Ride home from the casino results in robbery

On 04-15-2014, at approximately 11:45 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from two adult female victims who said they had just been robbed at knifepoint. Deputies responded and met with the victims in the 4900 block of Dows Prairie Road, McKinleyville.

When the deputies arrived, the victims told the investigating deputy they were gambling at Blue Lake Casino when they met up with two females. The victims knew one of the females and asked for a ride to McKinleyville. The two females agreed to give the victims a ride to McKinleyville. While enroute the two females told the victims they needed to make a stop at a residence in Trinidad and drove there first. In Trinidad, the front passenger exited the vehicle, and another female got into the passenger seat. The driver then told the victims she would now drive them to McKinleyville. While enroute to McKinleyville, the driver drove the victims onto Dows Prairie Road.  The driver stopped the car in the 4900 block of Dows Prairie Road.  The female who just got in the front passenger seat of the car in Trinidad, then turned around and brandished a knife at the victims, while demanding money from them. The victims gave the suspect their money and a cell phone. They were then able to escape the vehicle and run into the brush and hide. After the vehicle left they called the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies searched the area for the suspects’ vehicle, a 1995 Red Mitsubishi Eclipse, and located it parked at Moonstone Beach. Deputies also located a female in the vehicle who told them it was her car, but she was not involved in the robbery. The victims were brought to the scene and confirmed the female the deputies had detained was not one of the suspects. Deputies are currently working to identify the two female suspects. No one was injured in the robbery.

Failure to stop and suspended license leads 4 pounds of heroin bust

On 04-11-2014, approximately 10:00 p.m., a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputy stopped a newer Chrysler four door sedan for exceeding the posted speed limit and failing to stop at a stop sign in the Myrtletown area of Eureka. When the deputy contacted the driver of the vehicle and explained the reason for the stop, the driver told the deputy he did not have a driver’s license. The driver verbally identified himself as Mario Martinez Torres, 20 years old , from Perris, California.  A DMV records check revealed Torres driver’s license was suspended. The deputy arrested Torres for driving on a suspended driver’s license. The deputy noticed both Torres and the male passenger were very nervous and evasive when they spoke with him. The deputy questioned, identified and released the male passenger in the vehicle who was an18 year old male adult, and also from Perris, California.

The deputy notified the Humboldt County Drug Task Force about the traffic stop and the vehicle. The Humboldt County Drug Task Force obtained a search warrant for the vehicle, which they served on 04-14-2014. During their search of the vehicle, they located hidden compartments and over four pounds of Heroin, valued at over $200,000.00.

Charges of transportation of a controlled substance and possession for sale of a controlled substance are being sought against Torres and the male passenger.

Judge Feeney tentatively rejects Workman plea deal; final decision is the same, case to go to jury trial

Courtroom1, 3 p.m., Judge John Feeney announced his tentative ruling in the Elmy Workman case. This was a continued sentencing hearing. Judge Feeney tentatively rejected the plea deal. Ms. Workman is being represented by Neal Sanders; District Attorney Paul Gallegos for the People and Allison Jackson representing the victim and family.

It was only after Ms. Jackson stepped in that the plea deal was questioned and ultimately defeated.

While the victim, her family and friends have been at every court hearing; this was the first time Ms. Workman's family was in the courtroom.

Before he announced his decision, Judge Feeney went through all the documents he had received and reviewed before making his decision. "I put a great deal of thought before rejecting the conditional plea," he said.

"I have a lot more information now than when this case was transferred here for commencement for trial," said Judge Feeney. He then announced his tentative decision to reject the plea.  Judge Feeney than elaborated on the reasons why he made the decision. "One of the letters I received from a Ms. Smith characterized the case as a confused and convoluted situation." Judge Feeney indicated he was in agreement with that assessment. This case did not have "unusual circumstances" he said.

Judge Feeney said that he did not think there aggravation or provocation that required the kind of response from Ms. Workman and that while Dr. Renouf's evaluation indicated some mental health conditions, that they had no bearing on her actions. He also said Ms. Workman showed no remorse.

Mr. Gallegos did not comment on the tentative decision and Ms. Jackson said she would only if the Judge changed his tenative decision. Mr. Sanders addressed the court but basically tried to argue what he had already submitted on his client's behalf; he did try to address a couple of issues such as the remorse but the only new only information he gave was that the final outcome of the case would affect his client's immigration status.

After hearing Mr. Sanders response, the Judge made his decision to reject the plea deal final in this case.
That plea was withdrawn, a not guilty plea was entered, time waiver entered and dates were set. Pre-trial on June 30; Trial Conference on July 7 and Jury Trial on July 21.

The victim spoke to me before the hearing today and explained how Ms. Jackson got involved. She was told of the plea deal on a Friday and told to think it over. Over the weekend, she alleged that Ms. Workman's family and hers were at a public restaurant and she alleged that Ms. Workman's family was rude to her family. She did not want the plea deal. She arrived on Monday to talk to Mr. Gallegos and found out the case was set in court that day to discuss the plea deal. She expressed to Mr. Gallegos she did not agree to the plea deal. She said she spoke to him for hours, even made him late for court. She made a statement at that hearing. Through a mutual family friend, they contacted Ms. Jackson to advocate on their behalf.

Orick Chamber of Commerce forum for 5th District Supervisor and DA candidates reveals Coastal Commission surprise

The Orick Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum for the community to meet with the two 5th District Supervisor candidates and the 4 candidates for Humboldt County District Attorney.

Present were Sharon LaTour candidate for 5th District Supervisor and Ryan Sundberg, who is the current 5th District Supervisor and incumbent.

Three DA candidates Allan Dollison, Maggie Fleming and Arnie Klein were present.

The 4th DA candidate, Elan Firpo could not attend last minute because she needed to prepare for the Bodhi Tree case tomorrow morning. That case has been going through the initial stages of the jury selection process and motions in limine.

In a prepared statement she sent with her campaign manager, Ms. Firpo said that her job must come first and that she had planned to be in Orick previously but those events were rescheduled and that she will visit in the future. She said she would answer questions via Facebook.

All 4 DA candidates were present this afternoon at a rotary lunch/forum in Fortuna.

In response to a question about the General Plan Update, 5th District candidate Sharon LaTour said that Governor Jerry Brown is supporting more staff be added to the Coastal Commission. This led to an uproar and vocal dismay from members of the audience.

An enthusiastic group of approximately 20 people were present this evening. The event was moderated by the Donna Hufford, executive director, Orick Chamber of Commerce.

Each candidate gave an opening statement.

Ms. Latour spoke about collaborative leadership. Mr. Sundberg gave specific answers and spoke about projects specifically related to Orick.

Mr. Klein emphasized as he has in other debates in the past that he would be a DA for the People, not beholden to anyone. He spoke about making changes that would benefit the community and used  Hoopa as an example stating that someone would not have to come to Eureka for a DUI. He spoke about those that are harming the environment and that he would offer a 6 month amnesty period where people could bring their land "up to code" at cost to themselves. Mr. Klein spoke off the cuff and at one point, his passion was noted by the moderator.

Ms. Fleming in her opening statement spoke about her experience, her community involvement and qualifications for DA.

Mr. Dollison talked about this being an open race for the first time. Current District Attorney Paul Gallegos is not running for re-election. In his opening statement, Mr. Dollison spoke specifically about what was wrong under Paul Gallegos' regime and what needed to be fixed. He was very classy, including the fact that all 4 of the DA candidates had worked in the DA's office simultaneously at one time.

Upon arrival, audience members had been given paper to write questions and these were asked by the moderator. They went back and forth between Supervisors and DA candidates.

In a question about funding and recruting talent, Mr. Klein responded with, "If the Board of Supervisors does not give me what I want" that he would shame them outside the courthouse. Ms. Fleming said she would go to law schools and recruit and fund additional posts with grants. Mr. Dollison said before recruiting talent, he would fix the funding and resources so that the work environment is such that staff would be retained.

A question was asked to 5th District Supervisor candidates if they were aware how many permits had been issued last year in the County for building and how many open spaces were requested to be developed.

Mr. Sundberg answered with, "76 permits were issued last year countywide and 1 or 2 open spaces."
Ms. LaTour responded with, "I visited a long range planner today. " She then claimed that the state required certain amount of land to be set aside and alleged that numbers had been adjusted in the GPU.

The next question was about what was good about the GPU and what needed fixing? It is in response to this question that Ms. LaTour revealed the Coastal Commission plan. She was taken aback by the very visceral reaction from members of the audience regarding the Coastal Commission. She continued her comments by saying, "This is good news". "More staff means (they will) be more responsive" and "you get to do what you want with your land."

Mr. Sundberg said, "There are a few things ee (Board of Supervisors) have been accused of; one is throwing away years of input." He said they would have scratched and started fresh if that was the case. "I have heard earlier that we made a mess. From my point of view, we are cleaning up a mess. If we would have just put a rubber stamp on the GPU, the only place you could do business is where there is infrastructure." Mr. Sundberg went on to say that when he sits down and explains his vote to people that have been upset, they understand why he voted the way he did.

The next question was to the DA candidates and they were asked about Mr. Gallegos' prosecution of the owner of the Eureka Inn for failure to pay the Transient Occupancy Tax and why this could not have been handled in bankruptcy court?

This led to a lighthearted moment in the debate where Mr. Dollison said he was not at the office at that time, Ms. Fleming had a similar response and Mr. Dollison joked, "Let us pass that onto Arnie."

They all smiled and then Mr. Klein responded, "Just because we can, we should not bankrupt the Eureka Inn and put these people out of work. Just to gratify someone's ego."

Mr. Dollison agreed with Mr. Klein adding, "We should not throw resources to prosecute struggling businesses; it is about priorities and said that the case belonged in civil court."

Ms. Fleming said that it was unfair to other businesses paying taxes and that one solution was to set up restitution.

The last question was about whether the DA's office should get more funding and where it would come from and another highlight of the evening was the lighthearted Sundberg and Klein showdown.

Mr. Sundberg said, "I do think they should get more money." He talked about the deficit in funds and how tough it is to "dole out money" and that each department gets to submit proposals. "Arnie can squeeze the turnip under my desk" to which Mr. Klein responded, "I am a lawyer; I can do it."

Help mother find missing daughter who may need medical treatment

On 04-08-2014, at approximately 3:00 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a missing person report from the mother of Jacqueline Joanne Sullivan, 39 years old. The mother told the investigating deputy that she last communicated with her daughter on 02-20-2014. The mother said during the last communication with Jacqueline Sullivan the conversation sounded confused. The mother has been attempting to contact her daughter ever since with no success.  The mother is concerned there are medical issues and Sullivan needs treatment. It is unknown where Sullivan may be located and her cell phone voice mail is full. Her mother has checked with all of Sullivan’s friends and other family members and no one has any idea what has happened to her or where she went.

 Jacqueline Joanne Sullivan is described as follows: White female, 39 years old, 5’6” tall,
 150 lbs, brown eyes, glasses, brown shoulder length pony tail

 She drives a 2002 Toyota Tacoma, grey with a shell, California Plate 7M50504. 

Lt. Steve Knight said Sullivan used to live in Eureka and her mother said she always had her dog with her.

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 Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

Two new deputy Sheriff's get tips and get official this morning

Sheriff Mike Downey  did a swearing in ceremony at 9 a.m. this morning in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility Conference Room for two new deputy sheriffs.  Deputies Ben Filippini,  Hydesville, and Marcus Walker,  Arcata,   

Walker is an Arcata High School graduate and Fillipini graduated from Ferndale High School. They both attended and graduated from College of the Redwoods Police Academy. They were members of the 112th Police Academy. 

Mayor Frank Jager, Supervisor Rex Bohn and Chief Andy Mills, who stopped by briefly, left and then returned were present along with Sheriff's staff and family members.

When introducing family members, Fillipini mentioned Uncle Frank. 

Sheriff Downey told the deputies what his expectations were; he compared the witnesses present today to the witnesses in a marriage ceremony. Sheriff Downey told Walker and Fillipini that they were making a commitment to the County and that he would do all he could to support them and provide them the tools to succeed but their success depended on them.

Looking at their family members in the audience, he gave the new deputies the benefit of his many years in law enforcement and one important tip was that they continue to balance their personal life with work. That they should continue interests outside work that they believe in and to not allow the job to consume their life.

Good Samaritan calls Sherriff's office about missing woman from Weott

 On 04/12/2014 at approximately 2 PM, missing person Shannon Paige Sundberg was located by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.  A citizen had phoned the Sheriff’s Office and stated that they were traveling behind the vehicle that was associated with Shannon Sundberg. The caller stated the vehicle was last seen traveling south bound on Highway 101 in Eureka taking the Humboldt Hill exit. A Sheriff’s Deputy was in the immediate area at the time of the call and located Sundberg parked in her vehicle at the Humboldt Hill Vista Point. Paige was contacted and did not require any further assistance from the Sheriff’s Office.

Keith Taylor was contacted by David Prendergast whose wife Jackie is supporting Maggie Fleming

Upon Keith Taylor's request, I am now updating this post to say that he will not confirm or deny that David Prendergast contacted him. However I stand by original post and title which stated exactly who contacted him which was written after my first conversation with him.

I know Keith from a previous job and did it once. I also told him this is very unfair to Allan who is being smeared by someone who does not have the guts to do it himself publically.

In the second conversation Keith said that no other campaign had approached him because I flat out asked if if  Maggie's campaign had asked him for his endorsement.