Thursday, August 01, 2013

Bodhi Tree to be charged: details emerge in Arcata double homicide

Bodhi Tree to be charged with Eureka shooting; details emerge in Arcata double homicide, defendant's mental health history - Thadeus Greenson/The Times-Standard

Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Élan Firpo said this week that she is in the process of amending the criminal complaint facing Bodhi Tree, also known as Hakim Stoltz, to include an attempted-murder charge stemming from a shooting in Eureka that occurred just days before the Arcata double homicide.

Firpo offered new details into the allegations facing Tree, an ex-convict who court documents indicate has a history of mental illness and had been released from prison just six weeks before he is alleged to have opened fire in a Eureka neighborhood. The court documents also indicate Tree confessed to the Arcata killings, telling a friend he'd “just shot two people.”

The subject of an hours-long manhunt, Tree was arrested at about 2 p.m. on May 18 in Arcata. He was found hiding in bushes on the 800 block of Shirley Boulevard in Sunny Brae about 12 hours after 18-year-old Eureka High School student Christina Schwarz and Alan “Sunshine” Marcet, 27, were killed at a home on the 2400 block of Eye Street in Arcata.

...In October 2011, Tree was arrested after a high-speed police chase in a case that ultimately saw him charged with assault with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest and vandalism. Under a plea agreement, Tree was sentenced to serve three years in state prison for evading an officer. The sentence came over the protests of Tree's defense attorney Owen Tipps, who argued that his client suffered serious mental health issues and would be better served by a grant of probation and counseling.

According to a motion filed by Tipps in the 2011 case, Tree has a family history of mental illness and was declared incompetent to stand trial three times during a 2007 assault with a deadly weapon case, necessitating his commitment into a state mental hospital....

Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Bruce Watson ultimately decided probation was not the best option -- agreeing with the Humboldt County Probation Department -- and sentenced Tree to serve three years in state prison. After serving about 16 months -- not including time spent in county jail -- Tree was released from prison in early April.

Within six weeks, he'd been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Tree has pleaded not guilty to all charges in his current case and is next due in court Aug. 12. His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Jennifer Dixon, was not immediately available to comment for this story.

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