4.26.2008

ER - Doe 1: ‘I don’t think I would have ever come forward’

Four witnesses testified today at David Gundersen’s preliminary hearing, where topics ranged from seized prescription drugs to what happened at the Eureka Police Department on March 26, 1999.

“Jane Doe 1” finished testimony today, clarifying why she didn’t report the alleged non-consensual sex by Gundersen.

Law enforcement also officials took the stand to talk about the results of a search warrant on Gundersen’s home and of contact between him and Doe 1 while in jail.

Gundersen, currently the police chief for the Blue Lake Police Department, may face trial on suspicion of 19 charges, including 12 counts of spousal rape with an intoxicant, one count of kidnapping to commit another crime and possession of a machine gun.

Gundersen is being held at the Humboldt County jail with a $1.25 million bail.

At the end of Wednesday’s session, Doe 1 made it clear that it was never her intention to press charges on Gundersen. She also said she “felt coerced” by the several people at Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office to make statements she would otherwise not have made during a seven-hour interview.

Doe 1 had fears about coming forward about alleged non-consensual sex that occurred while she and Gundersen dealt with marital problems, starting in late 2005.

“I don’t think I would have ever come forward,” she said, adding she didn’t want to be responsible for Gundersen losing his job, his kids and going to prison. She also didn’t want this in the press.

Because of their busy schedules, Doe 1 testified that she allowed Gundersen to have sex with her while she slept before they started having martial problems. At that point, she asked him to stop.

“He wasn’t being honest with me about some personal things,” she said.

Doe 1 testified that she feared for her safety when talking with HCSO, but her fears “became worse because of what was said to me during the interview.”

At one point, Doe 1 recalled being told that Gundersen would take her “fishing.”

Doe 1 said she interpreted it as “he was going to take me fishing and hurt me.”

During the second interview with investigators from the district attorney’s office, Doe 1 testified that they claimed she committed felonies that she hadn’t.

She said she feared prosecution and going to prison.

“You’d like to avoid going to prison wouldn’t you?” Gundersen’s attorney Russell Clanton said.

“Of course,” she said.

After the court excused Doe 1, Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos called three law enforcement officials to the stand for a variety of topics.

Investigator Wayne Cox of the district attorney’s office testified that 16 bottles of prescription drugs that were not in Gundersen or Doe 1’s name were found at their home after executing a search warrant.

Among them were drugs prescribed for Donna Chaffin, Ben Hoff and Elizabeth Pageant.

“There were so many bottles of pills seized,” Cox said.

On the topic of Chaffin, Cox testified that they investigated it further and found that when Chaffin died, Gundersen and Doe 1 were involved in a death investigation at her home. The pills disappeared from the home after that investigation.

HCSO Detective Troy Garey testified about contact between Gundersen and Doe 1 after an Emergency Protective Order was signed by Doe 1.

Doe 1 said in previous testimony that she didn’t realize what the order entailed until after she signed it, and wanted it reversed.

The order prohibited Gundersen from direct and third-party contact in any way with Doe 1, and is the source of two of the 19 charges against him.

Garey testified that on Feb. 9, Gundersen contacted Doe 1 and asked her not to testify and to contact Cox, Hislop and/or Gallegos to have the charges dropped.

Garey monitored phone conversations with Gundersen to make sure the EPO was enforced.

There were also three letters intercepted by Garey and jail staff in April.

Toward the end of the day, testimony by Chief DA Investigator Michael Hislop focused on why there wasn’t a report from EPD about Doe 2’s visit on March 26, 1999.

Hislop also located a private MySpace account under Gundersen’s name, called “Gundy Bros.,” which featured a picture of an assault rifle and “live, laugh … love, weapon systems/sales and services” on the main page.

Now, Lt. Len Johnson talked with Doe 2, according to court documents.

When interviewed by Hislop, Johnson vaguely recalled the encounter, but couldn’t remember specifics.

When asked what he would have done as a sergeant, Hislop, who was sergeant there at the time — testified that since it occurred outside EPD’s jurisdiction, he would file out a critical incident report and send it to EPD’s chief.

“I find it unusual that (Johnson) didn’t do that,” Hislop said of the strong allegations against a police chief.

Due to schedule conflicts, the hearing resumes April 29.


Doe 1: ‘I don’t think I would have ever come forward’
Karen Wilkinson contributed to this story.
By JOHN C. OSBORN , The Eureka Reporter
Published: Apr 24 2008, 10:38 PM

(For more coverage of David Gundersen’s hearing, along with more detailed testimony from witnesses, go to http://eurekareporter.com/article/080422-gundersens-hearing.)

Related coverage, with links