Aug 3, 2015

Swortzel's bail increased to $225,000, his attorney says motions not an issue because no one has offered to post his bail

At the last hearing, defensec request for alleged home invasion suspect Bret Swortzel was denied.

Today, the DA asked Judge Timothy Cissna for two motions, one was for source of bail and the other to increase bail.

Judge Cissna looked at the charges and with the strikes against him and prior convictions, his total bail is noe $225,000.

His attorney, Mr. Michael Acosta said source of bail was not an issue, and that his client had not attempted to make bail and no one had offered to post bail. Mr. Acosta tried to argue that the DA's motion was a little late in the game.

One of the victims, Deborah Morton was present in court with her attorney Ed Denson.

DDA Jackie Pizzo subbed in for DDA Stacey Eads, the prosecutor in this case.

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DA wins motion, David Lockhart's preliminary hearing for gross vehicular manslaughter now on Sept 15

Judge Miles granted the DA's motion for continuance in the David Lockhart case and he was not released from custody.

New preliminary hearing is on September 15.

Jul 31, 2015

DA's motion for continuance in gross vehicular manslaughter case continued for input from victim's family; defense counsel tries to negotiate Lockhart's release to agree to DA's continuance

The District Attorney's office  filed a motion to continue in the David Lockhart case. That motion was to be heard yesterday afternoon at 2 p.m. There was also an intervention hearing scheduled for 3 p.m. today in Courtroom 2 that was vacated after the matter was continued to August 3rd at 2 p.m..

Mr. Russ Clanton, who represents Lockhart addressed the Court yesterday and told Judge Marilyn Miles, "We tend to accommodate continuances if there is no prejudice. In this case, we oppose because he is in custody and will remain there for 30 days while the officer is on vacation. We would reconsider, if People will reconsider custody status and release Mr. Lockhart."

Deputy District Attorney Jackie Pizzo responded that, "While number of members of the victim's family were present, Mr. Patrik Griego who represents the family, was not informed of this motion until she contacted his office that day. I don't think the issue of Mr. Lockhart being in custody is prejudice, more inconvenience."

Judge Miles then said that current dates will remain and the matter is continued until the "People properly notify the victims' family." She said she would not make a decision without their input.

Judge Miles also handed some papers to Mr. Clanton that no one was aware had been subpoenaed but were in the file with a sticky note with this name. There was also clarification on the record that there had been no attempt to subpoena the officer, just that he is on vacation.

The current preliminary hearing date is August 6.

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Jul 3, 2015

David Lockhart charged with gross vehicular manslaughter in 101 incident hires private attorney and wants a change in custodial status

David Lockhart is charged with a felony: homicide with the count of gross vehicular manslaughter and death of multiple victims.

When he was arraigned in May, he was led away in cuffs in front of the victim's family and friends. "What a difference this new DA has made," is what one of the victim's friends told me outside court that day. They are very pleased with DA Maggie Fleming and her office's handling  of the case. 

The Baker family, who lost their loved ones, have hired award winning and top criminal defense attorney Patrik Griego to represent them. Mr. Griego was also in court with the family.

A disposition and reset hearing was scheduled for July 2. Deputy District Attorney Jackie Pizzo is prosecuting the case and Conflict Counsel's Mr. Greg Elvine-Kreis had been appointed as Lockhart's attorney. Lockhart has retained a private attorney, Mr. Russ Clanton. In local cases that are recent, Mr. Clanton is represented Timothy Littlefield and Judson Stiglich.

Mr. Clanton tried to get another hearing on Lockhart's custodial status saying his "ciircumstances had changed." Judge Marilyn Miles informed him that OR/ Bail was denied on May 29 and that just because Lockhart gets a private attorney, he does not get another chance for OR/Bail and that he was charged with a serious crime of vehicular manslaughter but Mr. Clanton could file a motion for "change of circumstance." An intervention hearing is scheduled for July 30 at 3 p.m. and the Preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 30. 

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Welfare check leads to discovering deceased in Albion

On 08-01-2015 at 10:57 AM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a welfare check at a residence located in the 32000 block of Navarro Ridge Road in Albion, California.

At the location, a neighbor concerned for the two residents tried to contact them and was unable to do so. The neighbor peered through windows and observed what they believed to be the two residents deceased.

Deputies arrived and gained entry into the residence due to the circumstances of the situation.

A 77-year-old white female adult was found to be deceased and an 80-year-old white male adult was found to be suffering from life threatening injuries.

The 80-year-old white male adult was treated by medical personnel and subsequently transported by air ambulance to an out of county hospital.

Sheriff's Detectives from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Investigative Services Bureau responded and assumed control of the investigation of the incident.

The name of the 77-year-old white female adult is being withheld pending contact with her legal the next of kin.

On 08-02-2015 the 80-year-old white male adult died as a resulted of his injuries and his name is being withheld pending contact with his legal next of kin.

Sheriff's Detectives are continuing investigations but initial evidence at the scene suggests this incident was a murder suicide.

Uri Driscoll Humboldt's third district Supervisor

I suggested that he should run and spoke with Uri after that post and he said he was considering it.

Allan Dollison told me that Uri confirmed he has decided to run for third district Supervisor.

Uri just confirmed.

"I plan file papers shortly. I look forward to bringing together ideas and ultimately solutions for addressing our challenges and enhancing the many qualities of our North Coast communities.
Deep down we all know that real solutions come from a wide spectrum of perspectives. My job will be to bridge those perspectives."

Aug 1, 2015

Attempted murder charge dropped, if defense 995 motion is granted, Silverio Sanchez case that made headlines may end up "resolving"?

On July 30, Judge Marilyn Miles, not  a Vsiting Judge was going to hear a 995 motion for former fugitive Silverio Sanchez . The 995 motion seeks to dismiss Counts 1,5, 6 and special allegations as well as Counts 7 and 9 is what Mr. Sanders said in court that day.

While this is not the case that Sanchez is being represented by Mr. Ben McLaughlin, he did attend the court hearing upon the request of Mr. Sanders. Mr. McLaughlin told Judge Miles, "The matters in which I represent continue to trail. If Mr. Sanders' matter is resolved, mine will resolve."

DDA Jackie Pizzo who was in court said she just saw Mr. Sanders' response to the opposition filed by the People to the 995. She said DDA Zach Curtis who is the prosecutor on this case is on vacation and she was quite certain he had not seen the response. Judge Miles had not been given the response by Mr. Sanders and she just saw the "pleadings" in the file in court so needed time to read them. 

Mr. Sanders agreed that the matter be continued to allow Judge Miles a chance to review the pleadings.

Next court date is August 18 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 2 for the 995 motion. The jury trial for the case in which Mr. Sanders is representing Sanchez is scheduled for Sept 21.


In October 2014, Silverio Sanchez waived his preliminary hearing and the attempted murder charge was dropped. This was on the case that private attorney Ben McLaughlin is representing him.

Oct 14, 2014

Silverio Sanchez preliminary waived; attempted murder charge dropped

Arraignment on information for Jury trial on November 3 at 2 p.m. DDA Zach Curtis stipulated with Silverio Sanchez's attorney, Mr. Ben McLaughlin, to drop Count 1 which is the attempted murder charge and the special allegation associated with it and Sanchez agreed to waive the preliminary hearing.

When Sanchez is arraigned on information for the jury trial, the other counts have been modified to add a special allegation of great bodily injury to Counts 2 and 3 and this was part of the stipulation to waive the preliminary hearing. Sanchez will be charged with Count 2 which is battery on law enforcement; Count 3 which is evading law enforcement with injury and two counts of intimidation of witness.

Then his other private attorney, Mr. Neal Sanders has filed a 995 motion. It was supposed to be heard by a visiting Judge.

Jun 25, 2015

995 motion for former fugitive Silverio Sanchez to be heard by Visiting Judge

Jury trial date for tge felony case for Silverio Sanchez remains set but a 995 motion filed by Mr. Neal Sanders to dismiss certain charges against Silverio Sanchez will be heard on July 7 by a visiting judge in Courtroom 2 since Judge Marilyn Miles,will be on vacation.

Sanchez's family was in court today and spoke with Mr. Sanders after court. Mr. Sanders appeared for Mr. Ben McLaughlin on Sanchez's other cases.

Sanchez nodded to a brother when he came in. The bailiff adminished them later when they tried to communicate.

No media was present in court. Channel 3 came briefly but had to leave before case was called.

May 26, 2015

4 cases on calendar for Silverio Sanchez including arraignment on kidnap, forcible rape, criminal threats and unlawful sexual intercourse with victim 3 years younger

4 cases are on calendar this afternoon in Courtroom 2 for Silverio Sanchez.

Three cases are on for disposition and reset. One for a felony, drugs. Two misdemeanors for assault and battery. The fourth case is for a felony with 10 counts and two special allegations.

Mr. Neal Sanders was appointed on the felony case.  Today, Mr. Sanders appeared with Sanchez on behalf of Mr. McLaughlin for the three cases on for disposition and reset. Nothing happened with those three cases.

Neither Judge Marilyn Miles or DDA Andrew Isaac or Mr. Sanders had received the complete preliminary transcript for the felony case with 10 counts so Mr. Sanders said, "I reserve the issue for demurrer. The situation is similar to the previous case." This was referring to the demurrer in the Vincent Ortiz case.

Jury trial is set for July 28 and Trial confirmation is for June 25 at 2 p.m.

Counts 1 and 2 are unlawful kidnapping of Jane Doe to commit rape, Count 3 and Count 4 are criminal threats to Jane Doe and she feared for the safety of her family, Count 5 is stalking, Count 6 attempt to kidnap, Count 7 first residential burglary, Count 8 assault likely to cause great bodily injury, Count 9 forcible rape, Count 10 unlawful sex with a minor 3 years younger.

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"No one tells me anything"

First hearing, the Public Defender's office was appointed for him. Second hearing, it was Conflict Counsel. On July 30, Alternate Conflict Counsel was appointed and even they said they would have to check if there was a conflict. Mr. Glenn Brown accepted the appointment and asked dates remain as they are, "for now."

If the Alternate Conflict Counsel's office has a problem, the court will appoint a private attorney at no cost for Charles Kesserling.

So will the preliminary hearing scheduled for August 12 for  Kesserling be delayed further. On July 30? On July 30, Judge Miles asked why a case for Kesserling that deals with his probation being revoked scheduled for August 6 was on calendar that day. Then the court staff had not corrected certain charges in the system that were corrected at a previous court hearing.

While all this was going on, Charles Kesserling alternated between glaring at people in the courtroom, including me, at random and repeating the same thing he says at every hearing, "No one tells me anything." This despite his attorneys explaining what is going on before, during and after his court case, every time.

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Jul 9, 2015

Machete wielding suspect who allegedly robbed and took a pizza delivery van, previously busted for meth,

A disposition and reset hearing was scheduled in Courtroom 2 today for Charles Kesserling.

Intervention is August 6. Preliminary hearing is August 12.

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Jun 9, 2015

Machete wielding pizza delivery suspect gives attitude to Judge in court, bail set at $100,000

Judge Marilyn Miles said Charles Kesserling was not bailable but today Visiting Judge Dennis Buckley set his bail for $100,000. Kesserling was arraigned previously on a probation revocation case. Today's hearing dealt with charges from Kesserling allegedly robbing and taking a vehicle from a pizza delivery driver.

This link has the background to that court hearing:

When Judge Buckley asked him if he wanted an attorney, he snapped, "Yes." Instead of focusing on what was going on in court about his case, Kesserling stared coldly at me and others in the audience.

Mr. Marek Reavis, from Conflict Counsel was appointed to represent Kesserling. DDA Zach Curtis was present for the People. All Kesserling cared about the other day and today was, "What are my charges?" Intervention is set for June 18 at 3 p.m. in Courtroom 2 and Preliminary hearing is set for June 22 at 8:30.

Jun 8, 2015

Machete wielding thief who robbed pizza delivery driver not bailable, next court date June 29

Charles Kesserling looked shocked in Courtroom 2 today as he was arraigned on a petition to revoke probation this afternoon. He is in custody for the incident below. Judge Marilyn Miles said he is not bailable. Mr. Casey Russo from the Public Defender's office is appointed to defend Kesserling. DDA Whitney Barnes was in court for the People.

Next court date is June 29.

HCSO Press release:

On 05-26-2015 at 11:50 p.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were dispatched to the Manila Community Center in Manila, regarding a robbery that had just occurred. When deputies arrived on scene they contacted the 22 year old male victim. The victim told the deputies that he is a pizza delivery driver. The victim said he received an order to deliver pizza to the Manila Community Center. The victim said when he arrived in his vehicle he was met by two adult males.

The victim asked the males if they had ordered a pizza and they replied, “Yes”. One of the suspects approached him and asked if he had any change for a $50.00 dollar bill. The victim said he told him, yes he had change. The victim said the suspect then produced a machete and order him to exit his vehicle. The victim described the machete as about 18” to 24” in length. The suspect then took the victim’s wallet, cell phone and took his keys to his vehicle.

The victim said the suspect told him to lie on the ground and said, if you move, I will kill you. After a few moments the suspect told the victim, get up and run. The victim said he got up and ran towards the ocean into a wooded area. The victim said he then stopped and he could hear a male voice yell, keep running or else. The victim said he then took off running again. The victim said when he stopped running the second time he heard his vehicle drive away from the area.

As deputies were taking the report from the victim, California Highway Patrol received report of a possible traffic accident. The vehicle involved in the traffic accident belonged to the victim .The victim’s vehicle had crashed into a wire fence at the intersection of Jackson Ranch Road and SR255. When CHP arrived they did not locate anyone around the vehicle.

The deputies were able to identify one of the two suspects in this case. The suspect who threatened the victim with the machete has been identified as 29-year-old Charles Albert Kesselring from Eureka. The victim was unable to provide a description on the second suspect.

Another previous arrest:

 A press release from Ukiah police:

Kesselring, Charles Albert (male, 29, Eureka)
10851(a) CVC-Vehicle theft-felony
496(a) PC-Possession of stolen property-felony
2800.1(a) CVC-Evading-misdemeanor
11377(a) HS-Possession of a controlled substance-misdemeanor
148(a)(1) PC-Resist/delay officer-misdemeanor
12500(a) CVC-Unlicensed driver-misdemeanor
Wall, Jennifer Rebecca (female, 36, Eureka)
10851(a) CVC-Vehicle theft-felony
496(a) PC-Possession of stolen property-felony
11377(a) HS-Possession of a controlled substance-misdemeanor
484(a) PC-Theft-misdemeanor
490.5(a) PC-Shoplifting-misdemeanor
On 5-29-15 at approx. 7:15 PM, UPD officers were dispatched to the area of Wal-Mart regarding a shoplifting
that had just occurred. The female suspect had fled into the passenger seat of an awaiting vehicle and left the
area in a silver SUV with dealer paper plates. A UPD officer quickly located the vehicle behind a large dirt
mound at the South end of Airport Park Blvd. The officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle,
however the vehicle sped up and began driving erratically N/B in the dirt lot. The vehicle drove over a culvert
at a high rate of speed, which appeared to have damaged the vehicle. As the driver attempted to flee at a high
rate of speed, the driver attempted to drive through a wire fence (located on the South side of Les Schwab Tires)
and got stuck. The vehicle was “boxed in” by the patrol car. The driver, Charles Kesselring, attempted to flee
on foot, but was quickly apprehended. The passenger, Jennifer Wall was taken into custody at the scene. The
vehicle was previously reported stolen out of Humboldt County. Officers located suspected methamphetamine
in the vehicle. Kesselring was wanted out of Humboldt County for carjacking, robbery, and terrorist threats.
Kesselring was also on active PRCS probation (Post Release Community Supervision) for auto theft.
Kesselring and Wall were lodged at the county jail, where Kesselring was additionally held on the Humboldt
County charges.

Sherriff Downey issues precautionary evacuation for Blocksburg


A temporary evacuation center has been established at the Alderpoint Volunteer Fire Company’s fire hall for residents who choose to voluntarily evacuate from Blocksburg or surrounding areas.  The precautionary evacuation advisory remains in effect for Blocksburg only, and there are no mandatory evacuation orders at this time.  The Alderpoint VFC is located at 17440 Alderpoint Rd., Alderpoint 95511. This information and any additional updates will be available on a recorded message from CAL FIRE at (707) 418-0411.

CAL FIRE will host a community meeting and briefing at 6:00 p.m. at the Baptist Church in Bridgeville, at 48215 Alderpoint Rd.

On July 31, at approximately 10:30 p.m., Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey issued a precautionary evacuation advisory for Blocksburg, due to the Humboldt Lightning complex fires.   As of 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 1, Blocksburg remains under an evacuation advisory only. Humboldt County is not under any mandatory evacuation orders at this time.  Any changes in evacuation status will be conveyed by emergency notification system or “reverse calling”, to the media  and via social media. The County Emergency Operations Center is currently activated at a Level 1, or monitor status, in order to coordinate any evacuations that may be ordered in the future and assist with resource needs.

Individuals registered to receive emergency notifications from the County should have received emergency messaging immediately following issuance of the advisory. Residents of Humboldt County may register at any time to receive emergency messages, but there may be a delay between registration and receipt of messaging.

Thomas Prince arrested today was sentenced to five years in state prison for domestic violence in 2012

This is from January 26, 2012  press release from the District Attorney's office:

Re: McKinleyville Man Sentenced to Five Years for Domestic Violence

On Wednesday, January 25, 2012, Thomas Manuel Prince, 27, of McKinleyville, was sentenced to five years in State Prison by the Honorable Judge W. Bruce Watson after pleading guilty to assault with a
deadly weapon, making criminal threats and corporal injury to a spouse, co-habitant or child’s parent.
On September 19, 2011, Prince physically assaulted the mother of his infant child as well as a female
friend that attempted to stop the attack. Prince also threatened to shoot both women.
“I am pleased that the court saw fit to sentence Mr. Prince to State Prison for the maximum term of five
years. This violent, traumatic incident left scars with its victims and will permanently affect any
relationship that he has with his minor child, a child his victim was holding when Prince carried out the
assault. The community and the victims of this case will be protected while he is serving his time in
prison,” said Deputy District Attorney Allan L. Dollison, the prosecutor who handled the sentencing of the case.

I have another tip from a caller about Prince and am looking into it.

HCSO Press Release, Sept. 21, 2011 (from an Arcata Eye article):

On 09-19-2011, approximately 0430 hours the Humboldt County Sheriffs Office was notified of an assault which just occurred in the 2900 block of Little Pond Drive, McKinleyville.

When the deputy arrived he met with the female victim and her infant son. The victim told the deputy her boyfriend, Thomas Manuel Prince, 27 years poured beer on her when she was sleeping and then punched her several times in the face, choked her to the point of nearly passing out, sprayed her face with paint and threatened to shoot her with a shotgun. The victim attempted to flee from the residence with their baby via a window, but was dragged back inside by the suspect who continued the assault.

When a 50 year old female friend attempted to assist the victim during the assault, the suspect assaulted her several times, striking her in the head and face, and threatening to shoot her.

Prince also smashed all the telephones in the residence so the victims could not call law enforcement for help.

The victim was transported to a local hospital to be treated for her injuries which included several lacerations and a black eye.

The Sheriffs office is attempting to locate Thomas Manual Prince, 27 years old of McKinleyville. He is described as a white male, 5-11, 210 lbs, brown hair and blue eyes. He is wanted for threatening a crime with intent to terrorize, domestic violence, damage to a telephone, battery causing serious bodily injury, false imprisonment and willful cruelty to a child. He was last seen fleeing the scene on a bicycle.

Neighbor prevents burglary

On 07/31/15 at about 11:49 p.m., the Eureka Police Department Communications Center received a call from a resident on the 2500 block of California Street.  The caller said their neighbor’s home was being burglarized.

Officers responded and observed a broken window to the rear of the residence and could see a person moving room to room inside.  Officers secured a perimeter around the house.  The suspect, later identified as Thomas Prince, 31 of Eureka, became aware of the officers and attempted to flee out of a window.  He was met by officers and retreated back inside.  He then tried to flee out the front door but was again met by officers.

Officers lit up the residence with patrol vehicle spotlights and communicated with Prince with a loudspeaker.  Prince was told to come out with his hands up.  Prince eventually complied and was taken into custody without further incident.  K9 Vex cleared the residence and no other suspects were located.

Prince was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility and charged with Burglary, Ex-Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and Parole Violation.

Thank you to the caller for watching out for their neighbors and calling in a residential burglary.

Jul 31, 2015

"We only have so much time, we need to deal with what is on calendar today"; Jeremy Kish pushes his luck with the Judge and gets called on his court shenanigans

Yesterday afternoon a CON-REP report was scheduled to be heard in Courtroom 2 for Jeremy Kish, suspect in the arson of the former Arcata Alliance market, among other charges he has racked up.

Conflict Counsel's Mr. Greg Elvine-Kreis represents Kish, despite Kish's frequent efforts to fire his lawyer. At yesterday's hearing, Mr. David Lee subbed in for Mr. Elvine-Kreis.

Kish is in administrative segregation, keeps racking up charges in the jail, some of which he has yet to be arraigned on since criminal proceeding were suspended at the last court hearing.

This is from the last court hearing. "The defendant is not currently competent to stand trial," read Judge Bob McNatt from Dr. Wilson's report. "While he understands the nature of his proceedings, he is not cooperating or assisting his attorney in a,rational manner." 

Dressed in his red jumpsuit, Kish was escorted by two bailiffs. The red suit looked dirty like he had been wearing it for days. His mouth and head covered by netting and a face mask, he did his usual drama of summoning his attorney and talking about his dog and unrelated matters before his case could be called.

In consideration for all the other cases on calendar and people waiting, Judge Miles had no patience yesterday for Kish's shenanigans. He kept interrupting while his case was being called and dealt with, this is not new, it is typical. Judge Miles said, "I'm not dealing with any other issues other than the CON-REP report. Mr. Kish, I am going to ask you not to talk. We only have so much time, we need to deal with what is on calendar today. Your attorney can come and talk to you and put other matters on calendar."

Finally his case was called. "All nine of Mr. Kish's files are relevant to his competency determination and CON-REP report," said Judge Miles.

Then looking at the minutes of the July 14 hearing, Judge Miles had some concerns. I was at that hearing and it seems some information did not make it to the minutes. Visiting Judge Bob McNatt subbed for Judge Miles that day and his name was still listed in the court system as being the Judge for yesterday's hearing. "The minutes in 3 cases do not say he is incompetent, nothing was suspended. Arraignment did not proceed."

This was addressed by DDA Jackie Pizzo who asked Judge McNatt what should happen about the three new cases. At that hearing, due to Dr. Wilson's report, Kish was found not competent to stand trial and not arraigned on those cases because all crimonal proceedings were suspended in other cases.

Judge Miles said that "the three last cases should have CON-REP not mental health. There is no report appointing a psychiatrist to evaluate Mr. Kish for anti-psychotic medications; we need that for the commitment order."

Then, Mr. Lee spoke privately with Kish but Kish is si loud that even with the face mask, I could hear him go off tangent about other stuff and he said, "I don't take medications right now."

Mr. Lee then told Judge Miles that initially there was a finding of competence, until we had the new report. "Yes, we want criminal proceedings suspended in all cases." Then Ms. Pizzo and Mr. Lee asked that Kish was "declared incompetent." and asked this apply to three new cases.

Judge Miles orally modified that the referral was COn-REP and not from Mental Health and a psychiatrist was appointed to evaluate Kish regarding his ability to take anti-psychotic meds and whether he has the capacity to consent.

On August 11, there is a motion from County Counsel regarding animal control. From Kish's rantings in court, he was mumbling about that his dogs were "let go" and he kept referring to Judge Miles' "pet order." Have to wait until August 11 to see what are the facts. On August 13 at 2 p.m., Kish's placement status will be reviewed.

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