May 1, 2017

Kyle Zoellner's preliminary starts same day as Lawson's funeral; both sides respectful in court except for 4 Lawson supporters

Kyle Zoellner, the suspect charged with the death of HSU student David Josiah Lawson has his preliminary scheduled this morning.

The case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees and DDA Jessica Watson.

Zoellner is being represented by Deputy Public Defender Luke Brownfield and Deputy Public Defender Kelly Neel.

Today is also the funeral for Lawson scheduled in Riverside.

The courtroom was packed with family and supporters for Zoellner and supporters for Lawson.

Zoellner's mother, had her head down, while his girlfriend described Zoellner being beat up and being unconcious. His father putting his arm around his wife.

Both sides very respectful except for four of Lawson's supporters, speaking loudly, sighing and making rude comnents during Zoellner's girlfriend's testimony, this by some white guy such as "Were you drunk?" They eventually shut up towards the last half an hour. They were better in the courtroom as far as talking in the afternoon after this post but not outside the courtroom.

This white dude, lurks aggressively, standing next to me while I was having a private conversation with a HSU student about another court case, got confrontational with me during the break after seeing this post and when I told him to leave me alone, started whining this was public space, then Verbena, his wife and two African American women got involved trying to intimidate me, making a scene, and trying to make it about my pointing my pen to them. I did not start the interaction, that guy did and he couldn't even hold his own while the other four drama queens surrounded me as I was trying to listen to the bailiff to walk away.

One of these women is the same African American woman who attacked Zoellner's mother without provocation outside the courtroom, last time, before arraignment. I did not write about it letting it go as emotions before arraignment. Despite warning from the bailiff today, they kept staring at me and Zoellner's family in tge courtroom with the same African American woman mouthing off to me, at the end of the day, itching to create another scene.

Then one of these women, the same one who verbally attacked Zoellner's mother deliberately walked out and walked near me when I was standing far away on the other side of the hallway, letting them exit first.

It is a shame that due to the PC environment in Humboldt, no one is challenging the obnoxious behavior of these troublemakers. The only race and drama card is being played by people not related to the victim, seeking to get their 15 minutes of fame in a tragedy where one young man lost his life and another whose life is in jeopardy because of these drama quuens being disruptive and trying to sway the judicial process.

Verbena is not related to Lawson; her interest in this case is evident to those in Humboldt County familiar with her anti police agenda. What other reason would she have to take notes? I highly doubt the white couple are related to Lawson or the two African American women. If they were related or close to Lawson they would be at his funeral today; not creating drama in the courtroom/courthouse. So what is their agenda?

When you are trying to write down details and report, especially in such an emotional case with tensions in the community, drama does not help the person you allege to be supporting. If these four people, include Verbena, had any couth or class, they would respect Josiah and his family by keeping their behavior respectful and not trying to get attention for themselves.

Maybe these four are pissed that today's testimony by the People's own witnesses, under oath, shows a whole different story than what certain people are spinning in most of the media. Looks so far from the first punch was thrown at Zoellner and that Zoellner and friends tried to defend themselves and even try and leave at one This isnt as black and white as certain party goers want it to be.


  1. Sorry to hear spectators chose to make it about them; their feelings, their opinions, their 'free' speech.
    Let's call it what it is: Uncivilized, selfish immature behavior which did not benefit Lawson's supporters or limit Zoeliner's legal right to a fair trial.
    Since an accused is entitled to a trial by a jury of their peers I hope the names of those acting out was noted and should they ever be called to serve on a jury that they be excused forthwith. Of course they might not want to serve on a jury (a privilege we do enjoy in our country, unlike so many others) believing the system unfair (or whatever).
    One would have hoped that the court itself would have limited such conduct since the Superior Court of Humboldt has this on their
    Court Etiquette and Security page:
    "Court Etiquette:
    No person shall appear in Court barefoot, shirtless, wearing a tank top, wearing sunglasses, or dress in any manner reflecting poorly upon the dignity of the Court and its decorum. The bailiffs of the Court are to remove any person violating this rule. This rule does not limit any judge from additionally prescribing appropriate attire or conduct rules in the Courtroom."
    I'd like to repeat the pertinent section:

    This rule does not limit any judge from additionally prescribing APPROPRIATE attire OR CONDUCT RULES IN THE COURTROOM.

    One hopes both sets of attorneys will ask the Court to so instruct those who are "reflecting poorly upon the dignity of the Court and its decorum."

    I know a woman who reports on trials (some very big ones) and she had written about how even a slightly disorderly courtroom makes her reporting more difficult and does nothing to further a case or justice. And she is friends with many high profile lawyers and ADAs and is treated as a reporter although she represents only herself and her blog.
    There was a major case which she covered and there was another woman who wrote about crime who dismissed (in print) the woman I know as 'just taking up space'. I later read the 'professional' woman's interviews on her coverage and contrasted it to the one I had read and the first thing I noticed was that a good third of her blog is taken up with photos of her (all very glamorous) the second thing was how she claimed to have such 'insights gained from personal relationships with some of the professionals involved'. Ultimately, the book she wrote (destined for Hollywood, unfortunately) lacked anything new or any insights.
    The writer I follow continues to be a welcome presence in courtrooms and knows what's really happening.
    So the work you're doing John, while it may not make big headlines, is a job widely respected elsewhere. And it is in small details that the real story comes out, which also need to be reported.
    Good luck sifting the wheat from the chaff.

  2. Thank you for thoroughly reporting on this case, even with that hostility and threatening behavior towards you. Though most of the reporting on this incident from other sources has been rather one sided, people do care to know what really happened and your work here is truly appreciated.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I have witnesses too about the initial interaction with that guy and the rest. If anyone tries to harass me tomorrow or intimidate me and prevent me from doing my job and ignoring the bailiff's advice not to engage, they should know I will consider legal action and/or report them to proper authorities if they get physical with me in or outside the courthouse or anywhere in town.

  3. Being that I am one of the African Americans you are speaking of, you have definitely made the situation more than it was. "Obnoxious trouble makers "? " loud " ? That's funny how you use some of the same words that society uses to stereotype us. It's funny how you left out the part of WHY we reacted the way we did. It's funny how you failed to mention that you were asked a simple question on an article YOU WROTE . It's funny how you fail to mention that YOU BLEW UP first which caused the reaction from us which was a sentence or two lol. It's not that serious for us to be violent towards you. You clearly have your own stereotypes and thoughts about Africans in America. I'm not African American and do not identify that way so correct yourself. This is what you do ALL DAY EVERYDAY like clearly you're miserable. By the way the witnesses totally contradicted themselves. It's clear that you're biased and stuck in your thoughts so that's fine. You can continue to dwell in your ignorance . This article shows more of your character ; who you are and what you stand for

    1. Barbara, first of all thank you for your comment and using your name. I am well acquainted with Verbena who did leave me alone today, we will see how long that lasts. Tina, the other lady I identified as African American may or may not identify as one either. You are very defensive. People misidentify my ethncity all the time, I dont throw a temper tantrum about it; they dont know me personally. Just because you think I made the situation more than it is, does not make it fact. You all were loud yesterday and distracting. I am not the only one to think so, I just called you out on it. Today was better until the afternoon. Every one left me alone except your white guy friend who thinks public space means walking by me constantly and trying to listen to more private conversations. You were not there next to us or close enough to hear or observe what happened yesterday. Just as I described, you all came up to me. I have witnesses nearby and there is video which will show that your friend was not calm in approaching me and ignored my initial request to leave me alone.

      Your friend did not ask me a simple question. He yelled at me after standing too close for my comfort in a private conversation I was having with someone else. The courthouse and courtroom are not your living room or a party. There are rules and respecting others is one of them. I go to court regularly. see tragedy, have helped many. I could care less what you, someone who is using this tragedy for your personal self esteem issues and race agenda thinks.

      I am not miserable, you are. I moved past this, after yesterday.

      You have a victim mentality, use the race, gender whatever card to create drama.You are pissed that I am not covering the spin some of you have tried to use the rest of the media for and telling facts stated in court which are casting doubt on the BS being shoveled by certain people since this happened and shamelessly claiming every one else but you is racist. I am used to people getting exposed getting pissed. I know people of many races, ethnicities, cultures, ages, etc. Unlike you, I dont use any isms or place blame on others, I chose to succeed.

      If you had any decency or if you had truth on your side, you would not need to intimidate me. Get a clue about journalism, get a clue that due process is something a defendant is entitled to, as well. As a key witness in this case, Elijah Chandler should not have been talking daily to the media. Never seen a key witness in a current homicide case do that.

      This isnt about you, Barbara. It is about a young man losing his life unexpectedly and tragically, where many people watched instead of helping as Paris testified today. And another young man, who deserves justice without some of you trying to shut down anyone not printing what is convenient to you.

    2. I appreciate you covering trials the way you do but maybe you should take your own "this isn't about you" definitely does not make you look like an impartial complain about how other papers are spinning this story...yet you clearly seem to have inserted your own feelings into this case...the way you are describing the situation clearly has a slant to it...kind of takes away from your usual solid reporting and makes me questionyour motives...just some friendly advice as a dedicated reader of your blog...

    3. You are entitled to your opinion enzo and free to read whatever you want on my blog or not. You are posting anonymously, which conveniently gives you a cover to hide any bias or connection you may have to this case or just feelings. If you see a slant in my reporting courtroom observations, that is your opinion. It does not make it fact. What I wrote above, occurred, continues to occur. Despite my not engaging these people, at least two of them continue to go out of their way to continue their behavior in front of others, openly un a courtroom and in a hallway that has video. Many people appreciate my blog, what I do, know me, many personally and do not change their dedication to reading my blog because of one post or one case.

  4. Being that I am one of the " African American " women that you speak of I found this article very interesting. First of all " white dude " is not academic professional language to be published in an article. Second of all it's funny how you speak of our reaction but don't talk about your action that caused it. It's funny how you didn't mention that YOU BLEW UP FIRST after you were asked about an article YOU WROTE that you didn't want to discuss, but you call it " lurking aggressively " lol. It's funny how you use the same words and phrases that society uses to stereotype us " obnoxious behavior of these trouble makers ". & it's definitely funny how you think we're mad that the witnesses " told a different story than what certain people are spinning in the media " . We're not mad but you're right; all three of them did tell different stories that in the end contradicted themselves so I honestly feel that this article shows more of your character as a person and the fact that you do this all day everyday shows it even more lol. Have a nice day. Oh and by the way it's not that serious for us to get violent with you.

    1. Is this you Tina or Barbara? The first line is very similar to a comment already published. What action of mine? Calling you all out for your disgraceful, disrespectful behavior in court that others witnessed? Or standing up for myself after Michael Fennell shoved his phone in front of my face, yelling and the rest of you, 4, including Verbena circled around me creating a scene.

  5. I have no involvement what so ever...I don't even live in the area anymore but find the cases in your blog and loco to be very interesting, it's hard to replicate the crazy stories that come out of your neck of the woods...I'm a 41 yo white guy with an open mind to the facts of the case...I think your blog does a great job of covering trials...Im sure your interaction with those people was uncomfortable...I'm also sure I never comment on line but felt compelled after reading the comments between you and the other readers...I couldn't help feeling you are "inserting yourself" into this important trial with your attitude...I appreciate your hard work but want to feel I'm just getting the facts and not your emotional reactions to the case...feel free to agree to disagree and I will continue to read your blog...ty

  6. Stating the fact when I am being harassed while doing my job by emotional, biased folks trying to prevent truth is not attitude or reaction on my part. Despite my not engaging them in court or outside court, doing my best to avoid them, at least two have continued their shennanigans today. I will continue to call them out. They think they can intimidate me into not reporting what they consider is news. Does not work that way. I think I know who you are and we agree and disagree sometimes, which is healthy. Had they communicated to me or expressed an opinion like you have in these comments, I would be fine with it.

  7. We were also in court and in the hall. We witnessed everything you said in this post to be true and accurate. Shame on them!!!!!
    A senseless fight, one little guy gets the better of one member of a club, he just had him in a headlock, he asked the club member, hey are you going to be polite and not hit me or my women any more, he tapped with little more than his pride, hurt, and then members of this group/club acting as a gang.
    Knocked the Lil guy out in 15 seconds max, then beats a unconscious man and hits women in the midst this group/club members who admitted to assaulting the little guy, should be charged for almost beating and now proven innocent kid, to death. Similar Dynamics were presented by the four officers charged in the Rodney King beating officers were pissed when Rodney King eluded them they nearly beat him to death when acquitted. What happened with the LA riots??
    Millions of dollars of damage, double standard or what.
    A club could not expect different treatment than, they wanted, expected and rioted over, years ago.
    Justice for Kyle!!!!!!
    As stated years ago, if it doesn’t fit you must acquit.
    The fingerprint, fibers, and blood wasn’t his or on his clothing clearly there was somebody in the background that took misguided Justice in their own hands.
    Stand tall Humboldt!!!!!!!
    infectious truths.