Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Numbers from the PalCo Marsh Cleanup

Posted By on Wed, May 4, 2016 at 10:40 AM

Jimmie Work, a marsh holdout, moments before being ousted by the police. - LINDA STANSBERRY
  • Linda Stansberry
  • Jimmie Work, a marsh holdout, moments before being ousted by the police.

The Eureka Police Department has released some information from the May 2 and 3 cleanup of the PalCo Marsh, in which over one hundred homeless people were displaced and/or rehoused. According to the press release, more than 60 tons of trash were collected in the two-day operation. Dozens of sharps containers, used to safely store hypodermic needles, were also filled. Eight people were arrested: one protester on Monday, five for outstanding warrants and two for camping illegally elsewhere on Tuesday. It appears as though no one was arrested for refusing to leave their campsite at the PalCo Marsh.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Fortuna Set to Adopt New Panhandling Ordinance

Posted By on Fri, Apr 22, 2016 at 3:56 PM

  • Thinkstock
Citing a spike in aggressive panhandling within city limits, the Fortuna City Council is preparing to adopt an ordinance prohibiting "aggressive and intrusive solicitation." City staff presented a version of the ordinance on Monday, and a second reading and adoption of the ordinance is scheduled for May 2.

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Psychedelic Pizza Hoax Spawns EPD Investigation

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 1:29 PM

An ordinary mushroom pizza. - WIKIMEDIA
  • wikimedia
  • An ordinary mushroom pizza.
In what has to be one of the stranger crime reports in recent memory, the Eureka Police Department is investigating an apparent hoax designed to make a local woman think she’d gotten way more mushrooms on her pizza than she bargained for.

On Wednesday evening, a Eureka woman in her early 20s used the Domino's mobile app to order a meat pizza with mushrooms on half of it from the chain’s local restaurant. All seemed normal when the pizza was delivered until, moments after the delivery driver left, the woman’s phone rang.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

UPDATED: Man Dies in EPD Custody at Hospital

Posted By on Wed, Apr 6, 2016 at 1:57 PM

Police have released the name of the man who died in custody on April 2. According to previous reports, Jeremy Edward Jenkins, 33, died from an unspecified medical emergency after being taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Officers said he “had ingested a substantial amount of methamphetamine.” Jenkins was a frequent name on the EPD’s arrest log, and was the subject of a rough arrest that took place just across from the Journal’s office in September, documented here.

Editor's note: A previous draft of this post said that Jenkins had suffered a heart attack. His cause of death has not been specified.


A man died in Eureka police custody Saturday at a local hospital shortly after officers arrested him on suspicion of public intoxication.

The man had told officers he’d ingested “a substantial amount of methamphetamine,” according to an EPD press release, and officers took him to St. Joseph Hospital for a medical screening before booking him into the Humboldt County jail. The man was placed in a wheelchair and taken into the emergency room by hospital staff. He then suffered an unspecified “medical emergency,” life saving efforts were unsuccessful and he died.

Because the death occurred in police custody, it’s being investigated by the multi-agency Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team.

According to EPD’s press release, officers contacted the man — whose identity is being withheld until officials notify his family of his death — after receiving a report of a suspicious male rolling around on the ground near Spring and Vance streets. When officers arrived, they reported the man exhibited signs of being under the influence but was alert and responsive.

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Saturday, April 2, 2016

New Trial Denied, Sentencing Scheduled for Littlefield

Posted By on Sat, Apr 2, 2016 at 9:42 AM

Timothy Littlefield
  • Timothy Littlefield
A Humboldt County Superior Court judge denied Timothy Floyd Littlefield’s motion for a new trial yesterday, leaving the McKinleyville man facing eight life sentences after his 2013 convictions on 11 child molestation charges.

In December, the California First District Court of Appeals found Humboldt County Superior Court Judge John Feeney abused his discretion in granting a mistrial in the case and sent it back to Feeney for further proceedings. Yesterday, Feeney heard arguments from Russ Clanton, Littlefield’s defense attorney, and prosecuting Deputy District Attorney Andrew Isaac before ruling that the guilty verdicts reached in September of 2013 — which jurors came to after just three hours of deliberation — stand, according to Isaac.

Isaac said Feeney then asked both sides if they were prepared to proceed to sentencing, but Clanton said he was not and indicated he intends to appeal Feeney’s ruling denying his motion for a new trial in the case. Feeney then set sentencing for April 6, though that could be postponed if Clanton follows through with his planned appeal.

Littlefield was arrested in February of 2009 on allegations of repeatedly molesting Jane Doe, his then 8-year-old stepdaughter. He was brought to trial in 2012 but that ended with the jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of convicting him on all counts. The second trial saw unanimous guilty verdicts on all counts, though the validity of those were brought into question by Clanton’s motion for a new trial, which argued that they should be thrown out because a juror mistakenly placed the burden of proof on the defense — not the prosecution.

For more information about the case, view past coverage here.
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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Name Released of Deceased SoHum Man Dumped in Hospital Driveway

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 12:15 PM

  • FILE
Christopher Duke, 55, was probably already deceased when parties unknown unloaded his body into the shadows at the end of the driveway of Jerold Phelps Community Hospital in Garberville.

"The upper part of the body was wrapped in a sheet, including the face," says Kent Scown, the hospital's chief operating officer. "It is an odd circumstance. I’ve been here a very long time and I don’t recall anyone dropping off someone in that manner, and having a staff member find someone."

The exact time and manner of death is unknown, as the Humboldt County Coroner's Office prepares to do an autopsy tomorrow. Deputy Coroner Trevor Enright says the death is unlikely to be related to foul play, although his office is investigating the possibility of both a drug overdose and/or mitigating health factors. 

"He is considered to be homeless," says Enright. "He's been around the area for some time ... in Garberville for something like a decade."

The person or persons who left Duke's body at the end of driveway did not notify hospital staff of their presence. Although there are medical staff on duty all night, they chose instead to leave his body at the very end of the 55-foot driveway, where the hospital's security staff found it in the early hours of Monday morning. Scown said he did not yet have a report from staff about how long the body had been there before it was found. Security camera footage captured a glimpse of the car, but due to a burned-out streetlight the faces and identifying features of Duke's companions were not identifiable.

From the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office:

On Monday, March 28, 2016 at about 2:10 a.m. a Humboldt County Deputy Sheriff and a Deputy Coroner responded to Jerald Phelps Hospital in Garberville for a report of a dead body found outside the hospital’s emergency room. Deputies arrived on scene and spoke with the security guard who had found the body. The security guard stated he located the body near the emergency room entrance. The body was unresponsive and declared deceased by medical personnel.

The decedent has been positively identified as a 55 year old Garberville resident. The release of his identity is pending notification of next of kin.

The Coroner’s Division is actively investigating this incident. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, March 30, 2016.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Whitethorn Woman Faces 10-Year Prison Term for Environmentally Destructive Grow

Posted By on Sat, Mar 26, 2016 at 2:50 PM

The scenic King Range National Conservation Area. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • The scenic King Range National Conservation Area.

A Whitethorn woman has pleaded guilty to charges of depredation against the property of the United States, admitting to doing more than $100,000 worth of environmental damage to federal lands as a part of her marijuana cultivation operation.

Melinda Van Horne entered the plea Wednesday, according to a press release, and is free on bond awaiting sentencing in July, when she faces a maximum term of 10 years in federal prison.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Manslaughter Arrest Made in September Death

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 10:13 AM

  • Courtesy of Thomas' family
  • Terry Lee Thomas
The Eureka Police Department has arrested a 24-year-old on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter for the September death of a local homeless man, Terry Lee Thomas.

Thomas, 63, was found bloodied and unresponsive shortly after 8 p.m. on Sept. 8 in the parking lot of the Courthouse Market in the 900 block of Fourth Street. He later died at a local hospital and an autopsy ruled his death a homicide.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Mills Mulls Prison Reform With Gov. Brown, Other Chiefs

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 4:21 PM

Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills. - FILE
  • File
  • Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills.
Eureka Police Department Chief Andy Mills and police chiefs from around the state met with Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday, March 17 at the 2016 California Police Chiefs Association Symposium to discuss Brown's November ballot initiative, which would ostensibly streamline the early release of nonviolent offenders from prison.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Yurok Tribal Chair Resigns in the Shadow of Old Murder Case

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 6:56 PM

When information bubbled into public view about his past, James Dunlap resigned his post as Yurok Tribal chair this afternoon. - FACEBOOK/JAMES DUNLAP
  • Facebook/James Dunlap
  • When information bubbled into public view about his past, James Dunlap resigned his post as Yurok Tribal chair this afternoon.
Yurok Tribal Chair James Dunlap resigned today, as a dark period from his past bubbled into public view.

Early in the day, social media reports began to surface that Dunlap — elected to chair the tribe last year — had fatally stabbed his 3-month-old daughter in San Mateo back in 1988. Within hours, a press release came from the Yurok Tribe announcing Dunlap’s resignation “following the discovery of information from his past.”

The press release states that the tribe “recently became aware” of Dunlap’s past, with tribal Vice Chair David Gensaw Sr. calling it a “sad and frustrating day for the Yurok people.”

According to the San Jose Mercury News, on Sept. 9, 1988, San Mateo police arrived at a house where Dunlap and his family were visiting relatives “just as James Dunlap, 30, of Hoopa, was lifting the girl over his head and yelling out that he had sacrificed her to God. The girl, Brittaney, had been stabbed with a buck knife in her crib, police said.”

Police then took Dunlap to the psychiatric ward of a local hospital, where he reportedly told workers he’d killed his daughter “to set her free for God.” Police said they suspected Dunlap was under the influence of methamphetamine.

San Mateo Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti said Dunlap was ultimately charged with murder, and entered dual pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. After a jury convicted Dunlap in 1990 of second degree murder for the infant’s slaying, it deemed him legally insane at the time. Guidotti said Dunlap was then sent to Atascadero State Hospital but, at the order of a San Mateo County Superior Court judge, was released to outpatient status in 1993. After a couple of years of community supervision and outpatient treatment, Dunlap was found “restored to sanity in 1995,” according to Guidotti.

To find a defendant not guilty by reason of insanity in California, a jury must decide the evidence shows the defendant both didn’t understand the “nature and quality of his act” and wasn’t able to distinguish between right and wrong at the time he or she committed the crimes.

In a short bio written for his campaign for tribal office, Dunlap states he grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended San Jose State University. He notes that he was president of the All Indian Boarding Schools Association from 2001 until 2006, and that he currently serves as chair of the Board of Directors for Drug and Alcohol Detox and Treatment Services. He states that he carries in his pocket a “chip celebrating 26 years of sobriety.”

Judging from the tribe’s official response and tribal members' comments on social media it appears that most were unaware of Dunlap’s past, but that’s a bit curious as the tribe claims in its press release that “all Tribal elected officials are put through a background investigation.”

In its press release, the tribe notes that the tribal council “does not have any additional comments at this time.” Attempts to reach Dunlap for comment on this story were unsuccessful.
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