On July 1, 2016, Samuel Hawken, 32 years old of Crescent City, pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and to assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury and stipulated to a 7-year prison term. He was sentenced August 16, 2016.
The convictions stem from an incident on December 1, 2013, when Mr. Hawken and Josh Sherer, 32 years old of Eureka, went to a residence in Eureka to confront the people who lived there. Mr. Hawken brought a baseball bat while Mr. Sherer carried pepper spray. The two attacked the homeowners, who fought back. Mr. Hawken ran out of the home while Mr. Sherer was caught and held down until police arrived. Humboldt County Sherriff’s Deputies discovered upon their arrival that Mr. Sherer was unconscious from being held down. He was later pronounced dead; an autopsy revealed asphyxiation as the cause of death. District Attorney Maggie Fleming explained that, “When a person engages in a dangerous, provocative act and a death results, he or she may be held criminally responsible even if the actual killing was at the hands of another.”