4.22.2008

ER - Gundersen’s hearing

Below is ongoing coverage of testimony presented at the preliminary hearing for Blue Lake Police Chief David Gundersen. This log is meant to give readers more information about what witnesses are saying as the proceedings move forward.

The most recent testimony is at the top.

The Eureka Reporter will update the log after proceedings for the day are finished.

Day 1, Monday, April 21:
Witnesses: “Jane Doe No. 2”


Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos called Jane Doe No. 2 to the stand and began asking her some background questions.

Jane Doe No. 2 said she first met Gundersen through some friends around December 1997.

“I was looking for law enforcement work,” she said. “He offered to train me.”

Gundersen was the police chief of the Trinidad Police Department at the time.

She testified Gundersen offered her employment. She was to do any undercover work where a person known to people living in Trinidad would be spotted.

She said she believed she was not only employed by the Trinidad Police Department, but was also a sworn peace officer.

She testified that she signed lots of paperwork for the Department of Justice and already owned her own weapon.

When asked how long she worked at the department, she testified that she worked there in 1998.

Although Jane Doe No. 2 couldn’t remember the date, she testified that at some point she and Gundersen started dating and eventually moved in together.

When asked if Gundersen ever forced her to have sex, she testified he did in March 1999.

It took place at their home in McKinleyville, she testified. The two were having an argument about his marital status in the living room.

Jane Doe No. 2 had become aware of the fact that Gundersen was still married even though they were planning to marry, she testified.

Gallegos asked if there were children in the house on a regular basis, to which Jane Doe No. 2 testified there were three.

She had a child around 8 or 9 years old at the time and Gundersen had two children – one around 3 years old and the other around 6 or 7 years old.

When asked where she and Gundersen placed their guns in the house, Jane Doe No. 2 testified they were kept either in the gun safe located in one of the closets (she couldn’t remember which) and Gundersen occasionally put a firearm on top of the fireplace mantle near the entrance to the home.

Gallegos asked if she was concerned about Gundersen carrying a weapon at the time of the argument, to which Jane Doe No. 2 testified she was because of the anger he exhibited.

At some point, she testified, Gundersen forced her into the bedroom by grabbing her upper arms and moving her backward toward the bed.

The three children watched from their bedroom doorway across the way, she testified.

When asked if it seemed forceful and if it hurt, she testified yes.

“What happened?” Gallegos asked.

“Along with the loud conversation we were having,” Jane Doe No. 2 said, “he proceeded to attack me,” adding that he tore up her clothes.

When she turned her head to the right, she testified, she saw the three children watching and crying.

“I asked him if he could please close the door so the kids didn’t have to watch,” she said.

When asked if Gundersen raped her, she testified yes.

Gundersen then took his gun out of its holster and placed it on a pillow or table beside the bed, where it entered her field of vision, she testified.

Gallegos apologized and asked how Gundersen raped her. She testified it was vaginal.

Gallegos asked if the presence of the gun added any more fear to the situation, to which she testified yes, adding she was fearful that Gundersen would use it on her and/or the children.

When asked if she moved out of the residence, she testified yes.

Jane Doe No. 2 testified she contacted either a rape crisis or domestic violence organization on the phone. She then went to the Eureka Police Department to make a report.

When asked why she didn’t go to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office to make the report, Jane Doe No. 2 testified that she didn’t know anybody there, but knew that Gundersen’s wife at the time worked there and was concerned that nobody would make a report.

At EPD, Jane Doe No. 2 testified she talked to a Sgt. Johnson, who told her that at the least their chief would talk to Gundersen, but said they would definitely investigate.

She testified that as far as she knew, nothing came of the report.

She also testified that Gundersen insisted that they go to counseling, but she didn’t want to talk with him.

When Gallegos asked if she authorized Gundersen to look her up on the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, which is used to check somebody’s background, Jane Doe No. 2 testified she didn’t.

Cross-examination of Jane Doe No. 2

Gundersen’s attorney, Russell Clanton, began his questioning by asking if Jane Doe No. 2 took any medications, to which she testified “hormones and whatnot.”

When asked for more information about her medications, she testified that she took something for panic attacks, as well as a pain reliever or muscle relaxer for neck problems.

When Clanton asked if she took any medication that morning, she testified she took an asthma pill and her hormones.

Clanton asked if she took a controlled substance or alcohol, to which she testified no.

“I’m just exhausted,” she said.

“Are you able to focus?” Clanton asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

Judge John T. Feeney told Jane Doe No. 2 that she could take a break if she needed it, but she said she didn’t need one.

Clanton asked Jane when she prepared her paperwork for the Department of Justice. She testified it was either before or after her first assignment.

She couldn’t remember what forms she signed, but said they were “standard forms.” She said she was a “newbie,” having worked for a short time in law enforcement in Fort Bragg, Calif., before being fired.

When Clanton asked why she was fired, Gallegos objected and asked for relevance. Clanton said the line of questioning might lead to something relevant. The objection was sustained.

When asked how long it was between her working in Fort Bragg and Trinidad, Jane Doe No. 2 testified that it was all a blur and wasn’t sure.

Clanton asked about how she came to meet Gundersen. Jane Doe No. 2 testified that friends she worked with in private security at the Bayshore Mall in Eureka introduced him to her.

When asked where they met, she testified at the mall.

Clanton asked her if she applied for the job. She testified that she had been filing paperwork for both the Trinidad Police Department and the Blue Lake Police Department.

She testified that she found out a position was available at Trinidad through Gundersen.

“The only thing I recall him saying is that they really need a second officer,” she said.

Jane Doe No. 2 was unsure if it was her first time at the TPD station when she talked to Gundersen about the job or whether there was anyone else in the room.

Clanton asked Jane Doe No. 2 to describe what the job entailed.

“I don’t recall him going into any great detail,” she said, adding that he wanted someone with a fresh face, somebody no one in Trinidad knew. She said the mayor at the time was aware of her working there.

Clanton asked if she knew her salary, which she didn’t, adding that as far as she knew, Gundersen was handling all of that.

Jane Doe No. 2 couldn’t recall how much time elapsed between working at the mall and the time she met with Gundersen at the TPD station. She also testified she couldn’t recall when they started dating.

At this point she was asked if she was OK, to which she replied, “It’s emotionally difficult.”

Clanton continued, asking her if she remembered the names of her friends at the mall. She testified that one guy’s name was Robert and someone’s name that started with a J. She said she had the names written down.

When Clanton asked if she gave the names to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, she wasn’t sure.

Clanton asked if she was offered the job.

“Yes, I believe I was,” she said, adding that the mayor gave approval for her to go undercover. “I could do things that an officer in uniform cannot.”

Jane Doe No. 2 testified her first assignment was the weekend of the fish fry in Trinidad in 1998.

She couldn’t recall how long it was between the time she became an officer and when she had her first assignment.

Jane Doe No. 2 testified that she wasn’t given a uniform.

“That was the point of the job,” she said.

She couldn’t recall if she was given a badge number. She didn’t get a gun, but did own one.

When asked if she told anyone about the job, she testified that she might have told her mother.

Clanton then asked if she ever went out with Gundersen on calls. She said she went out for minor things, usually in a vehicle. She testified that she didn’t wear a uniform, and couldn’t recall if she carried a gun.

When Clanton asked if she made any arrests with Gundersen, Jane Doe No. 2 pleaded the Fifth Amendment.
Feeney then asked if she had legal representation, and when Jane Doe No. 2 said she didn’t, he said he would contact the public defender’s office to appoint her an attorney.

Gallegos said that he would offer Jane Doe No. 2 use immunity for anything she might say on the stand, and have the paperwork ready today.

The hearing ended for the day and will continue with Jane Doe No. 2 in the morning.

Gundersen’s hearing
By JOHN C. OSBORN , The Eureka Reporter
Published: Apr 22 2008, 12:40 AM · Updated: Apr 22 2008, 12:41 AM