Thursday, August 16, 2007

ANOTHER Plea Bargain - Paul Gallegos cuts Kesser a deal in murder case

Kesser is actually a man who was CONVICTED of killing, not just a man who is ACCUSED. Now he will testify against the person who had the least role in the murder. Shouldn't that have been the other way around? When is he eligible for parole, Chris? How many times was she stabbed, Chris? Has anyone pulled up the old articles - you know the pre-online coverage? You post Chris Burgess' baby pictures. Let's see some crime scene photos so people get a real idea of what has just been done here. I guess this is what Gallegos means by "justice for all."
Kesser cuts deal in murder case

A Fortuna man accused of hiring a hitman to kill his estranged wife in 1991 reached a plea agreement with the District Attorney's Office Wednesday that could require him to testify against his former girlfriend.

Richard Craig Kesser's retrial was scheduled to begin this week.

Under the agreement, Kesser is required to make a full statement and answer any questions regarding the death of his estranged wife, Mary Kesser. He will also have to take a polygraph test and testify “truthfully” in any trial related to her death.

If Kesser completes all of the conditions, he will be convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. If he lies during questioning or commits perjury while testifying, Kesser will be convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life.

The District Attorney's Office also agreed to drop the special circumstance count of murder for monetary gain, a move which makes Kesser eligible for parole. As part of the deal, Kesser waives his right to appeal his conviction.

Kesser may be called to testify in the trial of his one time codefendant and girlfriend, Jennifer Gayle Leahy.

Leahy and Kesser were granted retrials by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals based on the actions of a former deputy district attorney. The appeals court found the former deputy district attorney rejected potential jurors “on the basis of their race, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.”

Kesser and Leahy allegedly hired Duane Chiara to kill Mary Kesser, reportedly for her life insurance money.

The young mother was killed in her N Street home in Fortuna on Nov. 26, 1991. She was stabbed multiple times with what is believed to be a machete-type weapon. Leahy is due in court Monday for a hearing.

Chiara has also been brought back to Humboldt County as a possible witness in the case.

”The parties have the power to call him,” said District Attorney Paul Gallegos, the prosecutor in Kesser's retrial.

If Kesser refuses to testify, make statements or take the polygraph, the plea agreement is off the table.

”That would be in violation of the agreement,” said Superior Court Judge Dale Reinholtsen.

Kesser, with slicked back hair and a short beard, quietly answered yes to all of Reinholtsen's questions.

After Wednesday's proceeding, Kesser shook hands with his attorney Glenn Brown and was escorted back to the jail.

Fortuna Police Chief Kris Kitna, who worked on the Kesser case in 1991, said he trusted the district attorney's judgment.

”As far as the Fortuna Police Department is concerned, we are essentially satisfied with this agreement,” he said.

If the plea agreement is accepted, which won't officially happen until Leahy's trial is completed, and Kesser complies with the orders of the agreement, he will also be convicted of a felony criminal threats charge, which is a strikeable offense.

”If he's ever paroled, he'll have two strikes against him,” Gallegos said.

If Kesser is convicted of the second-degree murder charge, he may be immediately eligible for a parole hearing because he's been in prison for 16 years. Gallegos said it is unlikely that Kesser will be paroled.

Gallegos also said Mary Kesser's family was made aware of the plea agreement and was part of the decision process.

”They have to know; it's their right,” Gallegos said. “And it's common decency.”

A deal for Leahy will not be discussed now, Gallegos said.

”We have to see what Mr. Kesser has to say,” he said.

Brown declined to comment on the plea agreement, citing Leahy's pending case.


  1. Second degree. Told you.

    Gallegos simply could not do it the way Dikeman did. He was bound and determined to make this trial
    "his case" and if he had to do something really pathetic to do it, he really doesn't give a hoot.

    From day one, it's been "my way or the highway" with him, because from day one, he's been Number One. Not the public, not justice, not the victims. Paul is all Paul, all the time.

  2. Re-trying a case 15 years after the first trial is not necessarily just a matter of doing the same thin all over again. Witnesses move (or pass away), memories fade, and so on. That said, WHAT THE F#@*? What about this case makes it necessary to cut this deal with this dirtbag? PVG owes the public that explination, although to be fair there may be problems he doesn't want to discss publically until the case is resolved. Until then I will, based upon the totality of the circumstances, presume he is a chickenshit.

  3. Gallegos should have to explain why he cut the deal with Kesser and not with Leahy, if not why he cut a deal at all when he had a winnable case.

    Maybe he should have given this case to someone with experience, someone dedicated and qualified like Max Cardoza.

  4. And you presume correctly 8:28 am

    What can you expect from this community any more? PVG obtained, and still has, the support of the marijuana industry people. Being homeless and without a job is almost an honorable profession in Humboldt County. The T/S does a front page article honoring drug dealing and money laundering!

  5. The transcripts from the first trial are admissible if a witness goes missing or memory fades. They can actually be read to the jury as if the witness were present.

    But there is no way PVG was going to be tied to using Dikeman's work, it has to be about him. He wants the "credit". And now he will have it. Murder for hire, for money, a case already proven, is given away, slaughtered like another victim on the altar of PVG's ego. It's a legal fiction so PVG can buy the testimony of a convicted and, now, presumably confessed murderer. Lots of credibility there. PVG will say that second degree is the functional equivalent of LWOP, because murderers rarely get paroled. Well, they don't get paroled because parole boards don't believe them when they claim to have been rehabilitated. But PVG wants the jury to believe this vicious goon beyond a reasonable doubt when he toes the line to get his deal.


  6. Would I have more rights as a pot grower in Humboldt County then I do now?

    I think I would be able to make a good income without much output.

    Tax free as well.

  7. As a pot grower you would be untouchable unless the feds get you.

  8. so - under paul it seems clear that in addition to pot growers having carte blanch, so do rapists and murderers...especially murderers that pay people to KILL their wives for money.

  9. Hey guys - while you are contemplating this plea bargain, how about the guy over at planning named rio/soran anderson being busted with over 3000 pot plants on former Tooby Ranch property. Seems that he was also a BIG paul supporter.

    Who wants to take bets on how this one will be charged and plea bargained away.

  10. Like many this case will just disappear ...............

    How about the ex-con with several ounces of meth and a stored meth lab, she got probation !

  11. Yep, Rio Anderson was a supporter of Gallegos. Now you know why.

  12. What say we keep track of Mr. Anderson's case? Maybe even check and see who hired him for the County? Who he listed as referrences? Did you read the T/S? The property belongs to Journey Aquarian, a "cattle rancher"?!?! Oh yes, I'll bet some in SoHum are getting a chuckle off that one.

    Some want a police review board! How about a DA review board? Court watchers to keep track of all the sweetheart deals and dismissals!?

  13. You know - today I am discouraged. I guess people just don't care.

    Maybe they would if someone took the time to write about Mary Kesser - what happened, who she was - like I said, they're happy to show pictures of Chris Burgess' baby pictures to inflame public sentiment, but no mention of Mary Kesser's life, no pictures of her, and no research into the crime scene, which I hear was "horrific." Imagine the self defense wounds, a young Mom, with a 4 year old, stabbed 37 times, and for what?

    And Gallegos doesn't care enough to keep him behind bars? The guy is going to get immediate parole?

    And as long as he supports and has the support of growers (Like this guy Rio), everyone is cool with that?

    What does it take?


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