Crime

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sheriff's Office IDs Inmate Who Died in Custody

Posted By on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 3:11 PM

Humboldt County Sheriff's Office - FILE
  • FILE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office has identified the woman who died in custody at around 3 a.m. this morning as Colleen Marie Branch, 36, of Eureka. Branch was in the jail's medical unit to detox off an undisclosed substance, according to Lt. Mike Fridley. She was discovered by a staff member at around 2:45 a.m. and appeared to not be breathing. She was transported to the hospital and declared dead at 3:20 a.m. Booking records indicate that Branch was booked into the jail Wednesday evening for parole violations. The Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team is currently conducting an investigation.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Alleged Energy Scam Has Eureka Residents Up in Arms

Posted By on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 3:57 PM

THINKSTOCK
  • Thinkstock
A video of a Humboldt Hill resident chasing two alleged scammers down the street while exchanging insults has generated more than 15,000 views on Facebook. The video, posted Tuesday evening by Bill Yeater and shared on several crime-oriented Facebook groups, shows a young man and woman walking rapidly away from Yeater, who is holding two pitbulls on leashes. Yeater says in his post that the people came to his door to do a "PG&E survey."

"I know what you guys are doing, you're trying to harvest our information," says Yeater.

"IGS Energy buddy, it's a real company," replies the woman.

"You're an ugly, nerdy dude with no pussy in your life," says the man, who pulls the young woman away from taking a photograph of Yeater.

Yeater tells the duo that he has "protection" along with his pitbulls.

"You'd better get out of this neighborhood," he adds, saying that the sheriff is on the way.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

UPDATE: CHP ID's Redding Man Killed in Suspected DUI Crash

Posted By on Sat, Jun 17, 2017 at 2:36 PM

chp-patch.gif
UPDATE:

The deceased man has been identified as Jarrod Waddle.

Previously:

A 35-year-old Redding man was killed early this morning when he lost control of his SUV and hit a tree off South G Street.

The man, whose name is being withheld until officials can notify his family of his death, is suspected of having been under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the 3:35 a.m. crash.

According to CHP, he was driving a 2014 Dodge Journey south on U.S. Highway 101 when he exited at South G Street at an “undetermined speed” and failed to negotiate a curve at the end of the off ramp. The SUV left the roadway in a straight line, according to CHP, and collided with a tree.

The driver was unresponsive when CHP and paramedics arrived on scene and was pronounced dead at Mad River Hospital a short time later. His passenger suffered minor injuries.

This is the 16th roadway death in Humboldt County so far this year.
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sessions Fights to Fight Legal Weed

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 10:59 AM

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. - GAGE SKIDMORE/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons
  • U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Lost in all the reports of his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee was news that last month U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked Congress to give him broad authority to crack down on medical marijuana cultivators and distributors acting in accordance with state laws.

On May 1, Sessions penned a letter to congressional leaders asking them to strike a provision in a spending bill that bars the Department of Justice from using its federal funding to prosecute people operating in compliance with state law. Known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, the check on Justice Department power has been a mainstay in congressional budget bills since first passed in 2014.

“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions explained in the letter.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Officials Announce Lawson Reward, Face Charging 'Conundrum'

Posted By on Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 1:26 PM

Michelle Chermaine Lawson issues an emotional plea for anyone who may have information about her son's death to come forward. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Michelle Chermaine Lawson issues an emotional plea for anyone who may have information about her son's death to come forward.
The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever fatally stabbed David Josiah Lawson on April 15 has swollen to $21,000, the city of Arcata recently announced.

Lawson - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Lawson
Meanwhile, Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman said the investigation remains ongoing some five weeks after Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Dale Reinholtsen dismissed a murder charge against Kyle Zoellner, APD’s prime suspect in the slaying of Lawson, a 19-year-old Humboldt State university sophomore. Nothing prevents the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office from refiling a murder charge against Zoellner if APD finds additional evidence implicating him in Lawson’s death.

Chapman said his detectives are continuing to investigate witnesses in the case, though he noted that, aside from those initially interviewed, none of the more than 100 people at the Spear Avenue house party where Lawson was killed have voluntarily come forward.

“To date, that hasn’t happened,” Chapman said, adding that all witness interviews are valuable to the investigation, even if the witness doesn’t believe he or she saw anything related to Lawson’s death, explaining that one witness’ testimony about things unrelated to the actual stabbing can be used to test the veracity of other witness statements.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Lawson's Mom Announces $10K Reward, Issues Emotional Plea to Witnesses

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 7:33 AM

Michelle Chermaine Lawson issues an emotional plea for anyone who may have information about her son's death to come forward. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Michelle Chermaine Lawson issues an emotional plea for anyone who may have information about her son's death to come forward.
The mother of slain Humboldt State University sophomore David Josiah Lawson stood on the campus quad yesterday afternoon and announced a $10,000 award for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her son’s killer and issued an impassioned plea for witnesses to come forward.

Flanked by family, Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman and a couple of her son’s friends, Michelle Chermaine Lawson told the story of what she was doing when she received word her son had been fatally stabbed at an Arcata house party.

“On April 15, I received a phone call from my son’s cell phone at 3:36 in the morning,” she said. “I answered the phone by saying, ‘DJ, What’s wrong?’”

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Monday, May 15, 2017

One of Petrolia's Zebras Fatally Shot

Posted By on Mon, May 15, 2017 at 5:05 PM

CARRIE PEYTON DAHLBERG
  • Carrie Peyton Dahlberg
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office is investigating the shooting of one of the three famed zebras that lives on Mattole Road near Petrolia.

Sheriff William Honsal said his office received a report of the shooting Saturday morning, saying it appears someone used a small caliber rifle to fatally shoot the zebra sometime during the preceding night. He said the animal's owner went out to the pasture Saturday morning to find the animal lying down and, upon closer inspection, found a single bullet hole.

"It is currently being investigated," Honsal said, urging anyone with information to call the sheriff's office at 445-7251 or the crime tip line at 268-2539.

The zebra — known as "Randy" — is one of three that have long delighted passersby on  the Lost Coast. According to our coverage in 2013, the animals were then owned by fashion designers based in Los Angeles but were being cared for by a father and son team, Luis Juarez Sr. and Jr., who made the drive from Ferndale several days a week to feed the animals and put them in at night. The animals reported came to the Lost Coast by way of a zebra ranch in Oroville.

Honsal said his office will issue a full press release in the morning. We'll update this post with more information as we receive it.
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Kitchen Held For Trial in DUI Manslaughter Case

Posted By on Thu, May 11, 2017 at 1:48 PM

Marcia Kitchen's booking photo.
  • Marcia Kitchen's booking photo.
Humboldt County Superior Court Judge John Feeney ruled yesterday that there is sufficient evidence to hold Marci Kitchen to stand trial on manslaughter charges stemming from allegations that she was driving drunk when she hit and killed her daughter and another girl in July.

Kitchen was held to answer on charges of vehicular manslaughter and DUI causing death, as well as a special allegation that she fled the scene. Kitchen was arrested in September following a months-long investigation into the July 12 crash that left her daughter, 14-year-old Kiya Kitchen, and her friend, Faith Tsarnas, also 14, dead.

Feeney’s ruling came after two and a half days of seemingly gut-wrenching testimony from investigating officers and Kitchen’s son. Both the Times-Standard and Lost Coast Outpost covered the hearings daily.

Kitchen remains free after posting $750,000 bail.

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Monday, May 8, 2017

UPDATE: Name of Shelter Cove Man Killed in 'Intentional' Collision Released

Posted By on Mon, May 8, 2017 at 3:00 PM

Jesse Simpson - FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
  • Jesse Simpson
Update: The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office today identified the man killed May 3 in what officials described as an intentional act as Shelter Cove resident Jesse Earl Simpson. He was 42.

Previous:

A fatal traffic collision in Shelter Cove yesterday left one person dead and a 45-year-man has been arrested in what officials are calling "an intentional act."


Few details are being released at this time, but both the Redheaded Blackbelt and the Lost Coast Outpost reported that the person killed was a pedestrian. The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office identified the suspect as Eric Lively. The victim's identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office:
On 05-03-17 Officers from the California Highway Patrol were dispatched to a fatal traffic collision in the Shelter Cove area of Southern Humboldt County. Once on scene, CHP Officers determined the collision was the result of an intentional act.

Detectives from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office responded and took over the investigation. Suspect Eric Lively (45 years old) was arrested and is being charged with homicide. The victim’s identity is being withheld until next of kin can be notified.

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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Skilled Nursing Defendants File for Change of Venue

Posted By on Mon, May 8, 2017 at 11:03 AM

Shlomo Rechnitz - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SACARAMENTO BEE / PAUL KITAGAKI JR.
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SACARAMENTO BEE / PAUL KITAGAKI JR.
  • Shlomo Rechnitz
Shlomo Rechnitz can’t get a fair trial in Humboldt County. That’s the contention of the law firm representing the skilled nursing magnate, Lewis Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith LLP, which recently filed a motion for a change of venue in one of the three wrongful death and elder abuse suits filed against Rechnitz and his company, Brius Healthcare Management.

The case in question revolves around Ralph Sorensen, a patient at Seaview Rehabilitation and Wellness Center who died Jan. 27, 2016 after complications related to an infected pressure ulcer. In the complaint, local law firm Janssen Malloy LLP alleges that Sorensen’s death is correlated to low staffing levels at the facility and charges Seaview, Rechnitz, Brius and the administrative services company Rockport with wrongful death related to elder abuse and neglect.

The motion filed by Rechnitz’s attorneys, which will be heard on May 25, says “there is a reason to believe that an impartial trial in Humboldt cannot be had.” As evidence for this claim, the motion cites a 2011 meeting between Rechnitz and then-District Attorney Paul Gallegos in which Gallegos “threatened to jail someone if understaffing continued to occur at the facilities.”

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