Jan 19, 2018

Ryan Joseph Maxstadt found guilty of attempted murder of CHP officer

Having adjourned to commence deliberations just before noon, a Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned to the courtroom just after 5 o'clock this afternoon to announce its verdict of guilty.

Defendant Ryan Joseph Maxstadt, age 28, of San Jose, was found guilty of the attempted murder of a California Highway Patrol officer, a felony committed in Willits on the night of December 20, 2016. The jury also found true special findings that the attempted murder was willful, deliberate and premeditated; that when the defendant made his attempt to kill he knew or should have known that the CHP officer was a peace officer performing his duties; and that during his attempt to kill the defendant personally and intentionally discharged his revolver at the officer.

What jury was not told during the course of this week's trial was that defendant Maxstadt had already been convicted last August of assault with a firearm on a peace officer, a felony; personally using a firearm during the assault, a sentencing enhancement; recklessly evading a peace officer, a felony; being a felon in possession of a firearm, a felony; vehicle theft, a felony; and true findings that defendant Maxstadt has previously served two prior prison terms. The jury that heard basically the same evidence in August ended up being hung on the single charge of attempted murder -- 11 for guilt to 1 -- setting the stage for this week's retrial on that single count and associated special findings.

Once this week's jury was thanked and excused, the defendant and all of his convictions were referred to the Adult Probation Department for a background study and sentencing recommendation. Defendant Maxstadt is not eligible for probation and any sentence imposed will be served in state prison. He remains in the Low Gap jail facility with a no bail hold.

The Court scheduled a future sentencing hearing for February 20, 2018 at 9 o'clock in the morning in Department G or another department to be determined in the Ukiah courthouse. Any person interested in the facts of this case, this defendant, or the sentencing outcome is welcome to attend that February sentencing hearing.

The prosecutor who handled the August trial and this week's single count retrial is District Attorney David Eyster.

The law enforcement agencies who assisted in the investigation of the underlying crimes were the Ukiah Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, the Willits Police Department, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, the California Department of Justice crime laboratory, and the District Attorney's own investigators. Additional technical forensic assistance and expert testimony was ably provided by Stutchman Forensic Laboratory in Napa.

The judge who presided over the August jury trial, this week's five-day retrial, and will be the sentencing judge on February 20th is Mendocino County Superior Court Presiding Judge Ann Moorman.

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