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October 9, 2013     Portola Reporter
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October 9, 2013
 

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4B Wednesday, Oct. 9, 20t 3 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Murder trial aoe::,z't keep DA from prosecuting cases The pas t few months have proven remarkably busy and challenging for Plumas County's public safety partners. While much focus has been on the recent murder trial, I am pleased to report investigative and prosecutorial efforts and results continue to remain at a high level on all cases. As to the recent murder case, I cannot overstate the fine work performed at all levels in Plumas County: the investigation was conducted in a professional, thorough manner; the prosecution was equally complete and exceptionally efficient; the court process was fair and just; our jurors sacrificed a great deal while being attentive and even in their consideration of the case; and our local media co;ered the case in a fair and informative manner, catching the attention of a production crew from a national network as well as the gratitude from a victim's family. As to the case itself-- in my mind it was never about "stand your ground" or property rights or the Second Amendment. This case was about a group of young men ("kids," as the defendant called them) stealing three cheap solar lights then being chased 7.6 miles during which time they were shot at 19 to 26 times as they did everything they could to surrender (including throwing the solar lights out of the car and holding a white T-shirt out of the window). The kids' efforts to give up were met by nine shots fired from an assault weapon (as defined in Penal Code Section CRIMINAL CASE UPDATE DAVID HOLLISTER District Attorney 30510(a)(1)(18)) and aimed at their heads. The result was one young man died, one nearly died, and the balance are likely broken from What can only be described as a horrific encounter. The rationale provided by the defendant concerning why he fired the fatal shot(s) wasn't that he felt he was in a "kill or be killed'.' situation or that he feared for his family or even that he was protecting his property. Instead, it was that the kids were trying to do a "U-turn to get away." I understand, as now do those boys, their act of taking the solar lights was both morally wrong and criminal. It was, however, met with a response having nothing to do with justice, fairness or any other constitutional tenet we hold dear, but rather an act of illegal and iwational violence, which simply could not stand. To all taking part in this pursuit of justice, I thank you for your efforts. Below, please find a very limited sampling of criminal cases in Plumas County: People v. Joseph Hernandez On Sept. 27, Joseph Hernandez, 18, of Quincy, was convicted of a felony count of residential burglary. Hernandez pleaded without promise as to the sentence and was notified the crime is considered a "strike" under California's Three Strikes Law. Hernandez was arrested following a string of thefts from unlocked vehicles throughout Quincy on Aug. 11. At the time of his thefts, Hernandez was pending sentencing for an unrelated felony conviction. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 1, whereupon he can be sentenced to up to six years in state prison. People v. David Merrifield On Sept. 27, David Merrifield, 20, of Chester, was placed on three years of formal probation following his felony conviction for commercial burglary. Terms of Merrifield's probation included he serve 90 days in jail, pay restitution and stay away from the victim. Merrifield and two others were charged with breaking through an exterior window at the Buzz Mart gas station in Chester and stealing a number of items. Merrifield was alleged to be the driver during this "smash and grab." People v. James Lawrence Garrett On Aug. 2, James L. Garrett, 21, of Chester, was sentenced to five years of formal probation following his June 7 conviction for felony driving under the influence. Terms of Garrett's probation include he pay more than $2,000 in fine s, serve 360 days in county jail, attend a multiple offender DUI programs, etc. Garrett was stopped by California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Story who observed Garrett traveling 81 mph in a 65 zone on State Route 89, south of Lake Almanor West at 12:25 a.m. on May 19. Upon contact Garrett's 2-year-old son was found to be seat-belted in the front of the truck without being secured in a child safety seat. During the course of the investigation Garrett was determined to have a blood alcohol content of 0.12 percent. It was later learned Garrett had also received three prior convictions for driving under the influence related offenses, thus elevating his current charge to a felony. People v. Joshua Olson On Sept. 13, Joshua Olson, 24, of Crescent Mills, was sentenced to three years, fou months in county jail following his Aug. 23 conviction for possessing marijuana for sale while being out of custody on a separate felony. Olson was stopped and search by Deputy Juan Cervantes following a car stop. During the search Cervantes located hashish and other items of evidence indicating the hash was possessed for sale. In addition, at the time of this offense, Olson was pending sentence on a felony violation of possessing methamphetamine. People v. Calvin Timmons On Aug. 30, Calvin Raymond Timmons, 49, of Greenville, was convicted of a felony violation of spousal abuse and admitted he had received a similar prior conviction as well as inflicting great bodily injury during the commission of the crime. Timmons was also convicted of a felony violation of forcible oral copulation. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 1, when it is expected he will receive a sentence of 13 years in state prison. Additionally, Timmons' convictions carry the requirements he register as a sex offender and will constitute two strikes upon his release from prison. People v. Mathew Molina On Sept. 20, Mathew Fortunato Molina, 19, of Quincy, was convicted of a misdemeanor violation of falsely soliciting for a charity in violation of PC 532d. Molina was subsequently placed on three years of formal probation. Terms of Molina's probation include he serve 20 days in county jail, perform 80 hours of community service work, pay $1,085 in fines, write a letter of apology to the business owner directly impacted and pay restitution to all of the victims. It was alleged that in April and May 2012 Molina organized and raised money for a "Spread the Love" fundraiser to provide funding to support St. Jude's Hospital. In addition to monetary contributions, Molina also received donated supplies, none of which Were ever forwarded to St. Jude's. People v. Richard McNeill Jr. On Sept. 27, Richard McNeill Jr., 43, of Canyon Dam, was convicted of grand theft as a misdemeanor. McNeill was subsequently placed on three years of probation, ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution, given credit for time he served in custody and ordered to stay away from the people he victimized. Additionally, McNeill was ordered not to work in a home or business without direct supervision and if he is to do so he must disclose the fact of this conviction to the home or business owner. McNeill was convicted of stealing a watch while installing a security system in a residence as an employee of McNeill's Security Systems. People v. Cody Taylor On Sept. 27, Cody Taylor, 20, of Portola, pled guilty to a felony violation of hit and run. As part of his plea agreement, other charges were dismissed with the understanding the court could consider those incidents at the time of sentencing. Taylor is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 22.  Taylor was located hours after a collision where it was determined he was the driver and had failed to meet his legal requirements following his vehicle accident. Cases of interest People v. Gregory Chad Wallin-Reed, Antelope Lake homicide case, Nov. 21 sentencing. People v. William Turner, misappropriation of Chester Public Utilities District funds, Oct. 18 pretrial conference. CHP REPORT The following incidents are submitted by Quincy CHP as a tentative summary pending the conclusion of the investigation(s). Quincy, Sept. 27 At approximately 2:30 a.m., Jineena Correa-Merritt, 19, of Quincy, was driving her 2003 Hyundai westbound on High Street in Quincy, west of Buchanan Street, approaching her residence. Correa-Merritt turned her vehicle left, into the driveway of her residence. According to the CHP report, while attempting to park within the driveway, her foot slipped from the brake pedal and onto the accelerator, and the Hyundai struck the residence. The collision remains under investigation. No injuries were reported. Highway 70, Sept. 27 Naomi Sichak, 64, of Clio, was stopped northbound on Rocky Point Road, preparing to cross Highway 70 and proceed north on Grizzly Road. At approximately 2:36 p.m., Rebecca Penn, 37, of Loyalton was traveling eastbound on Highway 70 in a 2000 Ford Taurus, approaching the intersection of Grizzly Road at approximately 65 mph. As Sichak started across the highway, she did not see Penn approaching from the west and pulled out directly in her path. Although Penn sharply applied the brakes, her vehicle skidded into the left front wheel of Sichak's vehicle. The impact caused Sichak's Tahoe to spin 180 degrees to the right and Penn's vehicle veered off to the north side of the roadway. Sichak was transported to Eastern Plumas hospital with minor to moderate injuries. Her passenger was transported to Renown Medical Center in Reno, Nev., with moderate CLASSIC CARS, GAMES, MUSIC, BEER & BRAUTS 109 Highway 89 P.O. Box 335 Graeagle, Ca 96103 530.836.2383 SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12TH 00OLD T?WN CHESTER 4.00-8:00PM CHECK-IN @ The Bidwell House St. Andrew's Academy 2 Main Street -oR- 298 Main Street For More Event info Visit:Us @ www, Mount,,inAdrscom i i injuries. Penn was transported to Renown with major injuries and her four passengers were all taken to Renown with minor to moderate injuries. Safety equipment was in use at the time of the collision by all parties. Highway 89, Sept. 30 At approximately 10:15 a.m., Malissa D. Sherwood, 37, of Quincy, was driving a 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser northbound on Highway 89, just north of the Greenville Wye. She was traversing a right cerve in the roadway and, according to the CHP report, failed to negotiate the right curve, crossed over the double yellow lines and sideswiped a 2002 Toyota Avalon being driving by Ronald E. Outland, 65, of Chester, in the southbound lane. Sherwood continued northbound and pulled to the west shoulder. Outland continued southbound to the Wye. Outland found a CHP officer and related that a Highway 70, Oct. 2 At approximately 4:15 p.m., Brian James, 31, of Roseville, was driving his 2000 Ford F-250 on Highway 70 westbound, west of the Rock Creek power dam, and traveling in excess of 55 mph. The conditions at the time consisted of daylight, clear skies, dry roadways and light traffic. According to the CHP report, due to excessive speed, James allowed the truck to veer off of the north edge of the highway into a soft gravel and dirt shoulder. James tried to correct the truck when the rear end started to slide in the gravel shoulder. The vehicle crossed both westbound and eastbound lanes, striking a guardrail on the south shoulder with its left rear. After striking the guardrail, the truck continued back across both the eastbound and westbound lanes where it struck a rock wall embankment with its right front. The truck was partially blocking the westbound lane until it was moved onto the north shoulder by James and his co-workers prior to CHP collision had happened. No arrival. No injuries were injuries were reported as a reported. Safety equipment result of the collision, was in use. MYSOre T&mas County 24useum Mistory estion of tile "Wee[ October 9, 2OI3 Answer to last Week's question: What were the names of the two stage stops East of Taylorsville? ] I The Chase Place was the last stage stop in the high ] country before dropping into the Genesee Valley. The ] other stop was at the Genesee store, across the road from the Hosselkus ranch house which is still there._ ] There was a Native American athlete in Indian Valley who was so well-known and talented that a yearly event was named after him and is still celebrated. What was his name and what was he famous for? The answer to this Week's question and other fascinating historical facts are taken directly from the books on sale at your museum! Become a member of the Museum Association and you may be eligible to receive some of these publications a t no cost. Plumas National Forest shuts down due to national budget stalemate Nonessential operations have been shut down on the Plumas National Forest due to a lapse in federal appropriations as of Oct. 1. Most staffers have been furloughed pending reinstatement of funding by Congress. These staffers will not be available by phone or email, and cannot carry out work for the agency until funding is restored. This means that many services will be delayed or interrupted. Activities such as the Fall Fest, scheduled for Oct. 5, were cancelled. All offices are closed. Staffers (hat rmain on the PNF include all firefighters, law enforcement, district rangers and the deputy and forest supervisors. Visitors may continue to enjoy traveling on forest system roads and trails, cut firewood with a permit, hunt and camp, among other activities. The United States Department of Agriculture initiated the shutdown process for its agencies, including the Forest Service. Those plans may be viewed at usda.gov. Lighting Carpets Flooring Furniture Blinds & Shutters Ughting Repairs Open Tues-Sun 9:30 aM - 4 PH www. graeaglelightingcornpany, corn Invest & PLUMAS COUNTY