Sunday, September 21, 2008

Barger murder trial to begin this week

It's quite a story how this guy came to be in jail! Complete with a pot grow, drug deals, more offers of immunity from the DAs Office, a case dismissed the day the trial was set to begin back in 2006 and refiled in 2007...
☛ TS Barger murder trial to begin this week
More than five years after Rex Shinn was reportedly shot dead near the Southern Humboldt town of Honeydew, David Gabriel Barger is preparing to stand trial for his murder.

Jury selection is expected to continue Monday for the trial, in which Barger is charged with first-degree murder and stealing Shinn's truck.

Barger was also held to stand trial on a charge of attempted murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, but those charges will be tried separately.

Shinn, 32, of Loleta, was reported missing July 19, 2003, by his mother, after no one had seen him for several months. His abandoned pickup truck was found a month later by a hunter near Petrolia.

More than a year later, in January 2005, Sheriff's Office investigators were led to Shinn's body, which was later identified through dental records....

According to a Feb. 17, 2007, Declaration in Support of Arrest written by Sheriff's detective Rich Schlesiger, Barger, Shinn and four other passengers piled into Shinn's pickup on the morning of July 19, 2003, and headed to the Honeydew property of Scott Starnes, parking outside his front gate.

Shinn and Barger then left the other passengers in the truck and went up and knocked on Starnes' front door, according to the report. Starnes reportedly told investigators that he was awoken by the knocking, and was on his way to answer the door when he heard several gunshots.

When Starnes opened the door, he found Shinn lying dead with a gunshot wound to the head and Barger running down the driveway, according to the report....

Because Starnes had a marijuana growing operation on the property, according to the report, and was afraid to call law enforcement, he told investigators that he and Cordrey decided to use a backhoe to bury Shinn's body near a pond on his property.

According to other documents in Barger's case file, both Cordrey and Starnes repeatedly denied having any knowledge of Shinn's death when asked about it by law enforcement and only admitted to their roles after being offered immunity by the District Attorney's Office....

Barger was soon charged with the attempted murder of Pires, but Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Timothy Cissna ruled in June 2006 there was not enough evidence to hold him over for trial.

Barger was arraigned on a complaint of the attempted murder of Fee the next month, as well as two allegations of felony assault stemming from the incident, but the District Attorney's Office dismissed the case the day the trial was set to begin.

The Humboldt County District Attorney's Office re-filed those charges Feb. 14, 2007, as well as the first-degree murder and vehicle theft charges relating to Shinn, after the case apparently caught a break. While still in custody on the unrelated charges, Barger allegedly confessed to two people that he'd killed Shinn, according to the investigator's report....

☛ TS Read the whole story.

Related: Men reported missing a year ago, investigations still open - 8/9/04 The Times-Standard
A year ago today was the last time anyone saw Chris Giauque. Giauque, 36, of Redway, was reported missing by his wife Aug. 10, 2003, when he failed to return from meeting an acquaintance in northern Mendocino County. The next day, Rex Shinn's mother reported him missing after not seeing him for four months.

The two cases are not believed to be related but the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department is still actively investigating both cases....

☛ ER David Barger arraigned on 2003 murder 3/27/07
☛ ER Barger cases scheduled for hearing 4/11/07
☛ ER Preliminary hearing continued 7/3/07

☛ NCJ Marijuana crime 12/25/03
On Aug. 11, Southern Humboldt residents Chris Giauque and Rex Shinn were both reported missing to the Sheriff's Office -- neither has been found, and both are believed dead. Giauque, a prominent medical marijuana advocate, had been on a trip to the Spy Rock Road area of Mendocino County -- the precise purpose of the trip was unknown, but was presumed to have involved drugs. Shinn was believed to have been murdered in a drug deal gone bad. The incidents were probably unrelated.

Two weeks later, Whitethorn teenager Sean Akselsen was shot dead near Briceland. Three unidentified African American males from the Bay Area or Sacramento are suspected in the murder -- they had apparently been staying in the Garberville area for a few days, looking to score, before they met Akselsen.

Those were the worst incidents this year, but far from the only ones. There were two home invasion robberies connected with the drug, in Arcata and Manila. A carjacking and attempted murder in the Dyerville area was rumored to be related to a marijuana deal. There was a murder and car chase just over the Humboldt County line near Willow Creek in November -- a deal gone bad.

The robbers' greed is the principal cause of the violence, of course -- but the deplorable self-interest of some locals involved in the industry helps insure that this unacceptable situation becomes ever more common....

Related coverage:
Preliminary hearing in murder/attempted murder case continued
Date Released: Sheriff's Press Release 8/28/2003
☛ TS Barger murder trial to begin this week
☛ ER David Barger arraigned on 2003 murder 3/27/07
☛ ER Barger cases scheduled for hearing 4/11/07
☛ ER Preliminary hearing continued 7/3/07
☛ NCJ Marijuana crime 12/25/03


  1. Intersting article. Should be an interesting trial.

    Marijuana and meth, what a combination.

    The whole thing sounds kind of fishy. Rex was not a very nice guy and not very well liked. Even so he did not deserve being shot from behind by a coward, whomever that coward was?

    Scott Starnes as a star witness! Now that is something.

    This will be one to follow.

  2. Which DA is handling the case? Who is the defense lawyer?


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