Saturday, December 06, 2008

Hash pleads guilty to manslaughter

Nancy Huntzinger sat with her family in a Humboldt County courtroom on Friday, and watched as Stephen Daniel Hash, wearing shackles and an orange jail jumpsuit, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of her teenage son 18 years ago.

Judge Bruce Watson declined the plea, and advised Hash to speak with an attorney to discuss the ramifications of such an admission. The court then entered a plea of not guilty on Hash's behalf.

That move was anticipated by prosecuting Assistant District Attorney Wes Keat, who said it is typical for a judge to direct a defendant to speak with counsel before issuing a plea in a manslaughter case.

”It's a reasonable step and it's what I expected,” Keat said. “That doesn't mean it's going to be the result.”

Hash will wait in the Humboldt County jail for his next court appearance, scheduled for Dec. 10.

District Attorney Paul Gallegos said after the 53-year-old Hash was arrested Wednesday, he has been completely cooperative with investigators and has “expressed a great deal of remorse” for the murder of 14-year-old Curtis Huntzinger, who disappeared in May 1990.

His “absolute” cooperation is what led the District Attorney's Office to charge Hash with voluntary manslaughter with a deadly weapon, rather than murder, Gallegos said....

...Wayne Cox, an investigator for the DA's Office, said as years went by he saw interest in Curtis Huntzinger's disappearance taper off. About two years ago, he decided to take on the case.

”This case could have been solved a long time ago -- it simply wasn't,” Gallegos said. “There were leads that were not followed up that we merely followed up with.”

Hash's admission has brought some amount of closure to the Huntzinger family, Gallegos said.
The family, including Nancy Huntzinger and Curtis Huntzinger's sister, Sarah, attended the Friday arraignment.

Nancy Huntzinger said it is still too early to comment on her feelings about Hash's confession, but she looks forward to the outcome.

”I'm on pins and needles right now,” she said. “It's gone on too long.”...

☛ TS Hash pleads guilty to manslaughter
☛ sfgate Man arrested 18 years after teen disappeared
Porchlight International for the Missing & Unidentified

☛ TS Never too late for resolution
☛ TS editorial Never too late for resolution
☛TS Hash receives 11 years in prison
Curtis Huntzinger's mother wins wrongful death lawsuit


  1. All I know about this case is what I see in the TS, but it seems to me there is something of a problem in that there is no evidence of a homicide (either murder or manslaughter)because you need some evidence (though it can be slight) that a crime occurred. The body is not necessarily required, but there has to be something to show that the victim met his death through human agency, otherwise the defendant's confession is inadmissable. Circumstantial evidence would work, if there is any. I suspect that may be one reason the DA is charging manslaughter, because dipshit is willing to plead to that. Charging manslaughter because he's cooperative is horseshit. Anyhow, it seems to me that Wes Keat is heavily involved in this so the chances of a full Gallegos eff-up are somewhat diminshed.

  2. It seems to me they don't have any more evidence on this guy than they did before- which seems to have been not much- except now they have a confession.

    I'd be interested in just what his confession consists of: How did it happen, in his words.

    And I agree, as I said earlier, that he should have been charged with murder and then they could have bargained the charge down later, in court, because of his cooperation.

    I remember watching one of those "cold- case" tv shows a last year, where they go over how real cold cases have been solved.

    That one dealt with a missing person/ murder during the VietNam war era.

    A guy finally confesses to the crime, although they didn't have much evidence. He confesses after they Naval Investigative Service guys tell him it probably wasn't murder, but involuntary manslaughter, or some such, and that's what he'd be charged with. The guy fesses up because he felt ok with the manslaughter charge.

    After all is said and done they end up charging him with murder. I thought the whole thing stunk because they lied to him but the judge went along with it saying the investigators were on the right side of a fine line.

    Can't help but wonder if that's what the DA investigators did: Promise him the lower charge if he confessed but, unlike that case on TV, stuck to the deal?

  3. TS comments are interesting:
    Humb Raised wrote:
    Hash plead guilty throw (h)is but in prison but 12 years isn't enough time he's put the Huntzinger's through hell for the last 18 he should serve at least that much time or more. Judge Watson telling (him) he needs to think about his plea and obtain a lawyer what a bunch of B.S. go to jail where he belongs so he can't hurt anybody else('s) Children. For Hash having remorse if that was true why didn't he confess a long time ago he only has a little bit of remorse because he got caught that the only reason. I do hope that the police recover something of Curtis body so the Huntzinger's can start the healing process because it would be hard to put something this horriffic behind you.
    ty (Thank You) you for your post that is surely a truthful statemnet; but it is sounding like the humboldt da's office is avoiding the whole true (truth?) in this matter. steve has been know(n) to say that he did not kill the boy thomas fox did, thomas fox confessed to that statement in prision. steve was there when it happened. they both recannted there confessions last time. steve was also known to have said he was not the person or person's that disposed of the body. why should anyone believe his statements now!!!! This family has been through so much because of this, to much pain and grief. I hope with Gods grace that the judge in this case cross's his "T"s and dot's his "I"s, and wants nothing but the truth and the whole truth. for everyone involed.

    Great news they caught the guy. Hope they find the boys body. Rest in peace.

    nancy huntzinger and family
    ty (Thank You) nancy for your prayers, love and patience. ty charles pierce. ty humboldt DA office. I finially feel safe for myself and my children to live in Blue lake. to steve hash I only hope for you is with doing the right thing that it brings you and your family some peace. x-humboldt your always in are prayers and now maybe I can go home.

    Blue laker
    Justice is a hard thing to find here when the truth is covered up so well.

    Perhaps the evidence locker contained more evidence?

    Forgiveness is not forgetting. Who here is Blue Lake allowed the children of the Huntzinger family to be treated so badly?

    Nancy and Sarah, there are people here in Blue Lake that care deeply for your pain. Keep your head up and walk with God.

    Gallegos gives the interview but Wes Keat did the work.

    ptown pirate
    Oh gosh he was like sooo cooperative, lets charge him with voluntary manslaughter. Christ Gallegos whats next probation? Grow a pair already!

    I doubt it
    Did he not already confess to this once. and did not the DA and the sheriffs dept already investigate this supposed location YEARS ago along with Blue Lake PD?,? So rather than trying to make it look like it was a Blue lake PD issue...and this case goes back LONG before Gunderson by the way for all you Gunderson haters and thrashers, What about the Sheriffs Dept involvement in the case at that time? Now suddenly the DA and staff are heros? Give me a friggin break here, This location and issue was KNOW and MULI Agency investigated before.........
    I find this way too fishy......

    I doubt it
    Again I say who was the police Chief at the time this happened, this has NOTHING to do with evidence lockers, or Gunderson idiots....LOOK at when this happened ..LOOK at the DATE 1990? get a grip and a friggin life and find someone else to accuse like the Chief that was in Charge at the time...not someone who came in YEARS later......and remember this idiot confessed once already.....

    Blue laker wrote:
    Justice is a hard thing to find here when the truth is covered up so well.
    Perhaps the evidence locker contained more evidence?
    Forgiveness is not forgetting. Who here is Blue Lake allowed the children of the Huntzinger family to be treated so badly?
    Nancy and Sarah, there are people here in Blue Lake that care deeply for your pain. Keep your head up and walk with God.
    and you are a idiot this case long predates Gunderson, and if you really lived in Blue lake you would know that you idiot

    How many confessions have there been?

    At least Gallegos is working on some cold cases.


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