed's family retains Kathleen Bryson

Gary Lee Bullock dates "remain set." The family submitted a Marcy letter via Ms. Kathleen Bryson to defense counsel and DA's office and court.

The case is being prosecuted now by DDA Stacey Eads. In court DA Investigator John Burke was present.

Bullock seems to gain weight with each hearing. Usually he listens to Mr. Cockrum before court in their private brief chat, says okay and then goes back to a stern gaze. Today he looked in the audience, initially where he saw familiar faces, I presume mother and step father.

Today he whispered, "I love you" to those family members. The family seemed quite defensive in court, staring towards other attorneys and looking at the media. Ryan Burns, Lashay Wesley, Will Houston and I were seated towards the right side of the courtroom.

Three times Bullock glanced in my direction, our eyes locked briefly and he looked away.

Jury trial is scheduled for January 26.

Will Gary Lee Bullock stand trial for Fr. Eric's murder?

This afternoon, a pre-trial hearing is scheduled in Courtroom 1 for Gary Lee Bullock, the suspect charged with the murder of Fr. Eric Freed, beloved pastor of St. Bernard's Parish in Eureka.

Judge Feeney has been the judge overseeing the hearings; formner DDA Elan Firpo was assigned to the case; today we find out who takes over. Bullock is being represented by Conflict Counsel's Kaleb Cockrum.

I will update in a separate after this afternoon's hearing. There are two other cases at the same time this afternoon, the Juan Ferrer and Matthew Brown case. I will update all as soon as I can.

Previous posts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Previous posts:

Dec 16, 2014

Details on Coastal Commission and Ocean Protection Council grants

Thank you to Senior County Planner Rob Wall for the following details and information:

The Coastal Commission and Ocean Protection Council approved Humboldt County’s grant requests to update the Humboldt Bay Area Plan or Local Coastal Program. We were approved December 2 by the OPC for $90,000. A $35,000 dollar grant was approved by the Coastal Commission on November 12th.  The Coastal Commission grant was contingent on the OPC grant approved on December 2, 2014.

POP Press release regarding Backues and buddies

On 12/15/14 at about 4:23 p.m., detectives from the Eureka Police Department Problem Oriented Policing Unit (POP) responded to the 200 block of 3rd Street after receiving complaints from patrol officers about a recent increase in call volume in the area.
Detectives made contact at several apartments and ultimately located an open window facing a parking lot.  Detectives saw Gavin Lee Backues, 22 of Eureka in the window and determined that he was on active parole.  A parole search was conducted in the apartment and Autumn Breit, 18 of Eureka and Steven Paul Jessen Jr., 26 of Eureka were also contacted inside.
A large amount of cash suspected to be from drug sales, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and stolen property were found inside the apartment.  One bicycle has been confirmed stolen and a second is awaiting confirmation.  Backues had 10 grams of heroin on his person.
It was evident based on the search that drug sales were being made through the window.  Backues and Briet were arrested for being in possession of heroin for sale, possession of marijuana for sale, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of stolen property.  Jessen Jr. was arrested for out of county warrants for domestic abuse and child abuse.
POP detectives will be contacting the property owner to have the tenants evicted.   Anyone with information concerning suspected drug activity, or other nuisances occurring in the City of Eureka is encouraged to call the Problem Oriented Policing Unit at (707) 441-4373.

Repeat offender Gavin Backues and buds busted in POP arrest

I recognize Gavin from Frequently Booked. It isn't a log but it should be.

Coastal Commission approves money to County for local harbor clean up programs

This little tip from a reliable source is just missing a few details like how much? Grant?

Waiting on County for confirmation of details.

Usually the State is taking from us, whether it is water, funds, tsxes so is nice that for once they are giving something to us.

Suspects not charged yet; Investigation continues in Mckinleyville Deputy involved shooting

The investigation into last night’s officer involved shooting in 2300 block of Chapel Hill Road in McKinleyville is still ongoing.  Sheriff’s Office Detectives and members of the countywide Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) are currently investigating the incident. CIRT consists of investigators from the District Attorney’s Office, Eureka Police Department, Arcata Police Department, State Department of Justice and the California Highway Patrol.

The male suspect, Michael Lawrence Barrett (age 23) remains in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on a no bail warrant for Parole Violation out of Los Angeles.  The unidentified adult female remains in a hospital, out of the area, with a non-life threatening injury to her hand.  Investigators are still trying to confirm her identity due to her not cooperating with law enforcement.  Neither Barrett nor the Deputy was injured.  

The Deputy involved in the shooting is not being identified at this time and remains on administrative leave per the Sheriff’s Office Shooting protocol which is standard procedure in a case such as this.

Barrett and the unidentified female have not been charged with a crime at this point pending the outcome of the investigation.

Further information will be released as it becomes available.

Traffic stop leads to seizure of marijuana, meth and firearms

On 12/15/14 at about 12:28 a.m., an officer with the Eureka Police Department conducted a traffic stop on a Ford pickup truck at the 3500 block of Broadway Street.  The driver was identified as Gerald Lee Gerarden, 39 of Eureka.  Gerarden was found to have a felony warrant and was driving on a suspended license.
During a search of Gerarden’s vehicle, officers located two AR-15 style rifles, several fully loaded magazines for the rifles, .5 lbs. of processed marijuana, and a small amount of methamphetamine.  One of the rifles was determined to have been reported stolen out of Nevada.
Gerarden was arrested for numerous weapon and drug possession violations, including being a prior convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and for possession of stolen property.  He was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.
At about 11:30 a.m., in connection to the traffic stop, detectives from EPD’s Problem Oriented Policing Unit (POP) conducted probation searches at two residences on the 1400 block of California and the 1100 block of G Street.  Detectives seized an illegal modified rifle with a cut down barrel, a 12 gauge shotgun, a 22 revolver, and a replica BB gun.
This is a continuing investigation.  If anyone has information regarding this case or other nuisances in the city, you are asked to call the POP office at (707) 441-4373.

Gabriel's burglarly by juveniles business familiar with, merchandise and cash recovered

The restaurant said that the burglary that occured this weekend was committed by two juvenile youth the business is familiar with; they broke in, stole a bottle of Crown Royal and the cash drawer only had some coins. The police caught one of the suspects and recovered the cash box in a dumpster down the alley. 

Candle left burning in house causes $10,000 in damage

On 12-16-14 at approximately 0806 hours, Humboldt Bay Fire was dispatched to a possible structure fire on the 900 block of Hill St. in Eureka.  HBF responded with a full first alarm assignment consisting of three fire engines, one ladder truck and two Chief Officers.
First arriving units located the actual incident location at a duplex at 1231 Myrtle Ave., but accessed off of Hill St.  Crews encountered the tenant who stated that there had been a fire in the bedroom of his apartment, but he had extinguished it using a garden hose.  Crews investigated the interior of the apartment and found extensive smoke damage through, with heavy fire and smoke damage in the bedroom.  The tenant stated he had entered and exited the residence three times to attempt to suppress the fire prior to the fire department arriving.
Crews remained on scene for approximately one hour to ensure that the fire was indeed out, clean up water from the floor, and to investigate the fire cause.  The fire did approximately $10,000 damage to the structure and contents therein.  There were no injuries.
The tenants had left approximately one hour prior to go for a walk, but had left a candle burning on top of chest of drawers in the bedroom.   Investigation showed the cause of the fire was the unattended candle.
Humboldt Bay Fire would like to remind residents that leaving lit candles unattended, as in this case, can result in great danger to lives and property.  If using candles, please make sure that they are extinguished prior to leaving your residence.
Additionally, re-entering a structure that is on fire is extremely dangerous.  Once you have escaped safely, there is no guarantee that if you re-enter that you’ll be able to escape again.  Often times, persons re-entering a structure that is on fire become trapped and require rescue from fire personnel.  This can also result in delayed notification of the fire department.  While this situation did not result in injury, the potential for injury or loss of life is increased dramatically.

Rex in a suit! Santa makes a special appearance at Board of Sups meeting

Before the  morning session of the Humboldt Board of Supervisors meeting, seeing Supervisor Rex in a suit, staff and some audience members gave him a hard time.

"What's the occasion?" "Where did you steal that?" Unfazed, Rex quipped back, "It will be fun when I try to return this during lunch."

When the meeting was about to start, Rex was missing. Supervisor Sundberg rang the bell at Rex's desk. His name plaque was covered in Christmas lights. In walked Santa Rex with presents for fellow Supervisors and staff. They asked if they could open them and Santa asked, if they had been good.

All Supervisors got tshirts from Humboldt Republic. Supervisor Estelle Fennell who will be Board chair next year gave Rex a plaque thanking him for all his hard work.

After the lighthearted start, it was business as usual.

Dec 17 will be a busy day with several high profile homicide cases and status overlapping

Tomorrow morning, there is the preliminary examination scheduled for Jason Arreaga, the suspect in the Fieldbrook homicide and at the same time there is a preliminary hearing for Jason Armstrong, the suspect in the Redway murder.

In the afternoon, there is a pre trial hearing  Gary Lee Bullock who is charged with the murder of Fr. Eric Freed and trial confirmation for murder suspect Matthew Brown in one courtroom and at the same time a motion hearing and disposition reset hearing for Arcata murder suspect Juan Ferrer in Courtroom Four.

Background in all cases can be done by searching on the blog. I will add links and times later.

HCSO deputy involved shooting in Mckinleyville

On 12-15-14 at about 9:00 p.m., a Humboldt County Sheriff Deputy attempted a traffic stop on a vehicle on Azalea Rd. near Chapel Hill rd. McKinleyville. The solo Deputy had observed a black SUV and learned that the vehicles registered owner had a felony warrant.  The vehicle initially failed to stop and continued to drive in the 2300 block of Chapel Road. During the traffic stop the suspect vehicle pulled down into a private driveway with the Deputy following. At this time, the suspect vehicle attempted to drive back out of the driveway towards the Deputies location, at which time shots were fired by the Deputy Sheriff.  During the suspects attempt to evade the Deputy, the suspect vehicle had struck two parked vehicles in the driveway.  An injured female inside the vehicle has not yet been identified. The adult female received an unknown type of hand injury and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. A male suspect fled from the vehicle and ran into a wooded area. Information was gathered that the fleeing male suspect may have been armed at the time he fled. A search of the area was conducted utilizing Sheriff Deputies, and responding officers from Arcata Police Department, Eureka Police Department and the California Highway Patrol. A Fortuna Police K-9 Officer arrived and assisted with the search. After several hours of searching, the Police K-9 located a male suspect hiding in the wooded area. The male suspect, Michael Lawrence Barrett (age 23) was arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Jail and booked for his no bail charge for the Parole Violation warrant.
A County wide Shooting Investigative team has been activated and is currently investigating the incident and conducting interviews with all of the involved subjects. The Deputy has been placed on administrative leave per the Sheriff’s Office Shooting protocol.
Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

Dec 15, 2014

Challenge Chief Mills and help make holidays brighter for children who are homeless

On Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 12:00 PM, the Eureka Police and Humboldt Bay Fire Departments will be holding a friendly cornhole fundraising match between EPD/HBFD command staff.  Members of the public are also invited to come and watch or participate in the game. Chief Andrew Mills welcomes all challengers.  The match will be held at Humboldt Bay Fire Station #1 (533 C Street, Eureka).

On Friday, December 19th, at 12:00 PM, there will also be a drawing held to win two custom made EPD and HBFD cornhole boards.  Tickets can be purchased for $10.00 at the Eureka Police Department (604 C Street), Humboldt Bay Fire Station #1 (533 C Street), and Humboldt Hardware (531 2nd Street).

All proceeds will go towards making the holidays a little brighter for several local homeless children during a special “Shop with a Cop” event to be held on Saturday, December 20th at 8:00 AM.  EPD and HBFD officials will be taking several children on a Christmas shopping trip to Shafer’s Ace Hardware (2760 E Street) and Target (2525 4th Street). Both businesses have generously agreed to participate in this event. Shafer’s Ace Hardware will be matching donations spent by the children at their store dollar for dollar, and Target is offering the children who go shopping 20% off.
EPD/HBFD encourages everyone to come watch the game and buy tickets.  The more money raised, the more kids that will get to go “Shop with a Cop” this Saturday.  

Gabriel's restaurant restaurant burglarized last night?

EPD does not have details either other than they heard it was burglarized.  The restaurant is closed on Sunday and Monday so cannot confirm.  There were also three police cars in the neighborhood last night while I was in Old Town, a block away. Also heard Gallaghers might also have been targeted but that is untrue according to owner Kelly Erben. Just spoke with her.

Tomorrow's Eureka Council meeting historic with all Councilwomen

So are you going to come in person to witness this historic event?

A local business, individuals and community come together and surprise Fr. Eric Freed's family with an unexpected gesture

A year ago, Fr. Eric Freed's family learned of the brutal death of their loved one through international headlines. They made a trip up for his funeral, still in shock, and met St. Bernard parishioners and many others for the first time, sharing grief and memories with us, Fr. Eric's other family.

During that trip, they connected with some of us and sought some of us out over the course of this year, there is much we have shared; all which is private. I asked the family's permission to share what I am writing in this post.

Twice, the trial for the suspect charged with Fr. Eric's murder has been postponed and on December 17, we will know if the jury trial will proceed on January 26. The family would like to travel and be here for the trial, especially his two sisters. They family does not live locally and so there are significant costs associated and they have been working on raising funds.

All people involved wished to remain anonymous, even the person came up with a design and the person who donated personal funds to repay the business for most of the costs. The cost of printing and labor and the shirts was donated by a local business.  Some other people in the community when they heard about this effort donated. These are people well-known in the community and some from the Catholic church community. All the funds from the sales of this t-shirt will go towards helping the family.

This is not a church endorsed effort. I say this for a couple of reasons. I know some people have strong feelings about the Catholic church. I am saying this for the people outside the Church who were also affected and cared about Fr. Eric. This is for his family and for him.

Those who are not a part of the Church may not understand rules, regulations and how things work.

The business and individuals involved in this effort are a diverse group, some of us are Catholics but all of us are individuals who knew Fr. Eric and were impacted personally by his death. Those of us who are parishioners are also individuals and   are free to help Fr. Eric's family without it being a Church associated effort.

That is what it means to be Christian. That is what Christ meant in Mark 3:35 when he said "Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."

Even though the people involved wanted to remain anonymous, I am making an exception in two cases because Fr. Eric's family asked me to: the person who spearheaded this effort and is the family's lawyer is Kathleen Bryson. The business who jumped in to print the shirts, not expecting anything in return, is Humboldt Republic. The family wants to thank them both. I thank them both.

I also wanted to do this post because it is important for people within the Catholic community to know that Fr. Eric does not belong to any one person, group or to the Church. He was also a teacher, a friend, a community member who reached out and was involved in HSU and the Japanese community. People who did not know him within the Church context but live in this community were also deeply affected.

You have the option of buying the shirts directly from Humboldt Republic. Humboldt Republic is also allowing me to distribute shirts to anyone who knows me from the church or the community. Shirts are $20.

Too often, we seem divided as a community but as we have often seen through many tragedies, this community comes together for each other. That is the Humboldt I wish we wrote and spoke more often about.

Local juries send a message to local defense attorneys

It did not work in the Bodhi Tree case, it did not work in the William Nelson case. Blaming law enforcement, character assassination of prosecution witnesses doesn't  sell, unless it can be proven; especially when it is overused.

Both cases had unrepentant defendants with a grudge. Would the result have been different if we had seen a sympathetic or human side to the defendant?

Both cases had prosecutors, in the Bodhi Tree case, former DDA Elan Firpo; and in the Nelson case, ADA Kelly Neel that presented the facts but also did an excellent job of making the case human and personal. They were powerful but not aggressive, they were respectful.

In an overworked District Attorney's office, kudos to both ladies. Local juries this year give me hope.

Upcoming is a jury trial that will hit very close to home for me. Gary Lee Bullock, I hope, in January 2015, will finally stand trial for his brutal murder of Fr. Eric Freed. His attorney, Kaleb Cockrum, is the one who made me change my mind about defense attorneys. I was on a jury for a high profile case.

What Kaleb did in a difficult case was make the defendant human, he raised reasonable doubt. He was successful for his client. Bullock could not have hoped for a better lawyer.

I don't know who will prosecute the Bullock case but I hope that the DA's office thinks carefully about that decision. Will the prosecutor  be able to convince a jury of the tremendous international loss, the impact on thousands of lives and put a local, human, real face to the case. Just being well-versed in the law is not good enough. That prosecutor needs to understand who Fr. Eric was to this community and that extends beyond the Catholic church.

Guilty on all counts, justice for Bang

Jury verdict came in just before lunch... I will update this tomorrow with dates and a few more details.

The jury found William Nelson guilty of attempted homicide of a peace officer with use of a firearm.
They did not find Nelson guilty of premeditated attempted murder. This time Nelson didn't jump up and cause an outburst in court. Sentencing is in mid-January.

Kudos to ADA Kelly Neel on a great job.

Previous posts:

Verdict in for Shelter Cove man who shot Deputy Cao

This just happened a few minutes ago...see post has all the background.

Dec 13, 2014

Dec 12, 2014

"I believe the evidence that was presented to you in the last week was mistakes by HCSO and Mr. Nelson; the difference is Mr. Nelson made a justified mistake"

After Ms. Neel gave her closing, Mr. Greg Elvine-Kreis, William Nelson's lawyer, got his opportunity to address the jury.

"I believe the evidence that was presented to you in the last week was mistakes by HCSO and Mr. Nelson; the difference is Mr. Nelson made a justified mistake."

Mr. Elvine-Kreis' presentation in comparison to Ms. Neel's closing argument was lackluster.

At first, he went over reasonable doubt, credibility, terms and definitions the Judge had just finished instructing the jury about earlier. He did not give specific examples or use exihibits in the way Ms. Neel did. Closing arguments are the attorney's opinion/theory and Mr. Elvine-Kreis' clsoing argument was just that, all opinion.

He also said, "I don't know for sure, I'm not calling the deputy or expert a liar", several times. That does not challenge the people's theory, it is just neutral.

He blamed HCSO officers for "lack of planning." According to him, that better planning was HCSO sending more officers and an armored vehicle to serve civil papers.

Earlier, in the morning when he questioned Lt. Morey, the only defense witness, he said his client had a rapport with Sgt. Swithenbank. In his closing, Mr. Elvine-Kreiss admitted his client hated Sgt. Swithenbank.

He brought up expert testimony on shell casings but just referred to one saying"generally these bullets would fall right and behind." That is not the same as the expert saying that is the only case. He tried to discredit Deputy Cao's testimony.

Mr. Elvine-Kreis' closing argument brought back flashbacks of the Bodhi Tree defense. Essentially, the same script as in Tree's case: blame the officers, question DOJ experts and character assassination of prosecution witnesses. In the Tree case, that tactic did not work.

Will it work in this case? Mr. Elvine-Kreiss only has to convince 1 juror. In Humboldt County, with the anti-law enforcement, "I'll do what I damn please, damn everyone else" mentality, chances of finding one juror is not that difficult.

In Mr. Elvine-Kreis' defense, he did not choose his client. This is his job as a public defender.

"You don't get to blame officers for escalating a situation that Mr. Nelson escalated"; ADA Neel counters defense assertions

Ms. Neel countered the defense's closing those in her rebuttal closing argument this morning. "The notion that in hindsight, it would have been awesome to have a whole crew go up is not reasonable; imagine if HCSO had an armored car to serve civil papers; that's not reasonable."

"You hope for the best, you prepare for the worst," said ADA Neel. "That's what they did. They didn't think their life was at risk. They approached the house, checked for safety and did it tactically."

Yesterday in her closing using photos of the property and house, Ms. Neel had given details about how the officers approached the house.

"The notion that they were derelict in their duties is unfair and not true."

"They serve 90% of the civil papers in Southern Humboldt. They did what they do every single day as a part of their job. You don't get to balme officers for escalating a situation that Mr. Nelson escalated."

"It is not in dispute that they are officers and Mr. Nelson knew that; it is not in dispute that they were serving papers; it is not in dispute that Mr. Nelson shot Deputy Cao."

ADA neel said that "nobody could have foreseen that Mr. Nelson would retreat into the house and then attack the officers but that is what he did."

"Sgt. Swithenbank never said they were friends," this was in response to defense asking why Deputy cao went to the door and not the Sgt. She reminded the jury that she asked Sgt. Swithenbank if he had a grudge against Nelson and he said no. In fact he responded with, "Mr. Nelson has a grudge against me."

Ms. Neel showed photos and bullet trajectories answering and countering Mr. Elvine-Kreis' assertions. She also said that if Nelson wanted to scare someone off his property, he had other options. She brought up the two DOJ experts and what they said, which was not what Mr. Elvine-Kreis presented. She asked the jury to get readback of testimony, if neccessary.

He could have opened the door and shot in the air but he did not.

Addressing reasonable doubt, ADA neel said, "Can every possible question be answered? This is not a movie. We do not get to go back and rewind and watch or film it over again. What is the reasonable question and conclusion you can reach?"

Yesterday's jury instructions seem prophetic in light of Nelson' s outburst today

The jury deliberating William Nelson's fate has to consider whether he is guilty or not guilty of the following charges: attempted murder with additional allegation of attempted murder of a peace officer. They also have the option of attempted voluntary manslaughter.

They have to consider the evidence and ask was this a justified killing? Was Nelson provoked?

During the first set of jury instructions yesterday, Judge Marilyn Miles told the jury: "Out of court statements cannot be used alond to convict him; can only be used with other evidence presented in trial."

Given Nelson's unexpected outburst today in court, that seems prophetic.

"I am asking you to find William Nelson guilty of willful, deliberate ,premeditated murder"

"I am going to ask you to come back with a single vote. I am asking you to find William Nelson guilty of willful, deliberate, premeditated murder."  This is how ADA Kelly Neel opened her closing yesterday.

With exhibits of pictures, detailed timeline and testimony, Ms. Neel in two days, with a very powerful presentation explained why William Nelson should be found guilty of the charges against him.

Ms. Neel told the jury that Nelson was aware that Bang Cao was a Deputy Sheriff. She went on to explain why the People have proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

She said Sgt. Ken Swithenbank " in 25 years never had to draw a weapon or fire at someone." She reminded the jury that what she said was corroborated by both Sgt. Swithenbank and Lt. Dave Morey.

Sgt. Swithenbank was going to Eureka from Garberville that evening but postponed his shift to accompany Deputy Bang Cao to serve civil papers on Nelson. Sgt Swithenbank knew Nelson "for two decades, he knew where he lived, what car he drove. He also knew William Nelson was armed and had made threats against law enforcement." Six months ago before this incident, Nelson had threatened law enforcement who went to his property.

His threats were so serious that HCSO had sent an email to all officers. Ms. Neel said before Deputy Cao and Sgt. Swithenbank went to Nelson's property, they had "cleared their channels" so communication would be clear and no other traffic would interfere. They had discussed how it would've best to approach the situation. Sgt. Swithenbank thought he had rapport with Nelson and could control the situation, if needed.

Before they approached his door, they were cautious, cleared the area and knocked on the door and identified themselves, checking to see if Nelson was home.

Nelson: "What do you want? "
Deputies answer they want to talk to him.
Nelson: "What do you want to talk about?"

Nelson locks eyes through the door with Deputy Cao. Then he backs away from the door, retreats into the house. The officers hear a door click and " oneto three" minutes pass. Ms. Neel was silent for 3 minutes. This was effective.

Sgt. Swithenbank felt something was wrong, said Ms. Neel. At some point, Nelson came out and hides with what they find out later is a loaded gun. The officers hear someone yell, "Get the fuck off my property."

Deputy Cao in a calm voice asks Nelson to "show his hands" and reiterates they just want to talk. Nelson is concealed behind a deck. Instead of complying, Nelson who is crouched behind the deck, ambushes the officers and shoots at the deputies.

"Nothing that those officers did that day was inappropriate or abusive or out of line."

Addressing testimony from experts about shell casings and using visual exhibits, ADA Neel said the officers were exchanging fire, trying to get out of there and trying to save their lives.

She said Nelson, after shooting at deputies and injuring Deputy Cao in the chest, armed, fled but was apprehended and taken into custody.

"In custody he talks about corrupt cops. You know what he never said,"  ADA Neel paused for a second, "that he was terrified, scared for his life."

"That fucking Chink" is what Nelson said when he locked eyes with Deputy Bang Cao.

From that moment, "he walked through the house, thinking about it, thinking about it before", Ms. Neel referred to Nelson's threats against law enforcement.

"The officer was doing his job and for that Willy Nelson shot him. For that he should be held accountable "

Nelson interuppts ADA Neel's closing in court; almost causes mistrial

In the middle of ADA Kelly Neel's second closing argument, William Nelson, the man charged with shooting Deputy Bang Cao, jumped up in court and started yelling. He would not shut up despite the Judge's initial admonishment and even verbally attacked his own lawyer.

Fortunately, due to quick action by Judge Miles and the bailiff, the jury was taken out of the room.

"They got hard evidence", Nelson yelled as Ms. Neel viscerated defense's argument.
As Judge Miles was asking him to be quiet and Mr. Elvine-Kreis his attorney was trying to calm him down, Nelson kept yelling, "I don't care. I tried to fire you three times."

At this point, the jury was out of the courtroom. Nelson would shake his head yesterday while the attorneys gave their closing but did not create a scene until today.

"Mr. Nelson, if you speak out again, you will be removed from the courtroom," Judge Miles told him. When he assured her and sat down, she turned to the attorneys. Jury was still outside. Two extra bailiffs in the courtroom.

Mr. Elvine-Kreiss asked for a mistrial saying the statements in the outburst made by his client were prejudicial. ADA Neel opposed his motion. "Mr. Nelson does not get to act out in court and cause a mistrial."

Judge Miles agreed with the People, denied the defense motion. Judge Miles said she would handle this by giving instructions to the jury to disregard the outburst, to decide the case based on evidence presented and that they could not hold Nelson's conduct against him or consider it in deliberations.

That is what she told the jury. She also said this is a serious matter for both sides and sometimes people get emotional.

No media was there yesterday to cover closings...Thad came back this morning and was in court today for Ms. Neel's second chance to present people's argument.

Dec 11, 2014

Jury instructions finalized, closing arguments to start shortly in Shelter Cove case

Thad Greenson is the only one here from local media. However, he could not stay and left. Judge Miles just started instructions. First set of jury instructions concluded.

I will update once closings are concluded and jury goes to deliberate.

Guilty! Another jury verdict; partial win for DA and victim

Damian Christensen charged with robbery, inflict corporal injury on spouse/cohabitant, threats to commit crime resulting in death and false imprisonment was found guilty by a jury but not on all counts.

His sentencing is on January 7. Trial was held in Courtrom 4 with Judge Dale Reinholtsen , prosecuted by Roger Rees and Christensen was represented by Kevin Robinson from the public defender's office.

Although, I called it a partial win, the jury convicted Christensen of robbery, false imprisonment and lesser charge on the domestic violence; as a misdemeanor. It was only on the count of threats that they did not convict him

And this is why they are the POP team


On 12/04/14 at about 1:18 p.m. Detectives from EPD Problem Oriented Policing (POP) served a probation search at a residence on the 100 block of Boyle.  Detectives located signs of drug activity and a male child possibly 6 months to a year old unattended upstairs.
Detectives received unconfirmed reports that two people fled from the residence as detectives arrived.  Child Welfare Services responded and took custody of the child.  This is an ongoing investigation and charges will be sought once identities are confirmed.


On 12/10/14 at about 4:19 p.m., Mingo Gaitan 41 and Eleanor Bettes 31 both of Eureka, were arrested during a traffic stop conducted by POP detectives.  Gaitan and Bettes were arrested for child endangerment, possession of heroin for sale, and other drug related charges.  The child remains in protective custody at this time.

Kudos to citizen for detaining suspect

Press Release:

On 12/10/14 at about 4:13 p.m., Eureka Police Department officers responded to a report of an interrupted residential burglary that had just occurred.  The victim told dispatchers that he chased the suspect and had him detained at the 1500 block of 7th Street.

Officers located the victim and suspect and learned that the burglary had occurred at a residence on the 1600 block of 7th Street.  The victim said he found the suspect, Chad Fraker 29 of Eureka, inside his home and chased and detained him.  The victim said he recovered several items of stolen property from Fraker, prior to the officer’s arrival.

Officers took Fraker into custody and he was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for fresh burglary charges.

People and defense rest in Shelter Cove case where HCSO deputy was shot

Closing arguments, jury instructions will take place this afternoon and the jury can start deliberations as early as today.

No other local media has covered this local trial. Two HCSO deputies getting shot while serving civil papers is a big deal.

Today, the only evidence presented by the defense in this case, was five minute questioning of Lt. Dave Morey, the HCSO operations commander at the time of the incident. Greg Elvine Kreis who represents Nelson basically asked him if Sgt. Ken Swithenbank remembered who shot first? Nelson or Deputy Bang Cao? Lt. Morey said Sgt. Swithenbank could not recall who shot first. Mr. Elvine-Kreis brought up a question about Sgt. Swithenbank postponing his shift.

On cross, ADA Kelly Neel clarified that the reason Sgt. Swithenbank requested postponing switching to his shift in Eureka was that he had business to finish in Shelter Cove and wanted to assist in serving civil papers to Nelson and "help diffuse any explosive situation."

Mr. Elvine-Kreis asked if the words explosive situation were used. Lt. Morey said, " can't say for sure." Mr. Elvine-Kreis asked Lt. Morey if Sgt. Swithenbank had a rapport with Nelson and Lt. Morey said, yes.

Mr. Elvine Kreis, said that "majority of the evidence has come in" and that he was only presenting this 1 piece of evidence. He said he believes reasonable doubt has been show and he will address that in his closing argument.


Local "media" does not think HCSO deputies being shot at is worth covering

No other local media has covered the William Nelson trial.

 Two HCSO deputies getting shot while serving civil papers is a big deal. I covered a case in Atlanta for a newspaper in which two police officers were ambushed by the defendant with an arsenal of weapons. One was shot dead instantly when the defendant opened his door; his partner was severely injured and paralyzed. This because they went beyond the call of duty to check on the defendant's partner. The couple had been arguing earlier on the street and the police had been called to check on the woman. They wanted to make sure she was safe.

So, maybe the media will show up later, as they often do, after my post? Or the TS could always just call and have the DA's office fill them in and basically write their article. Maybe NCJ could pull some probation reports and string an article about William Nelson's past?

Why bother doing actual reporting? This is news, this is local. Reprinting press releases and national associated press stories on issues that don't affect people should take a backseat to live coverage.

It shows complete disrespect for law enforcement who put their lives in danger every day, protecting people.

Dec 10, 2014

No grandmother should be forced to steal so her grandkids don't go hungry; the greatest nation's children deserve better

God bless this policeman.

Read this article. The police man talks about law enforcement doing things like this everyday but how often do we read that in the news. What is even more tragic is that this grandmother was forced to steal because her grandchildren were hungry for two days. The daughter's welfare and disability check were delayed in the mail.

Before the anti police rhetoric and the derogatory remarks about people on welfare and fixed income start, as usual we do not have the facts and complete story in this case. The "media" runs with a soundbyte.

Where is the father of these children? Why is this woman on disability? The police and store did not press charges. The policeman bought the eggs for this grandmother who tried to pay him the $1.25 she had and she was 50 cents short to buy 5 eggs.

This happened in Alabama but it will happen in Humboldt County. The move to route mail to Medford and back to Humboldt will have such consequences. Many people locally depend on that check, whatever it may be, retirement, pension, disability.

The federal legislators won't back off from requiring pensions to be funded and career postal employees who make pretty good money won't sacrifice their guaranteed pensions.

Stupid laws with unintended consequences for the most vulnerable. Complain all you want about rich people not caring but then also hold government employees and unions accountable. Why should some groups have guarantees while others struggle?

The children in the article are innocent. They deserve better.

Every one wants someone else to sacrifice while wanting guarantees. Instead of the blame game of partisan politics, when is the last time you gave from the little you had so someone else did not go hungry for 1 day? To someone who can spare it, a little change is not a sacrifice. To someone who gives from the little they have, it is all they have.

Jury trial for Shelter Cove man who shot HCSO deputy on hold while 402 hearing is being conducted; deputy is moving to Marin

William Nelson shot HCSO Deputy Bang Cao in the chest. His jury trial is currently on hold while a 402 hearing is being conducted. I do not have any more information because the 402 hearing is being heard in a closed courtroom. I will be updating when the trial resumes and if Nelson testifies.

Deputy Cao received a purple heart from Sheriff Mike Downey for this case. On a happier note for Bang, he is moving to Marin County soon.

Most recent post on this case:

Disposition/reset hearing postponed again for Sohum murder suspect Benjamin Carter; defense wants "further examination of victim's body"

So Hum suspect Benjamin Carter, who called LOCO, instead of his defense attorney Michael Acosta when he was on the lam will have to wait for his jury trial to be scheduled. Today in Courtroom 1, Mr. Acosta told Judge John Feeney that while the defense is ready for trial, there are some "discovery issues. We want to do further examination of the victim's body."

A disposition/reset hearing has been set for January 5 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 1. DDA Roger Rees represented the People today.

Some of the previous Posts:

Judge Feeney, DDA Roger Rees and Probation take a stand for public safety; Weitechpec suspects laugh in court as if they are on vacation

All four suspects tried to be released on their own recognizance. Their lawyers, public defenders and one appointed private counsel tried but Probation recommended against their release and DDA Roger Rees was great in stating reasons for opposing their release such as several failures to appear, nature of crimes, previous criminal history.

Judge John Feeney denied their release on OR or supervised release citing concerns for public safety.

Sally Ferris was giggling and chatting with fellow suspect Katrina Inong while her case was being heard and communicating with a man in the audience who blurted out, "I'll make sure she is in court," when failure to appear was being discussed.

When you are accused of a serious crime, laughing like you are at Club Med doesn't exactly elicit sympathy. If you cannot be serious in court and even fake being responsible like most repeat offenders, why should you be allowed out of custody and given a second chance or third or fourth?

Dec 4, 2014

So 911 was used by a citizen who gave permission to 4 people to enter property, who then stole stuff, maybe a little common sense would have saved taxpayers money?

At least one of the alleged suspects Don Colegrove,has been in the press for crime related activity, more than once.

HCSO Press-Release:

On the above date at about 3:00 AM Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Lake Prairie Road in the Weitchpec area.  A 911 call alerted the Sheriff’s Office that a citizen had at least two burglary suspects at gunpoint and was awaiting law enforcements arrival.  While deputies were responding the reporting party called back and reported two additional suspects were now on scene and all four were being cooperative and the citizen no longer had them at gunpoint.

When deputies arrived they learned from a caretaker that on 12-3-14 in the afternoon hours, all four suspects had permission from the property owner to collect a vehicle on the property.  However, when the caretaker arrived back at the residence at around 8:30 PM they discovered property from the residence inside two vehicles belonging to the suspects.  The suspects did not have permission to enter the residence.

A relative of the property owner was contacted and later arrived at the property around 1:30 AM (on 12-4-15) and confronted the suspects who were trying to leave the area. The relative disabled the suspect’s vehicles by shooting out their tires with a firearm and then holding them at gunpoint.

No one was injured during this incident and all the property was returned to the victim.

The suspects were identified as: Daniel Pack (age 29), Katrina Inong (age 31), Sally Ferris (age 34) and Donsuagi Colegrove (age 29).  All four suspects were from the Hoopa area. Pack, Inong, Ferris and Colegrove were all arrested and booked at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for burglary and are currently being held on a $75,000 bail.

Matthew Owen responds to Tuluwat's latest post

 link for the California form 700

In response to a post by the Tuluwat Examiner about disclosure by elected officials, Supervisor Virginia's Bass' husband Matthew Owen sent the following response:

"California law states you are not required to report your primary residence.
Also excluded are personal bank accounts, mutual funds and retirement assets."

The following comment is from me:

Since I have supported Virginia, I think the public should check out the facts for themselves, don't take my word or anyone else's.

Windows smashed, iPods and purses stolen from 5 vehicles last night

1200 block of Broadway between 5 pm and 8 pm according to EPD.

Louis Altic is new Old Town Patrol Officer

I will miss seeing Drake Goodale around Old Town; he has done an excellent job. However, if they had to replace Drake, they picked an excellent choice.

I have known Louis and his family personally since I moved here and I have known Louis in my capacity as an on site manager, living and working in Old Town.

Congratulations Louis! Drake wherever they assign you, we are lucky to have you both.

EPD Press Release:

The Eureka Police Department is pleased to announce that Officer Louis Altic has been selected to be the new Old Town Foot Patrol Officer.  Officer Altic begins his assignment on January 7, 2015.

Officer Altic was hired by the Eureka Police Department on July 8, 2002.  During his over 12 years as a police officer with EPD, he has served as a School Resource Officer, patrolman, evidence technician, and defensive tactics instructor.

Officer Altic has been married to his wife, Linda, for 26 years. They are the proud parents of 8 children.  Officer Altic’s oldest son, Ben, is following in his father's footsteps and will graduate from the College of the Redwoods’ 114th Basic Police Academy this Thursday.

Officer Altic is looking forward to serving as the Old Town Officer, and he’s excited about the prospect of getting to know its merchants, residents, and regular visitors on a more personal level as they work together to enhance safety and improve quality of life in that district.

Dec 9, 2014

HCSO asks: are you prepared for the storm?

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office OES would like to advise residents of the potential for flooding in low lying areas based on the currently anticipated amount of rainfall over the next 24-48 hours.  We are continually monitoring the situation for any changes and updated information will be disseminated as necessary.

            North Coast residents should consider taking the following preventive measures in case of future flooding.

Prepare by collecting a supply of food, water, clothing, bedding, toiletries, and emergency equipment such as a flashlight, extra batteries, portable radio, and first aid kit.  Obtain household bleach for water purification.  Fill your car with gas.
Collect any special needs such as diapers, baby food, formula, pet food, and drug prescriptions.
Individuals should make sure that storage facilities are filled and that backup emergency power is available when possible.
Farmers and ranchers should obtain animal feed and be prepared to move animals to higher ground in case of additional flooding.
Collect sandbagging supplies and prepare sandbags.
If you are on high ground, stay inside and listen to local radio/TV for evacuation routes and instructions.  If you need to evacuate, lock your windows and doors.
Watch out for washouts, fallen wires, fallen trees, etc.  Do not cross flowing water (on foot or in a car).
Be prepared for flash floods, which can happen with little or no warning.  Have a plan and act at once when authorities give you information.

"If you are not going to terminate him, leave him until next Friday when the 1.3 million check comes in"

The most exciting part of today's Board of Supervisor's meeting was public comment before the Board adjourned for closed session.

Public meeting enthusiast Kent Sawatsky spoke on all three items being discussed in close session.

The first item is considering appointment for the position of County Counsel. Mr. Sawatsky mentioned that the only person qualified in that office was Maggie Fleming "but she is going to be our DA." He also brought up that at a crucial meeting County Counsel was not present and if it had not been for a planning commission appointee by Supervisor Virginia Bass present at that meeting, the County could be facing litigation. He urged the County to hire someone who is not a "litigation magnet."

Regarding the performance evaluation of CAO Phillip Smith-Hanes, he said "If you are not going to terminate him, leave him until next Friday when I get confirmation of the 1.3 million check." This reference is to the post I did about the Oversight Board, Mark Lovelace.

About the County litigation against Robert McKee, Mr. Sawatsky said it should not have happened. " There are other people being affected."

He made a comment about"agendas" and the battle for control in Humboldt County politics. He used commercial marijuana growing as an example.

He called the people growing in the hills, the Hatfield's and the people growing in the lowlands, the McCoys. He clarified this later outside the chambers. Marijuana should be grown on agricultural land, not timber land "where fish, tree and nature need water."

No media was present to cover the meeting.

Dec 8, 2014

Cannabis vending machine unveiled in Colorado

Tragic incident ends in juvenile death

On the above date at 3:05 PM the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call of a missing three year-old male at the Big Lagoon County Park North of Trinidad.  Deputies were immediately dispatched including Sheriff’s Search and Rescue personnel.  Numerous other emergency personnel were also immediately dispatched including: Cal Fire, Mad River Ambulance, California State Parks Rangers, California Highway Patrol and a US Coast Guard helicopter.

It was reported the juvenile was last seen near the water on the lagoon side of the park and rescuers including local citizens started searching.  The juvenile was located in the water by rescue personnel and quickly moved to an ambulance where Paramedics performed lifesaving efforts.  Tragically, the juvenile did not survive.

The name of the juvenile and family are not being released at this time out of respect for their privacy.  At this time, there is no indication this incident is anything other than an unfortunate accident.  

Enjoy oyster shooters with local sauces and support your local entrepreneurs

Sebastian Elrite,owner of local business Aqua-Rodeo Farms, whose locally harvested oysters are served at Humboldt Bay Tourism Center, has partnered with HBTC, It's Alive Kombucha and Humboldt Hot Sauce for Buck A Shuck, every Tuesday from 6-8 pm at the Humboldt Bay Tourism Center.  Enjoy oyster shooters with local sauces and support your local entrepreneurs.

Two Christmases ago, I was looking for a gift and called Sebastian at the last minute. When it rains, he cannot harvest. Still, he had enough advance notice and he delivered a dozen oysters, packed and on time. I mention this because it has been raining a lot lately so keep that in mind for the winter months.

This holiday season as a thank you to our local business owners, I am doing these posts on select businesses that I patronisea s a customer.

Aqua-Rodeo farms offers Humboldt Bay Oyster Tours and Bucksport Oysters are exclusive to Aqua-Rodeo Farms.  Gift certificates available by the dozen(regular price $12 each) or 10 dozen punch card at a discount ($100). 

Call (707) 444-3854 for more information or visit

"We are in an unique position to rebuild this agency"

The above quote is one of many made by Sheriff Mike Downey at a press conference and swear in ceremony that took place at 9 a.m. today. Only media present was Channel 3 and KAEF.

"It is very important that you all here today to honor these promotions," said Sheriff Downey. "It is monumental to have so many promotions at this time."

"Due to budgetary issues, which are nationwide, we are down to 220 employees." With the passage of Measure Z, " now we can deliver better service to Humboldt County. These promotions are a part of that movement."

He explained why he promoted each individual and said he had received positive feedback from the community.

" What is unique about the Lt. position of Kevin Miller is that we are returning that position to Mckinleyville. Kevin's position is not patrol oriented but community oriented. He will be going to meetings in the community; he will be meeting people coming into the office."

Introducing Lt. Young, Sheriff Downey said, "We were both truck drivers at one time." Lt. Young has been with HCSO for a long time and he assured Sheriff Downey that "he is committed to being here for a long time."

Lt. Young, in addition to his responsibilities overseeing HCSO staff in the criminal and civil courts will be in charge of Southern Humboldt.

Sheriff Downey said these promotions were only a part of the bigger changes coming in the future for HCSO. He said increased law enforcement is what voters wanted from Measure Z and that he is looking at anticipated income and seeing what changes he can make.

Speaking of the recent consolidation of the Sheriff's and Coroner's office, Sheriff Downey said he had put Sgt. Bryan Quenell in charge of that consolidation.

A swear in ceremony was held this morning for the HCSO employees recently promoted. Family members, HCSO staff, Pastor Andy Van Browse, Sheriff Downey, Undersheriff Billy Honsal, Supervisors Rex Bohn and Virginia Bass, Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills, District Attorney elect Maggie Fleming were among those who attended the event.

Previous release:

Sheriff Michael Downey is pleased to announce five new promotions within the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office due to recent vacancies. Effective 11-24-2014, two Sheriff’s Office Sergeants, Kevin Miller and Dennis Young, will be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.  Corporals Jesse Taylor, Justin Braud and Detective Samuel Williams will be promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

Sergeant Kevin Miller has been with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office for approximately 20 years and has worked a variety of assignments. He is currently a patrol sergeant and when he is promoted, he will be assigned to the re-established Northern Area Command. Lieutenant Miller will be responsible for all areas north of Eureka, including Orick, McKinleyville, Willow Creek, Hoopa, the Animal Shelter, the Airport and the contract cities of Blue Lake and Trinidad. Lieutenant Miller will be attending community meetings, tribal meetings and contract city meetings as the Sheriff’s representative.

Sergeant Dennis Young has been with the Sheriff’s Office for approximately 16 years and is currently the Sergeant in charge of the bailiffs, courthouse security and civil division. Lieutenant Young will be responsible for courthouse security, civil division, court security and all areas south of Eureka, including Loleta, Garberville, Bridgeville, Honeydew, Petrolia, Redway and Alderpoint. He will also be attending community meetings as the Sheriff’s representative.

Corporal Justin  (J.D.) Braud has approximately 12 years of law enforcement experience. He has worked for the Sheriff’s Office as well as Eureka Police Department.  Corporal Jesse Taylor has been with the Sheriff’s Office approximately 12 years. Detective Samuel Williams has been with the Sheriff’s Office approximately 13 years.  All three newly promoted Sergeants will be assigned to the patrol division of the Sheriff’s Office.

Dec 5, 2014

rant n raves post on craigslist about living next to tweakers and the hopelessness will resonate with many

This is a post by someone who should not have to deal with this situation.

CLhumboldt >personals >rants & raves
 reply  x prohibited[?]  Posted: 4 hours ago ◀ prev ▲ next ▶
 Tweakers next door to me are stealing power (Eureka)

I'm not going to post any addresses or any other personal info for legal reasons. It's damn stupid to bring extra trouble your way via the internet.

These scumbags that I have to share a wall with in this four-plex are definitely tweakers. When they moved in, they seemed normal enough: Husband, wife, 4 year-old daughter. Over the past couple months, I've heard nothing but noise at all hours, including screaming, broken glass, kids crying, thumping against the walls, threats of violence, loud rock & country music, whirring appliances that stay on for hours uninterrupted (vacuum cleaner, what sounds like a power drill), and more. They've taken in floppers who definitely aren't sleeping anywhere else, along with their kids. I've been told to "get the fuck out" of the shared backyard while they're (the floppers, not the tweakers who rent the place) sitting around back there. There are bicycle bits and holes all over the backyard lawn, now.

Last month--at 1:00 AM--I heard thumping on the walls, tweakers screeching at eachother, and then pounding on my front door. I looked through the peephole, and it was this shirtless, skinheaded geeter standing there with his chest puffed out. He wasn't just pounding- he was punching the door, and he looked pissed off. I saw him tell the person in the other door (out of my sight through the hole) to "wait for this fool, he's home, we wait on him..."
Fuck that. I'm not opening the door for any of those people. He eventually went back into the apartment with the rest of the scum.

I get my power bill a few days ago and it's way fucking higher than it was before these shitheads moved in next to me. I turned off the main breaker in my home, then went to check the meter, and sure enough, it's still moving, and moreso than the minimal amount that is always running.

On top of that, they saw me checking the meter, told me to get the fuck away from it because their "power was none of my business". I told them I was only looking mine, and they kept screaming at me, anyway.

Why haven't I called the cops? Because they won't do shit. I've seen them show up to these situations a hundred times (obvious tweaky shit in plain view) and they don't arrest anyone. They browbeat and talk around eachother until the EPD warns them and then they leave, leaving me--the only person who would've called--alone with them. And these people are gacked enough to start trouble over nothing.

I've been trying to talk with PG&E. I was already looking for a new place to live before they moved in, haven't had any luck. It seems like I'm stuck here, but I'm not going to put up with this shit, with tweakers banging on my door, or taking over the property. I'm not paying for their stolen power. I'm not listening to a symphony of FM radio and appliance motors, to the beat of slamming doors and thumping walls.

Can't move, can't call the cops, but I can't take this.