Wednesday, February 24, 2016

'A Wake of Destruction:' Warren's Probation Report Sheds New Light on Cruz Waiver

Posted By on Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 5:19 PM

Jason Anthony Warren
  • Jason Anthony Warren
By the time a Humboldt County Superior Court judge agreed to release Jason Anthony Warren from jail on Aug. 24, 2012 to allow him to get his affairs in order prior to being sentenced to a six-year state prison bid for illegally possessing a firearm, the then 27-year-old Warren had already amassed a criminal record that included 18 run-ins with the law.

After being released from custody by Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Timothy Cissna at the request of his defense attorney — and without any objection for the district attorney’s office — Warren failed to show up for his sentencing hearing two weeks later. Then, on Sept. 27, 2012, Warren tortured and murdered Dorothy Ulrich in her Hoopa home before driving to Eureka and intentionally running down three joggers from behind, killing Suzanne Seemann and seriously injuring the other two.

A pre-sentencing probation report filed after Warren’s conviction details how he was born into poverty, the son of a heroin addicted mother and a father he never met in Eureka, and that he has been in trouble with the law since the age of 6. The report also brings into sharp focus old questions about why Cissna agreed to let Warren out of custody in August of 2012, and why the district attorney’s office didn't oppose Warren’s request.

According to the report, Warren was born Sept. 20, 1984, “the product of a casual relationship between his mother Lynn Ann Warren … and Terry Hartman.” However, the report notes that Warren’s mother was married to another man — Paul Warren — at the time of Jason’s birth. “Defendant said he never met either man.”

When Warren was 5, his mother — who the report notes was a heroin addict from the age of 15 — was sentenced to serve two years in prison for drug possession and Warren went to live with his maternal great aunt, Lillian Hickey. While Warren spent his early years in Eureka, he moved out to Hoopa with Hickey at the age of 9. According to the report, Hickey supported herself and Warren with the assistance of a federal welfare program.

By the time Warren relocated east, he’d already been in trouble with the law. According to the report, shortly before his 7th birthday, he was contacted by police for dumping liquid soap all over the bathroom of a Pro Sport Center and attempting to steal a knife from the store.

After the move, Warren seems to have gotten in an escalating string of trouble: at 10, he was contacted for throwing candy at a residence; at 11, he was arrested for taking Hickey’s car without her permission and joyriding; at 12, he brought an unspecified weapon to school and tried to sell it, and later was arrested for stealing several items from the Bayshore Mall; at 13, he was caught placing a 40-ounce bottle of beer under his coat and trying to steal it from Ray’s Food Place in Hoopa.

It was after Warren’s 14th birthday that his behavior began to turn violent, according to the report. In December of 1998, he assaulted someone at Hoopa High School. After the assault and battery, he was removed from Hickey’s care and retained as a ward of the court, which sent him to live at Crystal Creek Regional Boys Camp for an unspecified amount of time. It doesn’t seem to have done much good as he was arrested two months later for again assaulting someone on school grounds — this time twice in one day — and resisting an officer. This led to another unspecified stint at Crystal Creek.

Three arrests followed in 1999, for stealing some basketball shoes out of a student’s locker at Hoopa High, for throwing a rock at a car and for marijuana possession. In February of 2000, he was arrested for throwing someone to the ground, kicking them in the head and repeatedly hitting them in the face with a closed fist. A month later, he pulled a knife on a fellow student at Hoopa High, leading to his first stint in juvenile hall, according to the report.

In 2001, before Warren’s 17th birthday, he was arrested for burglary — breaking into the Klamath-Trinity Unified School District compound yard and stealing gas from a van — and for domestic violence and assault with a deadly weapon after he assaulted his pregnant girlfriend. She later gave birth to Warren's son who is now 14.

But all those arrests would pale in comparison to what happened on April 10, 2001, when in a fashion hauntingly similar to the murders in 2012, Warren caught a cab driven by Cid Miller. While riding through McKinleyville, Warren — for no apparent reason — attacked Miller from behind, stabbing him in the back, shoulder and chest before Miller dove from the moving vehicle. Warren then took the cab and attempted to “run down two young men on bicycles in Arcata” before attempting to run down a pedestrian near Blue Lake. For the second time in a year, Warren was sent to the California Youth Authority. While in custody there in December of 2001, Warren attacked another detainee who made some “antagonistic comments regarding [Warren’s] son,” according to the report.

According to the report, Warren was released from the academy in 2006 and resided in Eureka. His first arrest as an adult came at the age of 22, when in April of 2007 he was picked up for being a felon in possession of a firearm and sentenced to 32 months in prison. After his release, he violated the conditions of his parole four times, according to the report.

Then, in March of 2012, Warren was accused of being a felon in possession of a firearm and assault with a deadly weapon. After some months in jail, on Aug. 24, 2012, Warren entered into a plea agreement that was a bit complicated due to his request for a Cruz waiver, which allows a defendant who has pleaded guilty to be released from custody until the time of his sentencing in order to get his or her affairs in order before incarceration. The agreements carry the threat of a heftier sentence if the defendant fails to return to jail when they are ordered to.

Under the terms of Warren’s agreement, he pleaded guilty to both the assault with a deadly weapon and firearm charges. If he showed up at his Sept. 7, 2012 sentencing hearing, as ordered, the assault charge would be dropped and he would be sentenced to six years in state prison. If he failed to show up, the assault charge would remain and he’d be sentenced to three additional years in prison.

On Aug. 24, 2012, Warren appeared before Cissna and entered the pleas. According to an article in the Two Rivers Tribune, Deputy District Attorney Zach Curtis, who appeared at the hearing for the DA’s Office, was asked to explain on the record his reasons for not opposing Warren’s release under the Cruz waiver. He declined, and Cissna accepted Warren’s pleas, granted the Cruz waiver and ordered him released from custody, to return in two weeks time for sentencing.

He never did, and on Sept. 27, 2012, he murdered Ulrich and Seemann in what’s been described as one of the most horrible crimes in recent Humboldt County history. In his interview with a parole officer for the pre-sentencing investigation report, Warren declined to discuss the events surrounding the killings, on the advice of his attorney.

“The ripple effect of defendant’s actions have reverberated through this community and will be felt for years, if not generations to come,” the probation report states. “Two young children and their father are without the loving mother, and wife they deserved to have raise them and grow old with. Defendant’s lifetime incarceration cannot heal that void or bring back their loving mother and partner.

… Defendant has contributed nothing to this community or to society as a whole and has left a wake of destruction in his path. These victims were all accomplished, positive, productive members of this community, and this community will forever be deprived of their best efforts to create a better community for all.”

Warren, who is now at Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, which acts as a reception center for the state prison system. According to Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming, the prison is currently holding Warren on his case from March of 2012. As soon as it receives his final sentencing papers from the double murder case, he will be transferred to a maximum security prison.

Editor's Note: This story was updated from a previous version to correct the title of the California Youth Authority.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

El Gañador

Posted By on Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 5:17 PM

  • Twitter/@noticiaslenador
Humboldt State University’s bilingual student newspaper El Leñador was recently named California’s best non-weekly student newspaper.

At its Excellence in Student Media awards banquet in Los Angeles, the California College Media Association tapped the now 3-year-old paper for its First Place prize for the category of Best Newspaper, with a judge noting that the Spanish-English paper “captures the multicultural component of its audience with flair.”

The paper has been a multi-departmental project at HSU, spearheaded by Journalism and Mass Communications Chair (and Journal columnist) Marcy Burstiner and World Languages and Cultures Chair Rosamel Benavides Garb.

Check out the press full press release copied below, which includes some special kudos for former El Leñador editor and Journal contributor Manuel Orbegozo. You can also view the paper’s award-winning issues here, here and here. And, it’s on news stands now in The Lumberjack, so make sure to pick it up.

From HSU:
Los Angeles, California — The California College Media Association named El Leñador the best non-weekly student newspaper in the state at its Excellence in Student Media Awards Banquet Feb. 20.
The bilingual newspaper received the First Place award for Best Newspaper, competing against monthly and bi-weekly papers from 4-year and 2-year colleges and universities across California.

"As a student journalist this is what you strive for," said El Leñador Editor-in-Chief Javier Rojas. "When this publication started back in 2013 the goal of El Leñador was to give a voice to underrepresented students on campus and now to be called the best newspaper, it's incredible."

In awarding El Leñador first place, the judges said: "It captures the multicultural component of its audience with flair."

El Leñador started in 2013 as an interdisciplinary faculty-student research project with students from the Journalism and Spanish majors teamed up with Journalism & Mass Communication Chair Marcy Burstiner and World Languages and Cultures Chair Rosamel Benavides-Garb.

"Huge credit goes to Manuel Orbegozo and Shareen McFall who were the first two editors of the paper," Rojas said. "They influenced the paper in so many ways and are equally deserving credit of this award."
El Leñador was initially funded by grants from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. It also received funding from The Lumberjack, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the President's Loyalty Fund.

"Winning First Place was well-deserved," said Burstiner. "In just three years, these students have created a newspaper that serves not just the Latino community on campus but the wider Latino community of Humboldt County."

Rojas and his team will deliver the second issue of the spring term this week. "It makes me proud on many levels," Rojas said. "But I'm more happy for the staff and editors that came before me that had a heavy influence on the paper. "

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Weigh in on Designs for Eureka's Waterfront Wednesday at the Wharfinger

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 5:12 PM

Got a vision for the waterfront? Eureka’s Community Development Department has released six sketches of a possible future for the undeveloped bayside stretch between C and F streets.

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

HumBug: Dainty Little Moths

Posted By on Sun, Feb 21, 2016 at 3:56 PM

Plume moth in T-formation. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Plume moth in T-formation.
Tuesday evening I purposely left on the porch light. In the middle of winter there is seldom anything, but sometimes you get lucky, and I got a few small moths. Plume moths (family Pterophoridae) are fairly common. When they land, they hold their very narrow wings out 90 degrees from their bodies, looking like a capital letter “T.”

A moth from the family Gracillariidae strikes a mantis-like pose.
  • A moth from the family Gracillariidae strikes a mantis-like pose.

There was one tiny critter I did not recognize at all. Its stance resembled a praying mantis about 8 millimeters long. I got out my little pocket camera and snapped a few closeup photos. By the time I had exhausted all angles and lighting combinations, it flew away.

That it flew at all was a big clue. Insects only develop full sized wings and flight capability as adults. When I uploaded the images, I was more mystified than ever. Instead of it hiding its front pair of legs in a raptoral pose like a mantis, it held the first and second pair together. Close examination showed wings covered with scales, which immediately indicated it was a moth, but not like any moth I had seen before. So I posted it online. In less than a minute I got a tip that it was a moth of the family Gracillariidae. A new one to me.

Twenty-plume moth spreads its fan-like wings. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Twenty-plume moth spreads its fan-like wings.
Today, looking out a window there was another tiny moth, this time with its wings spread. It looked as if they were folded like a fan. I snapped a few photos of that one before it flew away. On uploading the images it was a bit more remarkable than I had expected. Instead of wing membranes like other moths, this one had little bars with tiny filaments along them, like a bird's feather. It took me a little while to find, but this one is a 20-plume moth (Alucita hexadactyla). 
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TL;DR: Five Things We Want to See at the Minor Theater

Posted By on Sun, Feb 21, 2016 at 10:11 AM

Busy week? We get it. Here are some highlights from this week's cover story to get you caught up.

Earlier this month, the 101-year-old Minor Theater quietly closed, its operator, Ashland-based Coming Attractions, unable to renew a contract with the building's owner. But quickly thereafter, owner Josh Neff, who bought the Minor and most of the adjacent block next door, announced he was partnering with Merrick McKinlay, the co-owner of La Dolce Video and Richards’ Goat Tavern, to renovate and re-open the theater. With that news, here are five things this writer wants to go see at the Minor Theater:

1) Star Wars 8. I mean, obviously, right? Neff plans to deck out the Minor to the tune of a quarter million dollars, installing state-of-the-art screens, projectors and sound systems, along with new, comfy seats. “It will, without question, be the best movie-going experience you can get within 100 miles," he said.

2) Live ballet — or maybe an opera? Neff and McKinlay have floated the idea of partnering with big-city live dance and theater presentations, bringing world class performances that otherwise wouldn’t grace Arcata stages. Also, no tux necessary. The partners in the newly formed Minor Theater Group say they’re committed to bringing movies and arts of cultural value to the theater, and hoping to attract people of all ages with their offerings.

3) The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. Can you imagine a better movie during which to gorge yourself on the Minor’s new food offerings? Neff and McKinlay plan to offer local, fresh food with beers and wine, even saying they hope to partner up with local farms. “Who would’ve thought the movie theater would be working with farms?” McKinlay asked.

4) Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Or Night of the Hunter. Or Creature from the Black Lagoon. Or Blade Runner. Or Holy Mountain. Or next year’s Oscar-nominated documentaries. Foreign, cult, arthouse, kids’ fare, blockbusters — you name it. McKinlay and Neff say the programming with be flexible and responsive to the community. "It's been the entertainment center of the town since it was built. It doesn't get any bigger or better than this," McKinlay said. And with that comes the responsibility of being the "cinematic lifeblood" of the community.

5) The Humboldt International Film Festival. The nearly 50-year-old student-run film festival is coming back to the Minor on April 20 for the first time in 10 years. The festival’s organizers expect a better turnout than recent years at the Van Duzer Theatre, and that means more eyes on the student-curated films and more renown for the festival. Plus, more interaction between town and university. "It's like going home," said film professor Susan Abbey.
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Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Van Kirk and Vinyard Research Collection: HSU Honors Humble Heroines

Posted By on Sat, Feb 20, 2016 at 10:22 AM

  • Photo courtesy of Humboldt State University
Susie Van Kirk would probably not have approved of Humboldt State University's plan to immortalize her. The decades-long activist for homeless and environmental rights was not a fan of the spotlight, according to all who knew her, going as far as to ask her son not to hold a memorial service or write an obituary after she had passed. That didn't stop many from mourning her Dec. 30 death, which came a day before her friend and collaborator in activism Lucille Vinyard also died. Now the university is taking steps to honor both women by gathering their papers into a special research collection.

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Get Down With EPD: Active Shooter Training

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2016 at 3:58 PM

The Eureka Police Deparment is offering a free training on how to survive an active shooter incident to citizens on Thursday, March 3. 

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Three Questions for Jared Huffman

Posted By on Wed, Feb 17, 2016 at 5:07 PM

Jared Huffman. - CONGRESS
  • Congress
  • Jared Huffman.
Congressman Jared Huffman was in town last week for a short visit, and he sat with Journal to share his thoughts on a few newsworthy North Coast topics.

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Want to Win a Night at the Benbow Inn (Plus Wine and Chocolate)?

Posted By on Mon, Feb 15, 2016 at 2:53 PM

You could be here. - FILE
  • File
  • You could be here.
Did you blow Valentine’s Day? Are you sitting in your cubicle right now wondering why that chocolate rose and repurposed post card didn’t do the trick? Or maybe you’re at your desk, contemplating a lifetime of loneliness because you showed your partner the door after he/she showed up with a heart shaped pizza, a bottle of André and a VHS copy of Point Break? No matter the depths of your despair, we’re here to help you turn those wrongs into a right.

Remember the photo contest we announced last week, the quest for the perfect shot to capture winter in Humboldt County? Well, we’re announcing today that the winner of said contest — whoever shoots the majestic photo ultimately selected by Journal staff as the best of the bunch — will receive a night’s stay at the historic Benbow Inn, a bottle of vino and some Dick Taylor chocolate on us. That ought to be enough to get you back on some solid footing with your partner or to get you on the good foot with someone new. Or, at the very least, it seems like a pretty damn classy way to be miserable.

If you need to brush up on the entry guidelines, check out our original post here. Good luck.
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Sunday, February 14, 2016

HumBug: Bee Alert!

Posted By on Sun, Feb 14, 2016 at 3:00 PM

A bumble bee investigates a dandelion. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • A bumble bee investigates a dandelion.

Yesterday while working outside, I noticed a large black and yellow bee diligently working its way around the periphery of one of the many dandelions in my yard. I paused and took a picture of it to report to Bumblebee Watch. They are tracking various species of the genus Bombus, some of which are endangered. On their website there is a nifty opportunity to compare your photo to drawings designed to extenuate identification characteristics of the various North American species.

A crab apple blossom get a going over by a bumble bee. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • A crab apple blossom get a going over by a bumble bee.

Around the world there is a growing industry of breeding bumblebees to provide an alternative to the commercial honey bee (Apis mellifera). Although they do not produce honey, they offer several advantages. Thanks to their largely dark coloration, fuzzy bodies and some unique anatomy, they can fly at cooler temperatures. They are also more effective at pollinating some flowers including tomatoes by using sonication, or “buzz pollination, shaking pollen loose by vibrating their wing muscles. Their black and yellow coloration is almost universally recognized in nature as a warning to potential predators that they can sting. Finally, only the queens, and not their nests, over winter so they require less off-season care.

As CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) decimates commercial bee populations bumblebees have been seen as a potential replacement, but recently there have been articles implicating our trafficking in their honeybee cousins as spreading diseases and parasites which can effect them as well. 

The fuzzy fellow on a thistle. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • The fuzzy fellow on a thistle.
On occasion I have noticed one flying around me at a dizzying pace and buzzing loudly. I suspect it may be warning me to stay away from its nest which is often in an abandoned rodent burrow or other hole in the ground.
This warning behavior might just have been the inspiration for Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumble Bee. There are hundreds of renditions online for every instrument you can imagine, whether it's David Herzhaf on diatonic harmonica, or Russia's National Orchestra it never fails to bring a smile.  

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