2.21.2008

ER - Gundersen case headed to trial

Gundersen case headed to trial

By EMILY WILSON, The Eureka Reporter
Published: Feb 21 2008, 1:01 AM

An hearing took place Wednesday for Blue Lake Police Chief David Ray Gundersen, in the Humboldt County Courthouse.

In a closed courtroom, a preliminary hearing date of Feb. 27 at 8:30 a.m. was confirmed. Deputy District Attorney Kelly Neel represented the prosecution, expected to be personally led by District Attorney Paul Gallegos.

Gundersen — still in custody with a $500,000 bail — was not present. His attorney, Russell J. Clanton of the Arcata-based firm, Russell J. Clanton and Associates was represented by a member of the firm, attorney Benjamin Okin.

Gundersen has been charged with 12 felony counts of Penal Code 262 (A)(2), and one count of each PC 136.1 (B)(1), PC 166 (A)(4), and BP 4060.

In non-legal terms, he is accused of raping his spouse — on 12 occasions throughout the past year — with an intoxicating or anesthetic substance.

Additionally, Gundersen is charged with one felony count of dissuading or preventing a witness or victim from testifying, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and willful disobedience of the terms of a court process or court order.

At the preliminary hearing, the prosecution will present evidence — which may include witness testimony — to persuade the judge that there is probable cause for a trial.

As recently reported in The Eureka Reporter, Gallegos said he will present a recording of the alleged victim’s statement at the hearing.

Questions continue to surround as to who accused Gundersen of raping his wife, but it’s likely they will be cleared up Feb. 27, if not sooner.

In a previous interview, Gallegos said the District Attorney’s Office can only act on an a crime if it was alleged by the victim.

Clanton said — also in a previous interview — that he believes the accusations are rooted in a custody battle that Gundersen has been fighting with his former wife for nearly 10 years.

Gundersen’s wife was present in court at a bail hearing last week, where she confirmed she was there to support her husband.

As previously reported, Gallegos said, “you can’t prove a case without a victim.”