Domestic dispute results in man being assaulted with a pitchfork

On 04-19-2014, at approximately 1:45 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a stabbing that occurred in the 400 block of Phillipsville Loop Road, Phillipsville.  When deputies arrived on scene they met with the 66 year old male victim, who was bleeding from stab wounds to his arm and scratch marks on his face. The victim declined medical attention.

The victim told the investigating deputy he got into an argument with Paula Sue Darling, 45 years old, whom he had a dating relationship with. During the argument, Darling grabbed an ax and he kicked it out of her hand.  Darling then grabbed a nearby pitchfork and started swinging it at the victim, then stabbed at his torso with it. The victim put his arm up to protect himself and she stabbed him in the left forearm.

The victim showed the deputy where the altercation occurred, along with the ax and the pitchfork that was used in the crime.

Deputies checked the area for Darling but could not locate her. A be-on-the–lookout to all area law enforcement was issued for Darling, who is wanted for assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence.
Paula Sue Darling is described as a white, female, 45 years old, 5’5” tall, 145 lbs, strawberry blond hair, blue eyes

Allison Jackson gives letter to Rex and Estelle, item #2 pulled from Closed Session

Allison Jackson, a partner in the Harland Law Firm, dropped off a letter to County CAO Phillip Smith-Hanes, Board of Supervisor Chair Rex Bohn and Vice-Chair Estelle Fennell this morning. It relates to the item below which is scheduled for this morning's meeting.


2. Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation pursuant to Government Code section 54956.9 subd.(d)(1); Eel River Disposal and Resource Recovery, Inc. v. County of Humboldt; Humboldt County Superior Court Case No. CV110352.

The litigation mentioned in I 2 is not existing, it had a final decision and ruling. If it is to be discussed, it should be during open session, Ms. Jackson told me.

When it came to closed session, County Counsel Wendy Chaitin said "There was no need for item # 2." No other reason was given. When asked for a reason, Chair Bohn did not respond except to say that they were in closed session. Vice-Chair Fennell asked County Counsel to respond, Ms. Chaitin responded with the same "There is no need". She further added that "Whether it will be brought back later or not" is not something that would be determined at the current time.

This is the second time I have observed County Counsel be defensive when called on legal matters. County Counsel is supposed to watch out for the legal interests of the County. I think the public deserves a response.

Ms. Jackson just did a favor for the Board of Supervisors.

I am not aware if the other Supervisors were given copies of the letter. Traci D'Amico, deputy clerk of the. Board of Supervisors, was handed the letters given to Rex and Estelle sometime this morning before closed session.

I would like to personally thank Supervisor Fennell for her diligence in transparency. In her letter, Ms Jackson informed the Board of reasons that item #2 was "improperly agendized" and that discussion of it would be a violation of the Brown Act.

In her letter, Ms. Jackson cites Government Code section 54956.9 subd (d) (1)stating that any other action that the Board wishes to take concerning the final order after hearing of both the trial and apellate courts must take place in open session and after being properly agendized.

Ms. Jackson states in her letter that "closed sessions are forbidden by the Brown Act unless they are expressly authorized under the Act. The Act's provisions authorizing closed sessions are construed
narrowly by the courts due to Proposition 59,  passed by the voters in November 2004. Under the "pending Litigation" exception, only matters  "actually pending" may be taken up in closed session and then only a discussion of issues is permissible where discussion of those issues in open session would prejudice the agency's position in the litigation.

Ms. Jackson said, There is nothing 'pending' regarding this lawsuit. The litigation has been concluded. The litigation has been concluded. There is no appeal or reconsideration available to the County. There is only compliance with the Court's order. The Board must comply with the Order. Any discussion regrading compliance with that Order must take place in open session since there is nothing left pending in the litigation since the litigation has concluded.

It started with the headlines and just fizzled; Miller ordered to pay restitution to Sally Arnot

It started with  Misty Dawn Miller and Brian Anthony Arriaga being in the headlines and then just fizzled. Arriaga's cases had been dismissed earlier due to lack of evidence. 

Miller was sentenced yesterday in Courtroom 1 by Judge John Feeney. Luke Brownfield is the prosecutor in this case for the People. Heidi Holmquist represented Miller.

Before Miller was sentenced, she sat in the courtroom with her husband and looked through the probation report given to her by Ms. Holmquist. And when her case was called, she talked briefly with Ms. Holmquist. Miller had made bail since the last court hearing.

Judge Feeney said his tentative decision was to follow the recommended orders by Probation which was three years of formal supervised probation.

Ms. Holmquist said that the only part Miller was concerned about was the expense of the Alcohol and Drug programs. "She does not have a problem with doing the programs, she doesn't have the funds."

Judge Feeney said that items #21 and #22 were "critical to Ms. Miller's success".  He did not grant a funds waiver. There was an attempt by Ms. Holmquist again addressing expenses. Judge Feeney stressed again that if Miller wanted probation she needed to complete the programs and pay for those programs. At this point, Miller indicated yes and Judge Feeney made his decision final about granting her three years of formal supervised probation.

He ordered her to stay away from a specific address; and among the fines and restitutions she was ordered by the Court to pay,  was $396 to Sally Arnot

Background info:

These are 2 of several posts on this case that I have reported on from start to finish.

Residential burglary victim awakens to find flat screen TV missing and two men drive away

On 04-20-2014, at approximately 4:25 a.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding a residential burglary which just occurred in the 2400 block of Cypress Avenue, Eureka. Deputies responded to the residence and met with the victims. The 57 year old male victim told the investigating deputies he and his 77 year old mother were asleep in his home when the man saw flashlights in the hallway. He thought his mother had awakened so he asked her if everything was O.K. the victim got up and walked down the hallway and saw his front door was open. The victim then saw his flat screen television was missing from the living room.  He looked outside his home and saw two males wearing dark clothing attempting to put his television in the rear of a vehicle. The vehicle was parked on the north corner of Cypress and Cedar Street, Eureka. He witnessed the two males put his television into the rear seat of their car and drive away. He could only describe the car as a dark colored two door sedan.

 The victim searched his home after calling the Sheriff’s Office and saw nothing else was missing. Investigating deputies could not find any signs of forced entry. The deputies saw where the television had been and items were knocked over as if the suspects left in a hurry with the television. The victim told the deputies the front door must have accidentally been left unlocked.

Motorcyclist collison on Broadway results in death

On April 20, 2014, at approximately 12:35 AM, a Eureka Police Department
officer on patrol was driving northbound in the #2 lane of Broadway Street just
north of Wabash Avenue when he was passed by a blue and white Honda
motorcycle traveling at a high rate of speed in the #1 lane of northbound
Broadway Street. The officer estimated the motorcycle was travelling in excess
of 80 MPH as it entered the 30 MPH zone there.

The officer broadcast his observations of the reckless motorcyclist to Dispatch
but did not take any enforcement action out of concern it would only prompt the
rider to further increase his speed.

As the officer continued driving northbound, he saw the rider lose control of the
motorcycle at around the 1000 block of Broadway. The rider fell off his
motorcycle and struck the raised curb at West Grant Street and Broadway. The
motorcycle continued north and collided with a closed garage door at 939
Broadway, breaking through the door.

The rider suffered fatal injuries from his collision with the curb and was
pronounced dead at the scene. EPD Traffic Unit officers were called to the

scene and assumed the investigation. Members of the Eureka Volunteer Patrol
(EVP) also responded to assist with traffic control and scene security.

The name of the motorcyclist is being withheld at this time pending notification of the family.

Man steals box from donation box at Safeway for Children Hunger Program

On 04-20-2014, at approximately 2:00 a.m., a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputy on patrol drove through the rear entrance of Safeway, 2555 Harris Street, Eureka. As he drove in, he saw an adult male standing near the northwest exterior wall. As the patrol car approached the male, he  immediately turned his back, as if concealing something. The deputy exited his patrol car and asked the male what he was doing. The deputy saw the male was holding a clear plastic donation box. The deputy identified the man as Patrick Sean Riley, 54 years old from Briggs, Idaho.

The deputy asked Riley where he obtained the box, Riley told him from his work. The deputy saw Riley appeared to be under the influence of alcoholic beverages. Riley was detained by the deputy, who requested additional deputies respond and check with Safeway to determine if the box was stolen from inside the store.

The deputies contacted store employees who informed them the box was a donation box from inside Safeway. The boxes are located at the checkout stands on the counter so the public can donate. The money was being donated to the “Children Hunger Program”.   All the proceeds are donated to local charity.  The Safeway employees pointed out the spot where the donation box was stolen from. There was an outline on the counter where the box used to be.  The employees recognized Riley as recently purchasing a twelve pack of beer after milling about the store. The deputies reviewed a video tape with the Safeway employees, which showed Riley stealing the box. After reviewing the tape they saw that Riley intentionally knocked the clear plastic box off the counter when he purchased the beer, then hid the box in a plastic bag,  and then walked out of the store with it.

Riley was arrested for petty theft, possession of stolen property and public intoxication. He was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked. His bail is set at $25,000.00.  The stolen donation box was and contents were returned to Safeway.

Ongoing investigation in the large marijuana bust at the McKinney Industrail Warehouses in Fortuna; constant complaints from public

On 04-16-2014, at approximately 10:00 a.m., the Humboldt Drug Task Force assisted by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office served a Humboldt County Superior Court Search Warrant at the McKenny Industrial Warehouses, 100 Airport Rd in the unincorporated area Fortuna California. During the service of the warrant agents located Robert Weese, 27 years old, from Fortuna, tending to a commercial, for profit, marijuana grow containing 1547 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, from vegetative, to budding. Agents also located unpermitted and potentially dangerous wiring and a marijuana drying room. Weese was placed under arrest for cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale. He was transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. His bail was set at $25,000.00.

Agents then served search warrants on two additional units at the same location. Agents determined both units contained commercial, for profit, marijuana growing operations. Agents again located marijuana plants in various stages of growth, from vegetative, to budding. In the second one unit agents located and seized 558 growing marijuana and in the third unit agents located 726 growing marijuana plants.

On 04-17-2014, at approximately 9:00 a.m. agents and deputies returned to the McKenny Industrial Warehouses, at 100 Airport Rd, and served a search warrant on a fourth storage unit. Agents located and seized 1376 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, from vegetative, to budding.

Based off information obtained through the investigation surrounding the incident, agents served search warrants at several residences throughout Humboldt County. Those locations included the 2500 block of Dennis Ct in Fortuna, 2900 block of College Ave in Fortuna, the 1900 block of Scenic Drive in Fortuna, the 7200 block of Myrtle Avenue, Eureka, the 900 block of Hunts Drive, McKinleyville, and the 1800 block of Sutter Road, Fortuna. During the searches at the above listed locations officers’ located and seized 25 pounds of dried marijuana, two firearms, hash, hash lab equipment , fiduciary records, indicia of ownership and responsibility.

The units at McKenny Industrial Warehouses, located at 100 Airport Rd are individually metered for PG&E, and plumbed for water. The Sheriff’s Office has served warrants at this location in the last 12 months, and continually receives complaints from the public regarding the odor of marijuana emanating from the buildings. The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public that it is a felony in the state of California to profit from the sales of marijuana.

The investigation is ongoing; however, agents have identified several additional suspects involved in the case, and will be seeking arrest warrants for those suspects.

Possible homicide involving a firearm in Southern Humboldt

On 04/18/2014 the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received information regarding a possible homicide involving a firearm that occurred in the Southern Humboldt area. The Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating this allegation with the assistance from the District Attorney Investigator’s Office, Department of Justice (DOJ), Arson Task Force, and the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

Benjamin Jasper Carter is wanted for questioning in association to this investigation. Carter is described to be a white male, age 33, 6’3”, 180 lbs, brown hair, and blue eyes. Carter’s head may be shaved bald and he may have a goatee and mustache. Carter has multiple tattoos on his chest, back, arms, legs, and neck. Carter is associated with a black GMC truck, CA license 6R68046. The truck has a blue tailgate with an Oakland Raiders design and front end damage. Carter is believed to be armed and dangerous. If seen, do not approach and contact law enforcement.