Monday, August 31, 2009

Arraignment in Sanders case scheduled for today UPDATED

Jeffrey Allan Burgess, 39; Tracey Joleen Williams, 35; and Ruben Anthony Peredia, 32, - charges of first-degree murder. The three have pleaded not guilty....They face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Burgess will also stand trial for additional special allegations that the murder was committed in the course of an attempted armed robbery and that he discharged a firearm, killing Sanders. He will also face a charge of being a felon in possession of a handgun. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges....

Two suspects in February murder headed to trial
On Monday, Burgess, 39, and Williams, 35, both of Eureka, reaffirmed their not guilty pleas before Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Bruce Watson, and were assured the continued service of public defenders after confirming their incomes had not changed.

Both have been charged with Sanders' murder, while Burgess is also charged with a special allegation of firing the bullet that killed Sanders.

Burgess' trial is set to begin Nov. 30 at 8:30 a.m., with a trial readiness conference scheduled for Sept. 16 at 2 p.m. Codefendant Williams' trial is set for Oct. 19 at 8:30 a.m. with a trial conference scheduled for Oct. 5.

Two other defendants in the shooting -- Ruben Anthony Peredia, 32, of Eureka and Lukus Larry Mace, 31, of Orleans -- have entered into plea deals.

Peredia was sentenced to 13 years, four months, in state prison last week. Mace pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in early August and agreed to testify against his co-defendants. He faces a maximum of six years in prison.

motion to sever

Flores' defense attorney Hugh Gallagher (to) file a motion to sever Flores and Whitmill's cases Aug. 31 at the trial confirmation hearing. The trial date (has been) moved from Aug. 8 to Sept. 21 due to scheduling conflicts and other issues

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Plea Deal in McKinleyville murder case

Suspect pleads in McKinleyville murder case
A second of the four suspects accused of murdering a McKinleyville man in February has reached a plea deal with the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office.

Ruben Anthony Peredia, 32, of Eureka, was sentenced to serve 13 years and four months in state prison Friday, after pleading guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter and burglary, with a special enhancement for being armed during his role in the shooting death of 30-year-old Ezra Sanders....

In April, four suspects were charged with Sanders' murder: Peredia, Tracey Joleen Williams, 35, of Eureka; Lukus Larry Mace, 31, of Orleans and Jeffrey Allan Burgess, 39, of Eureka. Burgess is also charged with a special allegation of firing the bullet that killed Sanders.

Mace reached a plea deal earlier this month, pleading guilty to a charge of voluntary manslaughter and agreeing to testify against his co-defendants. Deputy District Attorney Ben McLaughlin said Mace faces a maximum of six years in prison if he complies with his part of the deal.

Burgess and Williams have pleaded not guilty, and have been held to stand trial on charges of murder.
Peredia's plea deal will leave him with two strikes on his record, meaning he will serve a minimum of 85 percent of his sentence, according to his attorney Jeffrey ( Schwartz.

”I think there was significant enough evidence that he felt it was too big of a risk for him to go to trial and look at life without parole,” Schwartz said of Peredia's decision to accept the plea deal. “He just had to balance the risk. ... Several witnesses placed him there. When you assess that evidence, it was a risk he didn't want to take.”

But unlike Mace's deal, Schwartz said, Peredia has no obligation to assist the prosecution's case against the remaining defendants.

”He's sentenced, gone and absolutely doesn't have to say one thing to anybody,” Schwartz said....

Williams and Burgess are scheduled to be re-arraigned Monday. Both face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Plea deal and sentencing Cutten murder case

Second man sentenced in Cutten murder case
A man charged with the 2008 murder of Cutten resident Garrett Benson was sentenced Friday to 50 years to life after an unsuccessful attempt to withdraw his guilty plea.

Jonathan Henry Watson, 30, was sentenced for a charge of first-degree murder with a firearm enhancement, bringing 50 years to life with lifetime parole if he is released. He had accepted the terms as part of a plea deal from Deputy District Attorney Max Cardoza. Last week, Watson contested his plea.

On Monday, Watson attempted to change his plea, stating he was not fully competent due to medications when he pleaded no contest. He also stated that his counsel had not effectively represented him. The court determined there was not enough evidence to warrant separate counsel to review Watson's defense attorney Cathy Dreyfuss.

Judge Bruce Watson also rejected the defendant's request to change his plea Friday.

”I believe Mr. Watson was in full possession of his faculties at the time of his plea,” he said.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kidnap Victim Jaycee Lee Dugard FOUND

Jaycee Dugard Found After 18 Years, Kidnap Suspect Allegedly Fathered Her Kids
Kidnapped Jaycee Lee Dugard Found 18 Years Later
Jaycee Lee Dugard, a girl who was kidnapped nearly two decades ago from South Lake Tahoe at age 11, was found alive and well in the East Bay, authorities said Thursday. A registered sex offender from Antioch and his wife were arrested in the kidnap case and officials said the man confessed.

...Lt. Les Lovell of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office said the case unfolded on Wednesday when the now 29-year-old woman came into the Concord police station with her two alleged captors.

"We are very confident at this point in time that it is her," said Lovell, who described Dugard as being in good health.

Dugard was reunited Thursday afternoon with her mother, Terry Probyn, who was overjoyed to learn that the daughter she feared dead was actually alive and well.

Dugard's stepfather, Carl Probyn, said the news was like winning the lottery.

...Ironically, federal prison officials said Phillip Garrido was on parole for a conviction in another kidnapping case at the time Dugard was taken.

He was convicted of kidnapping in U.S. District Court in Nevada, and in March 1977 was sentenced to 50 years in prison. He was later transferred and paroled in Northern California in 1988, officials said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Thursday collected evidence at the Garridos' gray, one-story home home at 1554 Walnut Avenue in Antioch, which is where authorities indicated Dugard raised her two girls in a tent complex that had been set up in the backyard.

"None of the children have ever been to school, they've never been to a doctor," El Dorado County Undersheriff Fred Kollar said. "They were kept in complete isolation in this compound, if you will."

Kidnap suspect's father: son 'out of his mind'

IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, filing status, modified adjusted gross income, number of dependents, and "other information

That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for "affordability credits."

Democratic Health Care Bill Divulges IRS Tax Data cbsnews

Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and "other information as is prescribed by" regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for "affordability credits."

Section 245(b)(2)(A) says the IRS must divulge tax return details -- there's no specified limit on what's available or unavailable -- to the Health Choices Commissioner. The purpose, again, is to verify "affordability credits."

Section 1801(a) says that the Social Security Administration can obtain tax return data on anyone who may be eligible for a "low-income prescription drug subsidy" but has not applied for it.

Over at the Institute for Policy Innovation (a free-market think tank and presumably no fan of Obamacare), Tom Giovanetti argues that: "How many thousands of federal employees will have access to your records? The privacy of your health records will be only as good as the most nosy, most dishonest and most malcontented federal employee.... So say good-bye to privacy from the federal government. It was fun while it lasted for 233 years."

...If we're going to have such significant additional government intrusion into our health care system, we will have to draw the privacy line somewhere. Maybe the House Democrats' current bill gets it right. Maybe it doesn't. But this vignette should be reason to be skeptical of claims that a massive and complex bill must be enacted as rapidly as its backers would have you believe.


Even our local pot growers have to be concerned – if we are one election away from legalization, and thus taxation for them – look, there is a reason the Tea Party people are demanding answers, and discussion. There is a reason for all the concern. Mike Thompson has been dragged kicking and screaming into having a REAL (not telephony) Town Hall meeting – ask him why he is voting for this bill – and how he feels about these provisions.

A must read

Kevin L. Hoover's So-Called Thoughts: Lions & tigers & Berg – oh, why? – August 26, 2009
...tribal loyalties, not facts, reason or logic form the basis of people’s decisions – what their friends are doing and who has done them favors in the past....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I missed this one, but good points raised

After the fact we all realize a life could have been saved if repeat offenders had to serve time instead of being let out on the streets. The Whitmill case is one example. Here's another one - no one killed this time - but the question is asked - WHY is this guy still on the streets? And what is wrong at the DA's Office?

Trial and error h/t: The Mirror

Alleged drunken driver runs into power pole, injures two
Two people were injured but a child passenger was unscathed in a collision Friday after the allegedly drunken driver hit a power pole.

Vernon J. Weatherford, 26, of McKinleyville was driving northbound on State Route 255 north of Jackson Ranch Road when he allowed the vehicle to leave the roadway and continue on the grass shoulder, according to a California Highway Patrol press release.

Weatherford was allegedly under the influence of alcohol and lost control of the vehicle, hitting a power pole on the driver's side, according to CHP. Weatherford sustained major injuries to his pelvis, and his passenger Shannon McLaughlin, 29, of Eureka suffered minor injuries. McLaughlin's daughter, Kayla Combs, 4, was restrained in a child safety seat and was uninjured.
All three were taken to Mad River Hospital, with Kayla taken only as a precautionary measure.

Weatherford was transferred to Mercy Medical Center in Redding, according to CHP. He was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and causing an injury, felon in possession of a handgun, driving on a suspended license and a DUI with three priors in 10 years.

Torture/False Imprisonment Arrest Humboldt Co. Sheriff record
Weatherford was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked for torture, false imprisonment, battery with serious injury, and making threats with the intent to terrorize. His bail has been set at $100,000 and he is expected to be arraigned by Wednesday. back in 2004 (7/12/2004) Gallegos took office in January of 2003.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

One man Jason Leon Belles sentenced for Cutten man's death, other Jonathan Henry Watson contests his plea

One man sentenced for Cutten man's death, other contests his plea
...Jason Leon Belles, 31, and Jonathan Henry Watson, 30, were scheduled to be sentenced after each pleaded no contest to charges related to the death of Benson during a home invasion robbery on Dec. 3, 2008....

Watson initially accepted a plea deal Aug. 11 from Deputy District Attorney Max Cardoza for first-degree murder with a firearm enhancement and an agreed-upon prison term of 50 years to life. On Friday, he contested his previous plea.

Woman Marjorie Burgess arrested for allegedly injuring son

It's Mother of the Year Marjorie Burgess. Maybe the Times Standard headline writer is new, and doesn't remember lavishing her with front page stories only a few short years ago. One son dead, and looks like another on his way. But don't worry, she probably has some of his baby pics at the ready.

Woman arrested for allegedly injuring son

A Fields Landing woman was arrested Wednesday for allegedly fighting and injuring her juvenile son.
Margorie Burgess, 42, allegedly struck her son in the face with an iron, hit him in the head with a shot glass and bit him, according to a Humboldt County Sheriff's Office press release.

Deputies responded to a reported physical fight and arrested Burgess. She was booked into Humboldt County jail for one felony count of inflicting unjustifiable pain on a child.

Her bail was set at $50,000.

Margorie Burgess is also the mother of Christopher Burgess, who was shot and killed in 2006 at age 16 during an altercation with a Eureka Police Department officer.

Some kids start life with the deck completely stacked against them. And no way of turning away from the dark side.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Jonathan Henry Watson and Jason Leon Belles sentencing scheduled.

Mexico decriminalizes small-scale drug possession

Mexico decriminalizes small-scale drug possession
MEXICO CITY — Mexico decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, cocaine and heroin on Friday — a move that prosecutors say makes sense even in the midst of the government's grueling battle against drug traffickers....

The maximum amount of marijuana for "personal use" under the new law is 5 grams — the equivalent of about four joints. The limit is a half gram for cocaine, the equivalent of about 4 "lines." For other drugs, the limits are 50 milligrams of heroin, 40 milligrams for methamphetamine and 0.015 milligrams for LSD.

Mexico has emphasized the need to differentiate drug addicts and casual users from the violent traffickers whose turf battles have contributed to the deaths of more than 11,000 people since President Felipe Calderon took office in late 2006.
But one expert saw potential for conflict under the new law.

Javier Oliva, a political scientist at Mexico's National Autonomous University, said the new law posed "a serious contradiction" for the Calderon administration.

"If they decriminalize drugs it could lead the army, which has been given the task of combating this, to say 'What are we doing'?" he said....

Guilty plea planned for Hoopa man in cyclist's death

Guilty plea planned for Hoopa man in cyclist's death
A Hoopa man told the court Thursday that he wanted to plead guilty to the charges against him stemming from a collision that killed a bicyclist last summer -- but he'll have to wait two weeks.

Thursday was set as 27-year-old Alan Bear's pre-trial hearing. His defense attorney Manny Daskal told the court Bear intended to plead guilty. However, because an amended complaint had been filed the court required a second arraignment in two weeks. Bear will be able to plead guilty then.

Bear is accused of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, providing false information to a police officer and other traffic violations in connection with the collision that killed 42-year-old bicyclist and local botanist Gregory Jennings on Aug. 25, 2008, according to court documents.

Daskal said Bear was willing to plead guilty after Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos reduced the vehicle manslaughter charge from a felony to a misdemeanor on July 2.

”We always felt the case was overcharged,” he said.

Gallegos said the charge was reduced because the reporting officer revised his statement on the collision and it did not appear that Bear acted with gross negligence.

”Further investigation proved that it was not gross negligence or at least that we couldn't prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt,” Gallegos said at the preliminary hearing.

The collision that killed Jennings is a tragedy and the case had gone on long enough for the victim's family and friends, and for Bear, Daskal said.

”It's time to get it over with,” he said.

Bear's arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 3.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Identity theft investigation nets 87 pounds of marijuana

Identity theft investigation nets 87 pounds of marijuana
Ten men -- including nine Mexican nationals -- were arrested in Eureka Tuesday afternoon when an identity theft case led detectives to a marijuana grow, officials said.... All subjects were detained in handcuffs and a search warrant was soon written and served. Police seized six pounds of processed marijuana and 87 pounds of dried marijuana during the search, according to the press release. Nine of the men were from Mexico: Nicolas Quintero, 34; Jairo Noel Martinez-Hernandez, 21; Rey David Valenzuela, 36; Luis Fernando Martinez, 22; Fidel Alvarez Quintero, 29; Christian Ramon Cazares, 21; Filberto Lopez-Vasquez, 25; Jose Florencio Amador-Torres, 32; and Nestor Edwin Ruiz-Tamayo, 28. The tenth is Daniel Albert Anaya, 45, of Arizona.
Immigration holds have been placed on the nine Mexican citizens, according to the release.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Three to answer for murder in Sanders' case

Three to answer for murder in Sanders' case
Three suspects in the shooting death of 30-year-old Ezra Sanders will stand trial for his February murder during a botched robbery.

Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Timothy Cissna ruled today that there is sufficient evidence to hold Jeffrey Allan Burgess, 39; Tracey Joleen Williams, 35; and Ruben Anthony Peredia, 32, all of Eureka on charges of first-degree murder. The three have pleaded not guilty.

The fourth suspect, Lukus Larry Mace, 31, of Orleans, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter last week as part of a deal that will have him face a maximum of six years in prison. Mace completed his testimony today, reiterating that he believed it was Burgess that shot Sanders at his trailer in a McKinleyville RV park at around 1 a.m. on Feb. 24, as part of an attempted robbery....

An arraignment for Burgess, Williams and Peredia is set for Aug. 31. They face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Burgess will also stand trial for additional special allegations that the murder was committed in the course of an attempted armed robbery and that he discharged a firearm, killing Sanders. He will also face a charge of being a felon in possession of a handgun. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Mary Stuart, cold case reopened

Cold disappearance case reopened by DA's office
A nearly 32-year-old case involving the disappearance of a Honeydew woman and her two children has regained momentum, according to Humboldt County District Attorney's Office investigators who announced Tuesday they have new leads and are looking for more.
Mary Stuart, 32, and her two daughters, Fannie, 1, and Jessie, 2, disappeared from Honeydew on Dec. 10, 1977, after they left to get groceries. The family's station wagon was found a few miles from their home on Jan. 19, 1978, on an old logging road. Groceries were still in the car and the car's gas line was broken, according to a Jan. 20, 1978, Times-Standard story following the investigation.
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office initially reported that there was no evidence of foul play and no sign of a struggle near the car, according to the story.
Chief Investigator Mike Hislop said the District Attorney's Office picked up the case from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office about eight months ago and found new leads within the last few weeks. Foul play is suspected....

The lead suspect is Mary Stuart's husband, Byron M. Stuart, who died Oct. 3, 1996 -- at the age of 48 -- in Santa Rosa, according to the Sonoma County Coroner's Office....

Good luck.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

'Shoot him, shoot him'

'Shoot him, shoot him': Murder suspect describes robbery attempt gone awry
One of the four suspects accused of murdering a McKinleyville man in February took the witness stand Monday, describing in detail the botched robbery attempt that allegedly led to the shooting.

Having accepted a plea bargain, Lukus Larry Mace, 31, of Orleans, fingered Jeffrey Allan Burgess, 39, of Eureka, as the man who likely shot Ezra Sanders, 30, at Sanders' home....

,,,During a preliminary hearing Monday, Mace described in detail the events that led him to Sanders' trailer in the early morning hours of Feb. 24.

Mace said he first met Burgess 15 or 16 years ago, but didn't see him again until the evening of Feb. 23, when a friend brought him to Burgess' Lewis Avenue home in Eureka looking to buy heroin. Mace said he met Peredia and Williams that night.

Informed there was no heroin for sale at the house, Mace said Burgess agreed to drive him and his friend to a house where the friend believed she could purchase heroin. His friend left Burgess and Mace waiting in the car and entered the house with $40 or $60 of Mace's money, Mace said. His friend didn't return to the car and, eventually, he and Burgess left to return to the Lewis Avenue house, he said.

Mace testified that after he spent some time at the house, and ingested methamphetamine, Burgess, Peredia and Williams prepared to leave. Not wanting to be left in a house he didn't know and not knowing where the group was headed, Mace said he asked Burgess if he could come with them.

Burgess said: 'You need to ask Ruben. It's Ruben's deal,'” Mace testified, adding that when he asked Peredia if he could come along, Peredia asked him what he wanted out of the deal. “He said, 'What do you want, a couple of hundred bucks out of the deal?' I said, 'No, I just want to get out of the house.'”

Mace said he thought the three were going to “take some wheels or something,” but did not know what their plans were when he left the house. He said all four of them got into a bluish-green, four-door Chevrolet pickup truck and started heading north to McKinleyville.

Peredia was driving the truck, Mace testified, until Jacobs Avenue, where he pulled over to let Burgess drive, saying he was tired.

Mace said it wasn't until they got to the McKinleyville trailer park, and Peredia disabled the dome light in the cab of the truck, that he asked what was going on.

He testified that one of his cohorts then told him they were going to rob someone.

Mace testified that Burgess then pulled the truck up next to Sanders' trailer, and Mace, Burgess and Peredia got out, leaving Williams alone in the truck. Mace said he approached Sanders' trailer with the two men, and Peredia knocked on the door.

When Sanders answered, Mace said Peredia set foot on the trailer's steps, threatening Sanders with a knife, at which point Sanders stepped back into the trailer and appeared to reach for something.

”That's when Ruben stepped back and said, 'Shoot him, shoot him,'” Mace testified, adding that he then heard a gunshot go off behind him, from where Burgess was standing, and saw Sanders fall back into the trailer and out of sight. “Jeff and Ruben took off running and I kind of stood there in awe. Then, I started running right behind them.”

In the truck on the drive back down to the Lewis Avenue home in Eureka, Mace said Williams said she was going to return to the scene.

”On the way back down she said she's going to go back,” Mace testified.

”For what?” (Deputy District Attorney Ben) McLaughlin asked.

”To rob him or to try to rob him,” Mace answered.

After arriving back at the Lewis Avenue home, Mace said Peredia left to take the truck somewhere and that Williams left to return to McKinleyville, leaving him and Burgess behind. He said Burgess dismantled and cleaned the .45-caliber handgun that Mace believed he'd used to shoot Sanders.

Mace's testimony conflicted slightly with that of Ana Rooney, who testified earlier in the preliminary hearing that she was friends with Sanders and lived with Burgess and Williams. Rooney testified that Mace began to stay at the Lewis Avenue home before the shooting. Mace testified that he'd never been to the house until Feb. 23, when he was brought there by his friend.

”She just simply brought me there to buy some drugs,” Mace testified.

Mace is expected to retake the stand this morning when the preliminary hearing -- held to determine if there is enough evidence to hold the defendants to stand trial -- is scheduled to continue.

And, again, that is just the prelim.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

And this is still just the prelim

Friend testifies against McKinleyville murder suspect
Still just the prelim and all this information spilling out. Amazing.

One of the suspects accused of murdering a McKinleyville man in February during a botched robbery attempt allegedly returned to the scene of the crime hours later looking to steal what was missed in the first attempt, a friend of hers testified Friday.

...Friday, Anthony Pratt Jr. testified that Williams called him in the hours shortly after Sanders was shot, and confessed to being involved in the crime.
Pratt, who appeared in court after being taken into custody because he failed to appear to testify Thursday, said he could tell by Williams' voice that something was wrong, and agreed to meet her to talk about it.

When the two met, Pratt testified that Williams appeared “confused” and “scared,” and that she told him Sanders had been shot during an attempted robbery, and that she had been involved. He said she did not know at the time whether Sanders had survived the shooting.

Further, Pratt said that Williams told him she intended to “go back (to Sanders' trailer) and get what they didn't get the first time.”

Pratt testified that Williams later told him that when she returned to Sanders' RV park, police were on the scene and she left.
Over the ensuing days, Pratt said Williams further confided in him that Burgess and Peredia were involved in the shooting, but Pratt had a hard time remembering when Williams told him of Mace's involvement.

Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Detective Troy Garey testified Friday that he was called after Pratt was arrested for possessing methamphetamine in April, and told that Pratt had information regarding the Sanders case. Garey said that in exchange for the information, Pratt wanted to be released from custody and to have the charges against him dropped.

Garey said he made no promises, and that Pratt told him of his conversations with Williams during an interview.

Garey also testified Friday about what he found when he arrived on scene at Sanders' body in the early morning hours of Feb. 24.

When he arrived on scene, Garey testified that he found Sanders body lying about seven feet from his trailer door, lying on his back with his fists raised and clenched. Garey said a pool of blood was found inside the trailer, indicating that Sanders likely was shot inside the trailer and fell to the ground before getting up, exiting the trailer and collapsing where he was found.
Garey also testified that no fingerprints were found in the stolen truck believed to have been used in the crime that matched any of the four defendants. Other items from the truck were sent to the state Department of Justice for forensic testing, Garey said.

Garey said he and District Attorney investigator Steve Dunn re-interviewed Mace Thursday night.

At the conclusion of Friday's proceedings, McLaughlin said he may call Mace to testify Monday, when the preliminary hearing -- held to determine if there is enough evidence to hold the defendants to stand trial -- is scheduled to continue.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Thursday, the prosecutor in the case, Deputy District Attorney Ben McLaughlin, announced that Mace had reached a plea deal with the District Attorney's Office, under which he agreed to testify against his co-defendants and to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter. If he follows through with his part of the deal, Mace faces up to six years in prison, according to McLaughlin.

The previous article said involuntary. BIG DIFFERENCE there. One is a STRIKEable offense, the other not.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jury hung in Peterson case

Jury hung in Peterson case

A former Fortuna High School teacher accused of having sex with a student was found not guilty of one count against her Thursday, but the door was left open for a retrial on the two remaining counts after the jury deadlocked.

The accusations against Deirdre Marie Peterson, 41, stemmed from an alleged June 2008 encounter that reportedly occurred while the student stayed overnight at the Peterson's home and her husband was out of town, according to court documents. Peterson testified in court that the accusing student raped her.

The seven women and five men of the jury entered deliberations Aug. 5 and reviewed court testimony throughout this week from Peterson, the accusing student and various witnesses, said Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos.

Jurors were divided evenly on the count of unlawful sexual intercourse with six for guilty and six for not guilty, Gallegos said. The count of molesting or annoying a minor hung with eight jurors voting for guilty and four voting not guilty.

Peterson was acquitted on a charge of oral copulation with a minor.

Peterson and her defense attorney Kaleb Cockrum could not be reached for comment.

Normally when a jury returns without a verdict, the judge sends them back into deliberations, but “the jury said they were hopelessly deadlocked,” Gallegos said.

Although the jury didn't rule in his favor, Gallegos said he was pleased that they weren't convinced by Peterson's defense.

”Her claim of being raped didn't get much traction, I'd say,” Gallegos said. “That's what my interpretation is.”
Gallegos said he plans to re-evaluate the case, and a trial has been reset for Oct. 5 for the two remaining charges.

Accused teacher still on mandatory leave

Plea Deal in murder case

Suspect pleads in McKinleyville murder case
One of the four suspects accused of murdering a McKinleyville man in February has reached a plea deal and agreed to testify against the other defendants in the case.

Late Wednesday, Lukus Larry Mace, 31, of Orleans, agreed to plead guilty to one count of involuntary (V)LUNTARY)* manslaughter for his role in the Feb. 24 killing of Ezra Sanders and agreed to testify against the other three defendants in the case, according to prosecutor Ben McLaughlin.

”Mr. Mace will be testifying as a witness of the people against the remaining co-defendants,” McLaughlin said, adding that, if he follows through with his part of the deal, Mace faces up to six years in prison.

Mace's attorney, Marek Reavis, did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.

...Sandra Adams testified that she met (Tracey Joleen) Williams while the two were in custody at the Humboldt County jail. Adams said that, over the span of a couple of weeks, Williams told her about the Sanders case.
”She started volunteering information,” Adams testified about her conversations with Williams. “She pretty much said that it was her idea and that she set the whole thing up.”...

...While being questioned by Neal Sanders, (Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Detective Richard) Schlesiger testified that at one point during the interview, he and (Jeffrey Alan) Burgess went outside during a break. While outside, Schlesiger testified that he asked Burgess if he shot Ezra Sanders, to which he said Burgess responded: “What if I said yes?”

After that, Schlesiger testified that he asked Burgess if he shot the .45-caliber handgun and that Burgess said he did.
Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Timothy Cissna said, at that point, Burgess should have been read his Miranda rights. Because (Detective Troy) Garey and Schlesiger did not read Burgess his rights until later in the interview, Cissna ruled that everything in the interview that came after Burgess' admission that he shot the .45-caliber handgun be excluded from court....

* Article is reportedly not accurate. Mace pled guilty to VOLUNTARY manslaughter.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Meg Whitman coming to Humboldt

Meg Whitman coming to Humboldt
Baywood Golf & Country Club
August 25th - 5:30-7:00 pm

For info:
Contact Humboldt Republican Women, Federated
President Colleen Hedrick: 268-0101

Upcoming elections

November election filings show candidate shortages
McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors. Incumbent Jeff Dunk opted not to seek another term, but both Bill Wennerholm and Dennis Mayo want to do it again.

Altogether, six people are seeking three seats. The challengers are David Couch, Jake Pickering, Dave Varshock and Penny Elsebusch.
Please, God, no, not Penny Elsebusch and Jake Pickering!

McKinleyville Union School District board, which governs the community's three schools: Morris, Dows Prairie and McKinleyville Middle School. Incumbents Barbara Kelly and David Alan Smith are seeking another four-year term. They're facing challengers Justin Zabel, Don Rosebrook and Tim Hooven.

Manila Community Services Board of Directors incumbents Charles McDaniels or Shelley Lima decided to run again. However, five residents are seeking their four-year seats: Zachary Thoma, John Walker, Robert Rose, Dendra Dengler and Michael Fennell.

Then, for some reason, there's a big focus on the 2010 Supervisor race.
Duffy won't be seeking a third term
Duffy Out, Cleary In for 2010 Race
Harbor District hopefuls all in
Eureka architect John Ash and energy specialist Susan Penn have joined a field of three candidates running for the seat being vacated by longtime Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District Commissioner Dennis Hunter.

They will vie for the District 4 seat along with labor organizer and former pulp mill worker Richard Marks, who announced his candidacy earlier this month. Hunter announced earlier this month that he would be stepping down at the end of his term, which has lasted 20 years.

Mike Wilson to seek another term on port commission

tangled web of drugs and sex, and murder

Testimony dives into tangled web of drugs and sex in Sanders' case
A friend of 30-year-old McKinleyville man Ezra Sanders, who was shot and killed on Feb. 24, testified that she began to believe that her roommates were behind his death when investigators raided her Eureka house looking for stolen goods weeks later.

Ana Rooney said that during the search, investigators asked her if she knew Sanders, and she recalled hearing her “best friend” Jeffrey Alan Burgess talking about burning his clothes the day of the killing. Rooney testified that she began to feel responsible for Sanders' death because, if it weren't for her, he would not have become acquainted with her roommates and friends who investigators claim killed Sanders.

”I was sick to my stomach,” Rooney said in tears. “I wanted to die ... . I am not a monster and I do not believe this was right.”

...Rooney also testified that Sanders wasn't treated well at the Lewis Street house, where he showed up to buy and use drugs, and meet with Williams. She described Williams as flaunting herself and engaging in sex to secure drugs from a number of men.
Rooney said that she never told anyone at the Lewis Street house that Sanders was carrying a large amount of money, because she was afraid he might become a target.

”He liked (Williams), but he didn't trust her,” Rooney said, “and he had very good reason not to.”...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The seedy underbelly

Witness: Sanders' alleged killers involved in meth breaking
Witness: Sanders' alleged killers involved in meth story
Tuesday, the second day of the case's preliminary hearing, Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Detective Troy Garey retook the stand, testifying about an April 9 interview with Mace. He said he'd already interviewed Mace, who was in custody for an unrelated matter, but that Mace contacted him saying he had additional information regarding Sanders' death.

Garey testified that, during the interview, Mace told him that he'd accompanied Burgess, Peredia and Williams to Sanders' trailer park in the early morning hours of Feb. 24. Garey said Mace told him that after entering the park, Peredia exited the vehicle they were riding in to dismantle a streetlight in the park, before they made their way to Sanders' trailer.

Garey said Mace told him that Burgess, who was driving, cut the lights on the truck before pulling up to Sanders' trailer, at which point he, Mace and Peredia got out of the vehicle to approach Sanders' trailer, leaving Williams in the truck as a lookout....

...Sanders' friend Ana Rooney, who also lived with Burgess and Williams, also retook the stand Tuesday, testifying about the world of methamphetamine that surrounded Sanders, and the suspects in the case.

Rooney said she moved into a house on Eureka's Lewis Avenue where she lived with Burgess and Williams from December 2008 until shortly after Sanders' death. She testified that both she and Williams sold methamphetamine at the house. Injecting, smoking and snorting methamphetamine were common occurrences there, she testified, and the house was frequently full of people coming and going, many of them looking to get high.

Rooney testified that she saw Sanders the morning before he was killed, and that he had a lot of cash on him at the time. She testified that on the morning of Feb. 23, she sold Sanders an ounce of methamphetamine for $1,400, and that he repaid her $300 she'd lent him and that he loaned her an additional $1,200 to help her pay off a drug debt.

Previously, Sanders had never bought more than $20 of methamphetamine at a time, Rooney testified, adding that Sanders told her he was buying the ounce to give to a woman who owed him money with the hope that she could sell it, repay him and also earn some extra money to provide for her children.

The morning that Sanders was shot, Rooney testified that she noticed Peredia, Mace and Williams return to the house, noticed them stripping off clothing and overheard Burgess say they had to burn what they had been wearing. Rooney said she initially thought Burgess was joking.

”I was in my room doing drugs and I wasn't too into what everyone else was doing,” Rooney said....

Prosecutor Ben McLaughlin

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2nd Plea deal in Cutten Murder

Gunman pleads guilty to Cutten murder
The second suspect in the killing of a Cutten man accepted a plea deal this morning from the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office with an agreed term of 50 years to life in prison.
Jonathan Henry Watson, 30, pleaded guilty to first degree murder with a firearm enhancement.
Watson and Jason Leon Belles, 31, were on trial for the robbery and killing of Garrett Benson on Dec. 3, 2008. Belles pleaded guilty to reduced charges of voluntary manslaughter, transporting more than an ounce of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale as part of a plea deal on July 28, which together carry a term of seven years and eight months.
Watson and Belles will both be sentenced on Aug. 21.

Prelim in Sanders case

Preliminary hearing gets under way in Sanders case

”It's called felony murder, and the idea is that if you participate in a felony, and a killing results, then you are as responsible as anyone else for the killing,” Levine said in a previous interview with the Times-Standard. “Once you start down the road of participating in a felony, you are responsible for whatever results.”

Interesting that that notion appears here in this case, but now in the last case to be profiled here.

...Back in April, four suspects were arrested in the case and charged with Sanders' murder: Jeffrey Alan Burgess, 39, of Eureka; Lukus Larry Mace, 31, of Orleans; Ruben Anthony Peredia, 32, of Eureka; and Tracy Joleen Williams, 35, of Eureka. All four have pleaded not guilty....

Anyway... testimony today:
Ana Rooney, who described herself as a friend of Sanders' and Burgess', as well as a housemate of Williams', said she saw Sanders early in the morning of Feb. 23 when the two got high together, and that Sanders had a lot of cash on him at the time. Rooney testified that she also acted as a middle man, helping Sanders buy an ounce of methamphetamine for $1,400 that day.

After meeting Sanders to give him the methamphetamine around 10 a.m. on Feb. 23, Rooney said she never saw Sanders again, telling the court she learned he had been shot and killed the next day when told by a friend.

While on the stand, Rooney also testified that Williams and Sanders were involved in a relationship together around the time of his death.

”Their relationship was of a sexual nature,” Rooney testified.

After testifying at length about drug use and sales, under cross-examination Rooney accepted an offer from Superior Court Judge Timothy Cissna to appoint her an attorney with whom she could discuss her rights. Patrik Griego was then appointed to represent Rooney, who is expected to retake the stand this morning.

Garey also took the stand briefly Monday, testifying about arriving at the crime scene in the early morning hours of Feb. 24, and of his initial interviews with Burgess and Williams. He is also expected to retake the stand today.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Oh, God, he's back.

Jeffrey ""Schwartz's plan to save the world. It's so simple.

Ya gotta just feel sorry for the guy. He's a lawyer, if your case involves money of any kind, I'd find someone else.

OMG - read his little bio - Jeffrey Schwartz lives in works in Arcata and is a member of the Arcata Economic Development Committee.

The MIRROR says it better than I ever could ◼ This week in stupid

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

We have a new ambulance chaser!

Attorney: Witnesses afraid to come forward in wrongful death cases
...Brian Claypool of Claypool Law Firm in Los Angeles has filed three federal lawsuits, two of which are wrongful death lawsuits, on behalf of the families of Chris Burgess, Martin Cotton II and Peter Stewart. During a press conference at the Humboldt County Courthouse, Claypool said that witnesses have called him, saying they were “terrified” of stepping forward....

Claypool is currently involved in at least 10 federal civil lawsuits, according to court documents, including civil cases against Crescent City and Del Norte County. He said Tuesday that the lawsuits “level the playing field” between law enforcement and citizens.

Terrified of coming forward? Maybe they are terrified of lying to help you make a buck buddy.

...The cases were reviewed by a multi-agency task force and the District's Attorney's Office issued reports saying no charges would be filed.... EXTENSIVELY reviewed, drug through the muck already, with the officers and police dept. excoriated, the community terrorized by the anti-cop activists...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Delay tactics

Whitmill and Flores trial date delayed another month
The trial date for two men accused of killing of a 9-year-old girl during a street race on State Route 299 was moved to next month -- and a motion to sever their cases was also announced -- on Monday.

Anthony Flores, 19, and Jason Whitmill, 32, were allegedly racing down State Route 299 on Oct. 6, 2008, in an impromptu speed contest that ended with the injury of Debra Quigley and the death of her daughter, Nicole.

Flores' defense attorney Hugh Gallagher announced at the pre-trial hearing Monday that he will file a motion to sever Flores and Whitmill's cases Aug. 31 at the trial confirmation hearing. The trial date was also moved from Aug. (Sept.?) 8 to Sept. 21 due to scheduling conflicts and other issues.

Whitmill and Flores trial date delayed another month 08/04/2009
Whitmill, Flores take District Attorney's deal 12/05/2009
Jury selection begins in trial of Whitmill, Flores 11/23/2009
Whitmill, Flores trial to proceed 11/10/2009
Motion denied to suppress blood sample in Whitmill case 11/06/2009
Whitmill faces murder charge for alleged role in crash 10/15/2008
Quigley family, friends remember 9-year-old Nicole 10/06/09
Nearly one year ago 10/01/2009
Case surrounding fatal crash on Highway 299 delayed 09/15/2009
Too many delays 9/10/09
Legal maneuvers slow case of men charged in 9-year-old's death 09/01/2009
Whitmill and Flores trial date delayed another month 08/04/2009
Evidence, charges unchanged against Whitmill 07/17/2009
Evidence for second degree murder charge? 06/19/2009
Thinking of the Quigleys 05/29/2009
Remember Nicole 05/08/2009
Looking forward: Quigley family watches and waits as case continues 05/17/2009
Defendants in 299 wreck plead not guilty 03/28/2009
Judge holds Whitmill, Flores to answer for 299 wreck 03/14/2009
Wife refuses to testify against husband at preliminary hearing 03/13/2009
Investigator testifies suspect in fatal crash changed story 03/12/2009
Officer testifies about 299 crash at prelim 03/11/2009
Preliminary hearing over Highway 299 wreck continues 03/10/2009
Superior Court delays hearing in 299 crash case 02/11/2009
Broken system 01/23/2009

Hug your children 12/03/2008
Vehicular manslaughter suspect has extensive criminal history 11/13/2008
Whitmill-Flores hearing continued 11/06/2008
Street race case waiting on CHP reports 10/23/2008
Authorities seek Mustang passenger for questioning 10/17/2008
Court document: Flores tried to 'subvert' investigation 10/16/08
Whitmill faces murder charge for alleged role in crash 10/15/2008
Authorities arrest driver of Mustang 10/10/2008
New driver named in fatal collision 10/09/2008
Search continues for other driver in fatal crash 10/08/2008
◼ ER Parolee named as driver in fatal collision
◼ TS New driver identified in fatal crash
◼ TS New driver named in fatal collision
TS Update: ☛ TS Police still looking for driver
◼ TS Driver sought: Suspected drag race on 299 results in fatal crash

Note: there were other articles in the Eureka reporter, but none are available online anymore.