Friday, June 27, 2014

Bodhi Tree Murder Trial: DAILY UPDATES, running record.


And so it ends. "May God have mercy on your soul."

"I'm here to talk about the impact on our lives by the senseless slaughter of two innocent people by a man, and I'm hesitant to use the word, man." - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014

"Little did we know that this nightmare would never end" - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014

Jurors, family, community members pack courtroom for Bodhi Tree sentencing - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014

...7 jurors took the time out of their schedules, community members that attended the trial, and the families of all victims have been waiting...

link - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014

...He has to serve consecutive sentences... but the basic gist is he has to serve 75 years and even then with minimum parole times on other terms, it is another 25 so it would be 100 years before he is eligible for parole.

Tree sat with with an attitude, no remorse and after sentence looked at bailiffs and said "Allright, ready."

We plead with the court to never release this animal to society" - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014

Some of the jurors were wiping tears as did Sean Butler-Smith's sister Breanne and community members. Even the court staff who were stoic and professional were shaken by the emotional testimony of the families. While Rhett August's mother attended, she chose not to speak.

Victim witness representative Marybeth read a letter from Nancy Jo Marcet, Sunshine's mother, Michael Tostado, Christina's uncle read his own statement, that of his wife, and Christina's aunt and the last one to read was Tina Schwarz, Christina's mother.

Mrs. Marcet started her letter by referring t the loss of her son, "who was taken from us so violently trying to protect Christina." The last words Alan "Sunshine" Marcet etxted to his mother on May 17, was "I love you so very much." And on May 18, she found out he was dead. This loss just on the heels of Sunshine's father being killed.

"He should not be allowed to do this anyone again," Mrs. Marcet's sentiment was reiterated by all speakers, Ms. Firpo and Judge Dale Reinholtsen.

They were very grateful to DDA Elan Firpo and the jurors who they thanked. Mrs. Schwarz even thanked the public defenders and addressed Bodhi Tree. At one point, she asked him to look at her, he didn't. She said, "May God have mercy on your soul."

Thank you, John Chiv, for covering this case in its entirety.

Tree gets life in prison - Paul Mann/Mad River Union
A full report will appear in the Oct. 15 edition of the Mad River Union.
Thank you, Paul Mann.

Bodhi Tree Sentenced to Life in Prison - Andrew Goff/Lost Coast Outpost

Key witness in Tree trial assualted the second time in jail - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 11, 2014
Even with the trial over, Sean is not safe; his sister's account - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 11, 2014
DDA Elan Firpo gives notice, joins well-known local firm - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014

Closing arguments in Tree start Thursday, expected to last a couple days - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/29/14
Defense rests; evidence in Tree case complete - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/29/14
People rest in Tree case; defense calls last witness - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/29/14

"When someone is killed, it has nothing to do with me getting out early" - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/29/14
Williams explained why people in and out of custody come to him with information. Ms. Holmquist tried to paint him as a snitch wanting personal benefit. Both on cross and redirect, Williams came across as someone whose tips to the Sheriff's office and DA's office have led to discovery of a body and arrest of three suspects in one case; another case in which Williams wore a wire and was supposed to catch an inmate who raped his wife confessing he was planning to plot to have someone kill her.

Williams said he was going to testify whether he had an immunity agreement or any plea deal in his case because "what he (Tree) did was hideous." Williams said Tree killed a 'child", referring to Christina.
The never ending jury trial; Tree case to definitely go into next week - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/29/14

Williams testifies Tree allegedly said, "I am going to beat this shit and get the fuck out of here" and "I am tired of these faggot woods" - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/25/14
"Because that is your opinion, not mine" Losey sets Holmquist straight on cross - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/25/14

Defense tactic on cross of Brannon backfires in Tree case - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/24/14
Another jail inmate confirms Tree admission about threat and shooting Rhett August - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/24/14

From the "hood" to a business management courses at CR, the journey of one criminal who got "saved" by Christ - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/23/14
Brannon alleges Tree said "I'm going to beat this case" and get out - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/23/14
Brannon also alleges that Tree said he would shoot Brannon in the head and not make the same mistake he did with Rhett.
"I got something for you guys, I'll be right back" - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/23/14
Brannon also said initially he did not talk to police because he was in a gang and you do not snitch. Ms. Firpo brought this up because at the April preliminary hearing Brannon denied anything about a fight.

Even though he was offered immunity in April, but then he got saved, became a Christian and got out of the political structure and had a "change of heart." Reading the Bible, he dropped out of the gang and wanted to change his life. He did not want to be part of the "prison political structure"; the gang. A cellmate in Humboldt County jail was the one who gave him the Bible, but Brannon was already thinking of telling the truth before this and he wrote to the DA saying he wanted to cooperate. He also sent a letter addressed to District Attorney Paul Gallegos. This was on April 2014 before the 402 hearings....
July 3 tip given to only me re Tree makes sense after today's testimony - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/22/14
Best estimate: Bodhi Tree trial estimated to conclude this Friday or by July 28 - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/22/14

Bodhi Tree Trial jury trial on break until Tuesday - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/9/14
Murder suspect led a troubled life of crime - Paul Mann/Mad River Union 7/9/14

Note: Chiv often posts early details of court proceedings, and then fleshes the story out later in the day, so it is recommended that you check back, to catch the full post, and the full flavor of the proceedings...

Second defense witness testifies out of order in Bodhi Tree case - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/2/14

An uneventful morning in the Bodhi Tree case - John Chiv/Words Worth 7/1/14

First defense witness testimony in Bodhi Tree case total letdown - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/30/14

Touche Firpo in Bodhi Tree cross vs redirect today - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/27/14
"Are you a detective?" and "Are you authorised to open and search items" Christian responded she was not. Ms. Firpo also asked Ms. Christian if it was "realistic" to collect every item in the house. She also brought up the fact that Ms. Holmquist asked why a butcher knife in the kitchen was not collected. She asked Ms. Christian if anyone had been stabbed in this double homicide.

The last question is just one example of the completely irrelevant questions by the defense. By now, I can predict the questions and strategy of the defense. I realize they need to present a vigorous defense for their client but only one person has been identified by the witnesses, only one person had a motive. Endless questions that do not prove the defense theory only serve to annoy.
Red spot on Tree's ipod, latex glove among other gloves found on Tree when arrested - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/27/14
Witness testimony varies, but consistent on pre-killing agitation - Tabitha Soden/Mad River Union 6/27/14

"Pretty quiet, he never said much. Didn't communicate much with anybody." - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/26/14
Yesterday and today, Dale Coultier, a senior criminalist with the CA DOJ, who works at the Eureka lab and is primarily a firearms examiner testified in detail about the process of examining bullets from the Eureka and Arcata crime scenes.

There has been no firearm recovered and he testified that there were similarities in the bullet markings and that it is possible that the same firearm was used but he could not say that definitively because he did not have a firearm to compare and examine.

For two days, Mr. Russo questioned him on cross to no avail.
"They were looking for Mr. Tree, that he had killed some people" - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/25/14

Today's testimony in Bodhi Tree could be summed up in one sentence - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/24/14
"I don't recall."

Autopsy on Christina and Sunshine shows no drugs, no sexual assault and two atypical bulllet wounds - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/23/14
Dr. Super also said that based on autopsy alone, he could not comment on where the victims may have been in the room, the positions of their bodies when shot or where the shooter was in the room. He also pointed out inaccuracies in some of the defense exhibits which were different shot diagrams.

Colin Baldridge booked into HumCo jail same as Tree witness? (a federal charge of manufacturing marijuana with an intent to distribute.) - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/21/14

Gunshot wounds on Tree victims were definitely not contact wounds, DOJ criminalist testifies - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/20/14
Criminalist with CA DOJ testifies about a human blood stain on front of Bodhi Tree's sweatpants - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/20/14
Sexually aggressive behavior by Tree in a house that tried to show him love - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/20/14

Reluctant witness does not identify Tree from stand, changes what he said mid-testimony - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/19/14

Resident of Shirley Blvd describes running into Bodhi Tree who said "Peace" - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/18/14
Male with dark clothing carring a bundle in his arms and walking like a tweaker seen night of shooting in Bodhi Tree case - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/18/14

Colin Baldridge testifies about Bodhi Tree showing him a snub nosed revolver - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/17/14
And saying something to the effect that no one should mess with him. He said Tree had it in his grey sweatshirt. That Tree was highstrung, not stable and very verbally and sexually aggressive with females in the house.
◼ Noted in the comments: Colin Baldridge has a record: Arcata Eye February 15, 2012
Really scary to see my friend lying on the floor, a reluctant Carl Moreno testifies  - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/17/14
Moreno's attitude continued on cross and when Ms. Firpo questioned him on redirect. He said due to two heavy days of drinking and memory loss, he could not recall much.

Even after Ms. Holmquist and Ms. Firpo showed him reports to refresh his recollection, he would deny statements he made earlier and in today's hearing either denied or contradicted statements he made or statements other witnesses have testified in this trial.

Alternate juror causes recess in Bodhi Tree trial - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/16/14
Judge Reinholtsen also discussed scheduling with jurors because the trial was expected to conclude at the end of June but that date has been moved to beginning of July.

Witnesses describe Arcata double homicide scene - Lorna Rodriguez/Times-Standard 6/13(14)/14
Witness who called 911 for Sunshine and Christina testified that Bodhi Tree "hit on her" and said he doesn't usually "mess with white girls" - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/13/14
Sunshine said "I am dying" as Page applied pressure to his chest - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/13/14
Tree introduced himself to resident of Eye house as C Nasty - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/13/14

On redirect Ms. Firpo is able to Sgt. Martinez to explain questions raised on cross - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/12/14
Defense cross of Sgt Martinez raises some questions leads and investigation - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/12/14
Today is the first time the defense scored a significant doubt about investigation.
He was sad for the victims, he was sad for Bodhi Tree - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/12/14
19 people were personally interviewed by Sgt. Martinez. Names were either given by civilians from the Eye Street house. Sgt. Martinez said he was concerned about Sean Butler-Smith's safety because he was providing vital information in a double homicide.

When he saw Smith at a skate park, he checked on him. It was at this time that Smith shared information on the Eureka shooting of Rhett August.
Tenuous Witness Cred Erodes State’s Case Against Tree - Paul Mann/Mad River Union
Defense questions handling of witness interviews in Tree case - Lorna Rodriguez/Times-Standard 6/12/14

Blakewilliams who is hostile to cops had demeanor changed when he heard about Sunshine and Christina - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/11/14
Mickey's malt liquor popular among younger and travelling folk Arcata - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/11/14
Photos of a messy Eye Street house and bloody bedding where victims were found shown in Bodhi Tree case - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/11/14
Arcata police sergeant describes interview with Tree - Lorna Rodriguez/Times-Standard 6/11/14

Bloody photos of Sunshine and Christina with description of wounds shown to jury - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/10/14
"Visually could see several gun shot wounds" Det. Dockweiler testifies about Alan Marcet's body - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/10/14

Both breasts were exposed, blood from right side of her head - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/9/14
Testimony started in the Bodhi Tree case today with the case shifting to the Arcata murders of Christina and Sunsine. Officer Jeremiah Kasinger testifying. Christina's mom is in the audience. She has been very stoic and calm whenever she has been present.

People could take a lesson in class from Casey Russo - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/6/14
Melvin Matthew's sentencing delayed due to his contempt in Bodhi Tree case - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/6/14

Upton held in contempt, Matthews refuses to testify in Bodhi Tree case - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/5/14
Despite Judge Reinholtsen ordering him to testify, Steve Upton refused and was held in contempt. Melvin Matthews refused to come to court and Judge ordered him brought to court. Matthews also refused to testify. Judge also held him in contempt. Both had immunity agreements.
Heard shots, Rhett scream and " run upstairs into my arms" - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/5/14
Rhett August's friend Jonathan Buhne testified today... He said they were eating dinner, watching movies, playing video games when shots were fired, they heard Rhett scream and "run upstairs into his arms."
Bloody clothing, bullet strikes and Upton's demeanor as "nervous, upset" - John Chiv/Words Worth 6/5/14
Today, EPD's Sgt. Stephen Watson is testifying. His testimony was about that he assisted in collecting evidence, helped secure crime scene. He was both at the hospital and 1936 J Street and pointed out bullet strike to Officer Cosetti, the evidence tech on side of building where the garbage can was located.

When he was at the hospital, he was told by Officer Wilson who Steve Upton was and why he was there. He observed Rhett August lying on the stretcher in the hospital, he was the one who collected the bloody clothing. Sgt. Watson described Upton's demeanor as "nervous, upset and back and forth."


  1. How does the number of gunshots add up? How many shots fired, how many slugs recovered. Does the evidence say one gun, one gun reloaded, multiple guns, what? Any expert evidence/testimony comparing the bullets and any other firearm evidence from the three victims? Same gun? Same caliber? Multiple guns? Different calibers? Any shell casings?
    Anyone hear the Arcata shootings?Any witness describe the sequence or timing of shots in Arcata?

  2. It almost sounds, from the newspaper coverage of the trial, as tho, while the witnesses and suspects in a double murder plus an attempted murder case were being questioned, that no prosecutor and no investigator from the DA's office was there. That can't be true, can it? That the DA did not send a prosecutor to cover the legal niceties when two kids were killed?

  3. Colin Baldridge? The felon? The felon with a gun? This guy? Oh that's ok then.

    Baldridge was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional facility for being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of marijuana for sale, cultivation of marijuana, possession of a switchblade knife, possession of concentrated cannabis, possession of stolen property, maintaining a drug house and possession of a narcotic.

  4. 1:07 that information was stated on the stand. Bodhi Tree has a past criminal history too.

    So do many others in this county. You sound like the defense.

    Sure seems like you have a personal agenda. Hope you never get to be a lawyer or juror.

  5. Oh, it was? Gee, did not see that in the TS, Loco, or Chivia. How totally not surprising. By the way, the burden of proof is on the prosecution, and Mr. Tree is presumed innocent. Until, of course, a felon in possession of stolen handguns says this time he didn't have a gun, but hey, that other guy did. By the way, was Mr. Baldridge tested for GSR? Oh, sorry, does that sound like the defense? Because surely there is no reason to test the guy who fingers someone else, who happens to be a felon with a gun crime history, no reason to test that guy. Oh, sorry, defensy sounding again. Sorry, can't have anything defensy, can we? Or can't we? Why not? What's wrong, exactly, with sounding like the defense? Or has someone made up their mind already? And who might that be?


  6. Why don't you put your name out there? Easy to mouth off behind a screen.

    Stop trying to play like you know anything about the law or journalism.

    No one owes you any thing or any answers.

    You are just a loser behind a screen who needs to tear down others. Must suck to be you.

  7. You do get the irony of anonymously demanding that someone else use a name, right? Didn't think so. Sort of hints at the intellectual vacuum from whence your post originates.

  8. 7:57 all the name calling does not change the fact that you are a predictable loser who does not get the irony that I know you will respond.

    Your words mean nothing. It is amusing to watch you take the bait. You cannot walk away. I can.

    And you fail, yet again.

  9. Fail at what? Making observations you cannot answer except with absurd ad hominem attacks against a person about whom you know nothing? But of course, most of your posts prove that you mostly know nothing and have nothing of substance to say. So indeed, walk away, tail tucked.

  10. Per the Chiviot, the witness Baldridge said:

    Tree showed him a snub nosed 38 mm revolver.

    Really? Even John Dillinger couldn't match that.

  11. 1:38 and 9:29 examples of Humboldt's finest losers.

  12. More juvenalia from the substantively impaired.

  13. A criminalist says Tree has blood on his clothing. If it is the blood of one of the three victims, Mr. Tree is in trouble. If, on the other hand, the blood cannot be linked to any of the three shooting victims, problems may lie elsewhere. Three victims shot at point blank range and no blood on the shooter? It's possible. Possible may not be enough.

  14. Anonymous, where are you getting that all three victims were shot at point blank range.

    That information has not been stated in this trial, so far. The other points you make, I agree.

  15. Fair comment. One might think that if one guy was shot at his door and the other two inside a room, that's point blank. There is probably room for reasonable minds to differ on that point. Let's say then extremely close quarters.

  16. 6:30 I agree. Nice to have a rational discussion.
    I have read, watched a lot of testimony. Would be curious what your feelings are so far about other evidence.

  17. The only view of the evidence that matters is the one the jury takes. For the rest of us, it's an exercise in second guessing the defense, the investigation, the presentation of both sides, nitpicking witnesses, etc, etc, while generally lamenting the inability of the local media and commenters to accurately and objectively report.

  18. 9:49 the best comment I have seen so far.

  19. Well, Mr. Chiv is back, not content to report the facts, he has to cheerlead for the prosecution. The defense may be as stupid as Chiv says, but according to his own reports, the prosecution has put on a blood expert to say the defendant didn't have so much as one single drop of any victim's blood on him, anywhere, and has put on a gun expert to say could be one gun, might not be, can't tell. At this point one may remember that the prosecution has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Let's see what the jury says, not after the fact, but with their verdict.

  20. And, you know something, Mr/Ms 6:15, the beauty of it is, we get a feel and flavor of what is going on in the courtroom, in all its mundane, interesting, and exciting phases. Little things mean a lot, and dry recaps have their place as well.

    BUT - you know, YOU could go to the courtroom for a week, and give us YOUR daily report, too. I would be HAPPY to include it here.

    Who knows, you might find YOURSELF cheering for someone, too.

  21. What you get a feel for is Mr. Chiv, rather more than what goes on in the courtroom. And that feel is far from beautiful.

    As for cheering-- it's a trial, not a sporting event. It should be regarded with dignity and respect. Cheap enthusiasm and partisanship is misplaced, unprofessional, immature, and in bad taste. And in the case of Mr. Chiv, who calls himself an objective journalist, it's rather absurd and pathetic.

  22. 6:15 and 10:11 what I get a feel for is you have a personal agenda. You dislike Chiv because you are someone he criticized or simply because his opinion is different than yours.

    I attend that trial on and off. Two people were killed, one wounded and all you people can do is piss on someone who spends his time getting information to the community.

    The North Coast Journal, Mad River Union and Chiv's blog have original stories. LOCO and Times Standard just reprint press releases.

    Get a life.

  23. I dislike Chiv's hypocrisy. I dislike anyone turning a trial into a gladiatorial event, taking sides, cheeringleading and pretending to report objectively. Chiv has never criticized anything I have done aside from blog posts pointing out his errors and persistent outbursts of fandom.

    None of our local media do a consistently good job on trial reportage.
    Either the coverage is spotty, slanted, uneducated, or it's just wrong. The T/S is worse than useless, it is so thoroughly inaccurate by omission or commission. The others, in descending order- MRU, NCJ, LoCo.

  24. Chiv's blog is good if you want to know about Chiv, especially the "obituaries", which are all about Chiv and how personally affected he was by the death.

  25. Wow. You do get that it's Chiv's BLOG, right? That is where you write opinions, and in this case it is coupled with reporting what's going on in the courtrooms.

    That it is personal is part and parcel to the blog. And Chiv never hides when he is 'taking sides' or endorsing one over the other. That's fair, and it is important.

    Traditional news sites are bound by a different set of rules, and even there, they are remiss if they don't disclose their bias as well - or label it opinion.

    The current method the 'traditional' reporters use, "he said this," "she said that" without any regard for whether to not it is TRUE beyond the fact that they said, it doesn't work for me. It may keep them out of trouble as far as not sinking into proffering an opinion, but it makes for lousy truth-telling and informing..

  26. And btw, shame on you for denigrating someone's expression of grief following the MURDER of a good man, mentor and friend.


  27. Rose, thanks for your blog. The detailed documentation is appreciated.

  28. 12:05 and 12:19, losers filled with bile that need to get attention by exploiting death.

    Losers who never do anything.

    Losers who sit at a computer typing all day. Sucks to be you.

  29. 354, enjoy your fantasy about me. Limited and inaccurate though it may be, it's yours. And no one can take it away from you, of that one is quite sure.

  30. Wouldn't it be great if we had professionals working in the DA's office? Too bad sukkas this is Humboldt no body gives a shit about anybody else! Everyone just want to pretend to be some sort of progressive who gives a shit about justice. Which is BS its all about stepping stones and money.


Comments are open, but moderated, for the time-being. Good luck.